Thursday, March 31, 2011

Yikes

VDH pours it on against Obama's intervention in Libya.

I'm pretty confused. I guess now the administration is saying we're just creating a no-fly zone implying Qaddafi can stay so long as he doesn't bomb rebels. Oh boy. It's pretty clear we aren't sure what we want. Maybe we are concerned that we don't really know who these rebels are - reputedly they have Islamicist elements.

Still, I'm one of those in favor of getting rid of dudes like Qaddafi, betting the unknown rather than the known. Even with the question of: what if the rebels are worse? Eventually Qaddafi or his successors will need to go - ruling regimes like that are unsustainable. So eventually we will need to deal with the vacuum of power, so might as well face it when there is momentum to do something about it and nudge it in the right direction. It's when we get caught flat-footed, like in the Iranian Revolution when things go to shit.

Ironies abound in this decision by Obama. The Republicans are going to have a field day, especially if Qaddafi survives and ends up empowered and confident having withstood Western bombing.

You gotta have clear aims if you're going to war. Give Bush a little credit on the Iraq thing - at least we knew what we were there to do.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tricky

VDH on conservative reticence on Libya.

It should go without saying, the only acceptable outcome once bombing begins is to remove Khaddafy. The portion of Obama's speech I listened to said as much. Now there is some discussion about ending the bombing soon just to provide a no-fly zone. This doesn't really make sense. I suppose they are making the argument the no-fly zone was to prevent an imminent genocide and not to remove Khaddafy. Maybe. But I find this slippery logic rather confusing. If Khaddafy is guilty of planning a genocide, he ought to be treated like Milosevic - someone who needs to be brought forward in front of the world and tried. Also - why are the Germans and Turks against this, but the Arabs, France, and GB for it? Need to do some more reading...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Huh?

Is the reason we went to war in Libya because three women in Obama's cabinet pushed for humanitarian intervention?

Aye. Gates opposed it, Samantha Powers, etc were in favor of it?

I'm confused...is this a multi-lateral intervention? My understanding now is that the UN approved the use of force in the same way they approved the use of force against Saddam. But again, is it only going to be US troops. Help.
Funny

Keira Knightley answers fan letter way too quick.
Gay Cure App

I wonder if it works.
Counter Point

On why America can't intervene everywhere.

I have to agree Sullivan makes a sane point here. We are our own worst enemy.
Liberal Outrage

I'll try not to go crazy like most of the right wing blogosphere about the hypocrisy of the left with respect to the Libya war, however, it does bear pointing out, very, very few liberals seemed outraged with the Libya attack vs. their feelings regarding Iraq. It strikes me as something they need to explain. Where was the UN security council declaring war on this one? How is removing Khaddafy different from removing Saddam? The one major argument is that Libyans were rising up and actively fighting Khaddafy. Of course, this was also true of Saddam at one point, but then he used chemical weapons and put down the rebellion...not to mention the Kurds were in some respects actively opposing the Saddam regime in the north. Plus, Saddam was more of a world wide threat and in a more important country and just a tad more evil. So...what is it exactly? Two things: a dislike of Bush and bitterness over the 2000 election and because France's opposition to the war (later proved to be about money) gave "cover" to more legitimate war opponents.

Anyhow, I don't think it's quite worth rubbing in people's faces too much, I don't image they'll listen anyway.
Legalistic Reasons For Bombing Libya

Listening to the radio yesterday, I was struck by the legal approach to the Libya war. We argued Khaddafy was no longer a legitimate ruler of his country and he needs to go, ie regime change. Now, for those who care to remember, the legal framing for Iraq were a bit different - prove you do not have WMDs. Now liberals snark at the fact that no WMDs were eventually found. Fair enough. But that wasn't the argument - the argument was Saddam needed to prove to the international community he no longer had WMDs - since he had a past history of developing them. I even remember in the days before the war - Rumsfeld saying publicly - Saddam can stay in power if he lets in the weapons inspectors.

Khaddafy has no such option. Anything less than removing Khaddafy at this point will be considered a failure. Shouldn't be too difficult (although I realize that is an incredibly stupid thing to say).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weak or Clever

Well, we're bombing Libya now. The only acceptable outcome is Khaddafy gone. And the US seems to be taking a supporting role.

The right wing blogs are going batshit mumbling about our weakness displayed in this crisis and comparing it to the Iraq War, etc, etc. I think there will be a time for such analysis, but I don't think that time is now. In fact, it strikes me, Obama might be outfoxing everyone - including our reluctant allies and two-faced Arab "friends" - into doing our bidding for a change. Usually, we are the ones doing the dirty work - like in Iraq from the first Gulf War to the Second Gulf War - while everyone else gets to sit around and publicly condemn us, while privately support us. We have take a backseat to the Arab League and France in this case and allowed them to take more of the lead (and hence bear more of the criticism). If the outcome is the same, with Khaddafy gone, we'll have achieved our goals and done with with broad support. I don't see this as a bad outcome. The right wing nutjobs are worried we look weak or indecisive...I think we look clever.
Evidence That People Are Stupid

From an article about the law school bubble.

But the biggest reason may be cultural, not economic. In the past year or two, scads of blogs have committed themselves to exposing law school as a "scam," and the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have devoted thousands of words to telling readers why law school is a bad, bad idea if you do not actually want to be a lawyer.


Wait...law school is a bad idea if you don't want to be lawyer? Who wouldda thunk? Cause I went to film school to become a doctor and that is working out magnificently.
LA Marathon, The Anti-LA Event

I braved the rain this AM to check out the finish line of the LA Marathon. I was not the only one. Tons of people were out, getting drenched to watch the runners. I have to admit, seeing people running and finishing was pretty inspiring. I missed the elite finishers, but saw the next group of runners, people who seemed like unbelievable runners, but not quite professional - people finishing between 2hrs30min and 3 hours. The timing and watching the end was pretty cool because at this level, the runners finish a little bit spaced out, and so it's like one runner every 30 seconds or so and the announcer announces them and their time and sometimes the announcer knew a little bit about the finisher. One guy, as a promotion, ate McDonalds for the last 30 days before the marathon (a sort of anti-Super Size Me for the Ronald McDonald charity). One guy ran the race barefoot. Most of these runners looked very in shape, except from one old slightly overweight Mexican dude who ran past and I was like - no way this guy finished a marathon this fast - I figured he hopped on somewhere during the last mile of the race...or...probably more likely scenario is that he is like a former Olympian or something crazy like that. A few women finished in this pack - the first qualified for the Olympics with her time. It was pretty awesome. I thought I was some sort of impressively motivated person for riding my bike all the way there in the rain, but there were thousands of people - families, kids, old folks - who did the same without much thought. Not to mention the runners who obviously train like madmen and women and then ran this crazy thing. Now...I will never run a marathon. This I know. But man, watching people finish, and seeing all these Los Angelinos supporting and cheering and watching these people do it. It is a different side of this city...one worth checking out.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mutual Appreciation

I decided it was high time I watched a mumblecore movie. This weekend felt apt - not many plans - coming off a week that featured several nights out, including St. Patty's, and feeling as caught up as I can be on work (for the moment). And I'm injured, preventing any major sporting activities. I've been resistant to mumblecore movies because frankly, they don't sound very interesting or good. There are about 6 entire television shows, 10 novels, 40 real movies, and numerous sporting events, I would likely prioritize over watching any of the mumblecore movies if I based my decisions solely upon pleasure. That said, as a movie person, I feel an obligation to at least watch a little bit of this non-movement.

First things first - I actually have watched one mumblecore movie before - The Puffy Chair. I remember being impressed when I first saw it (after the first scene) and then never thinking about it again and if one were to ask me what happened in The Puffy Chair right now, I honestly can't remember. The distinguishing feature - it was made for $10,000 by the Duplass brothers. There was a chair in the movie and some dude who looked like someone I went to film school with.

I couldn't figure out what mumblecore movie was the one to watch. And I was limited by what was on Netflix instant (because I'm cheap and lazy). I started Hanna Takes The Stairs because Greta Gerwig was in it. I lasted 11 minutes and realized there was no way I was going to sit through the whole thing. When the most interesting moment in the first 11 minutes is a girl ignores a phone call from her boyfriend...yeah...I'd rather read a blog or write an email or watch a Charlie Sheen interview.

So, onto Mutual Appreciation, which I watched in full. And liked in parts. But boy, I can't really recommend these movies to regular people. I mean, these are almost not real movies...they are more like practice movies. It would sort of be like charging fans to attend my men's league soccer games. It is technically soccer, but it is more of a hobby than a profession. And that's fine, the difference being, in a hobby it is for the pleasure of the participants, whereas in a profession it is for the pleasure of the audience. I say this because when I think of joe-average-world citizen and the Platonic idea of "a movie" and what they associate with this idea, these films almost don't fit the bill. Maybe that is a crazy thing to say...maybe I've been in LA too long...and am becoming too indoctrinated by the system. But man, there is such a thing as blocking and camera moves and surprises and mystery and tension and irony. The story was just, I don't know, it felt like it was all just a pose. A style. And a cheap style at that. Ocean's 11 is all style, but at least it is good style. I felt like I was in some hipster second hand shop watching ugly over-educated people doing nothing and pondering banalities. I don't hang out in those store shopping for Doc Martins and corduroy jackets, so why would I want to spend 2 hours watching a movie in one?

But maybe that's just me. I really wonder who watches these movies. I can't imagine anyone outside the film biz or the hipster world pays any attention. Who has the time?
A Take On Netflix

On why Netflix is moving into original programming.

Note - content is - and always will be - king.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Interesting Point

Leslie Gelb says: if Arabs and everyone else wants a no-fly zone over Libya, they should do it themselves.

I like the positions I've heard Gelb expound recently - and they basically amount to - I'm tired of America being the sucker. Everyone is bullshitting us. In Afghanistan, the Pakis want us to stay, give them money and meanwhile fund the Taliban and provide them haven. We tell them to stop and they say, well, if you leave, we need to hedge our bets. Fuck you, Pakistan. You're not our friends. Same thing with the Arab League and the Euros - they don't give a shit about Libya. They want to get themselves off by taking a cost-less moralistic position and wait for the US to act. If we don't, they criticize our lack of support for Arab democracy, if we do, and it goes well, they say they supported it all along. It goes bad, oh well, it isn't their blood or money.

I am often persuaded by the moral arguments, but appreciate a candid realist position to really test myself.
Why Write A Book...

...when an article would suffice. I picked up a book at the library the other day that is essentially a Marxist critique of "diversity." The basic point is that liberals have embraced the idea of "diversity" as a good social goal and the widespread acceptance of it from colleges to employers is a dangerous trick to ignore the real issue in American society: economic inequality. He argues "diversity" is a clever trick - an end-run around the idea of reparations - by not appealing to redress historical wrongs - but rather to value a diverse racial make-up as an end goal in itself. His best point - it costs us NOTHING as a society to embrace diversity. Elite colleges simply pick top students from all the races and get to feel good about themselves as if they are making our society better rather than an accomplice in making the rich richer. Employers are able to hire diverse staff and continue to pay them a stagnant wage.

I am not going to read the whole book. I'm not sure why this is a book rather than an article, but he makes a few smart points. He also is startlingly honest about the issue of competition - the rich are able to out compete the poor. Rich students will be better than poor students - they have better schools, better habits, more fallback options, tutors, all sorts of things. So if you care about social justice - which liberals claim to - one can't simply ignore this issue or try to apply an easy, cost-less balm, like affirmative action, which basically just assists rich people of different races and genders.
Personal Finance

Personal Finance stuff is a lot simpler than people make it out to be. 10 ideas.

The gist - save your money. Don't spend on stupid shit. Pay your highest interest stuff first. I mean, a 7 year old can figure all this stuff out.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Smart Men, Dumb Women

A "smart" woman asks smart men why they date dumb women.

