Monday, July 28, 2008

Matthew Yglesias (July 25, 2008) - Three Strikes and You're Out (Domestic Policy)

Matthew Yglesias (July 25, 2008) - Three Strikes and You're Out (Domestic Policy): "I was thinking recently that if you really wanted to do something to shore up the sanctity of marriage then rather than ban gay marriages you ought to ban, say, fourth marriages. It's one thing to say that people who make a mistake ought to get a second chance, but serial nuptuals really do make a mockery of the institution's basic premises in a way that same-sex couples don't."

Saturday, July 19, 2008

book notes

Auto Mania: Cars, Consumers, and the Environment by Tom McCarthy

"As the economy moved into a standard business downturn in 1929 and 1930, Americans responded by dramatically cutting back expenditures in other areas so that they could continue making there auto payments" thus, amplifying the downturn.

Oil's EROEI used to be 100 -- energy from one barrel of oil produced 100 barrels of oil. The ratio in Saudi Arabia is now 10, with lower ratios elsewhere. (although energy for energy production doesn't necessarily have to come from oil)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Keeping His Eye on the Ball -

Keeping His Eye on the Ball - "The 95 sports events (with hundreds of athletic teams) are more than double the number of Cabinet meetings Bush has held (45), more than quadruple the number of meetings he has had with Russia's Vladimir Putin (22). The 19 T-ball games he has held are more than twice the number of meetings he has had with China's Hu Jintao (nine). And the three dinners he has held in honor of professional baseball are nearly equal to the five state dinners he has hosted during his entire presidency."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chinatown (1974) - Memorable quotes

Chinatown (1974) - Memorable quotes: "Course I'm respectable. I'm old. Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Old misconceptions recently corrected

Old view: Ford refused to use colors other than black because they wanted conformity (as taught to me in 1970's grade school) or because they wanted economies of scales from using just one paint (as I alternatively theorized in grade school). GM bested Ford because it came up with the brilliant idea of offering consumers different colors.

New view: Ford refused to use colors other than black because black was the quickest to dry, since black absorbs heat. The use of alternate colors could add weeks to the production process. GM came out with alternate colors not because it was brilliant but because, after DuPont and JP Morgan saved GM from bankruptcy, DuPont owned a majority of GM. When DuPont invented a quick-drying paint in 1925, it made it available to GM before it made it available to GM's competitors.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Best of the Web Today -

Best of the Web Today - "Conceptually, of course, there is a world of difference between believing in white supremacy as a fact of nature and believing (even if mistakenly) that white supremacy is the organizing principle of American society. Yet the spectacle of Jesse Jackson, in an unguarded moment, giving voice to fantasies of sexual violence against an accomplished black man suggests a deeper psychological kinship than one might have dared suspect between old-fashioned racism and the late-20th-century politics of racial grievance."

Op-Ed Columnist - The Real-Life ‘24’ of Summer 2008 - Op-Ed -

Op-Ed Columnist - The Real-Life ‘24’ of Summer 2008 - Op-Ed - "So hot is the speculation that war-crimes trials will eventually follow in foreign or international courts that Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, has publicly advised Mr. Feith, Mr. Addington and Alberto Gonzales, among others, to “never travel outside the U.S., except perhaps to Saudi Arabia and Israel.”"

Thursday, July 10, 2008

George F. Will - Survival of the Sudsiest -

George F. Will - Survival of the Sudsiest - "The gene pools of human settlements became progressively dominated by the survivors -- by those genetically disposed to, well, drink beer. 'Most of the world's population today,' Johnson writes, 'is made up of descendants of those early beer drinkers, and we have largely inherited their genetic tolerance for alcohol.'

Johnson suggests, not unreasonably, that this explains why certain of the world's population groups, such as Native Americans and Australian Aborigines, have had disproportionately high levels of alcoholism: These groups never endured the cruel culling of the genetically unfortunate that town dwellers endured."

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

book notes

Daydream Believers by Fred Kaplan

Rumsfeld and Cheney didn't plan for a post-invasion occupation because they were intending to simply install Chalabi as a Iraqi strongman. When Bush belatedly insisted on real Iraqi elections, no one revisited the occupation plan.

Bush cam up with the idea that freedom and democracy is the default condition of human nature (thousands of years of contrary history notwithstanding). Therefore, as long as we remove an impediment like Saddam, freedom and democracy will just spring up naturally.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Colorado obesity