But I’m (a) skeptical of that $1 trillion figure; (b) skeptical of the timing of this story, given the bad news cycle, and (c) skeptical that Afghanistan can really figure out a way to develop these resources in a useful way. It’s also worth noting, as Risen does, that it will take years to get any of this stuff out of the ground, not to mention enormous capital investment.
Moreover, before we get too excited about lithium and rare-earth metals and all that, Afghanistan could probably use some help with a much simpler resource: cement.
While We’re Away
¶ Jeff Strabone’s sermon on corporations, shame, and the law is crucial. You may think that you know all of this stuff, but Jeff’s vigorous dusting will probably expose a misconception or two. (3 Quarks Daily)
One person, a liberal stalwart of the House, says, I’ve got documented evidence that your company behaves horridly in a way that causes people to die because you’re greedy. The other person, the corporate VP, says that her company only wants people they can profit from. And of course, the law allows insurance companies to make such choices: to dump the ‘disadvantageous’, i.e. the ill, and to court the advantageous, i.e. the premium-paying healthy. The VP’s answer to the accusation is the correct one: she explained that the corporation does what it can to make profits. The fault here is Representative Waxman’s for not saying instead that he was going to make Wellpoint’s practices punishable by law. Did he really think he could shame the CEO and the VP of the company into doing good at a loss to the company? As usual, it’s the liberal who doesn’t get it. It is futile to appeal to corporations to behave better or more generously or more philanthropically. Corporations lack such capacities. There is no such thing as morality when it comes to corporate conduct. Only the force of law can change corporate conduct.
¶ Eryn Loeb claims that Amy Bender’s new novel is “remarkable,” but so is her review. (The Millions)
While I’m obsessed with food, I don’t really cook. For years, I didn’t even have a working oven. I love the idea of cooking: I bookmark recipes regularly and with optimism, and whenever I get it together to actually make something—peanut butter brownies for my boyfriend’s birthday, gnocchi with summer vegetables, a simple sauce made from cream, vegetable stock, lemon zest and capers—I’m overly impressed with myself. Mostly I eat overpriced takeout, and otherwise rely on jarred sauce, frozen burritos from Trader Joe’s, Indian food that comes in a little silver pouch and like magic, needs only two minutes in the microwave. While I eat, I watch the Food Network. I read the articles and passionate blogs about how cooking is so easy—and so worth the pay-off!—and I nod my head in agreement. I mean to do it. I aspire to do it. And then I order Thai.
¶ Although it may be parting ways with mainstream journalism, film criticism remains robust. (The Bygone Bureau)
Of course, Stoklasa’s review came out eleven years after Phantom Menace did, and it is probably not going to affect too many people’s buying habits. But it does show that people are interested in nuanced film criticism, as opposed simple reviews, which are released a few days before a movie opens in order to tell people why they should or shouldn’t go see it. Put another way, reviews are ephemera, designed to exert pressure on the moviegoing public and then fade away, while criticism, at its best, is much more permanent, and has much less economic influence. Opinionated viewers can do the former task just as well as anyone; but it takes a little more time and enthusiasm to do the latter.
¶ Liz Dwyer proposes a standardized-tests mutiny. (Good)
One of my fantasies is that kids across the country will start a grass-roots rebellion against standardized testing. They’ll form Facebook groups where they’ll agree to purposely bubble in the wrong answer on every single test question. What would administrators, teachers, and parents do if every child “failed” the standardized tests? Would such a rebellion force educators to find some other less lazy way to measure student learning?
I’m happy to report my case is resolving and I actually enjoyed my breakfast, but until today food’s been so off-putting, I haven’t wanted to eat. My pine nuts were from Whole Food’s bulk bin, and I stored them in the fridge. They didn’t taste rancid when I prepared them, so I’m not thinking it’s rancidity-related. I’m going to go back and investigate where they’re from to confirm China. And if I can bare to eat pine nuts again this summer, I’m splurging for Italian imports. Right now, that’s a big if.
Have a Look
¶ “Gaze Upon the Epic Prow of Christina Hendricks” (Let There Be Blogs)
¶ Megan, don’t click through! (FAIL)