Category Archives: Thomas Piketty

Hot Air

Another Reason To Go On Living

Happy National Red Wine Day! [h/t to Jan Takehara.]

Coppola Rosso

My Personal Fave

BTW: Here’s a list of 10 Red Wines for Life’s Biggest Problems. And you thought there was no hope left.

Dismal

Perhaps the biggest deal in book publishing this year was the release of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century.

Being a study of economics, it normally wouldn’t have been read by any more than, oh, seven or eight people on the planet — that is, until Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman raved about it. Next thing you know, every liberal worth her or his Prius was dashing down to the bookstore to cop a copy.

Me? I haven’t read the thing. It’s economics, right? I’d rather sear the jelly in my eyeballs with a red hot ice pick than read an economics tome. Loyal Pencillista David Paglis once insisted I read a book by the conservative economist Friedrich Hayek. I tried — I swear — I tried. If I say I got through 50 pages I’ll burn in hell for crossing the 9th Commandment. Economics is not known as the Dismal Science for nothing. Besides, Hayek is a darling of Randists and free marketeers who worship elegant theory and formula and rarely, if ever, concern themselves with trivial things like the needs of human beings.

In any case, Piketty argues that the world’s dough is being hoarded by a tiny fraction of its population. Not only that, uber-rich folk are passing their cash down to their kids, thereby insuring that it won’t find its way into the hands of starving kids in west Africa and other unfortunates in the foreseeable future. Piketty also throws in piles of mathematical equations like r > g, which means…, um, hell, I have no goddamned idea what it means.

More important: I don’t care.

Anyway, we could hardly keep Capital… in stock at the Book Corner, so eager were customers to get their hands on it. My educated guess is not five percent of purchasers actually read the book. Like Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, it’s the bestseller that nobody read and now serves only as an interior design accoutrement.

Capital

Obviously A Staged Photo

Of course, that was then. We now are stuck with four big copies of Piketty’s 700-page epic. They are collecting dust some seven months after it was published.

Piketty’s ponderings, natch, generated about as much criticism as love. In fact, richer-than-god Bill Gates penned a review on his blog the other day. He says he agrees with much of P.’s argument. But, acc’d’g to Bill, wealth inequality is not necessarily the worst thing in the world. It’s a nuanced argument and worth a read, even if Gates does make mention of the dreaded r > g equation. Ugh.

Once you’re finished with that, scoot over to Al Jazeera America for a rebuttal. It’s all a rollicking good time.

Fitting brain candy, I might say, for such a gray day. Just hide the razor blades and don’t turn the oven gas on.

Logical Leaps

Speaking of wealth, Jimmy John Liautaud seems to be the poster boy for the evil rich these days on the interwebs. Folks probably are getting bored with hating on the Koch Bros. — even if they are among the most odious life forms in this solar system. Liautaud’s the boss over at Jimmy John’s Franchise LLC system of sandwich joints. His mug has been all over laptop screens of late for his co.’s ridiculous employee non-compete agreement as well as his propensity to blow the brains out of magnificent critters.

Jimmy John Safari

 

Jimmy John

Jimmy John

Jimmy John

 

Jimmy John And Some Formerly Living Creatures

Little known is the fact that Liautaud has been a big contributor to scary Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The Phoenix New Times a few years ago ran a story about a questionably-legal soft money organization that bankrolled a mean-spirited and disingenuous ad campaign against a challenger to the popular-but-lunatic sheriff. Liautaud gave $10,000 to the org.

Funny, isn’t it, how you can make certain assumptions about folks based on just one of their actions? Like it makes tons o’sense that a guy who digs posing proudly with the corpses of elephants, elk, and tigers might be a financial backer of a law enforcement official who makes Charles Bronson in the Death Wish series look milquetoast-y.

Or that he’d try to screw over his own employees (not that non-compete agreements are worth the paper they’re printed on, but still….)

Or even that his products are to submarine sandwiches as Domino’s is to pizza.

 

Hot Air

Sterling Trey-dux

Talk about mixed emotions. My immediate reaction to the NBA’s lifetime exile of Donald Sterling was one of elation.

Yesterday, league commissioner Adam Silver symbolically drew his forefinger across his throat and thus the fate of the racist, reptilian owner of the LA Clippers was sealed. Goodbye, Donnie boy. Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.

Silver/Sterling

Silver To Sterling: Beat It

Then again, Sterling — although a loathsome warthog — was done in by being secretly tape recorded in his own home (apparently). If so, we’ve got official sanctions coming down now due to the growing culture of surveillance and for the crime of thought. I don’t like any of that one bit.

And, in the end, isn’t that life? Nothing is pure and we take what we can get even if it stinks to high heaven.

Better Than NPR

Hah! We beat the pants and skirts off the national news gang at NPR.

Yep, only this morning did NPR discover Thomas Piketty. The Pencil, in case you didn’t know, told you about the French economist and latest rage in the bookselling world, Friday.

Hmm. I wonder if NPR reporters and producers are regularly scanning The Pencil for leads. If not, they ought to.

Anyway, I insist WFIU’s Will Murphy and Annie Corrigan begin using the following tagline each morning:

The news every morning on Bloomington’s NPR station, WFIU. Second only to The Electron Pencil.

It’s only fair, no?

Murphy

Murphy: Golly, I wish I Could Work For The Pencil

Real Death Sentences

We haven’t talked much about capital punishment in recent years. There’ve been far more important issues like Miley Cyrus’s tongue, Barack Obama’s birth certificate, death panels, guns, gays and, natch, god.

But the State of Oklahoma whacked a guy last night. The job was far sloppier than any performed by the dedicated professionals of the Chicago Outfit over the years. Using a new “cocktail” of dope, OK executioners attempted to send one Clayton Lockett to what they considered his just deserts. Rather than play his part according to script, Lockett instead twitched and spasmed and agonized for some three quarters of an hour before, behind a closed curtain, prison officials dispatched him properly.

Lockett, of course, was dark-skinned; as you know, white people rarely commit capital crimes. His icing was so botched that Oklahoma authorities decided to deny themselves the pleasure of another execution, scheduled for this afternoon, to make sure they can do it without forcing innocents to watch a man die while flailing about.

We can’t have that.

Weird, isn’t it? Just 20 years or so ago, capital punishment was one of the biggest controversies in this holy land. Now? Hell, we kill guys so routinely that executions only make news when the job is pooched.

Just a little info about the Guv of the great state o’Oklahama. As you know, it’s the governor who’s the final arbiter in the process of any state-sanctioned offing. Yesterday, it was Mary Fallin, the Republican boss of the state, who gave the thumbs down. Republicans traditionally have been gung ho for cap. pun. while Dems most often call for all criminals to be allowed to freely rape and murder your daughters.

At least that’s the way I read many GOP arguments for the ultimate time-out.

Fallin

Fallin

Fallin is a real piece of work, even more remarkable than, say, Sarah Palin. While Palin generally talks as though she’s under the combined influence of PCP and psychosis, at least she quit her job as Alaska governor years ago. Fallin, meanwhile, still steers the ship of OK.

Gov. F. just this month signed into law a bill she championed, banning OK cities from instituting minimum wage standards higher than the federal gov’t’s. See, she doesn’t want her state’s cities to get all liberal like Barack Osama Stalin Obama. And, besides, minimum wage earners, in her fairy tale world, don’t need raises.

Wait, as they say on TV, there’s more.  Late last year, Fallin issued an order cutting off all spousal benefits for National Guard members, lest those who are gay might insist their sexually sick and criminal partners get same.

Neat, huh?

Happy killing, Mary.

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