The Long Shot
May 10, 2011
The Republican presidential race is fast resembling World War II baseball, when 4-Fs roamed the outfield, the ball lost its bounce because of the rubber shortage, and sportswriters found it hard to imagine that any team could win the World Series.
She drowned in her own swimming pool in the south of France, aged 66. Marie-France Pisier had an immense, composed beauty, with a marble air of absolute assurance. In her brow and her gaze, serenity seemed on the point of becoming a mask. But she was made for drama, and even melodrama. Though she had the look of a Parisian socialite, so much about her was unexpected: She was born in Dalat, in Indo-China, the daughter of a French colonial governor. In fact, she only came to live in France at the age of twelve.
May 05, 2011
In October 2008, a month after the collapse of Lehman Brothers—with the United States’s financial system seemingly about to buckle and Washington in desperate need of cash to prevent a total economic collapse—a State Department official contacted his Chinese counterpart about China buying U.S. securities. To his surprise, the Chinese, who had previously displayed an insatiable appetite for U.S. Treasury bills, suddenly balked at lending a hand. The reason, the Chinese official said, was the recent announcement of an impending sale of U.S.
The Trump Economic Populist Opportunity
May 04, 2011
I've been saying, without any data to back this up, that Donald Trump is filling a huge void by promising to stand up to China on economic issues. Now, courtesy of Pew Research, I have some data to back this up: Trump's position on China is moderately unpopular with the electorate as a whole, but wildly popular among the most loyal elements of the GOP base. No other Republican candidate is giving the people what they want here.
Last week, the International Monetary Fund released its annual World Economic Outlook, this year entitled, “Tensions from the Two-Speed Recovery: Unemployment, Commodities, and Capital Flows.” The two speed recovery emerges from the different post-crisis status in developed countries and emerging markets. While the United States and Europe are facing the prospect of slowly recovering employment and growth, emerging and developing economies are expected to grow by 6.5 percent this year. Developing countries are gathering mass in the world economy faster than expected.
Will Facebook Make China More Connected?
April 11, 2011
This morning, news broke that social-networking giant Facebook has signed a deal with Chinese search engine Baidu to develop a Chinese social networking service. The deal is a winner for both sides: Facebook is currently blocked in China, while Baidu has been unable to translate its dominance of the search engine market into similar success in social networking.
Bob Dylan in China
April 11, 2011
In memory of Farah Ebrahimi. Times are indeed a-changing: Bob Dylan, who became an American icon by “speaking truth to power,” just gave a concert in China, one of the most repressive countries in the world. While there, Dylan not only failed to express solidarity with the Chinese dissidents in jail; according to The Washington Post, he also agreed to perform only “approved content.” The scenario becomes even more ironic when you consider that, while Bob Dylan sang “Love Sick” in mainland China, outgoing U.S.
We Aren't Going to Stop Buying Gas
March 30, 2011
Speaking at Georgetown University today, President Obama warned that thanks to rising demand from developing countries like India and China, the long-term trend of gas prices would be upward. “This is something that everybody is affected by,” he warned. But America has faced energy crises before, and by one important measure, it appears we are less willing or able to respond to higher gas prices. According to research by UC Davis's Jonathan Hughes, Christopher Knittel and Daniel Sperling, Americans are now less responsive to increases in gas prices.
TNR Film Classics: 'Fahrenheit 451' (1966)
March 26, 2011
There are some rather dumb—but in a way brilliant—gimmicks that have a strong, and it would almost seem a perennial, public appeal. Books or plays or movies based on them don’t even have to be especially well done to be popular: readers and audiences respond to the gimmick. Sometimes this kind of trick idea is so primitive that it’s particularly attractive to educated people—perhaps because they’re puzzled by why they’re drawn to it and so take it to be a much more complex idea than it is. Frankenstein is one of these fantastic, lucrative “ideas”; The Pawnbroker is almost one.
Coal Train Coming
March 25, 2011
The battle over new coal terminals in the Pacific Northwest hasn’t really focused on the amount of coal already moving down the Columbia River basin by train from Wyoming and then up the coast to British Columbia (via Seattle) for export to China. This post from the excellent Sightline Daily puts it into perspective.