December 29, 2012

Posted by orrinj at 2:14 PM


The kebab pizza is Sweden's favourite (The Local, 29 Dec 12)

Sweden's first pizzeria opened in 1947 in Västerås, central Sweden after 300 Italian guest workers moved to the city. In the 1960s pizzerias started popping up around the country and pizza became the most common fast food in Sweden.

Kebab first came to Sweden in the 1980s and is often served with a dipping sauce made out of sour cream or yoghurt and a special spice mix. It is known as kebab sauce in Sweden and can these days be bought pre-made in supermarkets.

The standard toppings on a kebab pizza are tomato sauce, cheese, onion, fefferoni peppers, kebab meat and, of course, kebab sauce. Some people also like to add fresh lettuce or cucumbers to their kebab pizza.

Then there's the Viking kebab pizza, which is a kebab pizza folded before baking to resemble a Viking ship.

Posted by orrinj at 8:14 AM


Policy Implications of Capital-Biased Technology: Opening Remarks (Paul Krugman, 12/28/12, NY Times)

So, if the recent plunge [in labor share in GDP] is the shape of things to come, what difference might it make?

The short answer is that it will pose problems for the current mechanisms by which we fund social insurance programs; but it will not undermine our ability to afford those programs, and it would in fact be cruel and basically irrational to slash social insurance in response to a declining labor share.

OK, maybe that was too quick. Let me take it more slowly: a substantial part of our social insurance system -- Social Security and the hospital insurance portion of Medicare -- is funded through dedicated payroll taxes. If payrolls lag behind overall national income, this will tend to leave those programs underfunded given the way the laws are currently written.

But America as a whole won't have gotten poorer: the money is still there to support the programs, it's just coming in the form of capital rather than labor income.

....when the reality of the labor theory of value is that labor has no value?  

Posted by orrinj at 7:32 AM


Does Belief in the Afterlife Diminish Man? (Donald DeMarco, 12/11/12, Crisis)

A true Christian does not think of himself as someone standing at a bus stop and doing nothing more than waiting for the bus (that will take him to heaven).  He understands that what he does in this life determines his reward in the next.  If we are faithful to the commandment to love God, ourselves, and our neighbors, that love will secure our place in heaven.  The existence of the afterlife should supply people with a strong motivation to live well in this life.  On the other hand, if there is no afterlife and we are all headed for oblivion, what is the point in being loving and decent human beings in this life?  Under such circumstances, life would be comparable to the uneventful tenure of a lame-duck politician.

The real problem is scarcely ever stated.  And it is this:  by clinging to the present world, believing it to be the only world that is real, we can become highly reluctant to recognize its faults, no matter how glaring they might be.  It is like a doting parent who cannot abide any criticism of his only child, or the youngster who cannot tolerate anyone disparaging his baseball card collection.  Human beings have an inveterate propensity to overvalue what they have and turn a blind eye to their imperfections they contain.

The Christian regards his life as a gift from God and holds it sacred.  He also valuates it in terms of an ideal, which is to say, something more perfect.  Heaven is the reward for a life well lived.  But if a person identifies his life with the ideal, it may not occur to him that it stands in need of considerable improvement.  As a result, he loses an important incentive to work hard to improve himself.  Would a factory worker expend himself if he knew that at the end of the month, there would be no pay check?

The theocentric view is inclusive inasmuch as it includes man, whom God embraces with his Love.  The anthropocentric view, by definition, excludes God.  But it also excludes, by implication, man, since it closes him off from the Infinite to which he is naturally inclined.  In other words, the anthropocentric view, in addition to denying God, diminishes man.

Posted by orrinj at 7:28 AM


US Senate renews Bush-era warrantless surveillance act (PressTV, 12/29/12)

On Friday, the Senate approved a five-year extension by a 73-23 vote and sent the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to President Barack Obama, who is highly likely to sign it. 

The spy program started shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York under the George W. Bush administration.