PALO ALTO, Calif. -- One doesn't interview a man like Milton Friedman -- the Nobel laureate in economics in 1976 and among the five or six most consequential thinkers of the 20th century -- without doing some assiduous homework.
So I gathered his books -- reading some, re-reading others -- and made pages and pages of notes. I also emailed several intellectual heavyweights, asking them what they might enquire of Mr. Friedman -- now 94 years of age -- if they had him cornered at a cocktail party. Replies flooded back. "Inflation targeting," wrote a (marginally) younger Nobel economist. "Education," said another Nobel laureate. "Does the recent record of spending with a Republican president and Congress make him reconsider his support for the party?" wrote a man who, until a while ago, worked on economic policy in the White House. "Is there something distinctly difficult for capitalism in the Islamic world?" wondered a Middle East scholar. "What music does he listen to?" a Democratic political economist mused, unpredictably. More predictably, a big-cheese blogger was "dying" to know whether "Milton reads blogs -- and will he ever write one?"
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Friday, July 21, 2006
The remains of 28-year-old Olga Milkin and her sister, Lyubov Botvina, 24, were found in an upstairs bedroom of the heavily damaged home. The fire, which was reported just before 11:30 a.m. Monday, was considered suspicious from the outset. There was no 911 call from the home and no evidence that the victims had tried to escape the flames.
Autopsies showed both women suffered multiple stab wounds to "the upper body, neck and head," according to court documents. The remains of the two children, Justin Milkin, 5, and his 3-year-old brother, Andrew, were found in an adjacent hallway.
Justin's wounds were similar to those suffered by his mother, according to the documents. Andrew Milkin's throat was cut.
So far, detectives have no motive for the crime and have uncovered nothing to link the suspect to the victims.
"It is going to be extremely difficult to determine motive," said O'Toole, the prosecutor. "The damage to the victims is pretty horrendous and pretty complete."
Olga Milkin's husband, Sgt. Leonid Milkin of the Army National Guard, returned from duty in Iraq to his burned-out home Thursday. Wearing Army fatigues, Milkin was brought in a black SUV to the home, where detectives gave him a brief tour. He spent a few moments at the makeshift memorial near the house where visitors had placed flowers and the family had posted photos of the victims.
I know SGT Milkin. He is a good man and a good soldier, and my heart and prayers goes out to him and his family. The Guard has been in contact with us, and I know people are working to help him as much as possible, but he will still need financial help to get him through this tragedy. A fund has been set up for those who wish to help.
A memorial fund has been set by the family at US Bank under the name "Kirkland House Fire Victims." Also, the Washington National Guard set up a financial assistance fund in Leonid Milkin's name at the American Lake Credit Union in Camp Murray. The account number is 13743:
Camp Murray Branch
Camp Murray, Bldg. 16
Tacoma, WA 98430
The Right Angle also reports that there are people making fun of his tragedy for their political cause. All I can say, is there is no place in hell hot enough for people like that.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Soccer: Diving, Swooning and Writhing on the
Quentin Letts's July 6 editorial-page commentary "Losers Weepers" singles out only one aspect of the theater of the absurd that professional soccer has become. The agonized writhing that accompanies even the mildest adversarial contact has become an art form matched only by the diving and swooning engaged in by many of these athletes when there is often no contact at all. One wonders how much actual training time is allotted to the rehearsal of these tactics and whether teams hire theatrical assistants to coach players in the use of facial expressions and body language to impress the referee.
The referees themselves are clearly impressionable, often calling fouls and distributing cards of various hues based on the appeals of players with the best acting skills. They are often seen grinning and schmoozing with old friends, while at other times scolding and appearing to be personally offended by a poorly executed tackle. They are an integral part of the company of players and seem to enjoy the attention of the audience every bit as much as the competitors.
In soccer, stoicism is out. If they can't win, the fans expect a display of abject humility, especially after shelling out as much as they do to support the Beckham lifestyle, and Mr. Beckham is happy to oblige.
Monday, July 10, 2006
I find traveling out of the country very challenging being on a fast. When I was on a layover in Madrid on my way to Venice, Italy yesterday, the closest thing I could find to a smoothie to get a little protein was a coffee with vanilla ice cream in it. Traveling for 22 hours is very taxing under normal circumstances--but then again, when have we had normal circumstances since the 2000 and 2004 successful coup attempts that have brought BushCo into power?
I traveled from Venice to the frontier of Italy to the province of Udine which is right at the foot of the pre-Alps. I am here for a huge youth festival which includes many elements of social justice and peace work. It is beautiful and the air feels different from other places that I have travelled. It is strangely soft and gentle as is the natural light. However, there is not a Jamba Juice on every corner, so blended juice drinks with protein powder are impossible to find.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - About 150 protesters sat in front of the White House on Monday to savor their last meal before starting a hunger strike that some said will continue until American troops return from Iraq.
The demonstration marking the Independence Day holiday was organized by CodePink, a women's anti-war group that called on volunteers to abstain from eating for 24 hours from midnight on Monday.
Some protesters said their fast would continue beyond July 4th.
Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, said she would drink only water throughout the summer, which she said she would spend outside President George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas.