Book of the Month

Donal's picture

Livin' Large

With my plantar muscles feeling better, I've been running a two mile route past a few apartment complexes and through a new development of 3,000 SF single family houses—perhaps 300 of them. A sign indicates that they sell in the $500,000s, but asking prices actually range from $544,990 to $619,990. There are no full-grown trees yet, but down in the hollows are hundreds of saplings tied to stakes and protected from deer with plastic netting. Once grown they should buffer the community from the main thoroughfare. There are a few more houses complete every time I run through, a few more families settled in, a few more kids riding bikes and scooters on the sidewalks. One owner has added, or opted for, a full complement of photovoltaic panels on his South-facing roof.

Back at home I read articles like Real Homes: Small, frugal, and green, in which, "Recent college graduate Ella Jenkins lives with her parents while she builds her 103-square-foot home in their yard." [Read more]

Donal's picture

Tesla and the Uncertain Middle Class

Tesla is about to release its Model S sedan. Despite operating at a loss, despite never having turned a profit, despite being the recipient of government loans (which the right wing hates about the Volt), despite its stock price dropping due to perceived competition from the Toyota RAV4 EV, some Wall Street pundits are still bullish on Tesla.

Why? Well it promises decent range:

Tesla: The Time Has Come [Read more]

The Tesla Model S will give you significantly more range than a Nissan LEAF or any other practical all-electric car to date. The Nissan is EPA-certified at 73 miles on average. Tesla claims 160 miles for the base version of the Model S. ...

Tesla will also sell you an alleged 230-mile and a 300-mile version of the Model S. Each step up is $10,000 more.
William K. Wolfrum's picture

Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne palling around with terrorists?

 

 

Ernest Hancock and Freedom’s Phoenix “watering the tree of liberty” with guns at an Obama appearance. [Read more]

Doctor Cleveland's picture

Why College Costs So Much, Part 2

In my previous post about college prices, I focused on the massive state spending cuts that have driven up tuition at public school universities and also made it easier to raise private tuition, because private universities no longer face serious price competition from the public sector. (See also tmmccarthy's excellent post on tuition and budget cuts.) In this post, I'd like to focus on the cost side of the question, and start with the private universities instead of the public ones.
 [Read more]

Doctor Cleveland's picture

Why College Costs So Much, Part 1

Mitt Romney recently told an aspiring college student that if he had trouble affording college, he should just shop around for the best price, which proves that Romney has no idea how college prices work: [Read more]

William K. Wolfrum's picture

Rush Limbaugh & Overstock.com’s Patrick Byrne: Misogynists getting their due

Rush Limbaugh apparently isn’t the only one paying dearly for his misogynistic ways. Overstock.com boss Patrick Byrne, who has shown himself to be a first-class misogynist himself (“So, why exactly did you become a reporter? Giving Goldman traders blowjobs didn’t work out?” he once e-mailed business reporter Bethany McLean), is currently riding his Internet retailing company straight into the ground.

Via Sam Antar: [Read more]

Doctor Cleveland's picture

Your New Year Public Domain Report: 2012

Happy New Year, all. My spouse and I spent part of yesterday evening at our local revival house, watching a classic New Year's Eve double-feature of The Thin Man and After the Thin Man. Then we adjourned to a favorite bar for midnight; after all, that's what Nick and Nora would do.
 [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

Germany's Bold Plan to Rescue Europe

As Italy and Spain go tumbling after Greece into an abyss of insolvency, Germany has at last found the will to act boldly in defense of the European Union.

According to the New York Times, Chancellor Angela Merkel has launched a courageous effort to bail out Germany's struggling neighbors...with the International Monetary Fund's money.

Not that she's shirking responsibility. After all, Germany contributes a full six percent of the IMF pool.

And really, why should Germany be any more responsible for bailing out European debtors than the United States (17 percent) and the other 159 non-European members (60 percent). So Germany and Italy share the same currency, what of it? [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

Rethinking Income Inequality: A New Kind of Payroll Tax

How do you alleviate economic inequality in America? It's easy to complain about greed and extravagance but much more difficult to come up with practical policies that would make a real difference in the long run.

The default proposal these days is to increase tax rates on top income brackets, starting with an elimination of the Bush tax cuts. That may help a bit, but as you can see from the following graph, the trend toward income concentration did not begin with Bush's presidency, and it would take radical tax increases to get back to 1970s levels. The government would have to strip an additional 30 percent from the incomes of the top ten percent and somehow put that money into everyone else's pockets.

