Monday, October 12, 2009

This is what I read this weekend... sometimes out loud

How Taylor Branch decides to spend hours with Clinton in the White House, and then produces this magnificent tome. Chapter two of The Clinton Tapes

The New Yorker had an overview of Larry Summers career and what it means that Obama has picked him as the head of the NEC. This excerpt was worth reading out loud. This is even more provocative than the certain comment he made over a decade later as President of Harvard.

"At the World Bank, in 1991, Summers’s penchant for provocation had led him to sign a memo written by a subordinate, which argued—in a tone that was meant to be outrageous, in the hope of stimulating debate—that developed countries should ship their pollution to the Third World. “The economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest-wage country is impeccable,” the memo said, citing the mutual benefits of such an arrangement between developed and undeveloped countries (one group had lots of waste; the other needed ways to make money). It was the kind of argument that would thrill a college debater but which in the world of public policy can be a killer. The so-called “toxic memo” was leaked to the press in 1992, precipitating an avalanche of outrage from columnists and environmentalists. Al Gore, the incoming Vice-President, made it clear that Summers was not welcome in the new White House."

Read the article to learn about what he told Cornel West to make him flee Harvard for Princeton. Just as good as the juice above.

Chapter 2 of The Given Day. The first chapter was read at an airport a year ago. It describes the scene during the first world war of Babe Ruth's train breaking down, and he finds a group of African-Americans playing pick-up. He joins. For me, a year later, the second chapter is set in South Boston. The police, like today, were not paid enough and needed to have intramural boxing matches to raise funds.

The first chapter of Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography, describes his fallout with his brother. His brother had started one of Boston's first newspapers, but Franklin was excluded, for being too young. He ended up falling out of graces with his publisher brother, and painfully details his horrific, yet character building, travels to Philadelphia. The rest is history, inventions, government, and enterprise.

Worthy enough to note-

Gusman finally gets the media tongue lashing he deserves and Next American City recaps the Feast in NYC

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