29 April 2008

Signs of the Apocalypse?

From the studio that brought you the siege of Basra, the John Yoo torture memo, and anti-ballistic missile defense!


I can't wait to start clinging to guns and religion...

So we all know that my adopted "province" (oh, so provincial), Ohio, has a massive and well-deserved inferiority complex, both in comparison with present Others and past Self. Now, my home province, Ontario is poised to join the ranks of the embittered.


27 April 2008

Pot, Meet Kettle

At the end of the latest Washington Post fear-piece on the global food crisis (who knew that it'd been happening since, oh, a few months ago, when we barely noticed it because we still cared about the Democratic nomination contest?) the regular neoliberal platitudes about oh-this-wouldn't-have-been-a-problem-had-the-market-mechanism-been-allowed-to-work are supplemented by an equally predictable jab at those socialist Europeans (and especially the French!):

Perhaps more than any other sector, nations have a visceral desire to protect their farmers, and thusly, their food supply...

Consider, for instance, the French.

The European Union doles out about $41 billion a year in agriculture subsidies, with France getting the biggest share, about $8.2 billion. The 27-nation bloc also has set a target for biofuels to supply 10 percent of transportation fuel needs by 2020 to combat global warming.

The French, whose farmers over the years have become addicted to generous government handouts, argue that agriculture subsidies must be continued and even increased in order to encourage more food production, especially with looming shortages.
All this would feel far less disingenuous coming from, say, the mainstream media of a country that doesn't heavily subsidize its agribusinesses and absurdly promote the production of biofuels. Like, maybe, Iceland?


Pork politics

It's probably the naive liberal cosmopolitan internationalist in me saying this, but let them eat pork. (It's a beautiful thing).


20 April 2008

Doug Finlay, that flapping sound you hear...

...is all 'dem chickens coming home to roost.

Check this out.


John needs to get in on some of this

Shopping with Princeton's Endowment Dollars


17 April 2008

Bush to Pope: "Awesome Speech"

If ever there were an argument for a bit of real elevation - dare I say elitism - in the discourse of this nation's leadership...


14 April 2008

Huckabee seems to be up to something...

This was his actual presidential campaign site.


13 April 2008

The Bitter Bus

It looks like bitter is the new angry. In 2004, Howard Dean wasn't allowed to get hot under the collar. Now, Barack Obama isn't allowed to say that working-class Americans are bitter.

I know that there's more to this media echo-chamber non-story than that, but it's what struck me most immediately upon reading both Obama's comments (and for Pete's sake, Huffington Post - I'm all for citizen journalism, but would you ever see anyone from the right posting stories about John McCain saying poorly phrased things?) and the inevitable, holier-than-thou Clinton response, was that Pollyanna culture is live and well and living in Scranton. Does Hillary Clinton think that laid-off auto-workers are sanguine and satisfied with their lack of jobs, benefits, infrastructure, or prospects? That strikes me as considerably more insulting to the indomitable American spirit than any talk of guns and God.

And speaking of which: surely the key word in Obama's point on that score is "cling." It's clear that Obama doesn't hate people who like God and think God is on their side (didn't we go through that whole "crazed pastor" thing two weeks ago? Wasn't Jeremiah Wright the epitome of bitter? Are black people supposed/allowed/expected to be bitter, but white people under no circumstances can/should be?) It's all about the dangers of making a fetish of one problem or idea or belief at the expense of another - like race, or religion, or the right to leave your revolver around the house. It's about what it's now unfashionable to call a false consciousness.

Deluded? All of us. But never bitter!

GREAT-MINDS-THINK-ALIKE UPDATE: I'm on to something - Bill Kristol is fulminating about Marx in the NYT! Check out his equation of bourgeois America with small-town America - looks like there's no class conflict in the U.S. of A. unless a Republican says so, and gets to radically twist words like "bourgeoisie" out of all recognition!


Natural Habitat

From a Vanity Fair piece on Renzo Piano's Calfornia Academy of Sciences:

In particular, Piano wanted to focus on power efficiency. “As an architect,” he says, “you spend your life thinking about some little obsession you have. One for me has been the obsession to make a building without air-conditioning.”

Through a complex system of weather sensors that tell a central computer what motorized windows to open and close, the entire museum is cooled with untreated outside air. Even the skylights automatically pop open to vent hot air. The undulating roofline doesn’t just look dramatic; it also serves to draw cool air into the open courtyard at the center of the building, naturally ventilating the surrounding exhibit spaces.

An excellent strategy, I assume, for a complex in Northern California that will include "a habitat for penguins."


11 April 2008

Raccoon, stealing doormat

This is, I believe, self-explanatory...


09 April 2008

From the BBC: "Italian opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi has claimed that right-wing female politicians are better looking than their left-wing counterparts."


05 April 2008

Presidente siamo con te!

Yes, it's that time of the average year again... Italian election time.
Time to confront the serious issues facing the peninsula: demographic stagnation, economic contraction, democratic apathy, the Mozarella recall, and that nagging garbage crisis that just doesn't seem to end.

Or we could just listen to this year's battle of the candidate songs. From the country that brought you the non-ironic Parmigiano-Reggiano jingle, there's Forza Italia's "thank goodness for Silvio," and, to the tune of the Village People's YMCA, the Democratic Party's "I'M PD" (which was quickly pulled due to copyright infringement). Enjoy!


04 April 2008


Population (2000 census) of Camden, NJ: 80,089
Homicides so far in 2008 in Camden, NJ: 19
Population (2001 census) of Toronto, ON: 2,481,495
Homicides so far in 2008 in Toronto, ON: 13


Food and Neoliberalism

Dani Rodrik makes an interesting comment on the global rise in food prices and the anticipated impact of future agricultural trade liberalization.



Stephen Harper announces he will not attend the Beijing 2008 opening ceremonies.

It's not what you think; rather, he has tried to decouple his attendance from the Tibet issue, and it's not a protest move.

The best of both worlds. Anger China, given the current sentiments in favor of boycott in the West, possibly provoking retaliation in 2010, and refuse to make a symbolic gesture on behalf of human rights!


02 April 2008

Is that Imperial, or Metric?

It's been commented that my posts to Hoboken Group tend to be both overly long and overly serious. Hopefully this makes at least partial amends.


01 April 2008

Julia Kristeva, eat your heart out!