Dayens News Roundup from April 2, 2012

By: Tuesday April 3, 2012 6:15 am

Dayen’s new’s roundup from Monday, April 2, 2012, including stories about the Affordable Care Act, President Obama, Supreme Court, Paul Ryan, student loan debt, Eurozone, State AGs, housing market, Bill Clinton, Thomas Frank, Keith Olbermann, Sarah Palin and more.


FDL Book Salon Welcomes Thomas Frank, Pity the Billionaire: The Hard Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right

By: Sunday February 19, 2012 1:59 pm

I look upon Tom Frank as a political behaviorist with a healthy sense of the humor and an even healthier sense of the absurd, the latter of which works with the former the way an afterburner works on a fighter jet. His great gift is to look at us first, before getting around to looking at how we come to order ourselves in our society and govern ourselves in our politics, if it can even be said that we govern ourselves in our politics any more, which I would contend is a matter of some debate.

Anyway, to me, Tom’s great gift always has been to look at the influences behind millions of individual decisions that add up to the collective experience of at least the appearance of political self-government. Reading Tom’s work, and reading his assessment of the political malpractice we sometimes inflict on ourselves, I am reminded of an entry in the voluminous diary of Ignatius Donnelly, great American crank, former Minnesota congressman, virtual inventor of modern pseudo-science, creator of everything we think we know about Atlantis, and intellectual amanuensis of my own book, Idiot America. Once, while defending his own work, he wrote in his journal — “I believe I am right. Or, if not right, at least plausible.”

Tribal Loyalty and the Corporatist Agenda: It’s Not Just for Republicans Any More

By: Monday March 29, 2010 9:30 am

When we pointed out that this is in fact what the bill does, Ezra dismissed it as “helping activists kill the bill” rather than “actually informing anyone about what is in the bill.” According to Ezra, “the restriction here is not on the right to choose, but on whether primary insurance covers abortion.” Therefore, since the goal of the bill is not restricting a woman’s right to choose, the fact that it does so anyway is just a coincidence and therefore not a valid reason to object to the bill’s passage.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Barbara Ehrenreich, Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America

By: Sunday November 22, 2009 2:00 pm

When I lived in Chicago in the Nineties, I used to listen for kicks to an AM radio station that broadcast nothing but recordings of motivational speakers all day long. The idea, as I understood it, was to provide a sort of service to the itinerant salesman, whom Barbara Ehrenreich describes as “lonely and wounded” but still required to “pick himself up and generate fresh enthusiasm for the next customer, the next city, the next rejection.” By listening to a string of these three or four minute pep talks, the city’s sales force would be able to psyche themselves up to face their next prospect. As for the station’s content, it was pretty much unrelenting sunshine, megadoses of motivation; the main feature distinguishing the various speakers was the homemade theory or idea with which they had souped up the great American idea of positive thinking: Not just positive thinking but positive envisioning. Happy Bible verses. Tricks to make yourself seem like an optimistic person. Words whose letters actually stood for other words that, taken together, were really, really awesome.

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