Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday miscellaneous (6/1)

Here is an ingenious way a local bookstore is surviving in the post-Amazon world: he prints and binds online books for customers.

I’d heard about President Obama’s increased use of drone strikes, but I hadn’t really looked into it. But this week the New York Times wrote a piece on the practice, which includes the President personally signing off on the targets by means of a “kill list.” This (naturally) has led some to petition the White House to create a Do Not Kill List which would apparently act something like the do not call list.

Which also reminds me, wasn’t that the sort of thing people made up stories about President Bush doing? But then again, Obama has radically transformed since taking office.

Memorial Day is now behind us, but this is too good to not share.

Once we knew who and what to honor on Memorial Day: those who had given all their tomorrows, as was said of the men who stormed the beaches of Normandy, for our todays. But in a world saturated with selfhood, where every death is by definition a death in vain, the notion of sacrifice today provokes puzzlement more often than admiration. We support the troops, of course, but we also believe that war, being hell, can easily touch them with an evil no cause for engagement can wash away. And in any case we are more comfortable supporting them as victims than as warriors.

This year marks the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812, one of the more confusing wars in American history. This article gives a good summary: “Both sides had proven able arsonists, but in the absence of clearer objectives and more decisive victories, there wasn’t much reason for war to go on.” (And for a very irreverent Canadian perspective, see this.)

Patrick Fitzgerald, the fearless federal prosecutor who has taken on corruption of all political stripes, is resigning. And I’m inclined to agree with The Atlantic that he would make an amazing Attorney General or Supreme Court Justice.

Here is an excellent rundown on some of Romney’s possible VP picks. Best line:

But he’d be the #2 on the ticket, and people don’t hold the underling to unbelievably high standards. Dan Quayle and Joe Biden immediately come to mind (As does Jafar. Have you ever noticed that super dumb characters are always paired up with the villain in Disney movies, and the villain is always really smart except he chooses a parrot with a stutter to carry out his plan to destroy the world?).

President Obama is now campaigning as a budget hawk. Is this a sign of desperation? Or does he actually believe his own propaganda?

And the Senate finally got to work and passed significant legislation removing the word “lunatic” from US code. I wonder if this is some way of avoiding self-incrimination. And I greatly hope the poor intern who is tasked with implementing that bill (if it ever passes the House) has is aware of Word’s “find and replace” feature.

Between dropping quality and rising cost, more and more people seem to be wondering if continuing to push everyone into college is worthwhile.

And finally, is anyone else excited about this?

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