Friday, April 20, 2007

Just the Facts Ma'am

Fact: The run time of the Beastie Boys classic Sabotage is 2:58

Fact: Each person in the United States consumes 24 barrels of petroleum a year

Fact: That’s roughly 3 gallons of petroleum—derived products each day

Fact: Rapper Ice Cube’s real name is O’Shea Jackson

Fact: There are 946 billionaires around the world

Fact: They have a combined net worth of $3.5 trillion

Fact: I am not one of them……….yet

Fact: 36% of Americans aged 18 to 29 have at least one tattoo

Fact: The University of Alaska Southeast team name is the Humpback Whales

Fact: Consumers in the United States spend $65 billion per year on illegal drugs

There is a God, and He Is Just

Few things bring great amounts of joy in my life. One of these is the annual release of Sam Adams Summer Ale. It is a monumental event for me, on par with Christmas morning when I was a child. Its release, and that magnificent first gulp, unleashes a torrent of great memories – most of them fuzzy. In the words of the great Frank Riccard: Once it hits your lips, it's so good!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Quotes Update

Massive update in the Book Quotes section.

Dark Times at the FBI

Fast Company has fantastic article by Pulitzer Prize Winning journalist J.J. Brazil on the FBI’s abysmal modernization effort, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a devastating expose on how the Bureau’s counterterrorism efforts come at the expense of fighting crime. This all comes as a drama unfolds in a Manhattan courthouse; were learned observers see the FBI’s reputation (whatever remains) at stake.

Bottom-line: The FBI should not have the primary domestic CT mission. The FBI should have been torn down and rebuilt from the ground up before 9/11.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Brandon Bird Interview

An interview with one of my favorite artists: Brandon Bird.

Market Outlook

Buy: Abita Beer Amber Sell: Dos Equis Amber
Buy: Peak Oil Sell: Global Warming
Buy: Chuck Hagel Sell: John McCain
Buy: Trader Joe's Taquitos Sell: El Monterey Taquitos
Buy: Skulls Sell: Hearts
Buy: Dice-K Sell: Pedro
Buy: Candy Necklace Bikini Sell: Polka-Dot Bikini
Buy: Barack Obama Sell: Hillary Clinton
Buy: MS-13 Sell: Guardian Angels
Buy: The Rum Diary Sell: Fear and Loathing Las Vegas
Buy: Sailor Jerry Sell: Captain Morgan
Buy: Pepe Escobar Sell: Thomas Friedman
Buy: St. Bernard's Sell: Chihuahua's

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

quotes and quotes....

No one ever said it would be simple.
And so, on we go, blindly – as so many people do, always, in their own time – through the age of terror.
Suskind, Ron
The One Percent Doctrine

In California, Frank noticed, “east” was synonymous with certain things, like “education” or as Boyd put it, “learning shit.”
Buckley, Christopher

Boomsday: A Novel

I was frustrated as much by respect and attempts at understanding as by unfeeling ignorance. The worst were blanket accolades and thanks from people “for what you guys did over there.” Thanks for what, I wanted to ask – Shooting kids, cowering in terror behind a berm, dropping artillery on people’s homes? There wasn’t any pride in simply being there. The pride was in our good decisions, in the things we did right. I hoped that I’d done more right than wrong, hoped that I hadn’t been cavalier with people’s lives. I was learning that sometimes the only way to fight evil is with another evil, however good its aim.
Fick, Nathaniel
One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer

Staring down at the water, I measured my words, running through a justification I’d given myself a thousand times before. The good was abstract. The good didn’t feel as good as the bad felt bad. It wasn’t the good that kept me up at night.

“You sound so unprincipled,” she said, shaking her head. “Why can’t you find peace in what you and your men sacrificed so much to do? Why can’t you be proud?

I took sixty-five men to war and brought sixty-five home. I gave them everything I had. Together, we passed the test. Fear didn't beat us. I hope life improves for the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, but that's not why we did it. We fought for each other.

I am proud.
Fick, Nathaniel
One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer

Book Quotes Added

"Perhaps I likened myself to Kurtz in Heart of Darkness when, far from the trading company offices in Europe, he was faced with the ultimate horror. I do remember imagining myself in a pith helmet and white linen jodhpurs, my face enigmatic behind of a veil of mosquito netting."
Toole, John Kennedy
A Confederacy of Dunces

"... somebody has to be the pioneer and leave the marks for others to follow ... you've got to have some faith in what you're trying to do. It's easy to have faith as long as it goes along with what you already know. But you've got to have faith in us all the way..."
Wolfe, Tom
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

"... We are all of us doomed to spend our lives watching a movie of our lives - we are always acting on what has just finished happening. It happened atleast 1/30th of a second ago. We think we're in the present, but we aren't."
Wolfe, Tom

