hard heads soft hearts

a scratch pad for half-formed thoughts by a liberal political junkie who's nobody special. ''Hard Heads, Soft Hearts'' is the title of a book by Princeton economist Alan Blinder, and tends to be a favorite motto of neoliberals, especially liberal economists.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011
Gary Farber post on Afghanistan

Has any independent news/research organization done a poll of the Afghan / Pakistani people, as a whole and within each ethnic sub-group, and their views of the US presence, drone strikes, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban & terrorism & extremism?

Juan Cole on Syria and Libya

Sebastian Junger Remembers Tim Hetherington

Greg Campbell - Chris Hondros, RIP: How my best friend died in a combat zone

Glenn Greenwald - Manning's transfer, PJ Crowley & drone attacks in Pakistan

[Manning]: The point here is not to take any victory lap; none is warranted. . . But this episode should be a potent antidote to defeatism. . .P.J. Crowley: ". . .there were many, many people inside government and outside government who were working on this for some time. . ."

[Drone attacks in Pakistan] Can someone who defends these drone attacks please identify the purpose? . . . How many family members, friends, neighbors and villagers of the "five children and four women" we just killed are now consumed with new levels of anti-American hatred? . . .Isn't it obvious that the stated goal of all of this – to reduce the threat of Terrorism – is subverted rather than promoted by these actions? . . .

Nancy Goldstein - Getting Away with Murder on Long Island

Digby - Commander In Chief Politics

There was a good comment on the Ashlee Vance tech-bubble article pointing out that the ad-based business models are subsidizing the free Internet, which is important and beneficial. I guess my only problem with online ads is when they sell really dodgy and misleading mortgage and online education products. Felix Salmon said somewhere that when it comes to online education, the more you pay, the worse the quality, e.g. the Khan academy, used by, among others, Bill Gates's children, is free.

Krugman - OECD data on taxes as % of GDP

Doesn't the Trump birtherism sort of illustrate the dangers of too much reverence for markets? i.e. "There's a big market for Obama being a foreigner, so that's what he has to be".

A Bit Of Fry and Laurie - Bank Loan

Instapundit - Design Your Home With Google

Couple builds eco-friendly home like no other using free program. . .Using Google Sketchup, a 3D modeling program usually used by architects, engineers and other design professionals – not homeowners – the couple drew the plans for their home . . .

2 Knox news comments:

". . .thank you for bringing SketchUp to the attention of people. This is truly one of the Jewels of the Internet that remains hidden. AND IT'S FREE. Anyone with a computer should have this, especially if you have children. . .I do not work for or have any affiliation with Google. Other than, I love this software...."

"Is there a Google app for landscaping?"

Dorothy L Sayers - The Man Born to Be King (1941)

. . .It seems that wherever there is a suffering God, there is an end of tragic futility, and a trans valuation of all values. . .the disciples of Jesus, plunged into cowardice and despondency by the human tragedy of the Crucifixion, needed only to be convinced by the Resurrection that that which had suffered and died was in actual historical fact the true Being of all things, to recover their courage and spirits in a manner quite unparalleled, and to proclaim the Divine Comedy loudly and cheerfully, with the utmost disregard for their own safety. Why and how the suffering of God should have this exhilarating effect upon the human spirit is a question for Atonement theology; that it had this effect on those who believed in it is plain. . .

J.R.R. Tolkien - On Fairy Stories (1938)

. . .in God's kingdom the presence of the greatest does not depress the small. Redeemed Man is still man. Story, fantasy, still go on, and should go on. The Evangelium has not abrogated legends; it has hallowed them, especially the “happy ending.” The Christian has still to work, with mind as well as body, to suffer, hope, and die; but he may now perceive that all his bents and faculties have a purpose, which can be redeemed. So great is the bounty with which he has been treated that he may now, perhaps, fairly dare to guess that in Fantasy he may actually assist in the effoliation and multiple enrichment of creation. All tales may come true; and yet, at the last, redeemed, they may be as like and as unlike the forms that we give them as Man, finally redeemed, will be like and unlike the fallen that we know.

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