Friday, January 13, 2012

Dolphins will keep the Straight of Hormuz open

Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz, the U.S. Navy has a backup plan to save one-fifth of the world's daily oil trade: send in the dolphins.

The threat of Iran closing the strait has reached a fever pitch, reports today's New York Times, with U.S. officials warning Iran's supreme leader that such moves would cross a "red line" provoking a U.S. response. Iran could block the strait with any assortment of mines, armed speed boats or anti-ship cruise missiles but according to Michael Connell at the Center for Naval Analysis, “The immediate issue [for the U.S. military] is to get the mines.” To solve that problem, the Navy has a solution that isn't heavily-advertised but has a time-tested success rate: mine-detecting dolphins.

Dior. Conflict. Triumph ...From Paris

Normal beach reads include Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and steamy romance novels. I confess, I'm not normal. I don't read any of that.

I enjoy classic books (Steinbeck) and biographies. This summer, while I was ankle deep in warm sand and an occasional fly bite to sting me back into reality, I read a beautiful biography about Christian Dior. Dior was a genius. His graceful delicate work, every ounce as lovely as a Vermeer or a Borch. His life story fully consumed with conflict and triumph.

Life. Only completely lovely when filled with equal portions of conflict and triumph. (Dec 30, 2010)

Classic Trends. Still Classic. ...From Paris

(From Sunday, July 10, 2011)

Trends And The Comfort Of 1960s ...From Paris

Trends for 2011 and beyond? Think draped and pleated in the 60's. Of course. When in fashion doubt, think 1960's. The 60's offered simple style, all smoothly blended and elegant. Don't we all want to drift back into our mother's classic Jackie O pump heels, hounds tooth suits and little black dresses? Think beautifully draped dresses, like this one from Elie Saab. Not because we'd ever buy this dress or wear it, but because we love being in a fantasy Barbie doll moment, when we can quietly and oh so safely pretend we have a night out on the red carpet with Ken...

December 2009. " Paris" Was Revealed...From Paris

Paris revealed...

A magical 25th wedding anniversary trip to Paris; a few photos sent to friends.

This photo suddenly appeared on Bill's primitive blog, with the reassuring calming commitment from Bill that there weren't very many people who would see it, and "maybe only a couple of people who know you."

With this photo, I became "The Paris Correspondent".

Paris wasn't happy with this revelation.  Not. Happy. At. All. 

"How DARE YOU!  I didn't give you permission to run that photo!" Paris keyboard screamed at Bill. 

Bill, who didn't react to anyone's protestations, let alone, Paris. 

In a declarative statement, Bill snapped: "Oh, get over yourself.  It's a beautiful photo.  Great legs.  Great photo. You write well.  Start contributing.  Stop bitching."

And with that, I succumbed to Bill's wisdom.  His blog.  His legacy...  

van der Sloot gets 28 years


Peruvian judges on Friday sentenced Dutch national Joran van der Sloot to 28 years in prison and ordered him to pay thousands of dollars in reparations for the killing of a 21-year-old Peruvian woman in 2010.


Legal types in Peru say this piece of human scum will likely only serve 7 years due to overcrowding in Peruvian prisons.

President Hopey Changey has a new strategy: stoke class warfare and envy

James Taranto on the perception by many that class conflicts are on the upswing:

"It isn't hard to understand why that might be the case. After all, what have Americans seen when they turned on the news over the past few years? In the White House, a president who, for want of political or managerial competence, has nothing to offer but bitter partisanship and ideologically driven class resentment. In public parks around the country, professional protesters and ignorant college kids ranting about their grievances against "the 1%."

Read his excellent op-ed here.

Heading to a confrontation

Benjamin Crossley/U.S. Navy//Reuters/File
8:36 am ET -

In Iran's eyes, the assassination of another Iranian nuclear scientist is proof that the West's carrot-and-stick policy has become solely punitive – giving Tehran little reason to compromise.

