Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Comments on the October 9th "New Yorker"

"The New Yorker" magazine is looked forward to each week, with almost all issues being reasonably interesting and others being completely absorbing.  This week's issue, only partially read, has been compelling in various ways.  "The Financial Page" written by Sheelah Kolhatkar at times makes interesting points, at others just obvious ones.  The current article attracts as it is partially about a company that I once covered in my early days as a commercial banker, Anchor Hocking in southern Ohio.  The glass making corporation was at that time a large small town company, the dominant enterprise in its area.  What was once a laid back company that always made me take a few samples of their products with me has apparently been through multiple financial changes over the years.  It serves as an example of the disruption communities and people have felt that contributed to the era of Trump.

"Boundary Issues" by Jon Lee Anderson, subtitled "Can Mexico come to terms with Trump?", details the interaction of Trump and his more constructive subordinates in the State Department to maintain positive relations while dealing with the tirades of the President.  One paragraph had the comment that "Trump's thinking is very simple, and comes from a concept called mercantilism", a protectionist doctrine that has been assailed by econmists since Adam Smith.  "He is also a physiocrat, which means that services don't count.  The U.S. has a very large surplus globally in services.  But, if you can't see or and kick it, it doesn't count for him."  Well put.

"The Takeover" by Rachel Aviv, or "How senior citizens could be getting conned", looks at how guardianship is being used, in Las Vegas as an example, to takeover the assets of elderly people under the guise of helping them but clearly as a con job perpetrated by corrupt social workers and judges.  It has apparently been rife in that area, but the article says that such abuse is prevalent in other areas that attract retirees, like Palm Beach, Sarasota, Naples, Albuquerque, and San Antonio.  What is detailed in the article is appalling, all the more so because much of this theft is deemed to be legal.  Having seen a family guardianship managed blatantly in an uneven way, that predators are taking this practice a step further by assuming guardianship for people they don't even know is not all that surprising.  It raises the alert here when at times there can be several calls a day from "house repair people" of various sorts offering their service or even saying they are coming for their regularly scheduled appointment --- for the furnace, the gutters, etc.  All bunk, but not funny when you think about it.

In "The Critics" section there is "Touching Souls" by Dan Chiasson, a review of the new biography "Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell".  The review gives much more information about the singer/writer than was known here and make the book sound worth reading.  Of note, the article begins with a sequence in 1969 on Matala Beach in Crete, a beautiful and intriguing place that Kathy and I visited in 1982.

That's it.  There's more in this issue that will be read.  I just needed to have a post here to verify that I'm still alive.


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