RCS Christmas Money
16 hours ago
"Yet as the weeks pass, evidence is increasing that through a combination of luck (a fortunate shift in ocean currents that kept much of the oil away from shore) and ecological circumstance (the relatively warm waters that increased the breakdown rate of the oil), the gulf region appears to have escaped the direst predictions of the spring.
While its findings were disputed by some, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported several weeks ago that the oil was breaking down and dispersing rapidly, probably limiting future damage from the spill.
And preliminary reports from scientists studying the effects on marshes, wildlife and the gulf itself suggest that the damage already done by the spill may also be significantly less than was feared — less, in fact, than the destruction from the much smaller Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989."
"Where the original fusion boom of the 1980s had chefs ransacking Asia, now the place to find inspiration is over on the kids’ menu. Ice cream. Plus liquor. Together. In a big glass. Could there be a better emblem of the sort of juvenilia-with-a-wink that defines the current food aesthetic?"
"As anyone who has survived a frozen mudslide could tell you, the spiked shake is anything but a new idea. But it seems to be experiencing a sudden uptick in ubiquity, respectability and, here and there, craftsmanship."Updated culinary nostalgia is a legitimate and acceptable escape hatch. While most chicks may eventually wear such indulgent drinks on their buttocks and thighs, getting occasionally loaded on a few old-school milkshakes could be an incredibly liberating way to recapture reckless innocence of my early teenage years spent haunting Johnny Rocket's on Melrose and Ed Debevics on La Cienaga in the Los Angeles that defined my youth. Indulgent ice-cream, whole milk, some egg yolks, and a nice smooth hit a bourbon sounds like a perfect concoction and meal-substitute.
"Mr. Crestall said the unionization push would hurt everyone. “Having a union will mean higher wages, and that will lead to higher prices,” he said. “That will mean fewer consumers coming to carwashes, and fewer jobs for these workers.”This lame micro-push is just a regional symptom of larger flaws in our governance structure and understanding of how leverage markets to betterment of all participants. Who knows if this push will succeed or not, but believe me you, this wolf's wheels will never be touched by a union member. (This acknowledges that his wheels were born of union hands, but that was beyond my control.)
“I had a feeling that my going and being succeeded by Gordon was also terminal for the government,” Blair wrote. “I discovered there was a lacuna -- not the wrong instinct, but no instinct at the human, gut level. Political calculation, yes. Political feelings, no. Analytical intelligence, absolutely. Emotional intelligence, zero. Gordon is a strange guy.”"Strange guy" seems to be gentle code for prune juice induced flatulence in human form. Using clinical terms like terminal, is evocative of unwanted lumps and heinous medical conditions. Classic move from the team Blair in effectively knee-capping Gordon Brown on one more level. The eternally boring and prickly Brown will likely retort in his forthcoming memoir. His words, or lack of ability to embrace the subtle and smoothness of his rival, will likely vindicate Blair.
"In his 1973 book The Death of Progress, Bernard James laid out an argument already popularized in such bestsellers as Charles Reich’s The Greening of America and William Irwin Thompson’s At the Edge of History. “Progress seems to have become a lethal idée fixe, irreversibly destroying the very planet it depends upon to survive,” wrote James. Like Reich, James criticized both the “George Babbitt” and “John Dewey” versions of “progress culture”—that is, visions of progress based on rising material attainment or on educational opportunities and upward mobility. “Progress ideology,” he insisted, “whether preached by New Deal Liberals, conservative Western industrialists or Soviet Zealots,” always led in the same direction: environmental apocalypse. Liberalism, which had once viewed men and women as capable of shaping their own destinies, now saw humanity in the grip of vast ecological forces that could be tamed only by extreme measures to reverse the damages that industrial capitalism had inflicted on Mother Earth. It had become progressive to reject progress."
"Residents opened their newspapers Wednesday morning to find the ads taken out by Mexican business leaders, begging the government to send more military into the city. "Enough already," said the notice that ran in national and local papers, criticizing what it said was a slow response of police against "criminal bands that in every act look to establish a new boundary of terror."The Mexican government is either impotent, deaf, or incapable of dealing with the cartel pandemic. Taking out a newspaper ad is akin to sending smoke signals of distress in the days western frontier yore, it doesn't get an flipping' worse. Yet, policy makers in Washington, DC, and leading media analysts seem uninterested in these alarming trends at best and woefully ignorant at worst. Are they distracting, unaware, or just playing the role of the coy ostrich and hoping that embedding your head in the sand will to the problem magically evaporating. Today, we silently celebrated the withdrawal of our last combat brigade from Iraq, are floundering in a confused and ill-defined mission in Afghanistan, and are expressing total indifference to Iran's upcoming membership in the nuclear. All of the aforementioned, while important, is also half-a-globe away. The only news we regularly read about Mexico is how pissed off certain liberals and left-wing Mexicans are about Arizona's legislative experiment in legitimate border control and sovereignty preservation. (Mixed feelings on the Arizona law itself, but a deep appreciation for the spirit driving it on this end) It boggles the mind given what is at stake should Mexico descend into a state paralyzed anarchy, especially given the porous nature of the United States-Mexico border, the size of legitimate trade and commercial activity ob both sides of the border, and the potential for extensive spill-over into the United States proper should things go any further south, south of the border. When it comes to governmental authority and respect for the rule of law, here's what the drug cartels think.
"The body of Edelmiro Cavazos, mayor of the Monterrey suburb of Santiago, was found beside a highway. Mr. Cavazos had been abducted Sunday night, the latest in a string of attacks against politicians in Mexico's north."These cartel goons are afraid of nothing. Whacking government officials like they are playing Grand Theft Auto with no sense of recourse is unreal. Does Calderon's authority not extend beyond the walls of the presidential residence? How long before madness like that infiltrates El Paso, Tucson, Phoenix, and San Diego? It has been roughly a century since the United States had to dispatch General Pershing to deal with Pancho Villa's cross-border incursions. As much as history repeats itself on some levels, the stakes are much different should we start playing games of cat-and-mouse with well-financed and utterly ruthless drug cartels who know no limits, decency, or honor. If the implications weren't so dire and threat so real, the foundation of this tragedy would actually be fascinating to watch and follow.
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries
These, in the day when heaven was falling,The hour when earth's foundations fled,Followed their mercenary calling,And took their wages, and are dead.
Their shoulders held the sky suspended;They stood, and earth's foundations stay;What God abandoned, these defended,And saved the sum of things for pay.
"A Brentwood resident's two-mile jaunt took 45 minutes. An Echo Park couple who left home at 5:30 p.m. found their usual 20-minute drive west to Olympic and Rimpau boulevards took a whopping hour and 15 minutes. An attorney left his Miracle Mile-area office at 5:45 p.m. and sat unmoving in traffic for 45 minutes.
No matter their politics, Los Angeles residents found themselves united. "It was a beautiful thing," said Brentwood resident Myles Berkowitz, commiserating with his neighbors on Montana Avenue. "Young, old, black, white — everyone was pissed off.""
"At the time of his writing Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, some analysts took Kissinger to task for what one reviewer called “wishful thinking”—in particular, his insufficient consideration of civilian casualties in a limited nuclear exchange. Moreover, Kissinger himself later moved away from his advocacy of a NATO strategy that relied on short-range, tactical nuclear weapons to counterbalance the might of the Soviet Union’s conventional forces. (The doctrinal willingness to suffer millions of West German civilian casualties to repel a Soviet attack seemed a poor way to demonstrate the American commitment to the security and freedom of its allies.) But that does not diminish the utility of Kissinger’s thinking the unthinkable. Indeed, now that the nuclear club has grown, and nuclear weaponry has become more versatile and sophisticated, the questions that his book raises are even more relevant. The dreadful prospect of limited nuclear exchanges is inherent in a world no longer protected by the carapace of mutual assured destruction. Yet much as limited war has brought us to grief, our willingness to wage it may one day save us from revolutionary powers that have cleverly obscured their intentions—Iran not least among them."
"Leakey was selected not because he was an enemy of the Kikuyu but, perversely, because he was widely considered a good man and therefore a more powerful sacrificial offering. He even had a Kikuyu nickname - Morungaru - which means 'tall and straight'."On blending in.
"Their sense of smell from life in the forest had become so keen that they could smell my freshly-laundered clothes. Another white man arrived. 'OK, film star,' he said to me. 'I'm your make-up man.'Jomo Kenyatta and the sinister benefits of incarceration.
He painted potassium permanganate on my hands, face and neck to stain the skin. Then he produced a small tin of boot polish and a tiny watercolour brush. 'Let's start with your right eye,' he said. 'Open wide.'
He brushed a small blob of the boot polish right inside the eyelid. It stung and I shouted, prompting peals of laughter from the Mau Mau men. He held out a mirror and, blinking uncontrollably, I looked at my eye. The polish had spread across it, turning the whites a streaky yellow"
"A white police officer met me and told me I was to take charge of a Land Rover with an African driver, who would take me to a secret destination to deliver a cargo. I went outside and met the driver. Crates had been loaded in the back of the Land Rover, covered by a tarpaulin.It's a spectacular and compelling tale.
Some time later we arrived at our destination where I gave a white Kenya police officer the papers to sign for the cargo. He invited me in for a quick drink before I had to set off for home base. Afterwards I came out to find the Land Rover only three-quarters unloaded. The mysterious cargo turned out to be crate upon crate of Scotch whisky.
The police officer explained that Jomo Kenyatta, the man accused of masterminding the Mau Mau, was being held under close arrest nearby. Kenyatta was being provided with three bottles of Scotch every day, which he was consuming.
The real aim, the officer said, was for Kenyatta to die of cirrhosis of the liver as quickly as possible. I could tell he wasn't joking.
Kenyatta was nearing 70 at the time. Eight years later, in 1963, he was to become newly independent Kenya's first black prime minister. Shortly after that he became Kenya's president, famed for his flywhisk, the symbol of a Kikuyu elder, made from the end of a cow's tail. Perhaps we pickled him instead of killing him: Kenyatta lived until he was 89."