What Do Opposition Electoral Gains Mean for Ecuador?

Inter-American Dialogues

The municipal defeats of President Correa’s Alianza Pais in Ecuador’s 10 largest cities, including Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca, in last month’s elections do not signal the end for Correa’s government, but perhaps the beginning of the end. The losses were due to a host of differing local issues and can’t necessarily be read as a referendum on Correa, whose term runs through 2017 in any case. The opposition remains divided and lacks a comparably prominent leaders — though the election results may give Quito’s new mayor, Mauricio Rodas, a chance to audition for that role. 

Read the full piece here.

Defending Mr. Disney

Managing director Clark S. Judge discusses accusations of anti-Semitism against Walt Disney, and describes a particular trend in Hollywood.

As a child, I was fascinated by Walt Disney.  Not by his cartoons.  Not by the Mouseketeers.  Not by Davy Crocket.  But by Disney himself, the creator of the company that produced all those films and TV shows.  So I was dismayed two weeks ago when, as you have no doubt heard, actress Meryl Streep accused Disney of being a “gender bigot” and an anti-Semite.

Ms. Streep leveled the charges in the course of presenting a best actress award to Emma Thompson for her work in Saving Mr. Banks, which is about Disney, the children’s book author P.L Travers and the making of Mary Poppins.  Commentators have noted that Streep spoke midway through the voting period for the Oscars.  In a Hollywood meets Washington move, Streep was, some suggest, attempting to deny Thompson that highest profile Best Actress nod, and if so, she succeeded.  Thompson and her film failed to snag a single major slot on this year’s lists.

Of course, Streep said the other day that she was “shocked” at Thompson being bumped from the Oscar lists, “shocked,” some say, in a Claude Raines Casablanca style.  Ms. Streep is among the five nominees.

But what about the charges?  Was Disney misogynous or anti-Semitic?

Read the full piece here.

Is Money Too Easy…or Too Tight?

Managing director Clark S. Judge explained the trouble with the housing market.

Last week, I posted a summary to a New York Times op-ed by financial crisis expert Peter Wallison. Wallison had argued that a new housing bubble was developing.  I included with my summary a chart that he circulated privately to back up his claim.

In a comment on my post, J Climacus wrote: “I’d like to see a debate between you and [American Enterprise Institute scholar and Ricochet contributor] Jim Pethokoukis, who seems convinced that the problem is that there hasn’t been enough easy money, not that there is too much.” To me Mr. Climacus’ comment pointed to some of the most urgent issues in the economy today and widely spread confusion about them. I felt the response deserved a full post.

Read the full piece here.