Saturday, December 09, 2006

The real international criminal trafficking conspiracy

From Naylor, The Wages of Crime, p.10:
The great majority of what is conventionally described as [transnational organized] crime is the province of small-time losers; if they really possessed the kind of initiative routinely inputed to them, they would long ago have realized that the serious money lies not in dealing dime bags of dope but in rigging defense contracts. That view further suggests that the real threat to economic morality comes from seemingly legitimate business types intent on seeing how far they can bend the rules before they have to pay politicians to change them.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Los Angeles

Amy Wilentz, on loving to hate L.A.:
L.A. has long been viewed as an embarrassment by America. Because it is the city at the end of the continent, it is commonly regarded as the newest, freshest, best thing the country has to offer, so its every flaw is interpreted as a sign of our collective national failure. As McWilliams writes, "What America is, California is, with accents, in italics." Europeans — among them De Tocqueville, Trollope and, more recently, Bernard Henri-Levi — look to the West and see Americans as uncultured, loutish, self-indulgent materialists. And Americans do the same: In Los Angeles, they see what they take to be a more babyish, dumber version of themselves and they shudder.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Where I've been, as of 2006

I'm hoping soon to add some countries in Africa. You can create your own map here.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Playboy townhouse

The Playboy ideal of urban living, c. 1962. Actually, it still looks pretty sweet.

The worst ever?

Eminent historian Eric Foner suggests that Bush is the worst President in the history of the country:
Historians are loath to predict the future. It is impossible to say with certainty how Bush will be ranked in, say, 2050. But somehow, in his first six years in office he has managed to combine the lapses of leadership, misguided policies and abuse of power of his failed predecessors. I think there is no alternative but to rank him as the worst president in U.S. history.
I don't know if I'd go so far as to rank Bush below Andrew Johnson, but that certainly does seems to be the league he's playing in.