Save The Margins Open Thread (with added basketball)

Jay C's picture

ATTN: BlaiseP and Jordan: much as we appreciate your discussing petrodollars and reserve-currency issues in our hallowed confines, the discussion on the "Strategery" thread is crashing up against the RH margin at a rare clip: so here's a wide-open new thread to hash it out in!


Also: in more news from the World Of Sports, a resolution (or sorts) to the L.A. Clippers contretemps: The Sterlings (well, one of them at any rate), has agreed to sell the team - to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Price: a nice round $2 Billion. Which, AFACBD, comes out to a tidy 15,900% profit on the original purchase.


A couple of things stand out about this proposed deal: first, that Steve Ballmer is apparently buying the team personally, not as the front-man for a syndicate; also, that there probably aren't all that many folks out there who could pop for a $2B tab out-of-pocket.

However, I don't think we're quite done with the media fun over the Clippers just yet: the Ballmer deal was announced by Rochelle (Shelly) Sterling: her husband, The Other Donald seems to have been left out of the loop. Whether that's going to affect his $1 Billion suit against the NBA remains to be seen. With a big audience, I'm sure.



PS: I've just about managed to read to the end of Capital in the 21st Century - is the Forvm Piketty Diary coming soon: or can I start forgetting what I've read, until later?

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Brazilian aardvarks and circular reporting

brutusettu's picture

In July of 2008, Dylan Breves, then a seventeen-year-old student from New York City, made a mundane edit to a Wikipedia entry on the coati. The coati, a member of the raccoon family, is “also known as … a Brazilian aardvark,” Breves wrote. He did not cite a source for this nickname, and with good reason: he had invented it. He and his brother had spotted several coatis while on a trip to the Iguaçu Falls, in Brazil, where they had mistaken them for actual aardvarks.

“I don’t necessarily like being wrong about things,” Breves told me. “So, sort of as a joke, I slipped in the ‘also known as the Brazilian aardvark’ and then forgot about it for awhile.”

Adding a private gag to a public Wikipedia page is the kind of minor vandalism that regularly takes place on the crowdsourced Web site. When Breves made the change, he assumed that someone would catch the lack of citation and flag his edit for removal.

Over time, though, something strange happened: the nickname caught on. About a year later, Breves searched online for the phrase “Brazilian aardvark.” Not only was his edit still on Wikipedia, but his search brought up hundreds of other Web sites about coatis. References to the so-called “Brazilian aardvark” have since appeared in the Independent, the Daily Mail, and even in a book published by the University of Chicago. Breves’s role in all this seems clear: a Google search for “Brazilian aardvark” will return no mentions before Breves made the edit, in July, 2008. The claim that the coati is known as a Brazilian aardvark still remains on its Wikipedia entry, only now it cites a 2010 article in the Telegraph as evidence.



At least the coati is now sometimes called the "Brazilian aardvark"




h/t Ann Laurie

EXCLUSIVE: John McCain Admitted to being a War Criminal

brutusettu's picture

Great news from the Obama Administration

mmghosh's picture

Excellent stuff, and wish Mr Modi is listening.

The Obama administration unveiled historic environment rules cutting carbon pollution from power plants by 30% on Monday, spurring prospects for a global deal to end climate change but setting up an epic battle over the environment in this year's mid-term elections.

The new rules, formally announced by the Environmental Protection Agency, represent the first time Barack Obama, or any other president, has moved to regulate carbon pollution from power plants – the largest single source of carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change.

The EPA said the regulations, which would cut carbon pollution from power plants 30% from 2005 levels by 2030, would “fight climate change while supplying America with reliable and affordable power”.

Amusing to see the same news reported as

The Obama administration took aim at the coal industry on Monday by mandating a 30 percent cut in carbon emissions at fossil fuel-burning power plants by 2030 -- despite claims the regulation will cost nearly a quarter-million jobs a year and force plants across the country to close.

The controversial regulation, which some lawmakers already are trying to block, is one of the most sweeping efforts to tackle global warming by this or any other administration.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Q: What about the jobs lost to higher sea levels?

brutusettu's picture

A: "A rising tide lifts all boats"

Susan Rice: There she goes with the talking points again

Bird Dog's picture

Falsehood 1:

"Sergeant Bergdahl wasn’t simply a hostage, he was an American prisoner of war captured on the battlefield."

Falsehood 2:

"He served the United States with honor and distinction."

