Monday, July 31, 2006
From the article (link follows):
Everything had begun so beautifully. Our fixer, Lena, was bursting with enthusiasm when she met us at the airport. After months of preproduction, finally we were here! Finally, the American television crew had arrived -- to show the world how beautiful her country was, how lovingly restored, how hip and forward thinking in the years since the bloody civil war. On the first day of filming, we'd had a sensational early lunch of hummus, kibbe, stewed lamb and yogurt at Le Chef, a local, family-style joint in a charming neighborhood. The customers at the tables around us in the tiny, worn-looking dining area chattered away in Arabic, French and English. Stomachs full, my crew and I headed over to Martyr's Square and the Rafik Hariri memorial; a few blocks away, our fixer and friends pointing out old scars and new construction, trying to explain how much Beirut and Lebanon had changed since the man's death in 2005. They spoke effusively of the calm, the peace, the relative tolerance that had followed the galvanizing effects of Hariri's assassination.
Read "Watching Beirut Die."
*Update - Read an email Q&A with Bourdain at the Washington Post.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
From the article:
JERUSALEM — Israeli warplanes bombarded a U.N. post in southern Lebanon on Tuesday, killing four observers in a strike that Secretary-General Kofi Annan termed "apparently deliberate."
From the Article:
Monday morning, July 24, 2006, in a blatant bit of "lying by omission", FOX & Friends host Mike Jerrick introduced End of Days Christian preacher and author Michael D. Evans as a "Middle East Analyst."
Evans is a rapture Christian who believes that, once Israel is at peace, the end of the world will come, at which time a very few chosen Christians (including himself and George Bush) will be wisked into heaven by Jesus while the rest of non-believing humanity will be cast into the fiery pit for all eternity.
While Mr. Evans is entitled to his quaint religious notions, FOX News was playing it fast and loose with the truth when it labeled him a "Middle East Analyst". "Right Wing Christian Lunatic" might have been a better choice.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Monday, July 24, 2006
"...The Israeli military proceeded methodically and systematically to destroy Lebanon's infrastructure, and clearly had been casing targets for some time. The vast majority of these targets were unrelated to Hizbullah. But since the northern Sunni port of Tripoli could theoretically be used by Syria or Iran to offload replacement rockets that could be transported by truck down south to Hizbullah, the Israelis hit it. And then they hit some trucks to let truck drivers know to stay home for a while.
That is why I was so shaken by George W. Bush's overheard conversation with Tony Blair about the war. He clearly thought that it broke out because Syria used Hizbullah to create a provocation. The President of the United States did not know that this war was a long-planned Israeli war of choice.
Why is that scary? Because the Israeli planning had to have been done in conjunction with Donald Rumsfeld at the US Department of Defense. The US Department of Defense is committed to rapidly re-arming Israel and providing it precision laser-guided weaponry, and to giving it time to substantially degrade Hizbullah's missile capabilities. The two are partners in the war effort.
For the Bush administration, Iran and Hizbullah are not existential threats. They are proximate threats. Iran is hostile to US corporate investment in the oil-rich Gulf,, and so is a big obstacle to American profit-making in the region. Rumsfeld is worried about Iran's admission as an observer to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which is to say, that he is worried about a budding Chinese-Islamic axis that might lock up petroleum reserves and block US investments. If Chinese economic and military growth make it the most significant potential challenger to the Sole Superpower in the coming century, a Chinese alliance with the oil-rich Muslim regions, including Iran, would be even more formidable. The Shanghai group has already pulled off one coup against Rumsfeld, successfully convincing Uzbekistan to end US basing rights in that country.
Rumsfeld also believes, contrary to all available evidence, that Iran is actively destabilizing Iraq and is conniving with Syria and Hezbollah to do so.
[snip]...Clearly, if one could get rid of Iran and Hezbollah, in Rumsfeld World, Iraq is much more likely to turn out a delayed success than an absolute disaster. And then the stalled-out rush to Bush's vision of "democracy" (i.e. Big Private Property) in the region could proceed. In fact, the instability in Iraq mainly comes from Sunni Arab guerrillas, who hate Iran and it is mutual.
The Bush administration's perceived economic and geopolitical interests thus overlap strongly with Israel's perceived security interests, with both benefitting from an Israeli destruction of Hizbullah. It is not impossible that the US Pentagon urged the Israelis on in this endeavor. They certainly knew about and approved of the plan..."
Read the entire artice.
So, I was checking out some user reviews for the "V For Vendetta" DVD on Amazon yesterday and a particularly goofy one from a fella by the name of Ronnie Clay from Louisiana caught my eye. I went on to look at all the guy's reviews. They turned out to be a treasure trove of laughs. The cream of the crop follows: