More untimely stuff about disability

by Michael Bérubé on September 29, 2008

<i>Cross-posted at <a href=””>some obscure blog</a>.</i>

I recently spoke at <a href=””>this conference</a>, which was (a) historic and très cool and (b) something I’d been fretting over for months.  (Janet and Jamie came with me, and Nick and his girlfriend Rachel joined us on Saturday.  Fun for the whole family!)  I had a fairly easy assignment: a twenty-minute response to Martha Nussbaum on the opening night.  I’m familiar with some aspects of her work, and I assigned a good chunk of <a href=”″><i>Frontiers of Justice</i></a> to my disability studies seminar last spring, so the opening few paragraphs of my response simply pointed out that few philosophers have taken up the challenge of cognitive disability so thoroughly and satisfactorily as she.  I briefly summarized Nussbaum’s critique of John Rawls and the social contract tradition; here’s a snippet from that critique.

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Things to do in the New Year

by Eszter Hargittai on September 29, 2008

Happy New Year! And now back to our regularly scheduled political programming (NSFWish):

Republican talking point whack-a-mole, yet again

by John Q on September 29, 2008

The argument by talking point style that characterizes all sections of the political right in the US has been evident as usual in relation to the financial crisis, so I guess it’s time to play whack-a-mole yet again. The most prominent points I’ve seen are

* It’s all the fault of the Community Reinvestment Act, which forced banks to lend to low-income borrowers. Quite a few people have pointed out that many of the subprime loans weren’t required under CRA. More to the point, given that the market structures in the bubble made mortgages a fungible asset, the CRA was a nonbinding constraint. It’s clear that many more subprime loans were given out in the bubble years than were required under the Act and that the excess was greatest in the areas where the bubble was worst. The CRA had no effect at all under these conditions.

* If regulation were the problem, how come the hedge funds haven’t been affected? In fact, it was the failure of Bear Stearns hedge funds that signalled the spread of the crisis beyond the subprime mortgage market. And the main reason hedge funds haven’t yet been hit by the crisis of the past few weeks is that they don’t allow redemptions except at stated dates (for most of them it will be next Tuesday. Perhaps there won’t be a problem, but that’s not what the markets think. In any case, those making the claim seem to be unaware of the redemption restrictions.