Thursday, January 19

2012 Annual Loot List

Here are most (all?) of the gifts I got for Christmas and my birthday this year. Christine, as always, is the MVP for buying and liaising with other buyers ;-). My mom and sister also do a very nice job. No men are MVPs ;-)

Ministries of Mercy, Tim Keller
The Meaning of Marriage, Tim and Kathy Keller
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Eric Metaxas
The Daily Message (audiobook), Eugene Peterson
The Cross and the Prodigal, Kenneth Bailey
Droid X bedside dock/charging station
Coupon books from the twins
New basketball (a little early)
Wartburg soccer shirt (a little early ;-)
New shin guards
Adidas 'slide' sandals
1 package of York Peppermint Patties
Armband case for Droid X
Amazon gift cards

Wednesday, January 18

Foreign aid analysis from the Center for American Progress

Interactive Map: Foreign Aid Analysis Made Easy
Saw this linked on Facebook by Cody Postier.

Liberal think tank, so I'm guessing they're against all of the >$1B foreign military aid and for most of the other kinds of aid :-)

What are the big dollar items?
  • $2.62B total funding to Afghanistan
  • $2.22B military funding to Israel
  • $1.45B total funding to Pakistan (I include all funding here since most of this aid is a product of the war in Afghanistan)
  • $1.04B military funding to Egypt
Total of these items: $7.29B

How would you change this? Go back in your time machine and never attack Afghanistan? Cut all military foreign aid? If we did something like that, some American jobs would be lost at Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Rockwell Collins et al. Some Congresspeople would go berserk.

Stipulated: Adequate defense prevents aggression.

But we're way beyond that. And to what degree are the industrial  nations of the world arming the other nations of the world against one another in a proliferating way?

There are no easy answers, of course.

Monday, January 16

Will the real Margaret Thatcher please stand up?

Oddly enough, one of my biggest windows into Thatcher's Britain has been liberal English comic book authors. Warren Ellis and Alan Moore, neither of them particularly 'balanced', portray Thatcher as unhinged. In Moore's  'V for Vendetta' we get his obvious projection: Britain is on the slippery slope to fascism. (My take: 'V' was often artistically excellent but not prophetic at all.)

So I'm interested in some of the commentary emerging around the new Thatcher movie with Meryl Streep. That's why I clicked through to this post: If the real Margaret Thatcher had been like Meryl Streep's Iron Lady, I wouldn't have supported her.

Then I skimmed the Wikipedia article.

How about you? What do you think of Margaret Thatcher?

Opinions from Brits who lived through her administration will be particularly valued :-)