Friday, March 20, 2009

Barack's Teleprompter

Did you know President Obama's TelePrompter has its own blog? If you really want to get to know The Big Guy better—to get behind his face, if you will—it's the place to go.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Oh President Obama

Honestly, I wish the guy well, but he's doing a poor job with vetting (I've lost track of the nominated withdrawals and resignations). Then there's the scary use the crisis! talk from two bigwigs:
“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has said. "Never waste a good crisis" is how Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put it before a European audience last week.”
But Obama is supporting vouchers, if tepidly. Yay! American schools need innovation, not preservation.
He also seems to function by gut instinct, not logic, which makes him similar to George Bush.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Iraqi Election, Frozen Bluegrass, and Reverting to Nature

Ann Althouse has it on the recent Iraqi election. You know, the one you didn't hear about. Why is this not big news? Perhaps because it might indicate success?

Yes, I purloined this, but it's classic: Obama dozed, people froze, stolen from here. That would be people in Kentucky: gun-clutching, Bible-thumping, xenophobic, bitter white people.

Rainforests are returning in some places (with skeptics, of course, who are probably on the Big Green or Federal grant payroll), just like nature is taking back parts of Detroit.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Debt Fret

1) Looking bad for Greece, in particular, in Euroland:
The omnipotent hand of the Greek state produced a public debt of more than 90 percent of Greece’s total economic output. The relentlessly rising demand of its consumers, who were able to put off the day of reckoning because they enjoyed the shelter of the low-inflation euro, has created a current-account deficit of 14 percent of its gross domestic product — estimated to be the highest in Europe.
2) There's also California's Tipping Point:
I think a threshold or tipping point exists in the ratio between the political power of those who pay taxes and those who consume taxes directly. After that tipping point is reached, those who pay taxes become the economic slaves of those who consume taxes.
I think California has passed that point
. [h/t
] Tax consumers now control the state government and can vote themselves almost any level of personal income and benefits they wish while taxpayers cannot muster the political capital to defend themselves. 

3) Maybe personal debt and sanity will reign in higher education costs, pricking that bubble. It might even force some universities to consider real diversity: of thought.

4) I didn't live the Bush years in the US, but The Atlantic posits they weren't so bad. The article tosses in words refreshingly true but rarely spoken:
No doubt the new guy, just like the old guy, will require unprecedented new powers to deal with the unprecedented threat to our well being. Obama is already asking for an unprecedented increase in the size of the national debt. Before we go back down that road, maybe we should stop and ask: "What crisis?''
5) President Obama has already ordered an airstrike on Pakitstani militants but the anti-war crowd's silence is deafening (but of course: our violence is OK, it's the others' whose is wrong).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Canadian–Cambodian Relations

They seem to be sexist, "progressive," and exploitative, if this example is anything to go by.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Canadians and Cuban Bodies

Fifty years ago, Fidel Castro took power amid promises of peace but immediately began executions (both links from a conservative site). For decades since then, Cubans living and dead have been reaching US shores to escape from Castro's tropical prison. I've met a number of foreigners in Japan who admire Castro, but this paragraph really takes it:

Fifty years ago today, many Cubans cheered when Fidel Castro seized power in Havana, and even now, the revolution attracts many fans — as evidenced by the Canadian tour agencies advertising trips “to celebrate five decades of resilience.”

"[T]o celebrate five decades of resilience" and political imprisonment ("Castro's Gulag" and TIME magazine), increased prostitution (apparently now undergoing a crackdown but read the Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation for Cuba data; a NYT article; read this one, especially the last paragraph), grave economic decline, and more. I wonder what proportion of Canadians eat that "resilience" shit up; I've met a German and a few Japanese who do. At allegedly 600,000 Canadians a year, a big proportion. According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canadians do a great job of keeping Castro's oppression and exploitation going, even if Canadians get caught up in it.

I've never encountered a more knee-jerk, unjustifiably anti-American nationality than Canadians. Provincial differences exist with those from the prairies and the eastern maritimes generally even-handed, reasonable, rational, and less in-your-face. But those from Ontario and, to a lesser extent, Ontario West (aka British Vancouver) are the worst. Two choice anti-American quotes from Canadians I have met teaching in Japan:

"Who cares about 9/11? It was only 3,000 Americans."
—someone from Ontario who reads the New York Times daily, loves Paul Krugman, proudly declares himself tolerant and progressive, and has parents who are teachers. Oh, and Canadians, Britons, Mexicans, Jordanians, and more were killed, not "only Americans."

"You can't see the World Trade Center from ten miles out. Of course, you could see the columns of smoke from two smouldering craters—ha, ha!"
—someone from British Columbia who is remarkably similar to the above except for the parents, about whom I know almost nothing.