a new low in topical enlightenment

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Issue #102 (June 15, 2011)

3 AM in Burbank, California

Photo by Chris Collins

In the Snowy Range, Wyoming

Photos by Joe Carducci

Cichladusa Ruficauda by James Fotopoulos

From the Desk of Joe Carducci…

Christopher Caldwell in NYT, "Europe’s Arizona Problem".

“Of course, closing off Europe to newcomers violates the cosmopolitan vision on which the European Union was built, and doing so could kill the project altogether. But as the continent’s leaders are now learning, it’s also possible to kill Europe by opening its doors wider than its citizens will tolerate. The present crisis started when refugees began fleeing Tunisia by boat in the wake of January’s revolution. Italy was a natural destination: its island of Lampedusa lies south of Tunis and just 70 miles off the African coast. These refugees were joined by others from Libya, and by late May almost 40,000 had arrived….

The union’s treaties assume that whatever country receives migrants will also process their asylum applications and look after the migrants during the adjudication of their status. But Italian bureaucrats are overwhelmed by the tens of thousands of applicants, and the Italian public, like most of the rest of Europe, does not like mass migration.

With the slyness that is his political calling card, Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, issued six-month residency permits to 8,000 of the newcomers this spring, allowing them free movement within the European Union. The Tunisians, who are largely Francophone, then headed for France, turning Mr. Berlusconi’s political problem into that of the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy.”


Christopher Caldwell in BookForum, "How BHL fought his way into chronic interventionism".

“It is false to say, as some do, that ‘only France’ could produce such a figure as Lévy. He is a type of journalist recognizable in any country — the hortatory adventure seeker, prescribing foreign travel as a moral tonic for an enervated West. The New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who tours the world harvesting the grievances of suffering humanity and cooks them into a meal of moral authority for his untraveled readers, is engaged in a similar project. So were the late Italian reporters Oriana Fallaci and Tiziano Terzani. The writing that results from Lévy’s public activism is sometimes entertaining and sometimes even admirable. But it is hard to see anything philosophical about it.

Certainly there are themes in Lévy’s writing. One is democracy. It was he who introduced the Bosnian leader Alija Izetbegovic to François Mitterrand in hopes of getting Mitterrand to take Bosnia’s side in the Balkan wars of the early 1990s. Lévy believes the so-called Arab spring refutes ‘a certain number of idées reçues that I have been fighting for twenty years — to start with, the racist one of an ‘Arab exception’ that makes this part of the world resistant, by its essence, to democracy.’ Lévy’s ideas about the suitability of the Arab world to democracy are not much different from those of George W. Bush at the time of the Iraq war. While Lévy professes himself a vehement opponent of that war, the philosophical distinctions between his view and Bush’s are negligible.”


NYT: "Talking Truth to NATO".

“NATO’s shockingly wobbly performance over Libya, after the Pentagon handed off leadership, should leave no doubt about the Europeans’ weaknesses. And while America’s NATO partners now have 40,000 troops in Afghanistan (compared with about 99,000 from the United States), many have been hemmed in by restrictive rules of engagement and shortages of critical equipment. Too many are scheduled for imminent departure. The free-rider problem is an old one but has gotten even worse over the last two decades. During most of the cold war, the United States accounted for 50 percent of total NATO military spending; today it accounts for 75 percent.”


FT: "Kemalist elites give way to an inclusive liberal agenda".

“Until last year, the CHP represented little more than the Kemalist elites’ sense of entitlement. As leader, Deniz Baykal presided over a shrinking cult for his outsize ego. Rudderless and remote, the party was unelectable to the point that its sole tactic was to incite the army and the courts to win back what it kept losing at the ballot box. In a WikiLeaked cable Eric Edelman, US ambassador in 2004, said the CHP amounted to ‘no more than a bunch of elitist ankle-biters’ notable for their ‘routine whine’. then, last year, after compromising pictures of Mr Baykal appeared on the internet, he was replaced by Kemal Kilicdaroglu, an ascetic civil servant who had challenged the AKP on corruption. The CHP started to champion the rights of individuals and minorities, such as the Kurds of the smouldering south-east.”


Lina Saigol in FT, "Asma al-Assad".

“Speaking at The First International Development Conference, Syria’s first lady said citizens needed to become more vocal about the country‘s social and economic challenges and she pledged to give NGOs more freedom. Eighteen months later, Syrians are more than heeding her calls as thousands of protesters take to the streets daily demanding civil liberties and freedom in the face of a brutal government crackdown that has seen more than 1,000 people killed in 12 weeks. It is not the outcome Mrs Assad had hoped for when she married President Bashar al-Assad aged just 25 in 2001 with high hopes of empowering Syrians and helping rehabilitate the country after years of sanctions. ‘Asma genuinely wanted to do good for her country, but she married into the mob,’ one family friend says.”


Yaroslav Trofimov in WSJ, "As Islamists Flex Muscle, Egypt’s Christians Despair".

“Until recently, fears of an Islamist takeover in Egypt centered on the Muslim Brotherhood, a much better known organization that's trying to project a new image of moderation. While many liberal Egyptians remain deeply suspicious of the Brothers' true intentions, the Brotherhood now says it accepts Copts — the Middle East's largest religious minority — in all government positions, with the possible exception of president. By contrast, many Salafis believe it is forbidden by Islam for Christians to exercise political power over Muslims in any capacity, such as governors, mayors or ministers. ‘If the Christian is efficient, he could be a deputy or an adviser,’ says prominent Salafi cleric Abdelmoneim Shehat. Unlike the Brothers, the Salafis long refused to participate in elections and dismissed democracy as un-Islamic — a view held by their spiritual guides in Saudi Arabia. Numbering in the millions around the Arab world, Salafis seek to emulate the ways of the ‘salaf,’ the Prophet Muhammad's seventh-century companions, and usually reject later theological, social and political innovations as heresy.”


Yaroslav Trofimov in WSJ, "Egypt Opposes U.S.’s Democracy Funding.".

“In March, the U.S. Agency for International Development published ads in Egyptian newspapers asking for grant proposals on a $100 million program to support ‘job creation, economic development and poverty alleviation’ and a $65 million program for ‘democratic development,’ including elections, civic activism and human rights.

