Feb. 3 — 9, 2008

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Ender's Review
of the Web

Web articles of likely interest to individualists found during the preceding week.
 

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Pursuing Liberty

Articles showing the positive influence of action in the pursuit of Liberty.

Why Not Abolish the Fed?

      By Jacob G. Hornberger from The Future of Freedom Foundation

"Both Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek called for the abolition of the Fed during their careers. While Friedman spent much of his life advocating externally imposed constraints on the Fed’s power to expand the money supply, his first wish was to have the Fed abolished, as he pointed out in a 1995 Reason magazine interview. In his book Denationalisation of Money: An Analysis of the Theory and Practise of Concurrent Currencies, Hayek advocated a free-market monetary system of competing currencies."

http://www.fff.org/comment/com0802b.asp

Jim Tusty: The Singing Revolution

      By James Tusty from Reason.tv

"The Singing Revolution documents how the people of Estonia led a peaceful revolt against Soviet oppression, using a centuries-old tradition of folk music and a quadrennial national song festival as a powerful means of subverting Moscow's tyranny. Upon its freedom in 1991 and under the direction of libertarian Prime Minister Mart Laar, Estonia rapidly became one of the most economically and politically free countries in the world."

http://www.reason.tv/video/show/254.html

Appeals court: First Amendment protects forum trolls too

      By Jacqui Cheng from Ars Technica

"Anonymous trolls on the Internet are allowed to remain anonymous, a judge in a California appeals court ruled yesterday. Not only that, but they're allowed to exercise their First Amendment rights and speak their minds, no matter how scathing their comments may be."

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/
20080207-appeals-court-first-amendment-protects-forum-trolls-too.html

U.S. fiscal policy is laying the groundwork for a crisis

      By Haag Sherman from MarketWatch

"Before undertaking yet another dose of fiscal and monetary stimulus, U.S. policymakers should study the current credit crisis and develop a more rational market-based solution."

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/
story.aspx?guid=%7B8EA064D0%2D793E%2D4D25%2D9D21%2D230E553A50CE%7D

Report: Yahoo to Reject Microsoft Bid

      By Betsy Schiffman from Epicenter from Wired.com

"Yahoo is rumored to be toying with the idea reorganizing the company and outsourcing its search-based advertising to Google in an effort to bolster revenue and remain a standalone company. "

http://blog.wired.com/business/2008/02/bits-and-bytes.html

Life in Amerika

Articles depicting the negative impact of politics on the cause of Liberty.

The Torture State's Domestic Face

      By William N. Grigg from Pro Libertate

"Of course, the experiences of Hope Steffey and the three anonymous teenage girls from Canton demonstrate that no hardware is needed to terrorize and traumatize people who shouldn't be behind bars to begin with – people who are completely innocent or charged with non-violent offenses."

http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2008/02/torture-states-domestic-face.html

Because they can (but sometimes it turns ugly)

      By Thomas L. Knapp from KN@PPSTER

"City councils across the country routinely drive [entrepreneurs] out of business for no better reason than that they find enterprise offensive until it gets big enough to pad their !authorita! budgets. They don't think twice about telling homeowners how many holes per square inch their window screens must have, or what colors they may paint their houses (after curtsying and paying a fee for a permit, of course), because they can. They have shiny badges, after all. They won elections, or they won the favor of those who won elections. They aren't going to give up their addiction to unquestioned authority easily. Some of them will give up their lives rather than give up that addiction. And some of them will find takers for that offer when they meet their own Charles Thorntons."

http://knappster.blogspot.com/2008/02/because-they-can-but-sometimes-it-turns.html

A Year of Reckoning

      By Bill Bonner from The Daily Reckoning

"And now, it appears to us that Americans are learning their lesson. They are finally downsizing…cutting back…making do. Soon, we predict, we will read that they are saving more money. 'Thrift' will make a come back."

http://www.dailyreckoning.com/RSS/DR020708sec1.html

The Great Bust of '08

      By Mike Whitney from CounterPunch

"Traffic to the shopping malls has slowed to a crawl. Retail shops had their worst January on record. Homeowners are hoarding their earnings to cover basic expenses and to make up for their lack of personal savings. America's consumer culture is in full-retreat. The slowdown is here." [I have less fear of anarchy than Mr. Whitney, and less trust in state methods, but he offers insight.]

http://www.counterpunch.org/whitney02082008.html

Bloomberg Wants to Get in Your Genes

      By Nat Hentoff from The Village Voice

"What Bloomberg wants to do is take away our Fifth Amendment guarantees of 'due process of law'—the foundation of our system of justice—and our Fourth Amendment protections against 'unreasonable searches and seizures.'Having your fundamental privacy ransacked before you ever get the chance to defend yourself against a criminal charge not only magnifies Giuliani's reckless legacy of imperial executive power in this city, but also sharply reveals Bloomberg as a presidential aspirant who will continue the Bush-Cheney administration's subversion of the Bill of Rights."

http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0806,hentoff,79041,6.html

Ordered Liberty without the State

Some people say it's Anarchy, some say it's not possible. It is an interesting topic.

Super Sunday vs. Super Tues

      By James Leroy Wilson from The Partial Observer

"It's too easy to blame the people, claiming they are too consumed with fantasy football and Britney Spears to pay attention to the more important things in life. But are we to say that politics is more important, and more meaningful, [than] music and games? What kind of dreary existence is that? Indeed, the opposite is the case. Football is more important than politics. Life is for living, it is to be enjoyed. We were not born to sacrifice our minds, souls, and bodies to the State."

http://www.partialobserver.com/article.cfm?id=2818

Anarchism and corporate owners…

      By Francois Tremblay from Check Your Premises

"As Anarchists, we have to ... realize that corporations are part of the State. They receive stolen money, stolen land, the favour of new laws designed to crush their smaller competition, corrupt contracts and war profiteering, and all sorts of other advantages. They are part of the system of exploitation of the working class."

http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/2008/02/04/anarchism-and-corporate-owners/

Ed Versus the State

      By Garry Reed from River Cities' Reader

"Ed was just minding his own business. According to an article in the News & Advance of Lynchburg, Virginia, Ed wasn't harming anyone, or threatening to harm anyone, or defrauding anyone. But that didn't stop the state of Virginia from charging Ed with misdemeanors and felonies and booking him into the crowbar motel sans bail. What Ed is guilty of is failure to abide by some rules that the rules-makers made. "

http://www.rcreader.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12533&Itemid=42

The Error of Vulgar Libertarianism

      By Orenazt from YouTube

"This video explains the tendency among libertarians to mix up the free market and actually-existing capitalism...."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAl6fMfuTxA

Travel

      By Jim Davies from Strike The Root

"Thomas Sowell's masterpiece Migrations and Cultures documents many of the more recent movements of populations in search of freedom and opportunity. One of the obscenities of recent governments was to have put obstacles in the way of further patterns of such travel, at the very time that technology had so dramatically reduced its cost--all the more obscenely on the part of American ones, given that in this country, uniquely, some from each of those ethnic groups have come together again for the very same reasons their ancestors originally separated. "

http://www.strike-the-root.com/81/davies/davies6.html

Spreading Decentralism

Articles demonstrating an increase in the dispersal of power.

The Regionalist: The Man Who Was Rochester

      By Bill Kauffman from First Principles

"My late friend Henry W. Clune, who died in October 1995, having long outlived his friends and most of his friends’ children, would be in his 118th year, and if I’m going to write a column titled 'The Regionalist,' I had best start with Henry, for no novelist has ever embodied his place as Henry did Rochester, New York."

http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/articles.aspx?article=100&theme=home&loc=b

Students tout WiFi co-ops as alternative to municipal WiFi

      By David Chartier from Ars Technica

"[A] new proposal from students at MIT and the University of Cambridge could turn things around eventually. Dubbed 'wireless cooperative,' the proposal is based on the fact that many urban areas are already peppered with plenty of personal and business hotspots—they just need some finessing to go municipal."

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/
20080206-students-tout-wifi-co-ops-as-alternative-to-municipal-wifi.html

OPEC May Drop Dollar for Euro

      By Randy from SafeHaven.com

"The possibility that OPEC would make an active decision to price oil barrels in a currency other than the dollar has been bandied about, but never spoken of by anyone with any real power. That changed today, after OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri was quoted in the Middle East Economic Digest, saying 'maybe we can price the oil in the euro'."

http://www.safehaven.com/article-9430.htm

Gartner: Most commercial apps to embed open source by '12

      By Matt Asay from The Open Road - CNET Blogs

"Gartner doesn't speculate on how much open-source vendors will make or anything like that. Rather, Gartner talks about how much open-source code will make it into those bastions of proprietary, so-called 'commercial software'...."

http://blogs.cnet.com/8301-13505_1-9863802-16.html

Net Neutrality's not anti-property, it's about our property

      By Ken Fisher from Ars Technica

"The rhetoric of property is apropos here, in the way that carriers can sometimes treat their subscribers like they own them. Compare your cell phone service to your cable TV service. Both are, ultimately, powering expensive pieces of technology you own, but taking your television to another cable company is magnitudes easier than taking your cell phone to another carrier."

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080203-net-neutralitys-not-anti-property-its-about-our-property.html

The New World Hegemon

Depictions of the coming Imperial power

Does the Republican Party Have Aces Up Its Sleeves?

      By Paul Craig Roberts from CounterPunch

"What could the plan be? They can steal the election with the Diebold electronic voting machines and proprietary software that no one is allowed to check. There are now enough elections on record with significant divergences between exit polls and vote tallies that a stolen election can be explained away. ... Or what about a well-timed orchestrated 'terrorist attack' to drive fearful Americans to the war candidate. False flag events are stock-in-trade."

http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts02082008.html

The Illusion of Competence

      By Fred Reed from Fred On Everything

"How can such incontinently funded agencies of very smart people accomplish so little? I can guess. Americans love technology, at which they are very good. The spookies confuse phenomenally advanced technology for the gathering of data with knowing what to do with it once they have it. They then try to analyze it for those who are supposed to pay attention to it, but won’t unless it fits their preconceptions. Too many geeks, too few feet on the ground."

http://fredoneverything.net/IllusionofCompetence.shtml

The FBI Deputizes Business

      By Matthew Rothschild from The Progressive

"One business owner in the United States tells me that InfraGard members are being advised on how to prepare for a martial law situation—and what their role might be. ... Christine Moerke is a business continuity consultant for Alliant Energy in Madison, Wisconsin. She says she’s an InfraGard member, and she confirms that she has attended InfraGard meetings that went into the details about what kind of civil patrol function—including engaging in lethal force—that InfraGard members may be called upon to perform."

http://www.progressive.org/mag_rothschild0308

The Cable-Cutter Mystery

      By Justin Raimondo from AntiWar.com

"Given the context in which these cable cuts are occurring – heightened tensions in the region, and not only with Iran – I think it is probable that they are deliberate, and that the diversion of internet traffic for purposes of eavesdropping is clearly the intent. After all, ask yourself this question: which is more plausible, an 'accidental' cutting of four cables in one week in an area of the world which is the current focus of US military and diplomatic efforts, or [an alternate] scenario.... "

http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=12329

The Surveillance Scam

      By Timothy B. Lee from Reason

"[T]he powers Congress granted last summer are far broader those sought by the Clinton administration in 1996. The 'roving wiretaps' Clinton requested in 1996 and finally received in 1998 merely allowed investigators to obtain a single warrant to bug multiple phones used by a specific individual. In contrast, the Protect America Act completely eliminates the warrant requirement for surveillance 'concerning persons reasonably believed to be outside of the United States'—even if one party to a call is an American citizen and the wiretap occurs on American soil."

http://www.reason.com/news/show/124733.html

Politics by Other Means

War, rumors of war, and politicians fomenting war.

The Chicken Doves

      By Matt Taibbi from Rolling Stone

"The story of how the Democrats finally betrayed the voters who handed them both houses of Congress a year ago is a depressing preview of what's to come if they win the White House. ... Capitalizing on America's desire to end the war, they hijacked the anti-war movement itself, filling the ranks of peace groups with loyal party hacks."

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/18349197/the_chicken_doves

The Winter of Our Discontent: Election season, 2008

      By Justin Raimondo from AntiWar.com

"One can almost feel the resentment, disappointment, and building anger that will rise up and smite the Democrats if and when this occurs. The whole process then becomes a metaphor for the cause of widespread voter alienation – the rise of a permanently-entrenched political class in America, similar to that which once wielded power in the former Soviet Union. ... As Lew Rockwell trenchantly put it, the GOP is the party of what he calls 'red-state fascism' – an openly authoritarian and militaristic tendency in American politics promoted by neoconservative intellectuals and their political camp followers, which has led the Republican party to its present parlous state."

http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=12322

The Goal Is Freedom: The Crazy Arithmetic of Voting

      By Sheldon Richman from Foundation for Economic Education

" In the political season we are told over and over that 'every vote counts.' Great sums of money are spent to get out the vote. It is an unquestioned article of faith that the more voters who participate the better. Low turnout is considered a tragedy, record turnouts a reason for declaring a national holiday. Why? What is it about voting that sends people into rhapsody? On its face voting doesn't seem to be a good way for individuals to get precisely what they want. It's more like going to a supermarket and choosing between two shopping carts, each pre-loaded with a different array of goods. "

http://www.fee.org/in_brief/default.asp?id=1871

McCain Madness

      By Chuck Baldwin from NewsWithViews.com

"Make no mistake about it: the establishment wants one of its own to succeed George Bush. In order for that to happen, they must manipulate the primaries to ensure that, no matter who wins in November, one of their fellow elitists will still wield power in Washington, D.C. On the Democratic side, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama fit the bill. And on the Republican side, John McCain is the ultimate insider. ... Pat Buchanan said recently, 'John McCain will make Dick Cheney look like Gandhi.' Buchanan is right on with that prediction." [I do not feel as well-disposed toward the CP, but he nails McCain very well.]

http://www.newswithviews.com/baldwin/baldwin426.htm

Hillary's Curious Campaign Loan

      By Nat Parry from Consortiumnews.com

"Now, with Hillary Clinton emulating Rove’s fundraising machine, some campaign reformers wonder if similar favors are in store for her biggest bundlers. Some point out that her level of disclosure of bundlers does not even meet the low standard set by George W. Bush in 2004. ... With her campaign emulating strategies pioneered by Karl Rove, the question arises as to why Americans should expect a break from the cronyism and corruption that have defined the Bush administration."

http://www.consortiumnews.com/2008/020808.html

Spontaneous Order

Articles showing decentralized successes.

