Saturday, March 29, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
But what to make of this clip?
This is Reverend Wright, Barak's "spiritual adviser" of twenty-some-odd years, clearly an influential guy in the candidate's life. Up until last week he was very much a part of Obama's campaign. What else has this guy said that we don't know about yet?
It gives me pause. It makes me "scurred."
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Firstly- intellectuals, pundits, and Franklin Foer: STAY AWAY FROM SOCCER. Just because the sport is known as “the beautiful game” doesn’t mean you can use it to explain everything. Take the preceding op-ed. Yes, on the whole the Bosman Ruling (which the author doesn’t mention, but really is what he is talking about) has been good for players. But it has not been good for small clubs who use to survive by churning out young quality players and then selling them off for a tidy profit.
He also says that
He then contends that
I have no problem with someone arguing that countries should prepare themselves to take advantage of globalization. But please do not use forced and illogical soccer analogies. It doesn’t make the argument more accessible. It only makes you look like a idiot.
This week marked the fifth anniversary of the
Why did we invade? There was circumstantial evidence Saddam Hussein possessed WMD (we later found out the evidence was purely circumstantial), they were financing terrorism (indeed they were, but no more than any other Arab regime and certainly less so than our ally
So, where are we now? Well, we didn’t have a thought out post invasion plan (again I am speechless) and the country basically fell apart. Tribal identities came to the fore, Iraqi Shiites (with links to
Violence levels are certainly down with the surge (but to 2005 levels). The thing is, the surge was designed to keep violence levels down so that the Iraqis could gain breathing space to make political progress. Scant political progress has been made and not much looks likely in the future.
Militias formerly fighting against us are now our allies, but only because we pay them, not because they have any allegiance to the central Iraqi government. Sure, they are fighting Al Qaeda in
So what do we do now? I have absolutely no idea.
Nevertheless, I do not think we should withdraw. By toppling Saddam Hussein we knocked the cover off of Pandora’s Box (I like Greek mythology). We’re now in charge of the situation, we broke it so we bought it. Withdrawing from
The best book I have read about the war is George Packer’s The Assassin’s Gate. Packer, a staff writer at the New Yorker, traces the Neoconservative movement from its intellectual conception, the pre-war debate over whether it was the right thing to do, and the actual war and insurgency through 2005. He’s a very gifted storyteller and presents a nuanced picture, something hard to come by.
I have one request for people who were against the 2003 invasion. Can you please stop saying, “we never should have invaded in the first place,” when discussing what we should do NOW? It’s hardly relevant. The fact is that we did invade.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
What will this map look like in 20 years time? Will the Islamists have their caliphate? (I doubt it) How many countries will there be between the Mediterranean Sea and the Euphrates river? Four? Five? Six? Or will the map be exactly the same?
It's anybody's guess.
here's a (long) article published in the Atlantic about the Middle East's future by Jeffrey Goldberg- one of my favorite journalists.
Monday, March 17, 2008
TRANSLATION: “There’s something in Brazil that I want you to understand: everything we do for the poor is ‘spending’ and everything we do for the rich is ‘investment’.”
-Lula, President of Brazil (quote taken from today’s Jornal do Brasil – see link here)
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Although this might sound politically incorrect, nowadays when one sees the word “Arab,” literature isn’t the first thing that springs to mind. Sure, they produced The Arabian Nights (which is at the top of my list of books to read), but that was well over a millennia ago. Since then roughly 10,000 books have been translated into Arabic- the amount of books Spain translates in a year.
But this wayward story might soon change course with this year’s inaugural International Prize for Arabic Fiction. The prize is managed from Abu Dhabi (in the Untited Arab Emirates) with some sort of link to the Booker Prize Foundation, a prestigious British literary award.
This year’s prize- the very first- was won by Egyptian author Baha Taher for his book Sunset Oasis. Taher was awarded $10,000 (along with the five other finalists), and Sunset Oasis, along with every other book to win the prize, will be translated into English.
This bodes well for the future. I am a big fan of literature, not because I like to over-analyze everything, but because I think literature can (potentially) shed light on the human predicament and questions we ask- both individually and as a society. By reading another society’s literature we can begin to grasp who they are.
I’m looking forward to reading Taher, along with other authors to win the prize, in order to expand my knowledge of the Middle East- something I (probably we) know next to nothing about.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Rest In Peace
Thank you for the memories Omar, Avon Barksdale, D’Angelo, Gus, Marlo, Bunk, McNulty, Rawls, and everybody I missed. But most of all, Thank you BALTIMORE for the tale of an American city.
Full opening quote from the Wire’s last episode on Sunday night: " ...as I look back over a misspent life, I find myself more and more convinced that I had more fun doing news reporting than in any other enterprise. It is really the life of kings."
-H.L. Mencken, 1953
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Zohan was a decorated war hero. Zohan was a Mossad secret agent. Zohan wants to move to the States and become a hairdresser. (What type of name is Zohan? Doesn't really sound Hebrew to me)
What the Fuck? This new Adam Sandler movie’s coming to a theater near you this summer.
Indiana Jones (no intro here, pretty self explanatory)