"History is a wonderful thing, if only it was true"

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Newsweek links

I've grown rather found of the new format - more "meat" less foam

Jon Meacham: NEWSWEEK at a Crossroads - Jon Meacham - Newsweek.com:

"Last Wednesday morning, in a meeting with the magazine's staff, our owner, Donald E. Graham, the chairman and CEO of The Washington Post Company, announced that NEWSWEEK was going to be sold.

The Post has owned NEWSWEEK since 1961, when Ben Bradlee, then the magazine's Washington bureau chief, helped persuade Philip Graham, the publisher of The Washington Post, to buy us. I say "us" quite consciously: there has long been a sense of tradition as well as journalistic mission here. For half a century, the Graham family has been a faithful steward of NEWSWEEK, allowing us, in Phil Graham's phrase, to write the first rough draft of history.

There is a place for NEWSWEEK in some form in a fragmented culture. We represent an opportunity to focus the attention of a large number of people on a single topic. The moment of focus may be fleeting, but there are fewer and fewer common denominators left in American life, and the conversation is not going to be enriched by having fewer still. We are not the only catcher in the rye standing between democracy and the abyss of ignorance and despair. We are one of them, though, and the task now is to find the right economic and digital means to meet our traditional ends while trying to discover a sustainable business model. Our challenges are not unique, but that does not really matter. They are still our challenges, and we must meet them."

Fineman: How Obama Escapes Bushlike Blame :

"Let's try a political thought experiment. Imagine that a few months after a new president takes office, his administration approves an offshore oil well a mile beneath the Gulf of Mexico. It is to be run by BP, whose employees were very generous donors to the president's campaign. The oil company airily dismisses the possibility of a catastrophic leak that might destroy the coastline. Nearly a year later, the president—to the dismay of his environmentalist supporters—says he wants to greatly expand offshore drilling. Soon after that, the BP well explodes, and oil spews into the gulf. It's clear to everyone that the blowout is a major catastrophe, requiring a federal mobilization. But the president's initial response is to say, in effect: do not worry, BP will pay for the cleanup. Eleven days pass before he goes to survey the scene."

Samuelson :Does Greece Signal a Depression? - Newsweek.com:
"Historians increasingly attribute the Depression to broad geopolitical upheavals. World War I shattered the existing global economic order. Dominated by Great Britain, it fostered vibrant trade and rested on the gold standard. (Under the gold standard, paper currencies could be converted into gold coins or bullion.) The war also spawned huge international debts, reflecting German war reparations and large U.S. loans to Britain and France. It was impossible to reconstruct the prewar order. Britain was too weak, the gold standard was too constricting, and the debts were too heavy. But countries tried, because the prewar order had delivered prosperity. This futile effort brought on Depression. Only when economic hardship became unbearable were unrealistic goals (keeping the gold standard, repaying debts) abandoned."

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