Review (DVD): It’s Complicated

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5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Fun with Great Visuals–a Fantasy Film to be Sure
March 29, 2010
Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin

Guatemala seems to be the place where Academy Award pre-release DVDs find a home and are replicated in the thousands, then sold for a few dollars if not less–I have never bought one, just borrowed from those who have. I am reminded of the VHS underground marketplace in Panama in the 1980′s.

Alec Baldwin really surprised me–he rose to the occasion and turns in one of his best performances as a supporting actor to Meryl Streep, with Steve Allen coming in as third fiddle but the ultimate victor.

I take quite seriously the severe critic that complains this is a white super-suburban fantasy film, and this is absolute true. Having said that, I never-the-less recommend this film very strongly as engaging, with very strong visuals, and a total pleasure across the board.

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Mar 29

Journal: Sarah Palin Loses the Lipstick

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A guide to who gets whacked

Andy Barr, Jonathan Martin Tue Nov 17

Sarah Palin may claim to scorn elites, but her new book will ring familiar to its Beltway readership.

Getting even with those who crossed her, praising her allies and generally putting a self-serving sheen on last year’s presidential campaign, “Going Rogue” is typical of the political memoir genre of recent vintage. It’s the sort of book that will send the political class scurrying to bookstores, eager to see how they fared in what’s known as “the Washington read.”

With no index, though, Palin’s book has made that ritual more difficult.

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So POLITICO, having obtained a copy of the book before its Tuesday release, has created a reader’s guide to “Going Rogue,” grouping the many characters into three categories: Friends, Foes, In Between.

Below the Fold we provide a commentary and links to a number of books about the prospects for honest independent government in 2012 and beyond.

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Nov 17

Journal: True Cost of Afghanistan

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Paul Kawika Martin, Political and Policy Director for Peace Action, said:

I think the question should be:  How much U.S. credit should we use on the war in Afghanistan? As it stands, the over $230 Billion we have already spent has mostly been borrowed money adding to the U.S. deficit.  Of course, just like buying a car or home, sometimes it’s good to do things on credit.  But this isn’t the true cost.  As Noble Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard professor Linda Bilmes points out, that figure fails to include interest on debt, veterans benefits and other costs to society.  They estimate the costs for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could top a staggering $5 trillion to $7 trillion.

Phi Beta Iota: Other “pundits” can be read within the full story.  The cost is far more than the “tangible debt.”  It includes the hollowing out of America–the loss of integrity, the failure of paradigms, the cheating culture, and on and on and on.  We have in essence sacrified the Republic in the name of partisan politics and corporate greed, enabled by civitas minimus.  America is less safe and less prosperous today than it was on 9/12.

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Oct 31

Review: The Design of Business–Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage

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5.0 out of 5 stars In Its Niche Beyond a Six–In Larger Context a Four
October 11, 2009
Roger Martin
First off, what got me to buy this book does not appear in the book at all–the author on record as saying that Wall Street was not designed to make money for its investors, only for its mandarins–the same is true of how universities are designed, businesses, etc. but that one observation really got my attention. I bought the book before BusinessWeek featured it as one of four in the October 5th edition (Europe version), and after looking the others over, chose this one.
In the larger context of changes to the Earth that now take three years instead of ten thousand years, as an entire literature flourishes on The Philosophy of Sustainable Design, Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage and Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution, the book is a four for narrow-casting and lack of context, but you can use Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog, to search and sort among my other 1,400 reviews, so no penalty is warranted, This book will be scored Beyond 6 Stars at PBI/PIB for the simple reason that it addresses the core need of all eight tribes of intelligence (academia, civil society, commerce, government, law enforcement, media, military, and non-governmental organizations), to re-design away from the Industrial Era waste (where Six Sigma stops), and to instead envision how the world could and should be, and set out to achieve that–a prosperous world at peace.
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Oct 11

Journal: Regulating Wall Street: Idiocy on Top of Illusion

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A Las Vegas Illusion

Roger Martin

Roger Martin

Roger Martin is Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the
University of Toronto

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Pre-order his forthcoming book

In response to the question: What does Wall Street have to change to  produce better leaders, a different culture and a more long-term focus?

Forget about it. Don’t even waste time thinking about it. The purpose
of Wall Street firms is to trade value for their own benefit not to
build value for the economy either short-term or long-term. While at
one point in its history, a non-trivial part of Wall Street’s activity
involved financing the growth of American companies, that is now a
minor piece of its business. Wall Street is primarily engaged in
encouraging individuals and companies to trade value between one
another and tolling the parties for the service, and trading against
the outside economy for its own account.

Phi Beta Iota: This author not only gets it, he provides a solution.  Wall Street, and the Fed, need to be creatively destroyed, and we need to restore bottom-up Human Scale locality-based business.  Government “regulation” of financial crime is idiocy on top of illusion.

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Sep 19

Who’s Who in Collective Intelligence: Thomas Homer-Dixon

Thomas Homer-Dixon

Thomas Homer-Dixon

Photo Credit: Bryn Gladdi

Interview with Thomas Homer-Dixon by Hassan Masum

The Internet and the revitalization of democracy–the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin in Conversation with Thomas Homer-Dixon

Thomas Homer-Dixon holds the Centre for International Governance Innovation Chair of Global Systems at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Canada, and is a Professor in the Centre for Environment and Business in the Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo.

His books include Carbon Shift: How the Twin Crises of Climate Change and Oil Depletion Will Define the Future, The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization (Knopf, Island Press, 2006), which won the 2006 National Business Book Award, The Ingenuity Gap (Knopf, 2000), which won the 2001 Governor General’s Non-fiction Award, and Environment, Scarcity, and Violence (Princeton University Press, 1999), which won the Caldwell Prize of the American Political Science Association.

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Sep 29

Who’s Who in Collective Intelligence: Paul Martin

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Rt. Hon. Paul Martin

Rt. Hon. Paul Martin

Paul Martin was the 21st Prime Minister of Canada and is the Member of Parliament for LaSalle-Émard in Montreal, Quebec. He was first elected federally in 1988.

Currently Martin co-chairs, with Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai, a $100 million poverty alleviation fund for the Congo Rainforest Basin and is leading a new initiative in Northern Ontario designed to help Aboriginal youth complete high school.

Martin studied philosophy and history at St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto and is a graduate of the University of Toronto Law School. He was called to the bar in Ontario in 1966.

The Internet and the revitalization of democracy–the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin in Conversation with Thomas Homer-Dixon

The Book

The Book

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Jun 18

Review DVD: Fidel

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Amazon PageBrilliant, Sensible, Noteworthy, First-Rate, Truth in Your Face, February 10, 2008

Víctor Huggo Martin

I come to this movie as the son of an oilman, with 30 years spent all over the world, flying around the world at the age of 16 alone, and then moved on to the Marine Corps, the CIA, and other stuff. Over-all, I have spent close to 15 years in Latin America.

Bottom line: Fidel kicks US ass while also being a mixed blessing for the Cuban society.

There are an awful lot of individuals in denial, but the raw facts are these:

1) Castro overthrew a dictator that sold out the Cubans to US companies.

2) The US did everything in its (impotent) power to assassinate him while also imposing a brutal and probably illegal embargo on Cuba.

3) Now that we are all conscicous about both sustainability and health:

++++ SURPRISE: Cuba and the Amish are the TWO–the only two–models for sustainable development; and

++++ SURPRISE: Cuba not only has better health care than the US, but they can afford to send 10,000 doctors to Venezuela.

This is a great movie that Americans should watch, but will no5.

As a fine side note, the Bay of Pigs, an operation that was ill-conceived and badly supported, drove Fidel into Kruschev’s arms, and led to the Soviet effort to install nuclar ballistic missiles in Cuba.

I do not believe in socialism and top-down elite control, which both the US and Cuba suffer from, but I do believe there is a third way between the US, Cuba-Venezuela, Costa Rica, and others. We are close to being able to use the Internet for digital deliberative dialog and real-time science as well as real-time decision-support.

If I had the ear of an honorable intelligent President, I would create a special envoy for Cuba and Venezuela, and find a way to create a Western Hemisphere Prosperity & Peace initiative with Venezuelan oil, Cuban health care, and US communications technology brought together.

CRYSTAL CLEAR: The US has been the rogue elephant. ENOUGH.

El Pueblo Avanca!

See also:
The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People
Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World’s Last Dictators by 2025
Wilson’s Ghost: Reducing the Risk of Conflict, Killing, and Catastrophe in the 21st Century
War Is a Racket: The Anti-War Classic by America’s Most Decorated General, Two Other Anti=Interventionist Tracts, and Photographs from the Horror of It
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
Someone Would Have Talked: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the Conspiracy to Mislead History
Why We Fight
The Fog of War – Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara
Sicko (Special Edition)

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Feb 10

Review: Wilderness of Mirrors

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5.0 out of 5 stars

No Winners or Losers, Only Victims,

April 8, 2000
David C. Martin
This book goes a long way toward explaining CIA’s intellectual and operational constipation in the 1950′s through the 1970′s. It follows James Jesus Angleton, who tied the Agency in knots and went so far as to privately tell the French that the CIA Station Chief in Paris was a Soviet spy, and William King Harvey, who literally carried two six-guns both in the US and overseas “because you never know when you might need them.” Included in this book are some serious details about the operations against Cuba, a chapter appropriated titled “Murder Corrupts”, and a good account of how Harvey, in perhaps his most important achievement, smelled out the fact that Kim Philby was indeed a Soviet spy. The concluding thought of the book is exceptional: “Immersed in duplicity and insulated by secrecy, they (Angleton and Harvey) developed survival mechanisms and behavior patterns that by any rational standard were bizarre. The forced inbreeding of secrecy spawned mutant deeds and thoughts. Loyalty demanded dishonesty, and duty was a thieves’ game. The game attracted strange men and slowly twisted them until something snapped. There were no winners or losers in this game, only victims.”
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Apr 8

Review: Top Secret Intranet: How U.S. Intelligence Built Intelink – the World’s Largest, Most Secure Network

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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Efforts by Good People Buried in a Bunker,

April 7, 2000
Fredrick Thomas Martin
I was given this book at Hacker’s (the MIT/Silicon Valley legal and largely very rich group, of which I am an elected member) by a NASA engineer, went to bed, could not get the book out of mind, got up, and read it through the night. If it were not for the fact that Intelink is largely useless to the rest of the world and soon to be displaced by my own and other “extranets”, this book would be triumphal. As it is, I consider it an extremely good baseline for understanding the good and the bad of how the U.S. Intelligence Community addresses the contradictions between needing access to open sources and emerging information technologies while maintaining its ultra-conservative views on maintaining very restricted access controls to everything and everyone within its domain. I have enormous regard for what these folks accomplished, and wish they had been able to do it openly, for a much larger “virtual intelligence community” willing and able to share information. For a spy, information shared is information lost-until they get over this, and learn that information not only increases in value with dissemination but is also a magnet for 100 pieces of information that would never have reached them otherwise, the U.S. Intelligence Community will continue to be starved for both information and connectivity….an SGML leper in an XML world.
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Apr 7