I've always enjoyed Michael Crichton's novels. From the time I first read the Andromeda Strain to Congo to Jurassic Park and everything in between, he has always been an author who prides himself on novels of fiction based in fact. Let me repeat that, based in fact I say.
And that is one of the major reasons his books (which net him millions) almost always get made into movies (which net him even more millions). People like reading fiction and actually learning something that makes sense at the same time. True, some of his books have events and things which aren't necessarily common place or scientifically feasible at the moment, yet they are deeply rooted in the foundations of contemporary scientific knowledge. This is an important distinction.
So when I heard he was coming out with a book whose central theme was the environment, I naturally welcomed the thought rather than doing everything in my power to forget it (as I typically do with anything "mainstream" relating to the environment). Mr. Crichton spent three years on research before writing "State of Fear", and nary a page goes by that he doesn't prove it.
And for those who are skeptical at best, here's a speech derived from the underpinnings of the novel's content as an appetizer to the veritable seven course meal he dishes out in the book. Pay attention, and enjoy.
An anonymous poster named "John Law", put this lengthy essay up recently concerning what he feels is an inevitable event in the coming future: the remonetization of precious metals, i.e. gold & silver most notably.
Remonetization has two prerequisites. One is a free public market in one or more monetizable commodities – such as gold and silver. The other is an unstable and mismanaged official currency – such as the US dollar.
In theory, reversing either of these factors could prevent remonetization. In practice this is probably impossible.
Before a remonetization event, the austerity measures necessary to fix the dollar are politically unlikely. Afterward they would be too late. And any preemptive deliberalization of the gold and silver markets would have to come with a remarkably convincing excuse to avoid triggering what it sought to prevent, especially since the US no longer dominates the global financial system.
The best way for the US and other countries to deal with this situation is to accept remonetization and manage it wisely. This will cause a lot of short-term pain for many people. But it will rebalance the global economy, and should lead to a new period of sustainable prosperity.
It's an interesting read if nothing else. I've long thought that a period of extreme inflation, similar to but potentially a lot worse than the inflation seen during the 1970's, was heading our way. But whether this reveals itself in the near term as what basically amounts to a panic run on gold and silver as the only standards people will look to if and when they lose faith in the dollar is not quite certain in my mind.
To my way of thinking, if the dollar collapses, remonetization is a moot point. I would venture to say that the majority of gold is not nearly as well distributed as the dollar. This is a generality of course, but true none-the-less. If all of a sudden people can't use their bucks to buy a cup of coffee, two things will happen: 1) the coffee store will close and 2) the guy who wants the coffee will simply do without OR find another means of getting the coffee. In real terms, that method of getting the coffee is more likely to be an impromptu bartering system, rather than a rush to start weighing out specs of gold.
But, he does make some valid points and I for one am no economist. The state of the world economy though in relation to our growing debt, massive social program list and an increasingly violent foreign policy make me uneasy. Anyway, read the whole article…..it's something to think about.
Some whack job in Arizona is trying to get a measure passed that would award $1 million to a randomly selected voter after each public election.
Now I think this is a stupid idea purely on the grounds that it promotes voting not as a civic duty that we have to elect qualified individuals to represent us or as a pragmatic action taken by the shrewd individual to help ensure a public policy which truly represents his views, but as yet another way to potentially get rich for doing nothing. So while I think this method of getting voters to turn out sets a poor precedent indirectly in terms of the inherent value of voting, I wouldn't get my knickers in a twist over it either.
But as I was sitting here watching CNBC (accidentally I might add), I see the bow-tie boy himself Tucker Carlson attempting to debate this issue with the whack job. And lo and behold, lil' Tuck actually had the beans to say the following:
"Well, look, don‘t you think, since lotteries are ridiculous…I mean, truly, a lottery is a tax on the foolish. I mean, you‘re not going to win the lottery. Isn‘t this exactly the thing that kind of gimmick that draws exactly the kind of people who you don‘t want voting?"
"How about this. Wouldn‘t it be easier just to give away malt liquor? Why not just give out, you know, 40 ounces of Old English 800?"
Now I'm the last person in the world you probably want to argue with about being politically correct, cause it's a waste of time. But his statement is just way out of line. I mean, to think that someone in America today could think in such a manner is beyond comprehension. The poor in America would never roll out en masse for pee-water like OE….no, the poor of America have standards, they only drink Budweiser.
OTB Traffic Jam
Filed under Losers, Politics
So I'm sitting on my couch tonight doing some light political reading. I mosey on over to Little Green Footballs and find an article about a young man named Jessie Macbeth, who apparently served as an Army Ranger for 16 months in Afghanistan/Iraq. Ok, no biggie there. But people are saying the 20 minute video he posted of himself basically admitting to war crimes (sound familiar?) is full of questionable things and REAL military people aren't buying his story.
Ok, so I read some commentary and other blogs talking about this apparent phony. I decide to do a little research myself. So I do a google for this exact search: "jessie macbeth" iraq
Immediately I get literally dozens of sites, mostly from left leaning blogs who at one point posted a link to the YouTube entry for this video and/or the main website hosting it (peacefilms.org), which is what I expected. So I notice from some other commentary sites that many of the sites hosting this video are starting to pull the video. Not uncommon in political snafus like this, nobody wants to be caught supporting a phony.
