A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from January 22, 2007
Texas Strategy (Paul Krugman NY Times column)

In a January 15, 2007 column in the New York Times (reprinted in the Austin American-Statesman and other newspapers), Paul Krugman wrote about what he called “The Texas Strategy.” According to Krugman, a Texas strategy is to continue a losing proposition as long as posssible, all the while profiting personally and hoping for some “Hail Mary” longshot solution to the problem.
Krugman states that the term “Texas strategy” derives from Charles Keating and the 1980s banking scandals, but provides no documentation of that. A letter-to-the-editor writer to the Austin American-Statesman (below) thought that Krugman simply defamed the state.
The Texas Strategy
By Paul Krugman
The New York Times
Monday 15 January 2007
Hundreds of news articles and opinion pieces have described President Bush’s decision to escalate the Iraq war as a “Hail Mary pass.”
But that’s the wrong metaphor.
Mr. Bush isn’t Roger Staubach, trying to pull out a win for the Dallas Cowboys. He’s Charles Keating, using other people’s money to keep Lincoln Savings going long after it should have been shut down - and squandering the life savings of thousands of investors, not to mention billions in taxpayer dollars, along the way.
The parallel is actually quite exact. During the savings and loan scandal of the 1980s, people like Mr. Keating kept failed banks going by faking financial success. Mr. Bush has kept a failed war going by faking military success.
The “surge” is just another stalling tactic, designed to buy more time.
Oh, and one of the favorite techniques used by the owners of savings and loan associations to generate phony profits - it involved making high-interest loans to crooked or flaky real estate developers - came to be known as the “Texas strategy.”
What was the point of the Texas strategy? Bank owners were certainly gambling - with other people’s money, of course - in the hope of a miraculous recovery that would bail out their negative balance sheets.
But the real point of the racket was a form of looting: as long as they could keep reporting high paper profits, S.&L. owners could keep rewarding themselves with salaries, dividends and sweetheart business deals.
Mr. Keating paid himself a million dollars just weeks before his holding company collapsed.
Which brings us to Iraq. The administration has spent the last three years pretending that its splendid little war isn’t a big disaster. There have been the bromides (we’re making “good progress”); the promises (we have a “strategy for victory”); and, as always, attacks on the media for not reporting the good news from Iraq.
Who you gonna believe, the president or your lying eyes?
Now Mr. Bush has grudgingly sort- of admitted that things aren’t going well - but he says his “new way forward” will fix everything.
So it’s still the Texas strategy: the war’s architects are trying to keep their failed venture going as long as possible.
The Hail Mary aspect - the off chance that somehow, things really will turn out all right - is the least of their motivations. The real intent is a form of looting. I’m not talking mainly about old-fashioned war profiteering, although there is no question that profiteering is taking place on an epic scale. No, I’m saying that the hawks want to keep this war going because it’s to their personal and political benefit. (...)
Austin American-Statesman
(Letters, Saturday, 1-20-07)
Don’t mess with Texas
I acknowledge the need for newspapers to publish diverse opinions in their commentary pages, but I am outraged that the American-Statesman would publish a column slandering the state of Texas.
The Statesman has often republished ultra-liberal Paul Krugman’s New York Times column, which consistently bashes the Bush administration. However, in the Jan. 18 issue, the Statesman went too far in presenting his leftist opinions (“Using Texas-style tactics”).
It is disgraceful, and an affront to all Texans, for the Statesman to allow a column that likened the conduct of the war to a “Texas strategy” using “Texas-style” tactics. Krugman described these Texas strategies as failures, citing the 1980s savings and loan scandals led by Charles Keating as typical Texas operations.
He further implied that the Bush Texas strategy is to keep the war going so that the hawks can continue their “profiteering of epic scale” for their “personal and political benefit.”
Such trash does not warrant publication.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Monday, January 22, 2007 • Permalink

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