 [Read more]

Ramona's picture

Black Friday as Myth-Buster

 

After the Thanksgiving Day gluttony is over and after our teams have either won or lost (Our biggie between the Lions and the Packers went horribly awry for my loved ones, poor dears.) and after we've taken our tryptophan-induced naps, the next fun thing to think about, talk about or plan for is Black Friday, our annual Big Huge Shopping Extravaganza.  It's the day when primitive survival skills kick in and the absolutely-must-haves traditionally go nuts and stampede in scenes that make even NatGeo watchers go "Wow!".
  [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

The Trouble with Banks

It's hard out there for a bank. Last year, retail banks lost a major revenue source when the government regulated overdraft charges. This year, they took another hit when the government capped the debit card fees. And amidst an anemic credit market, they're having trouble finding investment opportunities for their deposits.

According to the New York Times' calculations, it costs the banks $200 to $300 a year to maintain a checking account, but they're only earning $85 and $115. So now they're scrambling to find new ways to charge customers, from conspicuous checking fees to sly little charges that sneak into bank statements. [Read more]

Doctor Cleveland's picture

No Plan on Wall Street

It's become disturbingly clear that the people occupying Wall Street, and the centers of several other major American cities, have no plan for the future. No vision. No coherent ideas. No sense at all of what to do next.
 [Read more]

Donal's picture

Same as Cash?




Before about a decade ago, I paid rent, insurance, and doctor's bills by writing checks and sending them through the mail. My wife paid by check at the grocery store. I had a credit card for traveling and large purchases, but used cash as much as possible. [Read more]

Donal's picture

Politics Under the Sun



As Solar Decathlon teams assemble their entries, politics heats up everything under the sun. Republicans gleefully exploit the failure of solar panel startup Solyndra, and Germany's Passiv Haus Institut casts out their US incarnation. In Passive House Schism Leaves U.S. in Limbo, GreenSource reports: [Read more]

Doctor Cleveland's picture

Taylor Branch and the Shame of College Sports (Pay the Kids, Already)

After I suggested being honest about college sports on this blog page, Taylor Branch has made the same case, better, in The Atlantic. With, you know, actual reporting and everything.

Here's a bit from Branch's lead, as a shoe-advertising king pin talks openly about "buying your schools" in order to increase his market share:

Not all the members could hide their scorn for the “sneaker pimp” of schoolyard hustle, who boasted of writing checks for millions to everybody in higher education. [Read more]

Doctor Cleveland's picture

God Bless the National Debt

Let's get one thing straight: without a national debt, there is no national defense. This has always been true.

We can all sputter righteously about the evils of borrowing and debt, but a United States government that did not borrow would either have to do without any military at all or else make do with a tiny, ill-equipped military with troops who almost never got their pay, which is what we had before the Washington Administration. Access to credit has always been central to effective government operations, and especially to effective military operations. Gimmicks like "debt ceilings" and "balanced budget amendments" not only threaten the effectiveness of basic, everyday governance but make the government completely incapable of responding to an emergency. [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

Corporate America Breaks Up With The Middle Class

American businesses are breaking up with the middle class.  This won't be news around here, though it might stir up some controversy over at The Daily today.  In my column this week I looked into some of the potential implications of two big changes in American business.  They used to rely largely on domestic middle class consumers to make their profits.  This was true even in the 1990s, when the main effect of globalization was overseas exploitation in order to sell cheap goods back home.  But it's not true anymore. [Read more]

Donal's picture

And the Mazda goes Hmmmm



This morning, a local news blurb claimed that Mazda was leaving the US. What does that mean? According to Mazda May Quit Michigan Venture in the Wall Street Journal, Mazda primarily wants to leave their Auto Alliance International joint venture with Ford because it simply isn't profitable: [Read more]

Doctor Cleveland's picture

Revisiting LeBron (and Retaining Employees)

So, last summer LeBron James decided to leave Cleveland, leading to a massive outburst of Clevesentment and a widespread belief that Cleveland had burned down among my friends and family who don't live there (and not just among them, judging from the search terms that old post collected). A year later, he's gotten himself to the NBA Finals for the first time in his career. So, I would say his career decision is going much the way he planned.
 [Read more]

William K. Wolfrum's picture

The Yes Men & Coal Cares to Peabody Energy and Coal Industry: Stop Killing Kids

Since my previous post on the satirical Web site CoalCares.org, there have been several interesting developments. First off, the infamous Yes Men have been outed as the masterminds behind the site.

Secondly, Peabody Energy sent the Yes Men a legal threat to take down the site. You can read that here (pdf). A snippet: [Read more]

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