Posts Tagged ‘NY Times’

Um, what?

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

The UAE is putting together a secret mercenary army?! “Blackwater Founder Forms Secret Army for Arab State“.

This is the craziest shit I’ve read in a while:

The force is intended to conduct special operations missions inside and outside the country, defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from terrorist attacks and put down internal revolts, the documents show. Such troops could be deployed if the Emirates faced unrest or were challenged by pro-democracy demonstrations in its crowded labor camps or democracy protests like those sweeping the Arab world this year.

A little later on:

People involved in the project and American officials said that the Emiratis were interested in deploying the battalion to respond to terrorist attacks and put down uprisings inside the country’s sprawling labor camps, which house the Pakistanis, Filipinos and other foreigners who make up the bulk of the country’s work force. The foreign military force was planned months before the so-called Arab Spring revolts that many experts believe are unlikely to spread to the U.A.E. Iran was a particular concern.

And this:

Mr. Rincón’s visa carried a special stamp from the U.A.E. military intelligence branch, which is overseeing the entire project, that allowed him to move through customs and immigration without being questioned.


Numbers That Don’t Add Up

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

Paul Krugman had a good Op-Ed in Thursday’s New York Times: “Seniors, Guns and Money“.


In 2007, there were 20.9 Americans 65 and older for every 100 Americans between the ages of 20 and 64 — that is, the people of normal working age who essentially provide the tax base that supports federal spending. The Social Security Administration expects that number to rise to 27.5 by 2020, and 31.7 by 2025. That’s a lot more people relying on federal social insurance programs.

We’re in trouble.

LePage in the Times

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

The New York Times likes the whole “Tea Party governors are crazy” storyline. It may not be compelling journalism, but I bet it sells papers.

Looks like they just ran another one, I fired up their iPhone app this morning and look at the mug I see:

Yep, our fair governor, Paul LePage.

Here’s the story “G.O.P. Pushes to Deregulate Environment at State Level” (Sorry link is wonky, I’m on my phone).

In fact, LePage leads off the story, and also contributes more than a few juicy quotes:

Governor LePage summed up the animus while defending his program in a radio address. “Maine’s working families and small businesses are endangered,” he said. “It is time we start defending the interests of those who want to work and invest in Maine with the same vigor that we defend tree frogs and Canadian lynx.”

I’m so sick of all of the Canadian lynxes coming down here and taking all the good jobs. I’m glad someone is finally standing up for the straight, white males …

But in all seriousness, it’s not like when people think of Maine they think of nature …

Muppets in the Media

Monday, April 11th, 2011

The Sunday New York Times had an interesting article about the Muppets: “It’s Time for Your Face-Lift, Miss Piggy.”

It’s pretty much about the upcoming November 23, 2011 film The Muppets.

Odd quote (can’t tell if it’s good or bad?):

“This is the first Muppet production of any size that is really being spearheaded by fans instead of hard-core Muppet professionals,” said Lisa Henson, Jim Henson’s daughter and chief executive of the Henson Company.

I for one can’t wait!

New York Times on LePage

Monday, March 28th, 2011

So we’ve had Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow and countless blogs chime in on Governor LePage’s decision to remove murals from the Department of Labor.

Let’s add the New York Times to the list:

They get bonus points for mentioning the thing with employing his daughter in a $41,000 entry level job …

The Rise of Humanity

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Today’s New York Times article has nothing to do with Facebook, in fact, it’s 15,000 years older than the six year old social website. Check out: “Supremacy of a Social Network“.

It’s so amazing it was hard to find just one key quote:

The two principal traits that underlie the human evolutionary success, in Dr. Hill’s view, are the unusual ability of nonrelatives to cooperate – in almost all other species, only closely related individuals will help each other – and social learning, the ability to copy and learn from what others are doing. A large social network can generate knowledge and adopt innovations far more easily than a cluster of small, hostile groups constantly at war with each other, the default state of chimpanzee society.

It’s the most concise report detailing the transition from primates to humans – it’s got it all from walking upright to tools to monogamy, to the building of societies.


Proud to be an American

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Interesting David Brooks column at the New York Times today: “The Modesty Manifesto“.

Key quote:

If Americans do, indeed, have a different and larger conception of the self than they did a few decades ago, I wonder if this is connected to some of the social and political problems we have observed over the past few years.

I wonder if the rise of consumption and debt is in part influenced by people’s desire to adorn their lives with the things they feel befit their station. I wonder if the rise in partisanship is influenced in part by a narcissistic sense that, “I know how the country should be run and anybody who disagrees with me is just in the way.”

Most pervasively, I wonder if there is a link between a possible magnification of self and a declining saliency of the virtues associated with citizenship.

Citizenship, after all, is built on an awareness that we are not all that special but are, instead, enmeshed in a common enterprise. Our lives are given meaning by the service we supply to the nation. I wonder if Americans are unwilling to support the sacrifices that will be required to avert fiscal catastrophe in part because they are less conscious of themselves as components of a national project.


Monday, March 7th, 2011

I’ll probably mess this link up, I’m having difficulty with posting links from my phone, but check out this article on left-handedness from today’s New York Times:

“On the Left Hand, There Are No Easy Answers”

I don’t care for how the author used the word “wrong” a few times, but he ended with Jon Lester, so that’s something …


Monday, March 7th, 2011

While on vacation last week I saw an interesting article in the New York Times: “Once a Villain, Coconut Oil Charms the Health Food World“.

Key quote:

“But my favorite new way to use coconut oil is for popcorn. The oil brings out the nutty sweetness of the corn itself while adding a rich creamy sensation, without having to pour melted butter on the top.”

