Entertainment

One of the most frustrating consequences of an Election Day like Tuesday is that it invariably (if fleetingly) transforms moderate politicians with no particular insight into the dynamics of public opinion into all-knowing sages. More to the point, it elevates their perfect-for-every-occasion view of politics, which says that if your party suffers a setback, the reason must be that it was too far to one side of the political spectrum, and so the answer is obviously to move back to the middle.

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Worth Reading

Eugene Fama calls the premise of Justin Fox's book "fantasy". Why did Volcker walk out of his Bartiromo interview? Dirk Bezemer: Why financial sector debt is a dead-end for the economy. Treasury to issue 30-year inflation protected bonds. Felix Salmon can't see a painless way out of the bubble we're inflating. The Great Crash ... in nominal spending.

I don't want to get too Noam-y here, but I love Dave Leonhardt's new column raising--if not quite endorsing--the possibility that current economic pessimism is overstated, and that another boom could be hiding around the corner. In particular I find this compelling: When Bill Clinton convened a conference in the dark economic days after his 1992 election, some of the country’s top economists flew to Little Rock, Ark., to share their vision for the future. As Rahm Emanuel, now the White House chief of staff, likes to point out, they didn’t spend much time talking about the Internet.

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Apparently there’s a rumor making the rounds in some corners of Wall Street that yesterday’s election results are driving today’s stock market rally—the theory being that the results are a blow to Obama’s agenda, and stopping Obama is good for the market. (I just got a call from a producer at CNBC asking me what I thought about this). The reasons why this theory is utterly ludicrous are almost too numerous to catalogue, but let me give it a quick shot: First, as I write this (around 1:30 pm), the Dow is up about 100 points, or just over 1 percent.

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On Wednesday, exactly a year after he won the White House and a day after the Democrats lost high-profile gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia, Obama will be in Madison, Wisconsin to promote his education agenda. It’s a smart move. The media spent Tuesday speculating about whether the governors’ races were referendums on Obama’s presidency and whether he’s delivered on the change he promised a year ago. It’s easy to point to health care or climate policy, currently mired in congressional partisan wrangling, as areas where change-making isn’t going so smoothly.

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Ben Smith catches up with Chris Christie, who (not surprisingly) predicts victory and (somewhat surprisingly*) repeats what sound like White House talking points: He said he looks forward to "working with President Obama" and that Obama "is going to have a governor of New Jersey who's going to stand up for New Jersey." "What this is all about is me and Jon Corzine. You want to read something into this, that's for you to write," he said. Clearly Christie doesn't read The Corner. *--Okay, maybe not that surprising when you consider he is running in a Blue State.

Films Worth Seeing Chelsea on the Rocks. A friendly, slightly woozy documentary about a famous New York hotel. The Chelsea, for a hundred years, has been a special haven for all kinds of artists--some very eminent--and has preserved an old-time air. Now that it is at risk of going, this film is a kind of freehand memorial. (11/4/09) Disgrace. If there is such a thing as a quietly major film, this is one. J. M.

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Whenever I read the words, "You're not from around here, are you?" I automatically imagine them being said with a serious Southern--or at least rural--twang.

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From today's White House press briefing: Q:  President Obama, last month in Pittsburgh, said of the Afghan elections and the aftermath, "What's most important is that there's a sense of legitimacy in Afghanistan among the Afghan people for their government."  Is there a sense of legitimacy in Afghanistan among the Afghan people for the Karzai government? MR. GIBBS:  Well, I have no reason to believe there is not.

This coming Wednesday will be the 14th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin at a Tel Aviv rally for the Oslo peace accords. Like the initial rally itself, the memorial--scheduled for Saturday, October 31, but postponed due to what turned out to be only light rains--was to be a highly charged political event. Except that in 1995, Israel was still stirred by hopes of bringing the decades of war with the Arabs to an end. Yet, at the same time, foreboding grew that these hopes themselves constituted a trap, a mortal trap.

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