News from around the web: 2009-08-23

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  • A Cul-de-Sac of Lost Dreams, and New Ones – NYTimes.com

    For a few precious weeks this summer, all eight houses on this cul-de-sac about 60 miles east of Los Angeles were occupied, but the housing bust that has come to define the landscape and economy of Southern California — and much of the country — has fundamentally changed the block.

  • Economist’s View: "Why Sleep?"

    "The often cited example is that of a parent arousing at a baby’s whimper but sleeping through a thunderstorm," he said. "That dramatizes the ability of the sleeping human brain to continuously process sensory signals and trigger complete awakening to significant stimuli within a few hundred milliseconds."

  • Frank Rich – The Guns of August – NYTimes.com

    In last year’s campaign debates, Obama liked to cite his unlikely Senate friendship with Tom Coburn, of all people, as proof that he could work with his adversaries. If the president insists that enemies like this are his friends — and that the nuts they represent can be placated by reason — he will waste his opportunity to effect real change and have no one to blame but himself.

  • How Not to Reduce Excess Reserves | The Big Picture

    In 1936, officials decided to increase reserve requirements in three steps—from 13 percent to 26 percent on transactions deposits and from 3 to 6 percent on time deposits . . . The chart shows the dates of each increase in reserve requirements. The policy was successful in reducing both total excess reserves and the ratio of excess to total reserves. However, interest rates also rose, money stock growth declined sharply, and in May 1937 the economy entered a recession

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  • Hitler zur Hausse | egghat’s blog

    Egghat thinks the dub-over of this Hitler video I linked to from Barry Ritholtz is a lot less funny if you speak German.

  • The recession’s over – pass it on … – Prieur du Plessis

    A funny little cartoon.

  • Raising Taxes In Spain Is Not A Solution! – Edward Hugh

    My feeling is that the Spain of Zapatero looks more and more like the Hungary of Gyurcsany with every passing day, and I say this more from the point of view of the twin deficit problem, and the impression the administration gives of things being totally out of control and no one knowing what to do, than anything else… For the record, I predict the IMF will have a permanent delegation in Madrid before 2011 is out.

  • Poland expects U.S. decision on shield in September – Reuters

    Poland and the Czech Republic had agreed last year to host parts of the U.S. global missile shield with the Bush White House, but Barack Obama has said he needs to review the costs and viability of the controversial plan. "We expect to learn the results of the U.S. review in September," the minister, Stanislaw Komorowski, told Reuters on Friday.

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  • T.R. Reid — Five Myths About Health Care in the Rest of the World – washingtonpost.com

    I’ve traveled the world from Oslo to Osaka to see how other developed democracies provide health care. Instead of dismissing these models as "socialist," we could adapt their solutions to fix our problems. To do that, we first have to dispel a few myths about health care abroad

  • Robert Kagan – Is Obama Really Waging a ‘War of Necessity’ in Afghanistan? – washingtonpost.com

    I don’t agree with this but it is worth a look. "President Obama recently defended American combat in Afghanistan as a "war of necessity," not a "war of choice." He borrowed this deceptively neat distinction from Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of a recent book on the subject. And proving how unhelpful it can be, Haass quickly corrected the president. No, Afghanistan is a "war of choice," he declaimed in the New York Times, "Mr. Obama’s choice.""

  • Jim Hoagland – Health Care and Other Setbacks Raise Questions About Obama’s Strength – washingtonpost.com

    If you want to see this president succeed, as I do, you can construct an alternative narrative in which he is throwing dust in the eyes of opponents and resolutely moving toward goals that are worthy, if not as exalted as those originally proclaimed. But it hasn’t felt that way in this uneven August. In Washington the old saw about perception being reality is all too true. And all too final, once an impression of unsteadiness has been etched onto public opinion.

  • Zero Hedge’s Op-Ed To The New York Times | zero hedge

    I sent this Op-Ed proposal to the New York Times on Friday. Perhaps they will print it… Zerohedge.com is a finance-focused weblog bringing together nearly 40 anonymous contributors dedicated to providing the public with a deeper, more detailed discourse on all things finance. After less than ten months since our first post, we’re among the top online publications nationwide in terms of readers, eclipsing other properties with several years of history, A-list contributors, and the backing of the country’s largest, mainstream media firms. Like many publications before us, not least the Federalist Papers, we encourage our contributors to use pen names. Part of our rationale in adopting..anonymity… is to avoid making “the story” about the messengers rather than the message.

  • How to root a T-Mobile G1 and myTouch 3G Android phone | Android and Me

    I now have a G1 instead of a MyTouch. This is the best guide I have seen to ‘jailbreaking’ it.

  • West Will Languish; Asia Will Lead – Barrons.com

    Registration required. "An interview with Christopher Wood: The author of the popular newsletter Greed & Fear thinks Asia will benefit most from the Western monetary easing."

  • Washed Out – Barrons.com

    Sears Holdings is fighting a losing battle, choked by the extreme cost-cutting implemented by Eddie Lampert and his hedge-fund partners.

  • Surviving the Crash — a Progress Report – Barrons.com

    "In April 2006, Barron’s published an essay I wrote titled "Retiring on Less Than a Million." With a retirement fund then in the mid-600-thousands, I counted on a yield of about 8% on income-producing instruments to allow me to take regular withdrawals and not deplete my assets." I’m sure you know what happened then. Altogether, a good story.

  • Bob Herbert – Voices of Anxiety – NYTimes.com

    It’s still early, but people are starting to lose faith in the president. I hear almost daily from men and women who voted enthusiastically for Mr. Obama but are feeling disappointed. They feel that the banks made out like bandits in the bailouts, and that the health care initiative could become a boondoggle. Their biggest worry is that Mr. Obama is soft, that he is unwilling or incapable of fighting hard enough to counter the forces responsible for the sorry state the country is in.

  • How Is China’s Export Driven Economy Booming? — John Lounsbury

    China’s secret may be more than just one secret. Here is a list (probably incomplete): 1. They accumulated a national surplus, not a national debt. 2. The government has tight control (de facto ownership) of the banks. 3. The banks serve the rest of the Chinese economy, not the other way around. 4. The Chinese stimulus was large; the U.S. was much smaller. 5. The Chinese stimulus has been much more effectively channeled into employment than in the U.S.

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