Colin Brace | 1 Aug 02:05 2006

Re: Bigger is (apparently) Better

What's the mystery? Poor people, especially the urban poor, tend to
malnourished. Malnourished people are more vulnerable to disease. Sick
people die younger than healthy. Foraging in the historical record
seems to me to be partly a way of avoiding having to face the impact
on health of inequality and poverty in modern society. You don't even
need go to a Third World country to do this; take South Dakota's Pine
Ridge Indian Reservation, the poorest county in the US, with an
average family income of $3,700 per year. Life expectancy there for
men is 48; for women 52.
<> Is Kolata likely
to devote an article to do this? Of course not, because she would have
to acknowledge issues of class and race, and that doesn't befit a
corporate shill like her.

From SourceWatch:


In a July 1999 article for The Nation environmental journalist Mark
Dowie sampled 100 of the more than 600 articles Kolata had written
since she started at the New York Times. "When it comes to developing
sources, procuring documents, researching complex data and breaking a
hot story in clear and dynamic prose, she has few peers," he wrote.
[11] (
What puzzled Dowie was "why are so many of her associates at the
paper, including her admiring colleague, so upset with her? And why is
she held in such low esteem by so many scientists?"

While describing her coverage of pure science as "terrific" and her
reporting of mathematics similarly "with one exception", he found
(Continue reading)

Michael Perelman | 1 Aug 02:38 2006

Communism & oil

I just listened to a podcast of Marshall Goldman regarding the Russian economy.  He,
like Chris Doss over at LBOtalk, emphasizes the importance of rising oil prices for

This lecture got me thinking about Peter Schweitzer, a media fellow at the Hoover
Institution.  Schweitzer tells how William Casey conspired with Saudi Arabia to drop
oil prices to destroy the Soviet Union.  I post the source below, but anyway, the
idea occurred to me that had to Communists held on a bit longer, unit the oil price
exploded, there might be only one superpower in the world -- and it might not be the

OK.  That is a stretch, but I think it serves as an antidote to the triumphal blather
about the demise of communism.

Schweizer, Peter. 1994. Victory: The Reagan Administration's Secret Strategy That
Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union (NY: Atlantic Monthly Press).
31: William Casey met with Prince Turki of Saudi Arabia.  He showed him raw
intelligence reports to make him fearful about Saudi security.  "What Casey was
trying to do was to send a prince a message.  No single world oil producer had a
greater effect on world oil prices than Saudi Arabia."  "By raising the issues of oil
pricing and the U.S. -- Saudi security relationship in the same conversation, Casey
was in effect saying that the two were related.  It was an element of the Reagan
strategy.  "We wanted lower oil prices, "recalls Weinberger.  "That's one of the
reasons we were selling them arms"." citing an interview with the author.

Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
(Continue reading)

Michael Perelman | 1 Aug 03:31 2006

A new form of discrimination

A fascinating article finds that the top economics departments have a
disproportionate number of people with surnames that begin with letters that come
early in the alphabet.  The reason is that in economics joint papers are common and
that the authors are listed in alphabetical order.  As a result, people with letters
that come late in the alphabet will not appear to be as prominent.

Einav, Liran and Leeat Yariv. 2006. "What's in a Surname? The Effects of Surname
Initials on Academic Success." The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 20: 1 (Winter):
pp. 175-88.

Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA 95929

Tel. 530-898-5321
E-Mail michael at

Yoshie Furuhashi | 1 Aug 03:45 2006

Re: what is Hizbullah? [from Juan Cole]

On 7/31/06, Jayson Funke <jfunke@...> wrote:
> Good question. I imagine some context-specific rationality is in order.
> No doubt defining terrorism/terrorists is itself tricky and provocative.
> Pessimistically I would argue that using terms like Al-Qaeda to describe
> large swaths of people who differ dramatically stinks of Orientalism.
> I have no answer but would merely caution others as to the possible
> backlash against using such terminology without thinking it through and
> for not dealing with specificity.
> It seems to me that one method of attacking the current war on terror
> would be to undermine generalizations with specifics - the entire enemy
> might begin to unravel.

It's true that empiricist distrust of big abstraction is useful here.

But I've been wondering who's killing whom -- especially when it comes
to very sectarian murders -- in Iraq.  You can never make sense of
what's really going on from the Western press, and I doubt that it
would add to my knowledge even if I spoke Arabic and could read
Arabic-language papers, for they probably wouldn't know what's what
either.  But it is clear that refugees from Iraq have dramatically
increased, due to a rapid rise in sectarian killings in recent months.
 That kind of increase wouldn't have happened without some
organizations behind it.
(Continue reading)

Robert Naiman | 1 Aug 17:59 2006

Please sign call to UN General Assembly for immediate ceasefire in Lebanon

Dear Supporter of Peace and Diplomacy,

The Israeli Security Cabinet has approved a "widening of the ground
offensive" and announced that Israeli airstrikes on Lebanon would
resume "in full force" after the expiration of the partial suspension
that followed the massacre in Qana.

As you know, under international law the UN Security Council is
supposed to act to stop crimes against peace, but cannot do so in this
case because it is paralyzed by the veto of the Bush Administration,
which opposes an immediate cease-fire and is backed in this position
by the United Kingdom. However, under Resolution 377, "Uniting for
Peace," the UN General Assembly can act when the Security Council
fails to do so (see "A Road to Peace in Lebanon?" Jeremy Brecher and
Brendan Smith, July 27, 2006, This procedure has
been used 10 times in the history of the UN, often at the initiative
of the United States.

Please join us, therefore, in circulating the following petition,
calling for the UN General Assembly to act. Even a significant
movement towards the convening of the General Assembly to consider an
immediate, unconditional cease-fire will put significant pressure on
the major powers to support an immediate cease-fire.

To:  United Nations General Assembly
Cc: Non-Aligned Movement
      Organization of the Islamic Conference
      Arab League
      Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
(Continue reading)

Eugene Coyle | 1 Aug 18:03 2006

Re: The right to be lazy

On Jul 31, 2006, at 2:59 PM, Sandwichman wrote:

> On 7/31/06, Jim Devine <jdevine03@...> wrote:
>> effect_ the dole. Note that this kind of story will encouage
>> neo-liberal reforms of the disability system. Some might think of the
>> change as liberal: gosh, let's get those middle-age white guys
>> back to
>> work!
> The neo-liberal diagnosis would be that the only reason these people
> are not working is because of the payments that enable them not to
> look for work. To count them as unemployed is to believe in a lump of
> labor fallacy.
> What we have here is an untapped potential of four million sandwich-
> men!
> --
> Sandwichman

Front and back, that's 8 million advertisments for ...... ?

Gene Coyle

Jim Devine | 1 Aug 18:07 2006

Hizbullah and civilians

The "hiding among civilians" myth

Israel claims it's justified in bombing civilians because Hezbollah
mingles with them. In fact, the militant group doesn't trust its
civilians and stays as far away from them as possible.

By Mitch Prothero

Jul. 28, 2006 | ...

Throughout this now 16-day-old war, Israeli planes high above civilian
areas make decisions on what to bomb. They send huge bombs capable of
killing things for hundreds of meters around their targets, and then
blame the inevitable civilian deaths -- the Lebanese government says
600 civilians have been killed so far -- on "terrorists" who callously
use the civilian infrastructure for protection.

But this claim is almost always false. My own reporting and that of
other journalists reveals that in fact Hezbollah fighters -- as
opposed to the much more numerous Hezbollah political members, and the
vastly more numerous Hezbollah sympathizers -- avoid civilians. Much
smarter and better trained than the PLO and Hamas fighters, they know
that if they mingle with civilians, they will sooner or later be
betrayed by collaborators -- as so many Palestinian militants have

For their part, the Israelis seem to think that if they keep pounding
civilians, they'll get some fighters, too. The almost nightly
(Continue reading)

Sandwichman | 1 Aug 18:32 2006

Re: The right to be lazy

On 8/1/06, Eugene Coyle <eugenecoyle@...> wrote:

> Front and back, that's 8 million advertisments for ...... ?

Well, I kind of like my "Self-Made Mansandwich": But anything would do so
long as it desecrated the ersatz holiness of the gospel of consumption
and the shrine of "the bitch goddess, SUCCESS."


Louis Proyect | 1 Aug 19:28 2006

Gone With the Wind

Earlier in the month I caught a few minutes of "Gone With the Wind," a film
I had only seen once before in the 1950s with my parents, when I was about
12 years old or so. I only remembered two things. One was the long tracking
shot of the wounded Confederate soldiers in Atlanta that was meant to evoke
pity. The other was the newly impoverished Scarlett O'Hara eating radishes
plucked from the ground and vowing never to be poor again. I imagine that
in 1957, this scene might have resonated with my parents who had vivid
memories of going without during the Great Depression. Such is the troubled
legacy of a film that can make such Jewish working liberals and Americans
from all backgrounds feel sorry for slave-owners at the very time the Civil
Rights movement was emerging.

Of course that excludes Black people who would have recoiled in disgust at
the Stepin Fetchit images contained in the film. This was just as true in
the 1930s as it was in the 1950s.

It is a mystery why this racist chestnut does not get the boot that "Birth
of a Nation" did long ago. Such racist tripe is really the purview of film
school seminars, along with Leni Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will."

Upon receiving a Supporting Actor Academy Award last year for his
performance in "Syriana," George Clooney said:

 >>We're the ones who talk about AIDS when it was just being whispered, and
we talked about civil rights when it wasn't really popular. And we, you
know, we bring up subjects. This Academy, this group of people gave Hattie
McDaniel an Oscar in 1939 when blacks were still sitting in the backs of
theaters. I'm proud to be a part of this Academy. Proud to be part of this
community, and proud to be out of touch. And I thank you so much for this.<<

(Continue reading)

Leigh Meyers | 1 Aug 19:44 2006

Travus T. Hipp: A Personal History Of Cuba - 'It Was 1957, And I Was Based On An Aircraft Carrier Off Of Guantanamo...'

"For every $4 we spent at the bars and whorehouses, we knew $2 was going 
to this guy named Fidel, and his brother..."

[August 01 2006] Travus T. Hipp Morning News & Commentary:
A Personal History Of Cuba: ’It Was 1957, And I Was Based On An Aircraft 
Carrier Off Of Guantanamo…’

Click To Listen:
[ M3U Audio Playlist 128Kbps 11:13 Minutes Including News Segment]

The news segment:

Cuba: Fidel Castro is in the hospital, government is being run by Raul 
Castro VP.

Mexico: Lopez Obrador calls for permanent encampments in the Capital 
city until the September 8 court decision on elections.

Sri Lanka cancels 2 yr old cease fire with Tamil Tigers. Air stikes and 
ground battles continue.

Rebels In The Rubble: Lebanon - Israelis working on creating ’border 
zone’, Why “rubble-ized” buildings work to the advantage of the 
insurgents. Syria, France and Lebanese working on a peacekeeping force.

Iran: UN Security Council has a resolution on nuclear enrichment but 
China and Russia are unlikely to sign on.

Iraq Update: Will we be able to “save” Baghdad by bringing in large 
numbers of troops?
(Continue reading)