by Lee Camp
You’re no doubt familiar with the notion that nuclear weapon states will be loath to give up their nuclear weapons — and those that seek them their aspirations — since Moammar Gaddafi forfeited his nuclear-weapons program. Choosing to go deterrent-free, he ended up regime-free as well.
At the Atlantic, Mira Rapp-Hooper and Kenneth N. Waltz weighed in on this.
No doubt understanding that his regime and his own survival are under constant threat, Kim [Jong-il] has been quite unwilling to disarm. The last two decades have provided him with numerous cautionary tales of dictatorships defeated — the Iraqi army was trounce-ed in 1991, NATO triumphed over Milosevic in 1999, and the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003. And just this March, as NATO operations in Libya began, a North Korean spokesperson announced the lesson that Kim’s regime had learned: “It has been shown to the corners of the earth that Libya’s giving up its nuclear arms. … was used as an invasion tactic to disarm the country.” … The Dear Leader has probably learned through careful observation that the only true security guarantee for a fragile autocracy … may be a nuclear arsenal. Continue reading
The Occupy movement seems as if it has the potential to do great things. While it professes no leadership, it has galvanized the left—and a growing part of the middle, possibly—in ways that no other issue has over the past decade—since the invasion of Iraq, actually. And galvanize it has—it’s a worldwide phenomenon now, here in London at St Paul’s Cathedral, and elsewhere. It has provided a focus for the anger—outright rage, in many cases—at the lack of accountability of the financial and political elite for the crisis of a couple of years ago, and the state of the economy now, at a time when it is god-awful difficult for many families in America and many other industrial economies to make ends meet, or just to stay in place. People are going backwards, and they know it. One can only admire the determination and focus of the people involved. One can only feel outrage at the indifference, so far, their protest has engendered in the corporate media and the policy elites. The tragedy in Oakland is symptomatic of a deep sickness in American culture, one that the financial and political elite seem perfectly comfortable perpetuating at the expense of both people and planet.
And yet, and yet…. Continue reading
Some people think I hate Christians. My occasional comments on Tim Tebow probably have something to do with that perception, although you have to aggressively project a hater stereotype on me to make that work. Which a lot of Christians are happy to do, make no mistake.
I won’t lie, though. I’m very much not a Christian myself and I’ve read my Dawkins and my Harris. I’m a persistent fan of evidence, and I’m not idiot enough to think that we know all there is to know. In particular I’m intrigued by the study of energy and the question of whether perhaps it coheres once we die. But this is a question of science, not blind religion. I feel no particular need to believe in a “higher power” or in the existence of a spirit realm. I’m certainly spiritual, but since spiritualism as expressed by humanist awareness is more than I’ll ever unravel, I have no need for superstition. Continue reading
by Chip Ainsworth
The cold air chased me south from New York into Pennsylvania and on through Virginia into North Carolina. “We had snow here last week,” exclaimed Sarah Edwards. “We haven’t had snow in 15 years.”
Edwards was speaking from behind her desk at the Ava Gardner Museum in downtown Smithfield, a Tar Heel town of about 13,000 that’s located a few miles west of I-95. I’d pulled in once before but the museum was closed. Now I was back to get a glimpse into the life of the woman who became the flame who “taught Frank Sinatra how to sing a torch song,” as his band arranger, Nelson Riddle, once described her.
The museum attracts about 12,000 visitors a year — mostly seniors but also “a lot of younger people interested in Old Hollywood,” said Edwards. Admission is $6 and patrons can buy a variety of souvenirs from Ava Gardner post cards to five-ounce jars of regional delicacies like sweet potato butter and moonshine jelly. Continue reading
by Paul Szep
“Prices are set on the margin,” goes a general statement in economics and finance. It sounds a bit glib as an explanation for the current abject state of the global economy. How for the “want of a nail” could the battle be lost?
Think of an airplane consisting of 100 seats which only breaks even on the cost for a single journey once there are 65 paying customers on board. The blue seats in the image below are the 64 patiently waiting to start their travels. The red chair waits for the 65th customer.
It depends on what you mean by “save.”
Recently The Financial Times ran a story (“Shale gas boosts US manufacturing“) discussing the fact that a number of companies, both American and non-American, were either re-opening chemical or fertilizer plants in the United States, or were building new plants. This trend has emerged as the result in the significant fall in the price of natural gas in the US as compared with other regions. As the FT noted,
Dow Chemical plans to open new US ethylene and propylene plants later this decade, and restart a Louisiana ethylene cracker closed in 2009. Royal Dutch Shell announced a chemical plant in the gas-rich Appalachian mountain region to make ethylene and petrochemicals. Sasol of South Africa last week unveiled a plan to convert gas into diesel fuel in Louisiana.
In the fertiliser industry, Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan is investing $158m to restart a Louisiana anhydrous ammonia plant shut in 2003, when gas prices were climbing. Aluminium company Ormet is dusting off a nearby plant shuttered in 2006.
This is a turnaround from activity a decade ago, as the FT notes, when companies were closing plants and moving operations elsewhere. Continue reading
By Lee Camp
by Chip Ainsworth
Shortly after finishing his three-month, 3,312-mile run from the coast of Oregon to the Rhode Island shore, Glenn Caffery visited his physician and complained that his feet were numb.
“What’d you expect?” the doctor replied.
Caffery, a 49-year-old data management teacher at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, lives in Leyden, a small town in the Connecticut River Valley that borders Vermont. His cross-country pilgrimage was to raise awareness about the Alzheimer’s disease that killed his father at age 68.
“He was diagnosed at 55,” said Caffery, “but it was symptomatic at least two years prior to that.”
On May 19, Caffery stuck his foot into the Pacific Ocean and began his long, arduous journey across Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Minnesota on toward the Northeast and into New England. On Aug. 17, surrounded by friends and family, he splashed into the Atlantic Ocean at Misquamicut Beach in Rhode Island.
The Tim Tebow experiment has begun, with the Denver Broncos posting an 18-15 come-from-behind overtime victory over the winless Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon.
I’ve been critical of Tebow and his frequently irrational fan base, but none of that matters now. All that matters at this point is whether he’s a viable quarterback for a team that hasn’t accomplished much this century. So in the interest of objective evaluation, let’s take a cold, hard look at Tebow’s performance yesterday. Namely, let’s examine what he did well, what he didn’t do so well, where he deserves credit and where he doesn’t deserve credit, etc.
Results are results, and this is a W. Period. Continue reading
You can’t go back,
you can’t repeat the unrepeatable.
You can look back, though. In Littlefoot, written in 2007, the year he turned seventy, Wright stands on the ridgeline between past and future, moving forward with an elegiac awareness of everything behind him.
I’m starting to feel like an old man
alone in a small boat
In a snowfall of blossoms….
Voices from long ago floating across the water. Continue reading