So I decide to start a little list of the biggest blogs that did a post on this guy, and I quickly realize that I don't have the Google Notebook plugin installed on my laptop because I recently re-installed the OS. So, I install the plugin for Firefox, close down the browser completely, then restart it. I go back and run the SAME search: "jessie macbeth" iraq. Only now, the results of that search look like this:
That's right, one stinking link to a french site that needs translating. Now I know this wasn't what was returned just a few minutes ago. For one, I had already gone to the posts of SocialistAlternative.org and DyningWarriors.blogspot.com. Secondarily, I just remember looking at the results thinking "wow, a lot of people bought into this", which also prompted me to want to use the Google Notebook feature to keep track of links as I went through and grabbed screenshots of each.
Anyway, I'm no conspiracy theorist….but for the life of me I cannot figure out where all the results of that search went? I would say that the search metrics in Google's algorithm were changed (as it was around midnight central time when the "odd behavior" occurred), however I just don't see how searching on two items, one an exact phrase could be changed so much in just a few minutes.
Noted bigot Norman Finkelstein was the keynote at last week's "Holocaust in the Holy Land" put on by none other than the religion of peace's own Muslim Student Union at UC Irvine.
Finkelstein thus felt right at home at the annual Israel-bashing event at UC Irvine, a hotbed of anti-Israel activism. The Crystal Cove Auditorium where he delivered his remarks was at its maximum capacity, thanks in large part to the Muslim students who just weeks ago were at the same location protesting the College Republicans' showing the now-famous cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Less controversial to them was the decision to use provocative titles like "Israel: The Fourth Reich" for the week's events. So long as it is confined to vilifying Israel, Muslim activists are staunch champions of free speech.
I hate to say it but I'm with Michael Savage on this one. Until and unless I start seeing the Muslim community the world over stand up and start villifying the terrorists and those who speak for them within their ranks, I'm going to go ahead and assume that these wretched people are merely the militant arm of those who are too yellow to say/do it themselves.
Let me just start out by saying that I think Ray Nagin is probably hands down one of the most corrupt individuals I've ever witnessed on the public political stage in recent memory. Of course Henry Kissinger said that, "…corrupt politicians make the other 10% look bad…" so I certainly am not naive enough to believe the lie that most politicians are "good." I know better.
But the mere sight of Nagin during the whole Katrina/New Orleans debacle (and I say debacle in reference to Nagin & Blanco's complete non-handling of the situation) almost made my wife and I lose our lunch more than once. What a piece of slime.
I distinctly recall the man giving a press conference almost 24-48 hours BEFORE the hurricane had even hit declaring that he would be happy to get "even 20% of the population out of harm's way". T w e n t y p e r c e n t. Can you imagine any leader coming out and explicitly stating that he is giving up on the well being of 80% of his constituents?? It just boggles the mind. And yet nobody in the press called him on that; not before, not during, not after, not even way way after. And it wasn't just that comment. This elected human piece of excrement got so much of a pass that the people of New Orleans (or what is left of them) actually re-elected the very same guy who was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people!
So let's recap:
(1) Fail to warn your citizens of impending danger
(2) Fail to use obvious resources a third grader could pick out to help save thousands of people when it becomes clear that they are in danger
(3) Hide in your hotel room not only during the storm, but immediately after it, and a while after that and a few days after it, etc, etc, etc.
(4) Fail to immediately make decisions to request federal assistance, cut red tape and encourage local officials to stand firm in protecting the innocent after the destruction of your city
(5) Blame the higher ups when it comes out that you were responsible for 1, 2, 3 & 4.
(6) Employ the use of racially charged speech to hype patently false notions that the lack of federal assistance (or the mere timing of it) was somehow directly related to race.
(7) Get sold out by your own party and raise just enough funds to carry out a Mickey Mouse campaign for re-election.
(8) Get re-elected by a margin slightly smaller than the width of a hair on your chinny chin chin.
(9) Come out and reprimand everyone "else" for "dividing" the city; call on "all peoples" to help rebuild (translate: give me money).
This apparently is a tried and true method for corrupt politicians to stay in power. It almost reminds me of the career and campaigns of the one and only Marion Barry. Simply unbelievable.
Apparently Nagin got 80% of the black vote and 20% of the white vote in the election. Let me spell that out for you in….well….black and white: Nagin received all of the votes in New Orleans by people who were too stupid, too addicted to the mother tit, too well paid or too dead to vote the other way. Unfortunately for New Orleans, the number of people in those categories outnumber those who are smart enough to spot a crook when they see one.
My advice: if you didn't move because of Katrina, move because of Nagin.
Filed under Losers, Politics
Word has it that Ronaldo, the Real Madrid and Brazilian star striker, may be considering a move to the MLS to play for the Red Bulls in New York. This is on par with the NASL signing Pele in 1975. Wow!
If you're not a soccer fan and have no clue who Ronaldo is, take a few minutes to watch this video of him (excuse the horrible music). Basically he is one of the premier strikers of the modern era, and depending on how he finishes out his career, perhaps one of the greatest to ever play the game. That is saying a lot when speaking of Brazilians (think Pele, Bebeto, Cafu, Romario, etc).
Basically the MLS teams have a salary cap of around $2 million. This would pose a problem a few seasons ago (since Ronaldo apparently makes around $8-10 million per season in Europe), however the MLS is instituting what is known as the "Beckham" rule, which allows each team to have a single high profile player whose salary does not count towards the cap.
This is the next logical step in the growth of MLS, if it is ever to realistically compete for players like Ronaldo in the prime of their careers. There probably will be no word of whether this news will come to fruition until after WC 06.
Filed under Soccer, Sport