Capitalist brotherhood - Kiva.org

      By Lila Rajiva from The Mind-Body Politic

"Each time a Kiva borrower makes a payment, the lenders with a stake in the business receive an e-mailed update with the percentage repaid. The lenders receive their principal back after the loan is fully repaid. The interest charged by the participating 'field partner' banks that actually extend the loans, which can be 15 to 20 percent or more, accrues to Kiva to keep the organization operating. "

http://mindbodypolitic.com/?p=667

Profit's No Longer a Dirty Word: The Transformation of India

      By Amit Varma from Library of Economics and Liberty

"'Free' India's early leaders distrusted profit and free enterprise. They fought long, courageous battles to gain political freedom for their countrymen, but did not have quite the same respect for economic freedom. India's history of colonialism was one reason for this. Trade brought imperialism to India. First, the East India Company arrived, ostensibly as peaceful traders. Then, with just a flip of the page in a book of history, the British took over. After a long and bloody freedom struggle, who could blame Indians for being distrustful of trade? "

http://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/y2008/Varmaprofit.html

Reviving OS/2's best in the Linux desktop

      By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols from DesktopLinux.com

"IBM, I'm told by developers who should know, still has all of SOM's source code and it all belongs to IBM. It's because IBM doesn't have all the code for OS/2 and some of it belongs to Microsoft that IBM open-sourcing OS/2 has proven to be a futile hope. Of course, many of you are asking, 'SOM, What's the heck is SOM?' I'll tell you. "

http://desktoplinux.com/news/NS7822082064.html

Sovereign Wealth Follies

      By Samuel Gregg from Acton Institute

"All those petrol-dollars are now providing much-needed capital to Western economies. It’s a demonstration of how free markets enable capital to move from countries with excess savings to those economies that need it. This is surely preferable to central banks printing more money or governments borrowing capital, running deficits, and/or raising taxes. It also suggests that many developing nations are turning away from squandering their wealth on vain monuments, petty wars, and highways that lead nowhere. Moreover, the same nations are acquiring a stake in North America and Western Europe’s economic well-being. As the French social philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville observed over 150 years ago, the prevalence of trade and free exchange across often very different cultures increases the chances of lasting peace."

http://www.acton.org/commentary/429_sovereign_wealth_follies.php

MS, Google and Other Big Names Throw Their Weight Behind OpenID (And That's a Good Thing)

      By Scott Gilbertson from Compiler from Wired.com

"That most OpenID providers offer a username/password combo to log in and approve identity requests is a shortcoming of the providers, not OpenID itself — the providers could go as far as implementing login through fingerprints if they wanted to offer something more secure. The point is that how you authorize a site to access your identity has nothing to do with how OpenID works."

http://blog.wired.com/monkeybites/2008/02/the-webs-bigges.html

Nonspontaneous Disorder

Articles showing centrally planned disasters.

The Real Scandal: How Feds Invited the Mortgage Mess

      By Stan J. Liebowitz from The Independent Institute

"Perhaps the greatest scandal of the mortgage crisis is that it is a direct result of an intentional loosening of underwriting standards—done in the name of ending discrimination, despite warnings that it could lead to wide-scale defaults. At the crisis’ core are loans that were made with virtually nonexistent underwriting standards—no verification of income or assets; little consideration of the applicant’s ability to make payments; no down payment. Most people instinctively understand that such loans are likely to be unsound. But how did the heavily-regulated banking industry end up able to engage in such foolishness?"

http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=2114

Credit Crisis: Precursor of Great Inflation

      By Thorsten Polleit from Ludwig von Mises Institute

"The so-called 'credit crisis' is gaining momentum. Investors increasingly question the solidity of the banking system, as evidenced by banks' tumbling stock prices and rising funding costs. With bank credit supply expected to tighten, the profit outlook for the corporate sector, which has benefited greatly from 'easy credit' conditions, deteriorates, pushing firms' market valuations lower. In fact, peoples' optimism has given way to fears of job losses and recession on a global scale."

http://www.mises.org/story/2863

FDA's Assault of Bioidentical Hormones Demonstrates Pro-Pharma Loyalties, Disregard for Consumer Choice

      By Mike Adams from Natural News Network

"When the FDA attacked herbs and vitamins, most doctors didn't mind. When the FDA conducted armed raids on vitamin manufacturers and herbal formulators, conventional doctors and pharmacists said nothing. But when the FDA continued its march of nutritional censorship into the realm of bioidentical hormones, they awoke a sleeping giant. The medical community is now aware that nobody is safe from the FDA, regardless of the scientific merit backing your product or therapy."

http://www.naturalnews.com/022595.html

Financial Setbacks

      By Bill Bonner from The Daily Reckoning

"A free economy, as opposed to a controlled, centrally planned Soviet-style economy, is one in which prices are set by free markets. But the feds insist on controlling the most important price of all - the price of money. They control both the quantity of money, thereby indirectly influencing the value of it; they control banking rules, which make credit relatively harder or easier to get; and they control the rate at which the central banks lends to its members, thereby setting the foundations for the whole credit structure."

http://www.dailyreckoning.com/RSS/DR020508sec1.html

Biofuels make climate change worse, scientific study concludes

      By Steve Connor from independent.co.uk

"Growing crops to make biofuels results in vast amounts of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere and does nothing to stop climate change or global warming, according to the first thorough scientific audit of a biofuel's carbon budget."

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/
biofuels-make-climate-change-worse-scientific-study-concludes-779811.html

War Is The Health Of The State

War is the ultimate State intervention in society.

Iran’s Oil Bourse could Topple the Dollar

      By Mike Whitney from Dissident Voice

"Sometimes personal visits are important; especially when the nature of the information is so sensitive that it has to be delivered face to face. In this case, Bush went to the trouble of traveling half-way around the world so he could tell the Saudis and their friends in the Gulf States that they were going to continue linking their oil to the dollar or they were going to 'sleep with the fishes'."

http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2008/02/irans-oil-bourse-could-topple-the-dollar/

Innocent flesh

      By Ron Jacobs from CounterPunch

"High schools across the nation include JROTC as a standard course. In some schools it replaces physical education. The course is about physical education but it is also about regimentation and indoctrination. Boys and girls in the course do not use guns except when they carry fake ones in drill. They do, however, get indoctrinated in the military doctrine and nationalistic propaganda. Meanwhile, the US military has total access to young people's phone numbers and school records. ... The culture of militarism is pervasive and it is heavily geared toward young people between the ages of twelve and twenty."

http://counterpunch.com/jacobs02072008.html

Randy Barnett’s Wrong-Headed Defense of the Iraq War

      By Jacob G. Hornberger from The Future of Freedom Foundation

"The fact is that the U.S. government was going to effect regime change in Iraq, come hell or high water. That was the point behind encouraging uprisings against Saddam after the Persian Gulf War, the brutal sanctions, the no-fly zones, and ultimately the invasion of Iraq. ... President Bush’s invasion of Iraq was never about self-defense, spreading democracy, or the welfare of the Iraqi people. The invasion was about regime change, pure and simple. "

http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0710a.asp

The Brainwashed as Cannon-Fodder

      By Bob Wallace from UncleBob's Treehouse

"In short, a mere handful of people have conned millions of people that they, that small handful, are the nation. And mass man, brainwashed sheeple that they are, have marched off to war, become cannon-fodder, and died by the hundreds of thousands. Not for their families, not for their friends, not for their nation....for a handful of people who have grabbed control of the federal apparatus."

http://uncabob.blogspot.com/2008/02/brainwashed-as-cannon-fodder.html

Media Language and War: Manufacturing Convenient Realities

      By Ramzy Baroud from Global Research

"While most US politicians are self-seeking, power hungry and would do whatever it takes to be elected, the average American, unlike what it may seem, is not born ‘pro-Israel’, and ‘anti-Palestinian.’ Most Americans are pro the manufactured, yet misleading image of Israel that reaches their homes through television, wait at their doorsteps in the morning and is beamed to them through the web. Israel has mastery over the language of the Western media, which, again, helped create a paralleled universe that has little relation to reality. That alternative universe only exist on the pages of New York Times, the images of CNN, and the blabber of Fox News ‘experts’. According to that narrative, Palestinians, are, like the Iraqi women suicide bombers, ‘demonic’, ‘mad’, ‘extremist’, ‘irrational’, self hating, and all the rest."

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=BAR20080209&articleId=8043

Bits of History

The Past seen with a fresh look.

The Traditionalist Counterculture

      By Jesse Walker from First Principles

"It’s not as though the original Summer of Love was devoid of right-wingers. It’s just that, at a time when the Right was usually divided into 'libertarian' and 'traditionalist' tribes, it was the libertarians who were prone to wear their hair long and don beads. You didn’t have to be a hippie to be a libertarian, of course, but if you were a hippie, you were much more likely to be a lib than a trad."

http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/articles.aspx?article=31

Open-Source Movement Turns 10

      By Peter Galli from eWEEK

"This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of the publication of the 'Open Source Definition' and the public announcement of the formation of the Open Source Initiative. The decade has been marked both by enormous achievements and serious setbacks."