I had to pick some up.

Whole Foods, amazingly, had three different varieties of virgin coconut oil.

Over the weekend we made popcorn with it, and it was fantastic. Just like the article said, no butter needed.

Times on Race

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Fascinating article in the New York Times about the large number of multiracial college students these days: “Black? White? Asian? More Young Americans Choose All of the Above“.

Did you know that in the United States right now one in seven new marriages is between spouses of different races or ethnicities?

Key quote:

Many young adults of mixed backgrounds are rejecting the color lines that have defined Americans for generations in favor of a much more fluid sense of identity. Ask Michelle López-Mullins, a 20-year-old junior and the president of the Multiracial and Biracial Student Association, how she marks her race on forms like the census, and she says, “It depends on the day, and it depends on the options.”

Maybe this is hitting me more strongly because I’m half-way through The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America by Nicholas Lemann for a class at USM. It’s a terribly interesting book that I think every college student should have to read. I want to talk more about it here soon, but for now, just go read the Times article.

Starbucks and iPhone

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Wow, this combines two of my favorite stories of the last few weeks – one can now pay at Starbucks using one’s iPhone!

Check out: “Now at Starbucks: Buy a Latte by Waving Your Phone.”

I have to point out that there’s actually no waving involved, however; there isn’t RFID in the iPhone. It’s simply an iPhone application that displays a barcode specific to one’s Starbucks gift card that the clerk barista then scans.

But I can see where “wave” sounds more futuristic.

31 Ounces of Coffee

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

I meant to mention the new Starbucks Coffee logo the other week but was swept up in other nonsense.

It’s okay. Nothing earth-shattering. (Although changing the logo on 16,000-some-odd stores might be costly!)

Well Starbucks is in the news today, again for something rather silly. Today they’ve announced a new 31-ounce sized iced tea and coffee drink – the “Trenta”. Check out: “Starbucks Expanding Rollout Of 31-Ounce Drink Size“.

Canada’s National Post points out that’s larger than an average human stomach.

Snow in 49 States

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

I love factoids like this:

With the arrival of snow in New York and the unusually severe storm in the South – which dumped more than a foot of snow in some areas – the National Weather Service said an unusual nationwide occurrence had taken place. There was now snow on the ground in every single one of the 50 states – including Hawaii, which had snowfall on one of its volcanoes – except for Florida.

That’s from yesterday’s New York Times: “Snowfall Blankets Region and Snarls Flights.”

And Now a Suicide

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Last week a murder, this week a suicide. Celebration, Florida is all grown up: “It’s a Small Town After All.”

Qatar the Underqatar

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

(The title only makes sense if you pronounce “Qatar” as “KUH-tar”).

So it looks like they’ll be playing the 2022 World Cup in the warm Middle Eastern sun: “Russia and Qatar Win World Cup Bids“.


double-u, double-u, double-u

Monday, November 29th, 2010

This is from a few weeks ago, but I love word origins, here’s the etymology of the world wide web: “Web.”

Cordoba House Parallels

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

I guess I haven’t talked about the Cordoba House Islamic Center at 51 Park Place on Manhattan for some time, but the other day I ran across a fantastic article in the New York Times that mentions it.

Check out: “In Fierce Opposition to a Muslim Center, Echoes of an Old Fight.”

The opening is killer:

Many New Yorkers were suspicious of the newcomers’ plans to build a house of worship in Manhattan. Some feared the project was being underwritten by foreigners. Others said the strangers’ beliefs were incompatible with democratic principles.

Concerned residents staged demonstrations, some of which turned bitter.

But cooler heads eventually prevailed; the project proceeded to completion. And this week, St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in Lower Manhattan — the locus of all that controversy two centuries ago and now the oldest Catholic church in New York State — is celebrating the 225th anniversary of the laying of its cornerstone.


Anyone who doesn’t think history moves in cycles is a fool.

Saab’s Future

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Why am I on a car kick this week?

Just read an interesting blog over at the New York Times: “Saab’s Owners Offer a Peek Into Its Future.”

I’ve had a soft-spot in my heart for Saabs since the late 1980s when my folks first got one, and then a 1991 Saab 900S was my first car out of college. Just this weekend I saw a beautiful convertible tooling around Portland and I got a twinge of jealousy.

Anyway, the article says that Saab’s new owner, Spyker Cars, needs to sell 85,000 cars worldwide by 2012 to break-even.

At first that didn’t sound like a lot, until I saw recent production numbers – Saab produced 94,751 cars worldwide in 2008, but only 20,791 last year.

My skeptical mind noted that the first number, 85,000 is “sales” while the second set of numbers is “production”. Perhaps misdirection or perhaps just available figures, you can decide.

Either way, Saab has an uphill battle, I hope they can figure this out.

One Last Thing on Hiroshima

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Some articles about Hiroshima point out that a number of Japanese citizens feel that we should apologize for the atomic attacks: “At Hiroshima Ceremony, a First for a U.S. Envoy.”

I think that it’s impossible to apologize for Hiroshima, Pearl Harbor, or any other act of war, especially six and a half decades later. That’s why wars end and treaties are signed.


Using the events as a means to discuss nuclear disarmament isn’t a bad idea. Let’s just not place any blame, okay?

That’s my final thought – well, at least until Monday’s anniversary of Nagasaki.


A-Rod Deserves a Star

Thursday, August 5th, 2010


So this finally happened yesterday: “Rodriguez Hits 600th Career Home Run.”

Yep, give that guy a star!