Monthly Archives: August 2010

August 31, 2010, 1:10 pm

John Cole: Paypal is the worst company in the world

To learn why John Cole thinks that Paypal is the worst company in the world, read his post.

I have been amused by Balloon Juice often enough to owe John Cole more than a simple googlebomb favor, but for now it will have to do.

August 31, 2010, 9:14 am

War on terror floating exchange rates.

So as I read this, a Bretton-Woods–style system of stable exchange rates would be a potent weapon in the war on terror. You identify the countries harboring problematic insurgencies, set your adjustable peg high enough that insurrections can’t operate effectively, and watch the rebellion wither! Is there any problem FDR’s policies can’t help us solve?

Actually, rhetoric like this — pinning hopes for world peace to the Bretton Woods system of stable exchange rates, and thus freer trade and capital flows — was not at all uncommon. As one participant later recollected,

Peace was seen as linked with world prosperity, and prosperity, with free trade, free capital movements, and stable exchange rates.

He goes on to admit, “Although the causality was ambiguous….”1

1Raymond F. Mikesell, “The Bretton Wood Debates: A Memoir,” Essays in International Finance no. 192 (March 1994),…

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August 30, 2010, 9:41 am

We turn to Mobutu for insights about white people

Starting with Beck but then turning to people with “mosk” in their public facebook status.

August 29, 2010, 7:55 pm

Will we do the other things?

As long as I’m having fun with YouTube’s “start here” feature, note this standard-issue awesome impassioned Shatner speech by Captain Kirk in “Return to Tomorrow”:

Do you wish that the first Apollo mission hadn’t reached the moon, or that we hadn’t gone on to Mars, and then to the nearest star?


August 28, 2010, 8:36 pm

F for Franklin.

You can watch Orson Welles give an account of the War of the Worlds hoax on YouTube here.

Of course this is from F is for Fake, so treat it accordingly. FDR never met with the aliens. If he had, he would have driven them from New Jersey by the sheer force of his awesomeness.

UPDATED to add, hear the original here.

August 28, 2010, 11:20 am

Not too bad.

Richard Schickel’s review in the LA Times provides some nice pull-quotes.

paints a better picture of Tom than F. Scott Fitzgerald did…. a straightforward adventure yarn, “Banana Republican” offers the pleasures of an exotic setting, inventive plotting and a metaphor that captures the waste and fatuity of our more recent global misadventures — not too bad for a slender and unpretentiously written little novel.

I think “not too bad” and “unpretentiously written” are exactly the kinds of things I would like to believe about my work.

Also, my distinguished former colleague Tom Holloway long ago traced the origin of the term “banana republic” to O. Henry’s Cabbages and Kings. Whether this is authoritative depends on what connotation you’re putting on the term “banana republic,” I suppose.

August 27, 2010, 4:30 pm

Military History Digest #126

Table of Contents

1. Stingray Lands Guerillas on Luzon, 27 August 1944 by NHHC at Naval History Blog
2. Acquisitions by Brett Holman at Airminded
3. The War on Malaria by Cherie Prosser at Australian War Memorial
4. Persian Wars: Greeks Triumph at Plataea by n/a at Military History
5. The Loss of the USS Cochino (Ss-345) by Ships History at Naval History Blog
6. Monday, 26 August 1940 by Brett Holman at Airminded
7. Sunday, 25 August 1940 by Brett Holman at Airminded
8. Field Expedient Latrine by Mark Grimsley at Blog Them Out of the Stone Age
9. Burning of Washington, 24-25 August 1814 by Navy Commemorations at Naval History Blog
10. Vietnam War: Share Your Story by n/a at Military History
11. The L&N RR in the Civil War by (Drew@CWBA) at Civil War Books and Authors
12. Phase 1 of Scorpion Project Complete! by Underwater Archaeology at Naval…

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August 27, 2010, 6:46 am

A prologomena to all future blathering about gender on the Internet

It’s striking, when one reads female philosophers from the early modern period, how little the arguments that a given trait belongs solely to women or to men have changed over the years.  In the 17th and 18th centuries, no one used the term “genetic” or “evolutionary” or “long end of the tail” or “back on Ye Olde Veldte”, but instead argued in terms of “natural” or “innate” differences.  What particular traits belong in the set “innate to women” or “innate to men” have changed according to social fashion, but what’s curious is that the form of the argument hasn’t:

Girls are from their earliest infancy fond of dress.  Not content with being pretty, they are desirous of being thought so; we see, by all their little airs, that this thought engages their attention; and they are hardly capable of understanding what is said to them, before they are to be governed by talking to them of what …

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August 27, 2010, 2:18 am

My influences include the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah upon him, and also Avril Lavigne

Who says we are not a party people? Terror suspect auditioned for Canadian Idol, sang “Complicated.”

All idols are haram, my brother.

August 26, 2010, 10:39 am

Most of this seems right

Advice for life at college, from Mr Destructo. The people who need it won’t pay any attention.
Part I
Part II

August 26, 2010, 8:44 am

Here lies poophead.

You won’t learn anything!

August 26, 2010, 5:13 am

If I were a historian I could make more evil queen jokes

Ken Mehlman finally comes out. Michael Rogers pins on the Roy Cohn Award.

August 25, 2010, 2:26 pm

Up lots.

Tuition—at some point, it began to be called tuition, instead of “fees”—at the UC is up, lots, these days. Which is the occasion for Michael O’Hare’s letter to his students, via Mark Thoma. Basically, he points out, a generation that got its UC education (and lots of other state services) paid for by its parents is declining to do likewise for its children. Perhaps not the greatest of generations.

August 24, 2010, 8:38 am

Up two.

UC Davis ranks number 6 in this year’s Washington Monthly rankings of national universities, up from number 8. Shanghai Jiao Tong has us at 46, up from 48.

August 23, 2010, 5:09 pm

Military History Digest #125

A survey of military history posts from around the web, inspired by Ralph Luker’s “Notes” and “Things” at the History News Network’s Cliopatria blog. Different from Carnivals as it is my idiosyncratic collection from regular blog reading. Nominations for blogs to follow and include in this survey are welcome. As to why this is #125, it started at H-War a while back.

Table of Contents

1. The Marianas: Saipan, Guam, and Tinian by NHHC at Naval History Blog
2. The Old Paradigm by George Simmers at Great War Fiction
3. Harrison a. Sickles by Steve Soper at Third Michigan Infantry Research Project
4. Civil War Guidebook Review: “A Tour Guide to Missouri’s Civil War” by Rene Tyree at Wig-Wags
5. War of 1812: Winder Routed at Bladensburg by n/a at Military History
6. The Organization Cultures of Civil War Armies – Pt 2 by Mark Grimsley at Civil Warriors
7. The Battle From…

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