The Next Governor of NY

by Jon Mandle on August 6, 2006

Joe Conason has a short but interesting review of a biography of Eliot Spitzer. He nicely summarizes what Spitzer did that “earned him the enduring fury of the Wall Street Journal editorial page, the conservative Federalist Society and every other exponent of an unfettered marketplace”:

He exposed widespread corruption, cronyism and immorality at the commanding heights of the American economy, exploding the myth of the self-regulating market. And he refashioned the conservative version of “federalism” into a weapon for liberal elected officials in the states, while the Bush administration was letting lobbyists write legislation and run regulatory agencies.

And he rightly points out the new challenges that Spitzer will face if elected governor:

Rather than policing business executives, he will need to persuade them to invest in the depressed upstate region. Instead of filing lawsuits and indictments, he will have to pursue his laudable goals within the constraints of a balanced budget and a bipartisan culture of legislative inertia.

I, for one, am eager to see how Spitzer handles these responsibilities. I have a friend who works in Spitzer’s office, and he tells me that in addition to Spitzer being very driven (obviously), he is also very, very smart. This certainly doesn’t guarantee success, but when you look at the alternative…

In the course of recounting Spitzer’s privileged upbringing, Conason comments that “the most challenging crisis faced by the real estate millionaire’s son [was] a last-minute change in thesis topics (from the philosopher John Rawls’s theory of justice to ‘Revolutions in Post-Stalin Eastern Europe’).” I assume this was his senior thesis at Princeton. I wonder how far he got with that first one?

Jenny and the Ess-Dog

by John Holbo on August 6, 2006

I had a nice night. Before that, I chased two kids around for six hours (ages 2 and 5). That was ok. Then I went to pick up Indian take-out. Waiting, I … relaxed. A beer. Watch the Australian tourists talk to each other. I’m enjoying Jonathan Lethem, The Fortress of Solitude. Belle loaded up iTunes with lots of new stuff but nothing seemed quite good enough for the evening. Then I noticed … four Stephen Malkmus tracks: “Baby C’Mon”, “The Hook”, “(Do Not Feed The) Oyster” and “Jenny and the Ess-Dog.” They’re Amazon freebies. Help yourselves.

And/or you can help me understand Kant on “What Is Enlightenment?” I made a long post at the Valve. Input from Kant scholars – and others – would be sincerely appreciated. I’m puzzled by the public/private flip-flop, the ‘argue all you want but obey’ maxim, and especially the weird seed metaphor. And a few other things.

Uses of Blogs

by John Q on August 6, 2006

One of the big questions for academics engaged in blogging is whether and how blogs should count towards measures of academic output, like traditional journal articles and book chapters. The obvious answer is to write journal articles and book chapters about blogging. Uses of Blogs edited by Axel Bruns and Joanne Jacobs is the first edited collection of scholarly articles on blogging (at least so the blurb says, and I don’t know of any others), and includes a chapter from me on economics blogs. With the book coming out of QUT, there’s a strong Brisbane flavour including chapters from Mark Bahnisch (who’s already posted on this and Jean Burgess ditto.

I’ve only had time to dip into a few chapters so far, but it looks very interesting and the opening chapter by Axel and Joanne is available free