H/T: Tony Auth
He gives his reasoning behind intervening in Libya, but I still want to know why not also intervene in the Ivory Coast, Bahrain (here, here, here, and here), Yemen (here, here, here, here, here, here) , Syria, Iran (2 years ago – here, here, here), Congo, or even Burma?
My lighter side says that maybe I should just be ok with the fact that the U.S. is intervening somewhere and not standing idly. I then think about the other two quagmires we are in and sigh.
On a lighter and related note, this is amazing.
The Economist explains:
JAPAN is still reeling from the earthquake and tsunami that struck its north-east coast on March 11th, with the government struggling to contain a nuclear disaster and around 10,000 people still unaccounted for. Provisional estimates released today by the World Bank put the economic damage resulting from the disaster at as much as $235 billion, around 4% of GDP. That figure would make this disaster the costliest since comparable records began in 1965. The Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, which caused some 250,000 deaths, does not feature on this chart. Economic losses there amounted to only $14 billion in today’s prices, partly because of low property and land values in the affected areas.
H/T: Andrew Sullivan
John B. Judis over at The New Republic is one of my favorite writers. His articles are usually quite eloquent in their brevity and hit on topics interesting to me. His latest gives a brief (not exhaustive) history of the changes in outlook towards nature by American political parties and how they affect us today. It is worth a full read. These two paragraphs sum things up well:
Yet during the last year, we’ve seen two disasters that show the price humanity can pay for harboring illusions about the workings of nature. First was the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that occurred in early 2010. Yes, it occurred due to lax regulation from the Department of Interior and a rush to profit by BP and Halliburton. But the reason behind the failure of the Interior Department to regulate, and the failure of BP to heed the dangers of a spill, was a belief that nature would not exact revenge. It was a refusal to take the limits set by nature seriously.
The Japanese, of course, cannot be blamed for the calamity that has befallen them. Lacking domestic access to oil, they relied on nuclear power, and they built their reactors to withstand the largest earthquakes and tsunamis—though they didn’t count on both happening simultaneously. Yet what happened in Japan shows vividly that millions of years after humans began inhabiting the earth, nature is still a force to be reckoned with, and it still imposes limits on the decisions we make as a society. Will Republicans come to understand that? Or will they continue to believe that the only limits worth acknowledging are those that government puts on the bank accounts of their corporate sponsors?
“What really increases terrorist recruitment is invading Muslim countries, killing Muslims there, and staying to try to build Western democracies.”
So said Andy McCarthy over at the National Review. Is the hubris gig up?
All you could ever want to know about deep, deep holes.
The above image captures the amplitude of the Tsunami over the last 24 hours. More can be found here.
The last plea on the phone from the caller eerily is lingering in my head.
Much more here.
Andrew Sullivan provides a profound thought on the pursuit of democracy in the Middle East vis-à-vis Libya, Egypt and now Bahrain:
…when was the last time you saw frenzied crowds in the streets in several Muslim Arab countries where the American flag wasn’t being burned? We finally figured out how to help democracy in the Arab world: get out of the way and nudge quietly from a distance.
Above is a mash-up of people seeing snow for the first time.
Think over why the revolutions have occured in Tunisia, Egypt, and now the showdown in Wisconsin? Much of it shoots back to the economy, food prices, budgets, salaries, pensions, government transparency, and human rights.
While that may be a motley crue of triggers that aren’t homogenous to the naked eye, it may be a scary warning for what more may come from our current state of being.
Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton gave a speech today on Internet rights at George Washington University. Read the full (and long) speech here. Here is a good paragraph:
When countries curtail internet freedom, they place limits on their economic future. Their young people don’t have full access to the conversations and debates happening in the world or exposure to the kind of free inquiry that spurs people to question old ways of doing and invent new ones. And barring criticism of officials makes governments more susceptible to corruption, which create economic distortions with long-term effects. Freedom of thought and the level playing field made possible by the rule of law are part of what fuels innovation economies.
She meant the above when the following happens:
In China, the government censors content and redirects search requests to error pages. In Burma, independent news sites have been taken down with distributed denial of service attacks. In Cuba, the government is trying to create a national intranet, while not allowing their citizens to access the global internet. In Vietnam, bloggers who criticize the government are arrested and abused. In Iran, the authorities block opposition and media websites, target social media, and steal identifying information about their own people in order to hunt them down.
…by our standards.
Sitting here in the frozen, winter wonderland that is Detroit (that’s finally melting!), I was struck by the story of Wilson Bentley (wikipedia article here). He’s the man that took over 5,000 magnified images of snowflakes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Bentley found that now only is every flake intricately detailed but it is almost impossible to find two that are alike.
I was struck not only by the beauty of this, but also by the contrast to our normal standards of operation. To be honest, I’m tired of snow. We’ve gotten at least 43 inches of it in Detroit throughout this winter season. When it comes down, it flies past my window so fast that I can barely see the individual flakes. Forget about appreciating their unique beauty. Knowing that, if I were to create snow, it would come down in 12 different shapes, max. After all, mass production is supposed to be uniform and fairly easy to replicate. We have limited time and limited resources. Yet outside of my window lies 12 (melting) inches of snow that are evidence that our creator had his own theory of production long before Ford started making cars on his assembly line.
What then does this tell me about God? If nothing else, his infinite nature defies my normal notion of what is wasteful. Beyond that, if he puts that much detail and individual identity into this frozen heap that will be gone in a matter of hours or days, how much more has he put into you and me. Whether you have some snow just laying around outside or not, I hope you know that you are loved by a God who defies both our common reason and logic.
BZ takes the time to notice the ephemeral heart in the snow:
When I looked at my life, I wanted to see farther, yet what I was sure I knew had me weary and worried. And I couldn’t truly see what was right in front of me because I wasn’t truly looking. Who but the One who placed it there knew how much this lovely, lowly reminder of his love was needed by my own dark heart, gritty with daily life and stained with salt wash. The next swerving car or sure footed hoof print would have smudged and erased this unmistakable love note. It was just for me, just now, here. And I almost missed it.
“You’re loved, child. See I put this here just for you, then I whispered your name, and called you here. You almost didn’t hear, didn’t come, didn’t see, distracted as you were by the ceaseless noise of the immediate. I’m so glad you came. I’m especially fond of you.”
I have been thankful for the days when I can go about different tasks of mine and have a clear mind, so much so that I can enjoy and be present in the moment(s). Last week, that was the case when I was doing plyo. Simply being in the moment allowed me to enjoy the range of life around me. I wish to live more like that.