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Chavism

Another article that made the rounds last week on apologists for dictators:

Stalin was applauded by Sidney and Beatrice Webb. Mao was visited by a constant stream of worshippers from the West, some of whose names can still produce winces of disgust in China. Castro has basked for years in the adulation of such literary stars as Jose Saramago and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Even Pol Pot found favour among several well-known journalists and academics.

Last year a number of journalists, writers and showbiz figures, including Harold Pinter, Nadine Gordimer, Harry Belafonte and Tariq Ali, signed a letter claiming that in Cuba “there has not been a single case of disappearance, torture or extra-judicial execution since 1959 . . .”

Arenas was arrested in 1973 for “ideological deviation”. He was tortured and locked up in prison cells filled with floodwater and excrement, and threatened with death if he didn’t renounce his own writing. Imagine what it must be like to be treated like this and then read about your fellow writers in the West standing up for your oppressors.

None of this is news, and would hardly be worth dredging up if the same thing were not happening once more. Hugo Chavez, the elected strongman of Venezuela, is the latest object of adulation by western “progressives” who return from jaunts in Caracas with stars in their eyes.

Chavez is not yet a Castro, let alone a Pol Pot. His fiery populist rhetoric is more in the line of Juan Peron, the Argentinian “caudillo”. Chavez, by the way, rather relishes this pejorative term. Neither quite left, nor quite right, he is a typical macho Latin leader, whose charisma is meant to stand for the empowerment of his people, mostly poor and darker-skinned than the urban elite. [...]


Future Time Orientation

In case you missed it on various other blogs, the Seattle school district has a webpage up defining racism and its various subtypes. Most of the attention has been on how it defines "cultural racism": Read more »


One More...

In case you missed it, Jimi Wilson was also able to send in an essay on Mill:

The Subjection of Women: J.S. Mill on Equality of Women


J. S. Mill

This Saturday is the 200th anniversary of John Stuart Mill's birthday. Tomorrow, we're planning to publish a series of essays on Mill's work. The effort is spearheaded by Joe Miller. Tune in!


Devastating

Radley Balko on the new brief filed by Cory Maye's lawyers:

If you've read anything at all about this case, I'd urge you to take a look at the brief. I realize that a brief's legal effectiveness is a very different thing than its general pursuasiveness, particularly briefs filed in almost perfunctory post-trial motions like this one. Since I'm not really qualified to comment on its legal merits, I'll keep my comments limited to its general pursuasiveness.


Cato Podcast With Daniel Griswold On Immigration

Today's daily Cato podcast is an interview by Anastasia Uglova with Daniel Griswold on the topic of the new immigration bill that Bush will be speaking of tonight. Check it out on the right sidebar at the main Cato page.

(Or direct link here.)


Why Not With Health Insurance?

Via Hit and Run comes a story of Chinese customers engaging in "team buying":

Last month, Fiona Li did what millions of Chinese shoppers do to find a bargain: she went online.

A few clicks later, she had a lead on where to buy the consumer goodies her brother wanted for his new apartment. Instead of reaching for her credit card, though, she jotted down a time and a place: 8 p.m. at a downtown electronics store.


A Couple Of Overlooked Details

Justin Logan writes at Cato at Liberty:

Can We Negotiate with Odious Regimes?

It appears that in the case of Libya, the answer is yes.


John And Jane

Via, Pardon My Hindi, a documentary by Ashim Ahluwalia on the cultural effects of globalization:

Part documentary and part fiction feature, "John & Jane" is a film set in the call centers of Mumbai that explores the effects of globalization on six call agents. Indian by day and American by night, the employees' split-identity lives warp their sense of reality in a disturbing way.


Idi Amin\'s Exiles

Apropos Brian's post that mentioned Amy Chua's World On Fire is an article by Val McQueen in TCS earlier this week about one of the "market-dominant minorities" Chua uses as an example in her book: Indians in East Africa. Mixing ethnonationalism with populist anti-wealth rhetoric, Idi Amin expelled 40,000 Indians from Uganda in 1972, most of whom eventually settled in Britain. Read more »


Lost Cause

[cross-posted at The 'Verse where comments are enabled]

The hype is starting to build as the end of the second season of ABC's Lost approaches. Bill Keveney lays out some of the theories that have sprung up on internet fan forums in today's USA Today. I'll admit that I entertained the Purgatory theory towards the end of season 1 but later concluded that there is no theory to be solved, and that using more than the three brain cells required to watch each episode is a waste of effort.

"One layer speaks to electromagnetism, another to psychological experimentation, another to why they can see Walt. Coming up with one answer that unifies all those things is next to impossible. Hopefully, every sublayer will be explained" by the end, they say.

In other words, they don't know. They're making it up as they go along. With J. J. Abrams traipsing around the world with the scientologous one in creation of the sure to be massively overhyped MI3, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have been on their worst behavior. For them, "resolution" is a foreign concept. Almost nothing has been revealed while the mysteries keep piling up. One week it's a humungous pile of food that just shows up out of the blue right over there; the next week it's an immaculate conception. The list of absurdities gets larger every week.

For a series initially dedicated to a character-driven posture, as demonstrated by the weekly use of flashbacks since the beginning, the lack of plot progression would be tolerable. But the second season has been nothing more than a spectacle of character assasination, all the while the riddles add up.

And the characters don't seem to even care anymore. In the pilot episode, an unseen monster snatched the pilot out of the crashed cockpit section and left him for vultures atop a tree. Nearly two seasons later, nobody on the island knows anything about the monster, nor do they show the slightest curiosity. And that's just one example. Read more »


Charles Koch

Some excerpts from Stephen Moore's Wall Street Journal article on Charles Koch from yesterday:

He then confidently predicts: "Regulatory laws like Sarbanes-Oxley will only increase the earnings advantages of private firms. I would suspect that there will be more of these private company takeovers of publicly traded companies." He's referring to his blockbuster $21 billion purchase of Georgia Pacific last November, a Fortune 500 forest and paper company. [...]


Welcome To The OC, B*tch!

This is how it's done in Orange County, China.

"Chinese people like the image of the American lifestyle, and we are the only company building homes like this here," he said.


Institutions

"Institutions" is a vague concept and something libertarians usually ignore. Here are some of my thoughts on the matter. Read more »


Cato-at-liberty

I always wondered why Cato didn't have a blog. Their blog mafia has been around for along time, but no blog by the Institute itself. Well, they do now. And it looks like they've incorporated the mafia and borged a few more.

Check out Cato-at-liberty.