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Jay-Z’s “Empire State”: not the anthem to modernity we need

James Harkin’s recent comment piece in The Guardian, “Jay-Z’s hymn to modernity”, does not get the significance of this rap mega-hit exactly right. Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” does celebrate New York City, but falls short of upholding the challenge and potential of modernity – something that New York sorely needs today. Harkin says that, […]

This week’s articles of note

“What is it about 20-Somethings?” The New York Times Magazine, by Robin Marantz Henig “Washington, we have a problem,” Vanity Fair, by Todd Purdum “The clash of civilizations at Ground Zero,” goteborg-posten, by Kenan Malik [republished on] “America: land of loners?” The Wilson Quarterly, by Daniel Akst “Bob Dylan, the Beat Generation, and Allen Ginsburg’s […]

Alaska’s faux libertarian economics

At last, we have a legitimate criticism of Sarah Palin and her fellow Republicans in Alaska. But it’s worth noting that Alaska is just an extreme case of the US economy’s dependence on state support. In Thursday’s New York Times, Michael Powell wrote about how Republican politicians in Alaska have a contradictory relationship with the […]

The Culture War over the Ground Zero mosque

Thumbnail : The Culture War over the Ground Zero mosque

It’s hard to know who’s worse in the NYC mosque debate: the opportunistic, anti-Muslim right or the Muslim-loving, masses-fearing liberals. Read my spiked article in full here.

This week’s articles of note

“The point of no return,” The Atlantic, by Jeffrey Goldberg “Newt Gingrich: The indispensable Republican,” Esquire, by John H. Richardson “The Golden State’s war on itself,” City Journal, by Joel Kotkin “Postcard from Detroit,” n+1, by Mark Binelli “The defeat of Prop 8 is a Pyrrhic victory,” spiked, by Helen Searls “The voices of a […]

The unpopular political class

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds that “voters are disenchanted with the political establishment in Washington”. Positive feelings for both major parties are at new all-time lows: the Democrats are at 33 percent, and the Republicans at 24 percent. There’s also greater pessimism about the economy and the course of the Afghanistan war. Moreover, […]

A tale of two recessions?

David Leonhardt’s article in today’s New York Times paints a picture of diverging fortunes in our “Great Recession”: some groups (a minority) are doing very badly, while the majority remain employed and are in fact benefiting from gains in purchasing power. He notes that, to a greater extent than in previous downturns, those made unemployed have remained jobless for longer: “Almost 45 percent of […]

Charlie Rangel shouldn’t resign (at least not yet)

Thumbnail : Charlie Rangel shouldn’t resign (at least not yet)

New York representative Charlie Rangel spoke with emotion and at length on the floor of the House yesterday, giving what some describe as a “trainwreck” of a speech. Rangel faces accusations of corruption: for violating congressional rules for soliciting donations for a City College of New York named after him; using a rent-stabilized apartment for […]

Steven Slater, folk hero for our times

Steven Slater appears to have captured the imaginations of many Americans. Slater is the Jet Blue flight attendant who quit his job in dramatic fashion. As his plane had arrived but was not yet ready to de-board at JFK, a passenger got up early to grab her bag from the overhead compartment. Slater told her […]

Phelps on innovation

In an interesting op-ed  in Saturday’s New York Times, Edmund Phelps, the Nobel-prize winning economist at Columbia University, called for a “focus on fixing the structural problems, that, unresolved, will stymie the economy over the long haul”. It is defintely worth reading. Like many economists, Phelps criticizes Keynesian ideas about insufficient demand. But unlike many other […]

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August 2020


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