Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dexter quotes

Science is a cold bitch with a 14-inch strap-on

Saturday, August 29, 2009

book notes

The First Family by Mike Dash

connections between proto-mob and The Godfather: Godfather was in olive oil importing, proto-mob used olive oil cans imported from Sicily to smuggle in counterfeit bills; Godfather put horse's head in bed of Hollywood producer, proto-mob would kill the draft horses of grocers who would not pay protection.

The initial Mob preference for Sicilians came from Morello getting ratted out by his Irish "queer pushers" It was sustained by the fact that the Irish had so many police officers in their community.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Women’s Crusade - NYTimes.com

The Women’s Crusade - NYTimes.com: "Our interviews and perusal of the data available suggest that the poorest families in the world spend approximately 10 times as much (20 percent of their incomes on average) on a combination of alcohol, prostitution, candy, sugary drinks and lavish feasts as they do on educating their children (2 percent). If poor families spent only as much on educating their children as they do on beer and prostitutes, there would be a breakthrough in the prospects of poor countries. Girls, since they are the ones kept home from school now, would be the biggest beneficiaries. Moreover, one way to reallocate family expenditures in this way is to put more money in the hands of women."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Mohammad baby-name myth

The Spectator: "It's also striking, mind you, how many people desperately want to believe in the idea of a muslin reconquista sweeping away european elites who were too effete and too weak to realise they needed to defend themselves and who, consequently, deserve everything they get."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

book notes

The Post-American World, Fareed Zakaria

Asian comfort with ambiguity grows from the non-abrahamic religious tradition

India's specialization in services has lot to do with its terrible infrastrucure -- all you need is wires, not roads and ports

The Chinese Communist Party has relied on nationalism to replace communist ideology --- but it can easily get out of hand.

LRB � Rory Stewart: The Irresistible Illusion

LRB � Rory Stewart: The Irresistible Illusion: "Afghanistan is starting from a very low base: 30 years of investment might allow its army, police, civil service and economy to approach the levels of Pakistan. But Osama bin Laden is still in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. He chooses to be there precisely because Pakistan can be more assertive in its state sovereignty than Afghanistan and restricts US operations. From a narrow (and harsh) US national security perspective, a poor failed state could be easier to handle than a more developed one: Yemen is less threatening than Iran, Somalia than Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan than Pakistan."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Obama's mother

Op-Ed Contributor - Dreams From His Mother - NYTimes.com: "Anthropology shows that people who seem very different from us behave according to systems of logic, and that these systems can be grasped if we approach them with the sort of patience and respect that Dr. Soetoro practiced in her work.

The anthropologist Clifford Geertz wrote that “the aim of anthropology is the enlargement of the universe of human discourse.” This was clearly a central goal of Dr. Soetoro’s work and life. From an admittedly great distance, I can see those same values in her son."

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Book Review - 'By His Own Rules,' by Bradley Graham - Study of Donald Rumsfeld - Review - NYTimes.com

Book Review - 'By His Own Rules,' by Bradley Graham - Study of Donald Rumsfeld - Review - NYTimes.com: "His philosophy is that of the corporate Man in the Gray Flannel Suit in his boardroom, but it is also that of the itinerant Rambling Man in his boxcar: Don’t pin me down. Both types fail to see that “agility” and “innovation” can be, in some contexts, synonyms for frivolity and lack of commitment, or that, pursued immoderately, flexibility can itself become a dogma."

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Bush and religion

Council for Secular Humanism: "Honest. This isn’t a joke. The president of the United States, in a top-secret phone call to a major European ally, asked for French troops to join American soldiers in attacking Iraq as a mission from God.

Now out of office, Chirac recounts that the American leader appealed to their “common faith” (Christianity) and told him: “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East…. The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled…. This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.”"

Monday, August 03, 2009

book notes

Great Plains by Ian Flazier

When buffalo hunters walked up to a bar, they would reach into their clothes and the last one to catch a louse would pay for drinks.