Category Archives: Books

Sep. 24, 2012 The New Yorker

On Sep. 24, 2012 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Calculating Campaigns” about how lots of money in politics cannot beat a real grassroots campaign.

Jill Lepore wrote “The Lie Factory” about wealthy San Francisco political conservatives Leone Baxter and Clem Whitaker became spin doctors that stopped Upton Sinclair’s End Poverty in California campaign in the 1930s and national health insurance in the 1940s. Their tactics are used today. They perfected the attack ad and quoting out of context. Never lobby. Woo voters. create a straw man opponent. Create a simple theme that rhymes. Never explain anything. Repeat the message until it is accepted as true. Fan flames by creating a controversy, a fight or show.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Sep. 17, 2012 The New Yorker

On Sep. 17, 2012 The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin wrote “The Professor” about Elizabeth Warren’s run for the US Senate. Warren came from a large modest mixed race family in Oklahoma and worked her way through college to become a teacher for students with special needs. She went on to become a professor at University of Texas. She wrote a book with Teresa Sullivan and Jay Westbrook called “As We Forgive” about predatory lending destroying middle class families. She discovered that most bankruptcies occur when people lose their jobs or are in poor health. Regulating financial institutions, providing universal health insurance and unemployment insurance can not only help ordinary people but their communities as well.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Sep. 10, 2012 The New Yorker

On Sep. 10, 2012 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Clarifying Romney” about John Sides and Lynn Vivrek book “The Gamble”. Apparently most Americans will not vote for Mitt Romney because they blame the economic collapse of 2008 on George Bush versus Barack Obama because it happened during the Bush administration. Duh.

Aleksandar Hemon wrote “Beyond The Matrix” about Lana Wachowski and Alan Wachowski creating the movie “The Cloud Atlas”. It stars Tom Hanks in a variety of roles over several hundred years in the struggle for freedom.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Aug. 1, 2012 National Geographic In The Shadow Of Wounded Knee

Aug. 1, 2012 National Geographic magazine’s reporter Alexandra Fuller and photographer Aaron Huey put together “In The Shadow Of Wounded Knee” about life on Sioux reservationsin South Dakota. The annual per capita income is $9,728 and the number of people living in poverty is 48.3%.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 9, 2012 The New Yorker

On Jul. 9, 2012 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Mind The Gap” about the perplexing problem of employers who will not hire anyone who does not already have a job. This keeps unemployment high and economic growth low. If employers cannot find qualified candidates they need to have more realistic expectations. People can be hired and trained. Also, company websites have become so automated that it is unlikely a real human will look at a resume and hire someone. The talent is out there. Employers have to want it.

Michael Specter wrote “The Mosquito Solution” about controlling the spread of mosquito born diseases like yellow fever and Dengue fever. Pesticides and medications are becoming less effective protecting millions of people. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is already in the San Francisco Bay area. One solution is to genetically modify mosquitoes (OX513A) to interfere with their growing populations.

Nathan Heller wrote “Listen And Learn” about the crazy world of TED talks.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Escape From Camp 14

One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey From North Korea to Freedom In The West

By Blain Harden

You think had it tough? A kid is born in a North Korean labor camp surrounded by people who will betray him for better working conditions. He escapes and lives to tell his story. Recommended for any teen who complains they don’t have the latest gizmo. The most interesting story is how the North Korean government had some kind of scam with insurance companies where they would collect no matter how their workers died. Did it work because they shared the same values?

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 2, 2012 The New Yorker

On Jul. 2, 2012 The New Yorker’s John McPhee wrote “Editors and Publisher” about the magazine’s luminaries Robert Gottlieb, William Shawn and Roger Straus.

Elizabeth Kolbert wrote “Spoiled Rotten” about how kids used to have to grow up fast. Hovering parents lead to 30 year old children living in their basements.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

The Great Upheaval

America And The Birth Of The Modern World 1788-1800

By Jay Wink

This covers the period from the end of the American Revolution to the end of the French Revolution, with a failed Russian Revolution in between. Wink does a good job describing how awful life was for the 99 percent of the world and how different members of the one percent dealt with it. Apparently austerity doesn’t work when you tell people who have nothing they will have to do with less. When they are forced onto the streets they tend to stay there and protest. A cautionary tale.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jun. 25, 2012 The New Yorker

On Jun. 25, 2012 The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta wrote “Paper Trail” about the battle of Amazon, Apple and publishers over control of the electronic publishing market. It signals the shift from the wholesale model publishers of selling books at a discount to bookstores to the agency model where the channel like Apple gets a thirty percent commission. In the battle over becoming the online gatekeeper controlling consumers, books seem irrelevant.

Jill Lepore wrote “Obama, The Prequel” about Obama’s family history. He said “I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.” In the worst of all possible worlds the impossible man wins.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Last Words

A Memoir

By George Carlin with Tony Hendra

This is Carlin’s account of how he became the person he wanted to be.

George Carlin’s father was a man who traveled around the country making a good living talking to crowds of people. He had a substance abuse problem and a troubled family life. So did George, but he was luckier and funnier.

