Gah! Too much to blog, but here are some links to interesting things I've read today.
"America’s Riveting Democracy," Roger Cohen, New York Times. Why are American elections so fascinating to the rest of the world?
One reason, of course, is that the convening of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist party or the selection of a European Commission president, big events in ascendant China and coalescing Europe, are hardly ready for prime time. A gaggle of guys in suits make soporific footage.
There’s nothing like bureaucracy to make democracy look thrilling. Beijing and Brussels won’t hold primaries soon. Nor will Moscow, with its Putin-to-Putin hand-over already scripted. “We the people” is a phrase alien to these capitals.
"Plan for independent store nets prize," Joyce Shelby, New York Daily News: Brooklyn is crazy. (Also, crazy delicious.)
"It's not impossible for an independent bookstore to survive, even when large chains are nearby," said Stockton-Bagnulo, 29, of Park Slope.... The [$15,000] grand prize means it will take a lot less time to open the business that Stockton-Bagnulo, who works as an events coordinator at McNally Robinson Booksellers in Manhattan, envisions - "a small bookstore with a cafe, a wine bar, lots of wood and lots of brick."
She's now looking for investors for a store in Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Windsor Terrace or Prospect Heights.
"I want to go to a neighborhood that needs a bookstore and can support one," she said.
"It's the Housing Market Deflation," William H. Gross, The Washington Post:
Our economic problem today resembles the Japanese property market crisis of the 1990s. What’s needed is not just $600 checks that will flow into Wal-Mart (and then to the Chinese) but an expanded Federal Housing Administration program offering below-market, 30-year mortgage refinancings with minimal down payments, which the private market and Bernanke cannot provide. Republican orthodoxy seems so intent on curtailing the past abuses of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that some politicians are looking past a government agency solution in their own back yard. Housing and our finance-based market mania got us into this mess. Housing and government-based financial solutions must begin to get us out of it.
"What a frankly political campaign ad might look like," Jeff Greenfield, Slate:
—I'm Janet Napolitano, Democratic governor of Arizona—a state Bush won twice.
—I'm Kathleen Sebelius, Democratic governor of Kansas—a state Bush won twice.
—I'm Claire McKaskill, Democratic Senator from Missouri—a state Bush won twice.
If Al Gore had won any of our states in 2000, there never would have been a Bush presidency. Instead, Democrats lost the last two presidential elections because our candidates couldn't compete in our states, and too many others.
Any Democrat can win in your deep blue state. But to win the White House, we need someone who can win our states, too. We believe that candidate is Barack Obama.