I think the guy makes some good points:

As Carney put it, "dumb chicks have both greater opportunities and greater incentives to try harder to date smart men than smart women do."


to which the interviewer (ie smart woman) responds:

Lapin goes on to dismiss the idea that men are interested in less intelligent women: "You guys think you want that, until you're bored to tears and melt her plastic bits. Until you need to take her to a State dinner and she can't smile her way out of it. Until you lose your Wall Street job and she still doesn't understand what you do enough to help you through it, as a partner, an equal, much less stand by a poor guy."


What a hag. First, she asks the question and rather than actually listening to the answer, dismisses it to fill in with her own answer. Further, she assumes less-smart=plastic. Here's another theory - women who define themselves as "smart" rather than say, caring, kind, pretty, pleasant, of good character, supportive, friendly, or any other adjectives which are better determiners of good relationships - may have trouble finding men because they suck. My theory on this stuff - be cool - look good - don't be crazy - and you'll do fine, chicks. Be bitchy, self-pitying, confusing, weird, needy, cold and you'll have trouble, even if you scored high on the SAT.
Libya

I'm certainly no expert on Libya, so it's hard for me to get too passionate about what we ought to be doing there. But I think this point is right.

It may well be that the best course has always been to do nothing. But if that is the case, what was the point of Obama’s pronouncement that Qaddafi ‘must’ go? If it is important that Qaddafi go, then why is the United States unwilling to lift a finger to bring about the event that ‘must’ happen? And how can a situation simultaneously be urgent, but not worth doing anything about?


More concerning to me is the UN handling of the situation. Clearly, Qaddafi is a madman and a lunatic. He has been for nearly 30 years and all the world knows it. Now there is an opportunity to actually stand together and do something about it and UN sits around twiddling it's thumbs and hemming and hawing despite pronouncements by many of member nations that Qaddafi ought to go and the Arab League's willingness to support a no-fly zone. Maybe the world ought to be like this and allow nations to fight their own battles and not interfere because the cost of intervening is often high. But then...what is the point of the UN? I mean, it would be a movie studio that doesn't make movies and just develops projects and talks about making stuff. Very puzzling. It seems like Qaddafi is going to crush the rebellion and 6 months from now we'll learn about some massive numbers of civilian murders and all sorts of horrific reprisals and torture and other morally offensive things that occurred in the name of keeping this loon in power. If I worked at the UN, I'd be pretty embarrassed at the impotence of the organization.
Smoking

I don't like smoking. It is a disgusting habit and it kills people. In fact, probably the biggest reason the life expectancy of Americans is the highest it's ever been is due to the various anti-smoking campaigns and general understand of the long term negative effects to health. That said, smoking in movies is awesome. It breaks up dialog and gives a good reason to pause when words are supposed to be taken in. It is visual and contributes to atmosphere and tone - if that's what you're going for.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cool


ATLANTIS FOUND IN SOUTHERN SPAIN? : Perhaps Plato was right after all: American researchers say they’ve found the lost ancient city of Atlantis—whose existence has been debated for thousands of years—underneath the mud flats of southern Spain. The Greek philosopher first wrote about Atlantis 2,600 years ago, claiming it was gigantic ringed city that had been buried by a tsunami thousands of years earlier. Now, the U.S. team says they discovered its exact location by using radar, digital mapping, and underwater technology. Adding to their credibility is the discovery of several nearby “memorial cities” thought to be built by Atlantis’ refugees after the natural disaster destroyed the city.


Now we can check that mystery off the list.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

More On Longevity

Another article about the living longer study.

Health advice has been mostly a public health failure. When John F. Kennedy became president he immediately began emphasizing the importance of physical health and the role of government in promoting fitness. Fifty-mile hikes became a fad. This was the same year that Dr. Ancel Keys, a prominent doctor who also happened to be a Terman subject, was featured on the cover of Time magazine telling Americans that they ate too much.

Now, half a century later, most segments of the American population are more obese and less fit than ever. This doesn't mean that President Kennedy's efforts were misguided or caused today's problems. But it does suggest that such traditional approaches—lists of recommendations, New Year's resolutions, and so on—are often ineffective over the long term.

You need to make changes that will be sustainable in the long term. We say, if you don't like jogging, don't jog! Instead, begin doing things that you really enjoy and can keep up, like a walk at lunchtime with a friend or vigorous gardening. Follow the healthy Terman participants, who grew up before gyms or running shoes even existed: develop those patterns, whatever they are, that get you up and out of your chair.


