[E]ven if you are unemployed you still receive a base amount of [vacation money] from the government, the reasoning being that if you can’t go on vacation, you’ll get depressed and despondent and you’ll never get a job.After a year and a half of living in the Netherlands, American writer Russell Shorto compares the Dutch "welfare state" to the tax, health care and social security systems of the United States.
But does the cartoon image of [the Dutch system] — encapsulated in the dread slur "socialism," which is being lobbed in American political circles like a bomb — match reality? Is there, maybe, a significant upside that is worth exploring? [...] I think it’s worth pondering how the best bits might fit.
What is the logical consequence of noting the fact that the terrorist groups that make a difference on planet Earth—such as Hamas and Hezbollah, the PLO, Colombia's FARC—are extensions of, respectively, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and Venezuela? It is the negation of the U.S. government's favorite axiom. It means that when George W. Bush spoke, and when Barack Obama speaks, of America being "at war" against "extremism" or "extremists" they are either being stupid or acting stupid to avoid dealing with the nasty fact that many governments wage indirect warfare.International relations professor Angelo M. Codevilla argues that Osama bin Laden is not quite influential, not quite relevant, and probably dead. (multipage version)
William Deresiewicz examines the pitfalls of an Ivy League education Apparently, the Ivies prepare you for... mediocrity.
War and Deliverance [Original format] How "an old movie may offer perspective on American attitudes behind the invasion of Iraq." By Christopher Dickey, son of the man who wrote the novel Deliverance.
With friends like the Saudis, who needs enemies? "There is, then, no real need for us to be frightened by the loss of the kingdom's oil friendship. But we should be concerned by the evidence of its strategic enmity. It may be true that the Saudis are neither Iraqis nor Iranians nor Libyans; but it is quite dangerous enough that they are Saudis."
"How Bush should spend his windfall of political capital." Many links have been posted in the past 10 days to cheap political opportunism in the wake of 0.81- but this takes the cake: an op-ed calling for Bush to explicitly exploit this tragedy to pass bigger tax cuts, ANWR drilling, etc. Yep, another sickening WSJ effort; I'm sure the families of the victims will take heart in knowing their loved ones are, in fact, a "windfall of political capital" for Bush. (sorry for the two-front-page-posts-in-a-row, btw)
Mideast Myths Exploded. It's becoming clear who wants peace and who wants unending killing.