During my time at Crazy Go Nuts University, I was in a band that covered a couple of Pixies numbers (Tame, U-Mass, and we also covered their cover of The Beatles’ Wild Honey Pie), and have attended 4 concerts where the Pixies were either part of the line-up or the headlining act. I suppose this kind of “oof” was bound to happen sooner or later.
Wave of Mutilation came from the Pixies’ 1989 album, Doolittle:
Here is Mike Pompeo, less than a year ago, meeting with Afghanistan’s new ‘president,’ Taliban leader Mullah Baradar, who the Trump administration had released from prison in 2018. But sure, Mike, tell us more about ‘deterrence’ and toughness. https://t.co/7BYMTQ4cDB pic.twitter.com/xtgbhjNWec
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) August 15, 2021
In 2018, Trump got Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar released from prison.
In 2020, Trump's Secretary of State met with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
In 2021, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is set to become the President of Afghanistan under Taliban rule. pic.twitter.com/pbdus8aeZx
— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@NoLieWithBTC) August 15, 2021
Also worth checking out is this article from The Hindu: Mullah Baradar released by Pakistan at the behest of US: Khalilzad (Feburary 9, 2019)
And then, after Baradar’s release, do you remember the hush-hush plans to meet with the Taliban at Camp David back in 2019? See these articles:
- New York Times — How Trump’s Plan to Secretly Meet With the Taliban Came Together, and Fell Apart (September 8, 2019)
- Military Times — Trump calls off secret Camp David meeting with Taliban, Afghan leaders (September 8, 2019)
- CNN — Trump overruled advisers, VP on Taliban Camp David meeting (September 9, 2019)
- The New Yorker — Trump’s stunt with the Taliban was not about negotiating peace (September 9, 2019)
And as for the withdrawal, remember that Trump had set a withdrawal date of much earlier this year — May 1:
- In fact, he wanted them home by Christmas 2020: Trump ‘to order further troop withdrawal’ from Afghanistan and Iraq (BBC News, November 16, 2020)
- USA Today — Biden faces Trump’s deadline on Afghanistan troop withdrawal: ‘Any way you cut it, we are headed for a messy outcome’ (March 17, 2021)
- CNN: Trump calls Afghanistan withdrawal ‘a wonderful and positive thing to do’ and criticizes Biden’s timeline (April 19, 2021)
- CBS News: Trump backs Afghanistan withdrawal, putting him at odds with some Republicans (April 19, 2021)
In India, today is a national holiday in India that marks its independence from the United Kingdom. On August 15, 1947 — 74 years ago — the provisions of the Indian Independence Act came into effect, officially ending 300 years of British occupation.
On that same day, August 15, 1947, the Partition of India took place, dividing the former British India into two independent dominions of India, with a Hindu majority, and Pakistan, with its Muslim majority. Drawing new borders where none previously existed is a messy business, and this was no exception, as 15 million people were displaced, 1 million were killed, and communities that lived side by side for 1,000 years started killing each other in humankind’s oldest sport: “What team do you play for?”
Two years prior to India’s independence and partition — August 15, 1945 — was the day when Korea was liberated from Japanese colonial rule, which had been going on since 1910.
Today, in South Korea, it’s 광복절 (Gwangbokjeol), which literally translates as “The day the light returned”. It’s also a big day in North Korea, where it’s taken on the unsurprisingly dour name 조국해방의 날 (Chogukhaebangŭi nal), which means “Liberation of the Fatherland Day”.
50 years ago today, on August 15, 1971, then-president Richard Nixon announced a new economic policy, whose measures collectively became known as the Nixon Shock.
In a televised announcement that meant interrupting the popular TV show Bonanza, he effectively announced that the connection between the U.S. dollar and gold was to be broken. The way in which he made the announcement might seem kind of odd to the modern-day viewer; by today’s standards, his announcement looks like a dry reading recorded in a YouTuber conspiracy theorist’s basement and not the bombshell that it actually was:
The money line (pun intended) in his announcement was that the U.S. would — and I quote:
“…suspend temporarily the convertibility of the dollar into gold.”
50 years is still not forever, so technically the “temporarily” qualifier still applies. Temporary or not, the effects of the disconnection between the dollar and gold — the creation of what cryptocurrency people like to refer to as fiat currency (currency that governments issue by fiat, and are not backed by a commodity, such as gold) — have had massive effects on the way the world works today.
I have only a vague notion of Bretton Woods, and international monetary policy, and most of what I know about modern monetary theory comes from the “sink metaphor”. To better my understanding, I’ve put some books on my reading list including this one:
If you’ve been watching the Food Network for some time, the name of the author, Jeffrey Garten, may seem familiar. The author photo may clinch it for you:
That’s right, he’s the Barefoot Contessa’s husband! When he’s not making cameo appearances on her show, he’s kept himself doing money-related things such as being Dean of the Yale School of Management, Undersecretary of Commerce during the Clinton administration and doing other government work during the Carter, Ford, and Nixon administrations, and managing director at Lehman Brothers and Blackstone Group.
I’m a graduate of Catholic school and grew up going to Catholic church, so my first visit to a Hillsong-style megachurch left me deeply unimpressed:
- The ministry felt less like the lives of the saints and more like The Suite Life of Zack and Cody,
- There was a strong “making up as we go along” feel to the preaching,
- The Jesus they presented was most certainly not an itinerant Israeli carpenter who was intentionally homeless, apolitical, friend of prostitutes and told religious leaders to pay their dang taxes, but some kind of weird amalgam of Ronald Reagan, Rambo, Tony Robbins, and “Karen”,
- My Asian appearance led a couple of congregants to ask if I would denounce the false teachings of Buddha (they asked no such questions of the other strangers, who were white), because they knew jack shit about the Philippines or that thing about “the stranger in your midst”,
- and as for the music, I’m 100% behind Hank Hill:
So when Cracked posted their latest video, If Megachurches Were Honest, I had to watch:
One of the reasons that it’s so spot-on is because it was written by Jordan Breeding, who writes:
Cards on the table I (the guy who wrote this episode), was a Music Director at a (non-mega) church, and, in fact, my wife and I still lead music there regularly FOR FREE as well as attend. But that doesn’t mean I don’t believe there aren’t things deeply wrong with the way megachurches and possibly just America generally have twisted things.
If you found the video interesting, you’ll probably enjoy the podcast The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill.