observer

You've probably already heard the grim news: The economy shed another 190,000 jobs last month, driving the unemployment rate up to 10.2 percent (though the job-loss total wasn't so far out of line with what economists expected). But here's the number I'm seizing on: 5.594 million. That's the number of people who've been unemployed for 27 weeks or more, a horrifically large number of people to be struggling through such oppressive circumstances.

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In the latest issue of Grant's Interest Rate Observer (not online), the venerable James Grant, with a big assist from his colleague Dan Gertner, makes the case that expectations of a jobless recovery are seriously misplaced, and that the current recovery will end up looking a lot more like the "jobful" recoveries that preceded the 1991 and 2001 recessions/recoveries.

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In P.G. Wodehouse's finest novel, The Code of the Woosters, there appears the following insight: She was trying to give the boyfriend a build-up, and, like all girls, was overdoing it. I've noticed the same thing in young wives, when they are trying to kid you that young Herbert or George or whatever the name may be has hidden depths which the vapid and irreflective observer might overlook... I remember Mrs.

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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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I am loathe to think that one solution to the problem of the credibility of bankers and the banking system is prison. Yes, I know Bernie Madoff is in prison and there are a few more Ponzi schemers who will join him there.

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Unwanted?

In today's New York Observer, Felix Gillette has a thorough postmortem on "The Wanted," the short-lived and controversial NBC News show I wrote about earlier this month, in my piece about the case of Leopold Munyakazi, a former Goucher College professor accused of participating in the Rwandan genocide.

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Jeffrey Herf is one of the pre-eminent intellectual historians of totalitarianism. He is a frequent contributor to The New Republic. See, for example, his last few contributions here, here, and here. You can also find a TNR review of one of his books, Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys, here. In the current issue of The American Interest, Herf makes a highly convincing argument that radical Islam today is in fact a totalitarian movement with totalitarian ideology and totalitarian methods. No, it is not Nazism or Communism.

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The Game

From the NY Observer Jason Horowitz's profile of a trio of New York Democratic consultants, one of whom is Josh Isay: Mr. Isay, a former chief of staff to Mr. Schumer, runs Knickerbocker SKD, which he founded in 2002 and made a fortune from after scoring Mr. Bloomberg as a client. They also have counted among their clients Mr. Stringer; District Attorney Robert Morgenthau; a handful of City Council candidates; and unions, including the powerful 1199 SEIU. Mr. Isay did campaign mail for Barack Obama in New Hampshire and North Carolina during the general election.

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The News & Observer reports that Rielle Hunter showed up at the federal courthouse in Raleigh, North Carolina, today to speak the grand jury investigating whether John Edwards misused campaign funds to buy her silence about their affair. Who knows what Hunter told the grand jury, but it's curious she brought her 18-month-old daughter with her. --Jason Zengerle

Rallying

On Tuesday afternoon I attended a health reform rally at Chicago’s Federal Plaza.  (Readers should know that I attended in the capacity of a supporter/observer, and am not a fully detached reporter covering this one.)  The event included impressive headliners: Representative Jan Schakowsky, Governor Pat Quinn, County Board President Todd Stroger, and many others. Wendell Potter, the former Cigna publicity executive, also spoke. It is surprisingly hard for an amateur to gauge crowd size. The Chicago Tribune reported that hundreds of people were there.

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