Sorry about that whole “U.S. economic collapse” thing (Straw and A Camel’s Back)

There’s an ooooold saying about the tipping points in life.

This ones comes from deep in the desert, back in some of the first communities our species ever built.

The wiki says the story goes like this.

The idiom the straw that broke the camel’s back is from an Arab proverb about how a camel wearing shoes is loaded beyond its capacity to move[citation needed]. This is a reference to any process by which cataclysmic failure (a broken back) is achieved by a seemingly inconsequential addition (a single straw). This also gives rise to the phrase “the last/final straw”, used when something is deemed to be the last in a line of unacceptable occurrences. A variation of this idiom is “the straw that broke the donkey‘s back”.

One of the earliest published usages of this phrase was in Charles Dickens‘s Dombey and Son where he says “As the last straw breaks the laden camel’s back”, meaning that there is a limit to everyone’s endurance, or everyone has his breaking point. Dickens was writing in the nineteenth century and he may have received his inspiration from an earlier proverb, recorded by Thomas Fuller in his Gnomologia as ‘Tis the last feather that breaks the horse’s back.’

So it goes from the Desert to Dickens and back to Dicks in the Desert (of Wall Street). Or something.

Why I’m bringing this up is that, uh, I’m one of those straws, maybe even the proverbial one.

You see, in order to provide for my little media endeavor, and take some time to write and enjoy life, I’ve taken the step of cashing out a 401K I’d been bulding for the last few years. Silly, I know, but when one needs capital and one has been saving for that reason, it was an easy call.

The fact that I got my check on the exact same day that the shit hit the fan makes me wonder about the weight of my piece of straw.

We’ve been told that the camel was mighty and healthy and beyond danger. That It could withstand war and famine and plague and pestilence and keep walking through the desert undisturbed. That it could go faster, even, if we just whipped it harder.

Now we know better.

Just like they did thousands of years ago, halfway around the world.

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The World This Week By Wah : September 14, 2008 : Part 1 of 2

Here is the first part of my new weekly feature.  I had to split it into two parts because of youtube limits (still working of finding a better place that works well.  Enjoy.  I should have the second half availabe in the mornig.

Doing the video stuff is easy.  Doing the editing is taking a while, but I am getting better at it.  You’ll probably want to view these in full screen to read the text.

Posting from the New Laptop

Just picked up a refurbished gateway for half a g.

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten a new laptop, and this is the least I’ve ever spend on a new PC.

Should have some updates for performance and whatnot coming.  The processor and memory are nice, but I’m afraid the graphics card is going to be a bit lacking. I’m loading up some special software to test that right now.

“Company of Herois: Offosing Fronts”

Aaaaand…I’m free again

Good news today as I have made my resignation official.  Good news for you, dear reader, as you’ll have more to read.  And good new for me, your writer, as I’ll have more time to write and the ability to do so with a clean conscience.

You see, I was previously employed by a large, global firm with clients of every caliber.  Most of which I tend to write about about argue about.  In my deference to my employer, I held off writing a great deal which could have eventually led back to me and to them.  As it would have been unfair to ask them to take responsibility for me shagging their clients, I had been reluctant to focus on certain topics and companies. 
Now I am once again free and the fingers feel like flying. 

More to come…

The Downside of BioFuels (and Stupid Wars)

Haiti’s President Tries to Halt Crisis Over Food – New York Times

The police in Haiti struggled Wednesday to control looting and rioting over high food prices as President René Préval issued a sharp call for an end to the chaos. “The solution is not to go around destroying stores,” Mr. Préval said in a national address. “I’m giving you orders to stop.” In the speech, his first public comments on the issue since protests began last week, he urged Haiti’s Congress to cut taxes on imported food. Meanwhile, looters emptied stores, warehouses and government offices and burned tires in Port-au-Prince, the capital. Most Haitians survive on less than $2 a day, and rioters say the prices of staples have spiraled so high that most people are going hungry.

It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. There is a massive re-adjustment that needs to take place regarding the world’s food supply, and this is the gist of it….

The U.N. World Food Program’s executive director told the Los Angeles Times that “a perfect storm” is hitting the world’s hungry, as demand for aid surges while food prices skyrocket. Cost increases are affecting most countries around the globe, with prices for dairy products up 80 percent, cooking oils up 50 percent, and grains up 42 percent from 2006 to 2007. (For more specifics on how prices have changed since 2000, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has a handy chart.) Why are groceries getting so expensive all at once?

Energy prices. The global food system is heavily dependent on petroleum, not just for shipping goods from one location to another but also for production, packaging, and processing. As the price of oil rises—crude oil is currently hovering at around $100 a barrel—so do the costs of planting, harvesting, and delivering food.

High oil prices have also created a secondary problem: The burgeoning interest in biofuels. In 2006, 14 percent of the total corn crop in the United States was converted into ethanol; by 2010, that figure will rise to 30 percent.

[full story]

    And so you can see how the U.S. invasion of one of the world’s largest suppliers of oil and constant threats of sanctions against another have repercussions that go far beyond the basic need of chickenhawks to feel powerful by advocating blasting brown people to bits.