August 13, 2009
Retail sales drop despite cash-for-clunkers. Ford ramps up production. Is the Fed too optimistic about consumer spending? Does India have a microlending bubble? How UPenn's money managers became the envy of the Ivy League.
The Drone War
June 03, 2009
The Al Qaeda videotape shows a small white dog tied up inside a glass cage. A milky gas slowly filters in. An Arab man with an Egyptian accent says: "Start counting the time." Nervous, the dog starts barking and then moaning.
December 31, 2008
It's been more than a month since the auto industry came to Washington, begging for a rescue. And, since that time, it's become clear just how dry Detroit's reservoir of goodwill has run. For conservative opponents of bailout legislation, like Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, the U.S. auto industry is an object of scorn—"dinosaurs," he has called them. For the liberals who support a rescue, like Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd, Detroit remains an embarrassment.
Panic in Detroit
December 03, 2008
General Motors has come to Washington, begging for a $25 billion bailout to keep it and its ailing Detroit counterparts going next year. But nobody seems too thrilled about the prospect. Liberals dwell on the companies’ gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicles. Conservatives obsess over all the well-paid union members with gold-plated benefits. And people of all ideological backgrounds remember how they used to buy domestic cars, years ago, but stopped because the cars were so damn lousy.
The Detroit Bailout: Ford Tough
December 03, 2008
I'll have more to say about the restructuring plans the Detroit Three submitted to Congress on Tuesday--or, more likely, I'll outsource that analysis to people who know more about the subject than I do. But, for now, I wanted to point out a wrinkle in the industry's crisis that far too few writers (myself included) have acknowledged. The three U.S. automakers are not in the same situation. While it's difficult to get a precise read on Chrysler's status, because--as a privately held company--it doesn't release as much information, we have a pretty good idea about the other two.
November 21, 2008
If you've been following the auto industry's crisis, then you've probably read or heard a lot about overpaid American autoworkers--in particular, the fact that the average hourly employee of the Big Three makes $70 per hour. That's an awful lot of money. Seventy dollars an hour in wages works out to almost $150,000 a year in gross income, if you assume a forty-hour work week. Is it any wonder the Big Three are in trouble?
The Imperial Vice Presidency
November 19, 2008
Angler: The Cheney Vice PresidencyBy Barton Gellman (Penguin Press, 384 pp., $27.95) As Americans prepare to choose a new president, it may seem a curious exercise to rehearse the manifest failures of the current one. But either Barack Obama or John McCain is going to be stuck with the burdensome legacy of the Bush years, and the rest of us will be too--possibly for a long time. The war in Iraq is still with us. So are Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. The Wall Street cataclysm will ramify, locally and globally, for many months, perhaps years.
November 05, 2008
Memoirs By Hans Jonas Edited by Christian Wiese Translated by Krishna Winston (Brandeis University Press, 320 pp., $35) The Life and Thought of Hans Jonas: Jewish Dimensions By Christian Wiese (Brandeis University Press, 292 pp., $50) I. Hans Jonas was a philosopher, not a prophet, but his teachings speak as powerfully to our age of global warming, global markets, and Manichaean geopolitics as they did to the century of world wars in which he developed them.
June 11, 2008
The Several Lives of Joseph Conrad By John Stape (Pantheon, 369 pp., $30) Among the great English novelists, Conrad most resists our understanding. There is sense in this. His largest theme is mystery, and the heart of all his greatest work is dark. He understood this early. "Marlow was not typical," we read of the surrogate who narrates the first and most celebrated of his major works; "to him the meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze." An empty center, then, surrounded by mist.
The Pleasures of Reaction
February 27, 2008
They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons By Jacob Heilbrunn (Doubleday, 320 pp., $26) Can I get a show of hands?