Thursday, February 21, 2013

Danny Ledonne still eats illegal chocolate!

Rebel with a Kinder.

There are a host of things that even frequent travelers may be surprised to learn are prohibited. One such item is the popular European milk chocolate treat Kinder Eggs.  During fiscal year 2011, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency says it seized more than 60,000 Kinder Eggs because the small plastic toy inside the chocolate shell could pose a choking hazard for young children. (source)

More Houses? No. More factories.

What is this obsession with housing prices? Why is it good that the housing market is going up? Do we have a crisis of not enough homes? Should the emphasis be on building more houses?

No. The American economy has too many houses and those houses are too overpriced. The American economy should be creating more factories and manufacturing more products. People aren't having trouble finding a place to live, they are having trouble finding a place to work.

The reason this issue retains so much attention, even from the Obama Administration, is largely because many (voting) Americans bought a house during the housing bubble (created in part by government malinvestment). Since the bubble burst in 2007, their mortgages are "under water" because they were led by predatory lenders and irresponsible lending standards into bad bets.

Yet when asked another way, most Americans are not interested in higher housing prices to accompany their already high gas prices, medical bills, tuition costs, grocery bills, and other daily expenses that are the telltale signs of inflation (source).

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Rapper Lil Jon and Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio collaborate on this refreshing ad for Poland Spring bottled water:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty - Best Torture Film since Hostel

"Zero Dark Thirty" is the best torture movie since "Hostel!"  But "Zero Dark Thirty" is patently pro-torture as writer Mark Boal argues this in the LA Times yesterday (source) whereas "Hostel" is clearly anti-torture - something that antagonists do and the hero must escape and eventually seek revenge. So while "Hostel" is a fictional 2005 horror film with cultural echoes to the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, "Zero Dark Thirty" is a docu-drama featuring torture paid for by U.S. taxpayers.

L to R: A fictional film with torture paid by Hollywood and an actual incident with torture paid by U.S. taxpayers.

Worse, "Zero Dark Thirty" goes as far as to argue that the public outcry over Abu Ghraib impeded the operation to raid the Bin Laden compound in Abbottabad, casting the American public as an unseen obstacle.  Torture is justifiable means, the film implicitly argues, and results in the killing of an unarmed Bin Laden whose own capture and interrogation was not a priority whatsoever.  It's hard to imagine critics of U.S. foreign policy viewing the film as anything other than fawning military propaganda - which prompted Naomi Wolfe to call ZDT director Kathryn Bigelow "a Leni Riefenstahl-like propagandist of torture" (source).

Friday, February 1, 2013

Obama: Living in the Past?

President Obama seems to have an interesting relationship with history - as in when it is politically convenient to invoke it and when it is politically uncomfortable to address it.