Sunday, November 30, 2008

American Jobs, Exploitation of Foreign Labor & The Environment

Af-flu-en-za n. 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by dogged pursuit of the American Dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth. 4. A television program that could change your life.

I stumbled upon this little gem today:

How sad is it getting when Yahoo has to post such an article? So let me get this straight, we're supposed to base our career choice on out-sourcing? Am I the only person who is totally disturbed by this logic? Especially when the gov't is talking about bailing out car companies because they don't want Americans to lose their jobs. WHAT? Yeah, you care about Americans losing their jobs while corporations are busying themselves with making as much money as possible at the expense of American jobs, foreign labor, and the environment. The level of exploitation is so out of control I can't believe that the gov't isn't working on legislation that will put an end to such obvious irreverance for the well being of all people and the environment. But then why would they when the gov't is nothing more than a corporate puppet?

It is more important than ever to be aware of where your money is going. Become a conscious consumer, don't support corporations that aren't supporting you and your loved ones. Instead, support your local economy even when that means spending a little more money. Start thinking of the long term benefits that you and your loved ones will become a part of when you change your current habits.

We can kick and scream as we are being layed off, clearly no one is listening. We have to hit them where it hurts just like they are hitting us where it hurts, their pocket books. The loss of profit is all these corporate fucks feel...They don't feel your pain or the pain of the exploited in foreign lands. We may have to spend a bit more money, we may have to get used to coming home with one t-shirt instead of five, we may have to realize that this alternative is better for the environment, foreign laborers, and Americans.

Every time you buy a product that was made in Mexico, China, India ask yourself who is benefiting from that purchase and who is hurting as a direct result of that purchase. Every time you buy a t-shirt that is $10 ask yourself, 'Why is this shirt only $10?' Ask yourself, 'Who is benefiting?' You may think this is a benefit to you, it may feel beneficial at the moment, but it isn't. The only people benefiting are the corporate CEOs who have outsourced your job, your neighbors job in order to make more money for themselves. It's as simple as that.

Over consumption is OUT! Thousands (if not millions including children) of Americans are dying of diseases related to obesity, we have more of everything than we could possibly need, we are destroying the environment and ourselves.

It's time to take control...All you have to do is consume consciously; and if you feel like taking it a step further, write a letter to these corporations, let them know that you are no longer buying from them because they don't have any interest in the lives of the people who are supporting their lavish life styles.
A really great documentary on the subject called The Corporation:

Mr Freedom

Like a missing-link hominid stepping out of the jungle, famous photographer William Klein emerges on 21st century DVD as the great bullgoose Art Film-era satirist we never knew we had. Hallowed for his still images and his documentaries, the Paris-based Klein also made three furiously hostile lampoons that were nominally released, ignored and then forgotten. Until now, you could only find "Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?" (1966), "Mr. Freedom" (1969) and "The Model Couple" (1977) in scruffy bootlegs from pro-am vendors like Pimpadelic Wonderland — and given the movies' paucity of reputation, you would've had little reason to do so. A busy '60s shutterbug for the French Vogue, Klein more or less fell in with the Left Bank New Wavers (Resnais, Demy, Marker, Varda) and the Panic Movement (Fernando Arrabal and Roland Topor both show up in "Polly Maggoo"). But his perspective was New Yawk pugilistic, his humor was mercilessly accusatory and his eye was unerringly sharp and expressive. The movies in the new Criterion Eclipse set are a revelation (arguably, they're the most astute left-wing mockeries of their day), but more than that, they appear to be timeless, and their blitzkrieg critiques are just as pertinent now as they were then...

Continuing Bush's War On Terror?

Many of us cringed when President-Elect Obama appointed Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff. Now the peace movement is writhing over rumors Obama will keep Bush appointee Robert Gates as his Defense Secretary. Peace Action is asking you to go to and tell Obama what you think about Robert Gates in his cabinet. You can tell you friends about this campaign, here.

Of course, despite any initial euphoria, we knew the peace movement could not take a break during the Obama Administration. His progressive policy proposals in the primaries won him the peace vote then. He advocated withdrawal from Iraq and talked about supporting the American people over transnational corporations. He rose to the Presidency on the shoulders of people like us - grassroots activists - and told us he would help us change our country. In the general election we got a taste of a more hawkish Obama; a man who wanted to move the quagmire in Iraq to Afghanistan so he could hunt down Osama bin Laden.