Susan Rice is unqualified to appear on Sunday talk shows and the upper echelons of the federal government. Her propaganda is best suited for the likes of MSNBC.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Someone might conclude a war was going on


what with all these [waves hands about wildly] LIES getting told, heh heh.  Susan Rice is no less qualified than any of these other bozos who routinely appear on the Sabbath Gasbag shows.  I gave up watching them about two years ago.  You should, too.  Better things to do with my time, one of which is arguing with you.  Can you imagine these Talking Heads being forced to cite their claims?

Why should the Army do a crazy thing like question the Sergeant?

brutusettu's picture

Since Susan is, even before the investigation is over, unequivocally wrong about him serving with "honor and distinction"?  The facts are already known, hence falsehoods are already there for stuff still under investigation.



I don't have the guy's service record.


I don't have access to his sitrep.  All we have is some scuttlebutt from someone who wasn't in his platoon, talking a bunch of trash about Bergdahl.  The continuous, deafening roar of pseudo-outrage from the Right - I mean, seriously, is anyone still listening, beyond the standard harrumphers at Fox and the RNC?   Do they think, this time, they're going to get an impeachment?  


The first reports are always wrong.  The facts are not known.  The only Unequivocal aspect to all this resolves to Obama is Satan.  And so are all his little minions.  Some folks need to grow up and recognise a platitude when they hear one.   Bergdahl is being debriefed.  AFAICT he hasn't even talked to his parents.  He may have legal representation, he may not, at this point.  Probably does. If there's anything there, he'll be courtmartialed or given an Article 15 or something.  Whatever he did wrong didn't seem to affect his time-in-grade promotions, he made E4 and E5 in captivity.


Meanwhile,  until the facts are known, let's reserve some judgment on this guy.  You spend five years with the Taliban and don't go over to the enemy, you've done good.  John McCain, nobody talks about what he said under torture.  He was tortured and he said some disgraceful things and I forgive him every word of them.  That's what torture does to even the best of us.  Maybe, at some point, our Conservative brethren will get around to justifying the existence of Gitmo and address a few of the points I've made.  The fan dancing is just the greatest show ever, a bit revolting, 'tis true, a bunch of hairy-legged Gypsy Rose Lees swanning around behind terms like "enemy combatant" and "detainee" when good honest English words such as "murderer" and "prisoner" will adequately suffice.

Piketty's debunking


has now been debunked

Here’s the issue. We have two sources of evidence on both income and wealth: surveys, in which people are asked about their finances, and tax data. Survey data, while useful for tracking the poor and the middle class, notoriously understate top incomes and wealth — loosely speaking, because it’s hard to interview enough billionaires. So studies of the 1 percent, the 0.1 percent, and so on rely mainly on tax data. The Financial Times critique, however, compared older estimates of wealth concentration based on tax data with more recent estimates based on surveys; this produced an automatic bias against finding an upward trend.

So Giles cherry-picked apples and oranges in order to compare them in a fruit salad of conservative butt-hurt and wishful thinking. Which leads me to a question for conservatives in general: why? Why, conservatives? Why are you always, always, always wrong on the facts? In my 15-odd years of experience in being part of policy debates online and elsewhere, I have found it just about universally to be the case that when any dispute gets down to basic numbers or elements of verifiable fact, the conservative side has either got them wrong or is lying. It's like a physical constant. In any argument with any conservative on any topic, you can save yourself a great deal of time and effort by looking at the underlying facts and spotting the lie, omission, distortion or error. 


This is a beautiful woman.



Hold a tic.


*Licks a wad of kleenex.*


*Wipe, wipe, dab, dab, wipe.*


That isn't a woman at all! It's a pig wearing lipstick. 



*Grunts contentedly.*

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

The general "why?" is a good question.


In this specific case, given how blatant the statistical sleight of hand is here, we can all jump to our own conclusions as to motive. 

*cough cough Bellesiles cough cough* nt

M Scott Eiland's picture


. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Thanks for bringing up the tu quoque fallacy


but I'm not sure it's relevant here: not all conservatives use that gambit as a crutch.  


As far as Bellesiles, nobody said that nonconservatives are never wrong, just that conservatives are inherently factually challenged. As though being wrong is itself part of the DNA of the movement.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

That Wasn't Tu Quoque

M Scott Eiland's picture

That was pointing out that your "always always" mantra was factually inaccurate, since the Bellesiles fraud was a rather classic case of conservatives pointing out that a new liberal idol was lying through his teeth, and of the conservatives being dismissed by the "get a PhD before you criticize the experts" sneer. The conservatives were right, the sneering liberals were wrong. Full stop.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Yes but conservatives would have called Bellesiles a fraud


no matter how well-grounded his research was. Ask Manish about climate science and fraud accusations for some very illustrative examples. Liberals denounced Bellesiles once the facts became available. Can you point to a single example of conservatives doing the same with one of their own intellectual lions when faced with clear evidence of fraud or error?

