August 27, 2010

Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and his Rendezvous with American History By Yunte Huang (W.W. Norton, 354 pp., $26.95)  Even in our fading half-life of cultural memory, the notion may endure that 1925 was a good moment for American literature. In that year, we were given Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Anita Loos’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Willa Cather’s The Professor’s House. Hemingway was writing The Sun Also Rises.

Shocker: Boehner Is a Deficit Hypocrite
August 25, 2010

I haven't had time to scrutinize the economic policy blueprint House Minority Leader John Boehner presented on Tuesday, during a speech he gave in Cleveland. But when I read the speech and the basics of his plan--extend all of the Bush tax cuts, cut some wasteful spending, etc.--I got the distinct impression his numbers did not add up. A new analysis from the NDN (New Democratic Network, as it used to be called) seems to confirm that. It concludes that Boehner's plan would add around 3.78 trillion in new debt to the government's ledger over the next ten years.  Shocking, I know.

Beyond Auto Exports in the Great Lakes
August 25, 2010

What the Great Lakes region exports to the world now is, mostly, cars. But its rich network of universities and medical complexes may be one of the best bets for its export future. A recently released University Research Center report documents how Michigan’s leading universities are helping to move its manufacturing base to more diverse and higher end advanced products in energy components, pharmaceuticals, sensors, circuits and robotics.

Life In Ohio, A Continuing Series
August 23, 2010

It is the state of nature: Ohio bear kills caretaker; owner had legal trouble COLUMBIA STATION, Ohio – A bear attacked and killed its caretaker at the home of a man who kept a menagerie of dangerous, exotic beasts and ran afoul of animal regulators a few years ago by staging wrestling matches between bears and humans. The bear in the attack southwest of Cleveland was not one that owner Sam Mazzola had used for wrestling, officials said. His license to show animals had been revoked, but he still kept dozens of bears, wolves, tigers, lions and perhaps coyotes.

The Blago Trial, Day 3,793
August 17, 2010

What is there to say, except George Carlin’s seven dirty words? The Blago jury’s inability to progress beyond agreement on two counts in 13 days makes the whole lot of them seem like they’re two sandwiches shy of a picnic. In addition to having gotten precious little done, they haven’t even considered the wire fraud counts—the crux of the government’s case. To put it another way, the tapes played for the jury (out of 500 available hours of wiretaps) have not been discussed!

What Would Lincoln Say?
August 05, 2010

Washington—Rather than shout, I'll just ask the question in a civil way: Dear Republicans, do you really want to endanger your party's greatest political legacy by turning the 14th Amendment to our Constitution into an excuse for election-year ugliness? Honestly, I thought our politics could not get worse, and suddenly there appears this attack on birthright citizenship and the introduction into popular use of the hideous term "anchor babies," children that illegal immigrants have for the alleged purpose of "anchoring" themselves to American rights and the welfare state. Particularly depressi

The Cleveland Conundrum
July 29, 2010

The Cleveland metro is an export powerhouse. Exporting industries employed more than 110,000 of the region’s workers as of 2008 (over 10 percent), and its economy is among the nation’s most export intensive. So, if exports will be, and must be, a critical component of economic growth in the future (which is one of the messages of the new Export Nation report), Cleveland, and the other Great Lakes metros that are also intensely export oriented, are pretty well positioned, right? Yes and no.

The Provincials
July 22, 2010

There is localism, and there is yokelism. Which was the greater factor in Harvey Pekar’s mystique? I considered the question in an illuminating location this week. My wife, who is a singer, took a booking at a swanky hotel in Palm Beach, and our seven-year-old son and I tagged along to support her and to sunbathe.

The Geography of Broadband Access
July 21, 2010

As big fans of maps, data, and infrastructure, we are pretty enamored with the interactive website of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) National Broadband Plan. High speed telecommunications infrastructure is critical for boosting business growth, enhancing education and scientific research, improving public safety services, and reliably providing for emergency communications in times of crisis. It also has the potential to reshape the physical landscape of America, connecting communities in ways never before possible through telecommuting and videoconferencing.

A Moral Foreign Policy? Get Serious.
July 21, 2010

My last post, suggesting it might be morally problematic for a commander-in-chief to persist in waging a war to which he is less than fully committed, drew this response from Andrew Exum of the Center for a New American Security: Bacevich wants us to consider foreign policy decisions black-and-white moral affairs. Bush, he argues, reliably chose the wrong option out of two available but was at least guided by a flawed moral compass. Obama, Bacevich argues, is amoral. This is absurd. In matters of war, leaders at all levels make hard moral choices involving sin and virtue.