weekend | 31 march 2013 [easter]

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LAW / CIVIL RIGHTS

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JEFFREY TOOBIN AND MARGARET TALBOT ON SAME SEX MARRIAGE AND THE SUPREME COURT

Dorothy Wickenden | The New Yorker

Editor: This is the best summary I’ve come across of the issues before the court. Excellent listening.

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ECONOMICS

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THE PRICE IS WRONG

Paul Krugman | The Conscience of a Liberal | The New York Times

There are strong policy implications of these two views. If you think the problem is that wages are too high, your solution is that we need to meaner to workers — cut off their unemployment insurance, make them hungry by cutting off food stamps, so they have no alternative to do whatever it takes to get jobs, and wages fall. If you think the problem is the zero lower bound on interest rates, you think that this kind of solution wouldn’t just be cruel, it would make the economy worse, both because cutting workers’ incomes would reduce demand and because deflation would increase the burden of debt.

CONFESSIONS OF A HERETIC KEYNESIAN

Roger Farmer | The Financial Times

Until economies hit hard by the financial crisis grow to a point where we need all of those houses in Ireland or Nevada, they should, primarily, produce more consumer goods. Since households spend more when they feel wealthy, one way to get people back to work is to reflate the asset markets. Central banks and treasuries should actively intervene to reflate the asset market bubble.

This heretical view will be widely denounced by those who think that free trade in financial instruments leads to an efficient allocation of capital. That notion is hard to defend in the wake of yet another financial collapse.

MEET THE INFLUENTIAL GERMAN PROFESSOR WHO WANTS TO GET RID OF THE EURO TO SAVE THE EUROZONE

Matthew Boesler | Business Insider

BI: Does Alternative advocate that Germany should leave the euro?

BL: No. We are running on a platform to dissolve the euro in a stepwise fashion, on a platform which proposes to reintroduce national currencies, but not by having Germany leave the euro, but rather by making the southern European countries leave the euro first, and then breaking up the remaining euro zone into other smaller currency areas, or into countries which each have their own national currency.

What we do not propose is that Germany leave the euro either now or in the future in any kind of unilateral sense.

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ARCHITECTURE

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VENT VERT BY EDWARD SUZUKI

The Contemporist

greenerybuilding

Edward Suzuki Associates have designed a building in Tokyo that features a façade of greenery.

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ATHLETICS

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THE EVOLUTION OF KING JAMES

Kirk Goldsberry | Grantland

In the last game of the 2011 Finals, James was almost listlessly loitering beyond the arc, hesitating, shying away, and failing to take advantage of his freakish stature. His last shot of those Finals was symbolic: an ill-fated 25-foot jump shot from the outskirts of the right wing — his favorite 3-point shot location that season. The next morning, newspapers and blogs didn’t forget to remind us that James wasn’t a clutch player. Although few would admit to it now, countless media personalities took the opportunity to opine that LeBron James simply didn’t have “what it takes” to win championships in this league.

But something was about to change.

grant_i_LeBronSecondYearMiami

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MEMOIR

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THREE EASTER SUNDAYS

Jerry D. Mathes II | Guernica

I: 1979

Under a 700-year-old ponderosa pine, I rolled from my sleeping bag. The boot steps of a line of strangers tramping the forest floor had woken me. My two brothers, like caterpillars trapped in their chrysalides, didn’t move. Some fifty yards upstream our father, between jobs, had taken refuge in an uncle’s one-room cabin in a church camp where he and my mother and sister slept. When school let out he’d drive us to a mine in California and eventually another lay-off notice, but for that moment he had faith it’d work out. I had no idea, then, what the people trekking past were up to. In the pre-dawn the worshippers climbed the trail, trying to beat the sun to the mountaintop. None stopped to offer me a hand up, only puzzled stares in their haste through the gray light of the darkened forest.

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ART

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THE SCULPTURAL WORK OF LAURA ELLEN BACON

Contemporist

From Laura Ellen Bacon:
All of my work has been generated because of a personal (and solitary) drive to build, to create and often to be able to climb inside; the thrill of the quiet space that did not exist before my hands placed the material in the available position.

leb1
leb2

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MUSIC

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PATTI SMITH GROUP: EASTER

PATTI SMITH’S TOP 40 INSURRECTION


Lester Bangs | Phonograph Record | May/June 1978

Dear Patti, Start the Revolution Without Me

I hate Patti Smith. She’s a pretentious wretch. But then I hate the Village Voice, which originally assigned me this piece, and which can be pretty pretentious itself. I hate all the magazines I write for, don’t you hate yourself for buying their dead formula hackwork?

. . . Horses was one of the greatest records I’ve ever heard. Like all true art, it drew you into recognizable situations and illuminated, poetically heightened them (as “We Three” does here), rather than just preaching at you and ranting that its creator was an Artist. (The late rock critic/musician Peter Laughner once said that all Patti’s best songs were written to or about other people. Over the past couple of years she has become so narcissistic that she’s solipsistic, which doesn’t exactly make her part of the solution.)

Horses changed my life, but I’ve recognized that there was something almost supernatural about the powers it tapped, that no artist or audience can expect that kind of baptism in the firmamental flames every time. So I don’t even feel bad about having to say that Easter is just a very good album, and now I even like Radio Ethiopia in a High Times slumming sorta sense. But something still sorta clutches at my heart when I hear Patti sing “Look around you … do you like the world around you?” No, I loathe what I see emerging with every particle of my being, and baby yes, I certainly do feel there’s a war on which almost nobody wants to recognize, and even as I can look into the hideous technocorporate heart murdering face of the enemy I’m stumped as to tactics. But while like with hippies looking better in retrospect than today’s dutiful deadwood children ’cause at least they were rebelling I can’t help but admire you whatever you do in the face of McCartney-disco-fusion, still I think I’ve finally found a word for your tactic. It’s called diversionary.

Patti-Smith-Easter-444053

PATTI SMITH GROUP: EASTER

Nick Tosches | Creem | June 1978

Patti Smith is the first poet born of rock’n’roll; raised on the Crystals instead of the classics. There has always been great poetry in rock’n’roll, but the best of it has been intuitive. Little Walter did not consider himself a poet, and was not known to read beyond Jive, but he must be recognized as one of the awesome men of modern verse. Smith has not yet given us anything as fine and powerful as Olson’s Maximus Poems, but she will.

Truer and surer and less uneven than her previous albums, Easter is Smith’s best work. Easter is a much better title than Rock ’N’ Roll Nigger (as Smith originally wanted the album to be called), not only because the concept of artist as nigger is silly and trite, but because this is an album of Christian obsessions, especially those of death and resurrection.

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