Snafu

Over the last three days, my computer has been overrun with virulent spamming virus-laden adware for – wait for it – antivirus and anti-adware software!! What bitter irony. I’d almost prefer dancing alien mortgage offers or webcam porn offers. Oh, well. New posts after the New Year – the box is goin’ in the shop for convalescence. Hope everyone’s holidays were happy.

Advertisements

Travel

Which airport has the worst food? Chicago. No close second.

“But O’Hare — the nation’s second busiest airport, with 76 million passengers in 2007 — was easily the worst airport I visited, particularly disappointing since Chicago is one of America’s great restaurant cities. Instead of Air Alinea or Tobolobampo to Go, however, diners will find: Chicago-style hot dogs so poorly assembled as to cast doubt on the city’s architectural heritage; collard greens so bland and peach cobbler so mucoid they’d start riots on the South Side; and greasy, flavor-free cheeseburgers whose only claim to fame is that they inspired a “Saturday Night Live” sketch featuring John Belushi, a comedian renowned, of course, for his discriminating palate. I watched my fellow diners with envy: a woman who pulled a packet of Alka-Seltzer from her purse; a bald, beefy man in handcuffs who was no doubt looking forward to decades of prison food.”

Apparently, Dallas and Miami are thumbs-up.


http://travel.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/travel/21airport.html

Economics

Frank Rich on the Madoff scandal, and the general climate around it:

“And no one knows how it happened, least of all the federal regulators charged with policing him and protecting the public. If Madoff hadn’t confessed — for reasons that remain unclear — he might still be rounding up new victims.”

“Last week ABC News asked 16 of the banks that have received handouts from the Treasury Department’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program the same two direct questions: How have you used that money, and how much have you spent on bonuses this year? Most refused to answer.”

“Congress can’t get the answers either. Its oversight panel declared in a first report this month that the Treasury is doling out billions “without seeking to monitor the use of funds provided to specific financial institutions.” The Treasury prefers instead to look at “general metrics” indicating the program’s overall effect on the economy. Well, we know what the “general metrics” tell us already: the effect so far is nil. Perhaps if we were let in on the specifics, we’d start to understand why.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/opinion/21rich.html?_r=1&hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1229871626-ii/eCDQv/rqlRqO2F+xTmw

Media

This is probably old news for most of you, but apparently Camille Paglia, my favorite agent provacateur, and, yes, scholar, there, I said it, you heard me, has a regular column on Salon.com now. WoooHoooo!!!

“Practical training in hands-on vocational skills is desperately needed in this country, where liberal arts education has become a soggy boondoggle, obscenely expensive and diluted by propaganda and groupthink.”

“My confidence about (Sarah) Palin’s political future continues, as does my disgust at the provincial snobbery and amoral trashing of her reputation by the media and liberal elite, along with some conservative insiders.”

http://www.salon.com/opinion/paglia/2008/12/10/hillary_mumbai/index.html

India

A complex but compelling history of 20th century religious and political strife in India, related by the wonderful writer Arundhati Roy.

“It’s hard to understand why those who steer India’s ship are so keen to replicate Pakistan’s mistakes and call damnation upon this country by inviting the United States to further meddle clumsily and dangerously in our extremely complicated affairs. A superpower never has allies. It only has agents.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arundhati-roy/9-is-not-11_b_150637.html

And don’t skip the comments afterwards:

“India and Pakistan are not very different than many other countries around the world. World-wide the emergent reality is that the poor and disenfranchised cannot be ignored as they once were. They are finding a voice, and it is as violent, merciless and nihilistic as the conditions that birthed it.”

“I would argue that it is a mistake to associate either group with either religion. These are best seen as interest groups. To fall into the Hindu v Muslim, or Christian v Muslim trap, is to argue the matter on extremist turf.”