What is he thinking? Increasing our combat presence in Afghanistan will create internal conflict between armed political and religious groups; it will hurt diplomatic relations between the US and other states in the region; and, it will, undoubtedly, create an international crisis. Does this scenario sound familiar?

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President, is considered a puppet of the British and US governments by many of the Afghan people. This widespread sentiment is fueled by US airstrikes in Afghan towns and villages. The US maintains airstrikes target the Taliban, but locals disagree. For the better part of the last two years a movement to hold Karzai and the US accountable for the countless civilian deaths has been growing. The violently fundamentalist Taliban refuses to engage in peace talks until the occupying forces leave the country. Naturally, they fear peace talks would lead to arrests, and most likely executions, of Taliban negotiators.

The only way to promote peace in Afghanistan is to support Afghan-led peace talks with the Taliban. Any additional 'military support' is counter productive and will be costly to US interests. We are in an economic crisis and we have already lost nearly 5,000 US soldiers in the War on Terror. How could a man who promises change even contemplate continuing this failed policy?

During the presidential debates Obama admitted he would not hesitate to bomb Pakistan if he believed he was chasing the Taliban over the border. Here again, he's taking his cue from the Bush Administration. Our strained relationship with Pakistan is strategically essential for the US. Without the cooperation of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon recruitment for terrorist organizations will continue unabated. Our relationships with these countries should focus on regional reconstruction and stabilization, human rights and citizen-to-citizen diplomacy. Our occupation of Afghanistan fuels the flames of terrorism; any more significant violations of Pakistani sovereignty could spark yet another war.

The Afghan people have suffered unspeakable violations of their human rights: First the Russians came, then the Taliban, and now the US. During every war the standard of living for the average Afghani has declined. Still today, many do not have potable water or electricity. Orphaned and uneducated children struggle to survive without a solid safety net. The current state of Afghanistan is a tragedy and a blood stain on the United States.

Afghanistan needs the US to fulfill its reconstruction promises - not increase our troop presence. At Peace Action, we've been batting around the idea of expanding our No Soldier Left Behind campaign to include Afghanistan. What do you think? Give us your opinion at our blog. We'd also love your opinion on taking care of our soldiers when they return from war - how do we make sure their needs are never left behind?

Peace Planks For The Obama Administration

After eight years of George Bush there's a lot of work to do to set the country straight. We can expect the progressive chorus will not all be singing in full harmony. Every group believes they're singing lead. For Peace Action, and our supporters, peace issues are primary. Our economy, our security and the quality of democracy are caught up in the web of the military-industrial-political complex...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Elder Brothers

The first thing to say about meeting the Tairona is - PLEASE DON’T TRY.

These people are the conscientious guardians of a tradition, philosophy and form of thought that has been pretty effectively destroyed everywhere else in the world by the advance of our own culture. The most isolated of the Tairona communities, the Kogi, know very well that isolation is their only possibility for survival.

The original European invaders of America carried death on their breath and their bodies, in the form of invisible infections which wiped out perhaps as many as nine out of every ten inhabitants of the continent. Even the best-intentioned among them were, however inadvertantly, the carriers of destruction.

We also carry infections. But more than that, we carry our own way of perceiving and understanding the world, and however well-intentioned we may be, we re-form the consciousness of others. We teach more than we learn, and so we change the people we meet. That is why the Kogi demand that we stay away.

When I made the film, the Kogi Mamas prepared for it with enormous care. Every Kogi seen in it was chosen by the Mamas to be there: even towns full of people were entirely occupied by a cast that had been selected and prepared for the experience. The Mamas spent a year preparing themselves and the people seen on camera for the experience of taking part.

The Kogi think in terms of levels of cultural pollution; the lower down the mountain they go, the more of it they encounter. Whole areas of the Sierra are closed to whole groups of Kogi, because they have become too polluted by outside contact.

The Tairona do not want to be met. But they do want to be listened to.

And that is not for their sake. It is for ours.

An Incomplete Education


Ladies & Gentlemen The Fabulous Stains

Do you think that The White Stripes got their name from this film?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


That's better.

