Friday, May 27, 2011

The Morning Blog

Sorry I didn't get the chance to post anything yesterday. I had to venture all over the city for tomatoes and copies of keys.

Which I'm sure is the most interesting thing you'll read all day...

Because we had such a relaxing time during our last visit, we'll be returning to an idyllic chalet in scenic Abbottabad. I suppose this is good news given the recent (and justified), spats between the CIA and the Pakistani ISI. If nothing else, it might help the CIA determine who showed up for Bin Laden's sleepover parties.

Meanwhile, Clinton plays nice. While it's certainly possible that nobody in the upper echelons in Pakistan was aware of Bin Laden's residence, I find it hard to believe that somebody at some level didn't know something. I think that if Pakistan is interested in repairing relations with its largest donor, they're going to have to do some very thorough and very public house cleaning.

Words, words, words...Libya's government has called yet again, for a ceasefire. That seems to translate as "Please be polite enough to not shoot at us while we shoot at you". Understandably, it's viewed as less than credible. Interesting quote from the Prime Minister concerning any future role for Qaddafi in Libya:

Mahmoudi said that only Gaddafi would determine his future role. “It is he who decides what the Libyan people want,” he said.

I can imagine it'd be slightly difficult to negotiate with someone like that. In a change of position though, it looks like the Russians are willing to give it a try.

What else are the Russians up to? Putting a moratorium on car inspections. It appears as though the system is simply impossibly corrupt and by taking inspections out of the hands of the police, citizens are expected to save upwards of $1 billion a year in bribes. Insert canned statement about the implicit dangers of overly powerful states here.

Super powered no less!

Speaking of overly powerful states: North Korea will be releasing a US citizen who's been held for the last six months on charges of committing a grave something-or-another. I wonder if this might be related to Kim Jong Ils recent sojourn to China? I can see the Chinese advising him that the best way to build his country into an economic powerhouse is to not be obviously crazy.

Here's another overly powerful state. Malta is the only country in Europe (and one of only two on Earth), that maintains a ban on divorce. Not surprisingly, it's also a country where 30% of the children are born outside of marriage. A vote on ending the ban is pending.

And one last example of an all too powerful state: Zimbabwe remains crappy. To be honest, I'm less surprised that a police sergeant was jailed for daring to use Robert Mugabe's toilet than I am that Zimbabwe actually hosts an international trade fair. What company in it's sane mind would ever invest in a country notorious for asset seizure?

And speaking of bad, bad, bad men...

And speaking of scum...

Sadly, not how Palin will be traveling.
2012 Watch: The magical, mystery tour is coming to take her away. Palin will be traveling via a garishly painted bus through the Northeastern United States. Clearly she's doing everything but formally declaring her candidacy or forming any sort of exploratory committee. I think she's doing it for two reasons: Most obviously, declaring her candidacy would compel Fox News to drop her as a well paid talking head. However, if she's going to remain relevant (and keep that job at Fox), she has to actively and aggressively appear to flirt with the idea of a run. Inevitably what will happen is she'll traipse about New Hampshire, say some laughable things, get some protesters and more importantly, get some publicity. My prediction is that she'll be writing a children's book in the next six months or so.

More 2012 Watch: This is just a terrible idea. I'm not sure if the author paid attention to the last election but after a minor bump in raidings, saddling a moderate with a lunatic did not help the GOP even remotely. It was not seen as unifying or appealing to the political center. It was seen as unforgivably irresponsible. It's like promoting Dr. Jekyl as a physician because he's balanced out by Mr. Hyde.

For the Nerds: Speaking of doctors, here's a ranking of the top ten female assistants to Dr. Who.

Necessity may be the mother of invention but clearly so is taxation. It's inevitable that people would turn to hand-rolled cigarettes in order to bypass the egregious taxes placed on regular cigarettes. The bottom line is that people will go to creative lengths to get what they want, regardless of regulations.


Sea monsters!

I'm proud to say that neither of those two links have anything whatsoever to do with the new "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie.

Interesting study here about how a history of adversity and population density affects the 'looseness' of cultural mores. I'd be intrigued if they could perform the study on an even smaller scale. The findings indicate that adversity and population density lead to nations with tighter standards of behavior. Would that also be applicable to socio-economic groups within a culture? Anyways, it seems as though Ukraine is party central. Let's all go there and take our pants off.

More love and adversity here. What can I tell you about it? It's a video of an interview with a transvestite Mexican wrestler. What are the odds you'll see something like that again?

And more on cultural mores here. Does it surprise anyone that the British have a Journal of Politeness Research? And does it surprise anyone that they would find these things a bit off-putting?

And more science: I find this very neat. Some people really are blind as a bat.

Facebooks Mark Zuckerberg only eats what he kills. This raises a question about the nutritional qualities of MySpace.

Kacee Bait: Life imitates art.

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