Egyptian officials, who insist they should be allowed to vet or select recipients, were incensed by USAID's bypassing the government to solicit proposals directly from the public. They reacted with fury when a line of applicants snaked on the street to USAID's offices in a Cairo suburb, and USAID organized seminars to explain the application procedures to packed audiences outside the capital. ‘This is a behavior that we are unable to fully comprehend,’ Ms. Aboul Naga says. Egypt never assented to the reprogramming of the economic aid, and has yet to be told from what existing programs the money will be cut, she adds. An April editorial in the state-owned al Akhbar newspaper railed that USAID ‘dealt with Egypt as a humiliated country,’ and called for refusing American assistance. Ms. Aboul Naga, backed by the military and the foreign ministry, has protested to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo complaining that USAID's actions violated Egypt's sovereignty.”


Saifedean Ammous in FT, "Too much aid will hobble the Arab spring".

“The record of development assistance leaves much to be desired. In the past six decades donors have often sought to bring about growth by funding infrastructure, agriculture and social services, with little success. Development organisations too often follow a discredited central planning model when history is testament to the way in which the grand plans of the few rarely work, while the freedom of the many succeeds in lifting one society after another from poverty to prosperity. The billions already pledged to help Egypt and Tunisia will again see well-connected officials dictate spending. They will doubtless embark on large investments, such as the plan presented to the G8 by a group of Tunisian technocrats aiming to spend $20-30bn on transport, infrastructure and industrial zones to ‘open up and connect the regions of the country’.”


John Sfakianakis in FT, "A Greek crisis of cronyism and corruption".

“The Greek political landscape is ingrained with vested interests, endemic plutocracy and bribery. Since the days of Andreas Papandreou, an economist and father of the current prime minister, our politics has been predicated on the expansion of the public sector, patronage and borrowing. But while he failed Greece as an economist, as a politician the elder Mr Papandreou succeeded in turning his party into the most potent political player, with the unconditional support of trade unions in return for perks. As a result it became nearly impossible to reverse Greece‘’s system of populist support and entitlements. Public debt as a percentage of gross domestic product tripled from 28 per cent in 1980 to 89 per cent in 1990. The conservatives applied the same policies predicated on vested interests and corruption, and so are currently also suffering deficits and perpetuating a culture of cronyism and mismanagement. The result is a dearth of leaders with integrity and expertise. The wider left, communists, and extreme right are intellectually bankrupt.”


Andrew Willis at EUobserver.com, "Germany fears ‘full-blown bankruptcy’ in eurozone".

“In the starkest language yet by a European official, the German minister called for additional aid to be made available to Greece, adding that private banks should participate in the cost of the Greek rescue. EU officials and member states are understood to be currently working on a second bail-out agreement for Greece, in addition to the €110 billion pledged last year, with estimates suggesting the new aid package could total €60 billion. Finance ministers are expected to reach an agreement on 20 June, just three days before a summit of European leaders, with Schaeuble suggesting that private creditors should be made to wait an extra seven years before repayment of their existing Greek loans.”


Edin Mujagic at EUobserver.com, "How strong are the strong euro area member states?".

“Everyone, from politicians to analysts and economists to the media have gotten used to talking about the weak and strong euro area members. But how strong is strong really? Germany, Finland, France, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands for example are only perceived strong because they get compared with the likes of Greece and Portugal. If that is the yardstick, then numerous African countries are strong as well. So I feel one should look closer into the government finances of the strong euro area member states and then determine just how strong they are instead of comparing them with the de facto default countries within the monetary union. It is not hard to look strong standing besides crumbling Greece. According to the Eurostat statistics, in 2010 Belgium carried national debt of 96,8% of its gdp, which was still kind of good compared with the Italian debt of whopping 119% of its gdp. This is lower than the national debt of Portugal (93%). Mind you, these are figures for 2010. With high deficits in 2011, that debt mountain is higher now. Looking further down the table one does not get much happier. Germany (83,2%), France (81,7%), Austria (72,3%) and the Netherlands (62,7%) all have sizeable – and increasing – debts as well. This, sadly, is not the whole picture.”


Neil Buckley in FT, "East European states push back entry dates".

“All 12 states that joined the European Union since 2004 are legally obliged to join, although they must meet the entry criteria first, giving some flexibility on the timetable. Three -- Slovakia, Slovenia and, since January 2011, Estonia -- are already in. But the spread of the eurozone crisis from Greece to Ireland and Portugal has over the past year highlighted the pitfalls of membership, and the need for deep reforms of the bloc’s governance. East European states have also observed the examples of countries that remained outside. Two that kept control of exchange rates -- Poland and the Czech Republic -- were among the least badly hit by the financial crisis, and the fastest to pull out.”


Christopher Caldwell in New Republic on Adam Michnik’s book,
In Search of Lost Meaning: The New Eastern Europe.

“In recent years Michnik has shocked part of his Polish readership by arguing against the lustration of General Wojciech Jaruzelski, who ruled Poland in the last decade of Communism. Jaruzelski has claimed that he imposed martial law in 1981 as a means of forestalling a Soviet invasion. Michnik accepts this explanation, and even applauds Jaruzelski’s courage. ‘What price would Poland have paid,’ Michnik asks, drawing a comparison to the rebellion of 1956, ‘had Jaruzelski chosen to play the hero, following the example of the Communist Hungarian Prime Minister Imre Nagy?’ Michnik notes that in 1988, freed from the danger of Soviet intervention by the promises of Mikhail Gorbachev, Jaruzelski agreed to elections — not free ones, but a step in that direction.

Since it is not based on a realistic understanding of human predicaments, the lustrating impulse, as Michnik sees it, can easily degenerate into campaigns of calumny and denunciation, to which modern Poland has been particularly vulnerable. Michnik mentions the assassination of Poland’s prime minister, Gabriel Narutowicz, in 1923, after a campaign of anti-Semitic slander (although Narutowicz was not Jewish) and the attacks on Czesław Miłosz as ‘a traitor to the nation and his friends,’ for having served Communist Poland as a cultural attaché after the war. But Michnik pushes his point too far here: one can grant Miłosz’s greatness as a man of letters, acknowledge his break with Communism, and still be troubled that he served a government that was not just Communist but Stalinist.”


Valentina Pop at EUobserver.com, "Lithuania gets EU backing for confrontation with Communist past".

“According to Simasius, the crimes committed by totalitarian regimes in Libya, Syria and ‘not so long ago, Bosnia’ make it even more important that there is an accurate account of crimes committed by the Soviet and the national communist regimes in eastern Europe.

The document, agreed Friday by EU justice ministers, refers only once to Communist and Nazi crimes with Simasius admitting that there was a ‘lengthy discussion’ on the exact language around the different totalitarian regimes. ‘There are many reasons why. In some countries it was for a long time politically incorrect to speak about Soviet crimes, because of the heritage of World War II, when the Soviet Union was an ally of the West.’”


Ferdinand Mount in WSJ on Christopher Krebs’ book, A Most Dangerous Book.

“Yet how odd it is that the Germans should have beatified the ‘Germania.’ For as one of its first Renaissance readers, the humanist scholar Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, later Pope Pius II, pointed out, the book depicts the ancient Germans as a horde of illiterate, barbaric brutes, living in squalid huts, too idle and drunk to practice farming, let alone the arts. Piccolomini also noted that earlier classical writers had painted much the same picture, which is not surprising, since Tacitus himself had never been north of the Alps and must have based much of his text on the testimony of others. In the 19th century, German nationalists silently acknowledged this by rewriting the ‘Germania’ to prove that their ancestors were in fact brilliant farmers, drank sparingly, were by no means illiterate, lived in nice houses and certainly did not practice human sacrifice as Tacitus had claimed. Gustaf Kossinna, a professor of archaeology in Berlin, argued that ‘a people of sots cannot persist as a people of heroes, and there was no question that the Germans were heroes’ — so Tacitus must have been wrong. The Nazis preferred to criticize any accurate accounts of the book as ‘too historical.’ Hitler himself in ‘Mein Kampf’ belittled careful scholars who ‘rave about old Germanic heroism, about dim prehistory.’ At party rallies he would bellow out that ‘the Germans had experienced a period of high culture one thousand years before Rome was even founded.’ Yet over dinner, he would concede that, ‘at a time when our forefathers were producing stone troughs and clay pitchers, the Greeks were building the Acropolis.’”


Mark Mazower in BookForum on Alex Butterworth’s book, The World That Never Was, and Eric Hobsbawm’s book, How to Change the World.

“The crackdown in Russia that followed Kravchinsky’s successful killing of the Saint Petersburg chief of police contributed to the rise of ‘the greatest spymaster of his age,’ Pyotr Rachkovsky. The antihero and centerpiece of Butterworth’s riveting account, Rachkovsky professionalized anti-terrorst policing, especially once he had been recruited into the Okhrana in 1882 and got himself sent to Paris. The mid-1880s were his heyday. His cooperation with the French Surete helped the reorientation of European diplomacy by bolstering the rapprochement between czarist Russia and republican France: Tracking down revolutionaries of the left was one cause the French and the Russians could share. Then, with Kropotkin and Kravchinsky both exiled in London -- still the center of asylum for Europe’s revolutionaries -- he extended his contacts across the channel, hooking up with Scotland Yard just as Jack the Ripper was leaving his bloody trail across eastern London…. Agents provocateurs had been used to penetrate revolutionary groups before him, but no one else took their use to such lengths or sailed so close to the wind.”


Graeme Wood in BookForum, "Reading Trotsky in Tahrir".

“History, it is said, is written by the victors. That may be so, but often the losers have more time on their hands, as well as axes to grind that make their prose, too, all the sharper. In 1929, five years after the death of Lenin, Stalin exiled Trotsky, and the former head of the Red Army lived for four years on an island in the Sea of Marmara. There, to make money and ensure that the world remembered his version of events instead of Stalin’s, Trotsky set to work on his magisterial thousand-page history, which he finished in about a year, and which his acolyte Max Eastman translated into English soon after. The Saturday Evening Post paid forty-five thousand dollars for serial rights, and Trotsky succeeded in drafting history to match his grudges.”


Jim Sleeper in BookForum on John Diggins’ book, Why Neibuhr Now?.

“Like George Orwell, the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892 - 1971) was a prophet of the twentieth-century whose legacy has been claimed by combatants along a lift-right political spectrum both men disdained. While both were left of center, both were also anti-Communist and believed that conservatism offers important truths. Both lamented that each side clings to its truths until they curdle into lies, leaving each side right only about how the other is wrong. Orwell foresaw the totalitarian consequences; Niebuhr, the grander, deeper thinker, surveyed ‘the abyss of meaninglessness’ that ‘yawns on the brink of all [man’s] mighty spiritual endeavors.’ His two-volume study, The Nature and Destiny of Man (1943), reviews the futility of Aristotelian and Platonic wisdom, of rationalistic, Thomistic church doctrine, of Enlightenment reason, of Lockean capitalism, of liberal nationalism, of Marxism -- and even of science.”


Richard McGregor in FT, "Tale of two revolutions revealed by Zhou’s ‘delicious misunderstanding’.".

“The former premier’s answer has become a frequently deployed cliché, used as evidence of the sage Chinese ability to think long-term -- in contrast to impatient westerners. The trouble is that Mr Zhou was not referring to the 1789 storming of the Bastille in a discussion with Richard Nixon during the US president’s pioneering China visit. Mr Zhou’s answer related to events just three years before, the 1968 student riots in Paris, according to Mr Nixon‘s interpreter at the time.”


Valentina Pop at EUobserver.com, "China eyeing German nuclear expertise".

“China's ambition is to increase its nuclear energy output from its current 10.8 gigawatts to 40 gigawatts in 2015 and to 80 gigawatts by 2020. On the back of Germany's phase-out, the China Nuclear Energy Association (CNEA) plans to invite nuclear experts from the European powerhouse to work in China on its new projects.”


Andrew Willis at EUobserver.com, "Italians reject nuclear energy in further blow to Berlusconi".

“Italians first rejected nuclear energy in a referendum soon after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine, but the moratorium lasted only five years and Berlusconi's centre-right coalition had called for a relaunching of the industry. A quarter of the Italy's energy was to come from nuclear power by 2020 under a proposed target, but instead, the country now joins Germany and Switzerland in broadly rejecting the controversial energy source following Fukushima disaster.”


Holman Jenkins in WSJ, "Is Every Chinese Firm a Scam?".

“But is the problem fraud — or a misplaced Western expectation that local Chinese land records will jibe with company disclosures? It may take a while to sort out. One healthy upshot is that Chinese companies are learning not just the formal rules but the folkways of Western capitalism. They're learning what it takes to maintain investor confidence in a market peopled by enterprising short-sellers and quizzical analysts. (Hint: It helps when records cross-check.) In Zhou Beifang's day, Beijing had its own informal technique for policing corruption when its ‘red capitalists’ ventured overseas. Though not widely understood at the time, according to researcher X.L. Ding, close relatives were required to stay behind as unofficial ‘hostages.’ Mr. Zhou was originally arrested not for theft of state assets, after all — but for trying to bribe Beijing police to let his wife and daughter leave the country.”