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Linux-and-Open-Source/Open-Source-Movement-Turns-10/

Was the Civil War a Terrible Mistake?

      By Jim Powell from Cato Institute

"Various ideas for helping the former slaves achieve independence, like giving each slave 40 acres and a mule, were pipe dreams precisely because of the Civil War. It made angry Southerners even more determined than they had been before to suppress blacks. By going home, Northerners turned their backs on the mess they had made by promoting war."

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=9137

Panama: Does Geography Matter?

      By Ibsen Martinez from Library of Economics and Liberty

"Panama's greatest economic asset always was the privileged geographic peculiarity that shaped its history ever since the 16th century when, suddenly, as a result of Spanish conquests in the New World, the Panamanian isthmus became significant to a newly born global trade."

http://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/y2008/MartinezPanama.html

Feb. 6, 1958: Size Matters, Especially in Electronics

      By Tony Long from Wired

"1958: Jack Kilby, an engineer with Texas Instruments, files the first patent for a solid integrated circuit, ancestor of the modern silicon chip. The integrated circuit effectively replaced the vacuum tube and, eventually, individual transistors, by being far more efficient and also cheaper to mass-produce. "

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/02/dayintech_0206

War and Peace

Articles showing the nature of War.

Military Spending / GDP = Nonsense for Budget Policy Making

      By Robert Higgs from LewRockwell.com

" If the national economy produces more hamburgers and computer software next year, these economic developments in no way imply that more money should then be spent for defense. If the threats remain the same and the costs of acquiring defense goods and services remain the same, then the defense budget can remain fixed in amount and still serve its proper purpose. Notice, however, that if the GDP continues to grow, this adequate, fixed-amount, military budget will constitute a smaller fraction of GDP."

http://www.lewrockwell.com/higgs/higgs74.html

Die and Win

      By William S. Lind from AntiWar.com

"Saddam was neither a wildly popular nor a particularly secure dictator. Few Iraqis saw him as the father of their country, the way many Chinese saw Mao or many Cubans look on Castro. The Kurds hated him, the Shi'ites hated him, and he had to hide behind elaborate security measures even among Iraqi Sunnis. If Saddam can take the risks associated with preparing for guerrilla warfare, including spreading arms thickly all over the country and devolving much power of command downward, so can almost anyone."

http://www.antiwar.com/lind/?articleid=12309

Iraq's Tragic Future

      By Scott Ritter from Truthdig.com

"The collective refusal of any constituent in this complicated mix of political players to confront Bush on Iraq virtually guarantees that it will be the Bush administration, and not its successor, that will dictate the first year (or more) of policy in Iraq for the next president. It also ensures that the debacle that is the Bush administration’s overarching Middle East policy of regional transformation and regime change in not only Iraq but Iran and Syria will continue to go unchallenged."

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20080205_iraqs_tragic_future/

Offer Pakistan Can't Refuse

      By Eric Margolis from EricMargolis.com

"Could we be witnessing the beginning of yet another calamitous US foreign misadventure? Last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates stated the US is `willing’ to send a `small number’ of US combat troops to Pakistan to fight the spreading insurgency in its Pashtun tribal areas."

http://www.ericmargolis.com/archives/2008/02/offera_pakistan.php

A Pre-Election Attack on Iran Remains a Possibility

      By Leon T. Hadar from Cato Institute

"So here are some of the questions American journalists could be asking the likely Democratic and Republican presidential nominees: ... Q. Under what circumstances can President Bush count on your support if he decides to strike Iran before the election in November? Under what circumstances would he not have your support?"

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=9138

Great Individuals In History

Some people stand out from the crowd.

Blacksmith/Entrepreneur -- John Deere : Feb. 7, 1804

       from Deere & Company

"The new pioneer farmers struggled to turn heavy, sticky prairie soil with cast iron plows designed for the light, sandy soil of New England. John Deere was convinced that a plow that was highly polished and properly shaped could scour itself as it cut furrows. In 1837, he created such a plow, using a broken saw blade. By 1841, Deere was producing 100 of the plows annually. "

http://www.deere.com/en_US/compinfo/student/JohnDeerebio.html

Artist/Illustrator -- Norman Rockwell : Feb. 3, 1894

       from Norman Rockwell Museum

"In 1916, the 22-year-old Rockwell painted his first cover for The Saturday Evening Post, the magazine considered by Rockwell to be the 'greatest show window in America.' Over the next 47 years, another 321 Rockwell covers would appear on the cover of the Post. "

http://www.nrm.org/page37

Musician -- Lil Hardin : Feb. 3, 1898

       from YouTube

"'Safely Locked Up in my Heart' was recorded in 1938 in New York. Lil was Louis Armstrong's second wife...." [The video tells more of her bio in text, over one of her best known songs.]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jG-PhJVmn7E

Actor -- John Carradine : Feb.5, 1906

      By Jim Beaver from IMDb

"Extremely prolific movie character actor, while simultaneously maintaining a stage career in classic leading roles such as Hamlet and Malvolio. Typed in later years as horror star."

