MOSCOW, June 2 (Reuters) – The world needs a wider range of reserve currencies because the economic crisis in the United States has changed perceptions of the dollar, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview published on Tuesday.
A comment From Megan McArdle on the deficit:
Democrats have largely been treating debt and spending as if they were largely a political problem. What will the taxpayers tolerate? Quite a lot, it turns out, in time of crisis. And so Democrats seem to have settled on a strategy of passing as much spending as they can now, while the American public is still reeling from debt sticker shock, and figuring out how to actually pay for it later.
Roosevelt could do this because people felt that America faced an actual existential threat. But that urgency rarely, maybe never, exists outside of total war. Obama needs to please the bond market, as well as the taxpayers. And the bond market is more educated and attentive than the average voter. You can’t just tell them that you’re going to achieve fabulous cost savings through health care IT. You have to prove it. The administration hasn’t been super-convincing about specifics. So there’s a real worry that the bond-holders won’t buy it.
June 6, 2009 No Comments
My lovely wife finds my tendency to break out dancing in public to be endearing and terribly embarrassing. I felt roughly the same way about this guy but the power of the dance can’t be denied. (via ze frank)
June 5, 2009 1 Comment
Thomas Nelson has published a new Bible titled, “The American Patriot’s Bible”. The idea is to target “the spiritual needs of those who love our country” – and by “our country” they mean America. Here’s the publisher’s description.
THE ONE BIBLE THAT SHOWS HOW ‘A LIGHT FROM ABOVE’ SHAPED OUR NATION. Never has a version of the Bible targeted the spiritual needs of those who love our country more than The American Patriot’s Bible. This extremely unique Bible shows how the history of the United States connects the people and events of the Bible to our lives in a modern world. The story of the United States is wonderfully woven into the teachings of the Bible and includes a beautiful full-color family record section, memorable images from our nation’s history and hundreds of enlightening articles which complement the New King James Version Bible text.
As a Canadian, I’m more than a little queasy at the idea of a Bible dedicated to the position that God has been particularly concerned with shaping the history of the United States. But if I’m honest, I’ll admit that I have had similar thoughts about my country. A belief in providence does get one looking for God’s hand in human affairs and when we going looking for the hand of God, we usually assume he’s on our side. The fact is that there are deep links between a sense of providential guidance and American nationalism, going all the way back to the May Flower. The ideas of America as a “City Set Upon a Hill” and as “The New Zion” are there in the embryonic America long before the Revolution. So it is not surprising that “The American Patriot’s Bible” is going to be purchased by thousands upon thousands of American Christians.
But those are social and historical concerns, not theological ones.
Is this kind of Bible inappropriate on theological grounds?
If it is inappropriate, what are the proper limits for thematic bibles?
Greg Boyd has a two part review of the bible up at the Out of Ur blog (Part 1, Part 2) and it is not particularly kind. Scot Mcknight airs his beef as well as posting a few links to other commentators.
June 4, 2009 No Comments
Interviewed in the latest New York Times Magazine about his latest book, “The Evolution of God,” Robert Wright had this to say about Barack Obama’s self-assurance (says he is “someone who believes God is on his side”):
He shifts between the professorial and the preacherly in a way that is reminiscent of the Apostle Paul, although Paul probably attended church more often and worked out less.
June 3, 2009 No Comments
I really enjoyed reading this week’s cover article in the New York Times Magazine, “The Mellowing of William Jefferson Clinton.” My interest in politics didn’t really start until after Bill Clinton had already left the White House in 2000 and I didn’t pay any attention to American politics until even later than that, so I don’t know anything at all about his presidency. I have vague memories about the years of the controversy that resulted in his impeachment and I did stay tuned to CNN for a week when Al Gore lost the presidential election to George Bush. But I remain almost completely ignorant of any of Clinton’s achievements or failures as the 42nd president of the United States.
June 2, 2009 No Comments
If you haven’t seen the first video, you should check it out over at Christina’s blog.
June 1, 2009 No Comments
It remains to be seen who the victims of the ongoing carnage in Canadian media will be. Concerns about the viability of local TV news continue, the perilous position of Canwest is not much improved and now the Globe and Mail finds itself with a new editor. Meanwhile, a long list of journalistic icons are quietly getting ready for retirement.