Shujie Yao in FT, "China must create its own global brands".'

“One great weakness of China‘s SOEs is their dearth of experience of genuine competition. A monopolistic envirronment at home has made proftits too easy to come by -- last year the combined profit of the two most profitable SOEs was equivalent to that of the largest 500 private firms. These enterprises lack incentives to innovate and develop technological expertise capable of rivaling that of western business giants. Unlike South Korea and Japan, China has a seemingly limitless domestic market and companies can record impressive growth without crossing borders.”


Philip Bowring at Asia Sentinel, "Chinese History and Reality.".

“Reports suggest it will enter service this year based out of a southern Chinese port with a complement of about 50 aircraft -- and pilots who have been practicing carrier landing and takeoffs on improvised platform and de-commissioned carriers. But it is not just the capability of the ship that sends shudders through neighbors already concerned about the US government’s ability and will to maintain its Pacific fleet to a level that ensures that in conjunction with its allies it maintains overall supremacy in the region. Even the name carries a threat. All reports to date say that the aircraft carrier is to be named ‘Shi Lang.’ This is the name of the general, working for the recently established Qing dynasty, who conquered Taiwan in 1683, defeating the Ming general Zheng Chenggong. Zheng had fled to the island to escape the Qing, which in turn had pushed out the Dutch in 1662 and established a small state around what is now Tainan.”


Keith Johnson in WSJ, "What Kind of Game Is China Playing?".

“Mr. Lai's best-known work about the nexus between Go and Chinese geopolitical strategy is a 2004 paper called ‘Learning From the Stones,’ a reference to the 361 black and white stone pieces that eventually fill the 19-by-19 Go board. He described China's long-term and indirect approach to acquiring influence. He also zeroed in on concrete geopolitical challenges such as Taiwan, which he described, in terms of Go, as a single isolated stone next to a huge mass of opposing pieces. As Chinese leaders see it, he suggested, Taiwan was a vulnerable piece that the U.S. should want to trade away for a better position elsewhere on the board. The U.S., by contrast, sees Taiwan not as a bargaining chip but as a democratic ally that it has supported diplomatically and militarily for more than 60 years. Mr. Lai's paper caught the attention not only of his then-bosses at the Air Force's Air University in Alabama but of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who quickly became a convert to his way of thinking.”


Michael Wines in NYT, "Execution In a Killing That Fanned Class Rancor.".

“A 21-year-old music student who accidentally struck a young woman with his car, then silenced her by stabbing her to death on the roadway, was executed Tuesday in Xi’an, in northwestern China, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The student, Yao Jiaxin, had lost an appeal of a death sentence handed down by a Xi’an court on April 22. The crime had fanned deep public resentment against the ‘fu er dai,’ the ‘rich second generation’ of privileged families who are widely believed to commit misdeeds with impunity because of their wealth or connections. Mr. Yao was the son of employees of a state-owned corporation in China’s defense sector, one of them an executive and a military officer. The victim, Zhang Miao, 26, was a peasant.”


Andrew Jacobs in NYT, "Ethnic Protests in China Have Lengthy Roots".

“And in an unusually prompt trial — apparently a reflection of Chinese leaders’ fears of further unrest — a Xilinhot court on Wednesday handed down a death sentence to the Han driver convicted of running down Mergen, the Mongolian herdsman. The trial, which lasted six hours, according to the official Xinhua news agency, also yielded stiff sentences for three other men involved in the episode. The authorities said they planned to quickly try another Han driver accused of killing an activist with a forklift during a confrontation between the two groups at a coal mine several days later.”


Laurie Burkitt in WSJ, "In China, Women Begin Splurging".

“Maserati has been hosting private cocktail parties with Giorgio Armani's cosmetics line and the Italian lingerie company La Perla to court newly rich female drivers in China. Thirty percent of the 400 cars Maserati sold in China last year were bought by women, compared with just 7% in 2005, according to the company. Maserati says the proportion of its Chinese drivers who are women dwarfs the ratio in the European and U.S. markets, where only 2% to 5% are women.”


Michael Wines in NYT, "Dispute Between Vietnam and China Escalates".

“In an announcement on its Web site, Vietnam’s state-run Northern Maritime Safety Corporation said that nine hours of naval exercises would be held on Monday off the country’s central coast, and it warned other vessels to avoid the area. This is the first time that the government has publicized a live-ammunition drill, the Associated Press reported. The diplomatic flare-up is the most serious confrontation this year in a territorial dispute that also involves the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan. All five countries have competing claims to parts of the South China Sea bed, which may hold valuable oil and mineral deposits. Arguments over the territory have continued for years, and the nations signed a 2002 accord that committed them to show restraint in disputed waters.”


Ben Bland in FT, "Vietnam’s economy is expanding, but local knowledge is crucial".

“The 40-year-old chairman of the company wants Trung Nguyen, which produces and exports coffee and runs a well-established café franchise, to become the worlds’s leading coffee brand. However, like other Vietnamese entrepreneurs who are keen to expand their business, he is suffering from a distinct lack of qualified senior managers. ‘In a developing country such as Vietnam, the labour market cannot supply the appropriate leadership and senior management for a fast-growing company like this,’ he explains from his office in Ho Chi Minh City. ‘One of the key reasons we established our international office in Singapore was to help us source international-standard management.’”


Jim Yardley in NYT, "In India, Dynamism Wrestles With Dysfunction".

“Meanwhile, with Gurgaon’s understaffed police force outmatched by such a rapidly growing population, some law-and-order responsibilities have been delegated to the private sector. Nearly 12,000 private security guards work in Gurgaon, and many are pressed into directing traffic on major streets. When an outsourcing employee was sexually assaulted after being dropped near her home in New Delhi, politicians placed the onus on the companies, even though the attack occurred on a New Delhi street. Outsourcing companies now must install GPS devices inside every private car and hire more security guards to escort female employees to their home at night. The politicians ‘are basically telling me that the Delhi roads are my responsibility, which is not the case,’ said Vidya Srinivasan, who oversees logistics for Genpact.”


Mark Magnier in LAT, "Badi women of Nepal are trapped in a life of degradation".

