Now that the semester is over, I am transitioning to a new blog with a new theme.

http://kenconquerscairo.wordpress.com/

This new blog will focus on my exploits and adventures while abroad in Cairo, Egypt.

Alright, this is too far.

With the trade deficit eating away at our future and exhaustion of the Earth’s natural resources becoming more and more apparent, you’d think that reducing our consumption would be one of the first things America would take on. But no, it isn’t. If you’re anything like me, you’re making a wish-list for Chanukah/Christmas and greedily scoping out a new moleskin topcoat that would look great on you while in Germany this January.

Despite all the irreparable harm that our incredible rate of consumption is doing to our planet and our trade deficit with China, we still all adhere to the religion of materialism. For materialists, today, Black Friday, is the holiest day of the year. It is a day in which we unabashedly scour the land for the best deals we can find on tickle-me Elmos and Miley Cyrus barbies at 5 in the morning.

But I’ll say it again: This is too far.

Two shot dead in a Toys R Us? One man trampled to death in a Wal-Mart stampede?

This is too much for fucking toys. It is time to smelt our golden calf that it materialism (and then sell it to Cash4Gold).

Saw this song on an episode of Entourage a week or two ago, and have been listening to it nonstop since them. Have a great Thanksgiving. Be well and enjoy Robin Thicke’s “Dreamworld”.

Based on well-founded rumors, leaks and semi-official statements, here is the current list of the men and women in President-elect Obama’s cabinet and senior staff:

• Vice-President: Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE, hopefully you know who he is by now)
• Chief of Staff: Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL, inspiration for Josh Lyman on the West Wing, all around badass)
• Secretary of State: Sen. Hilary Clinton (D-NY, candidate for president, former first lady)
• Secretary of Treasury: Timothy Geither (president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York)
• Secretary for Health and Human Services: Tom Daschle (former U.S. Senator D-ND)
• Attorney General: Eric Holder (Deputy Attorney General under Clinton, judge of the DC Superior Court)
• Secretary of Homeland Security: Gov. Janet Napolitano (D-AZ, she’s close to Mexico which apparently makes her qualified)
• Secretary of Commerce: Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM, presidential candidate)
• White House Counsel: Greg Craig (special counsel to Pres. Clinton during impeachment hearings)
• National Security Advisor: Gen. James Jones* (retired four-star Marine Corps general)
• Secretary of Defense: Sec. Robert Gates* (currently the Secretary of Defense under Pres. Bush)

*Hiring General Jones as NSA and keeping SecDef Gates onboard is fairly speculative, but I included them in the list because of the increased speculation by insiders.

The Cabinet is coming together quite well only three weeks after the election and is composed of some very strong, respected individuals. I am a bit concerned by the hawkish foreign policy squadron Obama has developed, but they are all first and foremost strong pragmatists, so this significantly eases my concerns. The biggest thing Obama needs to work on is getting more Republicans into top posts (although keeping Gates and adding Jones would definitely help).

I am very excited to see who Obama picks to be Secretary of Energy and head of the Environmental Protection Agency since the President-elect has put a major emphasis on alternative energy in these first few weeks since being elected president. Hopefully these picks will be announced pretty soon.

Maybe a bit unsensitive, but completely relevant.

Props to John for the suggestion, this week’s song is Bad Religion’s “Los Angeles Is Burning”.

Distateful jokes aside, our thoughts go out to those who have had their homes burned down or who have been evacuated. Be safe and enjoy the music.

Aren’t you glad I educated you about Africa on Wednesday?

zimbabwe-cash-inflationOne of the more amazing pieces of news that has been overlooked in the American media is the incredible rate of inflation in Zimbabwe. According to the Telegraph, Zimbabwe’s annual rate of inflation sit at around 516 quintillion percent, which looks something like this when fully written out: 516,000,000,000,000,000,000%.

According to the Telegraph article, Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation will set the world record within six weeks. Prices are doubling every 1.3 days right now and quickly approaching post-WWII Hungary’s record of doubling every 15.6 hours.

Between the staggeringly poor condition of its economy and the never-ending iron-fisted rule by Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe is one of the most miserable countries in the entire world. But in Africa, Zimbabwe is quite at home. The birthplace of our species has turned into the continent that modernity forgot. Lack of access to clean water, rampant disease, incredible levels of poverty, and a dearth of schools, hospitals and jobs are only a few among the endless number of problems facing the majority of the countries in Africa.

One of the greatest flaws in American foreign policy has been our failure to recognize the relationship between human security and our national security. We must focus greater attention and resources on Africa not just for humanitarian reasons, but to strengthen our national security. The only problem is that while President-elect Obama may understand the necessity to focus greater attention on Africa, will he understand the necessity to change how we focus on Africa?

(more…)

She didn’t know it was a continent?

No wait, seriously. What do you mean she didn’t know it was a continent? Did she not realize it existed? Did she think it was just one huge country? Does she not get the Discovery Channel back home in Alaska? Did she skip the second grade…. and every single subsequent grade?

Okay whatever, I’ll excuse it. She can’t see Africa from her house, so she’s not required to know anything about it. Let’s stick with North America, that’s a lot simpler. Only three countries you have to worry about. Oh… she couldn’t name the countries in NAFTA? It’s only three countries! And she thought she was qualified to run one of them!

And the media knew? And didn’t tell us? You didn’t think that was kind of an important piece of information? It wasn’t something you thought you’d mention?

Okay, well I’ll do a favor to anyone planning on running for the presidency, or being on the ticket, in 2012. This is Africa:

map_of_africa

It’s a continent, not a country. In fact, it’s the second largest continent both in terms of population and physical size. Home to 922 million people and 53 countries, Africa is the birth of the human species, which is pretty sweet when it comes to bragging rights among continents.

Study the map. Get to know it.
If you want, we can go through the rest of the continents (North America included) over the next few days.

 

UPDATE: APPARENTLY ALL THAT STUFF WAS A HOAX, AND I BOUGHT IT HOOK, LINE AND SINKER. That being said, it might be an even sadder statement on Sarah Palin if that stuff was believable. Additionally, it’s always good to learn more about geography.