Thursday, June 30, 2005


Today I watched an interesting documentary (Gelato) on ice cream. With Independence Day coming up, how about Thomas Jefferson's recipe for vanilla ice cream? I think that a cookie goes well together with ice cream, so why not having a cookie jar peanut butter cookie? The recipe is from Sheila Lukins's U.S.A. Cookbook (pages 546-547, hardcover, Swedish edition, ISBN 3-8290-6078-5). [Editor's note: Please be aware that you could become a "cookie monster" if you start eating these cookies. Promise me that you will not contact a "public interest" lawyer...]

I recommend you to read Harry Roolaart's article, The Irrational Exhuberance of American Dining Etiquette, as a food for thought.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


The tabloid site Sploid has a "scoop" via Yahoo News / AFP:

Condi Punishing Iran for Failed Romance / Unhappy love affair explains Rice stance on Iran: MP.

"The reason that the US secretary of state attacks Iran is because she had her heart broken by a young man from Qazvin while they were students," a confident Shokrollah Attarzadeh was quoted by the ISNA agency as saying.

Somewhat mysteriously, he added: "This is the result of an investigation by a woman MP, who cannot be named." ( / AFP, 06/29/05.)

Are you eager to hear how this love affair will turn out?


Anne Applebaum has interesting comments on the 16-Nation Pew Global Attitudes Survey (U.S. Image Up Slightly, But Still Negative), and she is asking the question: Who Are the Pro-Americans? [Editor's comment: I am one of the pro-Americans!] Robert Tracinski of the Intellectual Activist has the following commentary (The Empire of "Aspiration"):

This is the closest someone in the mainstream press has come to identifying the trend I call the "Empire of the Pursuit of Happiness." Anne Applebaum looks in detail at the numbers from a recent poll of overseas attitudes toward America. She finds, in part, that we tend to be loved by those whom we have rescued from tyranny: Europeans who remember World War II, or Eastern Europeans who remember Communism.

What is more interesting is that the poll numbers show that we tend to be loved by ambitious young people who are "on the way up." America represents an agent of help in their ambition to improve their lives--many of these people hope to emigrate here or to work for or with an American company--and also, I would add, as proof that success is possible. (, 06/29/05.)

You could read more about the survey in the article, Still not loved. Now not envied. Here is an excerpt from the article in the Economist.

The Pew poll even raises questions about how far others still see America as the land of opportunity, as Americans do. One question asked: "Suppose a young person who wanted to leave asked you to recommend where to go to lead a good life—what country would you recommend?" Nobody except the Indians picked the United States first (see table). (, 06/23/05.)

  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. Britain
  4. Germany
  5. US
  6. China
  7. France
  8. Japan
  9. United Arab Emirates

As I have said in other posts, I am open to go to other English speaking countries, e.g., Canada, in order to return to America in the future.


Onkar Ghate will participate in a panel discussion on BBC Radio (Night Waves).

When the Asian tsunami devastated millions of lives six months ago, individuals and governments around the world donated money and effort in almost unprecedented quantities. And with Live8 and the G8 summit about to take place, attention will once again focus on aid to Africa.

But what lies behind an individual's desire to help others in a selfless way? Auguste Comte, the French founder of positivism, believed that individuals have a moral obligation to serve the interest of others, even at one's own cost. Yet the writer Ayn Rand challenged both philosophical and conventional ethics and presented strong arguments against altruism in its various forms.

And to what extent is the concept of altruism an evolutionary trait? (, 06/29/05.)


Time for some new pictures of plants. The first one is a tobacco plant. The photo is from Gunnebo House (called "castle" in Swedish) and Gardens.

If you go to my other blog, you will see a photo of a Cheyenne F1 chile pepper plant with a small green fruit. Here is an excerpt from James F. Sweeney's article, Hot enough for you? [Via Hot Sauce Blog.]

And hot sauces are just plain fun. How can you not enjoy something called Scorned Woman, Toad Sweat or Jump In an Open Grave? And those are just brands that can be printed in a family newspaper. There are plenty with names and labels best left off the dining-room table. One local store even has a "naughty shelf" covered by cardboard to prevent tender sensibilities from scalding. ( / The Plain Dealer, 06/29/05.)

Talking about taking heat, do you think that George Bush will have a "long hot summer"?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


I wonder if the RINO ("Republicans / Independents Not Overdosed (on the Party Kool-Aid)") bloggers will discuss this article in the next RINO Sightings Carnival. Here is an excerpt from the article, You ain't seen nothing yet.

After the Scopes Monkey trial in 1925, where creationist ideas were widely discredited, the idea of fundamentalists from the Bible Belt ruling the roost would have looked foolish. In the 1960s, many liberal Americans thought they had banned religion from the public square for good. Yet nowadays the president, the secretary of state and the House speaker accept the evangelical label. A packed prayer breakfast takes place every Thursday in Congress. And liberals regularly contend that one of America's two great parties is bent on creating a theocracybacked by a solid core of somewhere between a quarter and a third of the population. (, 06/23/05.)

UPDATE 06/29/05:

In the news: Commandments Decision Saddens Bible Belt.

Read James Ridgeway's article, Under The Revival Tent, for a "who's who" in the religious righ movement, and the plan to control the battleground state Ohio.

Bush's newfound religiosity came during a Christian revival. Like Bush, many other Protestants became evangelicals, using the Bible to help them cope and, beyond that, reading the scriptures to understand unfolding events. While many evangelicals eschew formal politics, Bible study in one way or another led them into politics. All this coincided with the rise of the ideological Republican right. These two developments opened a vast new political arena for both religious leaders and politicians. As a result, politicians play the evangelical card every day: from Bush's campaign attacks on gay marriage to the Supreme Court deliberations on the display of the Ten Commandments to an attempt by Frist, DeLay, and the Bush brothers to use the Terri Schiavo tragedy to gain political advantage. (, 06/28/05.)

