Wednesday, October 25, 2006

If I can't contribute here...: ... at least I can be published elsewhere.

Obviously this post is solely for Eno and Flyer as only they know my secret identity and which of the quoted contributors is me.

That makes the second appearance of yours truly in TMQ....

Monday, October 23, 2006

Casino Royale: I know, I know. Thrashed equine, etc. But just watch the trailer. This one just feels different.

Note: Yes, I realize the nearly unforgivable sin of making Bond play Texas Hold 'Em in a tuxedo. It's gonna be hard to overcome that. But, just maybe...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Shout Out: Hats off to Radley, now on staff as a senior editor at my favorite magazine, Reason. I was so pleased, I cranked my subscription up another year to celebrate.

Hey, let me tell you my Reason story while we're here. When I first subscribed (back in the Postrel years), they messed up my order and I didn't get the special offer of the moment -- a free book of some sort, I don't recall which. Anyhoo, I complained, and they were all out of stock on the book. So they added three -- count 'em: three -- years to my subscription. My first thought: Are these guys really capitalists? But they understood the investment, and I've never let my subscription lapse since then, even as New Republic, National Review, Connie, Weekly Standard, and others came and went, turned old and boring, or got predictable. So subscribe already, fer chrissake!

As for Radley, he was the first blog FauxPolitik linked to back in Dickety-two, and certainly the first blog with more than four readers to blogroll us. He'll bring a fresh perspective to the magazine, too, since he's one of only a handful of pro-life libertarians I know of -- a position I admire for its sheer sail-into-the-wind balls, even if I don't agree.

So raise a glass of your favorite liquid refreshment before the neo-prohibitionists get you (an IPA here, please), light a smoke while you still can (make mine a Camel, no filter), throw on your well worn vinyl copy of Slow Turning (whaddya mean you don't f*cking own Slow Turning?), and join me in wishing him the very best.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Microcredit, ahoy: Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, one of the most successful microcredit institutions in the world, is the latest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Usually you can tell a lot about people by the company they keep, but Mr. Yunus is too fine a person to be lumped in with people like Jimmy Carter and Yasir Arafat. We'll chalk this one up to "even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes."

I read of the Grameen Bank and its success years ago in (here we go again) P.J. O'Rourke's All The Trouble In The World, which is still one of the best , most fun romps through "global issues" I've ever come across. He features Mohammad Yunus in his chapter on overpopulation, which I believe is called "Just Enough Of Me, Way Too Many Of You."

Not to pick nits, but why does this fall under a Peace Prize category, and not Economics. I get all the root causes blather, but is the Nobel committee afraid to make such a bold statement about free market economics? Maybe I'm just looking for negative spin out of reflex, but it seems weird. I don't remember reading about a civil war in Bangladesh, although there are probably many gripes and feuds I'm not aware of. And I know that his work has a greater impact than just in one country, but isn't its greatest impact on our understanding of market economics and how it rewards postive behaviors and penalizes negative ones?

Oh well, congrats anyway to Mr. Yunus. Hopefully many more will follow in yor path.

Via Viking Pundit.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time Dept. Forthwith, for no good reason, five albums that are at least occasionally cited as "classics" of rock and roll that have aged poorly (and skipping Dylan, who is just too fat a target).

5. Who's Next, Who. When you're 14, this sure seems like the perfect album. And it is . . . for 14-year-olds. But that's about it.

4. Legend, Bob Marley. Here's an idea: Take a lot of Marley's least confrontational, least funky stuff and sell it to white folks as the "definitive" collection. It worked on me when I was a callow youth. Then I heard African Herbsman, and I realized that Legend was Marley with his balls removed.

3. Surrealistic Pillow, Jefferson Airplane. Is there anyone who doesn't snicker at these lyrics now? These were people who said "groovy" and meant it. And the self-conscious heavyness of the music? You can't play this album with a straight face.

2. The Pretender, Jackson Browne. This was the moment when the California scene began to develop what turned into an astounding case of earnest, nosy self-righteousness. Acoustic fascism.

1. London Calling, Clash. Speaking of things political. Socialism had ground England's once mighty economy into dust, Thatcher had just been elected and was about to end the dole-subsidized defeatism and nationalized mediocrity, and a poseur named Joe Strummer, who was trying to hide his posh background behind co-opted working class anger, became a poet of "the people" with this great tantrum. I do, in fact, remember how bold this seemed, and it's still a true document of its day. But, nearly thirty years on, one wonders what sadist told them they had two discs worth of saleable material here.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Hillary! If you haven't read the Atlantic cover story on Hillary the Senator, please do. It changed my mind on the '08 election significantly. It's a good piece of reporting, only mildly fawning, and well thought out. I'm still unconvinced that she can win a majority, but I'm a lot less sure than I had been. Somehow, the Clintons have managed to escape the wrath of the base, even as their erstwhile allies have taken huge hits. Lieberman and Bill were once ideological soulmates -- pro-Israel moderates and voices of the New Democrat movement. Now Lieberman is getting hammered by the base in a liberal state because of his pro-war stance. Hillary, on the other hand, is facing no intraparty struggle in a neighboring traditionally liberal state. Both backed the war, but have criticized the execution thereof, but only Joe has taken the hit. For whatever reason, Hillary has been better able to sell the idea of nuance to the base. It's inconceivable that Joe could be on the national ticket again for the Dems. Hillary could, and likely will. Who can challenge her? Kerry? Gore? Washed up. Joe Biden? Law of 14 violation, among other problems. Barack Obama's the biggest star, but would have trouble going right to the top of the ticket. (He's a lock for the VP slot, though -- barring scandalous revelation.)

As the article also makes clear, Hillary has a huge potential campaign chest, perhaps to the tune of $400 mil. That's enough to scare the pants off the RNC. And who would they run against her? John McCain? He'll be 72 in 2008 and has had health scares. Plus, he's a prickly character and notorious for shooting himself and his party in the foot over minor issues. Rudy Giuliani? He's probably to the left of Hillary on several major social issues, plus he makes McCain look downright cuddly. Erstwhile party golden boy George Allen is in the midst of self-destructing, Mitt Romney has lost a lot of his luster, and Condi Rice swears she won't run. That leaves . . . Newt Gingrich? I don't see a majority here either.

I'm thinking the voters third party candidates can pull will determine a lot in '08.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006