Hate Is A Cheney Family Value

Cheney

The Article: Hate is a Cheney family value by Ana Marie Cox in The Guardian.

The Text: I already believe that Dick Cheney is among the luckiest men to ever walk the face of the planet. He will never have to pay, in real terms, for the blood of untold thousands he has on his hands. He will live out his days not just a free man but also with another human being’s heart beating relentlessly in his barrel chest. And, just this week, the eruption of a Cheney family schism over marriage equality falls fortuitously on the eve of the holiday season, just as so many of us face our own uncomfortable family gatherings.

Almost every family contains a divide of some sort, papered over for gatherings by politesse or booze. It could be a simmering long-term dispute about team loyalties or political affiliations; it could be a snap debate over what movie to watch. My family has almost come to blows over bridge games; my father and his brother will probably never settle whether property and casualty insurance presents a greater actuarial challenge than life insurance. For the Cheney family, it’s that Liz Cheney doesn’t think her sister, Mary, who is married to another woman, should be equal under the law. “I do believe in the traditional definition of marriage,” Liz said on Fox News Sunday.

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Is Billionaire Guilt A New Trend?

Billionaire Guilt

The Article: Billionaire Guilt — Is It A Trend? by Rick Ungar in Forbes.

The Text: Billionaires willing to support policies that come at their own financial expense is nothing particularly new. People like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have long displayed a willingness to support policies that inur to the benefit of all Americans even when it might cost them a few bucks.

However, there is a new entry to the ranks of billionaires willing to speak the truth to the one-percenters at considerable expense of his own, sizable bank account—and he is someone who has been not only influenced the wealthy for many years but has also been responsible for making them a boatload of money.

More remarkably, he may be the first of his kind willing to admit that his good fortune has come at great cost to the American worker.

Bill Gross is the massively successful founder, managing director and co-CIO of PIMCO, the mega-bond fund that oversees nearly two trillion dollars worth of securities.

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When Pilgrims Privatized America

Pilgrims

The Article: When Pilgrims Privatized America by Andro Linklater in Bloomberg.

The Text: The 102 Pilgrims who sailed to the New World in 1620 were destined to be communists. Under the terms of their agreement with the Plymouth company, they were to work communally for the first seven years, ‘‘during which time, all profits & benefits that are got by trade, traffick, trucking, working, fishing or any other means … remaine still in ye comone stock.’’ After that time the proceeds would be shared with the investors in England.

The arrangement was particularly welcome to the tightly knit core of migrants united by the common experience of persecution by the Church of England. Their chief spokesman, Robert Cushman, condemned personal greed as ungodly, and pointed to the better example of the early Christian societies where property had been held ‘‘in common.’’

Arriving late in the year, they spent most of the first bitter winter living aboard ship, but when the 53 hardy souls who survived the disease that raged through the Mayflower dragged their weary bodies onshore in the springtime, the hard business of farming for the common good aroused little enthusiasm. ‘‘The young men, that were most able and fit for labour and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense,’’ William Bradford, their future governor, wrote. Only repeated whipping kept them at work.

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Wal-Mart Is An Economic Cancer On Our Cities

Walmart

The Article: Wal-Mart: An economic cancer on our cities by Charles Montgomery in Salon.

The Text: Most of us agree that development that provides employment and tax revenue is good for cities. Some even argue that the need for jobs outweighs aesthetic, lifestyle, or climate concerns—in fact, this argument comes up any time Walmart proposes a new megastore near a small town. But a clear-eyed look at the spatial economics of land, jobs, and tax regimes should cause anyone to reject the anything-and-anywhere-goes development model. To explain, let me offer the story of an obsessive number cruncher who found his own urban laboratory quite by chance.

Joseph Minicozzi, a young architect raised in upstate New York, was on a cross-country motorcycle ride in 2001 when he got sidetracked in the Appalachian Mountains. He met a beautiful woman in a North Carolina roadside bar and was smitten by both that woman and the languid beauty of the Blue Ridge region. Now they share a bungalow with two dogs in the mountain town of Asheville.

Asheville is, in many ways, a typical midsize American city, which is to say that its downtown was virtually abandoned in the second half of the twentieth century. Dozens of elegant old structures were boarded up or encased in aluminum siding as highways and liberal development policies sucked people and commercial life into dispersal. The process continued until 1991, when Julian Price, the heir to a family insurance and broadcasting fortune, decided to pour everything he had into nursing that old downtown back to life. His company, Public Interest Projects, bought and renovated old buildings, leased street-front space out to small businesses, and rented or sold the lofts above to a new wave of residential pioneers. They coached, coddled, and sometimes bankrolled entrepreneurs who began to enliven the streets. First came a vegetarian restaurant, then a bookstore, a furniture store, and the now-legendary nightclub, the Orange Peel.

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American Wars, Won And Lost

Afghanistan Iraq Wars

The Article: American Wars, Won And Lost by Steve Chapman in Reason.

The Text: On a recent visit to Moab, Utah, I saw a T-shirt with a picture of a Jeep stuck in a gap between two rock formations and a caption: “Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation.”

If you still brim with self-assurance despite hopelessly stranding your vehicle, you may have to repeat the mistake a few times before confidence yields to comprehension. That’s also the case with members of Congress and other fans of intervention who call on the Obama administration to use force in Syria or Iran.

They always make such ventures sound quick, low-risk and ordained to succeed. You can believe that, if you erase from your mind everything that’s happened in the American wars of the 21st century.

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