Thursday, June 30, 2011

Górecki: Symphony of Sorrowful Songs

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

On the danger of glorifying martyrdom

Rajiv Malhotra.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ray Lynch: Celestial Soda Pop


Jon Stewart on Fox News

Monday, June 27, 2011

Old but Good

Jethro Tull's Weathercock:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Can the United States remain united?

An interesting post at The Washington Note.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Real Bargain

The Triumph of Wall Street and the Decline of America

Paul Krugman reviews "Age of Greed: The Triumph of Finance and the Decline of America, 1970 to the Present" by Jeff Madrick at the New York Review of Books.

The US has a recurring pattern since the 1970s, of banks getting into a crisis, getting bailed out by the government, and then bashing government and regulation when the situation stabilizes. The bank busts keep getting bigger.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Civil Liberties - the current situation

Nick Baumann writes that in the debate over whether people arrested on charges of terrorism have the usual constitutional protections, the civil libertarians have lost:
Civil libertarians have lost that argument. The defeat is total: in the White House, on Capitol Hill, in the courts, and, crucially, in the court of public opinion. Indefinite detention of non-citizen terrorist suspects without charge or trial remains the official policy of the United States, and none of the most infamous non-citizen terrorist suspects will be tried in federal court.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Battlefield 2011

2008 Battle of Monmouth reenactment here.
2011: click here. Many of the photographs are heavy crops.


Lytro is a company with an exciting new camera technology.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Don Juan



Via V., a Gotipua performance:

Monday, June 20, 2011

Acne Cure Reaches the Sun

From before and after:

The Sun might enter an extended period of low sunspot activity - a "grand minimum" similar to the Maunder Minimum in the 17th century.  Unfortunately, it does not offer us much respite in the matter of reducing climate change.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Greece Isn't Pakistan

David Rothkopf in Foreign Policy points out that Greece is in a mess because it is not Pakistan:

The problem isn't the Greek finance ministry. The problem isn't the Greek legislature. The problem isn't the Europeans who are being dragged kicking and screaming toward helping Greece. The problem isn't even Goldman Sachs and the other banks who lent Greece more money than they could afford and even helped them hide a bunch of the financings off the books.

Nope, the problem is Greek nuclear scientists and radical terror groups affiliated with the Greek intelligence services -- or rather, the lack thereof.

Because if Greece had nuclear weapons and crazed terrorists hiding in every luxury housing development, you can bet we wouldn't be going through this long drawn-out process of figuring out whether the country was going to default or not.

We know this because of Pakistan. Pakistan is an absolute financial basket case. It is in many respects in as bad a shape as Greece -- and in some it is even much worse off. But do you hear anyone talking about Pakistan's financial problems? Heck no.

Of course, talking about Pakistan's financial problems is like talking about whether Anthony Weiner's socks match. It's not exactly the first issue that comes to mind. Having said that, the reason we are not sweating the meltdown of Pakistan's financial markets is that there is no way the United States or the world would let it happen. Because a financial collapse could trigger the kind of unrest that would put Pakistani nukes at risk, and that's just not tolerable. So the United States pumps billions into Pakistan knowing full well that it is this aid that helps keep the ship of state afloat. (And, money being fungible, if it also pays for expanding Pakistan's nuclear arsenal … well, apparently we're willing to look the other way. Again.)

Once again, one of the main messages of modern international affairs comes through loud and clear: Nukes pay. From Pyongyang to Tehran, enterprising leaders know that the easiest way to boost your country's profile, gain political leverage, and win cash and prizes is to toss a little enriched uranium in the old Cuisinart, let the satellites take a few snaps, and start rattling your radioactive saber.

The problem with Greece is that if the economy collapsed, if the government collapsed, if the country descended into chaos, no one is worried that a nuclear catastrophe would follow. An ouzo-induced hangover maybe -- which can be a pretty horrific thing -- but it's the specter of a mushroom cloud that really is the attention grabber.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Alcohol and murder

Alcohol played a role in the year-ago murder of Diyyendu Sinha of Old Bridge.
"The five Old Bridge High School students first convinced someone to buy 10 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor for them and they went to a gathering of other students behind Grissom School, a defendant in a murder case told investigators after the beating death of Divyendu Sinha last June.....After an hour of drinking the teenagers got back into Contreras’ Honda Civic....“They were just trying to get into a fight,” Steven K. Contreras, 18, told investigators from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office during a taped interview.
They encountered Sinha and family, who weer out for a walk, and beat Sinha up with fatal consequences.

Another set of lives ruined possibly by judgement impaired by intoxicants.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

B Street Band

One of the "Thursdays by the Sea" concerts at Pier Village, Long Branch, NJ.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vegetarian Dilemma

If one is a vegetarian, not out of habit or tradition, or religious conviction, but for reasons of dharma [1],  then one cannot eat mass-grown American tomatoes, it appears.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Another shot from that room with a view:

A Room With A View

From the twenty-first floor of an apartment building in Brooklyn:

Pannable version below the fold.
PS: Not sure how to make it work on the iPad.  On a PC, you can drag the picture around seeing detail in full resolution.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Hitchens on Pakistan

Christopher Hitchens in Vanity Fair:

Again to quote myself from 2001, if Pakistan were a person, he (and it would have to be a he) would have to be completely humorless, paranoid, insecure, eager to take offense, and suffering from self-righteousness, self-pity, and self-hatred. That last triptych of vices is intimately connected. The self-righteousness comes from the claim to represent a religion: the very name “Pakistan” is an acronym of Punjab, Afghanistan, Kashmir, and so forth, the resulting word in the Urdu language meaning “Land of the Pure.” The self-pity derives from the sad fact that the country has almost nothing else to be proud of: virtually barren of achievements and historically based on the amputation and mutilation of India in 1947 and its own self-mutilation in Bangladesh. The self-hatred is the consequence of being pathetically, permanently mendicant: an abject begging-bowl country that is nonetheless run by a super-rich and hyper-corrupt Punjabi elite. As for paranoia: This not so hypothetical Pakistani would also be a hardened anti-Semite, moaning with pleasure at the butchery of Daniel Pearl and addicted to blaming his self-inflicted woes on the all-powerful Jews.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Garden pics

Clematis at full bloom (more photos after "Read more")

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Javed Akhtar and Two-Nation Theory

A delightful interview of Javed Akhtar: (it is in English, btw.)