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  • Archive for January, 2010

    Natural Gas – We Got it Half Right

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 31st January 2010 (All posts by )

    Our energy situation broadly cleaves into two main functions – natural gas, and electricity. Natural gas is used for industry, heating homes and powering stoves, and is taking a greater portion of the electrical generation load. Electricity also overlaps with gas when it comes to home heating and cooling, and is obviously a large component for industrial uses. However, the natural gas and electricity energy industries in the United States have moved in profoundly different directions over the last few decades. The purpose of this post is to describe where we are, as a country, with regards to natural gas. In short – we got it half right.

    Natural gas has three main components, broadly speaking – 1) exploration / extraction 2) transportation 3) distribution. In general, natural gas is lightly regulated for exploration / extraction, has general principles for transportation (open access) and is pretty heavily regulated for distribution (local monopolies).

    One critical difference between electricity and natural gas is that natural gas can be stored while electricity must be available at the specific time it is needed. Thus users and utilities can store natural gas and have it available for peak times, while the only way to meet peak load demand for electric utilities is to have units on line generating electricity during the hottest parts of the day or to “shed load” by pushing customers off-line to reduce demand.

    Both electricity and natural gas are mostly consumed using North American (including Canadian) resources. While OPEC maintains an oil cartel, the fuel used to generate electricity (coal, nuclear fuel, gas) mostly comes from North America. While these resources can be transported across the ocean (for instance Japan imports virtually all of what it needs to fuel electricity) in the USA (and Canada) we have most of what we need for these industries. Until recently there wasn’t a practical way to bring in natural gas from regions that weren’t connected by pipeline, so we were bound to use North American resources.

    Exploration & Extraction

    The exploration and extraction of natural gas is a mostly unregulated industry (compared to electrical utilities, at least). The biggest constraint was that vast swathes of the US were placed off-limits for natural gas drilling due to environmental concerns. In the 1970’s, a moratorium was placed on new natural gas connections because it appeared that the US would run out of natural gas. However, improvements in extraction capabilities resolved that situation and wildcatters responded to higher prices by finding additional supplies.

    Recently it looked as if we were going to run out of natural gas again. Futures prices on natural gas, which were around $2 / unit in the 1990’s, spiked to as high as $14 / unit in the winters of 2006-8 (prices are seasonal and typically move with the weather) but now are below $4 / unit due to the fact that massive supplies of natural gas have been located in shale formations as drillers redoubled their efforts in light of these high prices.

    The natural gas industry, as we can see above, is able to use market forces to respond to price signals. Drillers used innovation and new technology to find new supplies which in turn brought down the high prices. If the extraction / exploration industries were heavily regulated and monopolized (like power generation), it is likely that they would just have utilized the high prices as an opportunity to reap large profits rather than to expand supply.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Energy & Power Generation | 7 Comments »

    Mini-Book Review — Easterbrook — Sonic Boom

    Posted by James McCormick on 30th January 2010 (All posts by )

    Easterbrook, Gregg, Sonic Boom: Globalization at Mach Speed, Random House: 2009, 243pp.

    Sonic Boom falls within the genre of the quick-reading airport business book. Using a series of places as exemplars (Shenzhen, Waltham MA, Yakutsk, Erie PA, etc.), the author shows how a globalized economy can create prosperity from swampland, and restore prosperity to Rust-Belt and 19th century industrial hubs. The writing is crisp and smooth. The manner is often witty, and occasionally wise-ass. It’s anything but turgid … which is a great relief from many of the “big think” books which come and go on the bestseller lists.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Book Notes, Business, Economics & Finance, Tech | 9 Comments »

    Leverage, dividends and our insanely low interest rates

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 30th January 2010 (All posts by )


    Like the famous Seinfeld episode where Kramer struggles to figure out how to profit from the fact that Michigan offers a 10 cent return on recycled bottles, I have been starting at this ad from Interactive Brokers for some time now. This had has been run in myriad financial papers and I have seen it all over the place. It is notable for the fact that it looks like it was drawn “on the back of a napkin” like the fabled dot-com business plans.

