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    The Law of Time Magazine

    Also, for a blast from the past (ht Krugman from NYTimes), read Time’s double portrait of Cyndi Lauper and Madonna that picks Lauper to be around for the long haul.

    “[Cyndi] has the whole package. But Madonna has the look.”

    The dreams of Winston Churchill

    [In 1932, at the age of 58,] Winston Churchill’s dreams, he tells his family, are often of his father who died prophesying Winston would be a failure (from Manchester’s “The Last Lion”).
    Stalin, the Will and the Inability to Change

    Stalin, the Will and the Inability to Change

    From Robert Conquest’s “Stalin, Breaker of Nations” (mentioned in Mockingbird’s interview with Whit Stillman).

    One of [Stalin’s] outstanding characteristics was, in many respects, a profound mediocrity melded with a superhuman will-power. It is as though he had a very ordinary brain, but with some lobes extravagantly over-developed, like the horrible skulls in Dali’s early paintings.

    On Soviet Psychology: [In] the postwar period, a new Soviet psychology, strongly opposed to Freudian and all other Western schools, accepted the [Ivan] Pavlovian idea, merely adding that the consciousness, as ‘animal’ behavior, could be conditioned by outside pressures, or more…

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    Chinese Weather and the War Between CONTROL and CHAOS

    Chinese Weather and the War Between CONTROL and CHAOS

    It was big news last summer, when through strategic “cloud-seeding” the Chinese were able to hold an Olympics without rain and Olympic marathoners were able to run without smog. This week, the “Beijing Weather Modification Office” has failed to control the weather on a major scale that has resulted in November snow across the typically arid north of China. The consequences have been 40 deaths, a few building collapses, and major delays at the airport.

    As far as its relevance to Mockingbird, I am reminded that our own efforts also fail to produce the desired results in relation…

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    Theophilus North on the Fears of Servants and Masters

    Theophilus North on the Fears of Servants and Masters

    Servants live in terror of being unjustly dismissed from a situation without a letter of recommendation. This usually takes the form of being charged with having stolen objects of value. As the reader knows I shrink from making a generalization, but when I do it’s a bold one: persons endowed with enormous inherited wealth tend to be more than a little unbalanced. So would you or I. They know they are marginal citizens- a very small portion of the inhabitants of this industrious or idle, mostly starving, often much enduring, often rebellious world. They are haunted by the dread that…

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    Grace For The Lockerbie Bomber

    Grace For The Lockerbie Bomber

    On December 21, 1988 Pan Am flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people, including all of the passengers and 11 people on the ground. It was a remarkably long time until authorities arrested their suspect, Libyan intelligence officer Abdel Basset al-Megrahi. When finally jailed on Jan 31st, 2001, Mr Megrahi received a sentence of only 27 years, not nearly long enough for Americans (the predominate nationality of the passengers) who were/are used to sentences of 60, 80 and 180 years without parole for crimes like murder and rape. It seemed cruelly insufficient for the largest terrorist attack…

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    Countdown to Madmen Season 3

    Madmen on denial:

    What does denial mean? It means that the consequences are so dire that you cannot think about them. That’s the nature of the human mind and it’s a part of our condition and it’s timeless; it has nothing to do with the 1960s.

    For more of this and the 10 most shocking moments of Seasons 1 and 2:


    Good News For People With Big Problems #3 "Check Out Any Time You Like (But You Can Never Leave): Depression, Addiction and the Christian Hope"

    Good News For People With Big Problems #3 "Check Out Any Time You Like (But You Can Never Leave): Depression, Addiction and the Christian Hope"

    Last night, we tackled Big Problem #3 (sub-title: The Bondage of the Will), our inability to bridge the gap between how we ought to live and how we actually live. A problem that is especially highlighted when dealing with depression and addiction. To do so, we looked at the following sources:

    From Dorothy Martyn’s “Beyond Deserving”:

    In speaking of the indestructibility of what lies in the unconscious mind, he spoke of “paths…laid down once and for all, which never fall into disuse” and “are only capable of annihilation in the same sense as the ghosts in the…

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    Green Shoots and the Law of the Stock Market

    Green Shoots and the Law of the Stock Market

    Many self-respecting optimists, especially those who are econ-optimists, are proclaiming to see “green shoots” and a return to the good ‘ole days. “The stimulus has worked,” people claim and justify the economy’s coming rebound by referencing housing starts and sales, oil and gas prices or something else. The stock market goes up and morale with it and then…a piece of bad news comes….and everybody falls back to square one and the Dow falls to 7000.

    An editorial in the WSJ earlier this week explored the idea that there is a difference between reality and…

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    Powerlessness on Dr. Phil

    Powerlessness on Dr. Phil

    After a discussion on snorting powder drink and the potential for maggot infestation of the nasal passages, Dr. Phil asks the eighth grader about controlling his own actions.

     
    Phil: “What if you get back to school and your buddies are saying, ‘Hey, we got some alcohol over here at my friend’s house. Let’s spend the night, and we’ll do some drinking’?”
    Sam pauses. “I might,” he says.

    Phil: “Do you have the power or the desire to say no?”
    Sam: “No, sir.”
    “So what’s in your future? If you get a chance to get drunk, are you going to take it?”
    “Probably.”
    “If…

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    Financial Villains, Regulation, and St. Paul’s Understanding of the Law

    In thereviewof the book “The Match King,” WSJ journalist, Chancellor, discusses how Bernie Madoff was not the first to commit fraud on Wall St (and will certainly not be the last!). The conclusion of his review echoes St. Paul’s view of the law and its inability to engender what it commands.

    “Regulation can do little to prevent this state of affairs (financial villainy, etc.) from repeating itself. Regulatory agencies were created to protect the world against future Ivar Kreugers (the Match King/1932 Financial Villain). Yet the same agencies failed to heed warnings about Bernard Madoff….

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    'Twelve Angry Men' Produced in a Lebanese Prison and Everyone Abreacts

    ‘Twelve Angry Men’ Produced in a Lebanese Prison and Everyone Abreacts

    From a Wall Street Journal Theater Review:

    Every Sunday for four months, inmates from the all-male prison, Roumieh, have performed an Arabic version of Reginald Rose’s “12 Angry Men” (interspersed with their own music and personal testimonials). The actors are rapists and murderers. The prison’s other inmates include the top al Qaeda convicts and leading suspects from Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri’s assassination.

    The play’s director is a woman from the outside, a non-inmate, and every week 200 people crowd into a small room in the Lebanese prison to watch the production. The audience consists of many people who have never been inside…

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