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001017/bio

Writer/Icon -- Neal Cassady : Feb. 8, 1926

      By Levi Asher from The American Museum of Beat Art

"[H]e and Kerouac began the series of cross-country adventures that would later become 'On The Road'. They raced aimlessly across the U.S.A. and Mexico, with Cassady setting the agenda. Kerouac began writing about their adventures even as they were taking place, but he could not find a style that fit the content, and put the project away in frustration. He picked the project up again later, after a series of letters from Cassady gave Kerouac the idea to write the book the way Cassady talked, in a rush of mad ecstasy, without self-consciousness or mental hesitation. It worked: 'On The Road' became a sensation by capturing Cassady's voice. "

http://www.beatmuseum.org/cassady/NealCassady.html

Culcha'

Books, Movies, TV, Media, Music, poetry, etc.

Patron of the Arts

      By Russell Madden from Atlas Magazine

"With the desperation of a drowning swimmer, Alicia Rickhoff fluttered open her eyes. Her arched fingers clawed at the vestiges of the nightmare evaporating from her awareness. Half-sobbing, she shied from focus on the dark images rapidly retreating towards her subconscious. Anxiously, she rolled onto her left side, groping blindly for the reassurance of her husband’s hand. Emptiness met her frantic grasping."

http://www.russellmadden.com/patron_of_the_arts.html

Firefly Novel from Steven Brust is Action-Packed and Fun

      Reviewed by Annalee Newitz from io9

"Firefly fans and the Browncoats at Whedonesque are rejoicing this week because they have a free ebook set in the Firefly universe from author Steven Brust. Yes, My Own Kind of Freedom is today's lunchtime reading (and, depending on how quickly you read, possibly tomorrow's and the next day's too)."

http://io9.com/353893/firefly-novel-from-steven-brust-is-action+packed-and-fun

Breaking into the Spell: An interview with Ursula K. Le Guin

      Interviewed by Alexander Chee from Guernica Magazine

"It’s fair to say Ursula K. Le Guin has become, to her readers, something of a mythic oracular figure, like those that appear with some frequency in her novels, stories, essays and poems. But in a one-on-one exchange, she reveals herself to be more like the quietly sensible ones also present in her work: impatient with cant or slow-mindedness, funny and a little sly about herself."

http://www.guernicamag.com/interviews/505/breaking_into_the_spell/

Juno Review

      Reviewed by Chris Tilly from IGN » Entertainment » Movies » Reviews

"A touching tale of teen pregnancy, the film has struck box office gold in the States, been nominated for a multitude of awards, and launched screenwriter Diablo Cody, director Jason Reitman and star Ellen Page into the cinematic stratosphere. Not bad for a low-budget comedy about a largely taboo subject with little in the way of star power."

http://movies.ign.com/articles/849/849968p1.html

The Mogambo 'Big Budget' Movie Review

      Reviewed by The Mogambo Guru (Richard Daughty) from The Daily Reckoning

"To show you how much debts are rising and how much government spending is rising, I present a part of an advertisement for the new movie from Agora Financial, I.O.U.S.A., which just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, a snooty little enclave of movie snots that always rejected my entry, which is a cinematic tour de force where The Mogambo contemplates his navel, as per the rest of the introspective genre, but who finds some lint in there! "

http://www.dailyreckoning.com/Writers/Mogambo/DREssays/MG020608.html

The lighter side

Humor, satire, cartoons, parodies, food, popular music and other things to amuse.

Basic Budget Training

      By Mark Fiore from Mark Fiore's Animated Cartoon Site

Animated flash cartoon [video w/audio]

http://www.markfiore.com/basic_budget_training_0

Better Know A Lobbyist Pt. 1

      By Stephen Colbert from The Colbert Report

"Joe Solmonese , lobbyist for the Human Right[s] Campaign, explains why he is not gay for Huckabee." [For more insanity try Part Two.]

http://www.comedycentral.com/motherload/player.jhtml?ml_video=156067

Hillary Sells Own Tears on eBay

      By Andy Borowitz from Borowitz Report

"After lending her campaign $5 million of her own money prior to the Super Tuesday primaries, Mrs. Clinton’s resources were reportedly tapped out, leading her to auction off vials of her own tears with a suggested opening bid of $10,000."

http://www.borowitzreport.com/archive_rpt.asp?rec=6831

Golden Prices from Decreased Production

      By The Mogambo Guru (Richard Daughty) from The Daily Reckoning

"To those who own gold, or plan to own gold before things get kicked into high gear, this means, 'Wheee! Now I will be rich enough to pack my stuff and get the hell out of this sleepy little burg, out to someplace where the right to make creepy, lewd suggestions to cute Hollywood starlets is still in the Constitution!' "

http://www.dailyreckoning.com/Writers/Mogambo/DREssays/MG020508.html

Headline of the year?

