Tuesday, May 13, 2008

This American Life: Giant Pool of Money

I mentioned in a recent post (recent by number of posts, if not by date) that the radio show/podcast This American Life rocks. I continue to be right about that, and if you continue to ignore my advice to hook yourself up, I simply can't be held responsible.

This week's podcast is a great example, even though it's not like most shows. It's a co-production with NPR News: the story of the subprime lending crisis. Sounds boring, in a dry, economics-lesson kind of way, doesn't it? But it's not. It's quite great, actually. It's a mini documentary on all the crazy shit that went down and how it nearly ruined the global economy. It includes clear but not patronizing descriptions of why it happened, how it played out, and who it affected. From people getting half-million dollar loans when they don't have "a pot to piss in", to the mortgage broker partying with b-list celebrities and thousand-dollar bottles of Cristal, to the title character itself — The Giant Pool of Money — it's good stuff.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

New Book: Nixonland

Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America. Looks fascinating. Read Digby's story, then buy the book.
I believed we had reached a new sort of cultural and political consensus: the culture was liberal even if our politics were conservative. It made me feel naively confident that the culture war was some sort of phony problem that would eventually right itself as soon as we could defeat these awful conservatives who were stoking these unnatural resentments.

I was wrong about that. The culture war is real, not some sort of mistaken division created out of whole cloth by wily conservative politicians to gain office.