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Showing posts from March 24, 2002
Remora LI gives way to nobody in his utter contempt for the Bush administration. But you have to give them credit for moving the Middle East a giant step closer to peace. Sending Dick Cheney on his '002 Let's Roll tour apparently so alarmed the governments he visited (there's nothing like madness in a great power to make the satraps nervous) that the Saudis, of all people, have cemented a little peace, love and understanding between the monstrous minions of Hussein and the cold blooded plutocrats of Kuwait: Attempts to reconcile Iraq and Kuwait at previous Arab summits failed � from the 1990 meeting immediately after the Iraqi invasion when a Kuwaiti sheik famously hurled plates at the Iraqi delegation to last year's summit in Amman, Jordan, when talks again collapsed. The annual gatherings of Arab heads of state were suspended throughout the 1990's because of the sour relations between Iraq and Kuwait. The Beirut meeting showed all the signs of following t
Remora This just in from the Times. Washington, March 27 -- Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham announced today that the Energy Department is renaming itself. "From now on, we will be the Energy Company Department," Mr. Abraham said in a conference call with business journalists. A consortium of energy industries, lead by Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling, the former top executives of the Enron Corporation, will oversee a tightening of the newly renamed department. Abrahams conference call was interspersed with his trademark gutsy humor. "Christ," he said, "we weren't even elected. We have to work fast to make sure you guys get some of that ROI in our coup." Abrahams was referring to the offer made by a SATANSPAWN, a limited liability corporation, to swap policy options with the Republican party. In a surprising use of this so far barely tested financial instrument, SATANSPAWN (consisting, reportedly, of 18 top energy CEOS) optioned a "pu
Remora Are the hard times over for Burger King ? Actually, LI doesn't care. We just wanted to write that sentence, which has a vaguely biz-o-lect sound. Apparently Burger King is suffering the pangs and arrows of outrageous customer dissatisfaction. They've turned against the whopper. Those bastards. Turns out BK is run by a giant British conglomerate -- you never know who owns the toys nowadays -- that also puts out the Smirnoff vodka. The Brits, showing rare good sense, have decided to concentrate on their intoxicant, and find a buyer for the ailing King. When Limited Inc was a dewy youth, he preferred Burger King to McDonalds and especially to Dairy Queen. The royalty of cheap food -- how it studs the American highways and byways! Basically, LI's preference was swayed by the paper crowns you sometimes got at Burger King. And the shakes. As I remember it, the shakes were better than those plastic-y tasting concoctions you'd get at MacDonalds. Time has not bee
Dope Is it only Limited Inc's imagination, or should economists take more of an interest in "small-world" theory, associated with Duncan Watts and Stephen Strogatz? Yes, my readers roar, in numbers too big to ignore. Read your Watts and Strogantz and sin no more! or something like that. Well, to explain... These two wrote a paper a few years ago, in which they tried to find the minimum path length for an undeterminately large network. They called these networks, with their improbably small dimensions, small worlds, after the Milgram experiment that supposedly showed that there are six degrees of separation or less between any two randomly selected people in the world (well, the experiment didn't make a claim that vast, but it has been made since then). The problem, from the perspective of networks, was that most individuals are connected to a cluster of individuals, in which each individual has a high chance of sharing acquaintances. So how do you break
Remora William Easterly. As in, who is William Easterly? Right now, Easterly is on the screen as the World Bank economist who came in from the cold. He's written a book that points out (for those who haven't seen it) that the World Bank has failed to stave off poverty in the third world. He's being touted in conservative circles as the man who wants to cut aid, and make those third world slacker nations pay their debts on time. His article in Foreign Policy , which supposedly got him in dutch with his bosses (along with the book that came out of it, The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics) is about the second of those two concerns. In it, he makes three of claims: 1. That debt relief is already happening, and in fact has been inscribed in the world system since the early eighties. 2. That the refusal of a nation that has a legitimate "democratic" government to pay back debts incurred by previous military
Remora The romantic hero degenerates into a mere bundle of boorshness in Dostoevsky's Pere Karamazov. Having gone through the Byronic geste of having no limits, Pere Karamazov really does live without limits -- except those fears generated by the police and superstition. We thought of that dissolute father of four, today, reading another story about the ideological and fiscal corruption of the Bush administration -- surely, Bush is ushering in the age of Gall, the age of limitless affronts to democracy, honesty, and good taste. Pere Karamazov was moved to act by his capacity for lust. Dick Cheney is moved to act by his taste for collusion, something that develops in those who find positions in the higher echelons of the power industry. The story in the NYT, today about Exelon Corporation (Ex-es and En-s are seemingly Texas Greek), the controller of 20% of the nuclear power in this country, details how by a gosh almighty fortuitous circumstance, the Bush folk and Exelon's m