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What Are You Reading?

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Captain Vancouver View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Aug 2012 at 13:52
Originally posted by David Greenwich David Greenwich wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

Just finished  "Emergency State", by David Unger. The author proposes that US presidents, and those close to the center of power, have attempted over some time (quite successfully) to usurp powers not really envisioned by the original framers of the constitution in order to meet their own political ends. This goes all the way back to FDR, according to the author, but Unger is particularly critical of recent presidents. Reagan did a secret and underhanded deal to sell arms to Iran for his own geopolitical hobbyhorse. GW Bush, following on precedents set by former leaders, bypassed congress on war making, and other important issues, making the now longstanding defense of national security. The irony that Unger describes is that the US is actually not any more secure today for all this erosion of the democratic state- in fact, less so. Ideological and financial interests have hijacked many of these events, from the military-industrial complex to vote buying from AIPAC. In the meantime, American workers loose out as the economy is ever more hollowed out in favour of globalization (read: more profits for large international corporations), and the rentier class gain from ever more lucrative military contracts, even if it is for questionable systems, like the F-35 fighter, or multi-billion dollar ships. These are of benefit to a few, but for most, a rational form of international diplomacy would be better in the long term.
My understanding is there is a to and frow between executive and legislature. The Congress took some powers back off the presidency in effect in the early 70s re war-making.
 
But no President can ever raise revenue - any revenue raising has to be approved by Congress. If I am wrong, please let me know as I am not an American. :)
 
The author makes the point that the legislation of the '70's, a backlash to the Vietnam debacle, has since been bypassed in various ways. The revenue issue has been superceeded by, again, the idea that national security is sacrosanct, and in immediate danger. The detailed budget of the CIA, for example, is not known. They do what they do, and few ask questions. Perhaps more alarmingly, the defense budget is well known, all 700 billion or so, and still few ask penetrating questions, even those charged to do so, like members of congress and the senate. All depends on political spin- what will the folks back home think (even if they are completely uniformed), and, what will my paymasters say. Money is not only the Holy Grail in the US, but is a functional necessity for re-election.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Aug 2012 at 15:52
Originally posted by David Greenwich David Greenwich wrote:

Originally posted by Lao Tse Lao Tse wrote:

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


Conversations with Aussie mates indicate that Australia, too, was a long time coming out of the effects of both the Depression and WWII.

Don't say that! Our excuse for being reamed by Bradman's Aiustralian side in 1948 was that their fast bowlers  were better fed (on steaks, even).

I didn't get to Korea unlike my contemporaries, beiing retained by her Majesty for duties elsewhere, but in 1950 I went to Paris at Easter and to Switzerland in the summer and had the same kind of culinary exerience.

It's not so much a question of strength of the economy though, as the sheer availabolity of home-grown food.   
 
LUCKY!! I spent 1950 finding a way to learn English, and fast! And all while you avoided Korea (even if you had the choice, I wouldn't have suggested going there. I went there and if you think Chinese food is bad, DON'T GO THERE!), and going to Paris!
 
So why did you have to earn English so fast? 
 
For me I think of mastering English as being like driving a Ferrari...why wouldn't you want to?
 
I speak as someone brought up in a family whose first language was not English - but I hate to think of being deprived of the opportunity to speak and think in English...by a quirk of history it just happens to be the language that takes us to the forefront of thought in humanity.  It could have been Norse, or Mandarin, or Portugese, or Spanish, or Dutch or French - but it happens to be English.  
 
 
 
 
I had to learn English fast because I had been in San Fransisco for 2 years, and my wife had to be a translater for that long to peple when I went outside of Chinatown, and she got tired of it. I still have a few problems occasionally. I always think in Chinese, because all of my relatives speak Chinese, and still most of them live where English is almost never spoken. So I have to translate Chinese, to English. Every now and then, I forget to translate, and I start speaking Chinese, and to people who have no clue what I am saying!
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gcle2003 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2012 at 00:14
Not to be missed by anyone with a funny bone and an interest in 20th century history or facsimiles thereof: Jonas Jonasson's The 100-year-old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared - originally Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann in Swedish.

It works at two levels. 

One is a contemporary account of how Allan Karlsson on his 100th birthday says goodbye to his nursing home and manages to gather around him a collection of characters including a motor-bike gang leader, a detective inspector, an elephant called Sonia, a couple of dead bodies and a suitcase with 50 million kronor in an odyssey around Sweden that ends up ... but that would be telling.

The second is the story of Allan's previous life, from his birth in 1905 and his childhood obsession with blowing things up until his arrival at the nursing home. Along the way in not entirely convincing ways he meets and deals with a succession of luminaries from Stalin and Beria through Franco, Chiang and Mme Chiang as well as Mao and Mme Mao, Harry Truman, Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, Suharto and of course Herbert Einstein, the intellectually challenged younger half-brother, who is mistakenly kidnapped by the KGB.  

Throughout he continues to blow things up, inter alia burning down Vladivostok in escaping from a Soviet prison, and manages not only to give Oppenheimer the idea that makes the A-bomb practical, but also thanks to an over-intake of vodka leaks the same information to the USSR. In fact the book ends with him passing the information along to ....

If only history were really like this. 


Edited by gcle2003 - 03 Sep 2012 at 00:18
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork.

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Oct 2012 at 04:46
The Hundred-year-old Man sounds like a very entertaining book. I'll keep it in mind as I wander the aisles.

Recently started: Charles the Second: King of England, Scotland, and Ireland by Ronald Hutton.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cywr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Oct 2012 at 09:10
Bad Science - Ben Goldacre
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Oct 2012 at 10:57
Tucidides: The War of Peloponnese.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Nov 2012 at 11:04
Got myself an early Christmas gift in the form of Jarred Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel.
Really looking forward to when I have the free time to read it.
 
I have also discovered the app on facebook called goodreads, which is great and allows you to compare your literary pursuits while seeing what your friends and facebook buddies are up to.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Po-Binnasaur Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Nov 2012 at 11:10
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

Got myself an early Christmas gift in the form of Jarred Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel.
Really looking forward to when I have the free time to read it.

Guns, Germs and Steel is a great read, i read it at the start of my school year in September i truly enjoyed because of the idea it brings up about farming.

Currently im reading Fermat's Enigma by Simon Singh but i just finished the book Confucius lives next door by T.R Reid which also brings up a interesting thought about how Confucian ideas influence much of east and somewhat Southeast Asian politics. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Nov 2012 at 02:26
Presently reading Georges Fleury's "La Guerre en Indochine" which is a historical overview of the war from 1945-54. Interesting the see the French attempts to get along with the Viet Minh in the early period, with field commanders trying to defuse situations before launching their attacks in Laos, and Central and North Vietnam. Also a good view of Chinese involvement in the Haiphong fighting. Still a fair amount of the book left to go.

The irony is that a mate of mine picked this up in an Aussie book store, and mailed it to me. Didn't figure there'd be much of a market for French language books in Aussie, and that is likely the case. 
Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá gì
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Nov 2012 at 03:27
Strachan's magnificent first volume of his "The First world war" which believe it or not my first general WWI read.
 
Too bad that it seems that he gave up on finishing it. It took him almost 20 years to finish this volume and it has been 10 years since it was published and no news of the 2nd volume.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dawn- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Nov 2012 at 17:36
Originally posted by Po-Binnasaur Po-Binnasaur wrote:

Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

Got myself an early Christmas gift in the form of Jarred Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel.
Really looking forward to when I have the free time to read it.

Guns, Germs and Steel is a great read, i read it at the start of my school year in September i truly enjoyed because of the idea it brings up about farming.


Your right. We read it a couple of years back in our relativity short lived readers group. Then my dad found it kicking around my house and went on about it for months. LOL  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Aug 2013 at 14:02
Read this book a couple of weeks ago. It is about the rise and fall of the Comanches with a special emphasis on the Parker family and the capture of 9 year old Cynthia by Comanche raiders and her adoptions of the Comanche culture as her own and eventually giving birth to a future Comanche war chief known as Quanah Parker. Out of five stars, i give it a four.

http://www.amazon.com/Empire-Summer-Moon-Comanches-Powerful/dp/1416591060




Edited by Panther - 09 Aug 2013 at 14:19
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Aug 2013 at 12:13
Reading "Heroes of the telegraph" de John Munro, who writes the origins of the key invention of the telegraph, from a 19th century's point of view.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kilroy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Aug 2013 at 05:13
Kenneth Waltzs' Magnum Opus, "Man, the State and War." Corner stone for any international relations and international theory.
Kilroy was here
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Sep 2014 at 06:35
i am reading couple of books this weeks, "leap of faith2 by Queen Noor, it is amazing how frank she is about her roots, her loner charactor; "my life in France" by Julia Child, surprising it is very interllectural, full of passion for cooking and nice food, especially how she adapted to a new culture and the support from her artistic husband. i particularly like the way how she appriciated her husband, creative, artistic, supportive, and "a history of western music" fun and informative, as it is also about a history of western art, architecture and sociaty. Lovely reads!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2014 at 15:19
Currently reading Fighter - the true story of the Battle of Britain by Len Deighton
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2018 at 02:02
Finished Faulkner's Sanctuary yesterday; started on Hardy's Under the Greenwood Tree this morning.

Hardy is far and away my favorite English novelist. Eliot runs a close second, and Dicken's novels, other than A Tale of Two Cities, are, though in the main entertaining, more or less kid stuff. Just my humble opinion, folks.
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