WSJ op-ed article praises private-equity firms like Bain Capital

Jonathan Macey:

Private-equity firms not only help corporate performance, but in the long run they lead to more employment and higher wages as well. The alternative to the leaner, smaller firms created by private equity are bankrupt firms that do not employ anybody.

Ford sold Hertz to private-equity investors in 2009 for $14 billion. These investors were able to take the company public less than a year later at an equity valuation of $17 billion. The Hertz success story is consistent with the empirical data that indicate companies owned by private-equity firms typically outperform similar companies that do not have a private-equity investor (as measured by profitability, innovation and the returns to investors in initial public offerings).

Private-equity firms make significant investments in companies, mainly U.S. companies. Most of their investments are in companies that underperform industry peers. Frequently these firms are on the brink of failure.

Because private-equity firms are, by definition, equity investors, they make money only if they improve the performance of their companies. Private equity is last in line to be paid in case of insolvency. Private-equity firms don't make a profit unless their companies can meet their obligations to workers and other creditors.

I gotta be tree, just gotta be tree

Land of the tree: Nasa maps America's forests for first time to reveal where canopy covers a THIRD of the U.S.

Tree topography: Nasa and the U.S. Forest Service have release a detailed map depicting the tree population of America

A new map, created by Nasa with the help of government conservationists, accurately documents for the first time the tree population in the U.S. It shows the concentration of biomass - a measure of organic carbon - that is stored in the branches, trunks and leaves. The darkest green reveals where there are the densest forests and the tallest trees in America.

Is 'White Gun' another Fast and Furious?

In the late summer of 2010, the ATF agent leading the failed Fast and Furious gun-smuggling operation in Arizona flew to Mexico City to help coordinate cross-border investigations of U.S. weapons used by Mexican drug cartels.

Hope A. MacAllister wanted access to police and military vaults for American weapons recovered by Mexican authorities in raids and at crime scenes. She especially was interested in firearms from another ATF investigation, code-named White Gun, that she was running.

Now members of Congress who have spent months scrutinizing the Fast and Furious debacle are seeking to determine whether White Gun was another weapons investigation gone wrong.

"Apparently guns got away again," said one source close to the investigation, led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) and Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa). "How many got into Mexico, who knows?",0,3917291.story

Here we go again...

Stay away from red, processed meat to avoid pancreatic cancer

A sausage a day could lead to cancer: Pancreatic cancer warning over processed meat

Health fears: Even one sausage a day can raise the risk of pancreatic cancer

Scientists have found that even relatively small amounts of processed meat increase the chance of developing this deadly illness.

U.S. history's first submarine -- the Hunley

Pictured for the first time since the Civil War: Confederate submarine finally revealed after being buried at sea for 150 years

Confederate submarine

The truss weighing more than 8 tons that carried it from the water it was found off the coast of South Carolina had shrouded the sub for almost a dozen years before its removal Thursday. With slings snaked underneath the sub and attached to the truss, a crane lifted it and the hand-cranked Hunley onto a barge and then brought the sub to a conservation lab in North Charleston where it has been undergoing preservation ever since.

Apple's huge cash stash 'trapped' offshore

Apple may have enough cash on hand to make Scrooge McDuck’s money vault look like a kiddie pool by comparison, but according to SeekingAlpha, most of that cash is effectively trapped overseas. US$54 billion of Apple’s overall $82 billion in cash is in offshore accounts, and Apple cannot repatriate that money to the States unless it wants to pay a huge 35 percent corporate tax on it.

If Apple attempted to bring that money into the States, right off the bat through the magic of taxes that $54 billion would transform into $35.1 billion, with the other $18.9 billion disappearing down the federal money hole. With that much cash at stake, it’s no wonder that Apple hasn’t been in any hurry to repatriate its huge foreign cash reserves.

Obama tells Congress to raise debt ceiling $1.2 trillion...again

Here's a video of Senator Obama calling Bush 'unpatriotic' and 'irresponsible' for overspending.