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Also. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .ten years after Dan Rather's Waterloo, I still see liberals sniveling about "kerning"--which is of course shorthand for "the attempt by a major network news organization to influence the outcome of a presidential election by presenting forged documents failed when conservatives *immediately* identified the fraud and were ridiculed by liberals for it before cold reality set in." There were some doozies in the Tacitus archives. . .shame we can't see them any more.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

That doesn't sound like


an example of conservatives disowning their own for getting the facts wildly wrong. Bellesiles and Dan Rather both went under the bus for fraud and factual error, respectively. The conservative equivalent is? Any incident in the past 40 years would be fine. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Dave Barry on this subject, from a few years ago....


Sometimes I think I’d like to get more involved politically, but I get depressed when I look at the two major name-brand political parties. Both of them seem to be dominated by the kind of aggressively annoying individuals who always came in third for sophomore class president. Which is not to say that there are no differences between the parties. The Democrats seem to be basically nicer people, but they have demonstrated time and again that they have the management skills of celery. They’re the kind of people who’d stop to help you change a flat, but would somehow manage to set your car on fire. I would be reluctant to entrust them with a Cuisinart, let alone the economy. The Republicans, on the other hand, would know how to fix your tire, but they wouldn’t bother to stop because they’d want to be on time for Ugly Pants Night at the country club. Also the Republicans have a high Beady-Eyed Self-Righteous Scary Borderline Loon Quotient, as evidenced by Phyllis Schlafly, Pat Robertson, the entire state of Utah, etc.


It’s very common for people reaching middle age to turn into Republicans. It can happen overnight. You go to bed as your regular old T-shirt-wearing self, and you wake up the next morning with Ralph Lauren clothing and friends named “Muffy.” Here are some other signs to watch for:




  • You find yourself judging political candidates solely on the basis of whether or not they’d raise your taxes. “Well,” you say, “he was convicted in those machete slayings, but at least he won’t raise my taxes.”
  • You assign a lower priority to ending world hunger than to finding a cleaning lady.
  • You start clapping wrong to music. This is something I’ve noticed about Republicans at their conventions. The band will start playing something vaguely upbeat – a real GOP rocker such as “Bad, Bad LeRoy Brown” – and the delegates will decide to get funky and clap along, and it immediately becomes clear that they all suffer from a tragic Rhythm Deficiency, possibly caused by years of dancing the Bunny Hop to bands with names like “Leon Wudge and His Sounds of Clinical Depression.” To determine whether Republican Rhythm Impairment Syndrome is afflicting you, you should take the Ray Charles Clapping Test. All you do is hum the song “Hit the Road, Jack” and clap along. A rhythmically normal person will clap as follows:


“Hit the road, (CLAP) Jack (CLAP).”


Whereas a Republican will clap this way:


“Hit the (CLAP), (CLAP).”

(By the way, if you don’t even know the song “Hit the Road, Jack,” then not only are you a Republican, but you might even be Cabinet material.)


I’ll tell you what’s weird. Not only is our generation turning into Republicans, but we also have a whole generation coming after us that’s starting out as Republicans. With the exception of a few dozen spittle-emitting radicals I saw at the 1988 Democratic Convention in Atlanta, the younger generations today are already so conservative they make William F. Buckley Jr. look like Ho Chi Minh. What I’m wondering is, what will they be like when they’re our age? Will they, too, change their political philosophy? Will millions of young urban professionals turn 40 and all of a sudden start turning into left-wing anti-establishment hippies, smoking pot on the racquetball court and putting Che Guevara posters up in the conference room and pasting flower decals all over their cellular telephones?


It will be an exciting time to look forward to. I plan to be dead.

Suicide bomber in Syria was Floridian

mmghosh's picture


Its actually hard to understand why an American would want to do this.  Religion!

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Or... just a wish to go out in a blaze of glory.


