July 21, 2006


There's no question that I support Israel in her current war. However, I do feel a sense of profound sadness for ordinary Lebanese people who don't support Hezbollah but are caught in a terrible battle in their own country. Via Amritas via Benjamin I found a blog called Lebanese Political Journal that is mesmerizing.

A week ago, I might have told you that my heart broke because my favorite World Cup team lostÂ… I almost cried.
I would do anything to watch my team lose - and bring down my sense of disappointment to that level again.

Follow these four Lebanese citizens as they try to grok.

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July 20, 2006


Whew, Varifrank gives us both barrels in his discussion of proportional response!

And Varifrank also pimpslaps whiny people who want everything their way. He and others almost got on an airplane that quite certainly would've crashed, and all the passengers did was complain. I can't help but draw the parallel between these airline passengers and the sniveling jerks who are being rushed out of Lebanon. As one news commenter said this morning, there's been a travel advisory to the region for 20 years and yet people who chose to go there anyway won't stop complaining that the government took a few hours longer than Sweden to ferry them out for free. I think all passengers on that stupid cruise ship should be forced to sit through a reading of Whittle's Responsibility. And they should have to pay that 150 bucks too. Is there some way we can transport all those unused trailers from Katrina to Larnaca?

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July 14, 2006


Though I'm many days late and several dollars short, I wanted to weigh in on the "Cartoon Wars" episode of South Park, which I finally got to see in reruns this week. I read all about it in April when we were in Germany, but I realized I didn't fully understand the episode until I saw it for myself. Sorry if this is really old news for people.

Apparently at the height of insanity over the Danish Mohammad cartoons, Comedy Central told Parker and Stone that they couldn't show Mohammad no matter what. So they built an entire episode around Comedy Central's lack of backbone. They included this brilliant speech:

Freedom of speech is at stake here, don't you all see? If anything, we should all make cartoons of Mohammed and show the terrorists and the extremists that we are all united in the belief that every person has a right to say what they want. Look people, it's been really easy for us to stand up for free speech lately. For the past few decades, we haven't had to risk anything to defend it. One of those times is right now. And if we aren't willing to risk what we have now, then we just believe in free speech, but won't defend it.

At which point the people of South Park all bury their heads in the sand. Literally. Parker and Stone are not allowed to show Mohammad just standing there, but Comedy Central has no problem with Jesus pooping on the American flag.

Nothing I read about the episode back in April really did it justice until I had seen it for myself. I'm quite surprised that Comedy Central let themselves look like such tools. And I'm sad that once again Parker and Stone show the world for what it truly is.

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July 01, 2006


In the middle of this wonderful 50 Reasons Why It's Good to Be an American Man is a gem of an observation about Americans:

20. Low expectations. A few months ago I was outside a beer joint in Ecuador, peeing behind a blond horse named Gringa. Peeing behind his own horse nearby was an old friend, Enrique, who was in the middle of telling me about some unpleasantness he'd recently endured at U.S. customs in Miami. Officers there had refused to believe that a thirty-one-year-old banana republican earned enough honest bucks to own a vacation condo in Florida. Was he a narcotraficante? A terrorista? A narcoterrorista?! The interrogation concluded with an emasculating strip search, and the experience left Enrique thoroughly fed up with Americans. "I don't mean you," he quickly added. "You're different." For what it's worth, he's right: You'd never catch me rubber-gloving a rectum just because its owner looks a little Escobar-y. But my point here is that our rep has plummeted so low that it's almost impossible not to rise above it. Most foreigners, unless you're forcing them to play naked Twister or collaterally damaging their wedding parties, are pleasantly surprised by our lack of visible fangs. This has led to a happy paradox: While we're collectively in the toilet, we individually smell like roses.

Man, that applies to just about every conversation I've ever had with a foreigner.

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In my personal opinion, the UN has gone from being worthless to being downright disgusting.

The new UN Human Rights Council voted Friday to make a review of alleged human rights abuses by Israel a permanent feature of every council session.
The resolution requires UN investigators to report at each council session "on the Israeli human rights violations in occupied Palestine."

It seems the UN has its fingers in its ears too, but I'm not optimistic that they will grow out of it.

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