special interests

Luke Harding on findings in the Panama Papers: There is no explanation in the files of why the banks agreed to extend such unorthodox credit lines. Some of the cash obtained from RCB was also lent back onshore in Russia at extremely high interest rates, with the resulting profits siphoned off to secret Swiss accounts. […]

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Curl a word

RuPaul: The first stage is anger. Then bitterness. The third stage is laughter and irreverence and understanding that, “Oh! I can have fun. Don’t take it too seriously. Have fun with it.” So twist a phrase, curl a word, paint on a mustache.

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“Se Vale Soñar” by Juan Cierro

My own hasty translation of the lyrics: I wish that when it rained instead of water, cocaine fell that beer would run along with tequila through the rivers and to the sea That in the gardens instead of flowers, carnations and lilies Marijuana plants, coca and opium –  how pretty! There would be no cartels […]

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Insecurity

Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato: Workers with less education are more likely to take jobs with more workplace stress, such as those involving shift work, experiencing frequent layoffs, or demanding long hours. Occupations requiring more years of education also experience some of the same stressors, but those stressors are unlikely to have the same impact.

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Representation

“I feel a lot of hate,” she said. “I haven’t said anything bad to anyone.” says the 18 year-old attending a political rally in support of the candidate she wants to speak on her behalf. The candidate is Donald Trump.

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Hollywood

From West of Eden: An American Place by Jean Stein, excerpted by Andrew O’Hagan: I was very young in 1955, when Warner Brothers did Rebel without a Cause – 18 or 19 years old. We’d started shooting in black and white, and two weeks into it Jack clearly saw that something was going on with […]

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Chronic Underemployment

Gabriel Thompson: Six years into the economic recovery, people continue to crisscross the state in search of gigs, putting in three hours of drive time for maybe nine hours of work at $10 an hour… Solving chronic underemployment could be the next campaign for organized labor. Indeed, several weeks ago, Silicon Valley Rising, a community-labor […]

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Fair and Square

As quoted by Josh Marshall, a study of 51 recent elections finds that: In general elections, states with strict photo ID laws show a Latino turnout 10.3 points lower than in states without them. The law also affected turnout in primary elections, where Latino turnout decreased by 6.3 points and Black turnout by 1.6 points. […]

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South Pasadena, USA

I drove through South Pasadena, California this afternoon. It’s a beautiful neighborhood with tree lined streets and large, stately houses. If you’re looking to buy one, the median price is about a million dollars – more than five times the national rate. At a quiet intersection, I waited for the car in front of me to […]

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robots and secrets

From an overview of consensus by John Cassidy: Why, then, are the markets so disturbed? One possible explanation has to do with trading algorithms, which encourage trend-following and herding. Once stocks or bonds or oil prices make a sharp move, everyone piles on in the same direction, and the market’s over-all shifts are exaggerated. Even […]

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looking at the dark side

George Soros: Recognizing a problem is an invitation to do something about it. That is the main lesson I learned from the formative experience of my life, in 1944, when the Nazis occupied Hungary. I might not have survived if my father hadn’t secured false identification papers for his family (and many others). He taught […]

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A movie about the “war on drugs”

At the end of the excellent movie Sicario, Benicio del Toro puts a gun to Emily Blunt’s face and tells her that she should move to a small town where the rule of law still exists because the place where they are – the U.S.-Mexico border – has become a land of wolves and she, unlike […]

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competition

An intrepid researcher has mapped some of the microwave towers being used to conduct high-frequency-trading around the world. HFT requires competitors to use cutting-edge technology to see ahead. It has antecedents: Height, then, played an important part in facilitating that speed. A trader’s physical height became an advantage, which is part of the reason some […]

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Balls

Ev Williams is a 42 year-old billionaire and one of the founders of the company that created the popular communications tool Twitter. Recently, Ev Williams posted a five-second video on Twitter implying that Human Rights Watch (HRW) should be embarrassed because one of its pieces of marketing was made in China.

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Portraits of War, Spanish edition

This observation is stolen entirely from Arturo Pérez-Reverte. Note the arrangement of the lances (weaponry) in this 1635 painting by Velázquez: versus this 2011 painting by Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau: Also note what the second painting reveals by widening the frame. Related: War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning.

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Apeface

Many film critics, including some of the most astute, have written praises for the 2014 movie “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”. I greatly enjoyed a few scenes and marveled at many shots that are visually stunning. I also found it an offensively lazy and shallow commercialization of its predecessors. This is why. In […]

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The campaigns

I was reading about the person who inspired the poem Ozymandias when I came upon the headline: “First Syrian Campaign.” Huh, I thought, so he also went to war in Syria. Interesting. Let me scroll past the war to another highlight. “Second Syrian Campaign.” Oh, I guess it didn’t go so well the first time. […]

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Do we need a House of Lords?

Perhaps, this could be the future of the GOP: Yet though the role of the House of Lords was historically conservative and reactionary, and thus an easy target for criticism, the argument in our previous book, Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy, suggests that it may have also played a useful role: in the sense […]

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