In the weeks leading up to the 2012 Presidential election it was nearly impossible to not hear the name Nate Silver. His projections of the election came to dominate the news cycle and he himself became the subject of the media zeitgeist. Silver was either lambasted as a charlatan by those who disagreed with his lean towards an Obama win; or he was heralded as a genius by liberals whose fear of a Romney victory he assuaged. This backdrop was the perfect setting to be reading Silver’s first book The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don’t. The narrative in the book described a far different world of projection and probabilistic thinking then what was occurring in the media in the lead up to the election. Read more
Four days before the 2012 Presidential election one enduring mantra from both candidates has been “jobs, jobs, jobs.” With unemployment in the U.S. hovering around 8%, the big question is how to get people back to work. Ro Khanna, a former Deputy Assistant to the U.S. Department of Commerce under the Obama administration, argues that U.S. manufacturing is integral to putting Americans to work and for the general welfare of the nation. His new book, Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still Key to America’s Future, delves into the state of manufacturing in the U.S. today, why manufacturing is crucial to the U.S. future, and what policies the country should aim for to strengthen the manufacturing sector. Khanna elucidates his points by using real world manufacturing case examples from his time as a Deputy Assistant. Read more
Book Discussion Group: The Politicus book discussion group is for anyone interested in discussing books and movies involving politics.
- Meets the 3rd Monday of the month at 7:00pm (Nov 19th 2012)
- Books and movies are chosen by you! Votes will be held at the end of each book
- Discussion materials are chosen depending on the group's interests, existing popular material, and current events
eCopies will be provided for free on a first come, first served basis. Please Leave a comment if you want to receive the book. It will be emailed to the email account you used to register on The Politicus
3rd Book: Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves
The rhetoric of free markets and smaller government is at the forefront of American political debate and has sunk deeply into the consciousness of most American citizens, this even after the 2008 financial crisis which could be argued as the greatest failure of markets since the Great Depression. In his new book, The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future, Joseph Stiglitz addresses the interplay of market failure, an ambivalent government, and how they interact, to create an ever worsening state of Inequality in the U.S. The Price of Inequality is a forceful exposition that exposes the existence of widening inequality, the causes of the inequality, the consequences of inequality, and, finally, how we can attempt to correct harmful inequality. Read more
It struck me only after finishing the eBook and skimming it for notes that The Rude Guide To Mitt was dedicated to Seamus. Oblivious to the allusion during my initial read, the irony of the dedication seemed fitting in retrospect. You see, Seamus was the one time dog of Mitt Romney, that is, until Seamus wisely ran away after Mitt strapped Seamus to the roof for a 12 hour nonstop car ride which literally scared the shit out of Seamus. Alex Pareene effectively uses the anecdote in the introduction to highlight the basic premise of his eBook, that Mitt Romney is one helluva strange guy. Read more
Erik Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin is worth reading if only for the utterly surrealistic Chapter 42, “Hermann’s Toys”, which recounts a Sunday afternoon at Carinhall. Hermann Goring entertains a reluctant group of diplomats at his vast estate by trying to mate two bison on command and flaunting the mausoleum that he had erected to house his exhumed dead wife. All the while making several different changes of uniform and showing off like a “‘big, fat, spoilt child.’” Read more
Generally, our living situation plays a very large role in life. Location, rent, transportation, and probably most important, with whom we share our space with are all personal factors that drive our housing decisions and circumstances. Yet, along with the personal factors above that play a part, there is also a broad swath of social policy and economics that help determine where we live and what prices we pay. In his new e-book, The Rent Is Too Damn High, Matt Yglesias delves into the policies of housing, density, and regulation to argue that the free market is being restricted by regulation and is creating an artificial housing scarcity in desirable areas. Read more
The title, How the End Begins: The Road to a Nuclear World War III, could not be more ominous or, depending on your perspective on nuclear weapons, alarmist. Author Ron Rosenbaum has a definitive point of view about the danger of nuclear weapons as he waxes throughout the book about holocausts and the immorality of mass retaliation. Rosenbaum does not, however, ignore the side of the nuclear believers who state that nuclear weapons, through deterrence, have actually made the world safer and saved millions of lives. Rather than a driven point of view, Rosenbaum instead takes the reader on a meandering path pondering the history, danger, role, and, most importantly, morality of nuclear weapons. Read more
The sad truth is that American students perform worse the longer they stay in our public schools…
That the American educational system has fallen behind globally is not debatable. Children are simply not learning to the level that they need to in order to compete in a global market and to maximize their own self worth and value. The problem is recognizable by all, yet the causes and solutions are entrenched in the status quo and endlessly mired in debate and politics. In his new book, Push Has Come to Shove: Getting Our Kids the Education They Deserve–Even If It Means Picking a Fight, Dr. Steve Perry nobly attempts to bring this dysfunctional educational system out of the shadows of the status quo and illuminate all the flaws that prevent children from learning effectively. Read more
Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Suskind’s most recent work, Confidence Men, tears down the walls of the White House to readers to give an inside glimpse of President Obama’s handling of the domestic and economic policies in the first years of his term. The book paints a picture of an inexperienced President encountering an economic crisis unrivaled since the Great Depression. Along with the crisis comes an opportunity to change the system and culture of Wall Street, a very Roosevelt moment in time, and Suskind deftly explains why and how that campaign promise of change was never able to come to fruition. Read more
“What are your thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street movement?” This was the question posed recently to a small group of friends gathered in an aspiring actor’s apartment just north of Harlem, NYC. We went around the room, clockwise, giving cautious opinions on the topic as we sipped from our Amstel Light. The responses were measured, and in line with recent media talking points. Statements such as, “they have no unified message,” to “someone needs to go to jail, anyone.”
