By Felix Salmon
January 5, 2011

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“You want to believe these are real questions, given that Business Insider feels like such a reputable source” — Technology Woman

“In Canada 80% of postdocs earn $38,600 or less per year—the average salary of a construction worker.” — Economist

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is all about plain English. So why is its press release a 69-word sentence? — Treasury

World Bank Issues Yuan Bond — WSJ

George W. Bush and authorship — Atlantic

LeBron’s ego, in pastry form — Last Angry Fan

Adventures with Bowdlerization, Huckleberry Finn edition — Publishers Weekly

Women Laughing Alone With Salad — The Hairpin

Magnus Carlsen seems unnaturally well-adjusted, for a 19-year-old world chess #1 — Chessbase

“It’s outdated to think that snacks are dry and beverages are wet” — WSJ

Holly Petraeus to the CFPB, charged with protecting the military from predatory lenders — HuffPo

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8 comments so far

“What finally convinced Gribben to turn his back on grad school training and academic tradition, in which allegiance to the author’s intent is sacrosanct, was his involvement with the National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read Alabama.”

Except that Twain’s intent may be better served, in speaking to a modern audience, with different words than he used for a mid-nineteenth century audience. I’m not certain I’m for this translation, but I’m not certain I’m against it, either; if the word lacked the piquancy in Twain’s time that it has today, the meaning is today being shrouded by the original language, not expressed by it.

Posted by dWj | Report as abusive

Big Mother is Watching! Is anyone else disturbed by the story of Mrs. Petraeus getting the mandate to protect military families from “predatory lenders?” What is Elizabeth Warren thinking?

I have long been a huge fan of Dr. Warren, but this move is causing me to rethink. First off, are military families really so much more vulnerable to financial “wolves” than the general population? Are we developing separate spheres: military and civilian? If so, how is the wife of a general qualified to develop policies that do for the military what no one can do for the rest of us? Should there be a mother figure for each “vulnerable” group, watching out for her cubs and reporting back to Mother Warren around her kitchen table (there’ll be cake and coffee for sure!)?

We’re getting quite literal about the Nanny State, and I for one am not happy.

Posted by LadyGodiva | Report as abusive

@LadyGodiva – In general, military people are definitely at greater risk for financial abuse than the general public. Steady paychecks, long deployments, concern about absent families, and the ability of creditors to pressure the chain of command are just a few of the reasons.

That said, it’s not clear that they need their own watchdog. And I don’t know what qualities Holly Petraeus brings to such a role.

Posted by Curmudgeon | Report as abusive

Point taken about the military. I do certainly feel for spouses left caring for children for months/years at a time, the worries, the expense, etc. However, I think there has been a tendency in recent years for Washington bigwigs to score points with the public by cozying up to the troops. It is a pathetic substitute for clear thinking about geostrategic matters (“we have no idea why your loved ones have been deployed to Afghanistan-again-but here’s a raise, a nicer house, better perks to ease the pain–see everyone, we LOVE the troops”). But this idea really smells bad. It engulfs the entire military family inside a Dr. Phil sort of group hug. It’s infantilizing. And if it is a sample of what the new agency will look like, it is a huge step back for women (ironically, by women) and dooms the agency to a Federal Female Protective Services role. It is potentially a big blunder by Warren. I wonder where she is getting her advice?

Posted by LadyGodiva | Report as abusive

>> . . . Washington bigwigs to score points with the public by cozying up to the troops.

Ah, I would have much preferred cozying to the shunning we received in the post-Vietnam decade, when I entered the military. Given enough time, things will change yet again.

Posted by Curmudgeon | Report as abusive

Lady Godiva, people in dangerous professions usually get danger pay. For the privilege of serving their country, many service men give up their lives or are maimed for life and the pay surely doesn’t reflect that.

They already are an entity among themselves as they rarely can afford housing so are billeted in affordable housing, or military hospitals, which are also one of the perks. You get to recuperate from having your legs blown off and guts ripped open in another Government run entity other people don’t have the privilege of lining up to use. Besides being away and under extreme duress at work, PTS is a major problem at home. I imagine that added dynamic to the family would make your hug and Doc Phil very welcome.

i think those who use them would believe those to be a rather necessary perk that should remain separate. I don’t see how offering those things make the Government look good. It is the LEAST they can do, literally.

Rather then looking at this as another perk to cozy up to the troops (or the public as you say) I think you might give the fact that service people need protection as they are being targeted separately, some more consideration. people…families… not just women.

The service cards have their SIN on them and thieves take advantage of it. Also the families are more vulnerable to the plethora of scams for the reasons you mentioned, so I would support Holly Petraeus given she had taken on that role prior to the appointment. (Much as Ms. Warren had prior to her appointment.)

The fact the “wars” are useless and are not wars at all… should in and of itself be reason to be angry (a long time ago… ) and speaking up everywhere about it and voting accordingly … not being indignant that the military service men and women and their families will be protected under a saparate wing of the new agency.

This is just my take, and I would defer to Curmudgeon and what he has to say as someone who served their country.

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive

JP Morgan Chase just gave one more reason why military families need protection. s/today-today_home_and_garden/

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive

JP Morgan Chase just gave one more reason why military families need protection. s/today-today_home_and_garden/

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive
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