Sunday, June 21, 2009

Failing and Flying

by Jack Gilbert

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It's the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Stiglitz: America's double-standard on economic crises infuriates the poor world

Nobel-prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz contrasts the American response to its economic crisis with the measures it shoved down the throats of poor countries during their crises, and discusses why rich-world double-standards ("Buy American/European" provisions in bailouts that only discriminate against poor countries) contribute to a global disillusionment in the values that the rich world nominally espouses: democracy, transparency, and so on.
Among critics of American-style capitalism in the Third World, the way that America has responded to the current economic crisis has been the last straw. During the East Asia crisis, just a decade ago, America and the I.M.F. demanded that the affected countries cut their deficits by cutting back expenditures--even if, as in Thailand, this contributed to a resurgence of the aids epidemic, or even if, as in Indonesia, this meant curtailing food subsidies for the starving. America and the I.M.F. forced countries to raise interest rates, in some cases to more than 50 percent. They lectured Indonesia about being tough on its banks--and demanded that the government not bail them out. What a terrible precedent this would set, they said, and what a terrible intervention in the Swiss-clock mechanisms of the free market.

The contrast between the handling of the East Asia crisis and the American crisis is stark and has not gone unnoticed. To pull America out of the hole, we are now witnessing massive increases in spending and massive deficits, even as interest rates have been brought down to zero. Banks are being bailed out right and left. Some of the same officials in Washington who dealt with the East Asia crisis are now managing the response to the American crisis. Why, people in the Third World ask, is the United States administering different medicine to itself?

Many in the developing world still smart from the hectoring they received for so many years: they should adopt American institutions, follow our policies, engage in deregulation, open up their markets to American banks so they could learn "good" banking practices, and (not coincidentally) sell their firms and banks to Americans, especially at fire-sale prices during crises. Yes, Washington said, it will be painful, but in the end you will be better for it. America sent its Treasury secretaries (from both parties) around the planet to spread the word. In the eyes of many throughout the developing world, the revolving door, which allows American financial leaders to move seamlessly from Wall Street to Washington and back to Wall Street, gave them even more credibility; these men seemed to combine the power of money and the power of politics. American financial leaders were correct in believing that what was good for America or the world was good for financial markets, but they were incorrect in thinking the converse, that what was good for Wall Street was good for America and the world.

Wall Street's Toxic Message (via Memex 1.1)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How to Rescue the Mars Rover, by Julian, Age 7

Spirit, the Mars rover, got stuck on
May 9th around a low plateau with thick deposits of sandy soil. When the rover's wheels hit these patches of dirt, the wheel can't grip and just spins.

A 7-year-old kid named Julian suggested a way to get it unstuck, and the drivers were so impressed by it that they’re sending him a reward.

good morning world

Monday, June 08, 2009

Always Give 100% At Work

Depends on Where You're Sitting

Crippled by Indecision? The 10-10-10 Rule.

Making radically changing life decisions can often be a process that often leaves us doubting, sleepless and paralyzed to do anything else.

Should I get a divorce?
Should I quit my job?
Career or full-time motherhood?

In 10-10-10, the namesake book by Suzy Welch, the 10-10-10 rule is proposed to make the process more manageable. When facing to make a difficult choice, ask yourself these questions:

What will be the consequences in 10 minutes?
In 10 months?
In 10 years?

These questions not only reveal the immediate impact of the decision made, but also, if it matters and how it matters in the long term. Here is an except of the article:

Fifteen years ago, she was a sales representative for a pharmaceutical company. She loved the job, and the job loved her. The first in her family to attend college, she was looking forward to a long and successful corporate career. Then came marriage and two children.

My friend tried to keep working, but one day, when she returned from a week on the road, the nanny put her son in her arms, and he didn't recognize her. She quit, telling herself she would go back the minute she could.

That minute never came.

She has three children now, the youngest a baby.
"The other day, I was cleaning the refrigerator and Sammy was crying his head off, and inside I was screaming, "What have I done?"

"10-10-10 reminded me."
Both the 10-minute and 10-year scenarios made her shudder. "Short term, I'm looking at a lot of diapers and spit up," she said, "and long term, I'm seeing a big black hole. Kids gone, but so is my career."

image source
, Link

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Obama Admits US Involvement in 1953 Iran Coup


For the first time, a President of the United States has admitted that Cold War policy was less about spreading freedom and more about protecting corporate hegenomy in the face of decolonization.

In an act of conciliation towards Iran, Obama acknowledged that the CIA engineered the 1953 overthrow of the democratically elected Prime Minister after he ordered the expropriation of his nation’s oil fields from a British corporation. The United States then installed a brutal dictator who used violence and terror to keep Iran open for business.

Of course this is common knowledge. Obama smartly recognizes that such admissions may lesson the distrust most Iranians have of America.

At root, conciliation is simply another strategy to regain some control over Iran’s vast oil fields (the Iraq method won’t be viable for another decade or so). The minions of neo-liberalism are trying to get a foot in the door. Iran would do well to add another dead-bolt.


Do Parents Love Their Kids Equally?

We've often known as kids that our parents play favorites. And while they've constantly denied it, there's always that sibling who is more coddled and showered with fringe benefits.

According to the book No Two Alike, many parents admitted to favoritism:

"In two separate studies, British and American parents of two small children were asked whether they felt more affection for one than the other. More than 50% admitted that they did. The overwhelming majority of these parents - 87% of the mothers and 85% of the fathers in the American study - said they favored the younger child".


Wow. Seventh Level.

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Seventh Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Very Low
Level 2 (Lustful)High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Low
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Very High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Moderate
Level 7 (Violent)Very High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Very High

Take the Dante's Inferno Test