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City of Brass

City of Brass

City of Brass Archives

a humble suggestion for balancing the budget and eliminating the national debt

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

What if we simply abolished our entire active duty military? Well, not entirely of course. In a nutshell, we abolish the active duty standing Army and Air Force, fold the JSOC (SEALs and Marines) back into the Navy proper, and […]

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I am beginning to notice a disturbing pattern

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There’s something strange going on… Recall that at the height of the health reform fight, after Senator Brown was elected in MA and the Democrats looked like they were on the verge of total failure. It looked like Obama’s signature […]

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Obama hosts muslim business summit

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Everyone knew about President Obama’s nuclear summit a couple of weeks ago – arguably the most important, if characteristically boring, contribution to world peace in the past 30 years. But there was another summit this week that didn’t get anywhere […]

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Tea party? I’m proud to pay my taxes

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This year, I won’t be getting a refund – in fact I had to cut two sizable checks to the Department of Revenue and the Wisconsin Treasury. Yes, it was indeed painful. Fundamentally, the idea of sending your money to […]

a brief guide to federal income taxes

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Here’s a very handy, succinct, and clear overview of how to pay federal income taxes, explaining the key concepts. The author explains the difference between the various definitions of income: The first step in calculating your income tax liability is […]

health reform illustrates why we need a VAT

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The simple truth (and increasing consensus) about health reform is that we needed it, badly. An economist at Kiplinger.com calls the just-passed health reform “no more and no less than a modest, credible start” to reforming our health care system. […]

the economic Stimulus: behind the curtain

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ryan Lizza has a superb profile of Larry Summers, President Obama’s brilliant economic adviser, in The New Yorker. Lizza is one of my favorite political writers and he uses the profile on Summers as a backdrop for the larger story […]

Should conservatives embrace Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story” ?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I admit to not having ever seen a Michael Moore movie, though from what I understand his film Roger and Me was probably his defining film, one that predated the Bush era and thus was more balanced in its critiques. […]

Obama on Letterman: Remarkable.

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I rarely catch late night television, so it was a bit of a surprise to me that President Obama was on Dave Letterman’s show last night. I much prefer the Letterman format of keeping a guest around instead of shooing […]

Baucus bill follies: the public option is anti-progressive

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’ve been reading Tyler Cowen, Ezra Klein, and the League on the matter of the Baucus bill and am frankly bothered by the way in which progressives seem to be losing sight of the main goal of health care: to […]

The case for a VAT

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Megan McArdle lays out the grim outlook for the future, pointing out that tax revenues are plummeting, spending is up, and our national credit rating is in danger. Looking at the landscape ahead, especially the challenges that we as a […]

Islamic finance and magical money

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a great article in the London Review of Books about Islamic finance, in the context of the global banking crisis. I found this excerpt particularly insightful:  One of the central differences between the Islamic and conventional approaches to […]

Dubai, city of the Pharoah, will fall

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Johann Hari has a landmark essay in The Independent “The Dark Side of Dubai” that lays bare the facade of the glittering city of Dubai, peeling away the illusion of modernity and freedom to reveal a shocking substrate of slavery […]

What would McCain have done?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Larison makes a great point that bears repeating: let us recall that McCain supported cap-and-trade (even if he didn’t necessarily understand what he was talking about when he said so), proposed an insane mortgage bailout plan that pretty much everyone […]

CBO says stimulus will work

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has analyzed President Obama’s economic stimulus plan and concluded that it will have a definite positive impact in the short term, though with diminishing returns: In an analysis of the $900 billion version of the […]

What the GOP voted against

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

via Clammyc at Daily Kos, here is a partial list of what the House Republicans voted unanimously against in refusing to support the stimulus package that passed without them. An increase in the maximum benefit under the former food stamp […]

the gas price conspiracy

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I paid $2.24 per gallon this morning to fill up my Elantra. It’s bizarre to see a total bill for a fill-up under $25. The truth is that gas prices have decreased remarkably over the past month or two, despite […]

fiscal crisis explained by stick figures

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This powerpoint of unknown authorship has been making the rounds of Wall Street brokers, so Barry Ritholz embedded it online in Google Docs for all to share (click it to begin slide show): One thing worth noting, and emphasized in […]

Previous Posts

the 12th Annual Brass Crescent Awards - nominations open
It's that time of the year again! What are the Brass Crescent Awards? Created in 2004 by Shahed Amanullah and Aziz Poonawalla, they are named for the Story of the City of Brass in the Thousand and One Nights. Today, the Brass Crescent - ...

posted 5:13:45pm Aug. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Obvious: The Iraq War created ISIS
This is something that is so obvious, it is in danger of never being said, in which case those who led us into war will try to ...

posted 1:48:22am Jul. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Eid at the State Department
I am honored to be invited to celebrate Eid al Fitr at the State Department again this year. And I am relieved that this time, it's actually taking place after Ramadan, which means I can actually attend for the first time! :) I am looking ...

posted 11:01:00am Jul. 21, 2015 | read full post »

The Empire State goes green for Eid
As is tradition, the Empire State Building - the most beautiful skyscraper in the world - was illuminated in green to mark Eid al Fitr. Of course, in 2015, this is announced via the official twitter account ...

posted 1:21:00am Jul. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls roundup
Here is a link to all the posts in the Ramadan Pearls series I did during Ramadan: Criterion Non-existence Mystery Angels Objective Expectant Reed Veils Lend Good I hope you enjoyed these nuggets of wisdom as much as ...

posted 3:01:31pm Jul. 18, 2015 | read full post »

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