Recommended reading: The Faith-Based Attack on Rational Government by Thomas A. Bowden.

[Editor's note: I have followed Blair's request to crosspost this entry to the Egosphere.]


Here is the Viking style of dealing with kidnappers. [Via Free Republic.]

A hostage held alongside Australian Douglas Wood in Iraq has hired bounty hunters to track down his former captors, promising to eliminate them one by one.

Swede Ulf Hjertstrom, who was held for several weeks with Mr Wood in Baghdad, was released by his kidnappers on May 30. (, 06/26/05.)

Read Tim Blair's post, Expectations Exceeded, and Paul Hsieh's post, No Stockholm Syndrome For This Swede. [Editor's comment: The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has placed Ulf Hjertström at a hotel in the south of Sweden, so maybe he hasn't heard about the Stockholm syndrome yet... ]

Ulf Hjertström said the following to a Swedish tabloid:

I don't want the police to catch them. You don't shape justice in Iraq that way. They should be shot, they shouldn't be allowed to get away alive. (Kvällsposten /, 06/26/05.)

Related: My post, HOLY SHI(I)T(E).

Monday, June 27, 2005


The outcome of the presidential elections could lead to that Israel has to act before America gets its act together... Hans Blix doesn't think we should be worried about the atomic bomb made in Iran. Read Dan Darling's post, On Ahmadinejad's Victory. [Via]

In the news:


I have to check out the possibilities to start podcasting later on this summer. Maybe I should get Podcasting For Dummies? [Via Stone's post, Odeo: The Next Big Thing?,] Here is an excerpt from David Worthington's article, Audible Aims to Turn Podcasting into Business Model.

Audible has begun to use Really Simple Syndication (RSS) to podcast spoken word periodical programming over the Web. Beginning today, audio programming from sources such as the New York Times, This American Life, Wall Street Journal and BBC News Hour may be downloaded by Audible customers and content partners. (, 06/24/05.)

Rush Limbaugh has been podcasting for a couple of weeks. If you want to listen to a veteran in podcasting, go to Adam Curry's Daily Source Code for his keynote speech at Gnomedex. [Editor's comment: I don't like his references to the hippie festival Woodstock, but the talk is pretty interesting overall.]

Talking about podcasting, this week's edition of the Carnival of the Capitalists is hosted by Business Blogcasting. Maybe Morris could be interested in becoming a "podca(s)t(er)"... He likes to walk on the keyboard now and then, so maybe I could teach him to say something in a microphone? What do you think? For more cats, check out this edition of the Carnival of the Cats at Lab Kat.

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Prodos has started a blog service called Thinker to Thinker. I have created Check out Jim Woods's new blog, Words by Woods.

The service is powered by WordPress.


I am back from the Midsummer celebrations. I had a jolly good time. Time to catch up with a backlog of posts...

Welcome to the Reason Roundup. New Interview. Sham in Iran. Scenes on screens. the dope on hope. It's a drag about the flag. There's more in store... (, 06/26/05.)

Mesa Grill Margarita - A great cook-out drink, though you probably want to dip the rim into the salt BEFORE you pour the tequila into the glass. ;)

Red Onion Cilantro Salsa - Grab those tortilla chips! No tomatoes in this salsa, so be ready for it to have a little "bite" to it. (, 06/23/05.)

[Editor's comments:
Dana Jones: Thanks for comment and the "wink smiley"! I have updated the recipe with the word, "optional." I don't want the bartenders to spill out their drinks...

ArmyWifeToddlerMom and DeputyHeadmistress: Thanks for your comments. I am glad that you enjoyed the salsa!]

Friday, June 24, 2005


Look at the box... Could it be the case that Morris is sponsored by Amazon?

Originally uploaded by Lyceum.

Morris: No comment!

Originally uploaded by Lyceum.


Save at!

I am not an expert on the fashion industry, but I must say I am interested to learn more about the Spanish chain called Zara. First time I heard about the fashion store, was from two female classmates who have lived in Spain. I think that the management at H&M should lookout for Zara in America, before it is too late.

Here is an excerpt from the article, The future of fast fashion.

The result is that Zara's production cycles are much faster than those of its nearest rival, Sweden's Hennes & Mauritz (H&M). An entirely new Zara garment takes about five weeks from design to delivery; a new version of an existing model can be in the shops within two weeks. In a typical year, Zara launches some 11,000 new items, compared with the 2,000-4,000 from companies like H&M or America's giant casual-fashion chain, Gap. (, 06/16/05.)

The company is very profitable, but the question is if the expansion of the chain store is going to fast. Zara business concept has been studied in many countries. Here is a quote from the Indian columnist, Arvind Singhal.

Essentially, Inditex was a pioneer in breaking several lost-established fashion retail business paradigms by investing in manufacturing and supply chain technology, as well as develop new business processes whereby it could track consumers� buying behavioural patterns almost real time and then have the appropriate merchandise delivered to the retail shelves within an unbelievable concept-to-retail time period ranging from two to five weeks. (, Fast Strategy, 06/23/05.)

Here is an interesting thought from the article, New kids on the high street cut a dash with fast fashions by Angela Saini and Sarah Ryle. Zara could be popular, not by its brand itself, but with the notion that the customer has to be quick to decide if she wants to buy a specific garment, otherwise it could be gone in a flash.

'Zara is a brand of a different kind,' says Michael Lewis, professor of operations and supply management at Bath University. 'Customers buy for the responsiveness of the company, not the label. They may even cut the label out of the outfit if it looks enough like a catwalk original. The brand is built on customers' trust that Zara will deliver high-fashion garments before anyone else.' (, 06/05/05.)

It will be fascinating to follow Zara's fast track in the future... If you know about similar business ideas in other industries, please send me an email. This could lead me to potential companies to work for.

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Morris is outside, checking out the plants inside! For more animal pictures, go the Friday Ark at the Modulator.


Here is an excerpt from Tunku Varadarajan's interview (Prophet of Decline) with Oriana Fallaci. [Via Sisu.]

In her case, the religion deemed vilified is Islam, and the vilification was perpetrated, apparently, in a book she wrote last year--and which has sold many more than a million copies all over Europe--called "The Force of Reason." Its astringent thesis is that the Old Continent is on the verge of becoming a dominion of Islam, and that the people of the West have surrendered themselves fecklessly to the "sons of Allah." So in a nutshell, Oriana Fallaci faces up to two years' imprisonment for her beliefs--which is one reason why she has chosen to stay put in New York. Let us give thanks for the First Amendment. (, 06/23/05.)


Thursday, June 23, 2005


Check out Time's list of websites. I have to go through Chocolate & Zucchini's Edible Guide to NYC, before my next visit to the Big Apple... [Editor's comment: I can't find EGO on the blog list.]

How about creating our own list? Please list your favorites according to the categories by Time:

  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Blogs
  • Lifestyle, Health & Hobbies
  • News & Information
  • Shopping


The Ayn Rand Bookstore sent me an email message with a new item. Brian P. Simpson's book, Markets Don't Fail!, will be featured as a future Book of the Month. I have added the book on my wish list at Amazon. The book is published by Lexington Books.

Mr. Simpson will teach a course called Money, Banking and the Business Cycle at the Objectivist summer conference in San Diego.


Here is an excerpt from David Stout's article, Justices, 5-4, Back Seizure of Property for Development.

Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens said, "Promoting economic development is a traditional and long accepted governmental function, and there is no principled way of distinguishing it from the other public purposes the court has recognized." The court's ruling is certain to be studied from coast to coast, since similar conflicts between owners of homes and small businesses and development-minded officials have arisen in other locales. (NYTimes, 06/23/05.)

Here is a statement by the Institute for Justice:

Dana Berliner, another senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, said, "It's a dark day for American homeowners. While most constitutional decisions affect a small number of people, this decision undermines the rights of every American, except the most politically connected. Every home, small business, or church would produce more taxes as a shopping center or office building. And according to the Court, that's a good enough reason for eminent domain." (, 06/23/05.)

For more information, check out Eminent Domain Watch and read my post, ANTI-EMINENT DOMAIN RALLY IN NEW YORK CITY.


Here is an excerpt from Andrew Dalton's post, Not Good.

Leftists often seize upon this fact to claim that fascism is simply rule by corporations; or worse yet, just another name for unregulated capitalism. This smear against capitalism overlooks the fact that in any improper mingling of business and government, it is the government that holds on to the trump card of physical coercion. To the extent that businesses use government power to unjust ends, it is the improper government power that is the real cause of the injustice. Also, businesses that benefit from government looting today could find themselves on the business end of that looting tomorrow, if the state decides that the "public interest" lies elsewhere. The nature of arbitary government power is that it is arbitrary; when injustice is sanctioned, no one is safe. (Venting Steam, 06/23/05.)

Property Wrongs

UPDATE 06/26/05:

Here is an excerpt from the article, The Tyranny of Eminent Domain by Larry Salzman and Alex Epstein.

The Supreme Court’s decision against the property owners in Kelo is, in the words of Justice Clarence Thomas from his dissenting opinion, a “far-reaching, and dangerous result.” As Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, another of the four dissenting justices, wrote: “all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded--i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public--in the process.” And as Dana Berliner, an attorney for the owners, argued, this means that no one’s property or home is truly safe: "If jobs and taxes can be a justification for taking someone's home or business then no property in America is safe. Anyone's home can create more jobs if it is replaced by a business and any small business can generate greater taxes if replaced by a bigger one."

Property owners beware: the next casualty of “the public interest” might be you. (, 06/25/05.)

Listen to Prodos's interview (Eminent Domain: Exploiting the 5th Amendment to destroy private property rights) with Joe Wright.

Here is the last paragraph from Jeff Jacoby's article, Eminent injustice in New London.

That won't happen. It isn't the high and mighty on whom avaricious governments and developers prey. Justices John Paul Stevens, Stephen Breyer, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Anthony Kennedy are responsible for this execrable decision. But they'll never have to live with its consequences. (, 06/26/05.)


This weekend I will celebrate summer solstice and Midsummer with friends on the west coast. I "have to" indulge in the traditional cuisine, e.g., herring and the "water of life," i.e., akvavit. Talking about spirits, I will present my version of a Margarita. [Editor's comment: Maybe I should call the drink, Martina?] Sarah Beth of Reclaim Your Brain informed me about Margarita Cadillac. My drink is based on Mesa Grill Margarita, adding a special twist with 1 part cranberry juice and 1 part Tropicana Ruby Breakfast (orange, grapefruit, ruby red grapefruit) juice.

Mesa Grill Margarita (with a twist...)

  • 4 parts white tequila (2 oz.)
  • 2 parts triple sec or other orange liqueur (1 oz.)
  • 2 parts lime juice (1 oz.)
  • Coarse salt
  • Lime wedge

Variation (Rocks Margarita):

Combine tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice cubes and shake well. Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with the lime wedge.

Optional: Rub a lime wedge around the rim of the glass and dip the glass rim into coarse salt.

The above recipe is from Mesa Grill Guide to Tequila: The Quintessence of the Blue Agave and the Finest Brands of Tequila, with 70 Food and Drink Recipes (Essential Connoisseur) by Laurence Kretchmer. Page 149.

We will be barbequing on Friday and Saturday. Here is a salsa recipe in time for your 4th of July party. As a "chile head," I have picked a recipe from Jonas Borssén's book, Eat the Heat (pages 50-51).

Red Onion Cilantro Salsa


  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
  • 1 small bunch of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh jalapeño, serrano, or red Dutch chile, finely chopped
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and taste. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.


Gary Metz of has written an open letter to the international media in Iran. I will follow DrZin's instruction (Bloggers: Help remind the international media to ask the hard questions!) and contact a few journalists and editors regarding this letter.

Bloggers please post this on your blog or write your own.

We need our readers to send this letter to all the major news media around the world; we need to find just a few editors and journalists to respond positively to make a huge difference. (, 06/23/05.)

Here is the letter. Please click on the link to see the original letter with hyperlinks.

An Open Letter to The International Media in Iran

Your profession is a noble one. A free press is foundational to a free society.

In challenging powerful institutions to answer the hard questions others fear to ask, journalists have led to the collapse of corrupt leaders and helped ensured our democracy. You have done so by reporting the truth in spite of the threats and objections of those in power.

Reporting from Iran is dangerous. It is hard to tell the truth in Iran. It takes courage. We are all to aware of the case of photo-journalist Kazemi, who was murdered by the Iranian government, for merely photographing a demonstration at Evin Prison.

But you are in a unique position. Unlike Kazemi your fellow journalists are there with you and can report on any mistreatment of you or other journalists during your short time in Iran. As a result, the regime is unlikely to treat you as they treated Kazemi.

You are in Iran right now because the world is focused on the events there. The stakes could not be greater. You have spoken to the many Iranians longing for real democracy inside of Iran. All they ask is for us to stand with them in their quest for a real democracy there.

You have a rare opportunity to speak for the voiceless people of Iran and to inform your readership of the true nature of the people of Iran and their regime.

A few years ago, the media had a similar opportunity in Iraq. Like Iran, Iraq required you to take government minders. They took you where they wanted you to go and let you report only that which the Iraqi government wanted you to report. Some of you refused to submit to this charade. Others did not. It was a shameful bit of history. We must not repeat it.

In your time, in Iran you are our eye and ears. You can report the facts in ways the Iranian journalists cannot. You can ask the difficult questions to the leaders of a regime who are openly calling for the destruction of western civilization. We need your services now more than ever.

Human Rights Watch, an organization not known to pull punches when criticizing either the United States or Israel, warned us that the elections were "pre-cooked" and would be "neither free nor fair."

Others have gone so far as to suggest the reason foreign correspondents are not reporting the extensive fraud claims of last week's election. They claim the reports of vote rigging by other candidates and the suspicious result for Ahmadinejad is part of the general conspiracy to elect the Rafsanjani, as the next president.

But honorable journalists do not pay politics in this manner. It is to you I am speaking, the real journalists.

What can you do?

First, you can challenge the results of the elections in ways that the Iranian journalists cannot. If you are thrown out of the country you can report that. Your editors may not like it, but in so doing you will retain your honor and the respect of the Iranian people.

Regarding last week's election, you could ask:

1. Why were some Iranian newspapers certain three days before the election that 30 million people would turn out to vote (exactly as the official number now indicates)?
2. Why should the world accept the vote totals given to by a government well known for its corruption?
3. What proof does the government have that the vote totals were legitimate?
4. What does the government have to disprove the allegation by a member of the Interior Ministry that the actual voter turnout was 7-10%?
5. Why have so many people reported virtually empty polling stations when the government reports a heavy turnout? See a few of the many examples: here, here, and here.
6. Why, if the turnout was as large as the government claims, did Iranian TV broadcast video of previous elections as if they were live broadcasts? (Banners in the background showed these broadcasts to refer to the last Presidential election and parliamentary elections).
7. How do the government explain their reports of massive voting when one of your fellow journalist's, who went on their own to a polling station, reported only 150 voters had arrived by mid-afternoon.
8. Why did the military governor for Tabriz, suddenly reduce the figure for those eligible to vote despite the previous published figures by Tabriz election authorities just to get the participation level over the 50% mark.
9. How is it possible that the government reported Rafsanjani in the lead prior to the first ballot having been reviewed?
10. How was it possible for the government to report a tight race before the closing of the polling stations?
11. Why did the Guardian Council insert itself in the election when it is forbidden by Iran's constitution?
12. Initially, the Interior Ministry had Mr. Rafsanjani and Mr. Karroubi, the former speaker of the Parliament. What changed?
13. One of the newspapers wrote that Hashemi and another candidate went to the second round, before the results were even announced.
14. Where did the government suddenly find an extra 1 million votes for Ahmedinejad?
15. How on earth could Iranian newspapers report that Ahmadinejad was in second place at 7 o'clock in the morning, the time when it gets published and distributed, when first official results were only announced at 8am?
16. Why is no one investigating the allegation that about two million Pakistani Shiites from Quetta were provided with Iranian passports, and bused into the country to vote.
17. Why did the Guardian Council only agree to allow a recount of 100 randomly-selected ballot boxes out of a total of more than 41,000?
18. Why is no one investigating the allegation that the Guardian Council organized a 140 billion rials (15.5 million dollars) operation involving 300,000 people?
19. Who is looking at the documents that Candidate Karroubi said he had that proved voter fraud?
20. Why is no one asking the major opposition leaders their opinion on the legitimacy of the vote?
21. Why were there more votes recorded in the South Khorrasan province than there are voters?
22. Why is the Interior Ministry claiming, there was a widespread pattern of official interference and that they have exact information about the people and institutions who have been acting in directing and shaping votes the day before the election.

Regarding next Friday's run off election, you may ask:

1. Given the widespread fraud of last Friday's election, how will the government ensure the entire run off election process will now be fair and transparent?
2. Given the historic corruption of Rafsanjani and this past week's allegation of vote rigging by Ahmedinejad, why should we believe that the results of this runoff will be legitimate?
3. Will the government now permit all journalists to visit any polling station in the country without the help of government minders and video tape the turnout, whether larger or small and let the world see the truth? If they deny you such access, report it.
4. Why is no one reporting on the condition of the political prisoners on a hungers strike inside of Iran?

Reporters in Iran, do the right thing! Ask the hard questions! Show the courage that other great journalists have shown before you. The future of Iran, and perhaps western civilization may depend on your courage.


(, An Open Letter to The International Media in Iran, 06/23/05.)


Robert Tracinski of The Intellectual Activist has the following comment:

Only a few newspapers are paying much attention to what is going on in Iran; the LA Times is one of them, though it tends to focus on "moderate" reformers who don't explicitly challenge the Islamic state or call for "regime change." This profile is interesting for a different reason, though: it highlights the rule of "blogs" and the creation of an Iranian dissident network known as "weblogistan." (, 06/23/05.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


I think it could be a good idea to start an Objectivist podcast show. I miss the Andrew Lewis and Leonard Peikoff show. Maybe we could ask Prodos, Dr. Kenner, and Dr. Hurd for suggestions on how to run a talk radio show?

Here is an excerpt from my post, AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE.

I am thinking of starting with podcasting. Read Neville Hobson's post, Podcasting: Adding the human and informal touch, and John R. Quain's article, Now, Audio Blogs for Those Who Aspire to Be D.J.'s. (EGO, 05/14/05.)

I have contacted Odeo and asked them to keep me abreast of the latest developments. For more on Odeo and podcasting, read the following:

Technorati tag:

[Editor's note: This post is crossposted to the Egosphere.]


I am glad to read that Steve Forbes (column, Fact and Comment) is coming out as a strong supporter of the immigrants to the land of opportunity - America. I found this article via InstaPundit:

We have the worst of all worlds in our current immigration system -- it's demeaning, unpredictable, and contemptuous toward would-be legal immigrants, while being porous toward illegals. And it's the main experience most foreigners have of dealing with the United States government. (, 06/22/05.)

Here are some excerpts from the article, Asinine Way to Treat Ultimate Asset: People.

The Bush administration is doing the economy long term harm by not reforming our post-9/11 immigration and visa policies. Since the terrorist attacks, foreigners have had to go through considerably more hassle to enter this country. No one is arguing about the mortal necessity of tightening our screening procedures. But it defies belief that this, the most technologically advanced of nations, can't come up with software and hardware to expeditiously assist in determining who should and should not gain entrée. ...

In years past most foreign-born graduate students remained in the U.S. after completing their studies. Now they are in a minority--a declining one at that. Technology guru George Gilder has not-so-facetiously suggested that when overseas graduate students complete their studies here, green cards should be embossed on their diplomas. ...

A more immediate problem concerns H-1B visas, which allow companies here to hire immigrants with critical high-tech skills. These folks can work in the U.S. for a maximum of six years. Last year the quota for these special visas was filled in six months. High-tech outfits are continually frustrated by their inability to bring in people who can help them compete and grow. So why not raise the quota--or better yet--scrap it altogether? (, 07/04/05.)

I have been in USA as a resident, both on a student visa and then later, on a work visa. I have been participating in the green card lottery many times, but I haven't been a lucky winner yet. My passport states that I am citizen of the socialist welfare state of Sweden, but I am an American in spirit. My long-range goal is to return to America. If you are interested in contacting me regarding tips and suggestions on job opportunities, please visit my updated web site at



Check out Isaac Mao's project called Adopt a Chinese Blog. Have you seen a similar "adopt a blog" project for Iranian bloggers? Here is a list of potential "candidates":

"URL is accessible through the local connection but inaccessible through the remote computer; a block page was positively identified." The OpenNet Initiative's (Internet Filtering in Iran) Enumeration Report, second testing run. [Via InstaPundit.]

Technorati tag:


Here is an excerpt from DoctorZin's post, Stand with the Iranian People!

Adopt an Iranian blogger. There are a great many Iranian bloggers (many on the list have been shutdown). Many of these bloggers have had little contact with the rest of the world and often feel alone in their struggle. These bloggers come from a wide variety of political and religious perspectives. You may find yourself engaged in a variety of fascinating discussions. But most important, let them know that there are many who support their efforts. (, 05/30/05.)


When I searched for information on Richard Koch, I stumbled on this site:

thinkarete - where you go to grow

I have added Thinkarete's quote box to the Resources category.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


I have participated in MIT's weblog survey.

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Read Clay Shirky's article, Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality.

[Editor's note: Are you familiar with the Pareto principle? Book recommendation: The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Success by Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch.]


I have a hard time to concentrate on positive things right now. Look at the "loopy" stuff floating around at the moment, for example:

  • Counting problems by officials in the EU and the U.S.A regarding the voting turnout in Iran.
  • Jeb Bush has gone totally nuts on the Terri Schiavo case.

Luckily, I took a breather, sat down and listened to a funny radio program on P.G. Wodehouse. [Hat tip to Anders Lundgren.]

I think that Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchens are pretty rational chaps. Read Norman Geras's post, Hitchens and Fry on religion. Here are excerpts from David Smith's article, I saw hate in a graveyard - Stephen Fry.

In a village in Slovakia, he found the cemetery had been targeted by anti-semitic vandals who dug up his great-grandfather's remains to steal gold from teeth and rings. He described the act as 'a desecration' and 'a kind of blasphemy', which had made him re-examine his views on whether the law should recognise blasphemy as a crime.

Fry was speaking at a debate with the journalist Christopher Hitchens at The Guardian Hay Festival last week. Among the issues raised was the government's proposed Incitement to Religious Hatred Bill, which has been criticised by civil liberties campaigners and comedians, including Fry's friend Rowan Atkinson, who warned that it could be used to ban jokes poking fun at Islam, Judaism or the Christian church. ...

'I wasn't brought up in the Jewish faith. I was brought up in no faith at all. My father's a physicist, but not an angrily atheistical one. I became enraptured by the Anglican communion, as we used to call it, and also by the English mystics... I don't know why, I can't explain it: I was a child of fads. But simultaneously I managed to immerse myself in Wagner and PG Wodehouse and Sherlock Holmes - there is no special pattern that I can discern.

'I've always believed that everything that is said from authority is either the authority of one's own heart, one's own brain, one's own reading, one's own trust, but not the authority of someone who claims it because they're speaking for God and they know the truth because it's written in a book. That, essentially, is where I come from. In a sense, tolerance is my religion. Reason is my religion.' (, 06/05/05.)

