GE

Sovereign Equality and Moral Disagreement By Brad R. Roth (Oxford University Press, 320 pp., $70) Sovereignty is back. Our debates about the global economic crisis keep returning to the problem of sovereign debt and the need for sovereign guarantees to reassure the markets. We keep hoping that somewhere, sometime, in the downward spiral of de-leveraging and disillusion there will be an authority—a sovereign—to take charge and put an end to our anxiety. This longing for an authority, after years of market follies, runs very deep. We want to know that someone is in control.

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Elizabeth Warren vs. GE

Elizabeth Warren's video announcement that she'll seek the Democratic nomination for Senate demonstrates her soft-spoken sincerity, unflappability, and  quiet conviction that the middle class desperately needs help. I've seen this woman hold her own in one of the more hostile congressional hearings I ever witnessed. She's going to be a very formidable candidate, and every wealthy Democrat in the country is going to want to contribute to her campaign. In making her pitch, Warren plunged herself into a headache-inducing factual controversy.

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There’s a wry old episode of NBC’s “30 Rock” in which Jack Donaghy and Liz Lemon attend a seemingly fictional “Six Sigma” business conference (motto: “Retreat to Move Forward”) and immerse themselves in the ever-intense world of consulting buzzwords and team-building exercises. “There they are,” says Jack, reverently, pointing to a group of older men, “The six sigmas themselves, each of them embodying a pillar of the Six Sigma business philosophy: Teamwork. Insight. Brutality. Male Enhancement. Handshakefulness.

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Following an export-oriented week in Washington--with China’s president visiting, a new White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness created, and capped by an Obama visit to a GE plant in Schenectady New York--new Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s first State of the State message  took a similar “think globally, act locally” tack.  Snyder’s proposals for increased exports, export-boosting infrastructure, and welcoming immigrant talent to reinvent Michigan’s economy showed how governors can pragmatically boost their state’s economic fortunes by increasing international trade and global connect

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Consternation over the loss of manufacturing jobs to China was aroused again recently when Evergreen Solar announced that it would move 800 manufacturing jobs from a decommissioned Devens, Mass. military base to China. In an article by Keith Bradsher of The New York Times, Evergreen’s CEO claims that producing in China is more competitive because its local governments offer partnerships that bring very low-interest rate loans from state-owned banks compared to what U.S banks were offering. For U.S.

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When, exactly, did light bulbs become a conservative litmus test? Back in 2007, if you'll recall, George W. Bush signed an energy bill that tightened efficiency standards for lighting. It wasn't a big deal at the time. The bill just meant that manufacturers would slowly have to phase out their old, power-hogging incandescent bulbs in favor of something sleeker, like compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs, starting in 2012. (This wasn't technically a ban on incandescents—more on that in a sec.) A few disgruntled libertarians complained, but life went on. Alas, that was then.

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We can now add Apple to the list of companies bidding the Chamber of Commerce farewell over the group's obstruction on climate policy. This is the Chamber's highest-profile defection to date, and one that's guaranteed to keep the story percolating in the news a bit longer.

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Personal Best

My introduction to the media's view of the academy came as something of a shock. Almost five years ago, James Wood, reporting for The New Republic on a Harvard graduate student conference I participated in, cited a particularly unfortunate remark of mine, regarding "the iconography of the Tampax," as evidence of all that had gone wrong with literary studies. His article, of course, was but one of many attacks on the academy as it struggled through the final twitches of postmodernism.

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Safe Nuclear Power

Nuclear power is on its way out in the United States. The current technology has failed in the U.S. marketplace, and it will not be revived. Advocates of nuclear power will, for a while yet, be able to point to nuclear power's ever-increasing share of electricity production. And, to be sure, a few more nuclear power plants will begin operating each year for several more years. Such controversial plants as Seabrook and Shoreham may even come on line.

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