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Avatar, economy, Bhutan, Bag End, Ayers

* I don't know any of these actors for live action Avatar, but they do seem a tad like Sci-Fi Channel Earthsea.
* Paul Krugman on the applicability of the New Deal, and the false lessons right-wingers proclaim. Depression economics, lame-duck economy, why didn't we see this coming ("who's we?") All links archived at http://pkarchive.org/
* Detroit bailout pic, though comments suggest other considerations (suppliers; conversely, whether we could just buy GM.) (But then we'd have to pay for running it, and its pension obligations.)
* Bhutan's refugees.
* (From Ai) model of Bag End
* Bill Ayers responds to his name being invoked in the election.
* Shamans in Taiwan.
* "Judgementalism doesn't see race, colour, or creed". Heh.
* ETA: Joseph Stiglitz on the economic crisis. Summary:
1. Pres. Reagan replaced pro-regulation fed chairman Paul Volcker with anti-regulation Alan Greenspan
2. The Glass-Steagall act was repealed, eliminating banking safeguards (letting commercial and investment banks re-combine); SEC increased the allowable debt-to-capital ratio of investment banks, from 12:1 to 30:1
3. Tax cuts (especially on capital gains, vs. labor) and low interest rates masked all the warning signs and gave perverse incentives to borrow and gamble.
4. The rating agencies gave good grades to companies in deep trouble (and were paid to do so); stock options reward distorting financial information.
5. The administration's "cash for trash" bailout plan was a disaster
Also, "Defaults on C.R.A. [Community Reinvestment Act, bugaboo of the poor-haters] lending were actually much lower than on other lending."

The truth is most of the individual mistakes boil down to just one: a belief that markets are self-adjusting and that the role of government should be minimal. Looking back at that belief during hearings this fall on Capitol Hill, Alan Greenspan said out loud, “I have found a flaw.” Congressman Henry Waxman pushed him, responding, “In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right; it was not working.” “Absolutely, precisely,” Greenspan said.



Damien Sullivan

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