True World History

"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." - Plato presents a compelling series of video documentaries offering an unvarnished as well as non-partisan perspective of today's modern world, and where we are heading as a people, a nation and a global civilization with individual characteristics.

The information presented is sometimes controversial, and often hard to believe. This information is based upon documented facts and induced theories, based upon deductive reasoning and past historical occurences which project a possible vision of the future for our world. How we choose to interpret this information, and what we choose to do about it, will determine the future of the world in which we all live. The presenters request that you view these documentaries with an open mind, then decide for yourself what you believe, and what you will do to make it a better world for all people. Is everything in these documentaries true? Not likely, and some even contradict each other on a few points and theories. However, the overall picture they collectively paint is right on target.

The material presented focuses predominately on the USA, but has future implications for the entire world. Tired of wondering why the US (among other countries) is so screwed up and just doesn't seem to get any better regardless of which major political party is in power? Do you feel that there is something terribly wrong with our nation(s) but you can't quite put your finger on it? These documentaries contain very eye-opening information that you won't ever see on TV, in any other major media, or public schools.

We urge you to view these video documentaries in the order displayed so that you may better comprehend the information being presented. Each video expounds upon and supports the information presented in previous documentaries. Each video link will open in a new browser window that will explain the program being presented and give technical, as well as credit, information. In addition to this series of eleven videos, you will find a greater library available on the Expanded Video List at the link below.


What's the big deal?

Holly Golightly & The Broke Offs / Frank Fairfield / Delaney Davidson Saturday November 29 2008

Golightly first performed as part of Thee Headcoatees, an all-girl group that splintered off of Billy Childish’s Thee Headcoats in the early 1990s. In 1995, she went solo, digging deeper into original blues, rock ‘n’ roll, and Americana. Under the Brokeoffs moniker, the songs are a collaboration with a kindred spirit and inspired by honky tonk, juke-joint blues, and old lo-fi 78 recordings. -Boston Globe

9PM / $10 advance; $12 day of show / 21+

1717 Silverlake Blvd
Los Angeles

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

St Tropez Leisure

Françoise Hardy

It's true. Who doesn't love Ms. Hardy?


SEMINAL rock star that she is, Kim Gordon still has some rather common clothing issues. Like finding chic everyday pieces that work as well in New York as they do at her home in Northampton, Mass. “There’s a need for clothes for cool moms,” Ms. Gordon said. To fill the gap, she has started a clothing line called Mirror/Dash with her friends Melinda Wansbrough and Jeffrey Monteiro. The name is taken from her experimental music project with her husband and Sonic Youth bandmate, Thurston Moore. Their first piece: a military-style wool jacket inspired by Françoise Hardy.

“I know, every designer says they’re inspired by Françoise Hardy,” Ms. Gordon said. “But I’ve been listening to her records for 15 years.” Additional designs will be offered throughout the year. For now, just 50 of the jackets will be sold. “Some people make limited-edition records — we’re making a limited-edition jacket,” she joked.

Solar Cookers

The purpose of this paper is to summarize the basic principles that are used in the design of solar box cookers.

People use solar cookers primarily to cook food and pasteurize water, although additional uses are continually being developed. Numerous factors including access to materials, availability of traditional cooking fuels, climate, food preferences, cultural factors, and technical capabilities, affect people's approach to solar cooking.

With an understanding of basic principles of solar energy and access to simple materials such as cardboard, aluminum foil, and glass, one can build an effective solar cooking device. This paper outlines the basic principles of solar box cooker design and identifies a broad range of potentially useful construction materials.

These principles are presented in general terms so that they are applicable to a wide variety of design problems. Whether the need is to cook food, pasteurize water, or dry fish or grain; the basic principles of solar, heat transfer, and materials apply. We look forward to the application of a wide variety of materials and techniques as people make direct use of the sun's energy.

Design Like You Give a Damn

The greatest humanitarian challenge we face today is that of providing shelter. Currently one in seven people lives in a slum or refugee camp, and more than three billion people—nearly half the world's population—do not have access to clean water or adequate sanitation. The physical design of our homes, neighborhoods, and communities shapes every aspect of our lives. Yet too often architects are desperately needed in the places where they can least be afforded.