    The specific elements of the investing plan are as follows:
    – Interactive brokers can make margin loans at 1.25% annual interest. This LOW rate of interest is made possible by the country’s current super-low rate policy
    – Some stocks are offering dividends as high as 5%. In the current low interest rate environment (you are likely to get 2% on CD’s & government paper, and almost nothing on your money market and bank deposits), that 5% rate seems very enticing, especially since dividends are taxed more favorably on individuals than interest income (dividends are as low as a 15% rate, while interest income is as high as 35%+)
    – Interactive brokers will offer you LEVERAGE. By leverage, this means that they will LOAN you more money than you have in your brokerage account so that you can invest and magnify your returns, either UP or DOWN
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Investment Journal | 13 Comments »

    Just Because I Like It

    Posted by David Foster on 30th January 2010 (All posts by )

    Some lines that seem appropriate for a cold and snowy day…

    ‘Twas the soul of Judas Iscariot,
    Strange, and sad, and tall,
    Stood all alone at dead of night
    Before a lighted hall.

    And the wold was white with snow,
    And his foot-marks black and damp,
    And the ghost of the silvern Moon arose,
    Holding her yellow lamp.

    And the icicles were on the eaves,
    And the walls were deep with white,
    And the shadows of the guests within
    Pass’d on the window light.

    The shadows of the wedding guests
    Did strangely come and go,
    And the body of Judas Iscariot
    Lay stretch’d along the snow.

    The body of Judas Iscariot
    Lay stretched along the snow;
    ‘Twas the soul of Judas Iscariot
    Ran swiftly to and fro.

    To and fro, and up and down,
    He ran so swiftly there,
    As round and round the frozen Pole
    Glideth the lean white bear.

    ‘Twas the Bridegroom sat at the table-head,
    And the lights burnt bright and clear —
    ‘Oh, who is that,’ the Bridegroom said,
    ‘Whose weary feet I hear?’

    The complete poem is here.

    Not being a Victorian, some of the words are unfamiliar, and not being a Christian, I’m not sure I understand all the symbolism…but what a vivid, beautiful, powerful poem.

    Posted in Christianity, Poetry, Religion | 4 Comments »

    Annual CTA Proposed Reductions

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 29th January 2010 (All posts by )


    I knew it must be time for the annual “dance” regarding the Chicago Transit Authority budgets when I saw this sign up on a bus stop near the Merchandise Mart. The sign detailed the threatened cuts to bus routes if 1) the CTA doesn’t get more money 2) the unions don’t give back their recently negotiated pay raises.

    This is no way to run a state. This article in the Chicago Tribune describes the annual ritual:

    The CTA made an offer today that its labor unions could refuse, and they quickly did: Give back a 3.5 percent pay raise this year in return for reducing employee layoffs and major cuts in bus and rail service that are set to begin Feb. 7.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Chicagoania | 8 Comments »

    Adam Andrzejewski

    Posted by Lexington Green on 29th January 2010 (All posts by )

    Adam Andrzejewski

    Adam Andrzejewski is the only person running for the Republican nomination for Governor of Illinois who presents any hope of turning around the dire decline we are facing.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Adam recently, and he confirmed the positive impression I got from his website. He is very smart, aware of the gravity of the problems facing Illinois, and has some concrete plans to change the way business is done here.

    I was most impressed with his proposals to take on the culture of corruption that has made the once-great State of Illinois a national and even global joke.

    Take a look at the issues pages on Adam’s site. Then compare the specifics he offers with, for example, the nonexistent proposals on Jim Ryan’s site, or the comparatively vague proposals of the long-time insider, and purported front-runner, Andy McKenna.

