Posts Tagged ‘recession’

Funny Books

There’s nothing funny about foreclosure, but we can all let lose and laugh when Superman saves the day. Though the Man of Steel has ne’er been known to step in during a fiscal emergency, he broke with tradition this month and made an appearance in the form of the most valuable comic book in the storied history of humanity.

Where you ask?

In the basement of an about-to-be-bank-owned house.

A family who had lived on the same Southern spread since the 1950s was about to pack up and peace when they discovered a decently preserved copy of Action Comics #1 in an unmarked box. The 10 cent comic, which most probably belonged to the father of the bride, is now worth a million when mint. The copy in question will probably fetch the family a cool $250,000; enough to save their home and invest in a couple of funny books for posterity.

Thanks to ABC News for the scoop.


Friday was a good day for stories about cooperation. Trouble was, Sean already had a great Double Down in the works and frankly, Fridays should be reserved for the most fun-filled of posts. Let’s be honest, I have a tendency of posting the drier, more sciency side of good. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that Fridays aren’t academic- Fridays are all about the platypus.

Back to the cooperation though- the underpinning of any good cooperative effort is the principle that two or more partners can achieve greater results together than they could alone. Normally, it’s rare that government agencies or corporate giants engage in this sort of thing. But recently, they’ve been doing just that.

(A team of international space adventurers. Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

Speaking from the Berlin Airshow last week, NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver told reporters that NASA’s new direction would allow it to expand international partnerships beyond what had previously been possible. It gives me a warm feeling to know there will be more international cooperation in the space program. If exploring the vastness of space can’t bring this pale blue dot together what can? Furthermore, I hope this leads to the speedy establishment of an Intergalactic House of Pancakes.

The second, and infinitely more surprising, example of cooperation that I stumbled upon came out of the pharmaceutical industry- a sector rarely recognized for it’s feats of teamwork.

(Getty Images).

As it turns out, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s research are pretty challenging pursuits. These brain disorders can affect people of dramatically varied ages and may progress differently depending on the patient. Studies often focus on small groups of patients which can make it hard for researchers to draw meaningful conclusions about either disorder as a whole.

Now, the Coalition Against Major Diseases has brought pillars of big pharma such as AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer together to share the data they’ve collected studying these diseases. By pooling their findings, these pharmaceutical giants will be more able to effectively analyze and develop new approaches to combating these widespread and debilitating medical mysteries. Even if this collaboration is motivated by the promise of profits, patients will be the inevitable beneficiaries from any resulting medical breakthroughs.

Today, there are many reasons to cooperate. With a tough economic climate and increasingly entrenched political divisions, cooperation might be a necessity for institutions hoping to weather the storm. At the end of the day though, cooperation carries emotional benefits too- at the intersection of teamwork and togetherness is a powerful force of good.

Good Egg: Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren has got the proverbial back of America. As the head of the Congressional Oversight Panel, lady goes around on the TV speaking nothing but unadulterated truth about the predatory banks and creditors that have taxed the naive out of The Dream. She speaks about it all so plainly and often that people are taking notice. She may just change the status quo if appointed the head of the still-possible-if-the-Dems-can-man-up Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA).

Essentially, a CFPA is a totally requisite arm that would make sure that the average prole doesn’t get hosed when she signs up for a credit card or buys a house. Somehow, this is a contentious issue. Good thing Elizabeth Warren has our backs: “My first choice is a strong consumer agency,” she told the New York Times. “My second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor.”

God bless Elizabeth Warren and God bless the United States of America.

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Best. Recession. Ever.

The recession isn’t just hurting humans. It’s hurting sharks.

Mind you, it’s hurting sharks in a way that directly benefits humans. To wit, coastal nomads and beach bums are no longer being eaten by sharks–at least not as much as they were before.

Eduardo Verdugo / AP file

According to our friends at The Associated Press (Full disclosure: Goodosphere contributor Nick Zigler once used “AP style”), shark attacks have dipped to a five-year low, most likely due the result of penny pinching vacationers opting out of Corona commercial getaways.

The University of Florida’s resident ichthyologist (ik-thee-ol-uh-jee – the study of fish) told AP that the precipitous decline was unlikely to last in the predicted post-health care beach rush/shark attack free-for-all of 2010.

Tom Smallwood, Recession Hero

In late 2009, the average price of a house in Detroit was $15,000. Their erstwhile football stadium, built for some $56 million in 1975, was sold to some enterprising Canuck for a paltry 500K. With all the blight, distress, and abandonment, good things are still permeating their way through the dreck. There was a recent article in The Economist that illustrated the unique brand of dystopian renaissance in progress in Detroit these days. Random folk in some of the most affected communities have taken to making ghost towns their easels and deserted houses and cars their canvases. There’s also the admittedly rare case of the laid off auto-worker going from the unemployment lines to the pro-bowling lanes.

Tom Smallwood is every laid off, unemployed, part-time schlepp’s hero. You hear about these dudes from time to time, but not nearly often enough — the Ohioan ace who built himself an igloo entertainment center in his backyard to pass the time in fucked-over America comes to mind. Smallwood’s even better. This dude is boss.

Before becoming a part of the shit show fallout at Motor City Chevy, Smallwood was working the assembly line for $16 an hour. He was a weekend warrior at the local bowling lanes and had always held the dream of going pro. He’d even dabbled in the dream for a hot minute, kinda like the way your cousin’s buddy dabbled in rock stardom by opening up for Fall Out Boy in ’03. Smallwood was still small-fry enough to scare the shorts off his wife when he told her that if he didn’t find a new job within six months, he was going to start bowling full time. He didn’t. And he did. Then, in an obvious upset, he won the PBA Championship, taking home the $50,000 purse — close to double his annual salary at Chevrolet.

Smallwood’s story is the type that causes people to throw around lots of “you can do anything you want to if you set your mind to it babe” bromides, but it’s wise to keep in mind this guy had the ability the whole time. He was just forced into resignation because we’re led to believe that our dreams are unrealistic. The Economist argued that back when the world wasn’t totally on its ass, California promised fame and fortune, whereas Detroit held promise for the modest man — a home, a car, a decent wage. I imagine that sounded like a reasonable compromise to Smallwood. Risk isn’t worth much when you have a family to support. But in a world where the schlepp is the schmuck and the fix is in, risk is the status quo and reward is waiting in the wings.

Lil’ Wayne’s favorite news anchor has the visuals: