Well, I think the U.S. aid is nice for the Egyptian elite to have. I don’t think...– Juan Cole, answering a question about the more than $2 billion of U.S. foreign aid sent to Egypt.
The Price of Everything →
In his new book The Price of Everything: Solving the Mystery of Why We Pay What We Do (2010, Portfolio), [Eduardo] Porter explores the surprising ways prices affect every aspect of our lives, including where we live, who we marry, how many kids we have, and even how religious we are.” Here is the introduction to Porter’s book. If the whole book is as interesting as the intro, it...
No one will sell sodium thiopental to American... →
American states are unable to execute their prisoners by lethal injection, thanks to an end to US production of sodium thiopental. Foreign health authorities prohibit selling sodium thiopental if it is to be used in lethal injections, and they will not buy drugs from pharma companies who sell sodium thiopental for that purpose. As a result, the sole US manufacturer, Hospira, has discontinued...
Parents who won't vaccinate their kids should pay... →
Writing on CNN, pediatrician Rahul K. Parikh suggests that parents who allow the irresponsible lies of publicity-mongers like Jenny McCarthy to scare them into not vaccinating their kids should have to pay higher insurance premiums. I think this sounds like a good start, but I’d go further: I think that kids should have to show a certificate of vaccination to use public schools — because...
How Billionaires Rule Our Schools →
The cost of K–12 public schooling in the United States comes to well over $500 billion per year. So, how much influence could anyone in the private sector exert by controlling just a few billion dollars of that immense sum? Decisive influence, it turns out. A few billion dollars in private foundation money, strategically invested every year for a decade, has sufficed to define the national...
How a Giant Weapons Maker Became the New Big... →
Lockheed Martin doesn’t actually run the U.S. government, but sometimes it seems as if it might as well. After all, it received $36 billion in government contracts in 2008 alone, more than any company in history. It now does work for more than two dozen government agencies from the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy to the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental...
Soldier's inhumane imprisonment →
brbread: Pfc. Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old Army intelligence analyst suspected of providing documents to WikiLeaks, can’t reasonably complain that the military has him in custody. But the conditions under which he is being held at the Marine detention center at Quantico, Va., are so harsh as to suggest he is being punished for conduct of which he hasn’t been convicted. […]He has been...
Ninth Anniversary of Guantánamo Bay detention camp
Received a message from Alliance for Justice today about this anniversary, sadly marking the ongoing erosion of the rule of law: On January 11, 2002, 20 captives from the war in Afghanistan were brought to the Guantánamo Bay detention camp and one of the most ignominious chapters in our nation’s history began. On January 11 of this year, after nine years, over 170 are still there, making a...
Conservative advice for a Congress of professors →
Alas for all of us and for American conservatism in particular, the new Republican majority that took control of the House on Wednesday is embarked on an experiment in government by abstractions. Many in its ranks pride themselves on being practical business people, but they behave as professors in thrall to a few thrilling ideas. Their rhetoric is nearly devoid of talk about solving practical...
Interesting mash-up by BRAT Productions — best I’ve seen/heard for a while.
Wikileaks: cables show that US diplomats are key... →
State Dept. cables newly released by WikiLeaks show that U.S. diplomats served as deal-brokers, pressuring world leaders to purchase billions of dollars worth of Boeing jets (instead of European competitor Airbus). “To a greater degree than previously known, diplomats are a big part of the sales force.” Here’s the actual cable, and here’s the NYT article. And from the NYT...
Judith Miller Criticizes WikiLeaks Founder Julian... →
Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller is back in the news. Last month, it was revealed she had started writing for the right-wing website NewsMax. And on Sunday, she appeared on Fox News and criticized WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Judith Miller: “Julian Assange may be a bad journalist, but he is a journalist.” Question: “Why is he a bad journalist?” Judith...