April 21, 2010
Everyone Else (Cinema Group) Nobody's Perfect (Lorber Films) It would be a stretch to call Everyone Else a postmodernist work, but it is hard to imagine its existence if postmodernism had not preceded it. The closing sequence does have a climactic tone, but in the main Ade strives, as do so many contemporary artists, to avoid the “arrangement” of life. She wants the story to seem as if it merely occurred and she happened to be around to observe it. Her film cannot have the beat and pleasure of structure that a Bergman film gives us: we get instead a newly empowered eavesdropping.
L’Affaire to Remember
April 21, 2010
Paris The impish headlines in Le Canard enchaîné, the satirical weekly that happens to be the most informative newspaper in France, rarely translate well. An exception might be the recent front-page lead: “SARKO EST D’UNE RUMEUR MASSACRANTE.” This play on the expression être d’une humeur massacrante—roughly, “angry enough to kill”—concerns the distemper of Nicolas Sarkozy over a certain rumeur massacrante (“foul rumor”) swirling around the French president’s two-year marriage to former supermodel Carla Bruni.
Neighborhoods of Glass: Living in an Export-Oriented Economy
April 12, 2010
Even the most well-intentioned public policy can have unintended consequences. President Obama’s promise of doubling exports offers one thread of a broader strategy for getting our economy back on track. Increasing our output of goods to ship and sell abroad implies that if all goes well, a growing number of goods will be transported to one of our 400 ports. Yet, as Rob Puentes has determined, our top 15 ports already move over 73 percent of the value of international freight.
THE PICTURE: Time in Milwaukee
March 31, 2010
Richard and Erna Flagg were married in Frankfurt, Germany in 1932. Richard was Jewish, the son of a wealthy businessman. Erna was Protestant; her father, Bernhard Zubrod, was an architect. I had not heard of the Flaggs until a couple of years ago, when I first visited the Milwaukee Art Museum, and found myself lingering over a display of sixteenth and seventeenth-century clocks, fantastically intricate creations, which the Flaggs gave to the museum in the early 1990s.
Well, everything--especially the conclusions--point to Israel. But what would you not believe about the Jewish state? And, what’s more, about the Jewish people, who have the temerity twice each year--once on Yom Kippur and twice on Passover--actually to pray for “next year in Jerusalem.” The very chutzpah. This is especially chutzpadik for American Jews who know just how much President Obama wants them to cut out all this shit about Zion and other immemorial aspirations so that he can get the Palestinians to participate in “proximity talks” with Israel.
March 26, 2010
WASHINGTON -- How in the name of God can the Roman Catholic Church put the pedophilia scandal behind it? I do not invoke God's name lightly. The church's problem is, above all, theological and religious. Its core difficulty is that rather than drawing on its Christian resources, the church has acted almost entirely on the basis of this world's imperatives and standards. It has worried about lawsuits. It has worried about its image. It has worried about itself as an institution and about protecting its leaders from public scandal.
Obama's Turkish Ally: Denying The Armenian Massacre, Now Threatening an Armenian Deportation. Not a Single Media Report.
March 22, 2010
I don't want to break President Obama's healthfest. And I also don't won't to distract you from Jon Chait's and John Judis' analyses of how all of us got there. The Republicans still have some games to play in the senate. But the real delays will come from postponements of entitlements and other time-lag provisions included in the legislation itself. Still, since it has been uniformly ignored in the United States and also neglected by the "progressive" media in the United Kingdom (including the BBC), I want to call your attention to a dictator's threat to 100,000 of his people.
Lessons From Spain's Solar Bubble
March 09, 2010
Elisabeth Rosenthal has a smart piece looking into Spain's failed experiment with solar-power subsidies. What happened was that in 2007, the Spanish government announced a new policy of "feed-in tariffs" for solar power. Anyone who built, say, a solar-thermal plant or installed photovoltaic panels on their roof could sell that electricity to the grid for above-market rates.
High Speed Rail: A Social Cohesion Strategy for the U.S.?
March 09, 2010
When President Obama unveiled his budget allocation for high-speed rail, he said, “In France, high-speed rail has pulled regions from isolation, ignited growth [and], remade quiet towns into thriving tourist destinations.” His remarks emphasize how high-speed rail is increasing the accessibility of isolated places as an argument for similarly investments.
Learning from Number Two: Germany and Its Exports
February 23, 2010
Just weeks ago, Germany formally relinquished its title as the world’s top exporter to China. For 2009, China reported that its exports totaled $1.2 trillion as compared to Germany’s $1.1 trillion. The U.S. lost this title in 2003, when Germany surpassed our exports. What a difference a decade makes. Even on the heels of their success, Germany has been cringing at the prospect of China surpassing them in total dollars generated by annual exports.