Makes sense to me.
Keys To Long Term Health

Interesting findings.

Work hard. Take things seriously. Hmmm. Sort of counter-intiative. That said, I find it easier to relax when I've been working hard. And more anxiety and guilt when I'm not. Also for men, get into stable marriages. Doesn't surprise me.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fair Point

On the anxiousness of the liberal mind.

This too is an American trait — one professes global concern as a sort of psychological penance for one’s own worry that he wants nothing to do with politically incorrect problems. I might go so far as to suggest that the more one is animated that illegal immigration is not a problem, the more likely one is to be insulated from it. (Note the constant sermonizing from the Hollywood elite from the beaches of Malibu.)


I'm pretty sure this is true.
True Enough

Libya provides an interesting test case of how the world keeps spinning without American leadership.

One problem is that we can't be sure what outcome we prefer. I think in basically all these cases it is 60-40 preferable to see the guy go. I suppose in the Khaddafy case, it may be higher 80-20.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oh Boy

An NPR executive was coaching the Muslim Brotherhood how to make an anonymous donation.

One thing we need to get straight people: The Muslim Brotherhood are bad guys. All this verbiage regarding war on terror, etc, has confused the issue with Al Queda, etc. Political Islam is a problem in the same way Communism was a problem. There are degrees to Political Islam - Al Queda is not the same as the Muslim Brotherhood tactically. The Brotherhood does not overtly support terrorism against the United States for instance. They have not declared war on us. But let's not mince words - Political Islam is an imperialist ideology and incompatible with minority points of view, pluralism, women and gay rights (and all individual rights, for that matter), a free press, basically most of the rights and privileges all Americans and Westerners hold dear. Any group or person who believes in putting all other values as subservient to Islam is problematic and incompatible with Western Values. I'm not saying we declare war on these people, just pointing out the obvious - they are the enemy.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

I'd Watch This Film

Bring Me The Head of Charlie Brown.
Conundrum

Why do people not respond to evites? This question plagues me, because I pretty much always respond. In fact, I almost always respond yes even if I'm a maybe. The reason I do this is because when I view evites with very few "yes's" I'm less likely to WANT to attend. And I'm a huge fan of people who decide to host or throw events - since I recognize how much work goes into these things and how they are holding the glue of society together. But no one responds. In most evites, the majority of people never even bother to respond. Why?

One theory is that people are too busy. Bullshit. I know people read all that shit.

Another theory is that people don't know their schedule and want to keep things open-ended. This is a very Los Angeles-California-y thing to do. And I get it. But why not do like I do and respond yes and then keep it open-ended? Everyone knows if you grandpa dies, you aren't coming to the party. No one is holding a "yes" response to an evite over ones head like the Sword of Damocles.

The third theory is that people don't want to look over-eager and therefore do not respond and then forget about it.

My fourth theory is that people are waiting to see what other people do and then no one responds because no one else responds.

My fifth theory is that people are rude. Purposefully rude. Not responding due to any of the four previously mentioned items is in itself rude, so perhaps this one is redundant, but I separate the category because sometimes the asshole-ness of people trumps a practical explanation.

I'm not sure which theory accounts for the most non-responses. But in this day and age where people shamelessly spend their hours on facebook and internet dating, wasting their lives trolling meaningless blog posts and commentary and Charlie Sheen's twitter account, and perusing pictures of high school classmates weekends, you would think some more priority would be placed on the good old fashioned RSVPing to an ACTUAL PARTY or event where human beings gather and interact face-to-face. To me, the three useful elements of the internet are: email, evites, and blogs. Email is a great communication tool, a quick in-between to the phone call / letter / business package. It might be the most important single tool invented during my lifetime. Evites are a fantastic invention because it saves time and money and explication for organizing parties and events. It is similar to an email, but of additional use because of the group access to information of a specific event. Blogs end up filling gaps that were being systemically ignored by traditional journalism and op-eds.

