The Old Way
August 12, 2010
High Financier: The Lives and Time of Siegmund Warburg By Niall Ferguson (The Penguin Press, 548 pp., $35) If one object of reading is to make ourselves at home in the world, or at least to diminish its somewhat minatory strangeness, then we should now be demanding very many books about banks and bankers.
Anti-Immigration Groups Try To Co-Opt The Greens
July 30, 2010
Over the past few years in Europe, anti-immigration groups have been trying to strike an alliance with greens in an attempt to reach a broader audience. So, for instance, in Britain, the ultra-right BNP has started arguing that immigration leads to greater sprawl and congestion and over-consumption. In Austria, the Jörg Haider-founded BZÖ party combines support for stringent border restrictions with an interest in organic farming and heavy pollution taxes. These parties haven't wooed many environmentalists, but that hasn't stopped them from trying. And what about in the United States?
Greeks Accept Their Newfound Austerity
July 30, 2010
The long, hot Greek summer just got hotter. A strike by fuel tanker drivers has paralyzed the country, stranding tourists, causing food shortages, and leaving 70 percent of gas stations without any gas to pump. In the simplest terms, this is about new austerity measures, in this case, higher fees for truck licenses. But more broadly, it is about the government’s assault on a lifestyle Greeks, rich and poor, have come to take for granted. As one Greek businessman put it to me, "the party’s over." Greece is broke. The signs are big and small.
July 29, 2010
Washington–Can a nation remain a superpower if its internal politics are incorrigibly stupid? Start with taxes. In every other serious democracy, conservative political parties feel at least some obligation to match their tax policies with their spending plans. David Cameron, the new Conservative prime minister in Britain, is a leading example. He recently offered a rather brutal budget that includes severe cutbacks.
July 20, 2010
Is Qaddafi's hip, globe-trotting son for real?
It is just about two and a half months since BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, at the same time exploding the lives of 11 workers whose names no one knows—in contrast to the two haughty executives who seem always to be taking respite from troubles in their conveniently docked boats. The news buried in today’s Financial Times story about BP being “braced for shake-up at top” reveals that, aside from ExxonMobil or Royal Dutch Shell (notice how these are already combines of previous companies), PetroChina seems to be preparing for an “opportunistic bid.” This will not be good for the United St
July 01, 2010
Moses Montefiore: Jewish Liberator, Imperial Hero By Abigail Green (Harvard University Press, 540 pp., $35) In 1827, an upright, well-to-do English gentleman, traveling through the Levant with his lady wife, ran into some dirty weather en route from Alexandria to Malta. But this particular gentleman was called Moses and his notion of calming the sea was to throw the afikoman half of the middle matzoh of the Passover seder into the churning waters. Apparently, as Abigail Green tells it, in some Sephardi traditions the breaking of the afikoman symbolizes the parting of the Red Sea.
Dismal Perhaps, But Is It A Science?
June 30, 2010
As if there weren’t enough transatlantic rifts already, from the Middle East to the environment, another has opened over economic policy.
June 15, 2010
In December 2005, a Purdue graduate student named Vikram Buddhi began posting a series of ugly notes—“Kill GW Bush,” “Rape And Kill Laura Bush,” “Kill Donald Rumsfeld The Old Geezer Crook”—on a message board devoted to technology. A few months later, Buddhi, an Indian citizen who was in the United States to study math, was arrested and charged with threatening the life of the president—a federal crime.
The Austere Beauty of Italy
June 08, 2010
A word about the defending champions. Not since Germany's victory in the desperate 1990 edition of the tournament has any victor been so little celebrated. Doubtless this owes something to the fashion in which Italy prevailed and to the sense that those players who remain in the squad aren't the men they once were, while the newcomers aren't the men they're replacing either. So Italy arrive in South Africa overlooked and unfancied and available at 16/1 with some bookmakers.