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  • No-Stress Tests

      The resurrection of Wall Street is at hand. That isn’t quite the intended message of the results of today’s stress tests, but it’s pretty likely to be the bottom line. Led by Citigroup and Bank of America, the 19 big banks that got us into much of this trouble will, by government-orchestrated means, receive the tens of billions of dollars in additional capital they need. But that’s mainly for another rainy day (as opposed to another perfect storm). “All the banks are solvent,” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said today, declaring he was “very pleased with the results.”   All of which means that whatever opportunity once might have existed for fundamental change in the financial system – with its giant institutions privately trading derivatives with each other globally --is probably slipping away. Oh, the reigning authorities won’t quite say that. There is going to be all sorts of new regulatory oversight, new capital requirements, reduced leverage rules, and such. But basi...
  • Brain Scan Update: 'Our Aim Was to Educate, Not Accuse'

    In a post earlier this week on a study raising doubts about some high-profile studies in neuroscience, I was remiss in implying that the problem existed only in fMRI studies. As the paper’s lead author, Niko Kriegeskorte, reminds me, “this is not only about brain imaging (as your title suggests), but equally affects other fields of systems neuroscience,” including EEGs....
  • Is Summers Staying Up Past His Bedtime?

     For the second time in his tenure as Director of the National Economic Council, Larry Summers has nodded off in public. According to the pool report, during a meeting with credit card industry officials, "Summers appeared to be nodding off near the beginning of Obama's remarks. And then he DID nod off, doing the head on the hand and then head falling off the hand thing." Last time Summers dozed off was at the White House's Fiscal Responsibility Summit. Admittedly Summers is probably working crazy hours, and fiscal responsibility can be a dry topic, but c'mon! Maybe someone should remind him of that Seinfeld episode where George naps under his desk - that might be a more discreet solution.   Noam Scheiber of The New Republic remarked on Larry Summers' sleeping habits in his profile: "As at Harvard, Summers functions on exceedingly little sleep. (A former...
  • The Financial Crisis Hits Education

    I wonder what effect this will have on student diversity in coming years. It's certainly going to put pressure on those much lauded Ivy league programs to offer free tuition to lower and even middle income students -- Harvard had announced a free ride to students who come from families earning $60,000 or less annually a few years back. It will certainly also increase the temptation to take full fee paying students -- including more foreign students. Of course, that trend might itself be counter-balanced by the economic downturn. There's anecdotal evidence that some foreign students that once would have come to the U.S. to study are staying home because of plunging local currencies, and a lack of job opportunities in the U.S., since so many companies have hiring freezes on. Then, of course, there's the fact that the U.S. isn't the only place to get a great education these days -- the U.K., Europe, and even the Middle East and Asia are becoming more attractive hub...
  • Undercover at Falwell's Liberty University

    While most of his buddies studied abroad last year, Kevin Roose, a 21-year-old English major at Brown University, tried a different kind of cultural immersion: he spent a semester undercover at Liberty University, the college founded by Jerry Falwell. Roose joined the student newspaper, the school choir and even spent his spring break proselytizing drunk kids in Daytona Beach, Fla. Now a senior back at Brown, Roose wrote a book about his experience, called "The Unlikely Disciple." He spoke with NEWSWEEK's Jessica Bennett. ...
  • The New GI Bill

    Hey, soldier, wanna go to Harvard? Elite universities throughout the country—including that one in Cambridge, Mass.—will decide in the coming weeks whether to help veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan study for free, using their own funds to supplement the new GI Bill, which goes into effect in August. But for many universities, faced with shrinking endowments and a rising pool of financial-aid applicants, this is no easy decision. Kevin Galvin, Harvard's director of news and media relations, says the school hasn't yet reached a verdict—but he noted that much of its aid dollars have already been committed elsewhere.According to the GI Bill passed into law last year, veterans can study at the most expensive public university in their state, with the government covering full tuition and many fees, or they can apply the money to tuition at a private or out-of-state university. But veterans who choose an Ivy League school, for instance, will be left with a hefty bill. To close...
  • By the Numbers: Affected by the Financial Crisis

