Leah Platt

Leah Platt is a writing fellow at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Predatory Pricing:

The biggest anti-trust suit since the Microsoft case is set to open in a federal court next month. The particular complaint is against American Airlines. Three of its smaller competitors -- Vanguard, Sun Jet and Western Pacific -- are accusing the huge airline of conducting a ruthless campaign to oust them from the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. But the entire airline industry might as well be on trial. Since Congress deregulated the industry in the late 1970s, the promise of lower prices and smoother service -- which has only intermittently been fulfilled -- owes more to the effort of scrappy low-cost carriers like Southwest than to competition between the major airlines, whose hub-and-spoke networks hardly overlap. The Big Six -- United, US Airways, American, Northwest, Continental and Delta -- have divided the country into local fiefdoms centered around "fortress" hubs. United, for instance, flies more than half of the passengers leaving from San Francisco, Denver, and Chicago O'Hare,...

Marketwatch

Prompted by a plunge in the Consumer Confidence Index, which hit a near-five-year low in February, The New York Times dubbed confidence the "X factor that can save the day or push the economy over the brink into recession." Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan warned Congress that "changes in consumer confidence will require close scrutiny in the period ahead." But in the age of the 24-hour news cycle, measures of confidence bring up a chicken-or-egg problem. Are consumers responding to their own lived experiences--say, a neighbor who lost a job, or a factory in town that shut down--or to the constant stream of hyped-up financial news on cable and the Internet? By all rights, consumer confidence should not have been faltering--as it was--at the start of this year. Unemployment was at the low rate of 4.2 percent, and the latest payroll figures show a net gain of more than 125,000 new jobs in January. The Commerce Department also reports that American incomes and consumer spending rose in...

Dangerous Security:

This week, a bus attack in the heart of Israel -- a Palestinian bus driver struck Israeli passengers waiting at a stop in South Tel Aviv -- killed eight and left 12 wounded. The government's response was swift. It sealed off the Palestinian territories by air, land and sea. Palestinian residents are forbidden from entering Israel, but also from traveling to Egypt and Jordan, and anywhere else except Mecca, Saudi Arabia for their Islamic pilgrimage. The border has been under a general closure since September 30th, when the latest round of violence began, but Israel has made exceptions for Palestinian men working across the Green Line. No longer. After the bus attack, the government promised to reassess the policy of allowing Palestinians to work in Israel. Because of the complete border closing, 150,000 Palestinian men are out of a job. The events are as familiar as they are terrible. The bus attack is just the latest in the five-month-long Al-Aqsa Intifada, modeled after the bloody...

Her Life an Open Book

I n Charlotte Salomon's extraordinary Life? or Theater? A Play with Music --a kind of unbound epic, composed of more than 700 watercolor panels plus text and suggestions for accompanying music--the painted curtains rise on Berlin, 1913. A young woman, named Charlotte, is floating blue-faced in her coffin. She has drowned herself. This exhibit, which features about half of the total work, recently left the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston , and is now at the Jewish Museum of New York . Only moments into it, we can already sense the contradictions that will propel it forward. Here is life--or is it theater?--compressed into two dimensions and nonetheless exploding off the paper. (In one of the exhibit's first page-size panels, there are 27 different swiftly dabbed images of the young woman leaving her apartment, walking through the streets, approaching the river, and sinking under the water.) Here is cartooning--or, with its sometimes comic, rhyming text, is it cabaret?--that asks itself the...

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