Wednesday News Links and General Repartee


A stroll through the daily newsphere on a slow news-day looks like this:

While RealClearPolitics gives you the same stuff about Obama beating up the GOP, Susan Rice trying to get nominated, more Obamacare, and more “fiscal cliff” looming talks, we’ll try to stir it up a bit and see what else is out there.


Richard Florida argues in the NYDailyNews that we should resist the “casinoization” of our cities, particularly Manhattan where casino interests are trying to move NY lawmakers to allow up to seven new full-scale private casinos. The first one would be on the on the site of the Jacob K. Javits Center on the West Side.

This “casinoization” of just about everywhere has been going on for some time. Three decades ago, only three American cities — Las Vegas, Reno and Atlantic City — had casinos. Today, gambling is legal in more than 40 states, and roughly 2,000 gambling venues can be found across America.

Gambling generates about $90 billion in revenues annually, a figure that is projected to expand to $115 billion by 2015. A third of this flows from casinos.

For politicians, casino money is a powerful allure. Casinos offer a potent triple whammy of big ground-breakings; new jobs in construction, hospitality and gaming tables; and substantial new sources of public revenue. “[I]t’s important to look at other sources other than taxing people to death,” Florida City’s Mayor Otis Wallace (whose city just proposed a 25-acre horse racing, jai alai and casino complex), told the Miami Herald.


Great article in The Economist on the plight of newly grads in China. If we think we’ve got it bad, take a look at these stats:

On November 25th the national civil-service examinations will take place, and about 1.4m people will sit them, 20 times more than a decade ago. Of that number, only 20,800 will be hired by government (millions more sit the equivalent provincial exams with similarly long odds of being hired). This increase is due in part to a surge in the number of university students entering an intensely competitive market for jobs—nearly 7m graduated this year, compared with 1.5m a decade ago.

But the best part is this portrayal of a typical 27 year old looking for work.

Zhang Minfu does not have a Ferrari or a mistress. He does not even have a girlfriend. In fact, he is a sobering example of just what is awaiting many of those hopeful applicants. Mr Zhang (not his real name) is bespectacled, with chubby cheeks, his sleeves rolled up as he eats dinner and chain-smokes. The cigarettes are an unglamorous provincial brand and his mobile phone is a low-end Nokia. He owns no flat and, he says, does not have much of a life outside his work.

Man, that is a seriously dreadful life for Mr. Zhang.


Two out of place articles by Fox News (Fair & Balanced) protecting US Science before it falls of Fiscal Cliff and reporting that NASA could be looking to a Mars outpost in the not-so-distant future.

In movie news, both Albert Hunt of Bloomberg and Doyle McManus (LATimes) try to compare the new Lincoln movie to current day DC. Hunt loved the movie and has a great editorial on how Lincoln was the master bargainer of his day and Obama should follow. McManus also has a nice comparison between what Lincoln and Obama said and what they did:

In fact, though, Obama offered his views on Lincoln last year. In response to criticism that he hadn’t fought hard enough for the things he believed in, Obama cited Lincoln’s tactical flexibility.

“I think it’s fair to say that Abraham Lincoln had convictions. But he constantly was making concessions and compromises,” Obama told voters at a 2011 town meeting.

He then noted that Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation didn’t free all the slaves, and that even the subsequent 13th Amendment, the subject of Spielberg’s film, was only a partial step on the road to civil rights.

“If Abraham Lincoln could make some compromises as part of governance, then surely we can make some compromises when it comes to handling our budget,” Obama said.

Of course, that was the Obama of 2011, only months after the Republican tsunami of the 2010 congressional election. In those days, it looked as if the country had taken a sharp turn to the right. Obama’s reelection was far from reassured, and the Senate was widely expected to fall into Republican hands in 2012.

But that’s not what happened. Obama fought back and won reelection, more or less by sticking to his guns — as Lincoln did in 1864. And the Democrats, to their surprise, gained two seats in the Senate.


Finally, in current day DC, NH Senator Kelly Ayotte is going to block any nominee for Sec. of State. Chris Christie gets 77% of New Jerseyans to like him, and Andrew Cuomo says Sandy is bigger than Katrina.


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