So what about Egypt, eh? Is there anything more amazing than the relatively spontaneous gathering of humanity to peacefully declare freedom for itself? This following Tunisia must bring up comparisons to Eastern Europe in the late 80′s and early 90′s. Unlike the “color revolutions” of the 00′s which looked like foreign policy set plays to elevate friendly leaders and haven’t amounted to much beyond the adoption of neo-liberal economics. As Kissinger said, the US doesn’t have friends, it has interests. Consequently, we have a long history of supporting “friendly” dictatorships and one-party states. The equipment used by the Egyptian military and police that proudly proclaims “Made in U.S.A” proves the point. Mubarak’s Egypt is a cruel police state, but that’s ok because he serves our interests. He’ll take our terror suspects who need to disappear. He’ll do what he can to enforce the blockade of Gaza. And he’ll keep his own people in line, quiet about any feelings the 40,000,000 of them might have about US behavior in their neighborhood. All while preaching ceaselessly about freedom and democracy.
We’re standing on the wrong side of history.
Let’s establish something here and now: I detest Jay Cutler. He’s an entitled, punk-ass little sulk whose attitude makes everyone around him worse. The way he handled his exit from Denver was remarkable in one key respect: he managed to make Josh McDaniel look mature and competent by comparison. As wrong as Coach McSkippy was about everything else during his less-than-two-year tenure with the Broncos, he was right about Cutler. If only he hadn’t thought Tim #tebowtears was the answer.
So the forthcoming defense of Jay Cutler isn’t about liking him. As Crash Davis said in Bull Durham, “show us that million-dollar arm, ’cause I got a good idea about that five-cent head of yours.” Continue reading
As recently as last month, the term “nuclear apartheid,” in all its unsavoriness, reared its ugly head again. Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency denounced the IAEA’s approval of a plan for a nuclear fuel bank as “nuclear apartheid” (because of the implied infringement on a state’s own nuclear fuel production). For his part, back in 2005 President Ahmadinejad said of nuclear technology, “We’re against ‘nuclear apartheid,’ which means some have the right to possess it, use the fuel, and then sell it to another country for 10 times its value.”
When applied to nuclear weapons, the phrase may have been first used by Jaswant Singh, an adviser on defense and foreign affairs to former Prime Minister Vajpayee. In a 1998 Foreign Affairs article titled Against Nuclear Apartheid, he spoke out against nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) enforcement of a regime that, in effect, permits United Nations Security Council states to reserve nuclear weapons for themselves. Continue reading
A good blog is one that makes you stop and think for a few minutes. A great blog is one that causes you to stare off into space for a month or two as you try to sort out what you really think.
I guess that makes Sam Smith’s tri-centennial manifesto a great blog. It was unfortunately dead wrong on any number of levels.
It was wrong because while it sounds good, that’s not really what we want.
I hope. Continue reading
by Mark Todd
“The limit of ‘the secant line’ is ‘the tangent line.’” – John H. Matthews & Russell W. Howell, “The Tangent Parabola” in The AMATYC Review
Their remarks cut seldom perpendicular, nor to the heart’s core, hers a secant of intent, an entry aimed to exit near his fleshed circle of defense, and bleeding thin remorse. Continue reading
Bristol Palin, daughter of former Alaska governor and Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin, will address Washington University students on abstinence during next month’s Sex Week activities. The younger Palin, you’ll recall, became pregnant at age 18, creating a certain measure of campaign discomfort for her mother and GOP presidential hopeful John McCain.
Only in America can a girl who knows nothing about abstinence or going to college be paid thousands of dollars to go to a prominent college and talk about abstinence. Continue reading
If I’m a parent, or a prospective employer, or the admissions committee of a university, what I really want to know is whether a particular young man or woman is qualified at X level, however we define that, right? I can look at the transcript and see that she had a 3.24 GPA and that tells me something. But it is presumed to only tell me something absolute within the context of her high school, and even then I know a lot less than I’d like because I may not know how good her school is or where the faculty stands with respect to grade inflation. Her class rank fills out the picture a bit – she was the 27th best student in the school – but I still don’t know anything decisive about how she compares to another student, say a young man from a couple of states away, who posted a 3.29 GPA and a class rank of 31, whose record is also in front of me. Continue reading
Things fall apart, but the band plays on.
