The secular state of Turkey is booming. Attractive apartment building are sprouting everywhere and women in head scarves and without head scarves are entering the modern work place full of self confidence and hope. So, far the Islamist Erdogan government has walked the secularist and development line in the hope of securing through the EU courts religious rights contrary to the Turkish constitution. The EU court disappointed them by endorsing the country’s headscarf ban. Are they trying to get around the constitutional barrier by electing an Islamist president whose wife wears a head scarf? I must admit that this extraordinary focus on women’s head gear perplexes me but I assume Turks know better.
In Wall Street Versus America and my blog (see this post) I described the sad tale of CMKM Diamonds, a penny stock nightmare that — as is the fashion nowadays among bad companies — was blaming its woes on “naked short selling.”
If you drove 91 mph in a 65 mph zone while text messaging on your Blackberry and got into a bad wreck that resulted in major injuries to several people, you’d be looking at a “reckless driving” beef — at the very least — in addition to the broken bones and a trashed car.
Chris Bowers of MyDD jump-started some of my thinking on whether or not Hillary vs. Obama poll numbers have any inherent biases built into them, but Mark Blumenthal ends that discussion here with some smart analysis that suggests there is no difference between national surveys of so-called Dem primary voters.
So let me see if I’ve got this straight.In the view of those who believe in UFOs being extraterrestrial visitors, the astronomers who discovered the red dwarf star, Gliese 581, 120 trillion miles away; the scientists who realized its invisible planet, 581c, might have liquid water; the media that disseminated the news and the culture that speculated on whether this could reveal life in outer space — these are the same people who year-in-and-year-out ignore the vast sea of evidence, the undeniable facts proving the extraterrestrial nature of Unidentified Flying Objects. Who ignore the armada blazing across our heads night after night like swarms of fireflies around a porch light.
Early this week, Congress will finally deliver on the president’s request for emergency war spending for Iraq and Afghanistan - after more than 80 days (yes, 80 days) of needless dithering with our national security.
For weeks, Washington, D.C. has been the scene of frantic smoky back-room lobbying and political maneuvering against H.Res.106/S.Res.106 (AKA The Armenian Genocide Resolution). A recent article in the Los Angeles Times and a commentary by The Jewish Exponent’s Jonathan S. Tobin published by Jewish World Review describe Israel’s dilemma of being torn between allegiance to Turkey, the only Muslim nation not actively trying to drive it into the sea, and moral obligation to a people whose history of persecution and extermination (video link) parallels that of the Jews so closely that Armenians are sometimes referred to as “the Chosen People of the New Testament.” Two differing views of Israel’s choice:
Here’s a welcome ally: Frank Miller, the graphic novelist responsible for “300″, “Sin City”, “The Dark Knight”, “Watchmen” and others has made it clear that he believes the terrorists America is fighting really are bad guys and have to be beaten.
There’s a new video game on the market. Teens and preteens downdload it for free from the Internet. The game involves solving math problems. But these are not the sort of math problems you come across in a textbook: instead, they revolve around the high finance of drug trafficking.
In Diplomacy at its Worse, Nicholas Kristof takes the administration to task for not accepting a May 2003 Iranian “Grand Bargain” proposal. “It was not clear to me that a grand bargain was reachable, but it was definitely worth pursuing - and still is today.” Well, the not particularly enticing proposal came when Iran was still reeling from the American victory in Iraq and given the administration decision to stop with Iraq, it was a significant miss. But to assume that a similar bargain is available today ignores the enormous shift in the American - Iranian balance of power since. War may be a continuation of diplomacy but diplomacy is also a continuation of war. Neither are static.
Remember 9/11? First, there was puzzlement. How in the world could a jetliner crash spot-on into the direct center of one of the World Trade Center towers? Any pilot worth his salt would’ve tried just about anything to avoid a crash like that. Then, horror. Another jet on an unnatural flight vector plunging into the second tower and exploding. America was under attack–on its own soil.
In this article, Australian Prime Minister John Howard simply and correctly observes that the recent congressional vote to withdraw our troops from Iraq (and declare defeat–that’s what it amounts to) gives profound comfort and confidence to al-Qaida: wait until the Americans’ resolve completely fails, then strike hard. Where is President Bush on this matter? And where has he been for the last two years? All we know of the war is the picture of it given by the news media, and that picture is unrelentingly bleak. It is no surprise that the American people seem to have turned against the war and against the President–because this President has failed to act like a leader.
There were major arrests in Saudi Arabia today. Reuters reports that Saudi Arabia announced that “it foiled an al Qaeda-linked plot to attack oil facilities and military bases, arresting more than 170 suspects, including some trainee pilots preparing for suicide operations.” In connection with these arrests, the Associated Press reports that the Saudi state TV channel Al-Ekhbariah “broadcast footage of large weapons cache discovered buried in the desert. The arms included bricks of plastic explosives, ammunition cartridges, handguns and rifles wrapped in plastic sheeting.”
