Casey Neistat on the horrendous attacks in Israel last Saturday:


In Putin’s Fascist Russia, Enemy Tech Support Fixes You

Ukrainian officers captured a Russian tank which started malfunctioning. They called Russian tech support to see if they could coax them into helping… and what do you know, Russian tech support helped fix the problem.

David Axe, writing for Forbes:

So when a Ukrainian tanker with the callsign “Kochevnik” ran into problems with his captured Russian T-72B3—problems local expertise couldn’t immediately solve—he called Uralvagonzavod tech support. And incredibly, the help line actually helped.


Time to Act

The more I think about it, the more I think the world needs to intervene in Ukraine. If Russia continues annexing neighbors, isn’t it better to act now than later? Where are the pundits that believe Putin is going to stop?

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A Prayer for Volodymyr Zelensky

I keep going back and forth on whether the Russian invasion really is the start of the Third World War. I suppose once Russia completes the takeover of the eastern portions of Ukraine they might stop, but it’s like RISK. As everyone knows, nobody who takes over Ukraine with a large army ever stops there. This is going to be the Third World War.

Last week the Atlantic published a piece about the unlikely Ukrainian President and his fortitude.

Before he became the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky played the part on television. He created and starred in a comedy series, Servant of the People. His character, a high-school history teacher, is surreptitiously recorded by one of his students as he passionately rants against the tyranny of corruption in his nation. Without his knowledge, the video goes viral. Without campaigning or even wanting the job, the teacher is improbably elected president of Ukraine. The humble Everyman, out of his depths in nearly every respect, goes on to become a heroic leader of his country.

Zelensky might be the hero Ukraine needs but as for the rest of the world, there needs to be some tough choices. It’s going to be just like it was in the Second World War, and once again we’re going to wait too long.

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Russia Invades Ukraine

As you have likely heard, after many months of buildup, Russia has invaded Ukraine. Here’s news from Reuters, the NYTimes, AP, the Wall Street Journal and CNN.

From Reuters:

Russian forces invaded Ukraine on Thursday in a massed assault by land, sea and air, the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War Two.

Missiles rained down. Ukraine reported columns of troops pouring across its borders from Russia and Belarus and landing on the coast from the Black and Azov seas.

Ukrainian troops fought Russian forces along practically the entire border, and fierce fighting was taking place in the regions of Sumy, Kharkiv, Kherson, Odessa and at a military airport near Kyiv, an adviser to the presidential office said.

I’ve been talking to some friends about this buildup and the question keeps coming up as to what Putin’s end game is in all this. I think it’s safe to say Putin is a psychopath with an obsession to reunite the USSR at whatever the cost. As much as this is a simple comparison, it fits — if you’ve ever done well in the board game Risk, you know the feeling where you just want to keep conquering. I predict Putin, with his victory in Crimea, will act just like he’s playing Risk. He’ll keep going until he’s captured the continent.

In the Second World War as he kept conquering country after country the news insisted Hitler was finally done. We know how that ended. I can’t imagine a scenario where Putin will just stop if he can keep going.

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The Case for War

By Someone Whose Kids Won’t Die Fighting in It

McSweeney’s makes the case for war with Iran.

As one of the most important writers at one of the most important newspapers in the country, it’s my job to inform my readers why they should uncritically support the United States government’s most recent war. I understand that many of you might not want to get into another drawn out, costly conflict in the Middle East, particularly if you were one of the thousands of parents who had their kids die needlessly in the last few wars. But as someone whose kids won’t die fighting in the war, it’s important that you understand the flimsy, morally bankrupt justifications for war, and why it’s vital for you to throw more of your children’s lives at this one.


documentary war

Bush’s War on PBS

On the fifth anniversary of the United States invasion into Iraq, PBS and Frontline present the full saga of the war in a two-part definitive series.

Bush's War

Watch part 1 and 2 of the full length documentary, Bush’s War at PBS.

I just finished watching it. No matter which side of the political fence you find yourself on, I highly recommend this captivating review of the lies, blunders, and pride that created the war in Iraq.

Make sure you have some time to kill. The online version is divided into 27 chapters, each about 10 minutes.

documentary Politics war

Control Room

Control Room is a documentary on the perception of the United States’ war with Iraq, with an emphasis on Al Jazeera’s coverage. It makes it clear that the endeavor for unbiased reporting is a difficult, almost impossible task.

Control Room running time is 1 hours and 26 minutes. Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

[Control Room – YouTube]


documentary Photography Politics war

The Kurds of Northern Iraq

During a seven-week stay in 2005 in Iraq, photojournalist Ed Kashi captured thousands of images that were used in this interesting flip-book style animation, “Iraqi Kurdistan“.

Iraqi Kurdistan is an expansive look into the daily lives of the Kurdish people of northern Iraq. These images provide an alternative perspective on a changing culture, one different from the destruction and discord that dominates so much media coverage of the region.

Here are policemen seated on the floor, eating lunch and laughing, old men taking care of their fields and young girls celebrating at a suburban birthday party.

There is also hardship and tribulation, to be sure; the Iraqi Kurds endured generations of brutality under Saddam Hussein. His genocidal campaigns cost close to 200,000 lives. But as Iraqi Kurdistan documents, the region is mostly peaceful today. The people enjoy more autonomy and women’s rights continue to grow stronger.

Very compelling on a social studies level, but also I also found the images themselves to be fantastic—they are not only beautiful but also capable of stirring a variety of emotions.

I had a hunch he was using a Canon 5D and though I’m still not 100% sure, I saw the Canon logo in one of the photos with a mirror in it. I would love to get myself one of those.

opinion war

My SAT Blogger Challenge Results

About a month ago I entered the SAT Blogger Challenge, an experiment to see how regular “bloggers” like myself compare to high school students in the United States with regard to essay writing ability.
I got a 4.

My Writing Faced the Challenge 4

The challenge:

Directions: Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.
‘I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.’
– Booker T. Washington

Assignment: What is your opinion on the idea that struggle is a more important measure of success than accomplishment? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

Without further ado, here is my essay spelling mistakes and all.

Success as measured by struggle rather than in accomplishment conveys the romantic notion that it doesn’t matter how well you do, so long as you try.

If success could be defined as merely the amount of effort one applied to any given problem then it would be fair to say that both the Russians and the Americans were ’successful’ in the race for the moon, but it was the United States that landed there first. Continuing with that line of thinking, if struggle is all that matters, then the current war in Iraq has been very successful for the United States – from start to present. It looks like they are headed for a lot of success in the future too.

It is important to remember that the struggle to accomplish a given goal is a very important part of success, however, I believe, that it’s disingenuous to pretend that success can be defined merely by how hard one attempts to complete their goal.

Success is synonomous with accomplishment while struggle only relates to success in that often a successful endevour was possible due to conviction, deadication, and hard work. So, while the importance of struggle should not be ignored, a success can only accurately measured in terms of accomplishment. The bright math student who correctly completes his homework with very little effort is much more successful than the struggling student who slaves over his work and yet despite his effort does a horrible job.

Success must be defined as the accomplishment. The struggle is merely what helps one complete that accomplishment.

See Dave Munger’s analysis on the challenge.