All the rest of the internet inventions are of questionable value. Internet porn has made access to porn much easier and cheaper, but it isn't clear to me this is a good thing for society or male-female relationships. It certainly helps the relationship men have with themselves, but I'm not convinced that is a relationship in need of nurturing. Facebook is giant scam. Internet dating is bad (see other posts). Netflix and Amazon and other shopping sites are probably a net positive and will probably become more positive over the long run, especially with streaming and kindle, etc. So maybe I should add that to the good stuff about the internet.
Word to the Arabs

I keep going back and forth on the Libya thing and whether we ought to help the rebels. Here's the thing: don't mercilessly bash on America at every given opportunity and then expect our help when it suits you. Why do so many "liberal" Arab intellectuals criticize America and the West for X-Y-Z and then ask for our help? And when we give the help, they'll criticize the timing of it, the amount of it, the degree of it. It's really a no-win.

On the other hand, we have these autocrats like Mubarack, Qadaffi, etc, who are playing a double game by inflaming folks against us and then telling us - back off - you don't want those crazy people running things.

It really is a sick situation and I wish they didn't have all the oil.
A Betting Man

If I were a betting man, I would have bet against consequetive blog posts about Charlie Sheen and Winona Ryder in 2011....
Good News

Winona Ryder agrees to have sex with Generation X.

Children of the so-called Baby Boomers, Generation X has been characterized as a group unable to speak about anything unironically, while also possessing a mistrust of authority and a longing to have sex with Winona Ryder. According to Ryder, this demographic deserves to have "at least one" of its thwarted hopes and dreams for itself actually come true.


Thank you, Winona.
Good Job

Charlie Sheen is hiring a paid intern.

Wow.
Social Security

Some myths about the program.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Bought

These stories coming out about academics being paid by Kaddafi to help enhance his world profile are pretty repulsive.

It's one thing to be a PR firm or a lawyer or a defense contractor cashing in on blood money. It is morally questionable and likely corrupt. But at least their honest about who pays them. This smells worse. An academic - and academic institution - trades on their intellectual integrity and poses as speaking truth to power. What's perhaps even the most disappointing is these people worked for top notch institutions - LSE and Harvard - who seemingly wouldn't have to bottom feed for money. It just goes to show...

...actually, I don't know what it goes to show.
Preposterous

Part of this blog is supposed to be a log of things that happened. This weekend, I got into one of the most absurd, strange arguments of the many strange, absurd arguments of my life. Two of my friends argued Frasier was a better show than Seinfeld. It was an utterly absurd premise. I can understand people have diverse tastes (one may insert bad for diverse), and might "prefer" Frasier to Seinfeld. But no living human being can accurately argue that Frasier is "better" than Seinfeld from any sort of critical or cultural standpoint. To put it simply - I have never, ever, before this weekend, ever heard a single person ever recommend, talk about, discuss, reference, or otherwise mention Frasier outside of perhaps a guilty admonition that they wasted 30 minutes watching it. Ever. Seinfeld, on the other hand, now over 12 years off the air, still comes up almost every other day in some form of discussion - oh, that's just like when Jerry and Elaine did this and that - Seinfeld is part of the very fabric of American culture going far past the influence of what most television shows and movies ever hope to achieve. Now if that factor alone does not make Seinfeld a "better" show, fair enough. More people watch Jersey Shore than The Wire and probably "reference" it. Nevertheless, Seinfeld is to the sitcom what Michael Jordan is to basketball. The consensus best sitcom ever. Plenty of people disagree - there are arguments for Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlin, etc. But if you want to get into a dumb argument about "the best," it is asking folks not to take you seriously if you go out and try to claim Charles Barkley is the best basketball player ever. Barkley, sure, won the MVP once or twice while Jordan played. He was a rival to Jordan (like Frasier was to Seinfeld), but no sane person who knows the first thing about basketball or watched either of the two play, could seriously suggest Barkley was better than Jordan. There is zero objective evidence to even suggest Barkley was as good as Jordan. I'm sure there are people who prefer watching Barkley to Jordan, people who like Barkley more than Jordan (me), people who rooted for Barkley over Jordan, but he was not "better" than Jordan.