Ἀντίθετα, ὅποιος δὲν νοιάζεται γιὰ τὴν Ἀλήθεια,

εἶναι τῆς ἀμεριμνησίας του ἡ δῆθεν γαλήνη

σὰν τὴν αἰώνια νύχτα τοῦ κακοῦ θανάτου, - ἄκαρπη,

δίχως οὐδενὸς πράγματος φόβο ἢ ἐλπίδα, δίχως ἀρχή,

δίχως τέλος, ἀσυνείδητη, σὰν τὴν ψιλὴ ἔννοια

θανάτου δίχως τρόπαια χρωμάτων, δίχως κὰν τὴν στιλπνότητα

Κρίσεως μελλοντικιᾶς μετὰ σαλπίγγων.


Though, who doesn't care about the truth?

Is the carelessness of the alleged peace

As the eternal night of evil death - fruitless?

With nothing to fear or hope for, without authority,

without end, unconscious, like the rain?

Implying death without trophies? Without colours?

Without even the glory

of the coming trumpet of Judgement Day?


-Takis Papatsonis

-translation, mine



After a long day off fixing someone's damn Windows computer


(for free) that had been hijacked by a "repair" crew, while I was supposed to be enjoying myself at an outdoor birthday party.  Kinda got both in while the drive was formatting and Windows updates were installing.  Actually it was a rather nice day until I came home to find a dog accident in the bed.  Poor thing leaks in her sleep.


You could sleep through springtime around here in Wisconsin.  Gone straight from 10mm of slick ice at the back door to beastly heat in a matter of days, relieved only by a bit of breeze. A few drops of the coming rainstorm have fallen, the air smells of earth and ozone.  Curled up in the headphones with a cup of warm'd o'er microwave coffee, waiting for the 2 liter bottle of ginger ale to chill sufficiently to add brandy.


It's an electropop sorta night, trying to wrestle my mind into neutral.  Working harmonies, a good voice, a beat and zero harshness.  Things without much thinking involved.


Dangerous (CHAPPO remix), Big Data

Klapp Klapp, the new thing from Little Dragon.

Be a Body, Grimes

Rage Flows (Darcy remix) Born Ruffians


Every Little Step I Take, George Duke.  I'm still an unrepentant fan of the dusties.  1979, the second best year of my life.

Listen Now, Phil Manzanera.  Listening to this puts me in mind of our friend Traveller, don't know why.  Melancholia, gentleness, awareness....


Postscript tune


A Good Sadness, MGMT. 


All I could do not to steal
All the fun in the world
From your little heart
And now I owe it back to you
But it's hard to catch it and let it go,
Find excuses to burn right through the grief
And to melt
Oh my poor memories


Down to a trace
Till you forget that I'm alive
And you feel it's all right
Oh I'm sure you'll be fine
Tune it out and I'm sure you'll be fine
Doing well
Finding an excuse
Shutting down soon (over my eyes)
Lost the recall


No line / Disprove / Mean time/ Desperate/ Confide/ Inrush/ Disprove/ Mean time/ Inrush/

No line/ Desperate/ Confide/ Inrush/ Disprove/ No line/ Inrush/

No line

Very Nice...Thanks; Re: How I Wish...


The Never Told Tale...of a failed Human Being.



All the parts worked in him,

the gimcrackery was just fine,

a polished gloss

But the missing spaces were...



And his bright friendly smile

lit up no dark alley's

Where truth lay a`wounded


Though solace there was,

but not for he, or thee or thine

As a Sunday round round

a distant Horizon


We could only be content in our

fleshy bounds.




I'm sitting here paying bills on a Saturday night...I will  try to take myself out,

but I receive piles and puddles of mail...commanding some kind of attention.


You are doing better than me...and I'm doing almost just fine.


Thanks for the Thoughts...I can see you in WI, you paint so well with words...


Best Wishes, Traveller



You must let others tell you of your failures, dear Traveller.


Caesar’s double-bed is warm
As an unimportant clerk
On a pink official form.


Unendowed with wealth or pity,
Little birds with scarlet legs,
Sitting on their speckled eggs,
Eye each flu-infected city.


Altogether elsewhere, vast
Herds of reindeer move across
Miles and miles of golden moss,
Silently and very fast.

Now that is &#@(&^ing Nice! Impressive...n/t



No, no, that's Auden.


I'm the idiot savant who can summon up pretty much every poem which ever mattered to him but can barely tie his shoes....


You must let others tell you of your failures. You are unqualified to make such a judgment.  And you will never hear such a verdict around here. 

SGT Bowe Bergdahl coming home

Jay C's picture

SGT Bowe Bergdahl, of Hailey, ID is free today, after being released by the Taliban in Afghanistan; the last/only US military POW still being held there - after nearly five years in captivity. Sgt Bergdahl was exchanged for five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay - turned over to authorities in Qatar (who, apparently, helped broker the deal).


