Sunday, February 23, 2014

Books About America

American Politics in the Age of Ignorance : Why Lawmakers Choose Belief Over Research
by David Schultz
New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2013

"State and local governments are often trumpeted as laboratories of democracy, capable of significant policy innovation and expertise.  Yet the reality is that states, more often than not, repeatedly reenact failed policies that past research shows do not work.  American Politics in the Age of Ignorance contends that policy making is shrouded in many myths and that policy makers often ignore ample research and evidence when it comes to legislating on a range of issues.  Examining such hot-button issues as restricting immigration and welfare migration, seeking to lure businesses with tax breaks, and providing public subsidies for sports stadiums, this book catalogs a list of repeatedly enacted failed policies that public officials advocate, offering a critical and skeptical analysis of the policy process." 

Drafts for a Third Sketchbook
by Max Frisch, translated by Mike Mitchell
London : Seagull Books, 2013

"It's a superpower that can destroy us all.  And they've already been to the Moon  you can easily forget that, since it didn't add anything to the actual history of the world.  What, on the other hand, hardly any American is aware of is that America's high standard of living (you can live here without seeing a slum) largely rests on the exploitation of other people and other countries.  Exploitation is not a word they use here, they have another one for it: KNOW-HOW.  That's what they take to poorer countries and sometimes they find they're misunderstood; here and there they have to support a military putsch in order to introduce democracy, etc.  KNOW-HOW.  Their favorite word: POWER.  I don't mix with people from the army; it's the word I hear most often in this country: POWER.  People are proud of it.  POWER.  Even the art trade can't function without it.  MONEY?  That's its more modest synonym.  The ethical synonym: LIBERTY.  And that's what it's all about: LIBERTY; that's what every American is convinced of: POWER = LIBERTY.  And there's no room for argument.  How could there be?"