Frasier being better than Seinfeld is a laughable premise, not even worthy of this paragraph of discussion.
Good Paragraph

Found within an essay about megalomania in American Politics.

“As a member of the avant-garde who is capable of perceiving the conspiracy before it is fully obvious to an as yet unaroused public, the paranoid is a militant leader. He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated—if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began, and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes.”
Freedom Agenda

Can it be said that Bush's Freedom Agenda is working?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Zizek on Egypt

Hadn't read this before, but it makes sense.

When President Obama welcomed the uprising as a legitimate expression of opinion that needs to be acknowledged by the government, the confusion was total: the crowds in Cairo and Alexandria did not want their demands to be acknowledged by the government, they denied the very legitimacy of the government.


and this

One of the cruellest ironies of the current situation is the west's concern that the transition should proceed in a "lawful" way – as if Egypt had the rule of law until now. Are we already forgetting that, for many long years, Egypt was in a permanent state of emergency? Mubarak suspended the rule of law, keeping the entire country in a state of political immobility, stifling genuine political life. It makes sense that so many people on the streets of Cairo claim that they now feel alive for the first time in their lives. Whatever happens next, what is crucial is that this sense of "feeling alive" is not buried by cynical realpolitik.


Something to think about.
Where is the UN on All This

On creating a no-fly zone in Libya:

Libyan rebels who requested Western assistance can dream on: That’s the message coming out of Washington now, as American leaders have cooled on the idea of a military intervention in Libya—even a no-fly zone. “Let’s just call a spade a spade: A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses,” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Wednesday, while Clinton told two committees that the U.S. was not ready to commit to military action.


I understand we don't just want to hop into war. But isn't this why we have the UN?
Too Many Choices

Interesting article on why speed dating doesn't work.

"Overall, too much variety may mean, as suggested by our findings, that people put off making a decision," Lenton said. "Perhaps this is one reason why people today get married at a later age, especially in large cities where presumably there is a wider variety of options -- that is, greater diversity among people."


Fair point.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

As Fine An Idea As Any

A new approach to therapy - a naked therapist. I always thought it would be cool to have a massage-psychologist, where you could go to get your back rubbed and talk about your problems. Add this into the mix and it makes it even a better idea. I suppose this occupation already exists, though, I think it's called a good girlfriend.
Charlie Sheen

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Not To Belabor The Point

But the article below reminds me of a cruel truth...women want to be with men who are more successful and have higher status than them. Some will deny it and certainly there are exceptions, but let's be honest here - on the whole, it is what women want. And I'm not talking about gold digging swine - many perfectly good, healthy, put together women feel this way - and perhaps more importantly - act this way.

So do the math. If women seek equality in the work place and equal opportunity, they will, by definition, be limiting their own dating/marriage pool.

And men? Well, men are in a bind either way. If we seek status over women, we are misogynist pigs. If we don't, we are wusses.

This matters - because strangely enough - the propagation of the human species is dependent on men and women getting along. Or at least, getting it on.
Why Are Men So Angry?

Interesting article.

Never before in history have men been matched up with women who are so much their equal—socially, professionally, and sexually. By the time they reach their twenties, they have years of experience with women as equal competitors—in school, on soccer fields, and even in bed. They very reasonably assume that the women they are meeting at a bar or cafĂ© or gym are after the same things they are: financial independence, career success, toned triceps, and sex.

That’s the bait; here comes the switch. Women may want equality at the conference table and treadmill. But when it comes to sex and dating, they aren’t so sure. The might hook up as freely as a Duke athlete. Or, they might want men to play Greatest Generation gentleman. Yes, they want men to pay for dinner, call for dates—a writer at the popular dating website The Frisky titled a recent piece “Call me and ask me out for a damn date!”—and open doors for them. A lot of men wonder: “WTF??!”

and this --

Women can take a Chinese menu approach to gender roles. They can be all “Let me pay for the movie tickets” on Friday nights, and “A single rose? That’s it?” on Valentine’s Day.


I just have only one thing to say -- and I say it unequivocally -- no girl has EVER been an equal competitor to me on the soccer field.