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  • Archive for December, 2006

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on 19th December 2006 (All posts by )

    From an article by Stephen Dinan in today’s Washington Times:

    The White House-congressional split highlights a problem that Mr. Bush is likely to face for the next two years: the increasing division between Mr. Bush and his party as he works to find common ground with Democrats and Republicans work to hold the line on tax cuts and other gains they made on the Republican agenda.

    I don’t get this. Bush has nothing to lose by obstructing the Democrats’ tax-raising agenda, just as he has nothing to lose by continuing to try to win the war against the Islamists. Who cares about his “legacy,” at least as that term is interpreted by shallow thinkers in the media. Surely history will not look kindly on any tax-raising deals he makes with Congress, or on half-measures taken in fighting a war. Weren’t these the main lessons of his father’s presidency?
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Politics | 11 Comments »

    Photo

    Posted by Jonathan on 19th December 2006 (All posts by )


    Essential Chicago

    (Click thumbnail to view large image.)

    Posted in Chicagoania, Photos | 9 Comments »

    Anarchy Boomtime

    Posted by Shannon Love on 18th December 2006 (All posts by )

    In Newsweek, Silvia Spring marvels that the Iraqi economy appears to be booming even while the country remains mired in violence.

    People are often surprised that economies can thrive without a high degree of politically enforced social order, but history tends to show that too much government is more likely to cause economic stagnation than too little. Most 3rd-world business people face the worst of both worlds. The government does a very poor job of providing physical security and a fair judiciary (important to enforce contracts), yet it imposes strangling taxes, jealously guards its prerogatives to decide who can and cannot engage in any particular economic activity, and individual government agents usually extort vast sums. As a result, the descent of a country into mild anarchy usually improves the situation. The actual security situation may not be that much worse, but all the parasitic government activity disappears. The situation turns into a net gain. It is quite common to read reports from 3rd-world countries during a civil war that shops and other businesses seem more full and busy than they did in time of “peace.”

    The legendary economy of Hong Kong from 1945 to 1999 arose in large part due to the laissez-faire approach that the British government blundered into as a result of geopolitical concerns. The British needed to keep Hong Kong as a full colony to protect it, but that meant they could not allow a full fledged local democracy with the moral authority to impose a welfare and regulatory state. So they ended up with just a bare-bones government appointed by Britain that never tried to lay its hand too strongly on the people of Hong Kong.

    Business people in Iraq find themselves in something of the same environment. The occupation government did not wish to get involved in potentially contentious economic policy, and the same lack of experience and consensus that keeps the newly elected Iraqi government from wiping out the insurgency also prevents it from implementing destructive economic policies. Left to their own devices and with huge pent up demand the Iraqi people are driving their economy strongly forward.

    Discuss this post at the Chicago Boyz Forum.

    Posted in Civil Society, Economics & Finance, Iraq, Society | 7 Comments »

    Simbabwe 1.6

    Posted by Shannon Love on 18th December 2006 (All posts by )

    Have you ever wanted to be a 3rd-World kleptocrat, pillaging your people and driving the entire economy into the ground? Boy, who hasn’t?

    Now you can! If you have a Mac just download Simbabwe 1.6 and let your inner monster run wild!

    Simbabwe stands for SIMulated zimBABWE. In the game, you get to play Robert Mugabe and have a chance to see just how fast you can wreck a formerly prosperous country.

    Hopefully, the developers will soon come out with Simezuela and we can all find out how long it takes us to wreck a South American country’s oil infrastructure.

    Discuss this post at the Chicago Boyz Forum.

    Posted in Society | Comments Off on Simbabwe 1.6

    Fabulous Historical Photos Online

    Posted by Jonathan on 17th December 2006 (All posts by )




    Children in the tenement district, Brockton, Mass., Dec. 1940 (Jack Delano, FSA)

    (Click the thumbnail to open a large image.)

    The past few years have seen some articles (such as this excellent recent one) about digitized archives of historical photos, particularly in the USA. These photo collections are historical treasure troves, but media treatments of them are necessarily limited in scope. Why not go directly to the source and browse the archives yourself?

    A good place to start is the Library of Congress’s photo collections. (See also this Library of Congress site.)

    One way to find interesting photos is to search on the photographer’s name and browse the results. Some names to start with might be these from the FSA:

    Jack Delano
    Dorothea Lange
    Russel Lee
    Carl Mydans
    Arthur Rothstein
    Ben Shahn

    I’m sure there are many others whose work is worth a look, but these will get you started.

