Sunday, September 21, 2008

Blogging update

(photo by Bret D. of 538.com)

I've changed a few things on the blog roll over this weekend. First, I have added a couple of financial links that might be of interest to readers. Secondly, I've cleaned a few names off the blogroll since it appears that these blogs are no longer active.

Also, let me give a personal pitch to the blog Fivethirtyeight which has provided excellent analysis of the 2008 Presidential primaries and general election (and provided the photo above). While a nominally Democratic blog, the writers are more interested in closely examining both the Obama and McCain's campaign's get out the vote (GOTV) strategies. They also do a great deal of vote projections, and were very accurate in the Democratic primaries. Check them out.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Movie Review: Dark Knight


I normally do not write about movies, but I cannot pass up mentioning the Dark Knight, which Susan and I saw yesterday. This movie was well done, and while not being a comic book fan or a devote follower of the previous Batman series, I appreciated Director Chris Nolan's exploration of good and evil in a world of chaos vs. order.

At first I couldn't get past using Chicago as the scene for Gotham City, but the more I think about it, the more Chicago is a perfect place to explore many of the themes that Dark Knight delves into. The acting for the movie was also excellent, and I'm sorry that I will not get to see Heath Ledger an any future movies. His performance was excellent, and I am sure that he will get nominated for a Best Actor next year.

That said, I think that Aaron Eckhart is perhaps the most unappreciated American actor in recent years. He did a great job putting a human face on Harvey Dent, and a warped one on Two Face. Let's hope that Nolan does another sequel that focuses on Two Face v. Batman.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Update


I have not posted much as of late for a variety of reasons. Susan and I moved in late mid-July to Philadelphia, and it took a number of weeks to get settled in. Overall, the move went very well-nothing broke, the row house holds all of the books just fine, and that cat is doing well. I'll post some facebook photos up in a few days to show the latest round of projects that I have done around the house.

The job hunt is also taking a good amount of time. While I don't have a job yet, I have had a number of interviews, and hopefully something good will open up soon. I am hoping that September will yield some fruit from all the work done in August.

In the midst of all these changes, I have been able to read some good books. Last night I finished Paul Theroux's The Pillars of Hercules, which is a travel narrative written 13 years ago. Theroux, who is a prolific travel writer, travels along the entire coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, and offers a rather sarcastic perspective on modern-day tourism, as well examining what other travel writers have written about their journeys around the Mediterranean. A good read.

A few weeks earlier I also read two books regarding the Bush Administration's post-2001 strategy regarding terrorism. The first, Jane Mayer's The Dark Side, was a sobering look at the Administration's legal reasoning behind the authorization of torture and its disregard for military law in current combat operations. The Dark Side is a slow read, but well worth the time. The other book, The Challenge, focuses on one case from this period, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. Hamdan, a Yemeni citizen who happened to be Bin-Laden's driver, was used by the Bush Administration as a test run in its efforts to conduct military tribunals. A motley crew of a Navy JAG, a Georgetown Law Professor, and a law firm interested in meeting its pro bono obligation, succeed in winning legal rights for detainees at Gitmo. Both books made me keenly aware of how the United State's reputation has been shattered over the past seven years, even though since the American Revolution the US had a policy of treating prisoners well to prove the high moral standing of the new nation. This policy continued through WWII, and the United States was one of the leading proponents for the Geneva Convention guidelines for humane treatment of prisoners. Even during the Cold War this policy was followed. Let's hope that we follow it again come January 2009.