A Carefully Crafted Life

Mark Richardson —   “Moe could speak twelve languages, but he couldn’t hit in any of them.” Such was the scouting report on Moe Berg, the subject of Nicholas Dawidoff’s The Catcher Was A Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg.”   Berg was a notoriously poor hitter, a defensive wizard behind the plate who played in the major leagues for fifteen years , and most … Continue reading A Carefully Crafted Life

The Unlearned Lesson of the Savings and Loan Debacle

Ron Berger — In Michael Moore’s new film Where To Invade Next, he visits other countries to bring back good ideas to the United States. In one scene, he interviews a government official in Iceland about his country’s criminal prosecution of bankers after the global financial crash of 2008. No such prosecutions, Moore reminds us, took place in the United States (see my March 9, … Continue reading The Unlearned Lesson of the Savings and Loan Debacle

Racism: It Is What It Is, Wherever It Is

J. David Gillespie — The Holocaust. In its scope, volume, and cold, cruel deliberateness, it may rank as the most heinous crime one people have ever carried out against another. The world’s Jews were to be obliterated through a policy Hitler’s regime labeled “the final solution to the Jewish question.” Nazi policy declared Jews to be a race, though they are not. Dedicated to what … Continue reading Racism: It Is What It Is, Wherever It Is

The Bernard Madoff Ponzi Scheme

Ron Berger — Last month ABC aired Madoff, a four-part television miniseries starring Richard Dreyfus in the leading role as Bernard Madoff, former chairman of the NASDAQ Stock Market and founder of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities. Like The Big Short feature film (see my March 9, 2016, Wise Guys article), Madoff offers a glimpse into the corruption endemic to the world of finance capitalism. … Continue reading The Bernard Madoff Ponzi Scheme

Whittaker Chambers by Sam Tanenhaus

Mark Richardson — In the current political atmosphere, in which angry conservatives seem to be claiming that the way to “make America great again” is to stifle the free expression of any ideas that are not theirs and to squash dissent, it appears to me to be a good time to look back at our history, to a time when Senator Joseph McCarthy and his … Continue reading Whittaker Chambers by Sam Tanenhaus

Reflections on The Big Short

Ron Berger — The Academy Award nominated film The Big Short is an entertaining dramatization of Michael Lewis’s book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. Most people have not and will not read the book, and it is my impression that while the film conveys the general nature of the systemic corruption that is endemic to our financial system, the specific mechanisms and broader … Continue reading Reflections on The Big Short

Who Would Alice Have Voted For?

Jeff Berger — I recently finished a biography called Alice: Alice Roosevelt Longworth, from White House Princess to Washington Power Broker by historian Stacy A. Cordery (Penguin Books, 2008). My interest in the book was inspired my brother Ron’s Wise Guy article on “The Populist and Progressive Traditions in American Politics” (Jan. 7, 2016), and it made me ponder the question of who would Alice … Continue reading Who Would Alice Have Voted For?