Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Motivation - Still Lacking

So…I was going to lampoon His Highness for the thoughtless remark he made yesterday about banning Mickey Dee’s. More better, and more to the point, here’s what Mr. Crittenden has to say:

Antiquated, costly symbol of Britain’s past Imperial glory slams modern, popular, highly profitable and tasty symbol of America’s global cultural imperialism.*

Next week: stay tuned as object of much ludicrous, lavish medieval pageantry involving lots of ermine, gilt coaches and puffy pants condemns colonial upstart nation’s electronic entertainment industry.

My snark is just SO lacking, by comparison.

Here’s a “Good News” story Sanctions that Work:

In the recent cases of North Korea and Iran, a new variety of U.S. Treasury sanctions is having a potent effect, suggesting that the conventional wisdom may be wrong.

These new, targeted financial measures are to traditional sanctions what Super Glue is to Elmer's Glue-All. That is, they really stick. Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt doesn't even like to call them sanctions, preferring the term "law enforcement measures." Explains Stuart Levey, Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence: "Sanctions are scoffed at. They have a bad history."

Authority for the new sanctions, as with so many other policy weapons, comes from the USA Patriot Act, which in Section 311 authorizes Treasury to designate foreign financial institutions that are of "primary money laundering concern." Once a foreign bank is so designated, it is effectively cut off from the U.S. financial system. It can't clear dollars; it can't have transactions with U.S. financial institutions; it can't have correspondent relationships with American banks.

This explains, in part, why Iran recently converted its financial reserves from dollars to Euros and has been trying to establish a Euro-based oil bourse since 2005. Economic warfare, in other words. But as Ignatius notes, today’s financial markets are so intertwined and inter-dependent (thanks to globalization) that there’s not a lot that can be done to blunt the effect of these financial actions. As the Iranians and Norks are learning.

Oh, and just as an aside…the vehicle that makes those “sanctions with teeth” possible? The USA PATRIOT Act. You know, that constitution shredding, privacy invading, martial-law enabling, egregious affront to freedom loving Americans… Q&O has more on this line of thought.

Today’s Pic(s): Can a bridge be beautiful? Well, yes…according to the American Institute of Steel Construction. And this bridge over the Rio Grande near Taos is, by acclamation of the aforementioned AISC, “Most Beautiful Steel Bridge, Long Span Division.” I wonder if there was an awards show when this accolade was handed out? No matter. It is pretty, ain’t it?

(PS: The photo of the bridge itself is kinda dark, but I wanted to highlight the dramatic sky in the background.)

May, 2004.


  1. I guess I never thought of bridges being particularly pretty, but I guess they have a point. Certainly some of the most well known landmarks are bridges. Reminds me, when mom and I went on that cruise in 2005, a man we met was in the business of bridge building. We didn't talk too much about it, and it was a detail I had forgotten until just now.

  2. rI happen to think that this particular bridge is beautiful - the bridge to no where. I may have mentioned before that Toby's office was just down the road, but not something you would take notice of unless you were looking for the landfil :)

  3. Parental involvement is the key to kids eating healthy. I personally am sick of everyone blaming the fast food industry for the choices of those who desire to be glutons. If you really want to put them out of buisness, choose to eat at home.

  4. About the Royal Family. I have a soft spot for the Queen, as you may know. It's Prince Charles I have a problem with. Charles is a lefty snob. The Queen went through a war and learned about the real world from Winston Churchill. Just my opinion. And here...Queen Elizabeth at Mickey D's

    Thanks for the link about the Patriot Act. Good to know.

  5. I am pretty sure they filmed some of Natural Born Killers on this bridge....


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