Edited by Architecture for Humanity, Design Like You Give a Damn is a compendium of innovative projects from around the world that demonstrate the power of design to improve lives. The first book to bring the best of humanitarian architecture and design to the printed page, Design Like You Give a Damn offers a history of the movement toward socially conscious design and showcases more than 80 contemporary solutions to such urgent needs as basic shelter, health care, education, and access to clean water, energy, and sanitation. Featured projects include some sponsored by Architecture for Humanity as well as many others undertaken independently, often against great odds.

Design Like You Give a Damn is an indispensable resource for designers and humanitarian organizations charged with rebuilding after disaster and engaged in the search for sustainable development. It is also a call to action to anyone committed to building a better world.

Sugarcoating Reagan By Michael Mechanic

Kind of old news, but still relevant...

Win one for the Gipper? Hell, try winning 3,067 for the Gipper. That's the goal of a powerful group of Ronald Reagan fans who aim to see their hero's name displayed on at least one public landmark in every county in the United States.

A conservative pipe dream? The intrepid members of the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project don't think so. Launched in 1997 as a unit of hard-line antitax lobby Americans for Tax Reform, the project's board of advisers reads like a who's who of conservatives; it includes, among others, staunch GOP activist Grover Norquist, supply-sider Jack Kemp, and Eagle Forum chief Phyllis Schlafly. To this crew, the Great Communicator is the man who almost singlehandedly saved us from the Evil Soviet Empire, made Americans proud again, and put the nation on the road to prosperity through tax cuts that helped the poor by helping the rich help themselves.

Buoyed by an early success in having Washington National Airport renamed in Reagan's honor in 1998, the project started thinking big. In short order, they convinced Florida legislators to rename a state turnpike. From there, it was a logical step to the push for a Reagan memorial just about everywhere. "We want to create a tangible legacy so that 30 or 40 years from now, someone who may never have heard of Reagan will be forced to ask himself, 'Who was this man to have so many things named after him?'" explains 29-year-old lobbyist Michael Kamburowski, who recently stepped down as the Reagan Legacy Project's executive director.

So far, the efforts range from pedestrian -- office buildings, city streets, conservative fellowships -- to appropriately martial: A nuclear aircraft carrier will be christened in Reagan's honor this weekend, and a ballistic missile test site is slated to be named for a president who sent US military spending skyrocketing during the '80s. The island nation of Grenada -- not quite a US county, but close enough -- has issued a commemorative Reagan stamp collection. And the former actor, once disparaged as the "nuclear cowboy," is now cast in bronze at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. The namesakes currently total just 38 -- or 39, if you include the fact that Rep. Jennifer Dunn of Washington named her son Reagan....

Monday, November 24, 2008

Eileen Gray

Neglected for most of her career, EILEEN GRAY (1878-1976) is now regarded as one of the most important furniture designers and architects of the early 20th century and the most influential woman in those fields. Her work inspired both modernism and Art Deco.

In the August 1917 issue of British Vogue magazine a writer described the work of Miss Gray, a lacquer artist who had fled her home in Paris to seek refuge in London during World War I. “Influenced by the modernists is Miss Gray’s art, so they say,” it began. “But is it not rather that she stands alone, unique, the champion of a singularly free method of expression.”

Eileen Gray was to “stand alone” throughout her career first as a lacquer artist, then a furniture designer and finally as an architect. At a time when other leading designers were almost all male and mostly members of one movement or another – whether a loose grouping like De Stijl in the Netherlands, or a formal one such as the Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne – she remained stalwartly independent.

Her design style was as distinctive as her way of working, and Gray developed an opulent, luxuriant take on the geometric forms and industrially produced materials used by the International Style designers, such as Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand and Mies Van Der Rohe, who shared many of her ideals. Her voluptuous leather and tubular steel Bibendum Chair and clinically chic E-1027 glass and tubular steel table are now as familiar as icons of the International Style as Le Corbusier and Perriand’s classic Grand Confort club chairs, yet for most of her career she was relegated to obscurity by the same proud singularity that makes her work so prized today.

