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Macro Economics 101

Since Floyd has copped to listening to NPR I suppose it’s safe for me to come out of the closet.  Ira Glass has one of the most annoying voices to ever earn a living on radio.  He can pack more condescension and superiority into a simple, “Good Morning” than Shakespearean trained Lionel Barrymore’s, “You’re worth more dead than alive” line to Jimmy Stewart.  Yet, in spite of his narration (and the fact that it’s his creation), Glass’ “This American Life” is often one hell of a radio show.  O.K., you also have to get around the absurdly maudlin musical segues he chooses as segment interludes.  Yet, in spite of Glass a lot of great stuff comes through on these programs.

For any of you interested in Economics or Conservatism, and especially for you homeschoolers and those who want to educate your children in the principles of Macro Economics this segment is an unintentional wonder of education, http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/408/island-time

It’s about Haiti.  For most of the past century well intentioned folks have been pouring money, time and education into Haiti and the end result has been to take the country slightly backwards.  Those of you familiar with P.J. O’Rourke’s “All the Trouble in the World” will understand the reasons, even though Glass does not.  Now a new group of people is about to pour a whole lot more money, time and education into Haiti.  I pray they have learned the lessons of their predecessors and this time the people of Haiti will have real progress.

6 comments to Macro Economics 101

  • Tracy

    Zoon loves This American Life and I enjoy it when I’m in the car when it’s on. You are right about Mr Glass though. I thought the funniest thing he ever said though was when he and one of the other producers were talking about Obama smoking and basically said everyone should just let him do it or he’d end up having an affair. Genius. I’ll check out the link!

  • Mike

    I like that podcast too, Rufus. When I listened to this one, I was swearing at the iPod.

    A woman is just getting by with three mango trees. She has room on her land for 100, but not enough water. There’s a river right by her property, but she couldn’t carry enough water for 100 trees, so she needs a canal built which would cost several thousand dollars. So it’s hopeless.

    The hosts never question why she has to have either the status quo or 100 trees. If she can subsist on three trees, couldn’t she manage six? And what is so hard to understand about storing mangos properly? Even if you don’t mind blemishes on your fruit, don’t you notice if your neighbors are paid more for fruit that’s been washed and stored properly?

    They acted like the only thing holding this woman back was red tape!

    I listen all the time, though. Did you catch the one about the kids exploring the abandoned house in New Hampshire? Or the one about siblings, where the brother and sister made up a family they’d pretend to babysit for to get away from their mother? Great stories.

  • The Onion on ‘This American Life.’

    It’s unfair, but in the right direction, so I approve.

    In what cultural anthropologists are calling a “colossal achievement” in the study of white-collar professionals, the popular radio show has successfully isolated all 7,442 known characteristics of college graduates who earn between $62,500 and $125,000 per year and feel strongly that something should be done about global warming.

    “We’ve done it,” said senior producer Julie Snyder, who was personally interviewed for a 2003 This American Life episode, “Going Eclectic,” in which she described what it’s like to be a bilingual member of the ACLU trained in kite-making by a Japanese stepfather. “There is not a single existential crisis or self-congratulatory epiphany that has been or could be experienced by a left-leaning agnostic that we have not exhaustively documented and grouped by theme.”

    Added Snyder, “We here at public radio couldn’t be more pleased with ourselves.”

  • Rufus

    Mike, I don’t listen to it as often as I’d like. There are some things that radio is the perfect medium for. We’ve moved everything to television, but there are some things that would have been better left on the radio. Even though its proprietor is a vindictive, hatefilled snob, “Prairie Home Companion” is often a great show. I cringe everytime Keillor sings. Why oh why doesn’t someone explain to him that he couldn’t carry a tune if someone handed him a sack with Michael Buble in it?! But there are great writers and performers on that show. You just have to ignore the fact that Garrison despises you.

  • Rufus

    “Car Talk” is awesome! It was great to see the brothers get some love in Pixar’s “Cars.”

  • [...] I don’t mind Mr. Jonah Goldberg getting ideas for fancy USA Today columns from discussions Rufus and I have here.  (Although he claims the idea came from NPR’s ‘This American Life.’)  I [...]

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