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Paine in love

By Owen Paine on Thursday March 11, 2010 10:42 PM

There is something all too twisted in me. Take my new heartthrob, the rather aquiline Catherine Rampell. I find her as entrancing as a glass case full of birthday cakes, and she works for Father Smiff's NYT, no less -- in fact, she edits their online econ-con efforts, and writes stuff too, like this, f'rinstance:

"Rather than obsessing over Washington’s rubbery backbones, perhaps we should find ways to align the interests of the country with those of the politicians who are guiding it. Put another way, how can we get politicians elected on a short-term basis to think about the long-term good of the country?...

Historically, fiscal crises have followed financial crises [yup, like the one we just had], so now is probably the time to start planning.... It has been difficult to spook Americans too much because it has been so blissfully long since we had a budget crisis; the last time the government technically defaulted on its debt was during the Great Depression.

Alas, we don’t have a color-coded alert system to warn us about our fiscal condition.

We do, however, have credit rating agencies. Moody’s recently warned that it might downgrade America’s top-notch sovereign credit rating, which could alarm the markets and eventually make it harder for the government to borrow. Once upon a time it seemed we needed the government to save the financial markets; perhaps now it is the financial markets that will keep the government in line."

Pardon me while I swoon in a puddle of thwarted desire and enraged masochism.

Now here's one for my darker side:

"The question of why so many Jews have been so good at making money is a touchy one...From Aristotle through the Renaissance (and then again in the 19th century, thanks to that Jew-baiting former Jew Karl Marx), thinkers believed that money should be considered sterile, a mere means of exchange incapable of producing additional value. Only labor could be truly productive, it was thought, and anyone who extracted money from money alone — that is, through interest — must surely be a parasite, or at the very least a fraud...

Lending at interest was thus forbidden across Christian Europe — for Christians. Jews, however, were permitted by the Roman Catholic Church to charge interest; since they were going to hell anyway, why not let them help growing economies function more efficiently? (According to Halakha, or Jewish law, Jews were not allowed to charge interest to one another, just to gentiles.)...

The exorbitant interest rates they charged — sometimes as high as 60 percent — only fed the fury. But considering the economic climate, such rates probably made good business sense: capital was scarce, and lenders frequently risked having their debtors’ obligations canceled or their own assets arbitrarily seized by the crown...

This early, semi-exclusive exposure to finance, coupled with a culture that valued literacy, abstract thinking, trade and specialization (the Babylonian Talmud amazingly presaged Adam Smith’s paradigmatic pin factory), gave Jews the human capital necessary to succeed in modern capitalism. It also helped that Judaism, unlike many strains of Christianity, did not consider poverty particularly ennobling...

For centuries, poverty, paranoia and financial illiteracy have combined into a dangerous brew — one that has made economic virtuosity look suspiciously like social vice, [inspiring] resentment among history’s economic also-rans."

... And she went to Andover and Princeton and grew up in South Florida -- as she sez, "the New York part".

I may die with her image swimming past my unshut eyes.

Comments (21)


I'm curious about all this "abstract thought" in mediaeval Jewish intellectual culture. Who's she thinking of, I wonder? And what does she think "abstract" means?

I'd've said it was the other way around -- you don't get much more abstract than Aquinas and Duns Scotus, and what little I know of mediaeval Jewish thought is comparatively and refreshingly concrete. But perhaps someone can elighten me?

Also, gotta love the preciseness of the phrase "Roman Catholic Church" in discussing the Middle Ages. As opposed to...?

Ms Rampell has all the right signs for qualifying as a Stepford Meritocrat. She reminds me of quite a few young ladies I used to know in my corporate life, and others like her are the inspiration for Amber Milgram.


OK, off topic... but check this out from the Great Orange Satan:

"Dennis Kucinich may rather make common cause with the GOP and Rush Limbaugh, but sane progressives have to realize that this is a step forward"

Whoa... now that is admirably evil.

I mean, artistically evil in an operatic sort of over the top evil kind of way. Impressive.


MJS, my guess is that this is who she is alluding to:


Random thoughts:

Usury dependent systems are preferable to chattel slavery and war of conquest, that is, incentive motivation is preferable to the goad, carrot better than stick. But can the two modalities be distinguished in the historical record? Yes, only if minions can be distinguished from victims. Thus merit.

Were the pyramids built with money borrowed from Jews as suggested (almost) by the illustration with link #2?

"the human capital necessary to succeed in modern capitalism"
Modern capitalism as 'field', like plastic surgery or concert pianism.



"Modern capitalism as 'field'"

that captures our gal here quite compactly

but scram...she's mine mate ....all mine



link ran afoul some dodgey mjs patch work
no doubt

second try


geez this snap
caught me on the old cell phone
to my "domestic partner"



this has the makings
of a owen's own
stations of the "double cross "

kinda doppledanger inverted passion tableau

ah the ike-zeit
when a genteeeeell 'bad boy'
could dream of frat house
panty raids ....
and coarse bestiality

hunter thompson uber alles !!!!


You like aquiline? I'll give you aquiline.


If the "doppledanger (sic and sic) inverted passion tableau" film still were snapped today, what would be done about the (very obvious) missing peanuts (noun singular)?


boink not to play mjs's role resident
school master
but that blessed formation
is a roman or hooked nose i think

and yet she do move me
in a kind of high c shattered glass sorta way


the ken like 'tackle vacuity '
is quite emblematic
of a higher implicit smut count
i note the riper varient seems more promising basket wise
i note on that note
the focus in all cases here
on the ritual love objects
cherishable aspects
not the ravisher's
is ...well ...noble


re: quote #2

How early do they start drilling that stuff into their heads?

I have some friends who are secular/reform Jewish, but when the subject of Judaism and/or Israel comes up it's like some sort of mental short circuit. The disconnect between their intelligence and general political stance versus the positions they take on Israel and the bizarre social-darwinist theories of race that they espouse is so glaring that I can only make sense of it by assuming heavy brainwashing at a young age.

Recently I was listening to an old speech from a very smart guy (kind of a Bruce Greenwald type of character) when part way through he gets on the subject of "standing apart from the crowd, sticking to your ethics in the face of opposition". Who does he pick to illustrate the point? Galileo? Ghandi? Nope. Joe fucking Lieberman on invading Iraq.

There is simply no way that this guy could actually be stupid enough to believe that Joe Lieberman is principled in any way, yet he does. My only explanation is that the Israel issue clouds his judgement due to heavy indoctrination at a young age.


the phenomenon in question boink
is called the bullwinkle displacement

exhibit A:


speaking of ward and scott et al

an early obsession of mine




let (s)he who is without ideo-ethnic malformations cast the first gas chamber




Yes, "I stand as on a mighty eagle's beak"

MY Wiki says: "the Latin word aquilinus ("eagle-like"), a reference to the curved beak of an eagle."

What does YOURS say?


In other news, so as to begin the weekend smiling, from the UK Independent website, an interesting disclaimer from Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, former head of MI5:

In her speech, highly critical of the US's conduct during the war on terror, the former secret service chief implied that the leadership in Washington was inspired by watching the TV espionage thriller 24. She said: "Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld certainly watched 24". Dame Eliza said: "The Americans were very keen that people like us did not discover what they were doing." She insisted that she had been unaware of what was going on until her retirement in 2007. (after which retirement her access to sensitive intelligence seems to improved significantly, or, perhaps, she simply had more time to read the newspaper.)

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