I'll be doing a book signing at the Barnes & Noble at Seven Corners in Falls Church, northern Virginia, tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 23) at 2 pm. Wear your Best Defense t-shirt for a 10 percent discount.
The bonus is that there are about 10 great Chinese, Persian, and Laotian restaurants within walking distance from there, including my favorite joint for Peking duck. Check it out. Indeed, in just one shopping center across the highway at 6755 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA., there are 12 Vietnamese restaurants, cafes, and bakeries.
It's a real NoVa weekend for me -- the next afternoon, at 3 pm this Sunday, I'll be riding toward the sound of the guns at the George Marshall house in Leesburg, Va.
Finally, I am told that The Generals is now available on Kindle in the U.K. This came in response to reader demand, I am told, so thank you.
By "Bushel N.A. Peck"
Best Defense guest respondent
It's been little reported that the unrest in Tunisia which helped trigger the first "Arab Spring" protests had a lot to do with spiking food prices that were rapidly eroding peoples' disposable income.
Have you seen this report?
Bar-Yam, et al came up with a quantitative model that seems to predict global food prices and knock-on social effects. He places blame primarily on speculation and redirection of food crops to ethanol production.
"The food price bubble of 2011 caused widespread hunger and helped trigger the Arab spring. In 2013 we expect prices to be even higher and may lead to major social disruptions," said Professor Bar-Yam President of NECSI, who has just returned from Davos where he presented his findings on speculation in global commodity markets. His paper, "The Food Crises: A Quantitative Model of Food Prices Including Speculators and Ethanol Conversion," was called by Wired magazine one of the top 10 discoveries in science of 2011.
It seems to me the globalized financial industry (which really should be called the financialization cartel) has figured out how to engineer speculative bubbles. First they did it in the 90's with the tech bubble. When that popped, it caused a moderate north America recession. Then they stepped up to the real estate market, and when that bubble popped it caused a massive U.S. and European recession. Now they've moved on to inflating a global agricultural bubble. Try to imagine what happens when that pops? Third time should be charming.
I didn't know that President Obama knows how to make South Asian food. From an interview with Dawn of Pakistan apparently overlooked by the American media:
I had Pakistani roommates in college who were very close friends of mine. I went to visit them when I was still in college; was in Karachi and went to Hyderabad. Their mothers taught me to cook," said Mr Obama.
"What can you cook?"
"Oh, keema ... daal ... You name it, I can cook it. And so I have a great affinity for Pakistani culture and the great Urdu poets."
I think half the country would be amazed and half the country appalled by this. Can you imagine President Bush saying such a thing?
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.