Friday, March 27, 2009

Hey Paul Krugman (A song, A plea)

When pictures kick word butts.

Mark Your Calendars: Chavez Day!!!

From the files of You Just Can't Make this Stuff Up. And in America, no less!

Recognizing Chavez
March 24, 2009

Every year at this time, Jacque Rhodes, Calvin assistant dean of multicultural student development, is surprised afresh at how few people recognize the name Cesar Chavez. “This man made such a tremendous contribution to our country and how we look at labor and unions, and he’s hardly known,” said Rhodes of the farm worker, labor leader and civil rights activist who founded the United Farm Workers of America.

Cesar ChavezRhodes and the students leaders of Calvin’s multicultural student advisory board (MSAB) have planned a full round of activities to celebrate Cesar Chavez Day on March 31—and to perhaps raise Chavez’s “Q rating” a little: “I really think he should be as prominent a figure as Martin Luther King,” Rhodes said.
Free cake and buttons

First on the roster of events is the complimentary birthday cake served up by MSAB from 10:30 a.m. through 3 p.m. in the fireplace area of the Hekman Library. The students will also pass out Cesar Chavez buttons and informational flyers about his life. The cake honors Chavez’ birthday, which coincides with his annual day. “We do this every year,” Rhodes said.

The celebration will continue at 3:30 p.m. as Blair Babcock, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent speaks on “Inside Immigration: the Struggle to Become a Citizen. “He’s actually going to talk about immigration law and just talk about the complexity … ,” said Rhodes. “ I think people in general have kind of a misinformed idea that it’s as simple as getting your driver’s license—that you walk into an agency and take a test and ‘Voila!,’ you’re a citizen. They have no conception that it’s a process that can, in some cases, take years.”
Hearing from peers

A student panel, held at 5 p.m. in the Commons Lecture Hall, will offer further insight on the immigration process. Of the panel, titled “The Impact of Immigration: A Multifaceted Perspective, Rhodes said: “I think it’s really important for students to hear from their peers. I think it makes a greater impact on them when they can put a face on a story.”

The day’s events will conclude with the provocatively titled A Day Without a Mexican, which Rhodes explained, is a “mockumentary.” The film, to be shown at 7:30 p.m. in the Robert L. Bytwerk Video Theater, depicts what would happen if, suddenly, there were no Mexicans working in the state of California. The film carries an important message, Rhodes said, adding: “I think we do our best learning when we’re uncomfortable.”

All Cesar Chavez Day events are free and open to the public.

~by Myrna Anderson, communications and marketing

Don't believe me? Believe!

Quote du jour

But then there are those fundamentalists such as the late Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson who offer all the limitations of Calvanism without any of its strengths.
-Alan Wolfe

Word of the Week: 'Backwardation.'

As in,

At the same time, backwardation in LBMA silver forward rates has been slowly disappearing.


If a supply disruption is approaching, however, we could see LBMA silver backwardation return with a vengeance.

More backwardation here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

You Are Not An Orphan Alert!

Dear Friends,

Someone who attended the Uzbek film, You are not an Orphan, left a pair of
glasses behind. The glasses are now at the lost and found with Penny in the
south building of Munk.

Best wishes,


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Website of the Day: Jew of the Day

Website of the Day: Jew of the Day

TLA here.

Isaiah Had it Right

“For these studies spring from, and thrive on, discord. Someone may question this on the grounds that even in a society of saintly anarchists, where no conflicts about ultimate purposes can take place, political problems, for example constitutional and legislative issues, might still arise. But this objection rests on a mistake. Where ends are agreed, the only questions left are those of means, and these are not political but technical, that is to say, capable of being settled by experts or machines, like arguments between engineers or doctors. That is why those who put their faith in some immense, world transforming phenomenon, like the final triumph of reason or the proletarian revolution, must believe that all political and moral problems can thereby be turned into technical ones. That is the meaning of Engels’ famous phrase (paraphrasing Saint-Simon) about ‘replacing the government of persons by the administration of things’…”

--Isaiah Berlin, Two Concepts of Liberty

Wordsmith's Word of the Day

"Detroit's bet on big trucks and sport-utility vehicles has turned snake eyes."
David Kiley; Michigan: Epicenter of Unemployment; BusinessWeek (New York); Jun 24, 2008.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Extreme Sheep LED Art

Courtesy: LM
(PS What's a TAF?)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor

[Most Recent Quotes from]

Those Were the Days When If Someone Called You a Crypto-Nazi you could call them...

