From the category archives:


And I’m free, oh! free fallin’

by Cy Caine on August 11, 2010

The title notwithstanding, this post isn’t about a classic Tom Petty song.

According to the progress bar on my Kindle, I am about 19% of the way through Freefall: American, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy by Joseph E. Stiglitz.  I started reading this just a few days ago after learning that Stiglitz would be giving a talk to the Columbia alumni community in NYC on October 12th.  (I’m planning to attend.)

I’ll reserve final judgement until I finish the book.  If you have been following news accounts related to the financial crash and the ensuing Great Recession, a lot of the ground Stiglitz covers won’t be new to you.  However, he lays out in a way is clear, compelling and sure to get your blood boiling at least just a little bit.  His narrative reinforces the conclusions that (a) the mess we are in wasn’t inevitable and (b) the sub-optimal policy repsonses of the Bush and Obama administrations took a bad situation and made it worse.

As  I noted above, I am only about one-fifth of the way through the book.  Thus far I have found most interesting Stiglitz’ seven principles for a well-designed stimulus program: [click to continue…]


An unbelievable decision was handed down on 2/25/10 which holds that a stamp issued by the U.S.P.S. based on a photograph of the Korean War memorial violates the copyright of the artist.  No, not the photographer.  It violates the copyright of the scuipter!

I heard about this today and actually read the opinion of the U.S. Federal Circuit court in its entirety.  The majority opinion really strains any definition of common sense as the introduction to the dissenting opinion makes clear

The Korean War Veterans Memorial is a work of public art and a national monument. It was authorized by Congress, installed on the National Mall, and paid for by appropriated funds. My colleagues on this panel now hold that the persons who produced this public monument for the United States, under a contract which requires that copyright is in the United States, can nonetheless require the United States to pay damages for copyright infringement based on use of a photograph of the Memorial in snow on a postage stamp. This holding is contrary to the contract provisions, contrary to statute for works done in the service of the United States, contrary to copyright law, and contrary to national policy governing access to public monuments. I respectfully dissent from the court’s holding that
the United States is liable for infringement of an improperly obtained and unlawfully enforced copyright.

In the grand scheme of outrages, this is a relatively small one.  But it really make you wonder….

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Shelby to Obama: Hold On!

February 7, 2010

I’ve recently been following the absurdity that is the U.S. Senate with equal parts frustration and disbelief.  OK, I can get my head around how 40 Senators can bring things to a halt via a filibuster.  Understanding how one Senator can stop further action on 70+ executive branch nominees is harder to fathom. This is […]

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Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?

February 6, 2010

While driving home yesterday I caught the tail end of a story on NPR about the need for real debates in American politics. The piece discussed an area of agreement between two individuals from opposite ends of the political spectrum: Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation Grover Norquist, president of Americans for […]

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