A piece here, from the local paper (Twin Falls [ID] Times-News) gives some reactions from his family, and various officials (from President Obama down to the town mayor): most are unalloyed expression of happiness and thankfulness at Bowe's return: the only notable exception (relieving himself on the parade as usual): Sen. John McCain.


I realize that Sen. McCranky is the go-to guy in Washington for all things POW; but couldn't he have canned the huffy piss-and-moan for at least one day?



5:1? Were these 5 prisoners actually terrorists?

mmghosh's picture

Why were they held, do we know?

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

This from DailyBeast


over here


Long War Journal has more

Ugh. We released terrorists after the Kandahar hijacking

mmghosh's picture


who ultimately went on to murder Daniel Pearl and also led to the Mumbai massacre.


But I suppose there isn't really an alternative to negotiating and making deals with terrorists.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Question for all


It's well-established that it's usually bad books that make good movies... but what is the best movie ever made from an unquestionably great novel?

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Maximum Overdrive

Bird Dog's picture

Stephen King novel. Say no more.

In the movie, the ACDC soundtrack moved it from good to great.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Based on a little short story called "Trucks."


The story's actually quite a bit better than the movie. The movie's pretty hacktastic, even though Stephen King himself directed it. He ain't no Kubrick.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I should have put a...

Bird Dog's picture

.... ;  next to my above comment. The movie was completely cheesy, but I still like the soundtrack.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Stephen King novel


Stand By Me was pretty good, and the soundtrack was fun

movies n books


Howards End


A Clockwork Orange

No Country for Old Men

The Color Purple

Howard's End and Clockwork Orange


are good candidates. I would suggest To Kill a Mockingbird.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Papillon is a good candidate


Great movie, and finally admitted by the publisher near death that it was originally submitted as a novel despite being sold by him as a memoir.


I think it's acknowledged as a very good book in whatever form. I read it on a trip to Venezuela and really enjoyed it, and the movie is one of the best adaptations of a novel I've ever seen.

It was obvious as fiction when I first read it in the 1970s

mmghosh's picture

all those dream sequences with noble savage women were the giveaway.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

I read it as a novel


but had a disposition to do so partly b/c the events are so extraordinary it's hard to accept that one person had that kind of life over a decade or so timeframe.


How did you like the book and have you ever seen the movie?

Wasn't the Clarke novel published after the movie?


He worked on the screenplay I believe. Is the novel any good?

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I didn't realize 2001 was worked on concurrently with the movie


The book draws on some of Clarke's short stories that predate the movie and which I also liked (The Sentinel).


I very much liked 2001 the book ... tho I read it more than 15 yrs. ago, my recollection is that it has fascinating ideas and great pacing. One of my favorite sci fi books, one of my favorite movies. 


... an aside: Clarke on Dune -- "I know nothing comparable to it except Lord of the Rings" ... Dune the movie tho has to be one of the greatest missed opportunities out there.

I saw the newer SyFy version of Dune,

Bird Dog's picture

and I could hardly stay awake.

I remember James Cameron saying that he couldn't make Avatar until the technology caught up with his vision of the movie. I'm thinking that our technology has now caught up to making a Dune that works but, like with The Hobbit, they'll have to break it down into a trilogy or something.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

The problem with Dune is that what's brilliant about it


isn't the story, which is a typical succession war over title to land & resources, but the backstory, which is one of the most convincing and mindblowing treatments of human cultural evolution ever written. Heavily inspired by Asimov's Foundation, yet it is so much better IMO.


But... you can't film a backstory.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes



I agree Dune has better sociological evolutionary forces + development embedded in it than is found in Asimov's explicit treatment. 


But The Foundation is remarkable not just for spelling out Psychohistory but for playing around with the forces that would confound/amplify/alter it- stochastic events like mutation and (most interestingly) humans becoming aware of psycho-history's laws ... that's really some interesting s%^t that the Dune backstory doesn't touch.

Does Foundation actually ever spell out psychohistory?


I've only read the first novel (and that recently). It struck me as more of a hard science-y, thought experiment-type ship-in-a-bottle hypothesis as opposed to Herbert's far more organic, plausible and human treatment of much the same idea.