    The insiders in both parties are so tightly wound in Illinois that they are referred to as “The Combine.” The GOP serves as nothing more than the junior partners in a combined Machine, and appears to have no principled differences whatsoever from the Democrats.

    Adam’s candidacy presents a chance to move toward a genuine two-party political process in Illinois, and to start getting the financial mess under control.

    Let me also address the cynical response that he “can’t win.” There is a large field, turnout will probably not be huge, and it won’t take much for one of the GOP candidates to pull ahead. So, vote for the best guy.

    Plus, as Lech Walesa — an Adam supporter — put it: “Nobody gave us a chance to win over the communists. Nobody. And we proved them wrong.” The Combine can also be beaten.

    Please take a look at Adam’s site if you are an Illinois voter.

    Posted in Elections, Politics | 11 Comments »

    [photo]

    Posted by Jonathan on 28th January 2010 (All posts by )

    eat talk eat

    Chicagoboyz like to lunch with ladies.

    Posted in Photos | 6 Comments »

    The Real State of the Union

    Posted by David Foster on 28th January 2010 (All posts by )

    Fear

    As Michael Ledeen observes: This fear is extremely broad-based. It is not limited to social class nor to domestic or foreign policies. Banks are not lending, companies are not hiring, because they are afraid of what Obama will do next.

    It is very clear that Obama/Pelosi/Reid view America primarily as a playing field for a neo-Hobbesian struggle of group against group. And the winning and losing groups at any given moment are determined not only by the elements of the “progressive” creed, but also by the social prejudices of the the leading promulgators of that creed…and by the political exigencies of any given moment.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Civil Society, Political Philosophy, Politics | 19 Comments »

    An iPad Question Answered

    Posted by Shannon Love on 27th January 2010 (All posts by )

    I took advantage of my Apple Developer’s account to glance over the newly released Developer’s documentation for the iPad. I don’t want to go into any specific details because I believe some of the information is covered under my Developer’s non-disclosure agreement.

    However, I can morally answer the question that I had previously about the then-rumored iPad. I have long wondered if it would be fusion or hybrid between the iPhone and a standard Mac. Well, it isn’t. It’s basically a giant iPhone without the phone. It runs a new version of iPhone OS and uses iPhone-style apps.

    I’ll have more to say about the iPad later.

    Posted in Tech | 10 Comments »

    The Apple Tablet

    Posted by David Foster on 27th January 2010 (All posts by )

    Anybody want to talk about the impact of this product? I think the question of how it will affect the publishing industry is particularly interesting…see this and this, for example…but there are probably a lot of other companies and industries that this thing has the potential to help or harm IF it is successful, which of course isn’t a foregone conclusion given the fate of earlier tablets.

    (Disclosure: I’m an Apple shareholder)

    Thoughts?

    Posted in Business, Media, Tech | 19 Comments »

    What Was He Looking For?

    Posted by Shannon Love on 27th January 2010 (All posts by )

    James O’Keefe, the investigative journalist who uncovered the corruption of ACORN, got busted in a (possible) attempt to bug the phones in Sen. Mary Landrieu’s New Orleans office. [h/t Instapundit] It’s clearly a case that comes from a Greek tragedy in which success leads to hubris which leads to the hero’s downfall. I rather expected something like this to happen to O’Keefe or someone seeking to emulate him.

    However, when I first read this story, the first thought that popped into my mind was, “What was he looking for?” You don’t go around randomly bugging the office phones of US Senators. No, O’Keefe must have some information that made him think bugging Landrieu’s phones would reveal information damning enough of Landrieu that people would overlook the wiretapping when he made it public.

    What does O’Keefe suspect about Landrieu and is he right about it?

    [Update: I though the entire Greek tragedy bit explained what I thought but just to be clear, I’m not excusing O’Keefe if he did in fact try to wiretap a US Senator. That is very serious if no other reason than US Senators deal with National Security information and we wouldn’t want to establish a precedent were anybody could listen in on them. Non-leftist should always be aware of the dangers of setting a dangerous precedent merely for short-term gain because leftist certainly won’t.]