At the Aug. 28 debate in Chicago - the penultimate encounter in the series, with an estimated 10 million people watching - things began with relative calm. But it didn’t stay that way, and before long the men began exchanging words that one simply didn’t hear on TV at that time (see box below). Vidal called Buckley a "pro-crypto-Nazi," a modest slip of the tongue, he later said, because he was searching for the word "fascist" and it just didn't come out. Inflamed by the word "Nazi" and the whole tenor of the discussion, Buckley snapped back: "Now listen, you queer," he said, "stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in you goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered." Smith attempted to calm the exchange with "gentlemen, let's not call names," but the damage had been done. The two men, considerably subdued, met the following night for the last of their week of debates.

Clip here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Gotta Love the Vatican; Making One New Member at a Time

From Times Online

March 17, 2009

Pope says condoms are not the solution to Aids - they make it worse

(Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)

The Pope departing for Africa today - his first trip to the continent

Richard Owen in Rome

The Pope courted further controversy on his first trip to Africa today by declaring that condoms were not a solution to the Aids epidemic – but were instead part of the problem.

In his first public comments on condom use, the pontiff told reporters en route to Cameroon that Aids "is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, and that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems".

Pope Benedict has previously stressed that the Roman Catholic Church is in the forefront of the battle against Aids. The Vatican encourages sexual abstinence to fight the spread of the disease.

After his election as Pope, Benedict described Aids as a "a cruel epidemic which not only kills but seriously threatens the economic and social stability of the continent", but reiterated the Vatican ban on the use of condoms.

He said the "traditional teaching of the Church" on chastity outside marriage and fidelity within it had proved to be "the only sure way of preventing the spread of HIV and Aids".

The Pope, who will also visit Angola, is making his first trip as pontiff to Africa, the continent where the Roman Catholic Church is growing fastest.

Two years ago there was speculation that the Vatican might amend its ban on condoms after Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, the former Archbishop of Milan, said that in couples where one partner had HIV/Aids, the use of condoms was "a lesser evil".

Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan of Mexico, the Vatican Health Minister, also said condoms could sometimes be exceptionally condoned, for example when a married woman was unable to refuse her HIV-positive husband's sexual advances.

"You can defend yourself with any means," he said. A subsequent Vatican study of the issue reiterated the blanket ban on condoms, however.

In 2003 a senior Vatican official claimed condoms had tiny holes in them through which HIV can pass, exposing thousands of people to risk.

The then head of the Vatican Pontifical Council for the Family, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, said: "The Aids virus is roughly 450 times smaller than the spermatozoon. The spermatozoon can easily pass through the 'net' that is formed by the condom."

He added "These margins of uncertainty... should represent an obligation on the part of the health ministries and all these campaigns to act in the same way as they do with regard to cigarettes, which they state to be a danger."

The World Health Organisation responded at the time by saying that "These incorrect statements about condoms and HIV are dangerous when we are facing a global pandemic which has already killed more than 20 million people, and currently affects at least 42 million."

The WHO said that "consistent and correct" condom use reduces the risk of HIV infection by 90 per cent.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bernanke on 60 Minutes; Such Bullshit

Watch CBS Videos Online

Elders of Zion Disband!