“Badis trace their roots to the Licchavi dynasty in what is now northern India's Bihar state. In the 14th century, the tribe moved to Nepal, according to a research paper by Thomas Cox, an anthropologist at Katmandu's Tribhuvan University. There they received land and money for providing concubines to small-time rulers in western Nepal. After 1950, local royalty lost power in a pro-democracy movement, and the Badis saw their clientele disappear. The tribe eventually turned to prostitution. ‘With economic and social changes, their status went down and down,’ said Ghanashyam Dangi, founder of Rapti Vidyamandir Management College in Ghorahi. ‘Eventually they became common prostitutes and untouchables.’ Although Nepal banned untouchability in 1955, the practice remains deeply rooted. Tatulam Nepali, 75, renowned for her singing and dancing, proudly recalls performing for the royal family in Katmandu. ‘Three hundred years ago we sang and danced for kings,’ she said. ‘Now people misuse us, force us into prostitution. But our performance culture should be revived.’ Limited education among Badis has hindered greater respectability even as the caste system slowly loses its grip. And most of those who try to break out to run tea stalls, tobacco shops or hair salons say customers know they're Badis and refuse to pay, abusing them or boycotting their business.”


Joshua Kurlantzick in FT on Mara Hvistendahl’s book,
Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men.

“Within a decade China could have 30m men who cannot find wives, with the situation even more skewed in cities, like Lhasa, that attract migrant male labourers. These imbalances could prove as destabilizing as climate change, potentially sparking crime, trafficking, and other wider conflicts. As news of these imbalances has spread, many have blamed ancient preferences: India’s patriarchal social systems, for instance, or Chinese beliefs that only boys provide for ageing parents. Hvistendahl’s research puts the lie to these lazy claims. In reality the wealthier parts of developing nations often see the most skewed ratios, showing that modernisation and progressive views on female children do not always go together.”


James Taranto at WSJ.com, "Can Heterosexuality Be Cured?".

“Contemporary feminism's formula for ‘equality’ is to treat male ambition as the norm for both sexes but male sexuality as abnormal--either immoral or pathological, depending on the context. A fascinating example appeared over the weekend in the New York Times, in a Week in Review article pondering the mystery of why ‘female politicians rarely get caught up in sex scandals.’ The explanation is actually quite simple if you accept the sexual differences between men and women. The Times piece hints at the obvious explanation, only to change the subject:

It would be easy to file this under the category of ‘men behaving badly,’ to dismiss it as a testosterone-induced, hard-wired connection between sex and power (powerful men attract women, powerful women repel men). . . . But there may be something else at work: Research points to a substantial gender gap in the way women and men approach running for office.

We then get an extended lecture on the superior virtue of the fairer sex. Whereas male politicians are mere careerists, women run for office ‘because there is some public issue that they care about,’ according to one academic.”


Tristam Hunt in FT, "How the Brics are building on their history".

“Disposing with a century of anti-colonialism, Ms. Banerjee has returned to ‘the heart of the empire‘ for inspiration in rebuilding a city founded by the East India company over three hundred years ago. Then, it was known as The City of Palaces, but today is all too often associated with communism and crippling poverty -- a reputation Ms. Banerjee is determined to dispel with her £60m ($98M) redevelopment. In doing so, she is signaling a trend within BRIC cities when it comes to confronting their imperial inheritance. As China and India rise towards global pre-eminence, their great conurbations are becoming altogether less neurotic about their imperial pasts. Indeed, this legacy has become something of an asset.”


Alistair MacDonald in WSJ, "Europeans Found Taxed Heaviest: Russia’s Rich Have Lightest Load.".

“Income in Western Europe remains the most heavily taxed in the world, while America's rich have heavier tax burdens than do America's poor when compared with their equivalents in other countries, according to a new survey. Taxpayers in many European countries are likely to see little respite in the coming years, with levies already being raised by some governments as they tackle record debts built up over the financial crisis.”


Spengler at Atimes.com, "Zombinomics and volatility".

“We aren't going to have another financial crash. In fact, nothing at all is going to happen. Forecasting the United States economy is about as exciting as predicting next quarter's gross domestic product in 1957 Poland. You want to know what's going to happen, comrade? Read the Five Year Plan. With 40% of US personal income coming from transfer payments, it's almost nostalgic to call it capitalism. The so-called American economic recovery won't die, because it's undead. It was a zombie to begin with. Equity investors during the past six weeks came to the collective conclusion that the US is not in the early phase of an economic recovery, but in the endless middle of a structural slump, in the term of Nobel Prize winner Edmund Phelps.”


WSJ: "Illinois Tax Firesale".

“Mr. Quinn's latest quest is to keep Sears in the state. In May, the retailer — based in Hoffman Estates with some 6,000 workers — hinted that it may look for a new home because of expiring tax breaks. The suitors include Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and even New Jersey. ‘We will sit down with the Sears people,’ Mr. Quinn promised. ‘I'm sure we'll work something out.’ No doubt he will, since in two years in office Mr. Quinn has doled out corporate welfare to at least 80 firms, costing the state nearly $500 million, according to a tally by the Chicago Tribune. Late last year Navistar, the commercial truck engine maker, secured $65 million in handouts. Continental Tire nabbed $19 million. Even deal-of-the-day Web business Groupon, which is preparing an IPO to raise $750 million, grabbed $3.5 million in tax credits to stay in Chicago. U.S. Cellular got a $7.2 million package to keep its headquarters in the Chicago area, while Chrysler received an ‘investment package’ worth $62 million for its Belvidere assembly plant. The irony is that the recipients of these sweetheart deals are the very enterprises that Mr. Quinn was counting on to pay more taxes.”


Kathy Bergen & John Byrne in CT, "CME Group eyes Illinois exit; Emanuel confident it will stay.".

“The prospect of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade taking a hike to New Jersey, Indiana or some other jobs-hungry state would have seemed unimaginable just months ago. Those historic futures exchanges, part of Chicago's economic girth since the 1800s, are as much a part of the city's image as Lake Michigan. But this week's threat by Terrence Duffy, executive chairman of CME Group Inc., to move at least some exchange jobs out of state, is part of a rebellion that has been brewing since the state temporarily raised its corporate income tax in January. The city's third major exchange also signaled Thursday that it may consider moving out of the state. With similar threats already made by other corporate titans in the state, such as Caterpillar and Sears Holdings, Duffy's warning made it increasingly clear that employers hold more of the cards during this economic downturn and that they are increasingly willing to use them to try to pressure states to give tax relief or other financial assistance.”