There have been a lot of years where the competition for CD of the Year was hotly contested, but I’ve always been able to make a call in the end. I think I probably got it wrong a couple of times (like in 1999 – as great as Godspeed You Black Emperor’s F#A#Infinity was, the passage of a decade’s time has made clear that The Pinetops’ Above Ground and Vertical was the better effort) but I made the call, nonetheless.
This year I just couldn’t do it. Continue reading
“Should taxpayers in Indiana who have paid their bills on time, who have done their job fiscally be bailing out Californians who haven’t?” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., asks. “No. That’s a moral hazard that we are not interested in creating.” – Fox News Blog
This nonsense has prompted a pretty good comment over at The Agonist, worth reading. That’s not the point, though. The point is that Paul Ryan obviously knows nothing. This is not a surprise, since he’s now the great white hope of Republican financial acumen. If this is an example of what Ryan brings to the table, the chance of anything reasonable happening the next two years is even dimmer than we thought. The man is as dumb as a sack of hammers.
At first glance, Social Security seems innocuous enough. What’s not to like? It’s as American as, well, the Great American Century. Also, until recent years, it’s managed to straddle the political divide from Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt, under whose administration it was instituted, to Republican President Dwight Eisenhower.
But today many Americans view it, ironically, as un-American and would like to see Social Security (along with most federal functions) reduced with an eye to abolishing it. Besides opposing large government in principle, they believe that the money withheld from their paychecks for Social Security is just another form of taxation, to which, in itself, they’re constitutionally incapable of reconciling themselves. Furthermore, it’s money that they feel they could invest more profitably in stocks and bonds, mutual funds, IRAs, 401(k)s, or . . . lifetime savings accounts. Continue reading
In case you haven’t been paying attention, the owners are set to lock out the players and the two sides don’t seem terribly close to a new collective bargaining agreement. The commish is frustrated. The union has declared “war.” And the fans … well, most fans are sitting around thinking to themselves that the league can’t possibly be that dumb, right? (It should be noted that the looming debacle is mainly the fault of the owners, who aren’t satisfied merely having most of the money. So we’ll have no talk about “the union and the owners.”)
But if they kill the 2011-12 season, what are sports fans going to do? Watch bowling? Continue reading
I am the most boring person I know. Oh, I’m not complaining, I’m bragging. But it’s not easy being boring. It requires vigilance and constant attention to detect possible danger. Let me explain.
Yesterday, my wife said to me, “Do you know what I’d really like to do?”
“I give up. What would you really like to do?” My danger sense was tingling.
“I’d really like to go to Rockefeller Center.” Continue reading
Millions of Americans are looking for jobs, and they’re using a wide range of approaches: want ads, online job boards, headhunters and recruiters, networking, these are common approaches. But in an environment where there are far fewer jobs than candidates, none of them are working especially well.
Sometimes, though, you wonder how you missed out. In the past 10-15 years I have seen and applied for plenty of jobs. Some I was qualified for (based on the posted requisites, anyway). Some I was marginally qualified for, at best. And some I was perfect for. In a number of cases I was so perfect that it seemed like the only difference between the job posting and my résumé was my name and contact information at the top of the page. This may have happened to you, too.
But … you didn’t get the job. Continue reading
How mind-bogglingly crazy is it that several states—including my own New York—are considering bankruptcy?
Of course, states don’t qualify for bankruptcy, but a move is afoot in Congress to create a kind of bankruptcy-like status for states.
Bankruptcy for states would raise huge issues of sovereignty. It would throw the municipal bond market into chaos. It would just downright look bad, undercutting what little public faith remains in government. There are all sorts of reasons why this could be hugely problematic.
But worst of all, it would be a loud-and-clear admission by lawmakers that they can’t get their fucking acts together and behave responsibly.
Has it really come to this? Continue reading