Hoisted from the Archives: Wars of Religion
New York Stein Crashed-and-Burned Watch (Financial News Edition)

links for 2009-07-16

  • [I]t is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course. Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery - the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product, which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin. That we do not overstate the dangers to our institution, a reference to a few facts will sufficiently prove.
  • Cugel soon finds himself in Smolod, a village whose inhabitants wear magical eye cusps that transform their fetid surroundings into apparent splendor. The cusps are relics of the demon Unda-Hrada’s incursion from the subworld La-Er during the Cutz Wars of the 18th Aeon. “I dimly recall that I inhabit a sty and devour the coarsest of food,” one elder admits, “but the subjective reality is that I inhabit a glorious palace and dine on splendid viands among the princes and princesses who are my peers.” It’s a typical Vancian setup: a few bold conceptual strokes, ripe descriptions and evocative names combine to fully realize a weird place that feels real — because the meatiness of his language endows it with presence, but also because every reader lives in a place sort of like it.
  • What we’ve had is a sharp increase in the desired private surplus [of savings over investment] at any given level of GDP... higher personal saving and reduced investment.... In the 1930s... GDP basically had to shrink enough to keep the private-sector surplus equal to zero; hence the fall in GDP labeled “Great Depression”. This time around, the fall in GDP didn’t have to be as large, because falling GDP led to rising deficits, which absorbed some of the rise in the private surplus. Hence the smaller fall in GDP labeled “Great Recession.” What Hatzius is saying is that the initial shock — the surge in desired private surplus — was if anything larger this time than it was in the 1930s. This says that absent the absorbing role of budget deficits, we would have had a full Great Depression experience. What we’re actually having is awful, but not that awful — and it’s all because of the rise in [government] deficits. Deficits, in other words, saved the world.
  • Buchanan's argument.... is that Republicans need to get more explicit about the idea that, as a Latina, [Sotomayor] will make rulings that disadvantage white people... white America ough... [to] band together to stop her. This is already the subtext... but... he feels it’s not close enough to the surface.... [T]his is something conservatives... want to think about. Consider... Sessions... too racist to get confirmed as a judge, but just racist enough to win... in Alabama.... With 65 percent of its electorate white, and 29 percent of its electorate African-American.... But while McCain pulled 55 percent of the white vote nationwide he scored 88 percent of white vote in Alabama.... Consequently... Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi can be solid GOP territory.... It's not entirely crazy for Republicans to believe that the right way to respond to shifting... demographics is... to amp-up the level of racial anxiety in the shrinking white majority...
  • At first Karen Pancheau figured her son Tyler's nasty rash came from friction on the mats at judo class. But when the rash began dissolving layers of flesh... tests, which revealed he had HIV. Karen, too, tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, which she'd apparently acquired from a blood transfusion in June 1982.... Yet as Tyler's HIV slowly progressed to AIDS, Karen remained healthy... on Nov. 11, 2005, the 23-year-old committed suicide. Remarkably, 27 years after receiving HIV-tainted blood, Karen Pancheau of Portland, Ore., has yet to develop AIDS. She isn't alone. Bruce Walker, who now directs the Partners AIDS Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Center for AIDS Research at Harvard University, first became aware in 1992 that some people seemed somehow protected from AIDS.... Susan Buchbinder, an epidemiologist... blood from homosexual men whose samples showed they had been infected with HIV in the late 1970s... some weren't even sick...