After the poetic rhetoric in Prague, it was tempting to think that Obama might be headed in the right direction on at least one issue. I’d be willing to forgive just about all of his sins were he to get significant movement in reducing America’s nuclear arsenal. START has been technically defunct since December and negotiations between the US and Russia are ongoing. But the same stupidity that derailed the last great attempt at nuclear disarmament has returned. Gibbs says that Medvedev didn’t mention a problem last time he and Obama talked. An anonymous source involved in the process adds that, “Gibbs also had a friend of Obama’s who’s in the same gym class as Medvedev’s best friend ask about it, and apparently the note that Obama’s friend got later in math class didn’t say anything about it either.” So maybe it’s, like, ok.
“What they really want to see is, they want you to chop your fucking arm off, hold up your arm, wave it around spewing blood, and believe me, if you did that, the crowd would go fucking ballistic. You only get four good shows like that, though. Four good shows, and then you’re just a torso and a head, trying to get one of your band mates to give you one last hurrah and chop your head off. Which they probably wouldn’t do, which would really be hell.” Who said it? Continue reading →
“The guys who are shooting films now are technically brilliant, but there’s no content in their films. I marvel at what I see and wish I could have done a shot like that. But shots are secondary for my films, and with some of these films, it’s all about the shots. What’s the point? I’m not sure people know what points to make.” Who said it? Continue reading →
One day my Austrian roommate came home and told me that one of the biggest bands in Russian rock history would be playing a show in Piter. How could i say no? So i went to the Cultural Palace with a group of Austrian students, a nation not known for its dedication to rock. The lobby was filled with Russians of every age and clique. Middleagers. Teens. Hippies. Metalheads. Punks. New Russians. Everyone. We found our seats near the back of the auditorium, but it was clear that the Russians–as is their way–were going to pay no attention to any rule stamped on a piece of paper. The chair free section in front of the stage was filling up fast, and i wanted to be up there. Once the band played their first chord i turned to my companions and said, “Stay here if you want, but i won’t.” I pushed down into the crowd with my companions following and had one of the best times of my life.
Maritime shipping is responsible for emitting 3% of global carbon emissions, roughly equal to air travel and more than most nations. Worse than that, however, is the fact that most oceangoing vessels burn heavy fuel oil (aka bunker fuel), the heavy sludge that’s left after every other useful product has been refined from petroleum. Bunker fuel emits a truly massive amount of nitrogen oxide compounds (NOx) and, due to its high sulfur content, a huge amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2). According to the International Council on Clean Transportation, one of the ways to reduce emissions at port was to implement “shore-side electricity” in port. This enables a suitably equipped shipping vessel to operate off of comparably clean electricity instead of extremely dirty bunker fuel.
The buzzing topic of conversation throughout liberal America appears to be just how much change the new president brings to the table. His stalwart defenders rally to his side on comment threads, regularly regurgitating the stock phrases that appear in emails from campaign headquarters, er, the White House. One need not look very far to find a statement like, “He’s our President and we have to stand behind him.” That type of statement is a little too close to Bushbottery for me, but i’ve come to understand that it is, in fact, nothing of the sort because Bush was evil and Obama is good. I won’t argue the former, but it is far too early to make the call on the latter.
Sarah Palin’s Alaska has been called the “Paul Revere of global warming.” That’s because the sharp impacts the state has been feeling, including the just-announced near-record melting of Arctic sea ice this summer, are a warning of what the rest of us will soon be feeling.
But even as these impacts have become evident (and notwithstanding her equivocal, unconvincing comments about climate change in her recent interview with ABC’s Charlie Gibson), Palin has remained in a state of denial. If she should ever ascend to the presidency, we would be right back where we started from with a leader who believes in her guts, like George W. Bush, that humans can do no wrong to the planet. And that fantasy could ultimately lead to a truly scary future.
Sarah Palin told ABC’s Charles Gibson yesterday that she favors admitting Georgia and the Ukraine, both on Russia’s borders, to NATO. When Gibson asked her if she would go to war with Russia to defend Georgia, she said, “”Perhaps so. I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you’re going to be expected to be called upon and help.”
Right you are, Ms. Palin, but help doesn’t always mean military help, else the NATO countries would have chosen up sides and embroiled themselves in war when Greece and Turkey went at it over Cyprus. You are technically correct, though, because the defense clause of the treaty reads: Continue reading →
“START I expires December 2009,” writes Alicia Godsberg at the FAS Strategic Securities Blog, “after which time there will be no nuclear arms control treaty that requires intrusive verification measures [or] the dismantlement of warheads. The Bush administration has not favored verification measures in nuclear arms control treaties with Russia [but] with a change in leadership coming to Washington, the importance of being able to build upon the START framework toward irreversible reductions in nuclear arms is again possible.” [Emphasis added.] Continue reading →
There’s a game I used to play with my geopolitics university students. I’d get them to form a circle and then I’d ramble about in the middle linking them up with black cotton thread. It would form a dense and incomprehensible jangle, tying them up in improbable ways. I’d always leave a few free.
Then I’d get one of the untied students to “attack” one of the tied students. As he moved towards the other, he would have to cross the threads in the middle and would quickly draw others into the conflict.
The thread, I told my students, are the ties of international trade and politics. And Russia has just played silly-buggers with everyone else’s party. Continue reading →
In warning that Georgia could be a new World War I, John Zmirak at Inside Catholic writes: “With the distance of history, we can see that World War I was not a crusade for democracy or anything else — but rather a snuff version of Seinfeld: a War about Nothing.”
Jeff Huber at Pen and Sword: The Russia-Georgia conflict “looks more like the relatively heroic measures Big Daddy Bush took in the first Iraq war. If the Bush administration spin merchants were working for the Russians, the story would go that mean old Georgia decided to beat up on poor little South Ossetia and Abkhazia and the big strong Russians swept in to save the day for the underdogs, just like America did when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.” Who else but the Commander (Huber) would have thought to make that analogy? Continue reading →