jose marquez

Category: power

Portraits of War, Spanish edition

This observation is stolen entirely from Arturo Pérez-Reverte. Note the arrangement of the lances (weaponry) in this 1635 painting by Velázquez: versus this 2011 painting by Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau: Also note what the second painting reveals by widening the frame. Related: War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning.

Watered down baby formula

Many film critics, including some of the most astute, have written praises for the 2014 movie “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”. I greatly enjoyed a few scenes and marveled at many shots that are visually stunning. I also found it an offensive commercialization of its immediate and distant predecessors. This is why. In […]

The campaigns

I was reading about the person who inspired the poem Ozymandias when I came upon the headline: “First Syrian Campaign.” Huh, I thought, so he also went to war in Syria. Interesting. Let me scroll past the war to another highlight. “Second Syrian Campaign.” Oh, I guess it didn’t go so well the first time. […]

Do we need a House of Lords?

Perhaps, this could be the future of the GOP: Yet though the role of the House of Lords was historically conservative and reactionary, and thus an easy target for criticism, the argument in our previous book, Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy, suggests that it may have also played a useful role: in the sense […]

The best laws inspire the law-abiding.

Jack Shafer on the limits of gun-control legislation: As Noel Perrin wrote in Giving Up the Gun: Japan’s Reversion to the Sword, 1543-1879, cultures can change their violent ways, but building such a cultural consensus takes more effort and persuasion that just passing new gun-control laws. Yes, but passing new gun-control legislation does a great […]

Peeling back the layers of nonsense around the “Catholic, contraceptives” campaign talking point

Garry Wills expertly peels back the layers of nonsense and cynicism around the American bishops decision to make common cause with Rick Santorum: Catholics who do not accept the phony argument over contraception are said to be “going against the teachings of their church.” That is nonsense. They are their church. The Second Vatican Council […]

What if rigging elections is the extent of Putin’s power?

A fascinating argument by Stephen Holmes and Ivan Krastev on the symbolic function of rigged elections in Russia: Thus, by far the most important political role of sham elections during the past dozen years has been the way they have allowed Putin to display his capacity for manipulating them in an orderly and predictable way […]

Panic: single working moms, unemployed single men, and high finance.

One way to explain the moral panics of our day: a society governed primarily by old, rich white men of European descent apprehends an economy driven by single, working moms, weighed down by unemployed single men and traumatized by the reckless mass incarceration of the poor. Their imagined community is obsolete to an increasingly multiracial, […]

Bingo in Baghdad

From Daniel Voll’s The Hunter Becomes the Hunted in Esquire: Clemente arrived to interrogate the suspect, a handcuffed middle-aged man named Zaid, and underneath a napkin on the table, he found a small device, the size of a brick, with a hand crank and wires with alligator clips at the ends. Clemente shut down the […]

why are they so religious? also, camels, needles and the 1%

Many religions offer the promise of a supreme and perfectly fair authority. Such an eternal and just arbiter offers relief for people who live daily under unjust, biased and/or inhumane authorities. Consider who is keeping Christianity and/or Catholicism alive in many parts of the United States. Undocumented migrants live in terror of being seized and […]

toxic math labs devastate nation

toxic math labs produce synthetic highs that lead to a devastating crash, expensive cleanup. math teeth: before, after

Less black and white, still good versus evil.

Patricia A. Turner: To suggest that bad people were racist implies that good people were not. Jim Crow segregation survived long into the 20th century because it was kept alive by white Southerners with value systems and personalities we would applaud.

the microscopic battles that conquered the Americas

If the Spanish who arrived to the Americas in the 1400s had become infected with native viruses that felled them, they might never have become the conquistadores. It was by pure chance that the native Americans were physiologically unprepared for the viruses brought along by the Spanish. That the mere presence of the Spanish would […]

For whom is government the problem?

The Republican Party of Wisconsin, a private organization, is conducting a daring attack* on behalf of its benefactors and co-conspirators. Their target is not a budget line item or an unfunded mandate but the legitimacy of public resources. Theirs is but the most recent campaign in an ongoing effort to undermine the ideology at the […]

What’s so vulgar about The Hangover? Not nearly enough.

I remember exactly where I was when I read the obituary for the music industry on the front page of the Wall Street Journal: it was a gray and cold morning in March of 2002 and I was standing in line to get a coffee at the Atlas Cafe in San Francisco. While the report […]

What Would Carlos Do?

The movie series Carlos is a must-see thriller for anyone born in the last half-century. It fits neatly alongside other chronicles of political terror like Munich and The Baader Meinhof Complex – or, obliquely, The Falcon and the Snowman. As only a movie can, Carlos transports the viewer into the foreign world of the recent past. […]

Good cops, bad cops and the costly failures of the SEC

Matt Taibbi: Yet the case still somehow ended in acquittal — and the Justice Department hasn’t taken any of the big banks to court since. All of which raises an obvious question: Why the hell not? …Criminal justice, as it pertains to the Goldmans and Morgan Stanleys of the world, is not adversarial combat, with […]

Overheard at ORD: what about us Americans?

A few minutes ago, I was sitting near two men in their 50s at an airport in Chicago. They were talking current events, headlines. The economy, the dollar. One was wearing a Cleveland Indians jersey. The other denim shorts. Their light banter, over light beers, drifted to immigrants. There was no vitriol, just frustration. Can’t […]

About a year of tweets, archived here for posterity.

I began this current journal, XSML, with the intent of reducing my own notes to extra small, XML-friendly updates. Increasingly, I have been drawn by the allure of the 140 character limit of Twitter. I may get a round Tuit and synchronize my use of Twitter with this blog. For now, here’s a dump of […]

re: Egypt. Enough with the prattle about new media. It’s the economy, stupid. (And satellite TV.)

Here’s a headline you don’t want to miss, from January 18, 2007: MIDDLE EAST: Population growth poses huge challenge for Middle East and North Africa – – International Herald Tribune. More from the Arab Planning Institute: Currently, an estimated 2 million Egyptians are out of work. The overall unemployment measures, high as they are, do […]