So given all of that, I read Paul Wells’ most recent column with some interest. Christina and I recently subscribed to the Globe (mostly as a way to get a weekly copy of the Sunday New York Times) and I enjoy reading it, but when I compare it to the newspapers I read while in England last month, it is not the paper I once though it was.
I offer this advice as a former Globe subscriber, but of course we are also competitors here at Maclean’s for scarce ad dollars and busy readers. And frankly on that score, if the Crawley-Stackhouse regime continues to chase trends and apologize for showing a sense of perspective, we won’t mind at all. When I joined this magazine we used to tell one another it wouldn’t do to indulge our various passions for politics or culture or real debate too deeply. In the last four years, we’ve been less reticent, and it’s going well. Our readers are really happy that we picked up our game. It’s almost as though people cared about things that are worth caring about.
May 30, 2009 No Comments
This post is mostly for my wife. I found a couple pictures (via Wendy Cooper) showing a small cabin that Michael Pollan built for himself – to escape to when he’s writing a book. I still haven’t read any of his writing (I keep meaning to), but if you’re interested in this little cabin, he seems to have written an entire book about building it called, “A Place of My Own.”
If only I were a professional writer. Anyway, here are the pictures:
May 28, 2009 3 Comments
Warren Kinsella is gloating this morning with a link over at his blog to this story. It seems that there are lots of Conservative Party political staffers shopping resumes on the street in case they won’t make it back into government after the next election. It’s exactly the kind of story that Liberals across the country will love to read. I admit I had the same somewhat gloating smirk on my face as Warren when I read it. Why are people worried?
"The rationale for doing that is you get out before you become damaged goods, first of all. And then, secondly, there’s less competition now than there will be whenever everybody gets dumped [after an election defeat]. So, there’ve been conversations in which they were [ministerial staffers] exploring their options," said one lobbyist.
My favourite part is Tim Powers’ non-denial of the story:
"I don’t know if people are necessarily figuring to lose, but the minority Parliament—regardless of whether you win or lose—is a precarious situation and for many people who have been around for two or three years, now is a natural time to look.
That’s not the strongest line to take, especially not when it is followed by: “he conceded that some exempt staffers have contacted his firm”
UPDATE: Intrepid live-blogger-queen-of-the-blackberry Kady O’Malley raises a perfectly fair question: Is it appropriate for ministerial staffers to be begging for jobs from lobbyists while at the very same time, they’re still employed to give objective advice to government ministers on what to do about the same lobbyists’ campaigns to change government policy? Also, the Conservatives passed this law (something called the Accountability Act) which prohibited ministerial staffers from lobbying for five years after they leave the government payroll. So what exactly are these staffers going to be doing for the first 5 years on the job?
May 25, 2009 No Comments
I’ve always been the guy who got involved in politics to figure out what the right answer is, to ask, “what should be done about X.” But when I entered the CBC’s “Next Great Prime Minister” contest last fall, I was reminded that being right isn’t what politics is about.
When I was deciding what ideas to include in my platform video I went all out. I started with a list of about two-dozen policies. I wrote a long memo filled with pros and cons and potential endorsements. I sent the memo around to friends for feedback and I weeded the policies down to a handful I really believed in. That’s the stuff I’m really good at.
Turning those ideas into a simple, concrete persuasive message that I could fit into a 5 minute video was a virtual impossibility for me. Aristotle once wrote that “It is simplicity that makes the uneducated more effective than the educated when addressing popular audiences” and I am by nature allergic to simplicity.
But to be really effective in politics, it is what you must do: crystallize immensely complex issues into simple ideas that that can be evaluated intuitively. It is what I used to hate about politics – it seemed dishonest. But I’ve since realized there is no other way to build support with large groups of people. Even if you had the resources to give every potential supporter the ten minute version of the pitch – why should people give you that much of their time?
So I’ve been thinking about these issues for the last few months. How can you use simple language and ideas to be really persuasive in a short period of time? The reality is that the most compelling medium for simple ideas is video. Videos engage the emotions in ways that writing doesn’t. So I’ve been on the lookout for examples of persuasive videos. I thought these two videos are pretty good examples:
What’s the most effective political message you’ve seen lately?
May 24, 2009 2 Comments