Growing up in Harlem, he got a progressive education at school and a multicultural education on the streets. His love of words and questioning ideas gave the world a dark humor worthy of Mark Twain and Lenny Bruce. There are some examples of his classic comedy routines and how they were created. His advocacy of the right to say anything in a joking manner is a landmark of human rights. Anyone trying to violate that right deserves one of his famous seven dirty words.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jun. 23, 2012 San Francisco Chronicle

On Jun. 23, 2012 the San Francisco Chronicle’s David Perlman wrote “Sea Level Rise May Hit Hard In State” about a National Resource Council report that the San Francisco Bay area will be at risk of more frequent and dangerous flooding. Sea levels that may rise by more than four and a half feet by 2100. An earthquake may raise it by another three feet. UC Santa Cruz oceanographer Gary Griggs said “This is physical science not political science.” Johns Hopkins Professor of Civil Engineering Robert A. Dalrymple talked about the increase in erosion and larger waves flooding urban areas.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jun. 18, 2012 The New Yorker

On Jun. 18, 2012 The New Yorker’s Jill Lepore wrote “Benched” about history of the US Supreme Court leading up the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision where Justice Stevens said “a democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.” Lepore wrote “If not only legislators but judges serve at the pleasure of lobbyists, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers. Law will be commerce. And money will be king.”

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

May 28, 2012 The New Yorker

On May 28, 2012 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Unequal Shares” about Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg creating two classes of shares in the IPO in what is called a dual class structure. Google, Groupon, LinkedIn, Yelp and Zynga did the same when it went public. It is a strategy to keep control of a company and avoid short term pressure from investors but the stock can under perform in the market. IPOs are not as attractive as remaining private or being bought by another company.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

May 14, 2012 The New Yorker

On May 14, 2012 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Invisible Hand Greased Palm” about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977. Multinational corporations used to engage in corruption like bribery without fear of prosecution at home. They have learned that corruption increases business costs. It can be fought with transparency and broad enforcement of existing laws.

Nick Paumgarten wrote “Here’s Looking At You” about the rise of drones and surveillance.

David Owen wrote “The Artificial Leaf” about Daniel Nocera’s efforts to use artificial photosynthesis to create sustainable energy. He wants solar powered electrolysis to separate the hydrogen atoms from oxygen atoms in water to create cheap energy.

Larissa MacFarquhar wrote “When Giants Fail” about Clayton Christensen who created the Innovator’s Dilemma.

Michael Specter wrote “Climate Fixers” about various risky strategies to stop global warming. The cure might be worse than disease.

Joan Acocella wrote “The English Wars” about the American Heritage Dictionary and changing usage in the English language.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Apr. 30, 2012 The New Yorker

On Apr. 30, 2012 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “No End In Sight” about how the slow economic recovery has increased long term unemployment. European countries like Germany are keeping their people employed so their economies are ready to rebound.

Ken Auletta wrote about Stanford University’s close relationship with Silicon Valley and the university’s attempt to transition into the digital age.

 

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Apr. 23, 2012 The New Yorker

On Apr. 23, 2012 The New Yorker’s Nicholas Lemann wrote “Evening The Odds” about the politics of income inequality and the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement. According to Timothy Noah’s book “The Great Divergence: America’s Growing Inequality Crisis and What Can We do About It?” In 1979 the one percent got nine percent of personal income. In 2012 they get 25 percent. After the economic collapse of 2008 and slow recovery, the one percent got 93 percent of the gains.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Apr. 12, 2012 Bay Daily News

On Apr. 12, 2012 the Bay Daily News reporters Mike Taugher and Paul Rogers wrote “Leaders Look To Levees, Marshes” about rising sea levels and the “inevitable catastrophe.” Right now, “Some areas behind South Bay levees are as much as 13 feet below sea level.” Carl Guardino of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and US Senator Dianne Feinstein support restoring levees and wetlands may protect low lying urban areas from more frequent flooding.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Apr. 9, 2012 The New Yorker

On Apr. 9, 2012 The New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert wrote “The Case Against Kids” about   whether having kids is worth it. Daniel Kahneman’s 2004 survey of 900 women showed that they did not enjoy taking care of children compared to “shopping, eating, exercising, watching TV, preparing food, and talking on the phone.”

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Mar. 26, 2012 The New Yorker

On Mar. 26, 2012 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “The More The Merrier” about research by MIT’s Zeynep Ton. Retailers that reduce the number of employees and wages hurt their business in the long run. “…you can only outsource so much work before alienating your customers.” Ton examined companies that took care of their employees like Costco, Trader Joe’s, QuickTrip and Mercadona. They hire full time employees and train them. “Spending more on workers led to higher sales.”

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Mar. 5, 2012 The New Yorker

On Mar. 5, 2012 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Unjustice” about how hiring only attractive people is not a pretty business.

William Finnegan wrote “The Storm” about Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s union busting campaign backfired.

Jonah Lehrer wrote “Kin And Kind” about naturalist E.O. Wilson’s thoughts on evolution, altruism and genetics.

Nick Baumgarten wrote “Magic Mountain” about the World Economic Conference at Davos Switzerland.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Feb. 13, 2012 The New Yorker

On Feb. 13, 2012 The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote “Blackberry Season” about the rise and fall of the Blackberry in the face of the Apple iPhone and Google Android.  The Blackberry followed the historical model of adopting technology. The telegraph and typewriters were adopted by businesses before migrating to consumer markets. What killed the Blackberry was the idea of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) where consumers brought their own smartphones and corporate IT departments had to adopt or adapt to the new situation.

Jane Mayer wrote “Attack Dog” about political consultant Larry McCarthy and the creation of the attack ad.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.