Also there's virtually no action in Foundation. Literally every scene but 1 or 2 comprises a group of people sitting around a desk or table yapping at each other. Like Greek drama only without much drama.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes



I happened to read Foundation a couple months ago,  and I agree with you.   The  psychohistory thing isn't explained in any way,  except that it lets the Seldon guy make predictions.   Also,  as you point out,  it's mostly dialogue,  but despite that,  the characters are kind of flat,  and you'd have trouble telling them apart without the speech tags. 

The characters are definitely flat


That's true of the harder sci fi writers like Clarke too.


Of course psychohistory isn't explained in any detail since that would be the greatest advancement in science of the century.


But there's still the idea that psychohistory gives a probabilistic account at the level of populations instead of individuals and that it's most accurate/least complicated when there's no knowledge of the laws by society's leaders.

Yeah, it's more of a fingerpuppet book than a novel.


I have to assume Asimov improved with time (I've hardly read any of his stuff). But I kind of worry that he didn't.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Both were produced simultaneously.


It's impossible to separate the two, really.  Clarke had to write the novel, Kubrick had to make the movie.  They diverged somewhat, but Clarke could only communicate in the novel form.  Both were intensely pleased by what came of their respective efforts, surely one of the most fascinating collaborations in the history of film making.

Grapes of Wrath. Apocalypse Now (sort of).


The Silence of the Lambs. Short Cuts (really a stretch but both Carver's stories and the film are great). To Kill a Mockingbird. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Doctor Zhivago. All Quiet on the Western Front. Blade Runner. Trainspotting. Fight Club. The Godfather, although I hesitate to call that a great novel. 


It's a pretty small list, really, which goes to show just how different the two genres really are (novel and film).

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Is All Quiet a great novel?

mmghosh's picture

My German is pretty basic, but the English translation I read seemed cliched about the horror of war (read a long time ago - can't remember now).


Maybe you could recommend a translation?  Good movie, though.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

The days stand like angels in blue and gold


The months pass by. The summer of 1918 is the most bloody and the most terrible. The days stand like angels in blue and gold, incomprehensible, above the ring of annihilation


I think it is a great novel, both for its profound social impact and for its writing. The pacing reflects the progress of the war in way that must be very hard for a writer to achieve. If I have a complaint it's probably to do with the end. Our protagonist dies almost as an afterthought. 

I got a different view of the war reading Mein Kampf.

mmghosh's picture

Hitler, a private soldier, was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class.  Goering got a Pour Le Merite.


Their visions of the war are very different from Remarque's.  Not to say that his wasn't valid, but I didn't get the feeling that he caught all the emotions associated with war. 


My dad was in our Army, and served in 3 wars.  I must say his view of the war was more akin to Hitler's - the honouring and valourising of bravery and self-sacrifice.  My daughter OTOH is being brought up on Owen and Sassoon in school.


But I must read Remarque again, must be more than 30 years.  Thanks for the quotes link.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Some people seem to come away from it having loved the


whole experience. Depends where and when you served I suppose, as well as what sort of person you are.


I know that there has been somewhat of a drowning out of anything but the Remarqueian view of that war. An antidote to the propaganda of the age that had 14 year olds signing up to join the great adventure and ladies handing out white lilies to men on the streets of London. There is now something of a reaction to that.


I had some great uncles in that war in the French army. I never met them, only one survived. I heard my grandfather speak of him and met his grand children. The damage done to him by his experiences and the methyl achohol in the trench brandy the governemnt supplied him survived in the suffering of 3 generations. 


As for Hitler, I have not read Mein kmpf. It's a hard thing to do here in Europre without being looked at like a nut. I do plan to one day though. I have always wondered if it was his experiences in the 1st world war that unhinged him and made him what we know today. For sure it must have been his military experience and connections that taught him how to bully his way into parliament with literally a gang of thugs.

This site seems to have done a reasonably good job


of hacking a few quotes together



The Wheen translation is the standard in English.


Wheen, was also a soldier in WW1, a decorated hero.  To read the Wheen translations of Remarque are remarkably good, not perfect for our ears today, but it's the voice of one soldier translating another, an eerie sort of thing to read.

All Quiet on the Western Front


There are novels and novels.

mmghosh's picture

Old classic adaptation - Lord Of The Mohicans

New novel - Trainspotting


Is the Bible a novel? - All the de Mille classics

Is Shakespeare a novelist? Luhrmann's R&J

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

DeMille's Bible stuff is just awful, imho.


DeMille's characters were so wooden and hammy. 


