In the middle of Hellzapoppin news developments on the political and economic and photo-journalism fronts, I am more or less off the grid for a few days -- out of touch, ironically, because I am immersed in meetings at a company that is all about the internet. For the moment, please indulge me in references to three past Atlantic articles I think are relevant to the day's news:

1) From three years ago, Countdown to a Meltdown, in the Atlantic. Some parts of this imagined-history of the great American real estate and financial collapse of the late Bush era now seem amusingly dated. But I submit that as a primer on the factors behind the real estate and financial collapse of the late Bush era, it's not bad and is worth another look.

2) From nine months ago, The $1.4 Trillion Question. The ordinary people of China, via their government's investment of the country's accumulated trade surpluses, are tremendously exposed to the American real estate and financial meltdown. The difference between those Chinese investors and the Americans who have lost their homes, pensions, jobs, etc is that the Chinese are on average so much poorer. Again I think the article stands up all right in explaining how this arrangement happened, and how long the Chinese will put up with it.

3) From this month, How the West Was Wired. Ok, this isn't immediately connected to the breaking news. But, for me, it puts some of that news in perspective -- and describes a part of China and a slice of the human experience that left a bigger emotional mark on me than anything else I have seen in the last two years of travel through this country. On the chance that it will be overlooked in Lehman/AIG/lipstick frenzy, I mention it once more. Along with this slide show and this link to a charitable organization that is doing very impressive work and deserves support.

Back to Hellzapoppin in due course.

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