      By Mark Liberman from Language Log

"It's only February 6, but Martyn Cornell believes that he's found the headline of the year. Although it's an AP story, the headline seems to be uniquely Fox. "

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/005369.html

Deep Thought

Scientific and scholarly studies, philosophical essays, in-depth and longer articles

The omnivore's next dilemma: Michael Pollan on TED.com

      Talk by Michael Pollan from TED Blog

"What if human consciousness isn't the end-all and be-all of Darwinism? What if we are all just pawns in corn's clever strategy game, the ultimate prize of which is world domination?"

http://blog.ted.com/2008/02/michael_pollan.php

Linus Torvalds - Part II

      Interviewed by Jim Zemlin from The Linux Foundation

"Linus Torvalds: Patents are nasty. It’s kind of hard to really say a lot more than the fact that patents on ideas in general are a huge mistake and the whole notion that you can have patents, business models and software is pretty broken to begin with. And at least in the EU so far they’ve been able to fight that whole notion of patenting software. In the U.S., I think there are certainly more than just open source people who are realizing that software patents are a huge mistake." [Last month offered Part One.]

http://linux-foundation.org/weblogs/openvoices/linus-torvalds-part-ii/

Inflation - or Death!

      By Bill Bonner from The Daily Reckoning

"Saving money, self-discipline, forbearance - they're all virtues because they paid off in the past. Not every year…not in every trend…but, generally, over the long run they pay off. They will be virtues again because they will pay off again. Wasting money…spending recklessly…and going into debt will soon be seen as social gaffes…as errors…and as bad taste."

http://www.dailyreckoning.com/RSS/DR020808sec1.html

The Natural History of the Only Child

      By Carl Zimmer from Wired

"Modern life means small families. Starting about two centuries ago, families in Western Europe began to shrink, and then -- country by country, continent by continent -- the rest of the world followed suit. The trend is so big that it may rein in the world population's exponential growth, perhaps even causing it to stop growing altogether over the next century."

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/commentary/dissection/2008/02/dissection_0208

Why your grandma doesn't run desktop Linux

      By Matt Asay from The Open Road - CNET Blogs

"[Desktop computing is] supposed to lower the bar to getting things done, not raise the bar for the sake of ideology. There are exceptional open-source programs for the desktop that run just fine on the Mac or on Windows...." [One step at a time usually works better than changing everything at once.]

http://blogs.cnet.com/8301-13505_1-9867494-16.html

Miscellany

Articles not easily classified

That’s Egregious!

      By Marina from HotForWords.com

"A word that should mean the opposite of what it means!"

http://www.hotforwords.com/2008/02/05/thats-egregious/

Living Large

      By Drew Carey from Reason.tv

"To hear the Lou Dobbses and Bill O'Reillys of the world--not to mention politicians ranging from Ron Paul to Hillary Clinton--the middle class of America (however you define that term) has never had it so tough. Between credit squeezes, out-of-control immigration, rising costs of education and health care and everything else, it's all darkness out there for those of us who are neither millionaires nor welfare cases, right?" [Recession may change this outlook somewhat over the near term.]

http://www.reason.tv/video/show/61.html

Torvalds: Microsoft is bluffing on patents

      By Chris Kanaracus from Network World

"[T]hey're perfectly happy to use anything at all as fear, uncertainty and doubt in the marketplace, and patents is just one thing where they say, 'Hey, isn't this convenient? We can use this as a PR force'."

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/020408-torvalds-microsoft-is-bluffing-on.html

Startup Plans to Solve Online Identity Theft, But Does Anyone Care?

      By Alexander Gelfand from Wired

"Imagine you could prove you were 21 without revealing your date of birth -- or anything else about you, for that matter. Or qualify for a loan without disclosing your net worth. Or enjoy the benefits of e-commerce, e-health and e-government without a moment's fear that you are open to identity theft. Sound impossible? It is. But it won’t be if cryptographer and entrepreneur Stefan Brands has his way. "

http://www.wired.com/politics/security/news/2008/02/credentica

Microsoft - Yahoo Merger

      By Matt Heaton from mattheaton.com

"Microsoft believes whole heartily that the ONLY reason that it isn’t where Google is now is because they were late to the game. They sincerely believe that if they started focusing on search a few years earlier that they would be where Google is now. [That's] the problem. They don’t understand that when users truly have choice that Microsoft products rarely win. Microsoft does well because of the closed nature of its business."

http://mattheaton.com/?p=121

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