Who Am I? (Other Than Cranky)

by Norman Horowitz

The buildings reach up to the sky
The traffic thunders on the busy street
Pavement slips beneath my feet
I walk alone and wonder, who am I?

I close my eyes then I can fly
And I escape from all this worldly strife
Restricted by routine of life
But still I can’t discover, who am I?

I long to wake up in the morning
And find everything has changed
And all the people that I meet don’t wear a frown

But every day is just the same
I’m chasing rainbows in the rain
All the dreams that I believe in let me down

Maybe I’m reaching far too high
For I have something else entirely free
With love of someone close to me
Unfettered by the world that hurries by
Um, to question such good fortune, who am I?

It was more than half a lifetime ago when Petula Clark recorded the song “Who Am I?

Glenn Gould, the Canadian pianist, wrote that the song was a “document of despair which catalogues the symptoms of disenchantment and ennui.” It was said that it embodied the social consciousness of the 1960s, specifically the search for the meaning of life.

I thought about “social consciousness” the other night when the Republicans were threatening to risk so much in shutting down the government in order to defund “Planned Parenthood.” It was a genuine “Good grief!” moment for me.   Continue reading “Who Am I? (Other Than Cranky)”

What to Read on Brazil

Brazil Companies Keen to Tap Capital Markets — Rogerio Jelmayer

Although growth is expected to slow in 2011, with gross domestic product seen rising 4.5%, from about 7.5% this year, companies are keen to add capacity as domestic demand remains strong, helped by low unemployment and rising salaries.

Dilma Rousseff: In Lula’s Shadow — Benjamin Dangl

During Lula’s two terms as president, 20 million Brazilians rose out of poverty, and the minimum wage was raised by more than half. These advances were enabled by the country’s economic growth, spurred on in part by major exports to China; but they were also a result of Lula’s political will to promote social programs.

The Battle for Brazil’s Slums — Solana Pyne & Erik German

For the last month, soldiers have been stationed at checkpoints only on the edges of Complexo do Alemao while police conducted operations inside the slums. Now the army is taking command of the entire operation and 1,800 paratroopers will work with approximately 200 local police to patrol the streets throughout both slum communities, known here as favelas.

Rio’s New Reality Show — Lilia M. Schwarcz

The culmination of a two-year campaign to wrest control of Rio’s favelas from powerful drug traffickers, that operation has now been followed by a deployment of 2,400 paratroopers…

Income Inequality Tells a Story…and Don’t Let Anyone Tell You Otherwise

University of Arizona social scientist Lane Kenworthy is one of the country’s best researchers in poverty and inequality, as well as a regular reader of this blog. So when I saw that he would be joining this month’s Cato Unbound debate on income inequality, I couldn’t wait to read it. But when I read the lead essay by Will Wilkinson, I knew Kenworthy’s essay would leave me disappointed. I was right.

Kenworthy shouldn’t feel responsible for my disappointment. He did his usual superlative job. The reason it didn’t meet my expectations was because Wilkinson’s essay led Kenworthy to bat down a frustratingly common misconception, and he could only spend a few paragraphs on more interesting matters, like policies and solutions. Kenworthy did the right thing. Wilkinson based the bulk of his argument on a rather obtuse assumption. I almost expected him to do this before I even read the essay–it’s a common libertarian criticism–but I was hoping he wouldn’t back Kenworthy into that corner. He did, and Kenworthy couldn’t let readers walk away believing Wilkinson’s naive story.

What did Wilkinson say that strikes me as so misguided?   Continue reading “Income Inequality Tells a Story…and Don’t Let Anyone Tell You Otherwise”