14 captures
08 Apr 2010 - 09 Mar 2011
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Wednesday March 9th 2011
Danny Ferry's comments
Who lost Egypt?
Mar 1st 2011 8:53 GMT
". . .we won. Nobody lost Egypt!"
We won? Really? While you're in the future, analyzing the results of Egypt's democratic election which apparently put ElBaradei in power and saw the Muslim Brotherhood win no significant representation, could you also let me know what the stock price of Apple does over the next few months and years?
"Egypt just ousted its dictator in a non-violent popular revolution! It's going to have democratic elections in six months!"
Egypt's dictator was our ally. Egypt's people, with good reason, are not big fans of the West generally or America specifically. These democratic elections may well be won by the Muslim Brotherhood, who may well turn out to be far more radical and fundamentalist than we hope. Iran's 1979 revolution replaced an autocracy with supposedly democratic elections. You're arguing that the Iranian Revolution worked out well for the West? Or for human rights? Or for enlightened civilization?
"In what perverse universe does this count as a defeat for American foreign policy, for the West, for enlightenment civilisation, for lovers of human rights?"
In what perverse universe are those groups coterminous?
This was a remarkably and unusually bad post. Your insistence that this is an obviously good development is as foolish as your opponents' insistence that it's obviously bad. It's actually worse, because you're supposed to be smarter.
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Darkening gloom
Feb 10th 2011 9:54 GMT
The Crusades were wars of Christian aggression, not Muslim. Christians saw that non-Christians had taken control of the Holy Land and were determined to reverse this.
This wave of Islamist terror is a historical moment. There is precious little historical evidence that Muslims are more violent than any other religious group.
I'm not claiming Islam is a religion of peace anymore than it is a religion of terror. It is a malleable, flexible ideology that can be used to justify and motivate a wide variety of behaviors, just like most religion, nationalism, and political philosophy. It was once used to promote peace and tolerance under enlightened Muslim rulers, it is currently being used to promote global jihadi warfare. Just as Christianity was used to spur the Crusades, the Inquisition, and pogroms against Jews in addition to motivating charity in Africa, non-violent civil rights resistance in Eastern Europe and the southern United States, and individual acts of outstanding compassion throughout the world. Just as nationalism has encouraged social welfare programs, philanthropy, and admirable bravery during times of war as well as acts of senseless violence and genocide.
Nearly any ideology can be employed to justify any given course of action. Islam is clearly neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for terror or barbarism. There's clearly something going on in Pakistan that isn't going on in Indonesia, Tunisia, or Bahrain. What is the point of focusing on the sole factor of Islam, even if it is an admittedly relative factor, if it doesn't have predictive power? It's not clear to me what you're even suggesting. If we extirpated Islam, then Pakistan wouldn't treat it's own citizens so brutally? Do you really believe that?
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Darkening gloom
Feb 9th 2011 8:43 GMT
No Mist:
The dichotomy you propose, Islam being evil or Muslims being evil, is false. Neither condition need be true. Extremely high rates of poverty and inequality, a vast and restive youth population with low standards of living and few legitimate employment prospects, and the existence of a conservative elite determined to hold power are sufficient conditions for a violent population. Add in several decades (or more) of Western intervention and imperialism, and it's not clear to me what's left to be explained.
The problem with approaches like yours is that they neglect history. The point made by another poster, regarding Islam's Golden Age, appears to have gone right past you. Here is the relevant idea: if your dichotomy is true, that there must be something "bad" about either Islam or Muslims, how do you explain why this "badness" has only emerged recently, with the fall of Western colonialism? For hundreds of years, from the 8th century roughly until the Scientific Revolution in Europe, the most scientifically advanced and tolerant people in the world were Muslims. From Muslim Spain under the Caliphate of Cordoba, to Egypt and Syria under the Ayyubid dynasty; from post-Sassanid Persia to the Ottoman Empire in it's heyday, Muslims proved that neither their religion nor their race stopped that from pioneering new advances in medicine, science and technology, creating vibrant cultural, artistic, and architectural works, and tolerating their minority populations FAR better than the Europeans were at the time.
So if there's something inherently violent about Islam, why did it just kick in?
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The real Haley Barbour question
Dec 22nd 2010 1:54 GMT
Martin Horn:
Here's my problem with your example. You assume that all stereotypes are necessarily bad stereotypes, and further, are equally bad.
Being greedy is a negative trait. Being seen to be money-grubbing is offensive. If Barbour had responded to the "coon" comment with something like "I hope you get reincarnated as a nice car left unattended in a black neighborhood, and they take you apart and sell you for parts" that would be something to get upset about.