I do wish someone would do a TV series of the Books of the Prophets and the Kings.  Keep Hollywood away from it, a vicious, pointed, unexpurgated tale of the prophets and the kings would make Breaking Bad look like a Sunday School picnic.  We know how people dressed in the Late Bronze Age and the early Age of Iron, none of that pseudo-Bedouin by way of the Christmas play wardrobe.  Probably couldn't do it in Israel proper, though some of it could be done.  I'd do it in Spain, which more closely resembles what the Middle East looked like, back then. 

Wholeheartedly agree.


Unexpurgated history of any period would be a breath of fresh air.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

History, myth, all the same to me. Just tell the actual story.


It's fascinating enough, straight from the book.


When King David was very old, he could not keep warm even when they put covers over him.  So his attendants said to him, “Let us look for a young virgin to serve the king and take care of him. She can lie beside him so that our lord the king may keep warm.”


Then they searched throughout Israel for a beautiful young woman and found Abishag, a Shunammite, and brought her to the king.  The woman was very beautiful; she took care of the king and waited on him, but the king had no sexual relations with her.

Boy howdy!  That's the Bible, folks.  Not for prudes.  Fine bit of literature.  Most of that book, 1 Kings, is just slathered in Loin Juice.  Reads like a screenplay.

I'm not sure how you turn that into a scene


with actors who actually believe what they are saying and doing. I mean hell, if the king has hypothermia, a couple of crusty old advisors will work just as well as a nubile young virgin. Who are we kidding here? 


What I'm getting at: the psychosexual craziness of the Old Testament is part of what makes it difficult for the modern mind to grasp, entirely aside from prudish sensibilities.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

The Old Testament is what it is, despite the prudes.


The best statement ever concerning this subject was written by Mark Twain:

21 5th Avenue
Nov. 21, '05.


Dear Sir:


I am greatly troubled by what you say. I wrote Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn for adults exclusively, & it always distressed me when I find that boys and girls have been allowed access to them. The mind that becomes soiled in youth can never again be washed clean. I know this by my own experience, & to this day I cherish an unappeased bitterness against the unfaithful guardians of my young life, who not only permitted but compelled me to read an unexpurgated Bible through before I was 15 years old. None can do that and ever draw a clean sweet breath again on this side of the grave. Ask that young lady - she will tell you so.


Most honestly do I wish I could say a softening word or two in defence of Huck's character, since you wish it, but really in my opinion it is no better than God's (in the Ahab & 97 others), & the rest of the sacred brotherhood.


If there is an Unexpurgated [Bible] in the Children's Department, won't you please help that young woman remove Tom & Huck from that questionable companionship?


Sincerely yours,
S. L. Clemens


I shall not show your letter to any one - it is safe with me.

Gandhi slept with virgins in his old age

mmghosh's picture

two of them, in fact, and one his grand-neice.  What is it with old men and virgins?


Anything the Semitic religions can do, we can do better, as the American musical song goes.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Great headline there. -nt-



"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

There you are. You've only got, what, 2000 years of head start


on us.  Isn't it time for another remake of Ramayana by now?  As with Star Wars, now that the special effects have begun to catch up with the ...(cough) artist's vision, it might be time for young Rama to fight some demons again...

Hammy? Come on.

mmghosh's picture

All movies of that era were.  My Fair Lady? Absolute travesty of Shaw's class war dialogue.



freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Nobody will ever get Shaw right. An inimical voice.


My favourite bit of Shaw, often quoted:  "No man can be a pure specialist without being in the strict sense an idiot."

Catch 22?



“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Way, Way too Many Good Books to Movies to Choose Just One!


...see this list, though of course Catch 22 was a great movie even for all the flack it caught upon release (there is a joke in there, of course):


Just scrolling the list made me smile.


Best Wishes, Traveller

History's first great privatizer - Hitler


Interesting paper, here:


In the mid-1930s, the Nazi regime transferred public ownership to the private sector. In doing so, they went against the mainstream trends in western capitalistic countries, none of which systematically reprivatized firms during the 1930s. Privatization was used as a political tool to enhance support for the government and for the Nazi Party. In addition, growing financial restrictions because of the cost of the rearmament programme provided additional motivations for privatization.


The word "privatization" itself comes from the Nazis: 


... in 1936 the German term ‘reprivatisierung’, and the associated concept, were brought into English with the term ‘reprivatization’, and soon the term ‘priva-tization’ began to be used...


In conclusion, privatizing prisons, schools, parks, etc. = Nazism

Depends on how you look at the private/public distinction.