Monday, June 20, 2005


Prodos has interviewed James Valliant. I have mentioned James Valliant's book, The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics, in my post, BOOKS IN THE MAIL. Here is another interview with James Valliant. For more on the book, go to and The Forum for Ayn Rand Fans.


Go to my other blog if you want to see new photos of my chile pepper (6 pictures) and paprika (4 photos) plants. For you cat lovers out there, Morris is included in one of the photos.

I will store the dried chile pepper fruits in these jars.

Originally uploaded by Lyceum.

This is my kind of "holy (smoke) book": The Spicy Food Lover's Bible: The Ultimate Guide to Buying, Growing, Storing, and Using the Key Ingredients That Give Food Spice with More Than 250 Recipes from Around the World by Dave DeWitt.


Check out the following carnivals at Blog 'd Ellison, Charlotte Capitalist, and Blog Business World.

Welcome to the Reason Roundup! A new look at anti-trust. Long lines for medical care. "A Rocky Coast...". A "Smooth Criminal" Or Not? Neo-cons. And more... (, 06/19/05.)

Welcome to this week's edition of the Carnival of the Capitalists.

It's Carnival time again!

Grab your popcorn and cotton candy and sit back and enjoy Carnival of the Capitalists: The Greatest Business Show in the Blogosphere. (, 06/20/05.)

Welcome to the 65th edition of Carnival of the Cats!

This week's Carnival is brought to you by Hakuna and Matata, the Resident Kitties at Chez Elisson.

Hakuna: Elisson tells me that there are forty-five posts in this week's Carnival! Why, I do believe I will slink off to my nice Quiet Place inside Elisson's box spring whilst all of these Strange Kitties come to visit.

Matata: Ahh, cats! So many cats! O, how many of them can I terrorize with my Dog-Like Personality? (, 06/19/05.)

Sunday, June 19, 2005


Timothy J. Burger of the Time magazine asked the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Porter Goss, ten questions. Question and answer #4:


Porter Goss: I would not agree to surmise that America has gone to war based on false intelligence. I would say that the right question is: Should America be checking out threats to America? The answer is yes. And will we find some threats were more talk than real? Yes, we will. (, 06/27/05.)

Do you think that CIA has "checked out threats" by the mullahs? Here is an excerpt from a report by Iran Focus on Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) is ranked by experts as one of the largest and most active intelligence agencies in the Middle East, having masterminded 450 acts of terrorism throughout the world since the 1980s, yet it has been shrouded in so much mystery that apart from the occasional revelations by the Iranian Resistance, little has ever been made public about its operations and functions. Its secret budget and unchecked power have turned it into one of the key pillars of the Iranian theocracy.

The MOIS is also one of the most secretive agencies in the world and its command structure is directly answerable to the Iranian regime's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. ( 05/06/05.)


I found another interesting article (Overdue and over budget, over and over again) in the Economist. I have updated the section, Education and Training, of my résumé with my studies in project management (international project coordinator). Please contact me if you are interested in receiving a copy of my new résumé.


Morris had to check out what was going on outside, so he jumped up in the window.

Originally uploaded by Lyceum.

Originally uploaded by Lyceum.

Robert Tracy's painting, Cat In Window, is a favorite of mine.

[Cat in Window (1987) by Robert Tracy.]


Save at!

The Economist is a good source for coming up with business related posts. June 11th - 17th issue had an interesting technology quarterly special. The cover story was titled, "Happy eBay birthday - Lessons from the ten-year-old darling of e-commerce." I must admit that I haven't done any business via eBay or some other online auction, e.g., Jittery, yet. I have placed an eTray auction box on my blog (see under the Support category) in order to get a feel for what's happening with online auction business model, and to give my readers another way of supporting my blogging by clicking on the displayed deals.

Professionally I am interested in the development of Business-to-business electronic commerce. From my experience, the B2B auctions in the field of for example, raw materials, haven't catched on yet. One problem could be the difficulties in creating standardized contracts and specifications, and how to value and putting a price on the service by the middle-man / auction site. Here is an excerpt from a five year old article (Beyond the e-auction hype) on

Economic theory behind auctions and exchanges is well established, but theory and experience behind e-procurement is still evolving. As the thinking goes, online auctions and exchanges reduce transaction costs for buyers and sellers. The cost of finding suppliers, negotiating prices and fulfilling orders falls. Purchasing, logistics and inventory tasks are streamlined. This reduction in transaction and follow-up costs creates what economists call "economic surplus." From an e-procurement perspective, the idea is that buyers in the new networked global economy should capture most of this surplus in the form of lower prices.

To date, most research on Internet and auction prices has been done in the consumer market. There, researchers generally agree that lower prices are to be found on the Web. But B2B is a different animal. "In business-to-consumer sites, we've found clear answers, but business-to-business is less clear," says Vakrat. He and Professor Seidman have only recently started to study the price effects of online business-to-business auctions. "The quantities being traded in business-to-business auctions are huge, so the savings from each individual transaction are less dramatic than in the consumer world," Vakrat says. "I think we will see discounts, but the significance of those discounts remains to be seen." (, 03/23/00.)

I am interested in getting in contact with individuals and companies who have plans to set up online auctions dealing with raw materials. I am also interested to hear from readers who want to share their experiences from dealing with eBay and other players on the online auction market. I have heard about individuals who are buying and selling on eBay as their main source of income.

The article, Meg and the power of many, is premium content so you have to become a subscriber to the Economist if you want to read the whole article. Here is an excerpt from the article, Anniversary lessons from eBay.

The remarkable tale of eBay's growth points to some important lessons for any business trying to operate online?and today that includes, one way or another, most firms. The commercial opportunities presented by an expanding global web seem almost limitless. But the pace of change is rapid, and so is the ferocity of competition. To succeed, firms need agility, an open mind and the ability to reinvent themselves repeatedly. Most of all, they need to listen carefully to their customers, paying close attention to what they do and don't want. (, 06/09/05.)