    A WorldPublicOpinion.org poll on the impact of the financial crisis on families shows that citizens in developing economies are feeling the worst pinch from restricted credit—and that high food prices are worrying one and all: 100 Percentage of polled countries where a majority of people say rising food costs have negatively affected them 37 Percentage where a majority say tight credit has hurt them. Mexico is worst off, with 91 percent reporting this. 71 Percentage where a majority say the crisis has hit them "a fair amount." The least affected? Germany (29 percent). 42 Percentage where a majority expect things to improve within a year. The most optimistic: Indonesia and China.
  • No Degree For You, Mr. President

    Andy Barr over at Politico is reporting that President Obama will not be receiving an honorary degree when he gives the commencement address at Arizona State University on May 13. A spokesperson for ASU told Barr that: "It’s normally awarded to someone who has been in their field for some time...Considering that the president is at the beginning of his presidency, his body of work is just beginning." But Obama will be receiving an honorary degree from Notre Dame when he delivers their commencement address on May 17.If the six member panel that decides who gets honorary degrees isn't excited about Obama, ASU students are making up for it. Each graduate receives up to six tickets for the ceremony, and some enterprising students are trying to make a quick buck out of Obama's appearance. CNN reports that students are scalping their tickets for between $60 and $100 on craigslist. I guess they're just doing their part for the economy.
  • Seriously, Who Runs Security at the Economic Club?

    Code Pink strikes again! This time while Larry Summers is trying to talk about policy choices and deflation at the buttoned-up Economic Club of Washington, D.C. But it sounds like they run out of steam after about fifteen seconds, probably because they didn't expect to be onstage for any longer than that (reasonably enough).
  • 50 Influential Rabbis

    Compiled by Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman & CEO Michael Lynton, News Corporation Executive Vice President Gary Ginsberg and JTN Productions CEO Jay Sanderson
  • Fast Chat: North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan

    Future historians rummaging through the archives of the Washington Monthly might stumble upon a chilling article about a coming "financial conflagration … [E]very taxpayer in the country is on the line." The author was not some alarmist wacko, but a U.S. senator. And the year was not 2007, or even 2001. North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan expressed his fear of "exotic new derivatives called 'swaps' " way back in 1994. Five years later, when Congress passed legislation lowering the barriers between brokerages and banks, Dorgan told The New York Times, "I think we will look back in 10 years' time and say we should not have done this. " It's been 10 years, and Dorgan was dead-on. He spoke to Eric Adelson while visiting flood victims in his home state. ...
  • The Life of John Hope Franklin

    John Hope Franklin, 94Author and HistorianBorn into a world of segregation and a history of race written by whites, Franklin made himself into a great public intellectual— a bespoke black historian who put African-Americans on even ground in the national story. His research during Brown v. Board of Education helped desegregate the nation's schools, while his bestselling work "From Slavery to Freedom," now in its eighth edition, forever muscled aside racist portrayals of the black South. A graduate of Fisk and Harvard universities, he won enough honors for two lifetimes, including a Presidential Medal of Freedom. He died in Durham, N.C., where he was a distinguished professor at Duke. David Levering-Lewis, a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian whom Franklin mentored, shared these memories with NEWSWEEK's Tony Dokoupil:I heard about John long before I met him. As an undergraduate at Fisk, in fact, it was impossible not to hear about the great "John Hope," as he was universally known. At...
  • Today in Excellent Questions for Timothy Geithner

    "Just how much do you want to gut-punch Paul Krugman?"Daniel Drezner over at Foreign Policy wanted to throw this one into the queue for CFR's live blogospherically interactive interview with the Treasury secretary this morning. Sadly, though, he resisted the temptation.
  • The District: Episode Seven

    It's all about the Benjamins, baby -- now more than ever.  We join our hero this week as he realizes that promises are hard to keep, especially after signing a spending bill pizz-acked with earmarks. Yikes.  Some ugly rumors are ricocheting around the marble halls of our nation's capital: Could we possibly be forking over more cash to the banks and -- gasp! -- crafting a second stimulus package?!  Meanwhile, Team Barack starter Timothy Geithner is back for more as he struggles to get his economist friends to believe in his transformative power.  All this drama is set against an aural backdrop of ADHD, Sora An and Joe Echo -- click the player to tune in!