Can We Tolerate Higher Taxes? Heed the Swedish Chef
May 23, 2011
The official Republican Party line on taxes remains more or less what Grover Norquist wants it to be. Taxes must not go up, in any way or for any reason. And that's a big problem, because without higher taxes future generations will be left with a miserable choice: Cope with much higher deficits or enact massive cuts to essential government programs, starting with Medicare and Social Security. The classic Republican (and conservative) response is that higher taxes would extract a different, even more onerous cost: They would stifle the economy.
April 07, 2011
Christine Stansell explains the history of the Republican Party’s war on abortion and family planning.
A Modest Proposal in Defense of Free Speech
March 25, 2011
On December 12, 2010, a suicide bombing was committed in central Stockholm by an Islamic terrorist who denounced the Swedish government for its “foolish support for the pig Vilks.” Vilks was the conceptual artist who had, in 2007, depicted the Prophet Muhammad as a “roundabout dog,” familiar to tourists as a street display in Sweden.
Stanley Kauffmann on Films: Revelations
December 18, 2010
Kawasaki’s Rose Menemsha Films Tiny Furniture IFC Films Time and truth, and their effects on each other, are at the heart of Kawasaki’s Rose. This film takes place, for the most part, in the Czech Republic today, but it deals chiefly with people who lived through the Communist tyranny of the 1970s.
Through The Years
October 11, 2010
The Girl Olive Films Heartbreaker IFC Films A film about a child that is not intended to charm us is brave. The Girl, from Sweden, scorns the idea of charm and bravely concentrates on the life of a nine-year-old simply as a life. (We don’t even learn her name.) We are left at the end with a sense of experience, not some sort of benevolence. She is the daughter of a young couple who live in a pleasant country house. They do a sort of social work and are off to Africa on a mission with their daughter. In fact, the first thing we see is the girl getting a vaccination.
Who’s The Happiest One Of All?
July 29, 2010
This is one of those slightly hokey surveys that measures the happiness of nations. Done by the Gallup World Poll and written up for Forbes by Francesca Levy, its results are not entirely surprising. Rich countries generally do better than others, although Saudi Arabia ranks 58th just ahead of Pakistan. Almost three times as many Saudis are “struggling” than “thriving.” On the other hand, the United Arab Emirates (which is a country made up of wealthy scions and resident ex-pats) and Kuwait register respectably 20th and 23rd. So how about Egypt?
Alan Greenspan Needs Stockholm Syndrome
July 09, 2010
Ezra Klein has been doing some great blogging from the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is indeed full of ideas--some good, some not so good. Into the latter category I would put some remarks by former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, as relayed by Ezra today: Coming to the issue of taxes, this gets to the more fundamental issue of the effects of taxation and spending cuts. There are several studies out there evaluating past efforts at fiscal restraint that show the heavy weight of successful contraction has been on the spending side.
The Unbearable Weight of World Cup History
July 01, 2010
To anticipate Argentina versus Germany or Brazil versus Holland is to again hear World Cup history whisper ever more urgently as the tournament approaches its conclusion. The coaches and players will insist that such talk is nonsense; a distraction. The game must be won on the pitch in South Africa. Eleven against eleven. The future scripts are yet to be written. What's past is irrelevant.
Are England Actually Under-Achievers?
June 29, 2010
A good question! Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski suggest not. Their argument, summarised by Tim Harford, runs more or less like this: - England do about as well as you’d expect, given their size, economic power, proximity to football’s “core” in Western Europe, and footballing history. That is, you’d expect them to usually make the last 16, sometimes make the last 8, occasionally make the last 4 and make the final very rarely. And they do. - Managers don’t make much difference to a team’s expected performance.
June 12, 2010
Mademoiselle Chambon Lorber Films The Father of My children IFC Films Some situations in film stories are so common that, when a film character enters one of those situations, he must be reminded of a similar moment in a picture he himself has seen. For prime instance, an extramarital affair. When such an affair looms in Mademoiselle Chambon, the viewer can’t help feeling that the two people sense they are beginning to repeat a film.