The Elders of Zion, the venerable and shadowy Jewish organization that controls the international banking industry, news media and Hollywood, has announced that it is disbanding so that members can retire to Florida and live out their golden years on the golf course. 
"We had a good run," said one senior Elder, reminiscing over old photographs of world leaders in his musty, wood-paneled office at an undisclosed location.  "Maybe we ran the world for just a little too long. Anyway, now it's Obama's problem." 
After a humiliating year left most of its financial holdings, as well as the entire civilized world, on the verge of collapse, the organization has re-defined its mission in terms of bridge games and making it to restaurants for the Early Bird Special. 
The announcement comes after a year in which many of the Elders' most prized institutions suffered disheartening failures. The vaunted global banking system, which lay at the heart of Jewish world domination for almost two centuries, collapsed with astonishing rapidity, requiring trillions of dollars in bailout funds. The newspaper industry, through which the Elders have controlled world opinion, is in shambles, with prominent papers declaring bankruptcy and forcing millions of readers to form their own opinions. And, in the unkindest cut, Hollywood suffered the humiliation of losing the Oscar for Best Picture to Indian film "Slumdog Millionaire". 
The organization's reputation for financial probity had also taken a hit amidst rumours of billions in losses in private Kalooki games against Sheikh Hamad bin Isa of Bahrain. According to inside sources, the organization also lost close to $1 trillion with disgraced investor Bernard Madoff. 
Even before this past year, though, the Elders were facing hard times as they struggled to stay relevant and attract young members. The organization has tried to project a more youthful image, setting up a Facebook page and founding a new "Hipsters of Zion" youth division, which has sponsored a number of singles nights. But youngsters haven't been interested. 
"World domination just doesn't resonate with the younger generation of Jews," said Marvin Tobman, a professor of non-profit management at San Diego State University and expert on Jewish communal life. 'They want the fun of fixing the world, not the responsibility of running it." 
These recent troubles have worried even some of the Elders' sharpest critics.  "I always used to complain that Jews ran the world," said Reginald Weber, author of "Zionists and Zookeepers: The Unholy Alliance." "But now, I'm starting to worry that nobody's in charge."



Monday, March 16, 2009

Not to be Missed: You Are Not An Orphan (Uzbekistan, 1963)

Tuesday, March 24, 4 - 6 pm
Central Asia Program Film Screening
You Are Not An Orphan (Uzbekistan, 1963)
Directed by Shukhrat Abbasov
The film is the story of an Uzbek family who gave shelter to 14 children evacuated to Uzbekistan during World War II while the family's own son was drafted to the front. Children of different nationalities and ages learn to live together in one house - a veritable metaphor for the multi-national country itself. The Makamov family shelters a Russian, an Uzbek, a Jew and Lithuanian a Tatar, a Kazakh, etc. Every child gets into the family by accident but eventually stays on by the decision and the good will of the foster parents who realize that their house is a safe haven for the kids during the complicated times, certainly preferable to the orphanage. The film combines staple patriotic and internationalist ideas of the time with the affirmation of the national mentality of the Uzbek people. The film's director, Shukhrat Abbasov, received the 'Hamza,' a State award of Uzbek SSR. The film was also awarded best screenplay prize at the first All-Union film festival in Leningrad, 1964.
Room 108, North Building, Munk Centre for International Studies (1 Devonshire Place)
Sponsored by the Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies.

Dollar Collapse! Bank Runs! 80's Movie Predicted it! george4title

It gets particularly good after 1:50

From the Onion, Where Else?

Fifth-Grader Writes 'Mrs. Alan Greenspan' All Over Her Notebook

March 28, 2001 | Issue 37•11

INDEPENDENCE, MO–Brianna Kilgore, 11, a fifth-grader at Westlake Elementary School, was observed scribbling "Mrs. Alan Greenspan" an estimated 200 times in her notebook during class Monday. "She was totally writing 'Mrs. Alan Greenspan' and 'Brianna Greenspan' all over her spelling notebook–big and small, in cursive and block letters, everything," said Ashley Taylor, who sits directly behind Kilgore in Mrs. Schukal's class. "Then she took out a pink marker and wrote 'B.K. + A.G.–4EVA' inside a heart." When confronted by Taylor, Kilgore denied being in love with the Fed chair and told her classmate to mind her own beeswax.


Which bring me to my next question: I understand why people listen to Bernanke. I just don't understand why they act on his bullshit.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Yet Another Portent of the Apocalypse

PJ's Pets, purveyors of the finest Saltwater Fish in Town, has closed their Yorkdale Doors.

Doesn't Quite Seem Like the Same Guy Does He?

No Photoshop Here: From The Telegraph (Ceylon)

Quote of the Day and A Portent of the Apocalypse

"We have loaned a huge amount of money to the United States," Wen said at a news conference in Beijing. "Of course, we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I'm a little bit worried. I would like for you [a Western reporter] to call on the United States to honor its word and stay a credible nation and ensure the safety of Chinese assets."

Turning the Other (Ass) Cheek

Another Portent of the Apocalypse

The Bentley/Rolls/Ferrari/Maserati dealership on Avenue Road south of Whole Foods has closed.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another Portent of the Apocalypse

"Jonathan Berger, a professor of music at Stanford, tests his incoming students each year by having them listen to a variety of recordings which use different formats from MP3 to ones of much higher quality, and he reports that each year the preference for music in MP3 format rises. Berger says that young people seemed to prefer 'sizzle sounds' that MP3s bring to music because it is a sound they are familiar with. 'The music examples included both orchestral, jazz and rock music. When I first did this I was expecting to hear preferences for uncompressed audio and expecting to see MP3 (at 128, 160 and 192 bit rates) well below other methods (including a proprietary wavelet-based approach and AAC),' writes Berger. 'To my surprise, in the rock examples the MP3 at 128 was preferred. I repeated the experiment over 6 years and found the preference for MP3 — particularly in music with high energy (cymbal crashes, brass hits, etc) rising over time.' Dale Dougherty writes that the context of the music changes our perception of the sound, particularly when it's so obviously and immediately shared by others. 'All that sizzle is a cultural artifact and a tie that binds us. It's mostly invisible to us but it is something future generations looking back might find curious because these preferences won't be obvious to them.'"

HT: /.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sometimes a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words in 3 Languages

Posted by Picasa

Another Portent of the Apocalypse

In the UK, Starbucks is now giving their coffee away for free as no one now cares to spend two quid on a cup.


Info here.

Beatcha M2!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

From Steve Bell in the Guardian


Unfortunate Quote of the Day

Kant called this historical process 'the euthanasia of the Jews.' (Kant, Conflict of the Faculties VII)

Digging Myself Out of a Hole Unsuccessfully

An academic Faux Pas

Over sherry I was introduced to an economist (whose name I shall leave out).

Trying to be witty, but it was for me a serious question, I asked him, 'Is it now a time for Keynes or Shumpeter?'

He drew himself up like Gandalf castigating Bilbo, 'You're asking the wrong man. I edited Keynes' papers.'

'You must, then, have had to delve very deeply into the Bodleian archives,' I said.

'Keynes went to Cambridge,' he answered, almost curtly.

'Oh, I see,' I replied. Attempting to recover, I asked, 'Is it really true that Keynes kept Trinity College out of debt in perpetuity.'

'No,' he replied. 'And in any event, Keynes was at Kings College, not Trinity.'

(The awful thing is that I knew all these things, or at least did.)

That said, I still think it is a time for Shumpeter and not dear Maynard.

Even This Squid Can Go Limp

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Papa's Got a Brand New Watch


PRESIDENT Obama clearly has a new watch and is fascinated with it, Gordon Brown revealed last night.

It is a really nice one actually
Following his first meeting with the new president Mr Brown said Britain and the United States must work together to create a new age of global stability where everyone can have a watch as nice as that.

The prime minister added: "I was making some very insightful points about Fred Goodwin's pension, but he just kept looking at that watch and I'm thinking, 'gosh, it must be a really good one'.

"Eventually I asked him if I could have a look at it but he said no, it was a special watch they only give to presidents and astronauts and that I might break it.

"I pointed out that I don't break things and that all of my watches have been broken by an extraordinary combination of global circumstances."

The prime minister said it was unfortunate a planned press conference had been cancelled due to 'a pack of Alaskan timber wolves on the White House lawn' but dismissed claims he had been snubbed, adding: "He knew my first name. Does he know your first name? I didn't think so."

Despite the distraction of his new watch Mr Obama did find time to send a series of Twitter messages including, 'oh fuck, why did i agree to this?', 'should have met the french guy instead' and 'note to pentagon - phone me now and pretend it's really important'.

Meanwhile Mr Brown again stressed the British economy is nothing to do with him and published a list of people who were to blame including Alan Milburn, Geoffrey Howe, former Eastender Michelle Gayle and K-9, the robot dog from Doctor Who.

VCR Hack!

Never Mind the Words, Just Listen to the Accents

Sudan Passes Campaign-Finance Reform; You Can't Make this Stuff Up.

Well, you can, actually.

Sudan Passes Campaign-Finance Reform
from The Onion
KHARTOUM, SUDAN—In what is being hailed as a major step toward making presidential contests more fair and equal, the Sudanese legislature approved sweeping campaign-finance reform Monday, passing a bill limiting all candidates to 500,000 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition.