Best of the Moment
Charles Pierce | Esquire | 1st October 2013
Glorious rant against government shutdown. "There have been Congresses more dilatory. There have been Congresses more irresponsible, though not many of them. There have been lazier Congresses, more vicious Congresses, and Congresses less capable of seeing forests for trees. But there has never been in a single Congress a more lethal combination of political ambition, political stupidity, and political vainglory than exists in this one"
Cyrus Farivar & Nate Anderson | Ars Technica | 3rd October 2013
US government says 29-year-old Ross Ulbricht earned $80 million from running Silk Road, a black-market website popular for drug deals, while living under a false name in San Francisco. The site was secure, but Ulbricht left clues elsewhere: a comment on a Wordpress blog, a posting on LinkedIn, an account on YouTube, a query on StackOverflow. And then, says the indictment, he hired an FBI agent as a hit man
Matthew Howard | New York Review Of Books | 2nd October 2013
Genius. Fifty years of headlines from the New York Review Of Books, anatomised and categorised. Of which more than two hundred end with an exclamation mark: "Pshaw! Gulp! Excelsior! Ach! Coleridge Lives! Nixon Wins! Kids, Pull Up Your Socks! Screwed! Get a Lawyer! Ah, Wilderness! Yuk! How Unpleasant to Meet Mr. Baudelaire! That’s Earl, Folks! O Albany! The Pizza Is Burning! It’s For Your Own Good!
Patrick Cockburn | London Review Of Books | 2nd October 2013
"Leaving aside its macho overtones, the very term 'war reporter' gives the misleading impression that war can be adequately described by focusing on military combat. But irregular or guerrilla wars are always intensely political, and none more so than the strange stop-go conflicts that followed from 9/11. This doesn’t mean that what happened on the battlefield was insignificant, but that it requires interpretation"
Paul Wood | Spectator | 3rd October 2013
Syria's rebels have morphed into an Islamist alliance fighting for Sharia law, not democracy. The Islamists have the money and the guns, from Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Also the moral high ground: the "secular" rebels are seen as corrupt and opportunist. Of all the rebel forces, perhaps only ten per cent count as pro-Western, reasonably disciplined and militarily effective. The rest are jihadis and freebooters (Metered paywall)
John Harris | Guardian | 2nd October 2013
Review of Tune In, part one of a three-volume biography of The Beatles, All These Years, by "Beatles oracle" Mark Lewisohn. "The story is told so definitively that, after this, that really should be it." Tune In alone runs to 1,000 pages of Proustian detail, and takes the story up to the release of the group's first single in 1962. "Contrary to legend, Lennon never peed on a party of churchgoing nuns"
Thought for the day:
"The more obviously one’s work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it" — David Graeber