I must point out that I don't agree with their talk about monopolies, but that I have to save for another post in the future! In short, a monopoly situation could only occur in a state regulated economy, and not on a free market. The online auction case is a clear example that it always be room for new players entering the market. Online auction is basic trading done in a high tech manner. It is fascinating how this online business has evolved. Take eBay's recent acquisition of as an example. Last year,, was bought by ValueClick.

For some thoughts on eBay, read John Naughton's post, American phenomenon stumbles into a rat trap.

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Friday, June 17, 2005


Are you hungry? Head over to Meanderings and have a bite of this week's edition of the Carnival of the Recipes.

Martin at EGO gives us a recipe for a pick-me-up drink using something that tastes like tomatoes and clams?? (I’m not too sure about this one!) But what the h*ll, I’ll try anything once! Check out his Absolut Bloody Ceasar. (, 06/18/05.)



The whole presidential election in Iran is a farce, so I have the following announcement:

Sean Penn is the "elected president" of the mullah theocracy of Iran!

(Mullah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Sean Penn)
[Image source: Persian Journal / Via Regime Change Iran.]

Mr. Penn will be your guide and commentator on the results...

Guided Tours

I will update this post with incoming news. In the meantime, mark July 9 (18 Tir) in your calendar.


UPDATE 06/18/05:

The mullahs have ordered special agents to open voting booths around the United States of America! This is very scary! Read Will Franklin's post, Iran's Election, with interviews and photos. [Via InstaPundit's post, Sham Iranian Elections in the United States?] I hope that the responsible authorities (FBI, CIA?) are looking into this matter...

UPDATE 06/19/05:

Revolution fails Iranians
- Telegraph.
Iran's choice: pragmatist or hardliner? - Economist.
Ahmadinejad: the new face of Iran's far-right - IranMania.
Iran poll challenger accused of ballot fraud - Guardian.

UPDATE 06/21/05:

Anti-West Forces Unite in Iran Elections - Newsday / AP.

Here is an excerpt from Christopher Hitchens's article, Mind over Mullahs.

The Iranian diaspora now runs into millions, from California to Canada and all across Western Europe. Let the smart ones go: all the easier for us to run a stultified and stalled society. And every now and then they make a move to show who is in charge. Last August, in the city of Neka, a 16-year-old girl named Atefeh Rajabi was hauled into a court for having had sex with a man. She might possibly have gotten away with one of the lesser punishments for offenses against chastity, such as a hundred lashes with a whip. (That's what her partner received.) But from the dock she protested that she had been the object of advances from an older man, and she went as far as to tear off her hijab, or headscarf. The judge announced that she would hang for that, and that he would personally place the noose around her neck. And so, in the main square of Neka, after the Iranian Supreme Court had duly confirmed the ruling, poor Miss Rajabi was hanged from a crane for all to see. (, July 2005 issue.)

UPDATE 06/22/05:

Read Allen Forkum's post, Knock the Vote, for more articles and posts.


Here is an excerpt from Amir Taheri's article, Iran's Revealing Electoral Mess.

It is virtually impossible to know how many voters actually went to the polls. Iran has no independent election commission and there were no impartial observers. Worse, the seven candidates (jokingly dubbed "The Seven Dwarfs") had observers in fewer than a third of polling stations. But even in the official results, the percentage of the electorate that took part is the lowest of all the nine presidential elections held since the Islamic Republic's creation in 1979.

Also interesting is the divide between urban and rural Iran. While the rural areas reportedly went to the poll in huge numbers, at times reaching over 80 percent, urban Iran clearly shunned the exercise, with turnout as low as 12 percent in some cities.

Add in an age divide: The first analyses show that a majority of the young, those 15 to 30, did not go to the polls, while turnout reached 70 percent at the upper ends of the age ladder. ( / New York Post, 06/22/05.)

From Robert Tracinski's commentary, No Future for the Mullahs.

The present of the Arab and Muslim world is a see-saw battle between the terrorist-dictator alliance and advocates of representative government. But the future actually looks much better. In one country after another, from Lebanon to Iran, all of the evidence shows that the future belong to liberty.

I mean that literally: most nations in the region have gone through a recent "baby boom" and have an enormous population of young people--who are overwhelming influenced by the West, support pro-freedom reforms, and opposing the existing regimes, a demographic trend nicely captured in this op-ed on the Iranian election debacle. (For more on Iran, see also.) (, 06/22/05.)


Morris had to jump into the box from Amazon. Thanks again to Gus Van Horn for the birthday gift! The band was around the wrapping paper.

Originally uploaded by Lyceum.

For more animal pictures, check out Friday Ark at the Modulator.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


I thought it could be a good idea to think about a drink with the following ingredients...:

Originally uploaded by Lyceum.

I did Absolut's test, "Find Your Flavor," and came up with pepper vodka. [Via Adrants.] Could you tell me about clamato juice? Does it taste like a mixture of tomato and clam? I understand that the Caesar cocktail is very popular in Canada. Maybe this could be a great pick-me-up drink?

From P.G. Wodehouse's book, Right Ho, Jeeves (chapter 5).

I have had occasion, I fancy, to speak before now of these pick-me-ups of Jeeves's and their effect on a fellow who is hanging to life by a thread on the morning after. What they consist of, I couldn't tell you. He says some kind of sauce, the yolk of a raw egg and a dash of red pepper, but nothing will convince me that the thing doesn't go much deeper than that. Be that as it may, however, the results of swallowing one are amazing.

For perhaps the split part of a second nothing happens. It is as though all Nature waited breathless. Then, suddenly, it is as if the Last Trump had sounded and Judgment Day set in with unusual severity.

Bonfires burst out all in parts of the frame. The abdomen becomes heavily charged with molten lava. A great wind seems to blow through the world, and the subject is aware of something resembling a steam hammer striking the back of the head. During this phase, the ears ring loudly, the eyeballs rotate and there is a tingling about the brow.