    Posted in Media, Politics | 16 Comments »

    Phil Troyer and the Class of 2010 Compact with America

    Posted by Lexington Green on 26th January 2010 (All posts by )

    My friend and law school classmate Phil Troyer is running for congress.

    He is promising to fight for the principles embodied in a very solid-sounding Compact with America.

    Phil apparently came up with this without even consulting our recent post on a Contract with America.

    I won’t say great minds, necessarily … .

    But a lot of us seem to be thinking alike.

    Disclaimer for Eric Holder: No one paid me for this post, I get no benefit out of it, I have no affiliation with Phil’s campaign, he did not ask me to put it up and I have not told him yet, and I am exercising my core political speech under the First Amendment with this post. I hope that is still legal.

    Posted in Elections | 2 Comments »

    What kind of delusion is this?

    Posted by onparkstreet on 26th January 2010 (All posts by )

    Watched Charlie Rose last night. He and some of his guests were discussing President Obama’s political fortunes – post a Scott Brown victory – and what the President might do in order to reverse the downward trend. To give you a flavor of the conversation, I present the following excerpts from the transcript:

    CHARLIE ROSE: Joining me now, Jon Meacham, editor of “Newsweek”
    magazine, in Washington, Tom DeFrank of the “New York Daily News,” and Anne
    Kornblut of “The Washington Post.” I’m pleased to have all of them here as
    we take a look at this week, which is important for the president, and a
    state of the union which is very important to him.”….

    JON MEACHAM
    : “Well, he has clearly found that history is a more
    complicated matter than the speechifying and the glamour, really, of the
    campaign…..

    In politics, you don’t get credit for what didn’t happen. So I think
    we should say that he did in concert with the outgoing administration and
    with his own folks, he did keep us out of a more severe downturn in 2009.”….

    To my mind, the real problem has been that he has a kind of
    intellectual snobbishness about being simple and clear about what he wants
    the country to be. What does he want it to look like when he leaves? And
    it sounds odd to say that sound bites are important, but they are. Jesus
    spoke in them, and his stuff has aged rather well.”….

    THOMAS DEFRANK: “Why is he where he is today? I think it’s because they made a real
    miscalculation on health care. They thought they could sell it. They
    didn’t sell it. They lost control of the message. The critics have
    controlled the message on health care for the last four or five months, and
    it’s a negative message.”….

    ANNE KORNBLUT: “I guess it’s confusing to me why it’s so difficult for
    them to show what his emotions are. All of us who have been around him or
    covered the campaign know he isn’t a robot. He actually does have emotions
    and a family he cares about, and he’s extremely good at talking about the
    feelings he felt growing up in extraordinary circumstances.” ….

    Seriously, the entire transcript and conversation are like that: He’s misunderstood, he’s misrepresented, he’s under appreciated for all that he has done! What?

    Posted in Media, Politics | 10 Comments »

    The Post-COIN Era is Here

    Posted by Zenpundit on 25th January 2010 (All posts by )

    Learning to Eat Soup with a Spoon Again……

    There has been, for years, an ongoing debate in the defense and national security community over the proper place of counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine in the repertoire of the United States military and in our national strategy. While a sizable number of serious scholars, strategists, journalists and officers have been deeply involved, the bitter discussion characterized as “COINdinista vs. Big War crowd” debate is epitomized by the exchanges between two antagonists, both lieutenant colonels with PhD’s, John Nagl, a leading figure behind the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual and now president of the powerhouse think tank CNAS , and Gian Gentile, professor of history at West Point and COIN’s most infamous arch-critic.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Afghanistan/Pakistan, Economics & Finance, International Affairs, Iraq, Military Affairs, National Security, Obama, Politics, Society, Terrorism, USA, War and Peace | 3 Comments »

    Afghanistan (Arghandab, etc) links….

