Scott Douglas’ Terse Bloviation

Archive for the 'Others' Category

David Brooks Gross Oversimplification Watch #5

From 2/3/09 column:

The essence of the problem is this: Rich people used to set their own norms. For example, if one rich person wanted to use the company helicopter to aerate the ponds on his properties, and the other rich people on his board of directors thought this a sensible thing to do, then he could go ahead and do it without any serious repercussions.

But now, after the TARP, the auto bailout, the stimulus package, the Fed rescue packages and various other federal interventions, rich people no longer get to set their own rules. Now lifestyle standards for the privileged class are set by people who live in Ward Three.

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David Brooks Gross Oversimplification Watch #4

From 1/27/09 column:

The report implied an entire way of living. Individuals should learn to think for themselves. They should be skeptical of pre-existing arrangements. They should break free from the way they were raised, examine life from the outside and discover their own values.

This approach is deeply consistent with the individualism of modern culture, with its emphasis on personal inquiry, personal self-discovery and personal happiness. But there is another, older way of living, and it was discussed in a neglected book that came out last summer called “On Thinking Institutionally” by the political scientist Hugh Heclo.

In this way of living, to borrow an old phrase, we are not defined by what we ask of life. We are defined by what life asks of us. As we go through life, we travel through institutions — first family and school, then the institutions of a profession or a craft.

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David Brooks Gross Oversimplification Watch #3

From column of 1/16/09:

For years, Republicans have been trying to create a large investor class with policies like private Social Security accounts, medical savings accounts and education vouchers. These policies were based on the belief that investors are careful, rational actors who make optimal decisions. There was little allowance made for the frailty of the decision-making process, let alone the mass delusions that led to the current crack-up.

Democrats also have an unfaced crisis. Democratic discussions of the stimulus package also rest on a mechanical, dehumanized view of the economy. You pump in a certain amount of money and “the economy” spits out a certain number of jobs. Democratic economists issue highly specific accounts of multiplier effects — whether a dollar of spending creates $1.20 or $1.40 of economic activity.

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Recent Podcasts

Stephanie Herbst-Lucke and Magdalena Lewy Boulet.

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Ear Candy 2008

In alphabetical order, some CDs I acquired this year that brought repeated pleasure:

Blind Pilot: Three Rounds and a Sound

Buildings Breeding: self-titled

Nord Express: Loveland

Pia Fraus: After Summer

Eric Reed: Here

Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden: self-titled

Winterpills: The Light Divides

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Helpful Hints From Smelloise #3

Actually, this time I seek rather than provide the advice on stupid household minutiae: A quandary over ecofriendly dishwashing submitted to the environmental site Grist.org.

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Recent Podcasts

Keith Dowling and Stephanie Herbst-Lucke.

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I’m Just Trying to Help You Out Here

Fiddleheads, yum!

Most people like food and pretty pictures and knowing what day it is. Therefore, what more would they like in their (really big) stocking than a 2009 calendar that features fine-art food photography, seasonal recipes and fun food factoids, the latter scripted by moi? Learn more and buy the abfab calendar here.

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Recent Podcasts

Amby Burfoot, Kristy Johnston, Ben True.

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