Sunday, May 30, 2010

Your Brunchtime Linkism

Michael Lewis brings the pain on Wall Street in a very funny article:
Shockingly, the Senate version of the bill more or less would require us to cease to trade derivatives entirely. This unpleasant idea was introduced by Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, and it leads me to a point that is worth underscoring: We do not have a problem with the American people, we have a problem with American women. Elizabeth Warren, our TARP supervisor, continues to ask questions about what we did with our government money; Mary Schapiro has used her authority at the S.E.C. to sue Goldman Sachs. Of the four Republican senators who crossed over to vote with the Democrats, two were women — and one of the guys posed naked for Cosmopolitan magazine.

Going forward, we should discourage women from seeking higher office — or indeed, any position in which they might exert influence over our activities. More immediately, in your private conversations with Larry Summers, Tim Geithner and male Republican senators, you should simply refer to Blanche Lincoln as “unhinged.” They’ll get it.

Olando Patterson, talking about Jamaica, writes about democracy and violence:
For most observers of democracy, Jamaica’s violence seems an anomaly. Democracy is held to be inherently prone to good order and peace. According to this “democratic peace” doctrine, democracies do not go to war with each other, and in domestic life they provide nonviolent means of settling differences. Violence, writes the political theorist John Keane, is anathema to democracy’s “spirit and substance.”

It may or may not be true that democracies do not wage war with each other, but a growing number of analysts have concluded that, domestically, democracies are in fact more prone to violence than authoritarian states, measured by incidence of civil wars, communal conflict and homicide.

Dennis Hopper’s photography of the march in Selma.

News that should be getting more attention than it is:
The U.S. military is developing plans for a unilateral attack on the Pakistani Taliban in the event of a successful terrorist strike in the United States that can be traced to them, The Washington Post reports.

On bombing in Afghanistan—this article has one of the most arresting first paragraphs I’ve read:
The burn ward at Herat regional hospital is the best public facility of its kind in Afghanistan. It was opened with American aid money to handle the influx of women setting themselves on fire to escape domestic abuse, a countrywide phenomenon most acute in the hardscrabble villages of the western plains. The first time I visited the hospital, in the spring of 2007, a dozen teenage girls were crowded into a dank hallway of the former building. Some were covered with third-degree burns, wrapped mummylike in gauze dressings, still breathing but condemned to die. Two years later, their desperate stories were overshadowed by the grim reason for my return visit. On May 4, 2009, the American bombardment of two villages in a Taliban-controlled area of Farah Province, about 170 miles to the south of Herat, had yielded heavy civilian casualties. Word soon reached me back in Kabul that several victims had been transported by the International Committee of the Red Cross to Herat for emergency treatment.

And, the aperitif (a mimosa, perhaps?). Consider this now-popular song:

You have questions. I do too. Here are mine:
1) Why did Usher decide to do his version of a Black Eyed Peas song?
2) Why is Usher wearing a bandanna around his mouth, like some kid pretending to be a tough hombre in a Western film?
3) Why is wearing a dress?
4) Who are the shadows dancing with Usher?
5) Why does the TV serve as a framing device?

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