    Posted by onparkstreet on 24th January 2010 (All posts by )

    - “The Taliban launched their initial attack into Arghandab in October 2007, after the natural death of Mullah Naqib. This assault marked the beginning of an intense campaign to erode the will of the population in Arghandab to resist Taliban control.

    The Taliban gained control of Arghandab by using targeted violence to intimidate local leaders, supplemented with an intimidation campaign and the implementation of a judicial system to increase the Taliban’s legitimacy.”

    – “The Dahla Dam and irrigation system, located in the heart of the province of Kandahar, is Afghanistan’s second largest dam. Eighty percent of Kandahar’s population lives along the irrigation system. Since it was built in the 1950s, years of disrepair have left the dam and irrigation system functioning at reduced capacity.”

    – “The Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team visited the Kunar Prison construction site Jan. 14 to conduct a quality assurance check and address security issues.

    PRT leaders and engineers met with Afghan National Police representatives and the construction site engineer and foreman to discuss the progress on the prison.”

    – “As U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is visiting Pakistan for the first time in three years to encourage greater cooperation between Washington and Islamabad and ask what the country’s plans are for a possible military offensive against extremists in the tribal region of North Waziristan, a Pakistani Army spokesman said any action there would not happen in the next 12 months, citing the Pakistani government’s desire to consolidate current gains.”

    – “Images from the most-talked about place of 2009.

    Posted in Afghanistan/Pakistan | 3 Comments »

    The Defeat of the English Armada, the Fall of England, and the Rise of Spain

    Posted by Joseph Fouche on 24th January 2010 (All posts by )

    The Well-Chinned

    No one ever expects the Spanish Armada. Yet, somehow, in the year of our Lord 1588, England had survived. Perhaps the arrival of the Invincible Armada was predictable. After all, Phillip II, the Well-Chinned, His Most Catholic Majesty, king of Spain, etc. had a well demonstrated habit of oppressing Protestants, at least when he wasn’t indulging his primary passion of breeding the next generation of super-chinned Hapsburg superman with one of his cousins or maybe a niece. Of course it didn’t help that Elizabeth I, the Miser, Queen of England, had pursued a muddled strategy of extreme caution and provocation, which only infuriated a man laboring under the oppressive weight of a giant chin and living heretics.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anglosphere, History | 12 Comments »

    Theory vs Experience, Continued

    Posted by David Foster on 24th January 2010 (All posts by )

    I’ve written several posts that deal with the relative roles of theoretical knowledge versus experience-based knowledge in business and other spheres of life (here, for instance), and we’ve had some good Chicago Boyz discussions on the topic.

    Yesterday the Assistant Village Idiot posted an email from a friend (an executive now living in China) which deals with this issue in a very insightful manner. Recommended reading; discuss there or here.

    Posted in Academia, Business, Education, Management | 6 Comments »

    Lost in Translation

    Posted by David Foster on 23rd January 2010 (All posts by )

    A comment thread at Celia Farber’s blog reminded me of a passage I thought I remembered from Jean Anouilh’s version of Antigone:

    The machine has been wound up since the beginning of time, and it runs without friction

    (The “machine” Anouilh is talking about here is tragedy, in the Greek sense)
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Book Notes, Poetry, Religion | 4 Comments »

    Louis Andria, DDS

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 23rd January 2010 (All posts by )

    Well, the talk is that my oldest will be getting braces soon. She needs them. Her mother and father both went through it so it was pretty much expected. She also has an overbite which will need to be corrected. Back to this in a minute or two.

