Category Archives: The Press

The Luncheon Society/Thomas Frank and his book “Pity the Billionaire/San Francisco—Fior D’Italia/ January 26, 2012

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After a two year absence, Thomas Frank rejoined The Luncheon Society in San Francisco to discuss his latest book, “Pity the Billionaire, The Hard Time Swindle and the Unlikely comeback of the Right.” 

Called “The Thinking Man’s Michael Moore” by Michael Kinsley and the author of What’s  the Matter with Kansas and The-Wrecking-Crew , Frank took us through the deregulatory environment that turned a blind eye to the housing bubble that finally burst in 2008, only weeks before the national election.  This started the long chain of events that became The Great Recession, the biggest economic mess since the Herbert Hoover gave us The Great Depression.

However, the big surprise came in the spring of 2009, when the Tea Party movement purged their moderates and demanded a return, with a sense of amnesiac incredulity, to the same circumstances that led to the “Train Wreck of 2008.”

It would be, as Frank describes, “as if the public had demanded dozens of new nuclear power plants in the days after the Three Mile Island disaster.”


On NPR, Franked continued, “The central paradox of our time is that we’ve just come through this extraordinary financial collapse. We know that this was almost directly the result of 30 years of bank deregulation and of all the sort of financial experimentation that our government encouraged. This disaster was caused by this ideology.”

And what the Tea Party movement and what the conservative revival generally is telling us to do,” Frank notes, “is instead of reversing course, instead of going back and saying, OK, maybe we should have a well-funded Securities Exchange Commission. Maybe we should go back and break up the too-big-to-fail banks.”

He concludes, “What they’re saying is, no, no. Get government out of the picture altogether. We need not to reverse course. We need to double down on that ideology that we’ve been following all these years. Only when we get to that sort of pure state of complete free markets, then our problems will be solved. And until that day, none of this stuff matters.” Continue reading

The Luncheon Society/The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta on the Murdoch Phone Hacking Scandal/Manhattan—Danal/July 14, 2011

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Ken Auletta, who writes the influential “Annals of Communications” column for The New Yorker, joined  The Luncheon Society in Manhattan for a return visit. 

Last year he talked about Googled, his New York Times best-seller how Sergey Brin’s and Larry Page’s endeavor redefined the mantle of leadership within Silicon Valley, especially now that Facebook has emerged as its greatest challenger. 

This year he talked about Rupert Murdoch and the phone hacking scandal that is mushrooming mushroomed over London.  Executive after executive within Murdoch’s empire have walked the plank.  The most painful departure was Rebekah Brooks the editor of News of the World, his signature London tabloid. Added to the list were Tom Crone, who ran legal affairs for the far flung empire, and Les Hinton, who ran Dow Jones. The question remained: would the scandal move from one side of the Atlantic to another?

Note: Special thanks to our friend Shari Foos, who hosted the Luncheon Society gathering in Manhattan.

Humble Start. The first chapter of the phone hacking scandal bubbled into public view mid-decade when members of the Royal Family discovered that their voicemails had been pilfered, which was a violation of British law. The subsequent investigation soon circled the offices of The News of the World. Within months, their Royal Editor and an investigator pled guilty to the charges and were shuttled off for short jail sentences. Mistakes were acknowledged, apologies were made, and promises were made that nothing like this would ever happen again. Continue reading