Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Shockingly Stupid: UK and France Considering Joint Custody of an Aircraft Carrier

Brace yourself for a new level of national stupidity and the planned erosion of national sovereignty from old Europe. According to this article from The Sun, planners in both the British and French defense ministries are considering plans to start sharing aircraft carriers. Short of arranging for weekend rotations of nuclear warheads, this joint custody of a front-line defense asset may be one of the stupidest cost-saving measures ever proposed. Reading it made me wonder if the world would be a more sensible place if I self lobotomized. This speaks to the tragic consequences of having an out-of-control entitlement state, where subsidizing unions, unreal benefits, and universal health-care plans, distort of the most important imperative of the state, the stewardship of national sovereignty.

If history is any lesson, this plan demonstrates a sheer ignorance of competing national interests and priorities. The French and British have very different global commerce and trade objectives. The two countries spent several centuries waring, and have only been de facto allies (tenuous one's at best), for spurts during the last century. The two have different linguistic, cultural, legal, and military heritages to contend with, on top of frequently shifting and changing short-term national objectives. This initial thoughts reflect the tip of the iceberg.  Hence, this plan must be a Europhile's and EU boosters wet-dream come true on paper as it strips down national identity, sovereign interests, well promoting a flacid European military command, and an excuse to further expand upon a bankrupt and unsustainable entitlement focused E.U.

With an erosion of external defense credibility, an internal rot can set in and seriously undermine the state and its ethos. Needless to say, a grim picture just got uglier. 

Frankly, I wrote off most of Europe years ago. It is just that these overt examples of retardation should be lessons to those paying attention on this side of the Atlantic.

If we in this hemisphere continue down this ridiculous path we have stupidly set ourselves on with out-of-control state-growth, will we start pooling our resources with the floating jalopies of the Mexican navy to save a few nickels to keep the stooges in the unions and AARP happy?

Joy Division: New Dawn Fades

Friday, August 27, 2010

Progressives Against Progress

During my daily news and article round-up, I came across an excellent piece titled "Progressives Against Progress" in City Journal by Fred Siegel. It builds upon some interesting observation foundations of the transmutation of modern liberalism, as well as flaws in how the modern vernacular no longer adequately captures the true meaning behind certain labels when one deep-dives into how they evolved in the modern world. More importantly, it explores the inherent tension that should exist between a theoretically "humanist" liberal movement and the histrionically "anti-human" nature of the environmentalism. Here is a passage to whet your appetite...

"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."

Funny Friday: Hilarious Horse Race Call "My Wife Knows Everything"

A pithy friend quipped, "I bet they were nags." 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Neil Cavuto: Obama's Path to History as a one-termer?

Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto offers some interesting commentary on how the 2012 election may shape out. Ego is an interesting thing, as is the American electorate's willingness to get snookered. Given how slick and disciplined President Obama's 2008 campaign for president was, his preference for time on the golf course, as opposed to managing the nation, his wife's incredibly lavish and out-of-touch sense of vacation entitlement, his administration's indifference to the economic woes crushing large swaths of voters, and his avoidance of seeming pro-active on any issue other than socializing health-care, one must wonder how serious he is about running for a second term.

That being said, perhaps Obama has nailed something about American politics post Eisenhower. No president ever has a good second term. Kennedy got whacked before he could make it, Johnson failed so miserably he bowed-out as to avoid disgrace, Nixon resigned, Carter got trounced because his first term was a botched abortion, Reagan was plagued with shady underlings and memory lapses, Bush the Elder didn't deserve re-election on account of raising taxes, Clinton dragged this nation through tabloid-hell while doing nothing but revealing what a scum-bucket he is, and Bush the Younger couldn't deliver on anything of substance beyond offering successful surge in Iraq and watched the GOP rightfully implode.

Given his monumental vanity and ego, the werewolf is unsure how this comedic-farce will play itself out. However, perhaps Obama will do the nation a favor and push the nation that effective public-service is a better path overall than constantly thinking about the next election. Wishful thinking, methinks.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mexico's Continual Implosion

Today's WSJ ran a frightful article, "Mexico Under Siege," by Nicholas Casey on the latest narco-terror conditions plaguing Mexico's wealthiest city, Monterrey, and threatening the near-term political and economic stability of the Mexican state. This is nothing new conceptually, yet with each passing day, Mexico takes one step closer to totally collapse and collapse and failure. Conditions on the ground level have deteriorated to the point where residents are communicating to the government via newspaper advertising!

"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.

Poetry: Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

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.E. Housman

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

LA Gets Something Right!

