Links for the Week – April 15/06


US Politics:

Nukes Against Nukes in Iran: In case you haven’t already read it, Sy Hersh’s newest research in the New Yorker leaves no doubt that Bush plans a nuclear strike on Iran soon.

Bush Buys ‘Moral Hazard’ Myth: Hendrik Hertzberg, also in this week’s New Yorker, shows that Bush’s health care policies are driven by the assumption that given the chance, the public will use health care needlessly. Malcolm Gladwell has already thoroughly debunked this neocon myth, but of course Bush isn’t interested in listening.

The Republicans as a Religious Party: Kevin Phillips in the Washington Post explains how the party has grown more and more dependent on the support of the religious right, and the cost of that support, notably extreme hostility to all secular thinking. Thanks to Communicatrix for the link.

Bush Anti-Global-Warming Skeptic Was in Pay of Big Tobacco: Dr. Frederick Seitz, a former president of the National Academy of Sciences and one of the most often-quoted skeptics on global warming, was paid over half a million dollars by the tobacco industry to obfuscate the connection between smoking and cancer. Seitz then went on to spearhead a campaign to cast scientific doubt about global warming. This guy gives prostitutes a bad name. Thanks to sustainablog for the link.

The Environment and Energy:

Recycling Your Old Computer: If you’re not careful, it will end up in landfill, either in your own country or a struggling nation, leaching masses of toxic chemicals into the soil and groundwater. Salon’s Elizabeth Grossman provides some alternatives.

Carnival of the Green Now Subscribable: For those looking for environmental news and eco-blogs, there’s a weekly ‘carnival’ of postings. I’ll be hosting it later this year. If you want to check it out the latest one is here, and the link to all the weekly carnivals (RSS-subscribable) is here.

Oil Crosses the Peak: From the London Times, more evidence that oil production has now peaked, meaning a sharp drop in production, followed immediately by a sharp drop in consumption and skyrocketing prices, is not far off. Thanks to Dale Asberry for the link.

The Long Emergency Explained in 35 Minutes: Jim Kunstler summarizes his book in five short video segments produced by Orion Magazine. Thanks to Cyndy Roy for this link and the one that follows.

Why Only a Local, Community-Based Economy Can Save Us: Wendell Berry, also in Orion, explains the intrinsic wisdom of small, self-sufficient, local intentional communities, and how they avoid the dysfunctions that bedevil our massive, top-down, trade-dependent economy. Excerpt:

The idea of a local economy rests upon only two principles: neighborhood and subsistence. In a viable neighborhood, neighbors ask themselves what they can do or provide for one another, and they find answers that they and their place can afford. This, and nothing else, is the practice of neighborhood. This practice must be, in part, charitable, but it must also be economic, and the economic part must be equitable; there is a significant charity in just prices.

Of course, everything needed locally cannot be produced locally. But a viable neighborhood is a community; and a viable community is made up of neighbors who cherish and protect what they have in common. This is the principle of subsistence. A viable community, like a viable farm, protects its own production capacities. It does not import products that it can produce for itself. And it does not export local products until local needs have been met. The economic products of a viable community are understood either as belonging to the community’s subsistence or as surplus, and only the surplus is considered to be marketable abroad. A community, if it is to be viable, cannot think of producing solely for export, and it cannot permit importers to use cheaper labor and goods from other places to destroy the local capacity to produce goods that are needed locally. In charity, moreover, it must refuse to import goods that are produced at the cost of human or ecological degradation elsewhere. This principle applies not just to localities, but to regions and nations as well.

The principles of neighborhood and subsistence will be disparaged by the globalists as “protectionism” – and that is exactly what it is. It is a protectionism that is just and sound, because it protects local producers and is the best assurance of adequate supplies to local consumers. And the idea that local needs should be met first and only surpluses exported does not imply any prejudice against charity toward people in other places or trade with them. The principle of neighborhood at home always implies the principle of charity abroad. And the principle of subsistence is in fact the best guarantee of giveable or marketable surpluses.

Entrepreneurship Aids:

Support Group for Women Entrepreneurs: Make Mine a Million campaign shows women how to help their fledgling business reach critical commercial mass.

Two New Free Communication Tools: I’m hearing a lot of buzz about Evoca, a podcast recording tool, and Gizmo, an alternative to Skype with built-in recording that works with its sister product Jabber, cross-platform IM tool (the one used by GMail). Anyone used any of these and have comments on them?

Just For Fun:

Owen & Mzee Blog: The lovable Hippo baby rescued from the tsunami and the 130-year-old tortoise who has adopted him are still, as the picture above shows, inseparable, and now they have their own blog.

In Defense of French Dirigisme: John MacArthur, publisher of Harper’s magazine, writes a clever and eloquent editorial about the schadenfreude (delight in others’ misfortune) exhibited by many North Americans over the French youth demonstrations, as if somehow these demonstrations indicate their political system is a failure and vindicate our failed laissez-faire approach to managing national affairs. The relative success of the French approach on many issues, he argues, exemplifies the superiority of pragmatism overideological absolutism. Thanks to Umair Haque for the link.

Secret Message to Salon Bloggers: There are 20 to find. Apologies to Sloggers who have moved to blog tools whose comments servers don’t accept eggs.

Happy Easter, everyone! Taking a day off blogging for family stuff tomorrow. Back Monday.

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7 Responses to Links for the Week – April 15/06

  1. Aha! I came here to find out what they were all about. Twenty, eh? I’ll do my best to find them all! Hope I win a gold chicken or something.

  2. Just thought I would drop you a note to say that I love your blog. It certainly is full of good sound advice. Don’t stop being great!!

  3. Phil says:

    Guess i shouldn’t have eaten mine! Happy Easter, Dave!

  4. Dave, just came across your site today. I admire your effort. However,it might pay you to read my essay on REALITY ( I am much interested in why we are here and what it is all about. And I have concluded after long years of study and serious contemplation of what I have learned both from books and the world around me, that the answers to the things which have perplexed mankind throughout his history and today have simple answers if we take the obvious path of commonsense and do not allow ourselves to be sidetracked by issues of little or no importance.Michael

  5. natasha says:

    The talk lately about attacking Iran just has me furious, I don’t know how anyone manages to be so god-awful crazy and destructive. And dumb as a box of rocks. We’ve already got troops operating there, for love of god. They’ll probably hit us back in some fashion, and then I fear that this country will become a madhouse from top to bottom. Not even Tony ‘the poodle’ Blair is willing to go in on this. All I really can think of to say, to whimper really, is: help!

  6. medaille says:

    I read the link to the Orion article by Wendell Berry and I liked it a lot, probably because I agree with most of it. It was a good compilation of a lot of the problems (not symptoms) that plague us. It brings up the key problem that faces our society which is removal of power from the people. It also points out the key flaw in corporate capitalism which is competition on an uneven playing field. I also liked how it drew comparisons between modern capitalism and communism which were accurate and most people are reluctant to do.

  7. Dave Pollard says:

    Thank you, commenters and easter-egg hunters alike. Medaille, I’m going to add Berry’s article to my HtStW Reading List — it really is that good.

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