Beiträge vom 7. November 2010

Cheesy Government — Special Interest vs Public Health

Sonntag, 7. November 2010 16:12

A NYTimes article with the fitting title „While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales“ delivers a great (in both senses of the word) example of what special interest money does to a democratic government. It talks about how, while at the same time trying to get people to eat more healthy food, the US government is sponsoring campaigns promoting one of the single most unhealthy foods in the American diet: Cheese. And on a whole different scale.

Let’s start with the nutritional facts, hopefully old news for most people:


Thema: English | Kommentare deaktiviert | Autor:

Divided Government is Good Government

Sonntag, 7. November 2010 15:34

Another post from Happy Sunday Newspaper Day. Like most people, I like having my views confirmed. This time it is NYTimes Op-Ed Contributor Jonathan Rauch arguing eloquently and concisely how divided government (i.e., a Democratic President and Republican House) comes about, and why it is a pretty good solution to the political landscape we face.

The only thing I would like to add is that the pretty short periods of one-party government time are not lapses of the system, but a very valuable ingredient in themselves. The salt in the bipartisan soup if you will, little bursts of innovation and reform that are later smoothed out by bipartisan compromises.

And I think it is fascinating to note that in a completely different political system, Germany spends a lot of time in a similar bipartisan state as well.

Thema: English | Kommentare (1) | Autor:

The Cost of a Vote — More Numbers on the Midterms

Sonntag, 7. November 2010 14:38

In a remarkably silent tone, a NYTimes Editorial provides some more numbers and historical context to the question of election advertisement. First to the numbers:


Thema: English | Kommentare deaktiviert | Autor:

Die „Mauer“ des 21. Jahrhunderts und Banksys Graffiti

Sonntag, 7. November 2010 14:12

Ich bin vor kurzem wieder auf Banksy gestoßen, einen meiner liebsten zeitgenössischen Künstler, und vor allem auf seine Werke auf der Mauer in Palästina (bzw. auf den „Israelischen Sperranlagen“, wie sie Wikipedia nennt). Einen schönen Überblick über die Bilder inklusive kleiner polit-philosophischer Diskussion („‚Cheap publicity from other peoples misery‘ or ‚Publicity for Palestinian misery‘?“) liefert das Brian Sewell Art Directory, und hier ist noch ein schönes Bild, das dort nicht zu finden ist:


Thema: Deutsch | Kommentare deaktiviert | Autor:

Capitalism’s Parasites — Trial Lawyers in Corporate America

Sonntag, 7. November 2010 13:23

An interesting NYTimes Magazine article (quite lengthy but entertaining) takes the judicial battles brought about by BP’s gulf oil spill as a prominent example and has a look at the US practice of „trial lawyers“. They can be seen as an alternative to extensive government regulation — while most European countries regulate in advance, US corporations are regulated by the prospect of huge compensations after accidents. In the complex judicial system, this has attracted a specialized brand of lawyers, the trial lawyers, whose business model is to monitor big corporations and look for opportunities to sue them.

Interestingly, the metaphor of parasites came to my mind even before that analogy was mentioned in the article. And while it is used there with the negative implication it has in everyday language, I immediately had an evolutionary perspective on it as well, where parasites are acknowledged for regulating the growth of their hosts and contributing to a dynamic balance.

Hardly surprising, the public opinion on them is mixed:


Thema: English | Kommentare deaktiviert | Autor: