Daily Archives: March 22, 2013


Paul Krugman: Treasure Island Trauma

The New York Times has the article Treasure Island Trauma by Paul Krugman.

But it also reflects Cyprus’s own reluctance to accept the end of its money-laundering business; its leaders are still trying to limit losses to foreign depositors in the vain hope that business as usual can resume, and they were so anxious to protect the big money that they tried to limit foreigners’ losses by expropriating small domestic depositors. As it turned out, however, ordinary Cypriots were outraged, the plan was rejected, and, at this point, nobody knows what will happen.
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But step back for a minute and consider the incredible fact that tax havens like Cyprus, the Cayman Islands, and many more are still operating pretty much the same way that they did before the global financial crisis. Everyone has seen the damage that runaway bankers can inflict, yet much of the world’s financial business is still routed through jurisdictions that let bankers sidestep even the mild regulations we’ve put in place. Everyone is crying about budget deficits, yet corporations and the wealthy are still freely using tax havens to avoid paying taxes like the little people.

This is the kind of thing that happens when “little people” refuse to take the fall for the “big people.”

If we get Ed Markey as our next Senator, he can work with Elizabeth Warren to start making the “big people” pay the consequences for their greed.  Perhaps this way, we can prevent the destruction of that part of the international banking system that we, the “little people”, depend on.

Thanks to RichardH for sending the link to this article in response to my previous post Cyprus: Has the Next Phase of the Global Crisis Arrived?


Commentary: Sen. Rob Portman’s gay marriage ‘change of heart’

McClatchy DC has the article Commentary: Sen. Rob Portman’s gay marriage ‘change of heart’ by Leonard Pitts Jr.

But true compassion and leadership require the ability to look beyond the narrow confines of one’s own life, to project into someone else’s situation and to want for them what you’d want for your own. Portman’s inability to do that created hardship for an untold number of gay men and lesbians.

It never ceases to amaze me how the religiously oriented conservative Republicans can look into the mind of an imaginary God to figure out what he wants, but they cannot look into the mind of a fellow human being to figure out what he or she might want.

Perhaps my years of writing software, for other people to use, strengthened my ability to sometimes see the world through someone else’s eyes.  Sometimes, when designing software, it takes just a little extra effort to make it possible for the user to do something with the software that you don’t immediately see the use for.  An observer might come along (and often did) and say something like, “Why would someone ever want to be able to do that?”  After years of helping people use my software, I often found them doing imaginative things with the features that I had put in that I could never have anticipated in advance.  I guess this is not even being able to see the world through someone else’s eyes.  It is the ability to realize that my own imagination might fall short of what someone else might be able to imagine.  Unless there is a darn good reason, it is better not to close off opportunities that lead to freedom for someone else (or even yourself at another time).