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

The quality of ideas seems to play a minor role in mass movement leadership. What counts is the arrogant gesture, the complete disregard of the opinion of others, the singlehanded defiance of the world.
Hoffer, Eric

The True Believer: Thoughts On The Nature Of Mass Movements

There are no solutions; there are only trade-offs.
Sowell, Thomas
The Vision of the Anointed

Widespread personification of 'society' is another verbal tactic that evades issues of personal responsibility. Such use of the term 'society' is a more sophisticated version of the notion that 'the devil made me do it.' Like much of the rest of the special vocabulary of the anointed, it is used as a magic word to make choice, behavior, and performance vanish into thin air.
Sowell, Thomas
The Vision of the Anointed

The Turks were stupid; the Germans behind them dogmatical. They would believe that rebellion was absolute, like war, and deal with it on the analogy of war. Analogy in human things was fudge, anyhow; and war upon rebellion was messy and slow, like eating soup with a knife.

Lawrence, T.E.
Seven Pillars of Wisdom

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did.
Lawrence, T.E.
Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
Tzu, Sun
The Art of War

Being unconquerable lies with yourself; being conquerable lies with your enemy.
Tzu, Sun
The Art of War

Subtle and insubstantial, the expert leaves no trace; divinely mysterious, he is inaudible. Thus he is master of his enemy's fate.
Tzu, Sun
The Art of War

If you wish for peace, understand war.
Liddell Hart, B.H.

Strategy: The Indirect Approach

War is not a pathology that, with proper hygiene and treatment, can be wholly prevented. War is a natural condition of the State, which was organized in order to be an effective instrument of violence on behalf of society. Wars are like deaths, which, while they can be postponed, will come when they will come and cannot be finally avoided.
Bobbitt, Philip
The Shield of Achilles

Of all the horrid, hideous notes of woe,
Sadder than owl-songs or the midnight blast,
Is that portentous phrase, I told you so.

Byron, Lord George Gordon
Don Juan

Samuelson on Boomsday

Robert Samuelson has an article in the WAPO on 'Boomsday', both the novel and the public policy part. Good read.

Key Quote:
I was born in late 1945 and count myself a part of this failure. In our careless self-absorption, we are committing a political and economic crime against our children and perhaps -- when they awaken to their victimization -- even ourselves.

"You Shall Know The Truth, And The Truth Shall Set You Free."

ABC News reports that all charges are being dropped against the Duke Lax Three. Durham-in-Wonderland has a fantastic Case Narrative (Parts: 1,2,3).

No Giant Rabbits For NORKS

A few months ago it was reported that gianourmous rabbits grown in Germany would be exported to famine ridden North Korea. A dozen were sent to the country to begin breeding operations, and these monster Peter rabbits were going to be a Hail Mary play for the Somali's of Asia. Soon the citizens of would the DPNK would have tasty rabbit to with their dinner of dirt and rocks.

Now one again the people of North Korea find themselves Munsoned. Why so, you ask?

Well according to the TimesOnline they "were eaten at a birthday banquet for Kim Jong Il", and because of this the breeder of these rabbits will no longer export them to North Korea.

I've said it before and will say it again, no matter how bad your day may be - at least you don't live in North Korea!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Barber: Overselling Capitalism

Overselling capitalism: Why today's markets are headed for disaster unless there is a shift in focus, by Benjamin Barber. Los Angeles Times, April 4, 2007.

Barber is the author of Jihad vs. McWorld and his newest Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole a book I am looking forward to reading.

THE CRISIS IN subprime mortgages betrays a deeper predicament facing consumer capitalism triumphant: The "Protestant ethos" of hard work and deferred gratification has been replaced by an infantilist ethos of easy credit and impulsive consumption that puts democracy and the market system at risk.
Good Article.

Black Globalization

Hold for a post on Black Globalization. Steve, it has nothing to do with hip-hop.

Iran Update

A whole lot of ugly is brewing right now between the U.S. and Iran (has been since ’79). The U.S. is attempting to contain Iran’s growing power in the region. To do so the White House is trying to provoke Iran to action, so it can bomb them. Bomb the crap out of them, and then bomb them again. They see this as necessary since Saddam is no longer around to contain Iranian power, and Iran is becoming too powerful in the region. It’s beyond the scope of this blog to into the thick of it, but here is an update:

- ABC News has just reported that the U.S. is secretly working with Jundullah a Baluchi guerilla organization that has been conducting assassinations and car bombings in eastern Iran.
(Backgrounder: Violence and Rebellion in Iranian Balochistan, Jamestown Terrorism Monitor June 29, 2006)

- NPR and der Spiegel has an overview of a tit-for-tat game of kidnappings playing out between the U.S. and Iran.

- Christopher Dickey in Newsweek writes of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah growing role in the region to stem the brewing crisis.

- Asia Times is covering the diplomatic and economic fronts.