Remember that $82 billion emergency funding package for the war on Iraq, the war on Terror, and the continuing relief of Porkistan? Bush signed the bill authorizing the funding about two weeks ago, and already General Warbucks is asking for another fix:

The $82 billion in wartime supplemental funding that was approved by Congress still won’t be enough to pay for military operations through

Congressional aides report that the services have indicated they will need even more money  — possibly even earlier — to cover rising operational and maintenance costs of the protracted war in Iraq.

The exact amount is unknown because defense and service officials have just started their review, but lawmakers expect a request for about another $50 billion, aides said.

The soaring wartime costs may raise eyebrows, but Congress will have to foot the bill unless lawmakers want to force an end to the U.S. military operation in Iraq simply by cutting off funds.


I’d heard of “The White Rose” — “a small group of university students in Nazi Germany who printed and distributed anti-Hitler leaflets” most of whom were caught and executed by the Nazis. I had always assumed that their actions had come early in the Nazi rise to power, and was surprised to learn that they instead took place in when Hitler’s rule was absolute.

English translations of the White Rose leaflets are now on-line:

Nothing is so unworthy of a civilized nation as allowing itself to be governed without opposition by an irresponsible clique that has yielded to base instinct. It is certain that today every honest German is ashamed of his government. Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible of crimes — crimes that infinitely outdistance every human measure — reach the light of day? If the German people are already so corrupted and spiritually crushed that they do not raise a hand, frivolously trusting in a questionable faith in lawful order of history; if they surrender man’s highest principle, that which raises him above all other God’s creatures, his free will; if they abandon the will to take decisive action and turn the wheel of history and thus subject it to their own rational decision; if they are so devoid of all individuality, have already gone so far along the road toward turning into a spiritless and cowardly mass — then, yes, they deserve their downfall. Goethe speaks of the Germans as a tragic people, like the Jews and the Greeks, but today it would appear rather that they are a spineless, will-less herd of hangers-on, who now — the marrow sucked out of their bones, robbed of their center of stability — are waiting to be hounded to their destruction. So it seems — but it is not so. Rather, by means of gradual, treacherous, systematic abuse, the system has put every man into a spiritual prison. Only now, finding himself lying in fetters, has he become aware of his fate. Only a few recognized the threat of ruin, and the reward for their heroic warning was death. We will have more to say about the fate of these persons. If everyone waits until the other man makes a start, the messengers of avenging Nemesis will come steadily closer; then even the last victim will have been cast senselessly into the maw of the insatiable demon. Therefore every individual, conscious of his responsibility as a member of Christian and Western civilization, must defend himself as best he can at this late hour, he must work against the scourges of mankind, against fascism and any similar system of totalitarianism. Offer passive resistance — resistance — wherever you may be, forestall the spread of this atheistic war machine before it is too late, before the last cities, like Cologne, have been reduced to rubble, and before the nation’s last young man has given his blood on some battlefield for the hubris of a sub-human. Do not forget that every people deserves the regime it is willing to endure!…


Fortune has an upbeat article about the rise of small-scale, someone-with-a-dream, Do-It-Yourself businesses:

[A] number of factors are coming together to empower amateurs in a way never before possible, blurring the lines between those who make and those who take. Unlike the dot-com fortune hunters of , these do-it-yourselfers aren’t deluding themselves with oversized visions of what they might achieve. Instead, they’re simply finding a way — in this mass-produced, Wal-Mart world — to take power back, prove that they can make the products that they want to consume, have fun doing so, and, just maybe, make a few dollars.…

Numerous currents have converged to produce this reaction. Bloggers, those do-it-yourself journalists, showed big media that the barriers to entry (like owning a printing press, say) didn’t much matter. Podcasters took radio into their own hands, creating audio shows and putting them online. Amateur music producers, using software that was once the province only of major labels, invented mash-ups: combining songs into totally new ones, then giving them away or selling them. And with the advent of services like Google AdSense, which let people easily put advertising on their sites, these tinkerers could — while not vaulting themselves into Bill Gates territory — at least break even.…

Citizen engineers are taking this even further, trying their hand not just in the digital world but in the physical world too. Much as eBay transformed distribution, they’re redefining design and manufacture. The infrastructure is there: Yahoo.com Groups make it easier for people to trade ideas and learn quickly; free or cheap computer-aided-design (CAD) programs allow users to cobble together blueprints; and inexpensive manufacturing in China allows the idea to go from file to factory. There are even websites like Alibaba.com that will help these small-timers find Chinese factories eager for their work, meaning that the amateur nation has its own Match.com.

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