What the world is reading

Don’t mourn for Detroit,says Matthew Yglesias

Written by Priyanka Kotamraju | Published: July 23, 2013 5:48 am

SLATE

GO BANKRUPT!

Don’t mourn for Detroit,says Matthew Yglesias. While decades of economic and population decline were circumstances that brought about Detroit’s decline,the bankruptcy itself is a step forward,according to him. Why do more local governments with fiscal problems not file for bankruptcy,asks Yglesias,adding that America’s laws have given easy access to corporations for reorganisation,and bankruptcy is seen as a valid strategic move. Consider American Airlines that declared bankruptcy in 2011 and has emerged a profitable company. “The municipal bankruptcy process is much more difficult,” writes Yglesias. “Even cities in financial distress rarely file for bankruptcy,and when they do,their petitions are often rejected.” Problems arise when politicians and mayors operate with short-term horizons,he says. Subsidised stadiums and convention centres may be good photo-ops but bad economic planning. If it were easier for cities to go bankrupt,cities would be better governed,says Yglesias.

ROLLING STONE

Jahar’s World

He was a kid from Cambridge. One of America’s most liberal towns where kids revel in their ethnic and economic diversity,weed culture and intellectual sophistication. He was a wrestler and boxer,a pothead and a diligent student. He was ‘the realest dude’,‘superchill’,say his friends who called him ‘Jahar’. ‘Apparently,he’s also a monster,’ his wrestling coach Peter Payack says,in disbelief,in The Rolling Stone cover that stirred up controversy for making Dzhokhar Tsarnaev look like a teen idol. “There were many things about Jahar that his friends and teachers didn’t know – something not unusual for immigrant children,who can live highly bifurcated lives,toggling back and forth between their ethnic and American selves,” writes Janet Reitman. The two years of Jahar’s life leading up to the bombing only occasionally revealed what he missed most,home. “His embrace of Islam also may have been driven by something more basic: a need to belong,” says Reitman.

GQ

Biden’s no joke

‘He wants to be the best vice president ever,’ says his staff. Rocking Ray-Ban aviators,Joe Biden makes 70 look like the new 60,writes Jeanne Marie Laskas. Last winter,whenever 2016 came up,it was all about Hillary. But then,Biden’s public stock began to rise. When Washington was hyperventilating on the fiscal cliff,Obama sent Biden in to broker a deal. Newton happened soon after,and Obama sent Biden to talk to the NRA. “In 2013,Biden has emerged more visibly potent than his boss,” says Laskas. But still,‘President Biden’ has a preposterous ring to it. “There’s a joke. Something fundamentally comical. That’s where the public starts with Biden. A Biden entrance can make the stuffiest event intimate,for an instant human and vaguely…funny,” writes Laskas. ‘I can die a happy man never having been president of the US,’ says Biden. “But that doesn’t mean he won’t run.”

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

racist-in-chief?

Last week,before the planned nationwide protests on the acquittal of George Zimmerman,US President Barack Obama made an unscripted 17-minute speech,“reigniting conservative criticisms that he is an advocate for identity politics rather than for national unity”,writes John Avlon. Obama said,‘Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. I think it’s important to recognise that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.’ By making that speech,Obama is paying a political price. “There is a residual discomfort when President Obama speaks as a member of the African-American community rather than as an entirely colour-blind Commander in Chief,” says Avlon. However,the conservative response calling him ‘racist’ is worth questioning,adds Avlon. “It is a reflexive form of political judo,pre-empting an anticipated play of the race card by instead calling the first Black president ‘racist’,attempting to claim the high ground while cloaked in wilful historical ignorance. It is also a version of blaming the victim.”

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