The View from My Window

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Northern California Coast.JPG
(Northern California coastline; photo: Steve Clemons; click image for a much larger version)
I like this picture a lot; taken from my car driving South along Northern California coast a couple of weeks go.
It was a nice day actually — but this pic offers the possibility of a constantly, simmering storm — which is very much how I think I’m organized. Perhaps you too.

— Steve Clemons

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11 comments on “The View from My Window

  1. questions says:

    “Mr. Bloomberg, who majored in electrical engineering at Johns Hopkins University, will presumably be long retired from public office when the school is completed.”
    “The mayor of New York does not usually take time from his schedule to mingle with academic deans from Finland. But there was Michael R. Bloomberg at the Metropolitan Museum of Art recently, trying to sell the foreign visitors on his next big idea: a top-flight applied sciences school for the city.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/27/nyregion/bloombergs-big-push-for-an-applied-sciences-school.html?hp
    Billionaire fantasies.
    MIT, Caltech, some of the major state schools in the midwest, Georgia Tech and Harvey Mudd, a few other really nice big state schools…. Plenty of places for the study of applied and pure sciences and engineering. I don’t think we have a bunch of really smart kids with perfect board scores and 4.8 GPAs running around not accepted to any decent place to study. Competing with Caltech and MIT is probably more of a dilution of talent and a waste of resources than is the least bit rational. If you want to do something, get those two schools to accept 20 or 200 more students each.
    Bloomberg proposes not an expansion of an existing school. Not support for low income kids to make it into a SUNY or CUNY school. Not expansion of pre-K to make the lives of kids better. Nope. A brand new campus, starting fresh, with perhaps the help of Stanford. Because there would be nothing the least bit wasteful about Stanford’s starting a NYC campus and running one of those campus shuttles from Palo Alto to NYC! It’ll be a breeze once they capitalize on quantum teleportation.
    The argument focuses on diversifying NY’s economy away from financials. Sounds good. But not by building a multi-billion dollar campus with billions in future needs for those among us who are already the most privileged.
    Maybe build a center for the study of the ethics of billionaires? A center to study how unselfaware some of us are? A center to study better ways to use human resources? Something that doesn’t have the name “Bloomberg” pasted on every building?
    (And I think I have the DeLong “ooh la la” song figured out — the reference is to Krugman’s wish, at the end of the NY Mag. piece, that we could at least be like France even if we didn’t make it all the way to a utopian income distribution.)

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  2. questions says:

    Looking at Krugman looking at the world:
    “Krugman remembers Merrick in these terms, as a place that provoked in him

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  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Try driving in the Malibu Canyon to the Rockstore”
    I used to pitch horseshoes at the Rockstore, when I lived on Paramount Ranch. Way before Jay Leno and his army of crotch rocketeers invaded the Rockstore. Rented a place nearby on Triunfo Cyn a bit later. Great area, if ya gotta be near Los Angeles.
    Near the Rockstore theres a place we called, as teens, “The Rainforest”. One time, me and a high school sweetheart were in a sleeping bag at the Rain Forest, at about one in the morning, and this gawd awful blood curdling scream came out of the brush about twenty feet from us. Our hearts stopped, it was so terrifying. We ran for my van, jumped in, and tore out of there. Drove home buck naked, having left the bag and our clothes scattered on the ground. Had to sneak in my folkses place to get clothes for Gail and I. Weird night, I’ll tell ya. It was about two decades before I heard the same kind of scream, in Idaho, and was able to identify it. Mountain Lion.
    A coupla of after the scream incident, I lived nearby in a tent on Encinal Canyon, caretaking a pair of fishing lakes for Hy Hunter, of Hunter Firearms. He’s the yahoo that owned the outfit that Oswald got his gun from. Remember the whole mail order firearms dust-up? Hunter was an amazingly slimey creature, about which I could write a book about. But hey, he was throwing me a hundred dollars a week to stay on his property, and for a young hippie in the early seventies, that was damned good money.

