Shapiro and Indie: Two Recommendations
July 15, 2013 § 1 Comment
In one of my recent posts I recommended a movie, “The Lives of Others”. It is a German movie about the East German obsessive surveillance program that the Communist government established before their reign ended with the collapse of the Berlin Wall. If you have access to the Indie channel, you can watch the English subtitle version of the movie on Tuesday, July 23, 2013. It will be shown twice, once in the morning and once in the evening. If you want to see how out-of-control surveillance looks when its operators are typical bureaucrats, examples of Hannah Arendt’s “banality of evil”, check out this movie.
Dave Shapiro is a friend of mine. I’ve known him for sixty years. He and I and Chuck Caldwell became involved in politics at about the same time, in 1952. I think Dave was still in high school, but he was already following the Democratic convention scraps. He enlisted in Ralph Yarborough’s long political war, helped reorganize the Young Democrats into a training ground for Texas liberals, and became a talented, obsessive political junkie.
Dave is still at it. To him, the Congressional Quarterly’s annual catalog of political stats is as fascinating as Sports Illustrated to a sports fan. He is a lawyer. He has worked as a staff employee at the Texas Capitol and spent some time on Senator Yarborough’s staff in Washington.
When Dave was much younger, I have an image of him at Sholtze’s (I may be misspelling that legendary Austin hangout, but many of my readers will know what I’m talking about.) on Sunday morning, at a round table outside under a tree, swiftly paging through the San Antonio Light, the Dallas news, the Houston Chronicle and the Austin American; tearing out clippings and muttering to himself. Nowadays computer technology has simplified Dave’s craving for political news. He surfs political newsletters, blogs and other sources and mails to a list of his friends and admirers, including me, items he thinks deserve notice, usually accompanied by succinct comments of his own.
One of his recent missives concerned a matter that I believe to be vital:. The ongoing effort to restore some reasonable control over Wall Street banks that have been allowed to become “too big to fail and too big to jail”. I have expressed my dismay at the absurd and corrupt political policies that permitted these irresponsible behemoths to escape from the sensible regulations imposed during the New Deal; policies, I’m sorry to say, that were permitted and supported by Bill Clinton as well as those in the GOP who eagerly cooperated and encouraged that shameful series of episodes.
I became aware of that political history by reading “!3 Bankers” , an insightful, disturbing and well written book by Simon Johnson and James Kwak, economists who now write a blog called “The Baseline Scenario” They recently posted their comments on new efforts to prevent another financial debacle caused by Wall Street bankers reaping vast profits by taking wild risks, secure in the knowledge that, if and when their recklessness again cratered the economy, the taxpayers would be, again, forced to bail them out with billions of taxpayer money. If you want to see my reaction to the book and the information it offered, you can go to to my post, dated October 5, 2011, entitled “The Bankenstein Fiends”.
Here is a link to their post: Baseline
Their post includes an embedded link to a useful Bloomberg article that adds some details to the proposed legislation. Here is a link: Bloomberg
Finally, if you would like to be added to Dave’s mailing list, you can email a request to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. I do not have his permission to issue this invitation, but you can ask and I suspect the organizer in him will prompt acceptance. People like Dave and I are like evangelists – we never quit recruiting.