    Many of the photos — including, I assume, all of the FSA images — are in the public domain. Even better, you can download full-sized scans of many of these photos and make high-quality prints.

    (Via the Streetphoto forum.)

    UPDATE: The FSA photos, interesting as they are as historical documents, are also superb examples of propaganda. If you look at them it’s difficult not to come away thinking warm thoughts about New Deal programs. Of course that’s what the people who commissioned the photos, and the people who made them, had in mind. In hindsight it’s clear that those New Deal programs didn’t do much, if any, good. But look at the photos and you will almost want to believe the myths. (Not that valuable historical documents aren’t generally produced by people with agendas — who else produces documents? — but it’s prudent to keep the agendas in mind.)

    Posted in History, Photos, USA | 6 Comments »

    Photo

    Posted by Jonathan on 17th December 2006 (All posts by )

    (Click the thumbnail to open a large image.)

    Posted in Photos | Comments Off on Photo

    Why They Hate Us

    Posted by Ginny on 16th December 2006 (All posts by )

    Personal choices reveal our assumptions about human nature and how we see the great historical cycles. Or perhaps this is just how I see it, since our culture has benefited from an internalization of values & sense of personal responsibility. We see these as the mark of maturity – both in a man and in a civilization. Of course, temptations are constant from such a perspective, but this also gives us empowering choices.

    Ray Fishman and Edward Miguel’s “Cultures of Corruption: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets” give us a clue to analyzing whether a nation has internalized its respect for property and the rule of law. I suspect it mainly reveals whether the world is viewed in tribal terms (us & them, those entitled & those not). Those entitled, of course, are not expected to observe the customs of other countries. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anti-Americanism, Civil Society, Society | 6 Comments »

    Hating Pinochet

    Posted by Shannon Love on 16th December 2006 (All posts by )

    The Spanish Inquisition is the one event or institution of 16th-Century Europe that everyone today knows of even if they know of nothing else of that era. Most people believe that we remember the Spanish Inquisition 400 years later because it represented a particularly brutal event in world history.

    Most people are wrong.

    Prior to circa 1800, every culture or society used torture as both a means of investigation and punishment for all types of crimes, whether civil, political or religious. As a rule, however, only members of the powerless and poor classes actually got tortured. Most cultures held the idea of torturing members of the upper classes to be almost unthinkable. The Spanish Inquisition broke this rule. The Spanish Inquisition had next to nothing to do with religion. Its true purpose was to destroy the political enemies of the Spanish crown and to confiscate or extort wealth. To that end, it tortured the noble and the wealthy and thereby shocked the conscious of Europe. Had the Spanish Inquisition stuck to torturing the poor and common like the Inquisition in other regions, we would not remember it today.

    The Spanish Inquisition burned itself into the collective conscious of the world not due to its use of torture but due to the value that the culture of the day placed on the class of the people tortured. Even though most religions believed all human life to be of the same value, few put that belief into practice. Most people viscerally believed that some groups of people were morally exempt from facing torture. Elitism ruled the cultures of the time.

    So what does it say about our culture today that some of us place a much higher value on the lives of some groups of people than they do on others?

    One can hardly find an individual more passionately hated by the Left than the recently deceased Augusto Pinochet of Chile. Leftists say that they justifiably single out Pinochet for special opprobrium due to the uniquely vile nature of his actions. After all, he overthrew a democratically elected government, killed 3,000 people and tortured thousands more.

    Yet, this explanation rings false. When you see an angry mob take after a petty thief while ignoring the blood soaked serial killer standing next to him, you know immediately that something other than outrage at the degree of the crime drives the mob. Pinochet was a minor villain by any measure. Why then did the mob hound him until his death while ignoring others with far more blood on their hands?

    Pinochet did kill and torture but not to such a degree as to earn a special place in history. Sad to say, but by any objective measure Pinochet ranks far down on the list of murderous 3rd-world leaders of the post-WWII era. He wouldn’t even make it into the top 100 killers. Across the border, in Argentina, the military junta killed over 20,000 in the same era and the generals in Brazil 2 or 3 times that many, but few people today remember them at all. Even more damning, the same people who condemn Pinochet actively applaud people far more brutal. Castro murdered 13,000 Cubans, tens of thousands of Africans and nearly triggered a nuclear war, yet leftists still literally give him standing ovations in forums all around the world. Yassir Arafat’s war crimes were very, very public and very unambiguous yet no one threatened to arrest him when he traveled to Europe for medical care.

