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Showing posts from August 21, 2011

A Better novel than Anna Karenina

From LI, 2004 We would never have read La Regenta or heard of it if we didn’t have a habit of trolling the aisles of libraries, our shoulders hunched up like that of an old crow, dreamily pulling tomes off the shelf and looking at first paragraphs, blurbs, pictures of authors, etc. etc. Years ago, when we came upon La Regenta, we were in the mood for a long 19th century novel. At that time, believe it or not, we were living in utter poverty (gasp!), renting a room for a pittance from our friend H. That La Regenta was a long novel was all the reason we needed to check it out and take it home. We have a lovely memory of reading the book in great big gulps: a reel of reading, a continuum, a glide down a slide. We immediately grouped the heroine, Ana Ozores, with Nana in terms of overpowering sexiness. But Clarin, unlike Zola, was not in the habit of drooling over his heroine. In fact, Anna is quite intelligent; Nana merely has the intelligence God would have given to any mor

harvey golub, welfare queen

On 10 November, 2008, American Express suddenly filed the papers to become a bank holding company. Why? Well, American Express was feeling – as corporations sometimes feel - a bit down. A bit like it was going to collapse. A bit like enjoying extraordinary loans from the American government. The Fed obliged. The Fed’s rules about loans were a bit different from American Express’s. American Express’s Daily Periodic Rate can be up to 15.9 percent. The Fed’s for its Commercial Paper Funding Facility and its Term Asset Backed Funding Facility was 1 percent or below. The FDIC did its part and extended something called the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program. American Express generously decided to save itself; whereas its customers, in the situation that American Express found itself in, would have their cards yanked or its interest rates adjusted upwards, these are evidently the rules in the microsphere for micropeople. The rules in the stratosphere for stratopeople are diff

Mockingbird politics

A. and I went camping this weekend, and I had an (admittedly drunken) talk with one of my bros., who is getting more conservative as he grows older. Sadly, he was the one who was most enthusiastic about Obama when he came in – and he is exactly the type Obama lost with his ‘compromises’ and inability to recognize the cratering of middle class American lifestyles we’ve been witnessing. He’s looking for that fabled beast, the reasonable republican. Anyway, to my insistence on the fact that political talk shouldn’t be hemmed in by the “we can’t afford it” mantra when in fact the ‘we’ is the bottom 80 percent who owns 25 percent of the wealth, while the “we’ in the top 20 percent, who owns 75 percent of the wealth, is rich as fuck and can definitely afford it, he made a very wise and so far unbeatable reply: “I’ve heard this over and over, but the cost for the social programs don’t come out of the rich. The rich always win. So in the end, they come out of me.” This is true. And I th