Talking To Terrorists, Teletubbies, Heinrich Himmler, Public Housing, Paul Krugman & Martin Wolf, En


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How To Talk To Terrorists

Jonathan Powell | Guardian | 7th October 2014

Tony Blair's former chief of staff draws lessons from Britain's negotiations with the IRA. Always be ready to talk to terrorists. You will have to in the end. "There is not going to be a miracle cure for terrorism and we should stop hoping one will turn up. The solution lies in the tools we already have in our hands – fighting and talking. Success depends on combining military force with offering a political way out" (4,640 words)

Outing Of Tinky Winky

Zachary Crockett | Priceonomics | 6th October 2014

A cultural history of Teletubbies, the wildly successful and deeply silly BBC television series made for toddlers in the 1990s, which proved unexpectedly controversial. Parents and pundits grumbled that the meandering plot had no educational value, and that two-year-olds should not be watching television in any case. "Then, the strangest accusation emerged: Tinky Winky, the purple teletubby, was gay" (3,160 words)

Heinrich Himmler, Family Man

Andrew O'Hehir | Salon | 3rd October 2014

The Decent One, a "profoundly disturbing" new documentary film about Heinrich Himmler, presents "apparently incompatible truths": As head of the Gestapo and the SS Himmler was "a monstrous war criminal, one of history’s very worst"; but his diaries and letters reveal "an apparently normal person who somehow screwed himself up to do these terrible things and suffered for it". He embodies Arendt's "banality of evil" (1,680 words)

The Rise And Fall Of Public Housing In NYC

Richard Price | Guernica | 1st October 2014

I admit it's not a particularly engaging title. But if you have enjoyed any of Price's novels — Clockers, Freedomland, Lush Life — you will approach this essay with high expectations, and they will not be be disappointed. The man knows his projects. The narrative here centres on the Parkside Houses in northern Bronx, where Price's family moved in 1951. "This was the beginning of public housing’s golden age" (4,000 words)

Why Weren’t The Alarm Bells Ringing?

Paul Krugman | New York Review Of Books | 6th October 2014

Krugman reviews Martin Wolf's book, The Shifts And The Shocks, about the causes and consequences of the 2008 financial crisis. Wolf provides a learned exposition of the conventional wisdom that the crash was caused by complacency, deregulation, and excessive debt. But the bigger question is why the crash has been followed by so long and deep a slump; and Wolf has no useful insights here, still less any remedies (3,000 words)

The Conversation That Matters Most

Atul Gawande | Slate | 6th October 2014

Doctor discusses end-of-life care, and managing death. You should not overload very sick people with technical choices; you have to find out what their remaining priorities are, and work with those as best you can. A patient may well prefer a quicker and easier death at home, over a life extended marginally by therapy or surgery in hospital. That's OK. Death is a normal part of life. Death is not a defeat for the doctor (2,620 words)

Video of the day: Like We Care About Sports

What to expect: Satire, sadly. What if we cared about the environment the way we do about sport?

Thought for the day

Politeness is organized indifference
Paul Valéry (https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/141425.Paul_Val_ry)

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