January 15th, 2006

[LINK] The Perils of Primacy

Benjamin Schwarz' "The Perils of Primacy", taken from the January/February 2006 edition of The Atlantic, is available in its entirety here. What happens when the US nuclear deterrent is incomparably more advanced and efficient than the Russian or the Chinese? Potentially, very bad things indeed, like the decentralization of control over nuclear weapons systems.

[BRIEF NOTE] Everyone needs an angel, but this sort?

The Guardian Angels have set up shop in Toronto, and some people--as evidenced by this thread at toronto--support this.

Apparently, the best way to control violence in Toronto is top deploy vigilante teams and paramilitary units to the city's hotspots. How could we have been so blind?

UPDATE (10:43 AM) : From the National Post, this startling statement from Curtis Sliwa, founder and head of the group.

Mr. Sliwa said his group can play a significant role in gang intervention in Toronto.

"We have often been described as a good gang because we have many of the same attractive elements," he said.

"It becomes like a surrogate family; there's an esprit de corps; there's an internal discipline. Except with us, it's all about teaching people about being peacemakers and protectors. With gangs, they're preparing themselves to be predators and enemies of society."

The youths might consider joining the Guardian Angels instead, he said.


Well now, this is brilliant.

[BRIEF NOTE] Brangelina in Haiti

International press coverage of Brangelina has reached the UN level.

Please reset your "Brangelina" baby tracking satellite system to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The unborn child of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie arrived in the combustible Caribbean capital Friday accompanied by his or her famous parents to be. It was the budding baby's first media opportunity since Jolie's pregnancy was confirmed Wednesday. Likewise, it was Pitt and Jolie's first public outing since the news broke.

Mother did all the talking.

And owing to Jolie's role as a United Nations goodwill ambassador, all she talked about was the nation that the U.S. government has warned Americans to avoid because of threats of kidnapping, looting and roving militias.

"You hear so much just about the danger and the fear and then you come here and you meet just an amazing people," Jolie said. "Given just a little chance, and given a little help, this is going to be a great country."

[. . .]

As Pitt was preparing to accompany Jolie on her latest international trip, reporters in New York City asked U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday if the
Fight Club star was goodwill ambassador material.

"I will consider it, and I will let him know you recommended him," Annan said, per Reuters.


Kofi Annan has come close to offering an opinion on Brangelina. At this point, the seemingly po-faced seriousness with which their relationship has been treated by the press has to be recognized as the unparalleled comedic experience that it is. I've no right to complain about this, not when I've already noted the affair myself. Nothing to do, now, but let the play continue.
  • Current Music
    Tori Amos and BT, "Blue Skies"

[LINK] The Hallowness of Chauvinisms

From a comment of Ken MacLeod's, posted in a discussion thread on A Fistful of Euros that was veering someone out of control in an excessively-patriotic American direction.

Hey, this is Europe. We took it from nobody; we won it from the bare soil that the ice left. The bones of our ancestors, and the stones of their works, are everywhere. Our liberties were won in wars and revolutions so terrible that we do not fear our governors: they fear us.

Our children giggle and eat ice-cream in the palaces of past rulers. We snap our fingers at kings. We laugh at popes. When we have built up tyrants, we have brought them down.

And we have nuclear - fucking - weapons.


Is this ridiculous? Of course. It also follows that similar nationalist statements similarly drawing pride in similarly irrelevant and/or overstated conclusions are similarly silly. If I hear someone talk about a special Canadian role in the world, perhaps in conjunction with our northern environment and its role in encouraging us to think in certain ways, well.
  • Current Music
    Klaus Nomi, "Falling In Love Again"

[URBAN NOTE] Noon's Light

If not for the cold, when I walked down a street in my neighbourhood en route to the streetcar I could have thought that it was spring since the grass was still green, the sunlight was bright, and leaves were still on some of the bushes. The cold bit my skin regardless of appearances, but I wondered if I'd somehow wound up on an Earth alternative biochemistry based on a liquid with a lower freezing point than water like ammonia.

[BRIEF NOTE] CFTAG After-Report

Despite the temporary move to the Yonge/College location, I met up with schizmatic and larkvi for an enjoyable two hours of CFTAG. Topics discussed included RPGing in various formats, recent events in Babylon 5, and fan fiction. (Me, I want to know what the people on Coriana 6 were thinking.)