John Kass in CT, "As Blagojevich twists in the wind, Daleys and Madigans are doing just fine, thanks.".

“Son of Boss — and savvy airport Wi-Fi investor — Patrick Daley wasn't in the federal building during the closing arguments of the corruption trial of former Gov. Dead Meat on Thursday. And neither was his father, Richard Daley, former mayor and boss of Chicago. Nor was Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, D-Lisa's Daddy. And Lisa Madigan, made state attorney general by paternal decree, wasn't in court either. If Dead Meat pulls off a miracle and if the jury absolves him and he walks, he should probably thank the Daleys and the Madigans and all the rest. Because the jurors are from Illinois. And they must know that it wasn't Blagojevich who got fat from Illinois politics, it was the Daleys and the Madigans.”


Thomas Kaplan in NYT, "Albany Money Flows to Clients of Firms Employing Legislators.".

“That legislation, which Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo brokered and has championed, will for the first time require elected officials with law practices to disclose the names of clients they represent in matters before the state. With limited exceptions, the bill will not require lawyer-lawmakers to disclose clients represented by others at their firms. But public records show that the most common form of potential conflict for legislators with law practices occurs in just that undisclosed category: when legislators have law partners who represent businesses with a stake in bills, contracting decisions or regulatory actions. About two-thirds of the 208 sitting lawmakers supplement their annual salaries of $79,500 with other jobs. More than three dozen of them work as lawyers, according to the New York Public Interest Research Group.”


Brendan O’Neill in Spectator, "The men who killed New York".

“New York is currently governed by a gaggle of health-obsessed bigwigs who believe they have a duty to grab New Yorkers by the scruffs of their outsized necks and drag them towards lives of bicycle-riding, non-smoking, booze-avoiding, fruit-snacking conformity. City Hall, under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is awash with that new breed of psycho-politician known as the ‘nudger’, who believes that he has the right to use psychological techniques and brute censorship to manipulate and ‘improve’ human behaviour. The Bloombergers have become world-beaters in the banning of public smoking and the demonisation of junk food. It is testament to their successful colonisation of these islands that the banning of smoking in all public parks, pedestrian plazas and beaches passed without incident, and even without much angry commentary, on 24 May. Under the Smoke Free Air Act (it is clever, in an Orwellian kind of way, to use the word ‘free’ in an act of law that diminishes freedom), New Yorkers can no longer light up in Central Park, Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Promenade, the Coney Island concrete walk or even Times Square, that flashing, noisy advertisers’ paradise where you can still watch naked cowboys play guitar and buy Sarah Palin condoms from streetsellers — so long as you don’t puff on a ciggie at the same time. ‘Where can I smoke now?’ one New Yorker said to a newspaper. ‘In an underground fortress of shame?’”


Karen Sibert in NYT, "Don’t Quit This Day Job".

“If medical training were available in infinite supply, it wouldn’t matter how many doctors worked part time or quit, because there would always be new graduates to fill their spots. But medical schools can only afford to accept a fraction of the students who apply. An even tighter bottleneck exists at the level of residency training. Residents don’t pay tuition; they are paid to work at teaching hospitals. Their salaries are supported by Medicare, which pays teaching hospitals about $9 billion a year for resident salaries and teaching costs as well as patient care. In 1997, Congress imposed a cap on how many medical residencies the government could subsidize as part of the Balanced Budget Act. Last year, the Senate failed to pass an amendment to the health care bill that would have created thousands of new residency positions. Even if American medical schools could double their graduating classes, there wouldn’t be additional residency positions for the new doctors. Federal and state financing to expand medical education will be hard to find in today’s economic and political climate. We often hear the argument that nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists and physician assistants can stand in for doctors and provide cheaper care. But when critical decisions must be made, patients want a fully qualified doctor to lead the health care team.”


Ira Stoll at Futureofcapitalism.com, "Lone Star Jobs Surge".

“But if what's really driving job growth in Texas is health care, and if, as has been noted here based on Atul Gawande's reporting for the New Yorker, McAllen, Texas, is one of the most expensive health care markets in the country, at high cost to Medicare but without much in the way of improved outcomes, then what's really going on here isn't so much free markets but rent-seeking behavior on the part of health-care industry types trying to sponge up as much Medicare money as possible. Not that there isn't some genuinely excellent health care in Texas. But a lot of federal funding goes into it; the National Institutes of Health awarded Baylor College of Medicine $202,869,815 for 2010 and the University of Texas's MD Anderson Cancer Center got another $165,830,210 in NIH money in 2010. The Baylor College of Medicine Web site boasts of $344 million in annual federal research funding, while MD Anderson's boasts of $206,664,447 in federal grants and contracts and $23,204,735 in ‘State-appropriated general revenue and tobacco settlement.’ And that's just the research funding, not the funding for actually providing clinical health care to patients. There the data is much less transparent, because while the hospitals and medical schools are eager to brag about how much federal research money they get — because the grants are competitively awarded and therefore prestigious — they are less eager to brag about how much of their revenues come from Medicare and Medicaid, in part because, if they did, people might start wondering why the surgeons and administrators are making $1 million and $2 million a year to provide what are to some large degree taxpayer-funded services.”


Don Carrington at Carolinajournal.com, "Government Jobs Untouched by the Great Recession".

“Public sector employment levels in North Carolina have been stable since the start of the recession in December 2007. It would take a loss of 63,000 government jobs to match the nearly 9 percent net loss that has occurred in the private sector during that time.”


WSJ: "The EPA’s War on Jobs".

“The agency estimates that the utility rule will cost $10.9 billion annually but will yield as much as $140 billion in total health and environmental benefits. Sounds like a deal. But most of those alleged benefits are indirect — i.e., not from the mercury reductions that the rule is supposed to be for. Rather, they come from pollutants (‘airborne particles’) that the EPA already regulates under other parts of the Clean Air Act. A good analogy is a corporation double-counting revenue. According to the EPA's own numbers, every dollar in direct benefits costs $1,847. The reason is that electric generation — yes, even demon coal — results in negligible quantities of air pollutants like mercury. And mercury is on the decline: In 2005, the entire U.S. coal fleet emitted 26% less than the EPA predicted. The real goal of the EPA's rule is to shut down fossil fuel electric power in the name of climate change. The consensus estimate in the private sector is that the utility rule and eight others on the EPA docket will force the retirement of 60 out of the country's current 340 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity.”


FT: "The Lex Column - Biohazard".