As a woman, Eileen Gray was denied access to the supportive networks from which her male contemporaries benefited. Neither did she have the advantage of working with a powerful male mentor, like most of the other women who made an impact on early 20th century design: such as Charlotte Perriand with Le Corbusier, then Jean Prouvé; Anni Albers with her husband Josef; or Lilly Reich with Mies Van Der Röhe. Nor did Gray share a trajectory with other designers: either by studying at the same schools such as the Bauhaus in Germany, or as an apprentice in a studio like Le Corbusier’s in Paris. Instead, her privileged background – like her gender – left her isolated.

The youngest of five children in a wealthy Scottish-Irish family, Eileen Gray was born in 1878 near the Irish market town of Enniscorthy, County Wexford. Her childhood was divided between the family’s houses there and in London’s South Kensington. Gray's father, James Maclaren Gray, was a keen amateur artist who encouraged her creative talent by taking her with him on painting tours of Italy and Switzerland. He also allowed Gray to enrol at the Slade School of Art in London to study painting. After her father’s death in 1900, Gray moved to Paris with two friends from the Slade, Jessie Gavin and Kathleen Bruce, and continued her studies at the Académie Julian and the École Colarossi. For the next few years she shuttled between Paris and the family’s homes in London and Ireland, but moved back to London in 1905 when her mother became ill.

During her stay in London, Gray returned to the Slade but found drawing and painting less and less satisfying. One day she came across a lacquer repair shop run by a Mr Charles on Dean Street in Soho. Allured by the antique Chinese and Japanese lacquer screens in the shop, Eileen asked if she could learn the rudiments of lacquer working. By the time she returned to Paris in 1906, she was obsessed by the art of lacquer and, thanks to Mr Charles’ contacts, had an introduction to a young lacquer craftsman, Sugawara. He came from Jahoji, a village in northern Japan famous for its lacquer work and agreed to teach her. In 1907, Gray found a spacious first floor apartment at 21 rue Bonaparte where she could live and work and persuaded her mother to increase her allowance so that she could afford the rent. Three years later, Gray bought the apartment outright and thereafter it became her main home.

Gray studied with Sugiwara for four years. Lacquer work was not only painstaking, but perilous. Like many people who come into close contact with it, she contracted a painful ‘lacquer disease’ on her hands. Slowly she refined her technique to create stark forms with simple geometric decorations. This simplicity was, however, as much a product of the complexity of the process as of Gray's aesthetic preferences. It was not until 1913 that she felt confident enough to exhibit her work by showing some decorative panels at the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs. They attracted the attention of the Duchess of Clermont-Tonnerre and the couturier Jacques Doucet, who bought one of her panels at the Salon and commissioned other pieces of lacquer work from Eileen for his Paris apartment...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

East of Eden

One of my favorite astists, Michael Hsiung, got a nice write up including the top right photo in November's issue of Artweek Magazine.


Last night I watched the film Slogan with Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin. I loved it for all of the wrong reasons.

Kool Keith: Dr Octagon vs Dr Drooom @ The El Rey Theater

El Rey Theatre
Los Angeles, CA
Fri, Feb 27, 2009 08:00 PM

5515 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Spaceman Watches

I LOVE the Spaceman watch, it looks like a miniature time travel machine.

Weird Al Yankovic: White & Nerdy


So good live, if you have the opportunity...take it.

Erykah Badu: Honey

First They Came...

"In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist; And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist; And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew; And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up." -Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller

First they powerful in its simplicity. The poem comes to mind often, every time I read an article about poverty, exploitation, discrimination. Most recently I have been preoccupied with Propostion 8, even though I am only about 1/8 gay I don't feel that any of us, gay or straight, can experience complete 'freedom' or 'equality' with such discrimination written into California's constitution. In other words I believe that we are all effected by the world around us even when it doesn't seem that we are directly touched by such discriminatory legislation.

We have all seen photos from the civil rights and feminists movement; I am always surprised by the lack of white faces in the civil rights crowds just like I am surprised by the lack of male faces in the crowds of feminists fighting for equality and basic freedoms. When one stands up for another person or group of people one is actually standing up for oneself. We are all connected by the thread of humanity.

