Saturday, April 21, 2007
Friday, April 20, 2007
(Power Lunch, April 18, 2007)
Thursday, April 19, 2007
America’s ‘Seinfeld’ strategy in Iraq
In recent times US grand strategy has been guided by a new kind of doctrine, named after not its author but its exemplar: the Costanza doctrine. The Iraq policy pursued by the Bush administration satisfies the Costanza criterion: it is the opposite of every foreign policy the world has ever met:
First, military and diplomatic resources are finite and should be directed towards your greatest priority. An example of the opposite approach would be for a country that has been attacked by a non-state terrorist group to retaliate by removing a state regime that had nothing to do with the attack.
Second, take care not to weaken your intimidatory powers through poor military performance. Aim for short, sharp victories (such as that in the 1991 Gulf war) that get your adversaries worrying about the extent of US power. The opposite would be to launch a war of choice involving the drawn-out occupation of an Arab country – the kind of thing that gets your allies worrying about the limits of US power.
Third, you get by with help from friends. Although the powerful are sometimes tempted to go it alone, international support helps determine the perceived legitimacy of an action, which affects its risk and costs. Building this support requires discussion and compromise. The opposite would be to spurn real negotiations, slough off your allies, bin multilateral agreements you do not like and declare that you are not bound by the rules that govern everyone else.
Fourth, state-building is hard. Few of the international efforts at state-building since the cold war’s end have succeeded. Luckily there are numberless reports identifying lessons learnt. The alternative would be to do the opposite of what those reports recommend, for example by deploying insufficient troops and dismantling any extant national institutions such as the army.
Fifth, democracy is a blessing that requires patient nurturing. The opposite approach would be to seek to impose democracy by force of arms on a population traumatised by decades of vicious and totalitarian rule.
Sixth, politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum. If two dangerous states are struggling for dominance of a strategic region, maintaining a balance between them may be the least worst option. The opposite would be to emasculate one of them, thereby greatly increasing the relative power of the other.
America’s ‘Seinfeld’ strategy in Iraq
By Michael Fullilove
FT, March 29 2007 17:46
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
What If the Beatles Were Irish?
Via Roy Zimmerman
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
BIG WAVE RIDER
Greg Long of San Clemente flies down the face of might be the biggest wave ever ridden at Dungeons, South Africa, during an unusually large session.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Last Minute Tax Tips
- Let me start off with a list of good tips each with its own article from the very organisation who wants money from you. IRS 2007 tax tips
- "10 tax blunders that can cost you" from CNN gives you list of don'ts. It is a good check list, you may know most of them. Also check out their Audit red flags article on more dont's
- Smartmoney's tax tips are here. It also lists what is new for this year here. Both resources are useful and cover some new ground
- Tax filing is all about various limits. Although most of the limits are verified and calculated by the tax software. It still makes sense to check them out at About.com and verify.
- Top 10 tax tips from Turbo Tax is very detailed and useful.
Now here are few places covering special situations...
- Tax tips for the divorced from Forbes.com
- Small business portal AllBusiness provides 10 tax tips for the self employed. Another place where you can find help for avoiding audit on your small business return
- 10 Tips of real estate investors from Forbes.com
lifted directly from Finance world!
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Saturday, April 14, 2007
David Belle, the inventor of parkour
David Belle, the inventor of parkour demonstrates his sport in this 11-minute video.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Joshua Bell: Hidden Right Before You
What happens when one of the worlds top violinists plays in a subway station as an anonymous street muscian?
No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made. His performance was arranged by The Washington Post as an experiment in context, perception and priorities -- as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?
The musician did not play popular tunes whose familiarity alone might have drawn interest. That was not the test. These were masterpieces that have endured for centuries on their brilliance alone, soaring music befitting the grandeur of cathedrals and concert halls.
The acoustics proved surprisingly kind. Though the arcade is of utilitarian design, a buffer between the Metro escalator and the outdoors, it somehow caught the sound and bounced it back round and resonant. The violin is an instrument that is said to be much like the human voice, and in this musician's masterly hands, it sobbed and laughed and sang -- ecstatic, sorrowful, importuning, adoring, flirtatious, castigating, playful, romancing, merry, triumphal, sumptuous.
So, what do you think happened?
Pearls Before Breakfast
Can one of the nation's great musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour? Let's find out.
Washington Post, Sunday, April 8, 2007; Page W10
Friday the 13th - The Most Widespread Superstition?
The sixth day of the week and the number 13 both have foreboding reputations said to date from ancient times, and their inevitable conjunction from one to three times a year portends more misfortune than some credulous minds can bear. Some sources say it may be the most widespread superstition in the United States. Some people won't go to work on Friday the 13th; some won't eat in restaurants; many wouldn't think of setting a wedding on the date.
Notable births and deaths on Friday the 13th
|Born on Friday the 13th||Date of Birth|
|Georges Simenon||February 13, 1903|
|Natalie Annerino||April 13, 1982|
|Margaret Thatcher||October 13, 1925|
|Fidel Castro||August 13, 1926|
|T. J. Cloutier||October 13, 1939|
|Steve Buscemi||December 13, 1957|
|Julia Louis-Dreyfus||January 13, 1961|
|Michelle Sara Cox||December 13, 1974|
|Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen||June 13, 1986|
Died on Friday the 13th
Date of Death
|Arnold Schoenberg||July 13, 1951|
|Hubert Humphrey||January 13, 1978|
|Stuart Challender||December 13, 1991|
|Tupac Shakur||September 13, 1996|
|Tony Roper||October 13, 2000|