journalist

The NYT has a short piece today that gives us yet another reminder of why it's so much fun to tell lawyer jokes.

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In the Tank

The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President By Taylor Branch (Simon & Schuster, 707 pp., $35) In her infamous first sentence of The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcolm swings for the fences and proclaims that "every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible." She means that journalists use their human subjects and then dispose of them; that we con them in person by "preying on people's vanity, ignorance, or loneliness"--it occurs to me to note that however bleak print's future seems

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I enjoyed the original Freakonomics quite a bit. It surveyed some fun-to-read economic research that Steve Levitt had done at the University of Chicago, and while a lot of that work was employed in the service of trifling questions ("Do sumo wrestlers cheat?" "Do game-show participants discriminate?"), it was clear Levitt was a clever economist who could gin up fascinating "natural experiments" to crack open everyday mysteries. So now Levitt and his co-author Stephen Dubner have a sequel, Superfreakonomics, which includes a chapter on climate change.

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Our culture lives virtually without its history, which makes it a very weird culture, indeed. In France, on sabbatical a few years back, I listened to a dinner conversation about Marshal Foch. Who? Marshal Foch. How did we come around to him? Someone at the table said she'd been born in Tarbes, a small town known primarily for its proximity to Lourdes. Another guest noted that Foch had been born there. And then followed a long, discursive conversation about Foch.

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Worth Reading

A philosopher of science critiques the Chicago School and sides with Krugman. Why Greg Ip is a good economics journalist. Robert Shiller thinks home prices will stagnate for 5 years. Plus, what's wrong with Shiller's financial innovations? Krugman and DeLong have good thoughts on policy at the zero bound. An attempt at peer-review of working papers on the web.

When I took over The New Republic in 1974 one of the first people I recruited--on a trip to Rome, as I recall--was Michael Ledeen, a scholar of Italian fascism. I think it was his doctoral supervisor and my friend, the great German Jewish historian, George Mosse, who suggested that we meet. But it actually was Claire Sterling, the brave journalist of uncomfortable truths, who introduced us. Michael was then working on a book about Gabriele d'Annunzio, the futurist poet, artist, fighter pilot, political theorist and neo-fascist adventurer who led a march on Fiume to keep it in Italian hands. Th

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No, not without cause. But if Israel flies over Iraq to destroy Iranian nuclear installations ... precz z Z'hydani. Poor Zbig! The only publication that seems to be interested in his views on anything is The Daily Beast. But not a single print publication carried it, save for Ha'aretz and two Jewish outlets, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency plus Yid With Lid. Plus the canny television journalist, Jack Tapper, on ABC. I've known Zbig, sort of, for roughly 45 years. But we were never really friends. You see, my Ph.D.

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Call of the Wolf

Long before Martin Wolf became the chief economics columnist for the Financial Times, he wrote the newspaper letters--lots and lots of letters. It was the early 1980s, the height of the Thatcher era, and Wolf was running research at a think tank in London that was sympathetic to the government's pro-trade agenda.

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Death and Dailiness

The Baader Meinhof Complex Vitagraph Films Still Walking IFC Films From Germany comes a film about German terrorists. Fittingly stark and dynamic, it focuses on the Baader Meinhof group that flamed from about 1967 to 1977, and it offers its explanation of the group’s existence.

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Living in Rwanda After the Genocide By Jean Hatzfeld (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 242 pp., $25) The Antelope’s Strategy: Killing Neighbors: Webs of Violence in Rwanda By Lee Ann Fujii (Cornell University Press, 212 pp., $29.95) After Genocide: Transitional Justice, Post- Conflict Reconstruction and Reconciliation in Rwanda and Beyond Edited by Phil Clark and Zachary D.

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