    Looking back with 30 years’ hindsight we can perhaps forgive the leftists of the time for buying into the myth of Allende’s regime. Uncritical adulation of socialist states was part of the zeitgeist of the era. The degree of bloodshed in other, similar countries wasn’t yet widely known, so Pinochet might have stood out at the time. But that doesn’t explain why Pinochet still today occupies a special place of hatred in the minds of many leftists.

    I think Pinochet stands out in the history of the 20th Century for the same reason that the Spanish Inquisition stood out in 16th: Pinochet killed those perceived to belong to a protected class. Unlike other right-wing dictators (and their opposites on the Left), Pinochet didn’t kill people largely at random or by quota just to spread terror. He targeted those believed to be part of the extreme-leftist leadership. He cut the head off the snake. Unfortunately for his place in history, that group included several hundred foreigners, mostly from western Europe.

    Many Marxists from around the world flocked to Allende’s Chile so they could play at being revolutionaries. They tended to be the most politically radical. They didn’t want to muck about with bourgeois baggage like democracy and the rule of law. They gravitated towards those factions within Allende’s coalition which advocated immediate, violent revolution. When Pinochet decided to wipe out the radical leadership, foreigners were disproportionately represented in the body count.

    Until that time, 1st-world Marxist intellectuals expected to be able to travel anywhere and do or say anything and be able to skate away scot-free. They thought of themselves not only as intellectually superior human beings but also as individuals endowed with a moral authority that made their persons inviolable. Most 3rd-world governments of all political persuasions just shipped off troublesome 1st-world foreigners, regardless of their complicity in any violence or subversion. Pinochet broke that rule.

    Leftists reacted with outrage. Pinochet had not murdered nameless members of the “masses.” He had killed members of the new nobility, people just like the leftist intellectuals of Europe, and in many cases people they knew personally. To this day, virtually every news story on Pinochet contains a first-hand account from some 1st-world citizen who was either imprisoned himself or lost someone close to him. Like the upper classes of 16th-Century Europe, who saw themselves in the victims of the Spanish Inquisition, modern leftist intellectuals saw themselves in Pinochet’s victims. 1st-world leftists single Pinochet out for special venom because they believe he attacked them personally. It doesn’t matter that other rulers of other political persuasions killed far more; Pinochet killed members of the protected class.

    In the end, Pinochet becomes a mirror that reflects the Left’s own dark heart. Leftists always portray themselves as altruistic, only concerned with the fates of the least powerful among us. Pinochet revealed their narcissism to the world. While he showed them to be no worse than the rest of us, he also showed them to be no better.

    Perhaps on some level they understand that and hate him even more.

    Discuss this post at the Chicago Boyz Forum.

    Posted in Anti-Americanism, Christianity, Latin America, Politics | 17 Comments »

    Immigration – “The System Is the Problem”

    Posted by Jonathan on 15th December 2006 (All posts by )

    Great op-ed by Tamar Jacoby on our unworkable, unsustainable immigration system. The current system penalizes well-meaning employers while doing little to facilitate legal immigration. “Tougher enforcement” without major reform of our 19th-Century immigration bureaucracy would serve mainly to encourage even greater disrespect for the law and drive labor-intensive industries that rely on immigrants overseas. Anti-illegal enforcement alone is also a political nonstarter. Too many Americans, including me, do not want to see productive people who came here years ago, and in many cases have families, deported, but would prefer policy alternatives that provided some route to citizenship for such people. But blanket amnesties and business-as-usual are not solutions either. Major political compromise by the various interests will be necessary to get anything significant done on this issue, and I actually think that President Bush has been pretty good in this regard. At least he has a politically competitive plan, however flawed, for addressing the concerns of the interested groups. The people who think that vigorous enforcement of anti-illegal immigration rules is enough, and those whose ideological or business interests favor mass immigration and tacit tolerance of a large population of illegals, are not likely to get very far with their respective agendas because too many Americans disagree with each group.

    Discuss this post at the Chicago Boyz Forum.

    Posted in Immigration | 7 Comments »

    A Matter of Perspective

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 15th December 2006 (All posts by )

    There was a time, many years ago, when I took a six month sublet on a house. The rent was so reasonable that I couldn’t pass up on the deal, but the place was going to be sold after the lease was up so I knew that I couldn’t stay there any longer than that.

    The house wasn’t furnished, and I wasn’t about to shell out a few hundred bucks for curtains or blinds for all of those windows. I thumbtacked bedsheets up so the neighbors wouldn’t have to see me wandering around the place.