Christmas Warrior O'Reilly Doesn't Practice What He Preaches

Last week, I noted how Fox's Bill O'Reilly, as per usual, was kicking his annual "War On Christmas" into high gear. Each year, O'Reilly inveighs against people, especially retailers, who refuse to offer him the proper "Merry Christmas" greeting -- opting instead for the ecumenical "Happy Holidays." This is clearly threatening the fabric of our great republic! But, if you remember, we warned that parent company News Corp. was a frequent antagonist in O'Reilly's personal yuletide psychodrama, consistently using the "Happy Holidays" solicitation.

Well, O'Reilly's "War On Christmas" aggression is about to be turned inward, as soon as he discovers that he avoids using "Merry Christmas" himself! The folks over at NewsHounds capture the above image from O'Reilly's own site...
OH NOES! A "Holiday Reading List?" What's with all the secular humanisting? And really, what on earth is this mention of "the winter season?" Could it be that O'Reilly is secretly worshiping Wiccan moon gods at Solstice time?

Hagel, Unrestrained, Lashes Into Bush, Rush And The GOP

Two months before he leaves office, Sen. Chuck Hagel is increasingly unrestrained by political niceties.

Appearing at a forum at the Johns Hopkins School of Advances International Studies, the outgoing Nebraska Republican leveled harsh criticism at his own party, the lack of intellectual curiosity among some of his colleagues, the Bush administration's handling of nearly every aspect of governance and -- perhaps most bitingly -- the conservative radio voices that often dictate the GOP agenda.
"We are educated by the great entertainers like Rush Limbaugh," said Hagel, sarcastically referencing the talk radio host who once called him "Senator Betrayus." "You know, I wish Rush Limbaugh and others like that would run for office. They have so much to contribute and so much leadership and they have an answer for everything. And they would be elected overwhelmingly," he offered. "[The truth is] they try to rip everyone down and make fools of everybody but they don't have any answers."
It wasn't all an exercise in unloading pent-up frustrations. Hagel offered praise for Robert Gates -- creating the impression that he would like the current Pentagon chief to remain at the post once President-elect Barack Obama takes office. He also deflected questions about whether he would serve in the Obama administration or what he thought of the possibility of Hillary Clinton at Secretary of State. Moreover, Hagel offered what amounted to an hour-long plea for the next administration and Congress to reconfigure the way it works together and within the international framework when it comes to foreign affairs.
"Eighty-seven percent of the American people said America is going in the wrong direction," said Hagel. "You don't need to know another number about anything, and so the election was pretty predictable: the American people don't like what is going on... they want us to start doing what leaders are expected to do, address the problems, find some consensus to governing. Get along. There will be disagreements, sure... but in the end we can't hold ourselves captives to this raw, partisan, political paralysis."
But the truly memorable bits came when -- unrestrained by formalities -- he deployed a sharp tongue while riffing on the GOP. Reflecting on the Bush administration, Hagel, one of the earliest critics of the Iraq war, held back few punches.
"Yes, there have been some differences and some pretty significant ones in [the Republican Party]. But when you ask the question: 'Has [our approach] worked? I don't think many people will say it has worked," he said, adding later: "God knows I would never question the quality of our elected officials, that's why I'm so popular with many of them."
The main thrust of his critiques was aimed not at any individual specifically, but at a closed-off mindset that he believed had taken hold of Republican politics and, consequently, the GOP's approach to foreign policy. "Engagement is not appeasement," he said. "Diplomacy is not retreat. Somehow too many in this town and in this country have disconnected all of that."
Later in the question-and-answer session, he offered an example to illustrate this quip, gently mocking those officials and voters who, for one reason or another, had problems with things from France or people who were Muslim.
"There is always going to be a certain know-nothing element to democracy," said Hagel. "That is their choice. But in a world that is so vitally interconnected, it does help if you try to understand the other side... Ask them: 'What is it that scares you about the French so much?'"
There were, additionally, some compliments to spare. Hagel, on several occasions, lauded the work and approach of Gates, who he said had taken the right ethos to the job at Defense. Finally, he offered a sincerely funny line about Warren Buffet, the heralded financier, Oracle from Omaha and (seemingly) one individual to have weathered the current financial market meltdown.
There is news today that [Obama] is in serious negotiations with Warren Buffet for Buffet to buy the entire United States government," Hagel joked in the opening of his speech. "I applaud that. I am seeking the job of buffet's driver. He is the only one who has money. Obviously we think highly of warren and we take great pride that he is a cornhusker."