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Showing posts from November 23, 2003
Bollettino There�s a story in today�s NYT about the trial that is replaying the Daimler Benz takeover of Chrysler . LI wrote a review of a book about that deal, so we take some interest and have some views. That the then CEO of Chrysler, a non-descript little egoist named Robert Eaton who basically resented the very smart crew of car designers and marketers that made Chrysler hot in the early nineties is going to have to testify about the inner workings of the thing will satisfy business watchers the way, say, forcing Iago to testify would have satisfied spectators in Venice. Kirk Kerkorian is the animating force behind the suit. Interestingly, Kerkorian wanted, in the early nineties, to take Chrysler private. He thought that the company had accumulated too much cash on hand � about eight billion dollars � and could pay out more to investors. Kerkorian is not our kind of guy � another sleazy billionaire buyout artist � but there was something to his offer. Unfortunately, he saddle
Bollettino Bush�s medicare victory, today, underscores the schizoid split in American conservative thinking. Conservatives have a way of thinkiong about the private sphere: they think of it as a place populated by agents who are rational maximizers of their self-advantage. To unduly limit this tendency, as in socialism, leads to inefficiency, bureaucracy, and eventually the horrors of totalitarianism. So, how do conservatives think about the public sphere? In the conservative utopia, these economic self-advancers are to be led by agents who pursue self-minimalization. That is, the public sphere is supposed to be full of politicians shrinking government, and, insofar as the scope of government is a measure of their own power, abdicating their own power. Both images of action are severely distorted. The supposed atomism of agents in the economic sphere doesn�t exist, or exists only by abstracting members of collectives, like families and businesses. Furthermore, other interests �
Bollettino On August 31, we wrote about the sleazy, backscratching connection between Boeing and the Defense Department, with Darleen Druyun, who eased from the Pentagon to Boeing, leaving a trail of slime behind her, being the center of a controversy about Boeing's greedy lease to buy scheme. Yesterday, she was fired. Here are two grafs from the NYT article : "Ms. Druyun, who was vice president and deputy general manager of the company's missile-defense business, is also being investigated by the Defense Department's inspector general over accusations that she gave proprietary financial data to Boeing about a competing aerial tanker bid from Airbus while she was still an Air Force official. She joined Boeing last January after having resigned from the Pentagon as a deputy assistant secretary the previous November. "Boeing's action can be seen as an indication that it wants to get ahead of any government investigation into its actions and polish an
Bollettino Last week, LI suffered from a runny nose, sneezing, fever, and headache. The usual. LI is allergic to something in Austin, as are most people who live in Austin. It is a cyclical thing: for me, October and March are bad times. There�s mold, cedar pollen, ragweed. Supposedly, cedar trees shed pollen when the temperature suddenly changes. I have to navigate with a bloodstream full of whatever is released from the cheap antihistamines I buy into my bloodstream when the temperature suddenly changes. The bitch of this is, the core bitch of this is, that autumn is the prettiest time in Austin. The skies are big and blue, the temperature is mild, the wind picks up in the morning, there�s an ache outside the window that makes you want to not be inside � and then to be sneezing violently throughout this. It seems so grossly unfair. The Bulletin of the History of Medicine, everybody�s favorite journal, has an article in the Summer issue by Gregg Mitman on how, in the late
Bollettino The Washington Post�s Sally Quinn profiles Ahmed Chalabi with the affection of a true D.C. insider. It is a profile that is heavy on the names of other D.C. insiders. As for the Iraqis, who are presumably going to be gifted, in Quinn�s opinion, with this amusing dinner guest, they don�t receive much mention. Quinn, of course, has the racism and snobbery inherent to her fragile hold on a doyenne�s position in what is, after all, an outrageously provincial town. The Post�s Style section belies the fact that the town has none. Hence for Quinn, the crucial question is who has the table manners. Being a hostess has given her an eye for these things. The Chalabis know how to use the salad forks � and can be forgiven for pocketing a few, especially if their pocketing is mostly confined to odious foreign money, Jordanians and whatnot. But as for the Iraqis, why, they just can�t be allowed to rule themselves. I mean, it is a look what the dogs brought in situation, mon cher. Here,
Bollettino George Packer is following in the footsteps of Robert Shaplen at the New Yorker. Shaplen wrote long pieces about Vietnam that every journalist read. Packer�s piece on Iraq in this week�s New Yorker is the same big picture reporting. It�s good. It�s also a bit confusing. Internal textual clues indicate that much of it was written this Summer, when the Coalition authority was doing fairly well, and it was finished off this Autumn, when that wasn�t the case. Packer takes a much more benign attitude towards the Coalition program than LI. However, it was the last couple of grafs that pinpointed our Iraq problem. Packer meets a U.N. official who was an aid to the late Sergio Vieira de Mello, killed in an explosion in September. The official warns against holding elections too soon, before the moderates can be organized. LI is for those moderates. We�d love us some moderates. But elections aren�t about electing who you want � they are about the risk of electing who you don�t