Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Chomsky's Vacation

Noam Chomsky has often commented that he is "waiting for the world to go away" before he can [insert carefree recreational activity here]. I have interpreted this to mean "death will be a welcome reprieve from having to debate people like Bill Bennett and Alan Dershowitz," though I could be wrong. It may simply underscore that Christopher Hitchens is a jackass, as everything that Chomsky says implicitly does.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Ports and other Foreign Ownership

from Nouriel Roubini's Blog
The current political saga and debate about the purchase by a Dubai-based company of the management of six US ports misses the most crucial point: with a US current account deficit running towards $900b this year and probably above one trillion $ next year, in a matter of a few years foreigners may end up owning most of the U.S. capital stocks: ports, factories, corporations, land, real estate and even our national parks. This is basic accounting: if you run a current account deficit (import more than export, spend more than your income, save less than you invest) you need to borrow from the rest of the world to finance such excess of spending (on private and public consumption and investment) over your national income.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Saturday, February 18, 2006

White House on Abu Ghraib: "We took kinky gay sex to the enemy, so it wouldn't happen here."

Also in the headlines:

Bay-area BDSM enthusiasts "scared straight."

Blowback: Brokeback Mountain; "How could it happen here?"

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Freedom of the Press Secretaries

Scott McClellan on torture at Abu Ghraib

That's the difference between the United States and some countries in the world that systematically engage in torture. When we find abuses or atrocities like that, we show the world that people are held to account; we show the world that we take these matters seriously, and we take steps to prevent that from happening ever again.

McClellan later explained that because Al Qaeda are "trained to provide false information," he feared the outsourcing of the press secretary position to terrorists.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Guess who's back?

Monday, February 13, 2006


It seems to me that when somebody demonstrates a consistent inability to handle firearms responsibly, you take their guns away.

Below: US-Iraq relations, 2003-present.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Freedom of Provocation

It's not hard to understand the anger felt by many Muslims these days. If somebody published a series of cartoons depicting myself as being independently wealthy, socially magnanimous and great in the sack, you can well be sure a firebomb or two would be lobbed from the ex-girlfriend camp.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Friend in War

from The New York Times
The president did not use the National Guard speech to defend the surveillance program undertaken by the National Security Agency since he took office. But he did defend his general anti-terrorist policies in several ways.

He said, for example, that his "aggressive strategy of bringing the war to the terrorists" had not cost the United States international support but, rather, had enhanced America's standing. A shining example is Pakistan, he said.

"A little over four years ago, Pakistan was only one of three countries in the world that recognized the Taliban regime in Afghanistan," Mr. Bush said. "Today, Pakistan forces are risking their lives in the hunt for Al Qaeda."

...Mr. Bush praised President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan for remaining a United States ally despite threats on his life.

Here President Musharraf is shown with some of the decorations bestowed on him by President Bush for risking his life in the hunt for Al Qaeda.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A Second Treatise on Public Transport

I would like to relate now the case of J.R. Boyd v. The Chickenheads* On His Bus Every Damnable Morning and Afternoon During His Commute While He Is Trying Read the Newspaper. This case is still pending, as the act of exasperation which brings it to trial has yet to be acted out.

*see definition 8; all other definitions would be an ironic twist of fate

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Film Review | Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Total sausage party, dude. Women have a long way to go in the workplace if they can't even score a few high-profile indictments in corporate bankruptcies of this scale. Unfortunately, the only gals making it to executive offices at this company were outsourced from the local gentlemen's club. Have to give the filmmakers credit in this regard: Although they could not find actual strippers from that era, they do give ample time to actresses aspiring to portray strippers in several dramatic reenactments. While I still can't completely explain what transpired at the company, my impression is that it involved an awful lot of "making shit up"--or, "hypothetical value projections," as they refer to the cutting-edge accounting system of their design, which somehow (read: deregulation) earned SEC approval. "Slanted" and full of commentary from people whose two cents may well suffer the same inflationary pox as Enron's former stock (the participants are not identified often or in any particular detail), the basic narrative of the company is nevertheless compelling and worthwhile -- not to mention timely, as former execs Lay and Skilling finally go to trial.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Celebrity Role Models

They say celebrity marriages don't last, but Woody Allen and his adopted daughter have been going strong for very close to a decade now.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Great Expectations

If death is anything like sleeping more than 11 hours without back pain, I should be very grateful for it.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Sunscreen for the Soul

I have never been a skin-cancer enthusiast, but I also do not appreciate fluorescent lighting, nor the spectrum of employed persons who seem to thrive under them. For this reason I much prefer working out of doors, so long as those doors do not belong to a recalcitrant Arab population, and "working out" does not entail breaking them down as a means of introduction.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Some Elementary Remarks on Public Transportation

Public transportation is a fine, fine thing. It is cheaper than driving, though money means little when one subsequently expires from the bird flu. This brings us to the primary drawback of public transportation: the public. Their propensity to serve as a vector of transmission has few rivals, though abstinence-only education can't be helping, nor several people I dated in the late 90's. Of course, it has been said that an American flu pandemic is a long way off, with at least a layover or two inbetween. In the meantime, antibacterial soaps are helping us prepare for the worst by helping the worst be prepared, so that we might end it all a lot sooner than our student loans had hoped. Still, there is saliency in the presidential observation that we are "addicted" to oil, particularly when it comes from someone so well-versed on the topic.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Does torture count as an "evil" we should "never surrender to"?