Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Madoff: I'm surprised I wasn't caught sooner - Times Online

Madoff: I'm surprised I wasn't caught sooner - Times Online: "'I think he's not too happy to be where he is but he's certainly not complaining,' said Mr Cotchett, who set up the interview through Madoff's attorneys."

Interesting parallel with Hoax, in which Clifford Irving kind of implied that his publishers were enablers for his scam because they trusted him too much.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Another reason not to travel by air

Chris Parks, Mistaken For Military Deserter, Wrongly Accused By Army - ABC News: "'The customs officials put an X on my forms and asked me to stand to the side. I thought it was a routine search,' said Parks. But Parks told that he quickly learned there was nothing routine about what was happening to him when Homeland Security told him that he was going to be held in custody.

'The official told me that it appears I've deserted the Army and at that point I still don't even know what he's talking about,' said Parks. 'I thought it had to be a joke or a big mix-up.'"

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan: "It seems to me that the experience of the last few years helps us understand that the one thing that destroys both the Taliban and al Qaeda is giving them a chance to rule. And yet US policy is designed to prevent that from ever happening, to invade and occupy countries so that we keep the US (and not al Qaeda) as the enemy of the population"

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Michael Kinsley - In Henry Gates's Arrest, Hard Realities and Human Nature -

Michael Kinsley - In Henry Gates's Arrest, Hard Realities and Human Nature - "As he says, he wanted to be treated on the basis of 'how I was dressed' and 'how I talked' and 'how I comported myself.' Who can blame him for that? After all, it's a pretty good generalization that someone seen breaking into a house near Harvard Square is less likely to be a burglar if he is also a Harvard professor (and has the ID to prove it, as Gates did).

But how does a Harvard professor dress? A photo taken during the episode shows Professor Gates wearing the universal uniform of our age: jeans and a casual shirt. No social clues there. George Will wrote a column recently denouncing jeans as (if I've got this right) a phony effort by folks with no dirt under their nails to show solidarity with the masses. At the time this struck me as overexcited, or at least several decades too late. But maybe Will has a point. As the Chevy Chase police no doubt are aware, one does not break into someone else's house in a tweed sport coat and bow tie."

book notes

The Limits of Power By Andrew Bacevich

Whereas Americans used to see empire an enemy of freedom, they now see it as a prerequisite of freedom -- the exercise of American freedom is becoming less conducive to the power necessary to maintain an imperial order.

The more the national-security state screws up, the bigger it becomes

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

book notes

On Kindness by Adam Phillips

Lacan suggested the injunction to love thy neighbors as thyself must be ironic because people hate themselves.

Best lines from Grey Gardens

"How can you resist"
"I was just thinking about you"
"I flirt but it's just all talk . . .mostly" ??
"Is it true that Jack gave you gonorrhea"
"I'll be down just as soon as I put on some lipstick"
"Things just tend to accumulate after labor day, what can I tell you"
"Shut up, it's a god damn beautiful day, just shut up"
"No judgments here Jackie"
"All I needed was this man"

book notes

Book notes
The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

A lot of the prairie sod was busted for wheat production in anticipation of WW1. Prices remained high in the 1920's on account of poor Russian harvests. Then they collapsed in the 30's because of record American production + resurgence of Russian harvests.

Boise City, Oklahoma, was created as a real estate scam. Boise is French for trees. Just as Greenland had no green when it was named, Boise City had no trees.

Many ethnic Germans were recruited from the Russian steppes to farm the south prairie of America. These German farmers were first recruited to Russia by Catherine the Great (herself a German) with promises of waivers from taxes and military service, promises later reneged by Alexander II.
Posted by Rick and Gary at 3:52 PM 0 comments

Monday, July 20, 2009

Gay Marriage and the Constitution -

Gay Marriage and the Constitution - "California allows same-sex domestic partnerships that, as interpreted by the California Supreme Court, provide virtually all of the economic rights of marriage. So the ban on permitting gay and lesbian couples to actually marry is simply an attempt by the state to stigmatize a segment of its population that commits no offense other than falling in love with a disapproved partner, and asks no more of the state than to be treated equally with all other citizens"

Sunday, July 19, 2009

book notes

Infidels by Andrew Wheatcroft

1499 Jimenez de Cisneros burned all the Korans in Spain (though it didn't matter because most Muslims learned the Koran orally)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Book notes

Denial of death

wars and revolutions are continuos because man is divorced from the religious infrastrure the
that makes him feel glorious and Immortal

man wants to be a god - immortal and glorious - but is trapped in the body of an animal

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Clinton lies

Bill Clinton: Now He Gets It?  | Commentary | "After leaving office Clinton added insult to injury. We also know that in 2004 he advised John Kerry to support not only the many state-level constitutional amendments banning gay marriage, but also the Federal Marriage Amendment championed by President George W. Bush. Five years later, with a series of states having legalized same-sex marriage, the polls decisively showing a generational surge in support for the cause, and -- most important in terms of this discussion -- the definitive end of the Clinton dynasty upon us, Bill Clinton wants us to know that he “basically” supports gay marriage."

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan: "For the NYT, the two countries that cannot be accused of torture are Israel and the US. Surprise! Check out the post if you missed it. It goes back decades to reveal how the NYT stopped using the word 'torture' for 'torture' in their reporting as soon as Israel started doing it and the Bush administration later adopted the same techniques - hooding, forced nudity, hypothermia, stress positions, dietary manipulation, etc."