In your own example, I think a far more analogous situation would be if Governor Martin Horn had responded to the "hook nose" comment with "I hope you get reincarnated as a plate of bagels and lox at a Jewish breakfast." I would have no problem with such a comment. As someone of Irish descent, I am not particularly offended when people claim the Irish love potatoes. As it so happens, I don't really eat that many potatoes, but I acknowledge that historically plenty of Irish did, and even though it may be a false generalization, I'm hardly offended. Claiming that the Irish are rather prone to violence, however, is a bit of a different statement.
Do you not recognize a distinction between stereotyping a group as greedy or thieving or violent, and stereotyping a group as having a predilection for a certain common food product?
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The real Haley Barbour question
Dec 21st 2010 9:26 GMT
Wow. Just read the quotation about the watermelons. Seriously? Are we all being serious? This quotation has so far been described in the media as "loathsome," "despicable," and "nauseating." Nauseating? It makes you physically ill to hear the slanderous and vicious comment that black people like watermelon?
Who the hell *doesn't* like watermelon? It's delicious!
I'm sorry, I know I'm supposed to think that any generalization of any kind is categorically wrong (except for that one), but how is it offensive to note a given cultural group's affinity for a food, whether its statistically true or not? Would there be this same outrage if he had said the aide would be reincarnated as pasta and put at the mercy of Italians?
Honestly, I would like to hear the intellectual acrobatics and contortions required to claim that anyone could be legitimately offended by the implication that they like watermelon. I think maybe we're all being a bit too sensitive, guys. If we use words like "despicable" and "loathsome" for the accusation of a fondness for watermelon, what adjectives are left when someone drags a man behind a truck because of his race? Because that still happens.
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The real Haley Barbour question
Dec 20th 2010 11:47 GMT
Barbour's a smart guy. Surely he knows he can't actually be elected. Too fat, and too southern. The nation will never elect someone who speaks like that; or looks like that. When was the last time the less physically attractive candidate won the presidential election? 1976?
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Yankees, gringos and USAnians
Dec 9th 2010 11:15 GMT
Americans. Every country I know of derives its demonym from the specific place-name in its formal name. Denizens of the Russian Federation are called Russians, while those from the United States of Mexico are called Mexicans, rather than "estadosunidosdemexicoense. No other nation, to the best of my knowledge, includes the word "America" in its formal name, so we get to keep it. Simple as that. You've got to work pretty hard to come up with an example in which the meaning isn't clear from context. Indeed, except to refer to the United States, the only instance in which I can imagine anyone having to refer to "American" anything would be in the context of the European exploitation of the Americas, and as this was before a United States, I don't think it likely that there will ever be a conflict.
As to your example, if Unasur gets its act together, there will be a "South American" response, as Unasur would still not speak for Central or North America. Should Unasur manage to get Central America and Mexico on its side, a "Latin American" response still does just fine.
Unless people actually start talking about the Organization of American States (and why in the world would they?) "American" nearly always unambiguously refers to the United States.
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Uncertainty and the beast
Nov 30th 2010 12:26 GMT
"I'm not an economist, and don't really have any authority to weigh in on a fundamental debate" . . . but I'm going to anyway, qualifications be damned! ;-)
What surprises this non-expert is how little time is spent on arguing what a stimulus should look like, rather than how large it should be. It seems fairly clear to me, at least, that some public expenditures are investments, and some are not. A rail network, for example, or improved job training programs, are investments that, if well-planned and managed, will create value and pay for themselves. End-of-life care for veterans, or increased Social Security payments for retirees, while they may be in and of themselves worthy expenditures, are not investments in any coherent sense of the term. No additional value is being generated through this money being spent - value is just being moved around.
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In defence of WikiLeaks
Nov 29th 2010 11:58 GMT
Forsize, you do realize that WikiLeaks is not a uniquely American phenomenon, right? Every government, indeed every powerful institution of any kind, has to deal with having their secrets spilled.
So your argument is invalid.
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Grow up, America
Nov 24th 2010 12:40 GMT
Faulty reasoning, DL, sorry. The security v. freedom debate is only a legitimate conversation if, in fact, the scanners keep us safer. There is no evidence that they do. Indeed, The Government Accountability Office issued a report back in April casting doubt on the ability of the new scanners even to detect the powdered explosives used by the Underwear Bomber, which was the inciting incident for the rollout of the scanners in the first place. It is not clear what threat they are effective against that our previous security protocols would not have caught.
At the moment we've just got money-wasting automatic dignity strippers. Please make the case that they serve any other function before we debate on their utility.
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Don't go back
Jul 29th 2010 7:31 GMT
"Debate in Washington about what to do in Afghanistan centres around two military strategies."
Sorry to quibble, but you can't "center around" something. You can center on something, or you can revolve around it. To "center around" is semantically meaningless, like a "round square".
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If markets are optimal, who cares about Jamie Dimon?
Jul 26th 2010 5:36 GMT
I think the "ideological contradiction" here is largely a straw-man. You note that markets are perceived as being "very good" at valuing assets, rather than "perfect" at valuing assets. That's a very important distinction, but then you go on to argue as if you had proven that the business community believes in perfect markets. Markets can be *mostly* efficient and still leave plenty of room for geniuses to make billions (indeed, as has been noted, the geniuses are part of the market that make it more efficient). Only under a strong-form Efficient Market Hypothesis would men like Dimon have luck alone, rather than skill, to thank for their success. Virtually no one in the business or financial communities believes in strong-form EMH; even in economic academia it's relatively rare, having largely been nudged aside by behavioral finance and neuroeconomics. There's simply too much evidence that humans are not perfectly rational actors for EMH to be seriously credible.
I would imagine that those (extremely few) adherents to strong-form EMH *don't* see the point in lionizing Dimon. Contrapositively, those who lionize Dimon probably don't believe in perfectly efficient markets.
So, no contradiction whatsoever, unless you can find some evidence that there is widespread and coterminous belief in perfect markets and admiration for Dimon. Finally, I would add that the opinion of anyone who seriously believes in perfectly efficient markets should be ignored anyway, making their admiration (or lack thereof) of Jamie Dimon trivial.
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Diversity and the court
Jul 15th 2009 7:51 GMT
Latina woman. Not Latino woman. That would make Sotomayor some kind of tranny.
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Tough enough?
May 29th 2009 3:39 GMT
So to parse the initial argument in defense of Obama's competency as commander-in-chief, we should trust him [b]because[/b] he's been altogether similar to Bush thus far?
Could you give me an example of something Obama could do that the media would be any cooler than luke-warm about? I suppose a story about Obama murdering a hobo would mention that the good President had, at least, decreased the rate of homelessness in America?
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It's Sotomayor
May 27th 2009 6:33 GMT
Having a Spanish-sounding last name doesn't make you Hispanic. Cardozo's family had been in the U.S. for several generations, hadn't been in Iberia since the Inquisition, had never settled in Latin America at all, and was Jewish to boot.
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Sotomayor and Ricci
May 27th 2009 6:30 GMT
Bit of a hard sell that Cardozo was Hispanic. He was born of Sephardic Jewish stock, into families that had been in the U.S. for several generations. Before the U.S., his ancestors had settled in England, and before that, Holland. The strongest claim to Cardozo being Hispanic would be the fact that his ancestors were living in Iberia around the time of the Inquisition. In the U.S., where Hispanic typically means Latin American, Cardozo wouldn't be considered Hispanic at all.
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Bigger than Jesus
Feb 21st 2009 11:15 GMT
That's "Chesley", not "Chelsey".
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How many jobs will the stimulus create?
Feb 14th 2009 12:38 GMT
Thank you, New York. This is the Economist I subscribed to. All is forgiven.
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Peter, Paul, Mary and a magic negro
Dec 29th 2008 7:15 GMT
Sertorius, I couldn't agree more that Keynesian economics and central planning is a bad idea. However, that's not really the issue of this post. The topic at hand is that someone running to be chair of the RNC thought that it was both funny and appropriate to send along a song called "Barack the Magic Negro". This is simply not the same as Democrats mocking Bush for 8 years. If Saltman had sent out a song mocking Barack Obama for his vapidity, his lack of experience, his cult of personality, or his wretched ideas, this would be another matter: in fact, it wouldn't even be news. Publicly calling someone, anyone, a "negro" is, plain and simple, completely unacceptable nowadays. You may disagree, but the fact of the matter is that the majority of the American people find it objectionable. If Republicans wish to be electable, they cannot allow themselves to be perceived as a party of self-identified racists.
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You're toxic, I'm slipping under
Dec 16th 2008 6:18 GMT
I'll make a fuss:"Mrs Kelman is the only member of Mr Obama's environmental team"You mean Mrs. Jackson? What, do all female people LOOK THE SAME TO YOU?
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