Matt Yglesias asks: "What's the deal with banks that are too big to fail?"
I could get on board with this as a general principle. The devil, of course, as always, is in the details.
I think this has got to be the right answer. I recall seeing a cooking show on TV a year or so ago, in which firefighters in New York and Chicago were given head-to-head taste tests of one anothers' pizza. Not surprisingly, the New York firefighters preferred New York pizza while the Chicagoans preferred Chicago. Ulitmately, a control group of firefighters from L.A. (I think), were brought in, and they cast their lot with New York.
As for me, I liked Chicago pizza long before I moved to Chicago. Pizzaria Uno was available as a chain in Connecticut when I was in college, and I was able to order it when I lived in Boston as well. It was vastly preferable, to my pallate to the other options available.
Now that I actually live here though, I have to admit to having become a bit jaded. As a special treat, I'll still take a Chicago deep dish any day, but when we order as a family, we've got to go for the thin crust (which, if nothing else, is better for my arteries!).
That said, if I had to choose, in the city of Chicago, I say the best pizza is Pequod's on N. Clybourne. It's got a nice crispy crust.
Have you seen this bizarre commercial for Korean Air?
According to this site, it's an example of "sensory marketing," but to me it reminds me of nothing so much as Homer Simpson's ill-fated "Mr. Plow" Commercial.
Now that we've got a genuinely progressive political leadership for the first time in decades, conservatives are doing their best to promote the proposition that FDR's New Deal was a failure. Witness, for example, George Will's remarks on the subject (via Steve Benen):
Paul Krugman to the rescue!
As Benen notes: "The lesson to be learned, then, is to be bolder and deliver a more expansive recovery through a more aggressive stimulus."
Bonus YouTube Clip: Krugman personally stomping on Will on This Week:
From today's New York Times:
The Vatican, however, denies that this means that the Pope is rejecting dialogue with other faiths:
The article goes on to suggest that the point, from the Pope's perspective, is to make such dialogue less theoretical:
Well, it remains to be seen what all of this means. But assuming that the quotes are accurate, it leaves me in some perplexity. What does it mean to say that "interfaith dialogue" is "not possible" without putting one's faith in "parentheses"? I mean really, what does it mean? It sounds like nonsense on its face, and clearly needs elaboration before I can even tell if it makes sense on a basic level.
But if I am understanding the Pope's words correctly, he seems to be referring to that approach to religious dialogue in which participants talk from outside of their faith traditions, not dealing from or with the specifics of their differing traditions. This approach has certainly been commonly practiced over the years, but is by no means the only, nor is it clearly the best, possible approach.
Far better, I think, is an approach to interreligious dialogue that deals directly with religious difference as a starting point for conversation, rather than something to be avoided. In this way, dialogue then becomes an opportunity for mutual enlightenment, rather than an elaborate act of evasion.
However, the latter part of the article makes me think that the earlier quotes may not indeed have been well-represented If what the Pope is talking about is the establishment of a more direct approach to interreligious engagement, then that I'm all for, but it will require a more in depth examination of the Pope's intent to tell for sure what he meant.
Yes, we're back to that again.
Christianity Today has a roundup of Christian discussion on the issue in the wake of the release of a transcript of an interview between the President-Elect and Cathleen Falsani, which was also printed on Christianity Today's website. The key issue motivating the interrogation of Obama's religion has to do with his statements about such issues as the identity of Jesus Christ and the nature of salvation:
Now, there is Obama being as frank and thoughtful about religious issues as any President of the past 30 years. One might think that such willingness to speak thoughtfully about one's religion would be welcomed by Chrisitians, even if they would disagree on some of the relevant details of particular doctrines with Obama.
One would be wrong:
There are a number of more sympathetic responses, but many of them (and this is even truer in the comments section), begin from a premise of skepticism about Obama's professed faith.
Coupled with the "Is Obama the AntiChrist?" article that Newsweek, bafflingly, chose to run a week or so ago, it seems like questioning Obama's faith has become a cottege industry.
Why this should be is a matter of some perplexity to me. If Obama had rested on such empty Piety's as George Bush's "Jesus changed my heart," we wouldn't be having this conversation, despite the fact that nobody has ever really plumbed the question of what, theologically, it meant to Bush to have his heart changed by Jesus, and despite the fact that, given the evidence of his Presidency, it meant exactly zero ethically.
Obama's mistake, then, seemed to be to actually take the questions seriously and attempt to answer them. A shrewdly dishonest politician would have attempted to answer the questions with the "right" answers (that is to say, ones that comport with what evangelical Chritians believe the right answers to be), and to give a strictly Niceano-Chalcedonian answer to the question of Christ's identity. By grappling with a deep theological mystery honestly, and coming up with a not-clearly-orthodox answer, Obama has thus been shunted into the outer darkness.
Let's get real about this: Most Christians, liberal as well as evangelical, could probably not give a theologically coherent answer to these questions. The exception would be those who were catechised to within an inch of their lives, but even there, knowing the notes doesn't mean you understand the music.
Furthermore, as some have suggested, the identity of Christ is a mystery even to the church. The credal formulations are human attempts to make theological sense of this mystery, but aren't unquestionable descriptions of an obviously clear phenomenon.
Beyond that, most of the first Christians wouldn't have been "orthodox" according to the standards to which Obama is being held, since it took hundreds of years for the church to develop the Nicano-Constantinopolitan definition of Christ's identity. Being in conformity with it is not a measure of whether on is or is not Christian, though it does say something about one's theological education and sophisticiation.
It's foolish to hold non-theologians and non-religious professionals to this standard, and it's unnecessary. It is in confession of Christ, not a particular understanding of what that means theologically, that Christianity is contained. Theological arguments are perpetual and often arcane. It's not even clear that Constantine knew what he was endorsing at Nicea.
In the end, Slacktivist's answer to the question is the right one:
"Automotive workers make $73 and hour."
Stop and think about that sentence for about ten seconds. Does it sound right to you? Of course not! That's because it's completely false. At Matt Yglesias observes:
It's the latest cannard made up by conservatives in this country in order to lay our current woes at the feet of workers and their unions. In other words, in a crisis caused by corporate mismanagement fully attributable to corporate executives making millions of dollars, the blame is being laid on ordinary people who are just trying to get by from month to month with their families and their credit ratings intact.
Here are the facts:
Hmm. Interesting. Why then, where does this $70/hour figure come from?
You see how that works? You divvie up the total cost of covering all employees, both current and past, among the number of current employees, and that's how you arrive at that fiture.
In an era of scuzzy attacks, this ranks among the scuzzier, because its seeking to take advantage of the people who are most likely to be harmed by the auto industry tanking, and wrest concessions from them on the wholly fictional grounds that they are radically overadvantaged in terms of benefits compared to Detroits competitors!
And, let's be clear, that's not true either:
This is, I repeat, not the fault of the workers, but of the management, for making business decisions on the basis of faulty assumptions. Yglesias again:
The take-away from this is two-fold: First, the crisis in the automotive industry will, if we allow it, be used as an excuse to bust the UAW. Second, given the enormous overhead the auto industry is currently carrying, one of the biggest favors we can do for them as a country, in addition to any bailout that ultimatley gets agreed to, is to pass universal health care and take those health costs off of the Big Threes' books.