    A woman I was seeing at the time was appalled! “You have bedsheets over the windows! What will the neighbors think?”

    She didn’t understand, so I sat her down and gently explained that it didn’t matter one little bit what opinion the neighbors formed. I was going to be gone in 180 days, never to see any of them again for the rest of my life. No, what really mattered was what I thought of them!

    After all, I work nights and keep odd hours. All I would have to do would be to turn my TV or stereo up a little in the wee hours of the morning to be a real nuisance. I didn’t own the house, so it was their property values at risk if I didn’t bother to mow the lawn or take the trash out. There wasn’t a thing they could do to me in the brief time I was going to be there that would matter one little bit, while I could cause a fair amount of frustration.

    Not that I was looking for a fight, of course. Just like most people, I prefer to get along. They didn’t bother me so I acted just like I always do and was the best neighbor on the block. Considering my sensitivity to security issues and my odd schedule, that little section of suburbia was actually safer while I was living there. Sort of like having an unpaid security guard living next door.

    I am sharing this slice of my past with you because of this news story on the Reuters website. It seems that Arab attitudes concerning the United States is growing ever more negative, which supposedly indicates that a change in US foreign policy is needed.

    In recent years, a Liberal talking point has become the linchpin of many complaints concerning the Bush administration. This trope can best be summed up by the phrase “They don’t like us anymore!”

    It seems that the American public in general and our elected government specifically is supposed to drop everything and pay close attention to the opinions and attitudes of people living in other countries, people who cannot vote in US elections and who almost certainly do not have our best interests at heart. These opinions are supposed to dictate how the US public votes, and it is supposed to play a central role when our government makes major policy decisions.

    The big problem is that I just can’t see why I should give two hoots about how the US polls overseas. This goes double when it comes to opinions collected in third world dictatorships, places where the press is a tool of whatever royal family or oppressive religious organization that demonizes the US in order to cover up their own failings.

    When considered in this light, actually changing our foreign policy just because an opinion poll says we should would mean that our elected officials aren’t doing their job to look out for our interests. In fact, it might even be a treasonous act.

    This blog normally tilts towards the right side of the political aisle, so there aren’t too many Liberals dropping by. But if there should happen to be one or two that stumble across this post, maybe they could explain why the opinion of the great unwashed in other countries should matter one fig when it comes to our foreign policy.

    After all, history teaches us that these people are going to hate us no matter what we do. Why in the world does it matter if they hate us a little more?

    Discuss this post at the Chicago Boyz Forum.

    Posted in Anti-Americanism, Europe, International Affairs, Middle East, United Nations | 22 Comments »

    The Allende Myth, by Vladimir Dorta

    Posted by Jonathan on 13th December 2006 (All posts by )

    My friend Val Dorta originally published this outstanding historical essay on his blog in 2003. With the death of Augusto Pinochet, much attention is again being given to the Allende period, the military coup and the dictatorship that followed. I wanted to link again to Val’s essay but, unfortunately, his blog is no longer online. However, Val has graciously allowed me to republish his essay here, and I am honored to do so. – Jonathan

    UPDATE: Google’s cached version of Val’s original post, with comments. (Thanks to the commenter who provided this link.)

    UPDATE 2 (12/28/2014): The Google-cached version has disappeared from the Web, but Val’s original post is available via archive.org here.

    ——–

    The Allende Myth

    Vladimir Dorta

    07/21/2003

    The failed and tragic attempt by Salvador Allende and the Popular Unity at creating socialism in Chile in 1970-1973 has become a myth for the world left, presented as the possibility of a peaceful and democratic transition to socialism that was destroyed only because the almighty CIA acted as master puppeteer of the Chilean reaction. The myth reinforces itself; while the Cold War context is never mentioned, neither is the fact that the CIA’s workings are well documented whereas the Cuban and Soviet interventions are still mostly unknown. The Allende myth may be good for keeping the socialist faith alive, but it evidently contradicts the historical facts.

