In the current Twitter era, link-blogging has become something of a lost art. But damn do I ever have a lot of tabs open, dating back months. This first instalment mostly full of anger and negativity, sorry ’bout that. But we’ll start out with a beautiful must-read on human genetics.

Who Are We? · I strongly recommend you drop whatever you’re doing and go read J.M. Ledgard’s We Are All Africans Now. It’s beautifully written and, while you may already know this stuff, taught me a whole bunch about the list of ingredients that went into the various modern flavors of Homo sapiens.

Swinging Left · Like many, I was a left-wing radical student who swung toward the center as I aged and had a pretty good business career. But for the last decade or so, I find myself pushed further and further to the left just by what I observe as I look at the world.

To start with, in the context of the modern U.S. political spectrum, conservatives are liars.

Then there’s the fact that the decade or three up to 2005 or so saw an astounding explosion in the productivity of the developed world’s economies. By any objective measure, the increased wealth was gobbled up, almost in its entirety, by those in the top few percentage points of the income scale. You can read all about it in that hotbed of wild-eyed commie radicals, the Financial Times, specifically Ben Funnell’s Debt is capitalism’s dirty little secret.

Not mad enough yet? Get your anger going with The Great American Bubble Machine. One hates to focus in too sharply on one company, but based on what I’ve read in recent months, it would probably be extremely beneficial if the legislatures of the developed world were to adopt a program of passing laws aimed specifically at forbidding whatever it is Goldman Sachs is up to at any given time.
[Update:] Michael Lewis responds wih Bashing Goldman Sachs Is Simply a Game for Fools.

Farm Evil · While I’m raising issues that it’s smart to be mad about, let’s talk about agricultural protectionism, hardly a sexy label but arguably one of the most evil practices in the world today. Back in 2003 I published The Hunger Barrier, which looking back I think is one of my best. It’s not going away, check out Kevin Drum’s Slaves to Farming which says, essentially, just give up.

Barack and Bibi · You might’ve read that the US and Israel are having a little tension-among-friends over Israeli settlements. Such a gentle word “settlement”, and yet such a nasty thing; a project designed to make long-term peace impossible. My favorite Middle East coverage comes from Israel’s Ha’aretz, where the writing is good but the Web site is awful; you can expect to find them hacked or their feeds broken or their Ajax nonfunctional on any given day. Check out Bradley Burston (he has an only-partly-broken RSS feed) and his “Outpost Project”, the first two postings are Obama’s future minefield - and Netanyahu’s and Slapping Obama, or Please God, keep Israel from making peace.

Along these lines, Alun Benn, who’s the editor at large of Ha’aretz, published Why Won’t Obama Talk to Israel? which, while educational about the Israeli zeitgeist, is frankly weird; Mr. Obama could hardly be any clearer or more direct.



Contributions

Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Al Lang (Jul 28 2009, at 02:19)

The Goldman Sachs-bashing is getting tiring. Lacking any real understanding of what happens in the financial system, hack journalists peddle hate-filled tracts that blame all our problems on some group's' moral failings. This year it's bankers. So of course the most conspicuous of bankers must be the super-villians, and if only we stop them, the world will be saved!

Hint: Goldman is not a blood-sucking vampire squid. It's a bank.

Oh, and don't assume the FT is so narrow-minded as to only print stuff they agree with. That's clearly labelled as an opinion piece.

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From: James Robertson (Jul 28 2009, at 05:24)

This is exactly why conversation with people on the left is so hard: you open with "conservatives are liars".

Having branded the political opposition as completely beyond the pale, what's the point of even trying to have a conversation?

Heck, unreasonable idiots exist across the spectrum: trawl the comments at Daily Kos sometime to see what kinds of things swim up from the outer sectors of the left.

If your goal is complete political sameness where "not being left" = "unrepentant liar not worth dealing with" though, understand something: down that road lies fascism, no matter how well intentioned you are. When you demonize and dehumanize a group, it gets pretty easy to start taking away their rights "for the good of the rest of us".

Ask Ezra Levant about it.

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From: Justin Watt (Jul 28 2009, at 09:36)

Trying to imagine leaving tabs open on a web browser for months...

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From: Fabian (Jul 28 2009, at 15:37)

Just read 'The Great American Bubble Machine'. It was bit of an eye opener, I had an idea that Wall st was running things, but never to that extent. The oil & carbon credits thing did however surprise me.

Mite read the Agricultural articles next when I find the courage lol

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From: Tony Fisk (Jul 28 2009, at 20:29)

I haven't got into twitter yet. Possibly because I'm not a great one for small talk (of 150 chars or less)

When talking about the strewn wreckage left by the economic pillagers of late, I find it useful to separate real and worthy conservatives from their retinue of well-adapted predators and parasites: self-servatives.

(Trust me! I'm a figure of authority :D)

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From: Jeff Dickey (Jul 30 2009, at 02:50)

Agreeing with Tony Fisk, above and his 'self-servatives'... the radical ideologues who have subverted the name of 'conservatism' without ever having the slightest respect for its substance have very nearly destroyed capitalism in their greed. Though I tend to agree that capitalism, ideally, is the least bad system yet developed, the distance between those ideals and the realities of practice call for some serious oversight and discussion by the public at large. Doing so would require, unfortunately, not merely access to the same information as the Goldman Sachs of the world, but a complete reboot of the educational, political and cultural stati quo at least comparable to the Enlightenment. And I just don't foresee that happening so long as the legal and human persons benefitting most from how things are continue to control things.

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