Monday, November 30, 2009

How's That Iraqi Surge Faring Now, General? - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

How's That Iraqi Surge Faring Now, General? -

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan
: "All the surge did was provide a face-saving way for the US to create enough temporary security to leave. Given the chaos of the first four years of occupation, this was an achievement. But the achievement was in preventing total humiliation for the US, not anything close to victory or success stable enough to leave with anything but another civil war as the likeliest outcome. But the US didn't leave, Obama took the neocon advice, and is still hanging on to the notion that a stable, democratic, self-governing Iraq is possible after only six years of occupation, tens of thousands of dead Iraqis, 5,000 dead Americans, countless wounded and disabled vets, and up to $3 trillion in taxpayers' money."

Friday, November 20, 2009

book notes

This Is Your Country on Drugs

The decline of alcohol in the U,S, starting in the 1830's coincided with the increased use of opium.

Heroin was a named coined by its manufacturer, Bayer, to connote that Heroin made its users feel heroic.

George F. Will - George F. Will: Fossil fuels belie environmentalism -

George F. Will - George F. Will: Fossil fuels belie environmentalism - "In 1914, the Bureau of Mines said that U.S. oil reserves would be exhausted by 1924. In 1939, the Interior Department said that the world had 13 years' worth of petroleum reserves. Then a global war was fought, and the postwar boom was fueled. In 1951 Interior reported that the world had . . . 13 years of reserves. In 1970, the world's proven oil reserves were an estimated 612 billion barrels. By 2006, more than 767 billion barrels had been pumped, and proven reserves were 1.2 trillion barrels. In 1977, scold in chief Jimmy Carter predicted that mankind 'could use up all the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade.' Since then the world has consumed three times more oil than was then in the world's proven reserves."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Evolution of the God Gene -

The Evolution of the God Gene - "But group selection has recently gained two powerful champions, the biologists David Sloan Wilson and Edward O. Wilson, who argued that two special circumstances in recent human evolution would have given group selection much more of an edge than usual. One is the highly egalitarian nature of hunter-gatherer societies, which makes everyone behave alike and gives individual altruists a better chance of passing on their genes. The other is intense warfare between groups, which enhances group-level selection in favor of community-benefiting behaviors such as altruism and religion."

Friday, November 13, 2009

book notres

The Cold War: A New History By John Lewis Gaddis

Ironly ofr Ford of the Helsinski accords -- on one hand, recognition of easrern european borders liad the ground work for the gaffe in the bebate with Carter that cost him the Presidnecy. On the other hand, the accords maing the Soviet Union recognize universal human rights laid the ground work for the insistance of human rights by its own people and its evenual demaise.

Vietnam -- The Soviet Union didn't really want to rub the US in Vietnam but was pulled into it by its Asian allies, primarily China.

Nixon in China really was a masterstroke reallignmewnt that very much took the Soviet Union by surprise and shook it up.

One of the big reasons that Tito was ablle to resist the Soviets was that the U,.S. Sixth Fleet had been reassigned to the Meditarean after WW2 to block Svviet naval expasnion beyond the Black Sea, with Turkey blocking tham at the Bosphorus.

Reagan saw that détente was meant to institutionalize the Cold War and that the end way to end the Cold War was to end détente

Reagan the Cold War subversive

The 1980's convergence of the great actors of the Cold War: Reagan, Thatcher, John Paul, Lech Walesa, followed in reaction by Gorbachev.

If Reagan had been shot successfully in '81, Bush would never have challenged detante and its institutionalization of the Cold War.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

book notes

Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz

Dogs have to cones -- blue and green. No red. Many more rods as well as a higher flicker rate.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Police: Marine reservist attacks visiting Greek priest

Police: Marine reservist attacks visiting Greek priest: "Bruce grabbed a tire iron from the trunk, hit Marakis four times over the head and chased him about three blocks before pinning the priest, police said.

In a 911 call, Bruce made a derogatory comment about a man he said was a terrorist and was trying to rob him and had grabbed him in a sexual manner, police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said.

When officers arrived, police say, Bruce told them he heard the man say 'Allahu Akbar' – Arabic for 'God is great.'

'That's what they say before they blow you up,' Bruce said, according to police."

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Why Neanderthals Really Went Extinct: Begley | Newsweek Voices - Sharon Begley |

Why Neanderthals Really Went Extinct: Begley | Newsweek Voices - Sharon Begley | "About 30,000 years ago, the vast forests of Eurasia began to retreat, leaving treeless steppes and tundra and forcing forest animals to disperse over vast distances. Because they evolved in the warm climate of Africa before spreading into Europe, modern humans had a body like marathon runners, adapted to track prey over such distances. But Neanderthals were built like wrestlers. That was great for ambush hunting, which they practiced in the once ubiquitous forests, but a handicap on the steppes, where endurance mattered more."

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Two biographies of Ayn Rand. - By Johann Hari - Slate Magazine

Two biographies of Ayn Rand. - By Johann Hari - Slate Magazine: "Rand was broken by the Bolsheviks as a girl, and she never left their bootprint behind. She believed her philosophy was Bolshevism's opposite, when in reality it was its twin. Both she and the Soviets insisted a small revolutionary elite in possession of absolute rationality must seize power and impose its vision on a malleable, imbecilic mass. The only difference was that Lenin thought the parasites to be stomped on were the rich, while Rand thought they were the poor."