The Real Dolchstoss

May 24, 2007

Ah irony of ironies, it’s not coming from the feckless Dem Congress (redundancy?), which doesn’t even have the gumption to stab the military juggernaut in the back, but from a country which owes its very existence to recent US military intervention. Kuwait’s act of decoupling its currency from the dollar also has a certain resonance for those who are familiar with the Vietnam War’s effect on the dollar and the financial factors involved in the US’s withdrawal from the previous quagmire in American overseas military history. If one of the only countries in the world which should have a genuine interest a continuing US occupation of Iraq–at least if conventional wisdom is to be believed–finds it can’t even be inconvenienced any more to support the petrodollar, then one really has to wonder just where the questioning of our premises should begin. Incidentally, all this brings to mind the following masterpiece of political theatre:

Rob Newman’s History of Oil

Set aside a solid 45 mins to watch this, because it’s really impossible to stop once you get into it.

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Blogging live from the departure lounge at the airport where I am to start my latest round of travels, I thought I would leave my loyal readers some things to entertain themselves while I’m on the road. Well, it turns out that one can watch a bunch of classical music performances free on Youtube. Here are some that I stumbled across in the last few days and found in accordance with my taste (heavily weighted towards the German baroque)

Flammende Rose, from the Nine German Arias by Handel, sung by a countertenor and accompanied on period instruments.

A playlist mainly composed of Misha Maisky playing the Bach Cello suites. Good to put on as background music while typing.

Another playlist with a very generous selection of Bach choral music by different performers.

Readers are invited submit their own favorite Youtube videos of classical music performances in “comments”

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UPDATE: Apparently CNN has decided to invite Gravel to the June 3 debate after all. Congrats to the blogosphere for bringing this about.

UPDATE II: A much more sympathetic interviewer and a more even-toned performance from Gravel:

Also, one piece of trivia, it’s pronounced “GraVEL” since he is of French-Canadian ancestry.

This is the film that I now want to project onto the sides of buildings in public squares.

I wouldn’t have expected to find out that the BBC showed a three-hour documentary on the telly that covered many of the topics I’ve been thinking about and kicking around in discussion with friends for the past 10 years, but there you have it.* In addition to the philosophy, game theory, economics, politics, it was most interesting to me the way they interwove psychiatry and surveys in the first two episodes (I’m still working on the third episode). The Ladd-Lipset Survey of the American Professorate and how that came about in the late 70s, although it was not mentioned in the documentary, would have also fit into this context. Mathematical measurement of dubious value was a lietmotif of those times.

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