    Have you ever had a person in your life that seemed to drop out of the blue, but affected you in an interesting way? Henry Rollins did. In his essay Iron, he speaks of Mr. Pepperman, who took pity on a scrawny, dorky kid, and taught Rollins how to lift weights. This gave Rollins a sense of accomplishment. It is a great essay and very motivational. I carry a copy of Iron in my briefcase and read it when I need a swift kick in the pants. Whenever I am sore or tired and don’t feel like going to the gym or running or biking or whatever training I need, I read Iron, strap it on, and get to work.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Customer Service, Personal Narrative | 9 Comments »

    Rebar and the Anti-Adams

    Posted by Ginny on 22nd January 2010 (All posts by )

    Okay, I’m no lawyer. But we’ve long suspected, as Legal Insurrection notes, Obama’s “not really into that rule of law stuff.” Hershel Smith’s “Captainsjournal” quotes an Althouse commentor who sees Obama “at his core, the anti-John Adams.” Smith’s rifts make me smile – its nice to remember those witty, self-deprecating, stubborn old guys.

    And their priorities were broad and integrated. It is we who have become not only small but dissociated. Foster often reminds us that the big picture includes commerce, business, economics. Discussing Abigail Adams, Woody Holton emphasizes her role as canny businesswoman – as her descendants noted long ago. She wants, she tells John, to match his statesmanship with her prowess as “farmeress.” His proud rejoinder was her foresight about matters of state matched her business skills – both arising from her understanding of human nature. That understanding grew as her shouldering of responsibility did: their partnership freed both to do more for family & nation. Holton admires her courage and wisdom – in land dealing, in farming, in speculating. She understood the importance for a family and for a nation of a solid financial footing. His discussion of prenups (her sisters took that unusual but legal path) and her ways of distributing money to give responsibility and freedom to her female relatives came from her own personal growth. She understood fulfillment was the base of prosperity and felicity. She understood productivity – intellectual, personal, economic, societal – as the context for “the pursuit of happiness.”

    Our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, our respect for the Scots beliefs all led to a sense that businesses need independence; they should be supported by as much as restrained by our laws. The Adams must have discussed, argued & formulated these concepts in “curtain talks” like those of the HBO series Smith admires. But this is often misunderstood by our more fragmented modern society (and often fragmented selves). When Obama patronizes careers in business he is signaling his alienation from the values of our forefathers as much as when he speaks of taking action against the Supreme Court. But all is connected in ways those like the Adams understood.

    They would understand what we see: an obvious correlation between the rule of law and the use of rebar. Predictable, structurally sound rebar doesn’t intrude itself in our lives but supports walls between which we can live freely, expecting the laws that stood yesterday to stand tomorrow. And we can build a rich life, expecting that our family, in a predictable fashion, will be enriched by our work – intellectual, social, material. But a society without rebar is always on the verge of catastrophe: by a whim, walls may stand or fall. And when a catastrophe comes, the walls will fall hard and fast.

    (Meanwhile, Instapundit links to Jammie Wearing Fool, who tells us that only 77% of Investors see Obama as anti-business.)

    Posted in Business, History, Obama | 49 Comments »

    I Wish I Was A Wedemeyer Weiner

    Posted by Joseph Fouche on 22nd January 2010 (All posts by )

    Wedemeyer...Planning

    In light of discussions last year over how well America can formulate and execute an overarching grand strategy, this new post by NerveAgent over at Visions of Empire provides an often overlooked example of successful grand strategy making within the United States. While the more prominent examples of Alexander Hamilton, Alfred Thayer Mahan, and George Frost Kennan are well-known and intensively studied, Albert Wedemeyer might be a better exemplar of the American grand strategist:

    Albert Wedemeyer devised the U.S. Army’s World War II grand strategy, unit structure, equipment requirements, and general concept of operations…all in a period of about three months…A monograph by Charles Kirkpatrick recounts how Wedemeyer accomplished this, providing a nice case study on how strategy is formulated in the real world.

    In 1941, the War Plans Division was tasked with calculating the nation’s total manufacturing requirements for the coming war. The assignment was given to then-Major (later General) Albert Wedemeyer, who had an office, a small staff, and about ninety days to complete the job.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Military Affairs, War and Peace | 13 Comments »

    Ambition & Tuition

    Posted by Ginny on 22nd January 2010 (All posts by )

    The left seems to think the right is going to be shocked by – what – music videos?