    While Augusto Pinochet’s brutal post-coup repression and terrorism cannot be justified, it is essential to explain what led him and the Chilean armed forces to the fateful coup d’état, outside of the fantasy that had him bursting onto the democratic Chilean political scene on September 11, 1973 with readymade CIA orders to stop a beautiful, pacific and liberating socialist dream. For I have no doubts that if the Chilean Marxist experiment had ended in civil war, as it appeared to most observers at the time, it would have been an even greater tragedy or, had it ended as the totalitarian society it pointed to, it would have lasted much longer and would have brought Chileans much more suffering than Pinochet’s ugly but temporary dictatorship.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anti-Americanism, Book Notes, Civil Society, Cuba, History, Latin America, Leftism | 11 Comments »

    I’ve Got Your Methane Right Here, Pal

    Posted by John Jay on 12th December 2006 (All posts by )

    A couple of observations on Global Warming brought on by a new-to-me blog Pseudo Polymath. First, he cites a Taipei Times article that reminds me of a journal article that I have in my office. It seems that when Mickey Ds changed over from the styrofoam shells to paper shells for their greaseball hamburgers, they negelected to account for the production energy costs of paper (high) versus styrofoam (low). The net result of the change was either a wash, or a net loss for the environment, depending upon which end of the error bar you take your figures from. Yet the eco-weenies hailed this as a victory.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Education, Science, Society | 3 Comments »

    Welcome to the new Chicagoboyz!

    Posted by Jonathan on 11th December 2006 (All posts by )

    OK, everything works except some minor stuff. I sent new passwords and login info to the active contributors. Let me know if I missed you.

    UPDATE: It appears that no video links survived the move. Sorry, Lex.

    UPDATE 2: There seem to be some database issues causing slow page loading. Our crack tech staff is on the case.

    UPDATE 3: I changed the permission settings for contributors. That may have been the source of some problems.

    Posted in Announcements | 14 Comments »

    Are we trying to reach the wrong goal in Iraq?

    Posted by Mitch Townsend on 10th December 2006 (All posts by )

    We went into Iraq with the goal of creating a democracy where a tyrant had ruled. After a few hundred years of democratic republics, constitutional monarchy, free markets, individual rights, and a tendency toward egalitarianism, we may have come to miss some of the obvious factors that make for a successful nation. It seems so natural to us that we may have imagined it to be the normal, default setting for any society; any instance of tyranny must be due to some interference with the natural progress of freedom, and the removal of that interference would allow that progress to resume.

    We may have elevated democracy above its natural priority. The purple fingers in January 2005 led only to months of wrangling, and the new constitution was not in place until October of that year. Actual formation of a permanent government was delayed until May 2006. There were few noticeable differences of principle involved; it looked more like squabbling over the division of loot and control over the state’s enforcement assets. Some of the various Iraqi militias became political parties without disarming, and the security forces often reported along party lines and mixed partisan violence with their supposed law-enforcement duties. Even those security forces ostensibly loyal to the central government are often too badly corrupted to function. Military supplies and arms are trucked in, and all that is needed is a few small bribes at the border. A democratically-elected but totally dysfunctional government is not much different from anarchy.

    Solutions are difficult, but they at least require a good statement of the problem. Democracy, as defined by free and fair elections, has been established, yet the situation is clearly not improving. There is a cultural problem in the Middle East that democracy cannot cure.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Iraq | 6 Comments »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on 10th December 2006 (All posts by )

    After digesting Iran, the Islamic Revolution looked out hungrily over the region. And the Sunnis looked back at them. The rival Sunni counter-revolutionary brand, al-Qaeda, after a splendid start in Afghanistan made the grave strategic error of attacking America on September 11 (foreshadowing Zarqawi’s ill fated decision to duplicate the error in Iraq, and by fighting a losing battle against the US in Iraq, fatally weakened the Sunnis against the Shi’ites). The September 11 attack led not only to al-Qaeda’s ouster from Afghanistan, but to the subsequent destruction of the key Sunni-controlled buffer state of Iraq. With Saddam gone and the Sunnis defeated under the inept Zarqawi, the Shi’ites would gain the upper hand in the struggle to control the subsequent vacuum. Then the international and American left, misjudging the situation again, would agitate to abandon Iraq to the last man standing. And neither King Abdullah nor his fellow rulers at the Gulf Cooperation Council had any doubt who that would be.

    Wretchard

    Discuss this post at the Chicago Boyz Forum.

    Posted in War and Peace | Comments Off on Quote of the Day

    Jeanne Kirkpatrick

    Posted by Ginny on 8th December 2006 (All posts by )

    That strong voice, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, has died. Here. And here, where WSJ notes how a sense of place can reverberate in an international vocabulary & international context.

    Posted in Obits | 1 Comment »

    Happy Japanese Appreciation Day

    Posted by Shannon Love on 7th December 2006 (All posts by )

    December 7th is the day when people world wide gather together to thank the Japanese people for inadvertently saving modern civilization.

