WHAT THEY’RE READING IN MOSCOW
Sam P: “Just saw someone reading The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need on the Metro here in Moscow. Tough times here, if they’re turning to you.”
☞ Fifty-one years ago I was riding the Moscow subway, startling passengers with a smile and (in terrible Russian), “Guess where we’re from?” (I was with a 17-year-old friend, slightly my senior, who would go on to get kicked out of Princeton and eventually found Myriad Genetics.) “The moon?” they were thinking, but generally guessed “Germany?” — which was as far away as they could imagine a foreigner being from. “New York!” I would tell them, and then start asking insanely personal questions (“how much do you earn? how big is your apartment?”) as I tried to make sense of this fascinating socio-economic experiment called “the road to communism.” I returned from three months behind the Iron Curtain much less sure we had everything right (well, for example, the unpleasantness in Mississippi) and much less sure they had everything wrong . . . and here we are, a few years later, with someone on that same subway reading how to save money buying in bulk, on sale, and investing in equally-weighted index funds.
Following on that must-read Atlantic Monthly story is this Laurence O’Donnell clip, near the end of which ISIS’s planned End of Days route of march — to Damascus and then Jerusalem — is revealed. First step in any fight: understanding the enemy.
Nice guy! But you know his demonstrated domestic governing priorities (cut taxes on the rich, cut drug treatment programs for the prison population). And here is another Laurence O’Donnell clip in which he addresses foreign policy. If you liked the last eight Bush years, you may very well want eight more.
SONG OF THE CENTURY
Evy MacPhee: “I didn’t know this story.”
☞ I didn’t either. Or that searing song — named by Time in 1999 “the song of the century.”
Oh, the struggles of the last century! The two world wars, communism’s tyranny (following czarist tyrany), the lynchings, the union-busting, Apartheid, Mao’s cultural revolution, Vietnam, Pol Pot . . . and so it goes, as we keep looking for ways to live with each other — and, now, our planet.
In many ways — easy as it is to miss in the moment — we’ve made enormous progress.
And in many ways, “it’s been going on for 10,000 years” (to quote another searing song).
Quote of the Day
Money is a singular thing. It ranks with love as man’s greatest source of joy. And with death as his greatest source of anxiety. Over all history it has oppressed nearly all people in one of two ways: either it has been abundant and very unreliable, or reliable and very scarce.~John Kenneth Galbraith, The Age of Uncertainty
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