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  4. questions says:

    Gas prices are hitting Obama in the polls:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/high-gas-prices-curb-driving-habits–and-obamas-approval-rating/2011/04/25/AF9kdpkE_story.html?hpid=z1
    Only 30% of us don’t feel it as a hardship, which should give us a sense of the distribution of income in this country. If only 30% of the people can take an increase in gas prices, and a lot of people live in cities where driving isn’t the centerpiece of life, you know you have problems.
    If we had all moved to smaller cars we’d still have the same kinds of problems with an increase in gas prices because our budgets would have simply had lower gas use as an assumption. It’s the change in prices that hurts, not the amount of gas that’s used.
    We need not so much to have universal mini-cars, but more to have alternatives to using cars at all. It’s a great time for some bus alternatives. Drivers = jobs, I’m sure there are some clear routes that would link suburban outposts to urban transit systems. And I would guess that there are businesses that are used to moving people around — either the already existing bus companies, or airlines. Put people in buses that terminate in large suburban parking lots and bring them in. Serve them coffee, give them WiFi, polish their shoes or whatever. It could be done in a fairly flexible way. If commuters could cut their gas costs in half, the prices could go up and we wouldn’t notice it.
    Just make sure the suburban train boarding areas look a whole lot like shopping malls and airports, and not at all like, you know, subway stations! Suburban noses and suburban bodies are very very delicate constructs!

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  5. questions says:

    Old news, from all the way back on Saturday, but worth the time travel. PJ Crowley interviewed by Justin Elliot over at War Room. PJ Crowley knows what he’s talking about, and it’s a great piece of analysis.
    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/04/23/pj_crowley_manning_interview/index.html
    Includes a read of Bahrain, and the general difficulties we run into in a country-by-country response to the uprisings.
    “Bahrain is a very significant challenge. It would appear that the promised reforms have essentially ground to a halt. The challenge there is trying to determine what kind of influence we can have in the short term versus the long term. And given the concern in the region and perceptions that any concession to the Shia majority is a concession to Iran, it’s just going to take some time to get the Bahraini government and other countries in the region — most especially Saudi Arabia — to be able to look at this with a broader view. I understand there’s this challenge of contrasting the response in Libya to the response in Bahrain, ”
    Also Gideon Rachman gives a read of Egypt and the liberal/left’s comeuppance as they discover that Egypt has a LOT of conservative citizens who might prefer fairly strongly religious laws.
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/23f78174-6f70-11e0-952c-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1KZlwmZu0
    It may be behind a pay wall I now can cross. Not sure if they separate news from editorial content for the pay wall. Public libraries may well have subscriptions and you can use your library card number to read all sorts of things. If you subscribe, go to the subscription page, stare at the prices, leave, and you’ll get a pop up with a better deal. I didn’t refuse a second time to see if they’d start paying me to read their paper and talk it up!
    DeLong has many fine things up, including a new song to play with. Not sure if it’s a second youth moment, the kind of thing where you find deep meaning in song lyrics, but then, I find deep meaning in really old books written in languages I can’t read! And in posts by DeLong, come to think of it.

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  6. questions says:

    And today’s completely blunt and plain spoken Brad DeLong has put his electrons on the crux of the conservative mindset — the self-exemption, self-certainty, self-righteousness of being sure that one is a)moral, b)on one’s deity’s side, or that one’s deity is on one’s side, and c)completely sure that stern rules are necessary for others but not for oneself.
    And this is why Kant is so amazing. The rules apply to us; the meta-rule, the rule for making rules, is that one is never exempted from them regardless of how absolutely miserable it is to have to apply the rule to oneself. And there are some particularly unpleasant examples of rules we would most certainly like to avoid following just for today, this moment, this situation.
    Utilitarianism allows some squishy space for exemptions based on intensity. Kantianism doesn’t. Utilitarianism is good for people. Kantianism works beautifully for the deities amongst us. Douthat would seem to be a weekend Kantian and a weekday utilitarian exempting himself all the while long. And that is what conservatism is all about. Self-exemption from the Kantian moral law.

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  7. questions says:

    Are comments going to be put up anymore?
    The inscrutable Brad DeLong grasps reality with two hands — not sure that’s enough, but it’s what we have, and he regales us with more Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.
    The lyrics of note seem to be “If I was a judge I’d break the law” along with other categories that seem to suggest that things follow their essences.
    If the final cause of a judge is law-breaking, we’re in trouble.
    I don’t mind as much that the final cause of being in Paris is saying ohh la la. Though I suppose Parisians might take themselves a little more seriously!
    But if, indeed, the judge is essentially the law breaker, yikes.
    ****
    Ezra Klein has a great piece up summing up a range of economists’ reactions to the progressive budget as the counterpart to the Ryan budget. Much of the analysis makes sense. Wonder if anyone will listen for rational tax policy. Wonder if there’s even political space anymore for rational tax policy. Wonder if the big money will simply run away. Wonder if we can restart the economy from the local level up, but I know better. Cell networks, computer networks, shipping networks, energy networks, supply networks — none of this stuff works on a local level particularly well.
    If I was an American, I’d be either very rich or unemployed…. Doesn’t scan well with the tune.

