Archive for October, 2007

Commodities: Oil Versus Coffee

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Oil is the number one commodity in terms of value. People make the argument that a war is being fought largely over the control of this indispensable stuff.

The number two commodity is coffee. Why aren’t wars fought over coffee? I guess it is because possession and control of the land that grows coffee does not provide wealth. In fact, coffee growing regions include some of the poorest places on the planet. In many cases, there may be a small battle of wills when the coffee is taken from the farmers by unscrupulous middlemen. The middlemen are armed with guns, and a little bit of money. The coffee farmer has some beans.

Maybe the economics and the politics of oil would be more like those of coffee if impoverished men, women and children could pick barrels of it out of the jungles and the mountains and carry it out on their backs.

Creepy Spam Comments

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

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This disturbing bit of ‘information’ was left in a comment today. The link was to what appeared from the title to be a Malaysian blogspot splog.

I have managed to increase the traffic on this blog by a factor of ten over the past few months, thanks largely to one very big story. The amount of spam comments that I look at has increased infinitely. Now that the discussion of that particular story has, for the most part, left this particular arena I think I will install Akismet so I don’t have look through all the spam. This very effective spam filter rarely catches real people and I won’t be double checking.

Is WhiteHouse.gov a Place for Partisan Politics?

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

I got sidetracked yet again while researching an unrelated topic and I was struck by how defensive and political the language is on WhiteHouse.gov. I have been there before and I seem to remember is being more statesmanlike and less political. Here are a couple of snippets of text that appear on the landing page:

Just the Facts: Top Five Reasons the Democrats’ “New” SCHIP Bill Is Actually More of the Same

Setting The Record Straight: Speaker Pelosi Misleads on SCHIP

House FISA Legislation the Wrong Direction for Our National Security

I guess it makes sense that an embattled administration would use its most relevant internet presence to further it’s goals. I still have to go back to the Wayback and see if the tone and layout was different before 2006…

I was mistaken, I looked at a page from September 1999 and there is one headline that is critical of the GOP…

GOP Tax and Budget Plan Could Force Drastic Cuts in Key Programs

I guess the goals consequent tone of this website is very dependent on the political landscape and also where they are in the election cycle.


…an unrelated item