    Beck unhinges pretty easily (and yes, for those of us whose family owe their lives to Indian doctors, some rants are offensive). But he’s a hell of a lot more shocked at Bill Ayers. His “unhingement” still retains more balance than the left’s. What’s creepier – posing nude at 22 or acting as Edwards has at. . . , starring in a video (admittedly a bit irritating in that boring 80’s way) in your youth or being Teddy Kennedy in your old age.

    Whatever may or may not be true of the Palins and Browns, they appear to have engaged life with zest; one of the balancing acts of their youths – and probably of their lives – have been economic. Perhaps their fiscal care was learned balancing ambition and tuition. The left’s desire to make loans seductive & college a “right”, to featherbed administration and tenured jobs while increasing the load on grad students and adjuncts has had detrimental effects on cost as well substance. Many an academic is critical of Benjamin Franklin, perhaps because he understood debt undercuts integrity, that “it’s hard for an empty bag to stand upright.”

    Perhaps such choices came because it’s a kick to pose nude, to see different colleges when a world tour is not easily financed. I like that – some risk taking reflects energy and engagement, they live with it and learn from it. But, most of all, I’d rather people made choices that resulted in videos than a mountain of debt. The left, of course, would rather put those students who don’t buy the books – or read them – at the back of my class, whining they can’t drop because they might lose their student loans. These are students often neither stupid nor consciously dishonest; they are, however, passive and misdirected. They do not value learning but rather the “college experience,” have no imagination to see another path, and, well, have no clue about themselves, education, debt, the world. As they wander through life, they may never get that clue. And this won’t help. Plus, don’t get me started on the theory that “at risk” kids in high school should start taking college-level classes in high school – subsidized by the government of course.

    Posted in Academia, Advertising, Politics | 14 Comments »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 22nd January 2010 (All posts by )

    Dennis the Peasant:
    …this guy [Obama] makes Jimmy Carter look like one of the 300 Spartans.

    Posted in Politics | 4 Comments »

    Giant Hummus Plate Astonishes World

    Posted by Jonathan on 21st January 2010 (All posts by )

    Important news from the Middle East:

    Using a satellite dish on loan from a nearby broadcast station, cooks in an Arab town near Jerusalem whipped up more than four metric tons of hummus, the chickpea paste that is a staple – and a near-religious obsession – for many in the Middle East.
     
    The cooks doubled the previous record for the world’s biggest serving of hummus, set in October by cooks in Lebanon. That record broke an earlier Israeli record and briefly put Lebanon ahead.
     
    Hundreds of jubilant Israelis, a mix of Arabs and Jews, gathered around the giant dish in the town of Abu Ghosh near Jerusalem on Friday, many of them dancing as a singer performed an Arabic love song to the beige chickpea paste.

    But note that these developments are not without geopolitical implications:

    Lebanese tourism minister Fadi Abboud told The Associated Press that his country plans to beat the new record in the spring with an even bigger plate of hummus prepared on the border with Israel. “This way they can learn how to do hummus,” he said.
     
    “We have no objection that other people do hummus but they should know that it is Lebanese. They (Israelis) should find a name other than hummus because this is a Lebanese name,” Abboud said.

    Check out the photo at the linked article, too.

    Posted in Diversions, Humor | 9 Comments »

    New! – Your Chicagoboyz Election Haiku

    Posted by Jonathan on 21st January 2010 (All posts by )

    Early and often
    Is no longer adequate.
    Will Dems move rightward?

    —-

    Barack Obama!
    Double down, you clever guy.
    We need more Scott Browns.

    —-

    Scourge of Amiraults,
    Martha was unappealing.
    (The best they could do?)

    —-

    (Feel free to add your own contribution in the comments.)

    Posted in Elections, Humor, Poetry, Politics | 3 Comments »