It wasn’t long however before the conversation took on a more heated tone and unguarded opinions were intensely overlapping each other at an increasingly rapid rate. Now things were getting interesting. “The Federal Reserve should be abolished” and “what Wall Street did wasn’t illegal” were remarks leading the charge. At one point someone mentioned collusion being involved between the government and the banks and I found myself quoting a play I had read just a few days earlier. In fact, I found myself quoting the play quite often on this particular evening. Read more
The whites…dealt unjustly by me. I came to them, they deceived me; the land I was upon I loved, my body is made of its sands; the Great Spirit gave me legs to walk over it; hands to aid myself; eyes to see its ponds, rivers forests, and game; then a head with which I think. The sun, which is warm and bright as my feelings are now, shines to warm us and bring forth our crops, and the moon brings back the spirits of our warriors, our fathers, wives, and children. The white man comes; he grows pale and sick, why cannot we live here in peace? I have said I am the enemy to the white man. I could live in peace with him, but they steal our cattle and horses, cheat us, and take our lands. The white men are as thick as the leaves in the hammock ; they come upon us thicker every year. They may shoot us, drive our women and children night and day; they may chain our hands and feet, but the red man’s heart will always be free. Read more
Anatomy of a 'Meltdown' -- Interview With Thomas Woods
By Bill Steigerwald Read more
Taking Another Look at Reagan
By Stephen Silver
There's Ronald Reagan, and then there's "Ronald Reagan." There's the real 40th president of the United States, who won two elections in landslides and was the most popular president of modern times- and then there's the pretend Reagan, used to justify modern political decisions by Republicans even if they had nothing to do with what the real Reagan said, did, or believed.
A new book, Will Bunch's "Tear Down This Myth," takes a look at this disconnect, and the way that modern politics, especially on the Republican side, has turned the Ronald Reagan into a political apparition, a standard of 100% conservative purity that no mere mortal politician can ever meet.
A reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News and author of the entertaining Attytood blog, Bunch lays out the events that led to this state of affairs, both before, during and after Reagan's presidency, up until the absurdities of the 2008 Republican primary. The book is an attack not so much on the Gipper himself as on the myth that sprung up around him, especially in the past ten years. Read more
If you're looking for gossip about the campaign trial, you won't find it here. But if you're hungry for details about the historic campaign, then pick up A Long Time Coming by Newsweeks' Editor-at-Large Evan Thomas for a narrative account of what really happened behind the scenes last year. But why buy the book when most of the chapters are a reprint of a series of seven articles of "Secrets of the 2008 Campaign" that appeared in Newsweek on Nov 17, 2008? For $22.95, Newsweek provides some extra content, including a prologue, epilogue, and an interview with Obama.
Newsweek has a reputation of good campaign coverage. This year, reporters — Daren Briscoe, Eleanor Clift, Katie Connolly, Peter Goldman, Daniel Stone, and Nick Summers — were sent on the campaign trail. The reporters were given incredible access to the candidates and their team, just as long as none of the details would be printed until after Election Day. Their page turning book provides a gripping tale of the friction, frustrations, hopes, and back stories endured along the way. There are many side stories addressed in this book that you may have already heard about in the news like Sarah Palin's shopping spree. Read more