The Third Reich did not merely open these markets to competition.  Remember, fascism is the incestuous union of state and industry.  The regulators and regulated morph into one ugly blob. 


The proto-Nazis were useless chumps, blowhards and bullies, stomping around in their brown shirts.  Thus it is with all fascists - and for that matter, libertarians:  they hate "the state" but cannot see who holds trump.  It's never the government.  A good government, like a good gardener, assiduously cultivates the nation, concerning itself with keeping the money sound and the people satisfied.  That means encouraging job creators and workers alike.  The example of Fritz Thyssen, mentioned in the article, is instructive.


Before Fritz Thyssen, Nazism was just a disgruntlement.  After Thyssen became involved, it took on real power because Thyssen gave the Nazis real money.  Thyssen convinced Germany's industrialists Hitler was the man to back.  Once that goal was achieved, Thyssen simply told the politicians to appoint Hitler as Chancellor.  The rest of the story you know.  United Steel stock was propped up by government money, then sold back - that's the important part - sold back to Thyssen. 


I do not accept the thesis wherein the Nazis re-privatised anything.  Their backers had come through with money when the Nazis needed it - the resale of German industry to the industrialists was simply a return on investment. 

The National Socialist German Workers Party

Bird Dog's picture

Interesting piece.

To complete the analogy, Obama would sell prisons, schools and parks to his political supporters and fellow Democrats. In return, those buyers would waive their private property rights. If they didn't operate the prisons, schools and parks to the Leader's satisfaction, they could be retaken by the State. Also, the assets are regulated to the point where the State still retains effective control over those assets. Since socialism is the ownership and/or control of the means of production, it's still socialism.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

So Obama sells USP Marion and turns it into -- what, exactly?


But what would that bill of sale imply? 


A private prison?  That's a given.  Maybe, here's a great idea, we have the prisoners manage themselves.  Built-in leadership structure, the prison gangs.  That would sure cut down on costs.  Those darned old prison guards are such a waste of time and they all seem to want health insurance.   We could take it one step further, let's just ship 'em out to Nevada and put them in the desert, like we done with those little Japaneezies during WW2.  Maybe have some televised Hunger Games sorta thing, only a reality show, where we get to see the prizners out there, killing each other.  Make for great television, might not want to let the kiddies see it, but hey, gotta get this thing profitable somehow.

At least we've improved on the Nazi model....

Jay C's picture

To complete the analogy, [the Executive] would sell prisons, schools and parks to his political supporters and fellow [partisans].

Not sure about the "parks" bit, but I do know that in a lot of places in this country, this very thing has been done with prisons (and I'm sure you're not so naive as to believe that political contributions influence have has nothing to do with prison privatization schemes). And that there is a nationwide movement in action to try to do the same thing to schools. However, we have improved on Hitler's model in a couple of respects:


In return, those buyers would waive their private property rights.

Here, most of the "property", like buildings, land, etc: still remains the property of the State: the grifters entrepreneurs who run the privatized jails or schools are simple "contractors" who provide services: so no "property" is involved: no rights stepped on!


Privatize the profits, socialize the liabilities: it's the American way! Oh, and not sending any failed privatizers to concentration camps: a much better system.

Heh. the Third Reich was backed by competent industrialists


who wanted little more than to get their workers back on the assembly lines and make a buck.  The same cannot be said for the USA:  our form of fascism entails screwing the American worker with deregulatory assistance from our so-called government.  A profound difference.



It looks like I'm not aware of all internet traditions

brutusettu's picture

It appears the last dude is Theon, from a show I haven't watched, but would probably like and people are trying to post spoilers.  I am not amused.


Who is the 2nd guy?  More spoilers??   Oh crap, he better not be Theon's dad.  You bastard.  You bastard. 



Also, there will be no talk of the Walking Dead, or at least nothing past the first few episodes of season 3.


Bird Dog's picture

My open thread diary was posted 2:54pm (PST) and yours was at 2:58pm. Both diaries addressed the Ballmer purchase of the Clippers. Great minds.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Sorry, BD

Jay C's picture

Though - that four-minute gap aside, I swear I had that diary up and ready to go about half an hour ago; only to see it vanish into the ether when I inadvertently hit something. Which engendered a lot of language we wouldn't post here on The Forvm


Anyway, your diary is a bit more comprehensive - so anyone reading this should leave and go to Bird Dog's. Or not...

Gibbs' Rule #6

Bird Dog's picture

Never apologize, at least not in this case.

The more diaries the merrier.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009