After nine days of intense fighting over control of Mogadishu, transitional federal government (TFG) prime minister Ali Mohamed Ghedi claims that “the worst of the fighting against Islamists and clan gunmen was now over.” The fighting has caused many citizens to flee from Mogadishu, a city of one million residents. UN relief coordinator John Holmes says that 400,000 people have fled Mogadishu, while a doctor at a Mogadishu city estimated two-thirds of the residents have left. According to human rights groups, 300 people were killed in the most recent clashes, with one thousand deaths last month. Some in Mogadishu doubt Ghedi’s assessment of victory, saying there are “still reports of heavy fighting, and artillery and machine-gun fire can be heard across the city.”
I think that Israel’s political cartoonist, Yaakov Kirschen, is overall the cleverest, clearest-thinking English language political cartoonist in the business. His (generally) 4-panel format allows him some latitude in making his points, by creating dynamics of progression and punchline, which he uses well.
Like you, I’ve been monitoring with alarm the gathering bee crisis: Billions of honeybees have gone missing, entire colonies vanished, decimated, while scientists scramble to figure out what the problem might be, evaluating potential culprits from bacteria to terrorism to cell phone towers. The National Honey Board is now involved.The bees of Illinois have been largely spared, so far, but the University of Illinois is using its deep knowledge of apian genetics to try to determine if some toxin is perhaps causing the colonies to collapse.
Who would have thunk that with all those higher Democratic spirits on stage at the debate last night — Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Barack Obama — the one person, er son, er being, who would have topped them all would be Jesus? Credit former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Who?) with introducing that third of the Trinity.
With insurance companies coming down hard on reimbursements, many physicians are seeing their incomes squeezed. One recourse is for them to augment their income through expert testimony in the courtroom. There is nothing wrong with this by itself –the system needs more independent experts willing to explain medical science to the lay public. The key word is independent. Unfortunately, the money to be made will prompt some physicians to advocate too strongly for one side or the other by offering opinions that stretch the limits of advocacy. From there, it is only a short journey to junk science.
For the second time in a month The New York Times is touting a 10-year old Mexican anti-poverty program that New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to import. The social engineering program essentially offers bribes to adults to get jobs, and to make sure their children stay in school (second item, The Daily Blade). According to The New York Times:
Question: What do Neil Cavuto and most of the folks over at Fox News; Steve Forbes, Rich Karlgaard, and much of the intellectual inventory over at Forbes magazine; Larry Kudlow, Art Laffer, Don Luskin, Brian Wesbury, and most of the other money types who pop up around 5 p.m. EST each weekday on CNBC; the crowd over at the Wall Street Journal editorial page; and the full complement of writers right here have in common?
Each year the National Urban League releases a report called “The State of Black America.” Inside this report is something called the “Equality Index,” which is designed to measure the gap between blacks and whites in a variety of areas, such as education, civic engagement, and, of course, economics.
Jose Cuervo (god I can’t even type that without dry heaving), has announced their latest kitschy promotion - the world’s longest shot chain. Now, I’m not really sure what a shot chain technically is, but it appears to involve you sending in videos of yourself doing shots of Cuervo (gagging again).
Nobody should ever again question Harry Reid’s unwavering commitment to . . . losing the Iraq war. The Senate majority leader has made clear he’s determined to see this fight through to defeat. He’ll let nothing get in his way — not concern for our troops’ morale, not their generals’ guardedly optimistic reports, not changing facts on the ground. No, he’ll see failure where there’s success and, if need be, defeat where there’s victory.
Come out and rally in support of Abdel Kareem Nabil Soliman — the Egyptian blogger imprisoned for, well, speaking his mind — at one of many worldwide events this Friday! (Except here in L.A., where there is no Egyptian embassy, and I’m not sure the Luxor in Vegas would be an acceptable substitute.) Add your voice — and creative signage — to the freedom-loving masses who want to send a message that throwing a young man in prison for “insulting Islam” and Mubarak is a travesty. Put pressure on Egypt to do the right thing.
Muslims Believe US Seeks to Undermine Islam Is the title given to the executive summary of the partially released results of a recent PIPA push poll in four Muslim countries conducted between December 06 and February. It is a push poll because a careful examination of the questionnaire reveals that the pollsters designed it to prove that the US is losing the War on Terror but ended up proving only that it is winning it, albeit in a most unpopular manner. Over 75% of Muslims in Egypt, Morocco, Indonesia and Afghanistan strongly oppose terror against both Muslims and Westerners.
American Idol has been a remarkable success. The show revives the old myth of Pygmalion to chronicle the transformation of ordinary Americans into pop-stars and instant celebrities, a plot-line familiar from a thousand Broadway plays and Hollywood musical comedies. Not content with earning billions of dollars, however, the show’s producers now must assert their social consciences. Like a medieval knight buying masses for his soul after a life of plunder and pillage, the show is now compensating for it riches by raising money for the poor.