Archive for October, 2008

Beautiful Boon for Medecins Sans Frontieres

October 27, 2008




Will Self (I know, I know) Led Me Down a Wiki-Hole

October 24, 2008

The morning of the evacuation promised a perfect day. The sun rose out of a calm and sparkling sea and warmed the impressive cliffs of Oiseval…. Observing tradition the islanders left an open Bible and a small pile of oats in each house, locked all the doors and at 7 a.m. boarded the Harebell… They were reported to have stayed cheerful throughout the operation. But as the long antler of Dun fell back onto the horizon and the familiar outline of the island grew faint, the severing of an ancient tie became a reality and the St Kildans gave way to tears.


Extreme Measures in the Defence of Liberty

October 23, 2008

In the short term defending capitalism means, paradoxically, state intervention. There is a justifiable sense of outrage among voters and business people (and indeed economic liberals) that $2.5 trillion of taxpayers’ money now has to be spent on a highly rewarded industry. But the global bail-out is pragmatic, not ideological. When François Mitterrand nationalised France’s banks in 1981 he did so because he thought the state would run them better. This time governments are buying banks (or shares in them) because they believe, rightly, that public capital is needed to keep credit flowing.

How can one say that the “bail-out is pragmatic, not ideological”? The bail-out is a pragmatic solution to a problem, yes; a problem that stems directly from an ideology that prohibits such solutions. Hence, the paradoxical state intervention to defend capitalism. Why the sudden faith and reliance on pragmatic solutions to economic problems? For God’s sake, where’s Richard Rorty now when we need him most??

Political World

October 21, 2008

Reuters Feature – Iraq’s Christians “sacrificial lambs” as attacks mount

It isn’t the first time that members of Iraq’s Christian community, who number in the hundreds of thousands, have fallen prey to the bloodshed that has convulsed Iraq since 2003.


Earlier this year, Mosul’s ageing Chaldean Archbishop, Paulos Faraj Rahho, was kidnapped. His body was found two weeks later despite pleas from Pope Benedict for his release.


During a visit on Saturday to the al-Saida monastery, where more than 60 Christian families from Mosul have taken refuge, U.S. Brigadier General Tony Thomas, commander in the province, asked church leaders who they believed was behind the attacks.


“I will give you a guarantee: I will crush them. I will crush whoever it is,” the American general said.


The priests refused to assign outright blame.


“I am not a politician. I don’t know what the political agenda is,” said Father Gabriele Tooma, a Chaldean superior in al-Qosh. “We don’t want to be the sacrificial lambs. We don’t want to be fuel for these politicians’ games.”

Manhattan Downtown Music Scene

October 21, 2008
The members of the band Gang Gang Dance never wanted to be a band exactly, let alone a trendy band. Formed around 2000, incubated on the Lower East Side, they were opposed to the new wave of downtown rock having its New York moment at the time.

“We were really grossed out by a lot of the guys in leather jackets walking around Ludlow Street, and the aesthetic of the Strokes representing New York,” said Lizzi Bougatsos, Gang Gang Dance’s lead singer. The group — Josh Diamond, the guitarist; Brian DeGraw, the keyboardist and electronic maestro; and Tim DeWit, the original drummer — saw themselves as experimentalists, building a cult following over the years for their largely improvised shows.

Ms. Bougatsos is ready for the attention. “There’s no such thing as selling out in my mind,” she said, adding that she would love to have her music featured on a TV show soundtrack: “A Jeep commercial, a tampon commercial, anything,” she said. “We’re a band, we make music, and that’s what we want to be known for.”

If not the unapologetic allegiance to capitalism, what exactly about The Strokes’ aesthetic was so gross? The leather jackets?

The Harvard of Antiterrorism

October 20, 2008
“Israel is the Harvard of antiterrorism,” said U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer.
“No experience in my life has had more of an impact on doing my job than going to Israel,” said D.C. police Cmdr. Cathy Lanier. (Lanier is the current chief of DC Police).

After the ocean, after the earth, the sun

October 14, 2008

An aspect often ignored by current culturo-psychic ruminations is that the meaning of the Sun remains indeterminate.

Kudos to the Boston Globe.

The Sun is now in the quietest phase of its 11-year activity cycle, the solar minimum – in fact, it has been unusually quiet this year – with over 200 days so far with no observed sunspots. The solar wind has also dropped to its lowest levels in 50 years. Scientists are unsure of the significance of this unusual calm, but are continually monitoring our closest star with an array of telescopes and satellites.

bestiae et dracones cognoverunt in deserto salvatorem mundi

October 8, 2008

Yesterday I had the pleasure to read an wonderful article in the new New York Book Review of Books titled The Egyptian Connection. I recommend it heartily to all who are interested in the same things that I like, and those keen on the pageantry of paganry and the mist off The Dream of the Rood.

Maurice asks that you eat forever the body:

Like the image of Christ receiving the submission of the beasts, the poem is a celebration of the victorious Christ. Christ the young warrior mounts the cross because he chooses to, and he remains in control. When he is taken down, his men are standing around their fallen chieftain, who lies there “worn out after battle.” Instead of the fear-filled disciples of the gospel, “The Dream of the Rood” reimagines them as brave followers, or comitates, who would follow their Lord to his death. The poem ends with Christ’s liegemen seated at a banquet: paradise reimagined as a sort of semi-Christian Valhalla, a heavenly Anglo-Saxon mead hall “where the people of God are seated at the feast in eternal bliss.”