…which is to say that the Iowa women brushed past Ohio State 77 to 73 this afternoon on their way to tomorrow’s Big Ten tournament final against Nebraska. ESPN2 will be broadcasting it at 1:00 p.m. EST, daylight saving time. Thus those of you who don’t subscribe to the Big Ten Network will finally be able to see our granddaughter Bethany in fabulous action instead of having to rely on still pictures and my possibly biased reporting.
This map of the pipelines running through Ukraine (courtesy of East European Gas Analysis) shows clearly why East and West are at odds over Ukraine. Dr. Nafeez Ahmed of the Institute for Policy Research & Development offers a decade-old quote from Professor R. Craig Nation, Director of Russian and Eurasian Studies at the US Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute:
“Ukraine is increasingly perceived to be critically situated in the emerging battle to dominate energy transport corridors linking the oil and natural gas reserves of the Caspian basin to European markets… Considerable competition has already emerged over the construction of pipelines. Whether Ukraine will provide alternative routes helping to diversify access, as the West would prefer, or ‘find itself forced to play the role of a Russian subsidiary,’ remains to be seen.”
(click to enlarge map)
From Dan Jenkins’ 1988 novel Fast Copy, about a young woman who inherits a small-town Texas newspaper during the first Great Depression
“I can’t believe my school is going to the Rose Bowl,” she said to her daddy on the phone by way of telling him what she wanted for Christmas — a lower-berth single room with bath on the Burlington Zephyr to Los Angeles by way of San Francisco. The round-trip ticket was only $214.30, not including meals…
The trip from New York to Los Angeles only took five days on the Burlington Zephyr.
Betsy, Millie and Ted boarded the train at Pennsylvania Station on Christmas Eve. They exchanged presents in thle dining car. By prior arrangment, Betsy and Millie gave each other a carton of Luckies. Betsy gave Ted a sleeveless sweater. Ted gave Betsy a Columbia helmet for a desk ornament. Ted and Millie only exchanged funny cards. Ted’s to her said get well soon. Hers to him included an I.O.U. for a French job whenever Betsy would permit it. Afterwards they stayed up until dawn with other revelers in the club car, getting so gasolined they must have sung “It’s Only a Paper Moon” thirty times to the accompaniment of Wilbur de Paris and His Saratogans, the jazz band on board.
They slept most of Christmas Day and night. Chicago to Denver. During the seven-hour stopover in Denver Ted took the girls to dinner at the Brown Palace Hotel. The stopover in Salt Lake City came between midnight and five a.m., a disappointment to Millie. “Darn, no Mormon Tabernacle Choir,” she said, sipping from the flask she carried in a garter above her left knee…
The train ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles took ten hours. They arrived in L.A. at noon on December 30, two days before the game.
…if you were an Iowa Hawkeye who had just disposed of Purdue 87-80, advancing to the Big Ten semi-finals. Tomorrow’s victim will be Ohio State. Watch this space.
…because I’m not. Bethany Doolittle goes up for two more of her 26 points as Iowa beat Illinois 81 to 62 this afternoon in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. Purdue is next, at 2:30 p.m. EST Friday on the BTN channel. Be there.
…or more likely forgot. From Undernews:
Armed with Friedman’s ideas, President Reagan began calling for vouchers. In 1983, his National Commission on Excellence in Education issued “A Nation At Risk,” a report that declared, “the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people.”
It also said, “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.”
For a document that’s had such lasting impact, “A Nation At Risk” is remarkably free of facts and solid data. Not so the Sandia Report, a little-known follow-up study commissioned by Admiral James Watkins, Reagan’s secretary of energy; it discovered that the falling test scores which caused such an uproar were really a matter of an expansion in the number of students taking the tests. In truth, standardized-test scores were going up for every economic and ethnic segment of students — it’s just that, as more and more students began taking these tests over the 20-year period of the study, this more representative sample of America’s youth better reflected the true national average. It wasn’t a teacher problem. It was a statistical misread....
The scum just keeps bubbling up in Jersey. You’ll love the tawdry details in Shawn Boburg’s story at NorthJersey.com. Here’s a teaser:
Years before they resigned amid a scandal over politically motivated lane closures at the George Washington Bridge, Governor Christie’s top two executives at the Port Authority led a secretive campaign to quickly push through controversial toll hikes on the Hudson River bridges and tunnels by drowning out criticism, limiting public input and portraying the governors of New York and New Jersey as fiscal hawks who reined in an out-of-control agency.
At its heart was a plan to have the Port Authority, an independent bi-state agency, propose an enormous toll hike — a $6 increase that would bring the E-ZPass toll to $14 by 2014 — so that the governors could then scale it back. The smaller increases that were ultimately approved in 2011 — $4.50 over four years — allowed both governors to claim credit while they set the stage for each state to claim hundreds of millions of dollars to fund pet projects not directly related to the Port Authority.
Secretary of State John Kerry on Meet the Press yesterday:
Well, we’re now discussing all of the options. This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext. It’s really 19th-century behavior in the 21st century, and there’s no way to start with that if Russia persists in this, that the G8 countries are going to reassemble in Sochi … And the reason for this, David, is because you just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests.
From the New York Times:
The story of Toto, a Japanese company that created the Otohime, or “Sound Princess,” illustrates the great divide. Now installed in thousands of restroom stalls across Japan, the device mimics the sound of flushing water. The Sound Princess solved a problem of affluence: women were continuously flushing public toilets to mask the sounds that come with using them. Toto’s innovation saves them the embarrassment. The portable, purse-friendly version is a best-selling consumer product in Japan.
From Andrew Sullivan:
…As for the case for allowing fundamentalists to discriminate against anyone associated with what they regard as sin, I’m much more sympathetic. I favor maximal liberty in these cases. The idea that you should respond to a hurtful refusal to bake a wedding cake by suing the bakers is a real stretch to me. Yes, they may simply be homophobic, rather than attached to a coherent religious worldview. But so what? There are plenty of non-homophobic bakers in Arizona. If we decide that our only response to discrimination is a lawsuit, we gays are ratcheting up a culture war we would do better to leave alone. We run the risk of becoming just as intolerant as the anti-gay bigots, if we seek to coerce people into tolerance. If we value our freedom as gay people in living our lives the way we wish, we should defend that same freedom to sincere religious believers and also, yes, to bigots and haters. You do not conquer intolerance with intolerance. As a gay Christian, I’m particularly horrified by the attempt to force anyone to do anything they really feel violates their conscience, sense of self, or even just comfort.
So I’m with Big Gay Al, and always have been. Let bigots be bigots. Let gays be gays. And when those values conflict, lets do all we can not to force the issue. We’re living in a time of drastic change with respect to homosexuality. It is perfectly understandable that many traditional-minded people, especially in the older age brackets, are disconcerted, upset and confused. So give them some space; instead of suing them, talk to them. Try seeing things from their point of view. Appeal to their better nature as Christians. And start defusing by your tolerance the paranoia and hysteria Roger Ailes lives off…
From Mary Roach’s latest book, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal:
Paul Wagner, a top wine judge and founding contributor to the industry blog Through the Bunghole, plays a game with his wine-marketing classes at Napa Valley College. The students, most of whom have several years experience in the industry, are asked to rank six wines, their labels hidden by — a nice touch here — brown paper bags. All are wines Wagner himself enjoys. At least one is under $10 dollars and two are over $50. “Over the past ten years every time,” he told me, “the least expensive wine averages the highest ranking and the most expensive two finish at the bottom.” In 2011 a Gallo cabernet scored the highest ranking, and a Chateau Gruaud Larose (which retails from between $60 and $70) took the bottom slot.
Back in the day, when Winstons Tasted Good Like a Cigarette Should and we all Lighted Up a Lucky, I used to win bar bets with other smokers who insisted that their own brand of carcinogen was superior to any other ever inhaled. With the labels covered up, almost nobody could consistently tell his own brand from any other.
This from The Future of Socialism by Robert Paul Wolff:
At this nightmare moment in recent history, little need be said about the persistence and intensification of ethnic and religious antagonisms throughout the world. Try as we may, we socialists can no longer cling to the hope that class interests will unite men and women across national, ethnic, racial, and religious divides in a vibrant revolutionary movement to replace capitalism with a humane, just, egalitarian social order. Capitalists are doing their part. Not only are they crafting the elements of rational planning that a socialist economy would require. They are in the forefront of efforts to put the divisiveness of race, ethnicity, nationality, and religion behind us, for these divisions are not good for business. It is the people who remain mired in self-destructive and self-defeating irrationality.
As Arizona’s governor Jan Brewer is presently learning from her real base, gay money isn’t lavender. It’s green like everybody else’s.
We’re heading off to watch the Iowa women’s basketball team clobber Michigan in Ann Arbor on Saturday. Hence slow blogging (at least by me) for a few days. Here is a picture of Iowa clobbering Indiana last month, no pictures of the upcoming Michigan clobbering being yet available. Granddaughter Bethany is shown at right, apparently trying to tie her teammate’s shoe.
I dread the coming Hillary Clinton presidency. Just what we need, another corporate sell-out “centrist” Democrat. Pinch me, I must be dreaming. I find the prospect about as alluring as discussing term life or looking at someone’s stamp collection. I’ve always thought her supporters overrate her popularity with the American people. If the Republicans weren’t as grotesque as syphilis I’m not so sure she could win. If Jeb Bush runs she loses. And doesn’t that sound like a swell race? Bush v. Clinton? Pass the morphine please.
But wait, Jeb can’t win! No sane person wants another Bush in the White House, right? Wrong. This is Amurrica, baby. We are a nation of infantilized ignoramuses. Give us our flatscreens, iPhones, cheese-filled pizza crusts and a tub full of buffalo wings and you can do what ever you want with us. Vidal was dead right when he labelled us “The United States of Amnesia.” George W. Bush is already fading from memory, and Poppy may as well have fought in the Thirty Years War for all most people know. The establishment would throw all their money, weight and power into Jeb’s candidacy. After Oprah and The View work their dark magic and show his warm and fuzzy side — He’s nice to Hispanics, don’t you know? — the fix will be in. Mr. and Mrs. America will obediently accept whatever they are given.
In other words, the game is rigged, but you already knew that. But there’s also a certain symmetry to it. There has to be a third Bush. It is written. It’s like stopping the world wars at two: It creates this nagging sense of incompleteness that cries out for some final consummation. There simply must be a third to complete the cycle.
There is nothing to be hopeful about in a Clinton presidency. Nothing fundamental will change. The establishment can sleep tight. Goldman Sachs will still own the country and we’ll still have lots and lots of bombings and wars. Hillary will say all the most wonderfully progressive things on trivial social issues that don’t pose a politico risk (like another president I know). Big oil will be just as big. Construction on the Keystone XL pipeline will be well under way. The ten people in West Virginia who aren’t yet poisoned will be. It will be business as usual in the oligopoly.
Her supporters will become grating and blame all criticism of her as being sexist. Just wait for it. It’s an M.O. There is a strong possibility that such unappetizing figures as Robert Rubin will reenter our lives. Wouldn’t that be lovely? Egads, the horror, the horror (although I would warmly welcome Robert Reich and Jocelyn Elders back into the fold). Expect stale and cheesy campaign gimmicks. Remember the Conversation and the Kitchen Sink Campaign? May as well get a bucket now.
I fear that Hillary’s campaign will just have this sort of dull, unimaginative, back to the nineties vibe. It will be just as annoying as Republican eighties worship. We’ll be confronted with the spectacle of both major political parties having nothing to run on but nostalgia.
Now, I miss the nineties as much as the next guy. The late nineties were my glorious salad years. Colors were brighter. Love was more intense. Hangovers only lasted one day. The world was young with me and all that, you know. But they are never coming back, and in retrospect they might not have been all that hot in the first place. A lot of the cancer that is now killing us took root then, and our boy Bill had a big hand in it.…Read on
This item was delicately buried on page three of the Business section of the February 12th New York Times (excerpted): “As workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., prepare to vote this week on whether to join the United Automobile Workers … State Senator Bo Watson warned that if VW’s workers voted to embrace the U.A.W., the Republican-controlled legislature might vote against approving future incentives to help the plant expand.
“A loss of such incentives,” the report continued, “could persuade Volkswagen to award production of a new S.U.V. to its plant in Mexico instead of to the Chattanooga plant.…” Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee also weighed in against the union, calling it “a Detroit-based organization” (gasp! touché.) whose key to survival was to organize plants in the South. Well, Bob, yes – just as Volkswagen is a Germany-based organization, the U.A.W.’s thrust is (hold onto your seat) … to organize workers at plants.” Communist trickery!
The Times goes on to report that the union’s chances at the plant “have been buoyed by Volkswagen’s decision not to oppose” the union’s drive, and even its “hint” of support for it. “Volkswagen is eager to have a German-style works council” at the plant, in order to bring together managers and workers for more effective operations. But for this to happen, according to the report, there has to be union representation at the plant. Oh, oh.
Tony in Sharon writes as follows:
The question of what events to put in or remove from the Olympics has been a long-standing challenge. Back in 1983, I worked for a while with IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch et al, in Lausanne, Switzerland to offer a scheme whereby “we,” namely WHO, would bring IOC drug test kits and chemicals into all regions and countries, as we had immunity from national customs officials, who then could not tip off national coaches what tests to expect, and adjust their performance enhancing drugs to evade those tests. As a result, there was a big decline in Eastern European medal winning in 1984. (Check the records.) Since then, with WHO’s help, IOC has obtained the equivalent of WHO’s international immunity for testing purposes.
At the time, Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling were among the longest standing events in the Olympics. No one would dream of eliminating either. The IOC policy at the time was to add only sports that were practiced in the most numbers of countries. One difficult question then, and which continued through Jacques Rogge’s Presidency, was whether to include women’s ski-jumping. In 1983 only about six countries had national women’s jumping programs, although it seemed pretty obvious that would change, and women can jump as well as men. So, finally we have it in 2014.
Meanwhile, the IOC has added anomalies like ribbon-dancing, perhaps more for political reasons than anything else. And in 2014 we get for the first time in the Olympics “slope-style” snowboarding and skiing, although that gives a decided advantage to those few countries that have the resources to set up and maintain the courses. The Samaranch principle is perhaps being violated, but O.K. it’s fun for everyone, so why not?
But this last year some influential block-heads proposed to eliminate free-style wrestling, as from 2020, despite the fact that free-style high and college wrestling is available in almost 200 countries. As coaches of the eminently successful “Green Wave” high school wrestling program, you must have been shocked by that brainless proposal. But here’s the good news: The plenary IOC has overridden that idiotic quasi decision, and has reinstated freestyle wrestling in all future summer Olympics.
We need to get back to the Samaranch principle, and respect the original ideals and purposes of the Olympics. The Olympics is no place to demonstrate for ideological positions, no matter otherwise how valid. The Olympics are a place where deadly enemies, even those at war with each other (e.g.Athens v. Sparta v. Macedonia) can come and devote all their energies to sport, which can make its own contribution to world peace.
All right, all right, if you insist. Here’s where I was when the Beatles came to America 50 years ago. I was on the city desk of The Washington Post, dimly aware that mass hysteria had been unleashed on the land by the recent appearances of some British rock group on the Ed Sullivan Show. Next they were coming to Washington and I caught the assignment. It did me no good to point out that my taste in music ran to Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby. With the Beatles I would be in way over my head, or under it, depending on your point of view.
So I picked up the phone and asked the operator if the paper had been getting many calls about that night’s concert at the Washington Coliseum. Swamped, huh? Okay, the next teenybopper who calls, pass her along to me. I had barely hung up the phone when it rang.
I explained to the girl, call her Sally, that I needed an expert consultant to inform my coverage of tonight’s concert. And I had a couple of press passes and she could meet me at the paper, so how about it? After mulling my proposition over for a nanosecond, she agreed.
The resulting story is below, probably savagely shortened by some cretin on the copy desk. You’ll notice that the concert itself goes unmentioned. This is because it went unheard, lost to the memory of man under the squeals and screams of a thousand Sallys.
A 22-year-old former intern in the office of Rand Paul has accused the Kentucky senator and presidential hopeful of abnormality, Fox News has learned.
“I never suspected the dude wasn’t a normal man,” Karen Horney told Fox News. “I mean he’s married plus he’s so hot. Don’t you just want to run your fingers through those curls? I did. Wanted to, I mean.”
The buxom blonde, a recent Liberty University graduate and daughter of a major Tea Party donor, paused for a moment in her recital to shake her head in puzzlement.
“And when it comes to men,” she continued, “what I want I generally get.”
But this time, Ms. Horney confessed exclusively to Fox News that in six months of nonstop stalking she never once managed to “get a rise” out of the libertarian heartthrob.
“I even pulled one of these big babies out of my blouse and shoved it right in his face,” she recalled, suiting her actions to her words.
“Nice, huh? But Randy goes all snotty and tells me to stuff that thing back where it belongs. Go figure, huh? I’m sorry, but the man’s a freak.”
On other occasions, she recounted slipping a condom into his hand on a reception line, emailing him images of herself as she pleasured a foot-long corndog, and giving a congratulatory squeeze to the senator’s gentleman parts at the conclusion of his record-breaking 13-hour filibuster last March.
When even that failed, Ms. Horney resigned her job and accepted an offer of employment from Fox News analist and best-selling coauthor Bill O’Reilly.
“I wrestled with this for a long time, but I finally decided I owed it to the American people to tell my story,” she told Fox News in an exclusive interview. “The American people deserve to know the truth about this monster.”
Reached for comment by Fox News, Senator Paul denied the allegations to Fox News, claiming to Fox News, “I did not not have sexual relations with that woman.”
From the New York Times:
In what represented a cautionary tale for terrorist teachers, and a cause of dark humor for ordinary Iraqis, a commander at a secluded terrorist training camp north of Baghdad unwittingly used a belt packed with explosives while conducting a demonstration early Monday for a group of militants, killing himself and 21 other members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, army and police officials said.
Lots of good stuff in this Council on Contemporary Families symposium. Here’s a sample:
White Catholics and Mainline Protestants are less likely than the average American to be divorced, with 12.4 percent and 12.5 percent of their populations being currently divorced, respectively, compared to an overall average of 14.2 of Americans currently divorced.
But white Conservative Protestants and Black Protestants are more likely than the average American to be divorced, with 17.2 percent and 15.7 percent of their populations being currently divorced, respectively. Indeed, Evangelical Protestants are more likely to be divorced than Americans who claim no religion.
Thus the common conservative argument that strong religion leads to strong families does not hold up. Some have argued that evangelical Protestantism (the typical example of “strong religion”) is correlated with low socioeconomic status, and that this explains the increased risk of divorce. However, new research by Jennifer Glass and Philip Levchak suggests that evangelical Protestants’ cultural encouragement of early marriage and discouragement of birth control and higher education attainment explain the higher divorce rate in counties with a larger proportion of evangelical Protestants. In fact, living in such counties increases the likelihood of divorce for all couples, regardless of whether they themselves are evangelicals.
…it’s bound to be rotten enough for them. From the New York Times:
The yearlong effort to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, which had the support of President Obama, Republican leaders and much of American business and labor, was seriously imperiled on Thursday when Speaker John A. Boehner conceded that it was unlikely he could pass a bill…
Mr. Boehner’s remarks came a week after he and other House Republican leaders offered a statement of principles intended to win support for the measure. But, he said, House Republicans are not prepared to move forward in partnership with a Democratic administration that they believe will not fairly and impartially carry out the laws they pass.
Psychiatrists call this “projection.” Suppose for instance that you were the House Speaker of a political party which had spent the past three years trying unfairly and in a nakedly partisan way to hamstring a healthcare law that…
My day began with my wife informing me she was not quite 300 dollars overdrawn at the bank. By an odd coincidence, I was in a position to make up that shortfall for her. And since we were low on cat food and the grocery and the bank are in the same shopping center, I opted to drive down and deposit cash rather than to do an online transfer. I'm old enough to remember when depositing cash was the fastest way to do that sort of thing.
Well, the nice lady at the bank informed me that I had to show ID to deposit cash into an account for which I am not a signatory. That was irksome, but not as troubling as the fun fact she laid on me next: As of March 1, no one but the authorized user of a given account can make a cash deposit into that account. This, I was told, is a new federal regulation to combat money laundering. In the interests of politeness, I refrained from pointing out that perhaps our federal regulators should be directing their efforts toward the banks themselves, rather than the customers of those banks.…Read on
Did you happen to notice that Democrats, except for Senator Elizabeth Warren at least, have stopped talking about “income inequality” and starting talking about “the opportunity gap”? It seems the party’s donors get worried that people talking about income inequality might get the idea that you should — horror of horrors! — redistribute some income from them to the people who need it. If we talk about an opportunity gap, we simply plan on providing some additional pseudo-opportunities to the less fortunate but they will have to man up and accept responsibility for their own economic fate.
No less a conservative icon than David Brooks wrote a column on the opportunity gap where he talked about the uncomfortable decisions that “liberals” would need to take to address it. According to Brooks, to address an opportunity gap you must champion traditional marriage and stop trying to exploit class divisions.
If you have trouble making that connection, it seems that single parents or gay parents are unlikely to spend enough time reading Goodnight Moon to their kids, and pointing out the incessant class warfare against working people is just going to get them all upset and they’ll start demanding things instead of taking advantage of whatever opportunities their betters choose to hand them.
Of course, Democrats aren’t really going to be that successful in creating new “opportunities”, but they might sneak a couple of them through the Neanderthals in the House in an election year. My senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, is on a PR tour for her “American Opportunity Agenda” which represents the Democrat’s best hope for addressing “income inequality,” er, the opportunity gap.
Here are her proposals:
When I read someone’s characterization of Simon Jenkins as the Guardian’s resident conservative I was taken aback. I had by that time read enough of his columns to feel that I had something of a take on his views, and here in the US you won’t find many conservatives talking like this.
Deriding the British government for legally excluding the controversial French comic Dieudonné to protect the British public from his odious views when he wasn’t even planning to perform, Jenkins compares the exclusion to another offense against taste, the Dutch publication of cartoons depicting Mohammed. He quotes terrorism expert Anatol Lieven in arguing, apparently seriously, for blasphemy laws across Europe to cover all the major religions. To Lieven, “if [the Dutch cartoons] were to prove the last straw that leads only a few more European Muslims to join terrorist groups and carry out successful terrorist attacks, then not just the terrorists, but the fools who started this scandal will have blood on their hands.”
But, he replies,
That could be said of all who tolerate intolerance. Freedom often has blood on its hands. I can excoriate, deplore and refuse all dealings with odious speech or publication. Most decent-minded people do likewise. That is a world away from declaring such opinions criminal. “Causing offence” is so easily elided into inciting hatred, then inciting violence, then to being the cause of actual violence. The quick remedy, as the 2006 act showed, is to ban the offence. This is not advanced political ethics. Liberty often demands we risk causing offence and even seeing heads bloodied in its cause. The idea of generalisations that “giving offence” to specific groups, ethnic, religious or, nowadays, “self-defining”, may be deeply uncomfortable, but it is the gateway drug of censorship.
Voltaire’s demand, that we endure those with disagreeable views, is becoming ever harder for a modern state to endure. Governments are under perpetual pressure to curb such licence. They purport to protect “the right not to be offended”, but usually they are just avoiding the bother of umpiring factionalism and dissent. In banning Dieudonné, the home secretary may have kept a nasty piece of work offshore. What she has really shown is that Britain is too feeble a country to tolerate his presence.
…nothing to see here:
A mysterious disease is causing starfish to tear themselves to pieces. The arms of infected starfish begin to twist and then ‘crawl’ away from the creature’s body, until they tear off and the animal’s insides spill out.
It’s just the Republican Party.
It has been plain to me for a long time that the biggest foreign threats to the security of United State do not come from such usual suspects as Iran, Russia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and North Korea.
They come from inside our tent, not from out: from Israel, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. I’ll address Israel and Pakistan some other day, if I ever get around to it. For now Gary Brecher has done a pretty good job on Saudi Arabia at PandoDaily. Here’s an excerpt, but read it all here.
And of all their many skills, the one the Saudis have mastered most thoroughly is disruption. Not the cute tech-geek kind of disruption, but the real, ugly thing-in-itself. They don’t just “turn a blind eye” to young Saudi men going off to do jihad — they cheer them on. It’s a brilliant strategy that kills two very dangerous birds with one plane ticket. By exporting their dangerous young men, the Saudis rid themselves of a potential troublemaker while creating a huge amount of pain for the people who live wherever those men end up.
Saudis have shipped money, sermons, and volunteers to Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Russia’s North Caucasus just as they’re doing now in Syria. It’s a package deal — to get the money, you have to accept the Wahhabism and the volunteers. And it works. The Saudi package is usually resented at first, like it was by the Afghans who were outraged to be told they were “bad Muslims” by Saudi volunteers.
For the absolutely final final word on those anti-Christian and anti-life subhuman obscenities in Texas who tried to use a corpse to delay the still-birth of a doomed deformity, go to Stonekettle. And be glad you don’t live in Texas, unless you do. In which case embarrassment, despair, shame, regret or emigration would all be appropriate.
Our 13-year-old granddaughter Georgia sings with a youth band in New Haven. The kids had worked out the music for a number they wanted to perform at a concert last Sunday, but no words. How about we make it about the government shutdown, somebody suggested. (Kids these days, huh?) So anyway Georgia volunteered to write some lyrics, and here is what she sang:
sweaty hands and crossed fingers, the taste of lies lingers
our fathers are frowning, while our people are drowning
spilt blood on the playground, will we ever be found?
Chorus: Sitting on our imaginary throne,
preach to the choir,
and we drone and we drone
V2: unbending, never broken, change is never open
stuck in one single mindset, many blinded advocates
we pledge allegiance to the flag, to the republic for which it stands
but the real question is, what are we standing for?
V3: we’re sinking not swimming, our eyes are brimming
an eye for an eye, unless it’s mine
weak minds think alike, all bark and no bite
spilt blood on the playground, will we ever be found?
Wow, this is a bit spooky: the Turkish prime minister made a speech as a hologram broadcast into an arena. Is this, as Ed Kilgore asks, the new wave for leaders, or at least those in power? Especially those whose physical safety might be an issue?
…used to be Google’s much admired motto, remember? The full statement of this philosophy, still to be found on the company’s website, is “You can make money without doing evil.” Well, yeah, but it turns out you can make even more money the other way:
The case involves some of the biggest high-tech companies in the business: Apple, Google, Intuit, Intel and others. As outlined in court documents and in a story at Pando.com by Mark Ames, back in mid-2000s the companies decided to limit the potential earning power of their highly educated employees by entering into a secret non-aggression pact or cartel.
As part of the pact, top executives in each company agreed not to recruit employees from each other with offers of higher pay; they agreed to notify each other when employees of another cartel member came to them looking to improve their job situation; and they agreed to share salary information, so that all the employers were basically offering the same pay scale for the same kind of work, making it more difficult for workers to improve their paychecks by shopping their talents.
According to the suit, companies that violated the non-aggression pact were threatened with large raids to steal their workforce, and enforcing the pact was made easier by the fact that top executives sat on the boards of other companies and reaped very handsome rewards for doing so. For example, Paul Otellini, CEO of cartel member Intel, was invited to join cartel member Google’s board of directors in 2004, an arrangement that netted him $23 million in 2007 alone. It was a club that protected itself very well.