    Okay, we don’t, but we should.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, War and Peace | Comments Off on Happy Japanese Appreciation Day

    The Atheist Delusion Part 1

    Posted by Shannon Love on 6th December 2006 (All posts by )

    I keep losing my personal heroes.

    Richard Dawkins is one of the century’s great evolutionary theorists and someone whose work I really admire. His work revolutionized the way scientists thought about evolutionary theory. I think I can safely say that I have read everything that the man has written in every major forum. So, as an atheist myself, I looked forward to Dawkins weighing in on the subject of religion, from the perspective of an evolutionary theorist, in his new book, “The God Delusion”.

    This weekend I made it to my local bookstore, grabbed a copy of the “The God Delusion” and sat down with a cup of coffee to read it immediately — even before buying it. Imagine my shock and even horror to discover that Dawkins’ book is trite, facile and just plain, well, dumb.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Religion, Science | 23 Comments »

    AP Source Revealed

    Posted by Mitch Townsend on 6th December 2006 (All posts by )

    Captain Jamil Hussein of the Iraqi police force actually does exist. He has supplied this photo, which was taken by noted Middle East news photographer Adnan Hajj

    Capt. Jamil Hussein

    Additional resources:
    Biography of Capt. Hussein

    Discuss this post at the Chicago Boyz Forum.

    Posted in Media | Comments Off on AP Source Revealed

    Another Idea

    Posted by Ginny on 5th December 2006 (All posts by )

    Jay Manifold’s discussion is a bit more detailed than Scott Ott’s but the latter has a certain simplicity.

    Discuss this post at the Chicago Boyz Forum.

    Posted in Iraq | Comments Off on Another Idea

    Educated Beyond our Intelligence

    Posted by John Jay on 4th December 2006 (All posts by )

    In my post about Perkin many moons ago, I alluded to the tremendous waste of resources that I feel is endemic to our educational system. Since then, a certain blog post from my favorite collection of bean counters and Marines has goaded me into putting my thoughts into a new rant. Not only do we hold precocious 15 year olds (such as Perkin) back in the primary system, we waste their personal and our societal resources on useless crap once those students hit college.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Education | Comments Off on Educated Beyond our Intelligence

    Iraq Symposium

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 4th December 2006 (All posts by )

    In response to Glenn’s request
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Iraq | Comments Off on Iraq Symposium

    “Fidel Castro Has Yet To Face Justice”

    Posted by Jonathan on 4th December 2006 (All posts by )

    My friend Robert reminds us, in his own words and the words of an American journalist whose father Castro murdered, about the enormous human costs of the Cuban dictatorship.

    Worth reading in full.

    Discuss this post at the Chicago Boyz Forum.

    Posted in Cuba | Comments Off on “Fidel Castro Has Yet To Face Justice”

    The Gold Medal for Life – His and Countless Others

    Posted by Ginny on 4th December 2006 (All posts by )

    Jurisdynamics argues that if anyone deserves the Congressional Gold Medal, our nation’s highest civilian honor, Norman Borlaug does. Ponder for a moment one of the reasons:

    Dr. Borlaug has saved more lives than any other person who has ever lived, and likely has saved more lives in the Islamic world than any other human being in history.

    His importance will, I suspect, be better understood as history contrasts our time with others. (Instapundit noted this.)
    Update: Nominations for the anti-Borlaug.

    Update: It passed. And the figure here for lives saved is a billion. Sometimes even the House is able to share bipartisan gratitude and respect.

    Discuss this post at the Chicago Boyz Forum.

    Posted in Science | Comments Off on The Gold Medal for Life – His and Countless Others

    Book Review of The Man Who Saved Britain

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 4th December 2006 (All posts by )

    Being an old James Bond fan, I was interested when mention kept cropping up about a book by Simon Winder entitled The Man Who Saved Britain: A Personal Journey into the Disturbing World of James Bond.

    Most of the bloggers who discuss the book present it as a handy way to gain a historical perspective on Mr. Fleming’s most famous character. Plot elements or settings in the books and films that nowadays seem ordinary and unremarkable were once loaded with significance. Mr. Winder, it was said, supposedly put everything into context, explaining why Bond was a creation of his times and why the character resonated so with the audiences of the time.

    This intrigued me, mainly because I have always had a vague feeling that there were plenty of nuances to Bond and his exploits that passed me by without making an impression because I was lacking a British cultural background. It appeared that Mr. Winder’s book would be just the thing to put everything into perspective.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Book Notes | 2 Comments »