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  8. questions says:

    h/t Yves Smith/naked capitalism:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/gods-bankers-how-evangelical-christianity-is-taking-a-hold-of-the-city-of-londonrsquos-financial-institutions-2270393.html
    The URL gives an overview. Christianity comes out in the banker/bankster class. If it provides a moral check on the love of money, this could be good. If it provides an excuse for the money, this could be not so good.
    Kant makes a nice distinction between the moral politician and the political moralist. Here’s hoping some of these people are on the right side.
    Banking needs shame. Bankers need to feel shame. I’m most of the way through Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job. Shame would help. Humility is a good one too! Identification with the poor, no chance of going to heaven, serving humanity (not on a platter)…. Seems like a lot of these cocaine-addled high risk taker no limit guys could do with some kind of internal control. Because it’s quite possible we’re just repeating the cycle.
    *****
    The newest non-Wiki leaks docs on Gitmo are fascinating.
    We so totally don’t know what we’re doing, it’s amazing.
    People have doubts and uncertainties all over the place. It’s hard to know what restaurant to go to, it’s hard to know which car to buy, what to watch on tv, whether or not to turn here on at the next block….. What happens when you’re trying to decide if this guy in front of you is a terrorist or not, a ticking bomb or not, someone with the info you really need or not, is really at the torture point or not, is sincere or not….
    How do we set limits with such uncertainty?
    And further, how do we know when enough years have gone by? Will gitmo be a ghost ship, still questioning the same prisoners/human beings/old ghosts in 100 years? Cue the fog machine and bobble the camera for effect.

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  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Report: BP received $13 billion tax break for Gulf disaster “losses”
    http://www.favstocks.com/report-bp-received-13-billion-tax-break-for-gulf-disaster-losses/2348884/
    Tell BP: Destroying Our Gulf Shouldn’t Be a Tax Write-Off
    One year ago, BP’s oil began to pour into the Gulf of Mexico. It did not stop for 87 days.
    Today, economic and environmental devastation remain. Thousands of Gulf Coast residents cope with massive health problems from oil and toxic dispersants.
    BP, on the other hand, just scored a nearly $10 billion dollar tax credit, by writing off its “losses” incurred from the tragedy.
    $10 billion is the entire annual budget of the EPA, whose funding was just slashed in the continuing resolution. It is almost one third of all the cuts in the continuing resolution.
    Americans shouldn’t have to endure massive budget cuts because BP took a $10 billion tax deduction for destroying our gulf.
    Tell BP: Amend your tax return and pay your fair share.
    Click here to automatically sign the petition….
    http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=7602&id=19886-2718672-pyu6.Dx&t=10

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  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The West Coast, in Northern California, eh???
    A real shame we can’t dye radiation with a dayglo color. I imagine this photo, if taken today, would be psychodelic in nature, and the milk we drink would be a bright dayglo orange.
    Amazing, that there are two such epic environmental cover-ups ongoing at the same time, the unfolding BP gulf disaster, and the worsening nuclear holocaust in Japan.
    One has to dig past the canned media dribblings that are the product of corporate involvement in the flow of “information” that is meted out to the mass minions out here in “Regularfolksville”.
    Digging deep, you find an unfolding disaster in the Gulf, with our White House in collusion with BP. And you find a ridiculous downplaying of the scale of the catastrophe in Japan, with our so called “regulatory agencies” in deep collusion with the White House and the nuclear energy sector in concealing the truth from the very citizens they are sworn by oath to protect.
    It is truly criminal. Obama’s handling of the BP disaster, and the subsequent lies that have emanated from this Administration are grounds for impeachment. But his efforts to downplay the extent that we are being irradiated by the holocaust in Japan is not only crimninal, it is evil. YOUR LIFE means NOTHING to this shameless corporate whore and political coward.
    The “simmering storm” is the truth about what is happening in the the Gulf and in Japan. And these despicable elitist monsters that you commune with will not be able to hide it forever.

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  11. Cee says:

    I’ve always been too scared to look beyond the road driving that route!!
    Try driving in the Malibu Canyon to the Rockstore. Scary.

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