“The surprisingly blunt report from 10 agencies, including the World Bank, United Nations and International Monetary Fund, urges governments to cut subsidies to the biofuels industry. A US government report calculated last year that taxpayers give $1.78 in subsidies to reduce gasoline use by one gallon through the use of biofuels, but even this underestimates the true cost. Since 2000, US ethanol output has risen 10-fold and corn has gone from less than $2 a bushel to nearly $8. A third of the US corn crop now goes to ethanol, which makes up a 10th of US retail petrol sales. Meanwhile, cereal, meat and other displaced crops have risen in price. What is more, for notionally ‘green’ policies, the environmental damage from US and European Union biofuel quotas is considerable, ranging from fertiliser run-off to deforestation in countries exporting palm oil.”


William McGurn in WSJ, "The Return of the Population Bomb.".

“There last week Tom Friedman’s column carried one of the sentiments most in vogue in the 1970s: ‘The Earth Is Full.’ …The one difference between the 1970s and today is this: Back then, the worry was that poor nations would never advance. Today we know they can and are developing. That's precisely the fear: that as people are eating better and living longer and making their way up the ladder, they will want more of the things that we take for granted — cars, air conditioners, refrigerators and so on. Indeed, the really big dreamers might even hope one day to have for their families the kind of carbon-footprint-maximizing manse that Mr. Friedman has for his family in Maryland. Ironically, by almost any human measure — food consumption, life expectancy, access to clean water, etc. — life is getting better, not worse. So why the recurring predictions of catastrophe? Partly it's because the apostles of population control assume that resources are fixed and immune to human creativity or effort. In this view, human beings are primarily seen as mouths instead of minds.”


John Gordon in WSJ on Richard White’s book, Railroaded, and Maury Klein’s book, Union Pacific: The Reconfiguration.

“The earliest railroads had almost all been a local affair, meant to solve a particular transportation bottleneck. They were usually financed by those along the route who would benefit. Larger railroads were then stitched together out of these smaller entities. For instance, the New York Central, which at the beginning ran between Albany and Buffalo, was assembled out of no fewer than nine formerly independent lines. But railroads were expensive to build, often $30,000 a mile — at a time when $1,000 was a middle-class annual income. It wasn't long before local sources of capital were not enough and money had to be raised in capital markets, principally Wall Street. The railroads and Wall Street grew up together and deeply influenced each other. And here was the heart of the problem, unprecedented in economic history: there came to be many giant corporations whose managers were not the same as their owners. As Mr. White notes, with no laws to govern their behavior, railroad managers often acted in their own self-interest rather than in the interests of stockholders. It would be Wall Street, not government, that would, near the end of the 19th century, impose what are now called Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and demand quarterly and annual reports certified by independent accountants. Such demands brought the era of buccaneer capitalism to a swift end. The transcontinental railroads, though, did not have their origins in entrepreneurship. They were the child of politics.”


WSJ: "The FCC’s Good Deed".

“‘Government is not the main player in this drama,’ the report says. While it may be able to eliminate some obstacles to local reporting, most of the answers ‘will be found by entrepreneurs, reporters, and creative citizens, not legislators or agencies. Government cannot 'save journalism.'’ In a rare display of bureaucratic modesty, the report even notes that technology is changing so fast that ‘heavy-handed regulatory intervention dictating media company behavior could backfire, distorting markets in unhelpful ways.’ The report also rejects the idea floated in a Federal Trade Commission staff report that the government subsidize print journalism through a tax on consumer electronics. This is remarkable restraint from this Administration, but all the more so because it fails to join what has become a liberal campaign to create more government-supported media. Common wisdom among academic types has been that the blogosphere can't replace what's being lost at hometown papers, so government should provide seed money for local reporting. In 2009, former Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie and Columbia professor Michael Schudson proposed, under the auspices of the Columbia University school of journalism, an FCC-bankrolled Fund for Local News.”


Battle for Brooklyn (Michael Galinsky, Suki Hawley)
Opens Friday, June 17, Cinema Village, NYC

Battle for Brooklyn is an intimate look at the very public and passionate fight waged by residents and business owners of Brooklyn's historic Prospect Heights neighborhood facing condemnation of their property to make way for the polarizing Atlantic Yards project, a massive plan to build 16 skyscrapers and a basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets. The film focuses on graphic designer Daniel Goldstein whose apartment sits at what would be center court of the new arena.”


The 16th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

• July 14 - 17, Castro Theatre

Features work by Lon Chaney/Victor Sjostrom, Douglas Fairbanks/Allan Dwan, Yasuhiro Ozu, John Ford, F.W. Murnau, etc.


James Fotopoulos’ Alice in Wonderland
23rd Onion City Film Festival.

closing night feature
• Sunday, June 26, 8:30pm
Chicago Filmmakers
5243 N. Clark St.

Amy Taubin at ArtForum, "Recurring Dream".

“CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER,” said Alice, although I can’t remember exactly where. Was it after she’d fallen down the rabbit hole or when she crossed to the other side of the mirror? No matter: Alice in Wonderland (2010) — James Fotopoulos’s adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by way of Henry Saville Clark and Walter Slaughter’s 1886 musical Alice in Wonderland: A Dream Play for Children—is an extremely curious object in its own right, and its premiere New York screening is a must-see.”


Catherine Nixey in FT, "No more death in the afternoon ".

“Because this summer is the last that such scenes will be seen in Barcelona’s bullring, the Monumental. Last year Catalonia’s parliament voted to ban bullfighting from 2012 onwards. So the 2011 season, which runs until September, is the last time you will be able to watch here an activity that its opponents call ‘torture’ and that Hemingway called ‘art’. It is an end Hemingway himself foresaw. In his 1932 treatise on bullfighting, ‘Death in the Afternoon’, he discusses a recent modification made to Spanish bullfighting: the wearing of protective padding by the horses in the ring, which were previously often accidentally gored. The government brought this in ‘to avoid these horrible sights which so disgust foreigners and tourists.’ Hemingway was unimpressed. It was, he said, ‘the first step toward the suppression of the bullfight.’ He was right.”


James Parker in Boston Phoenix on the two Hüsker Dü books.

“In the psychedelic power-drone forcing its way through Bob's guitar, and in the mutant pop classicism of Grant Hart's songwriting, the '60s seemed to be raggedly avenging themselves on punk rock. The band evolved at terrifying speed, throwing off great songs in chunks, each album an epoch, and had already overreached themselves by the time they made their major label debut with "Candy Apple Grey" (1986). You can't go from being, I don't know, Uniform Choice to being the Who in four years: nature simply doesn't allow it. Self-educated as an obnoxious hardcore power trio, a mobile shitstorm, the Hüskers were cruelly exposed by the slower tempos and widened production of their later material. Gaps opened, entropy occurred. Hart's drumming, in particular, formerly so propulsive, seemed to break down. He had a habit now, while Mould was sober. "Warehouse: Songs and Stories" (the 1987 Warner Bros. release for which, we learn with horror from See A Little Light, Hart's cymbals were recorded separately) was the sound of posthumousness. But that mid-period, '83–'85, the SST years, when the vortex was contained, the chemicals were right, and they more or less had it together — bloody hell. Was there anything in rock and roll more urgent than Grant Hart's naked foot on the kick pedal, pumping 4/4 through a song like "Keep Hangin' On"?… Or the rough ecstasy of Grant and Bob's voices in convergence? Or that guitar-sound, sheeting towards you at eye level?”


Archie Patterson at Eurock.com, "The Plastic People of the Universe".

“What follows here is a historical recounting of that period featuring original documents. In this laissez fair day and age, it may seem fantastical that they were persecuted simply for playing rock music. It is true nonetheless and perhaps that is why music today has become more of a commodity than the soul and spirit of youth back as it was back then.

The group came together in the wake of the Prague Spring, 1968, a month after the subsequent Russian Invasion, tanks rolled down the streets of Prague toppling the liberal communist government of Alexander Dubcek. Led by bassist Milan (Mejla) Hlavsa, who had been in various bands previously, the Blue Monsters, Vagabonds, Primitives, a/o., the PPU took their name from The Mothers of Invention song of the same title on Absolutely Free. Their other musical influences were loosely the Fugs, Captain Beefheart and the Velvet Underground. Later in 1973, Hlavsa also was involved in another infamous Czech underground band DG 307. In 1969, Czech art historian and cultural critic Ivan (Magor) Jirous became their manager and artistic director. The following year, Canadian Paul Wilson, who had been teaching English in Prague, became the bands English tutor so they could sing in English the lyrics of the American songs they covered. He also translated their original Czech lyrics into English. Along with keyboardist Josef Janicek, viola player Jiri Kabes and with Paul Wilson as lead singer, the band performed professionally. In 1970, their performance license was revoked when they refused to audition before the Ministry of Culture.”


Jeff Klein in NYT, "Series of Punches, Verbal as Much as Physical".

“Meanwhile, hundreds of Vancouver fans were filtering back into Boston for Game 6.

During the first two games here, Canucks fans, apparently operating under the belief that no one in the United States could possibly care about a hockey team as much as Canadians do, were astonished to find that some Bostonians were not entirely welcoming of phalanxes of fans wearing the other club’s colors. There were a handful of incidents in which Bruins fans hurled insults and engaged in other aggressive tactics during and after Game 3, in which the Canucks’ Aaron Rome inflicted a concussion on the Bruins’ Nathan Horton with a late shoulder check to the head. Reports of those events prompted The Boston Globe to run an editorial reminding Bruins fans of the “need to keep it civil.” That was followed by a TSN report that three Canucks — Burrows, Mason Raymond and Jannik Hansen — went out to dinner the night before Game 4 and sat at a table for 30 minutes before being told by their waiter that the restaurant was out of food.”


Harvey Araton in NYT, "James Can Learn From Nowitzki".

“Dirk Nowitzki had just turned 28 — or one and a half years older than LeBron James is now — when the Dallas Mavericks lost the 2006 N.B.A. finals to Dwyane Wade and a Miami team they couldn’t put away after leading by 2 games and 13 points with six minutes left in the fourth quarter of Game 3. Entering mid-career, it is time for LeBron James to take a look in the mirror. And so it was that the Mavericks wound up losing four straight, three games by a total of 6 points, with Nowitzki missing a game-tying free throw with 3.4 seconds left in one, punting the ball into the stands after another and later being called out by Wade as a poor leader and finisher and something of a whiner. Forget for the moment that Wade would not have bared such feelings about another team’s star if that player had not been viewed as somehow less authentic, a European wannabe. The criticism wasn’t without merit.”


Ron Artest at LAtimes.com on the Lakers, Mavericks and Heat.

“On paper, it appeared to Lakers forward Ron Artest that the team's Western Conference semifinals matchup against the Dallas Mavericks would prove to be just another blip toward another championship run. It turns out he was wrong. ‘They blitzed us,’ he said Sunday while appearing on ABC 7's Sports Zone regarding the Mavericks' four-game sweep against the Lakers. ‘We did not expect them to play like that honestly. I thought we were going to sweep them.’ On paper, it appeared to Artest that the Miami Heat would win in the NBA Finals in either five or six games, believing the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and the team's lockdown defense would prove too difficult in stopping. Instead, James disappeared most of the fourth quarters, Dirk Nowitzki continued to make difficult shots and the Mavericks displayed the type of depth Artest argued is needed to win a championship. ‘If they played more team ball, they would've put more pressure,’ Artest said of Miami. ‘But Dallas had them, They had their number. Miami wasn't utilizing the whole five on the court and Dallas was hungry.’”


Obituary of the Week

John Alison (1912 - 2011)

“In 1944, as co-commanders of the first Air Commando Force, Mr. Alison and Lt. Col. Philip Cochran organized an unprecedented operation inside Burma—now Myanmar—then occupied by experienced Japanese jungle fighters. Using a combined force of fighter planes, bombers, transports, gliders, ambulance planes and newfangled helicopters, the commanders established fortified bases behind Japanese lines in Burma, greatly facilitating a larger assault from British forces. Mr. Alison personally led the force into action, piloting a glider and 15 men to an improvised landing area in a teak forest. Mr. Alison said he was inspired to become a pilot when he was in high school study hall in Gainesville, Fla., and heard a Curtiss P-1 fighter go into a dive. He joined the ROTC while a student at the University of Florida, then attended flight school. His was the first class to train on monoplanes as opposed to the World War I-style biplanes.”


Thanks to Steve Beeho.

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• The New Vulgate
• Joe Carducci, Chris Collins, James Fotopoulos, Mike Vann Gray, David Lightbourne
• Copyright retained by the writer, artist, or photographer

1 comment:

  1. I can take the greek collapse and all the rest of the bad news, but please no more clown pictures.