A win for science is a loss for spin classes, in this Nobel Prize special from the New York Times. / ResoluteSupportMedia
The Baffler,  October 5, 2015

Daily Bafflements

A win for science is a loss for spin classes, in this Nobel Prize special from the New York Times. / ResoluteSupportMedia


• “I’m sorry I can’t spin right now. I’ve won the Nobel Prize,” and other homely reminiscences of genius, lovingly collected by the Times, remind us of Tom Frank’s piece about the “Parable of the Phone Call,” which he calls “a cheap, lowbrow way of humanizing these people who otherwise stand so high above the rest of us.”

• The rich have long used disastrous events to their advantage. Rachel Riederer reviews John Mutter’s Disaster Profiteers in The New Republic, which reports that

of the nearly 1500 contracts awarded as part of the Haitian relief project, only 23 went to Haitian companies. Haitian companies received only 2.5% of the $195 million; much of the rest went to US contractors based in and around Washington DC, often through no-bid contracts.

• The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a goer, now it just needs to get through Congress. In July, Scott Beauchamp wrote on the Baffler blog that:

Not many on either the left or the right would consider the TPP a moral victory (the left because the treaty puts corporate interests above democracy, and the right because Obama supports it).

But it’s amazing what you can achieve in secret negotiations!

• Google embraces evil. OK, not quite. But it has changed its logo to “Do the right thing.”

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Further Reading

 June 11

He’s not a spook; he’s a dupe, and over decades of in-person interactions with the most powerful figures in both Russia and the U.S., he never seems to figure this out.

 June 8

Putin plays chess, not poker—short term material sacrifices can ensure a long term positional advantage. 

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