The werewolf both loves and loves to hate his hometown of Los Angeles. For years, he has been aggravated by LA's petulance, arrogance, and vapidity. Nauseating traffic, throngs of unkempt peoples, oppressive city ordinances, and prohibitive living costs are just a few of the turn-offs radiating from the so-called City of Angels. However, LA has a pedestrian eating scene that is second to none (Pink's, Phillipe's, Langer's, Cantor's, The Larchmont Village Wine Shop, Roscoe's Chicken, to name a few folks), incredible people watching, amazing architecture, accommodating weather, and a diverse swath of enchanting neighborhoods tucked away in various pockets of urban jungle, certainly add to its charm. However, The Los Angeles Times has an amusing piece, "It's Unanimous, President's Visit Leaves LA Boiling," which brought a sincere and overdue smile to the werewolf's face. An excellent except:

"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.""

Hope and change, folks.


The delectable Eva Green, portraying Vesper Lynd, in Casino Royale. A modern day Helen of Troy? Perhaps...

Sea Wolf: You're a Wolf (studio)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Robert Kaplan - Living With a Nuclear Iran

Sadly, the West has lost all resolve and gumption when it comes to containing and preempting belligerent states from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Like an ostrich with its' head in the sand, the feckless and passive attitudes currently reigning supreme in Washington, London, Berlin, Brussels, and Paris, are woefully neglectful of the pending problems and changing landscape on the surface. The reliably insightful Robert Kaplan has an excellent article, "Living with a Nuclear Iran," that paints a poignant picture how to handle this brave new world in the latest edition of The Altantic. We are in for an bumpy ride ahead and the deferring the tough choices of the present while pay some ugly dividends in the years to come.

"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."

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll

Bizarre, alluring, energetic, and violent. Surprisingly enjoyable.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Welcome to The 29 Club

The werewolf was thrust through the doors of The 29 Club today. As we get older, each passing year seems to elapse quicker than the previous one. It's like compound interest, except applied to time, perspective and speed. Years felt like lifetimes during the ignorant days of my youth. Perhaps the dull and mundane routine of elementary school combined with a lack of perspective is what made time feel so slow back in the day. Now, I am desperately searching for way to put the brakes on time.

In many ways, I'd liken my experience during my 20s to the "Roaring 20s" in American history. The early and mid-part of the decade were loaded with excitement, opportunity, and optimism. However, as the end of the decade approached, the bubble I was living in violently burst, and getting back-on-track has proven a Herculean task. 28 was an incredibly shitty year by most metrics for the werewolf, so although somewhat ambivalent about crossing the threshold, he hopes that the psychological chance to start afresh actually lends itself to something tangible and measurable.

It's freaky to think I am fast approaching 30, which is halfway to 60, which in turn is more than halfway to certain death. I graduated from high school in June of 2000 and can vividly recall most of the past decade. I am slightly more than a decade away from being 40, which used to seem geriatric and unimaginably far off when I was a whelp.  In turn, the optimistic vitality of youth has given-way to the dark realities of mortality and getting my crap in order. In some ways, I have meet my internal goals for myself, in other ways, I have fallen drastically short. Oddly, the expansive and ambitious certainty that governed my disposition a few years ago has morphed into something that is far less certain and much more aware of the constraints and limitations that exist.

Things I have noticed the last few years:

I can no longer metabolize chill-cheese bacon burgers and double-dipped milkshakes with the same enthusiasm and carelessness of my teenage years. Still few things are as grand as a dozen raw oysters, a rare dry-aged porterhouse, warm buttered bread, and a giant baked potato with the works.

The hair on my head is diminishing resource. Despite my emotional protests, it seems to be recolonizing down my back.

Hard-drinking and partying with reckless abandon is still fun and admirable. 2-day Hangovers aren't.

I can live just fine without vodka. However, the mere thought of going sans bourbon, gin, rye, or rum is truly depressing.

I am struggling with the trends in humor or perhaps what passes for current humor isn't funny. With a few current expectations, movies and television isn't as funny as it used to be. I still yearn to play golf at Bushwood Country Club, go to Wally World, trade pork belly futures with the Duke Brothers, travel to Zumunda, and find that Torino with no wheels in East St. Louis.

Freedom and individuality are growing scarce. Cherish them.

You start to really know who your friends are and will be. Long standing relationships, rich with history, are one of the most gratifying things we experience.

Our entry visas on this planet are truly brief, before our exit visa gets stamped. It is time to start making each-and-every day count.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Style & Wisdom

The Sterling Look

Pearls of Sterling Wisdom

“I like redheads. Their mouths are like a drop of strawberry jam in a glass of milk.”

"Look, I want to tell you something because you're very dear to me. And I hope you understand that it comes from the bottom of my damaged, damaged heart. You are the finest piece of ass I've ever had and I don't care who knows it. I am so glad that I got to roam those hillsides." 

"Look, we've got oysters rockefeller! Beef Wellington! Napoleons! We leave this lunch alone, it'll take over Europe."

"Don't you love the chase? Sometimes it doesn't work out; those are the stakes. But when it does work out, it's like having that first cigarette: your head gets all dizzy, your heart pounds, your knees go weak. Remember that? Old business is just old business."

"Can I just fire everyone?"

Simple Minds: Don't You Forget About Me (live)