And then, just as you are feeling that you ought to ring up your lawyer and see that your affairs are in order before it is too late, the whole situation seems to clarify. The wind drops. The ears cease to ring. Birds twitter. Brass bands start playing. The sun comes up over the horizon with a jerk.

And a moment later all you are conscious of is a great peace. (

The following drink recipe is from Absolut's site.

Absolut Bloody Ceasar


  • 1 part Absolut Pepper
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 dashes pepper sauce
  • Dash lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Clamato juice

Build over ice in a longdrink glass and fill up with clamato juice. Stir gently and garnish with a slice of lemon. (, Reality.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


This is an inspirational story. Have you booked your space trip yet? Here is an excerpt from the article, Thrillionaires--the new space capitalists by John Schwartz.

The new generation of deep-pockets space entrepreneurs includes Bezos, who founded Blue Origin, in Washington State, and quietly announced this year that he had bought 165,000 acres of land in West Texas as a base for his eventual launching operations.

Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal, created the rocket company SpaceX, and John Carmack, the creator of computer games like "Doom" and "Quake," has been testing rocket designs through his company, Armadillo Aerospace near Dallas.

The engine for Allen's craft was developed by SpaceDev, a company formed as a second act by another computer entrepreneur turned space man, Jim Benson. And Larry Page, a co-founder of Google, recently joined the board of the X Prize Foundation.

The rise of the space money men is a unique moment in history, said Peter Diamandis, a co-founder of the X Prize. "There is sufficient wealth controlled by individuals to start serious space efforts," he said. ( / NYT, 06/14/05.)

Here is Robert Tracinski's commentary, Capitalism "Is Where the Action Is".

Europeans looking for a lesson on the cause of the continent's decline are getting one from half a world away, where capitalism is finally reinvigorating America's own stagnating system of space exploration. While NASA's Space Shuttle finally limps back onto the launch pad, the article below details how an influx of high-tech venture capitalists is about to revolutionize space exploration. (, 06/15/05.)



I have added Electronic Frontier Foundation's legal guide poster to the Resources category. [Via BuzzMachine.]

Keep on Blogging!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Take some time and read Edwin Locke's article, On Flag Day Celebrate America's Core Values: Reason and Individual Rights. Here is the last paragraph of the article.

Despite its undeniable triumphs, America and its flag are by no means secure. Its core principles are under attack from every direction--not only by foreign terrorists but by people in our own country--by religious zealots who want to undermine the separation of church and state, and by our own intellectuals, who denounce reason in the name of skepticism, rights in the name of special entitlements, and progress in the name of environmentalism. We are heading toward the destruction of our core values and toward the dead end of nihilism. The Stars and Stripes, which represent the core values and achievements of America, must be waved proudly and defended to the death. And the values underlying the flag must be understood. Our lives depend on it. (, 06/14/04.)

How will you celebrate Flag Day? Go to and read the article, Grand old Flag Customs.

[1st Stars and Stripes / Betsy Ross flag from my old apartment.]

Michelle Malkin
has several flag day links listed in her post, Honoring Old Glory. [Via Sisu.]


I missed this year's Celebrate Capitalism Day. I got reminded of this event after receiving an email message from Prodos. [Editor's note: It looks like Prodos has problem with his ISP at the moment... I can't access his website.] If you participated in the walk for capitalism, please leave a comment.

Today I received my birthday gift from Gus Van Horn. I have read Gary Hull's introduction. The Abolition Of Antitrust has three parts: The Economics of Antitrust, The Legal History of Antitrust, and The Morality of Antitrust. Here is an excerpt from Gary Hull's introduction.

The essays in this book are written for the intellectually active layman. Our focus is on basic principles illustrated with relevant examples. By doing this, we hope to show readers that antitrust is not just narrow legal or economic issue relevant only to those companies facing prosecution. (Page X, August 2004.)

[Editor's note: This post is crossposted to the Egosphere.]

Monday, June 13, 2005


I have published the post, The Small Business Climate in Different Countries, on Anita Campbell's blog - Small Business Trends.


In the news: Saddam Hussein lawyer wants trial in neutral state.

Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein should be tried in another country, preferably Sweden, rather than Iraq, one of his defense lawyers said on Sunday.

"We invite the Iraqi government and the prosecutors to hold this trial, if there is to be a trial, not in Iraq where it's not safe to hold the trial, but to hold it either in the Hague or in Sweden or in Austria or even in Switzerland," British-based lawyer Giovanni di Stefano said.

"I would favor Sweden more than any other country -- where we are likely, more than not, a) to obtain a fair trial, and b) in the unlikely event that our client is tried and convicted, he can go straight to a detention center in Sweden," he told the Swedish public television station SVT. (, 06/12/05.)

Sweden has a long tradition of not standing up against dictators...

UPDATE 06/14/05:

Here is a comment by Jennifer:

Would Swedes welcome a Sadam Hussein trial in their country?

Detention center? I can't really judge because I've never been to Sweden, but it's my understanding that the Swedish penal system is quite soft on criminals. What say you, Martin?

I don't know if the Swedes would welcome a trial. You are right about being "soft on criminals." Here are some examples:

A 19 year old has escaped from a secure youth unit in Sundbo, Fagersta. It is the second time in two days that he has done a runner, while a murderer who escaped from the same institution on Friday was caught on Saturday.

The escapes resurrect the ghost of last summer's embarrassing prison leakages in Sweden, when nine dangerous prisoners found themselves on the run after three separate break outs. All were caught after massive search operations. (, 06/12/05.)

Cell phones smuggled to inmates have played a vital role in three highly publicized prison breaks in Sweden between July and September. Police suspect the inmates used them to coordinate their escapes with accomplices on the outside. All the inmates who escaped in the three prison breaks — including from Mariefred prison — were recaptured within days. (, 11/27/04.)