Sunday, February 26, 2006

Recommended Reading

Richard Reeves' new column about globalization bullseyes the hypocritical underpinnings of the current ports showdown (which doesn't show any signs of slowing down). There's plenty more to read at the link, but here's an excerpt:
The crisis in our ports is not that a government-controlled Arab country is willing to venture to make a few bucks doing work we don't want to do ourselves; it is that we are unwilling to spend the bigger bucks to modernize our port facilities to deal with the new realities of the post-Sept. 11 world. We would rather spend our borrowed dollars in a vain and stupid effort to take over our own Arab country, Iraq.
Ain't it the truth, though?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Gung...No?

"One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed."

So says William F. Buckley, adding his voice to a veritable chorus of conservatives who've eschewed their tough-talking pro-war rhetoric now that the Iraq situation has rapidly descended from quagmire to morass to tarpit, with no end in sight.

We already talked about Fukuyama's flip-flop earlier in the week, and now we have Buckley's mea culpa. Heck, even Bill O'Reilly is getting in on the act. It can't be too long now before yes-men like Hannity and Limbaugh turn (as worms inevitably do).

Between this and his do-no-right response to the port imbroglio, this really hasn't been a shining week for The Figurehead and his lofty ideals.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Venomous.

Here's the first official poster for Sony's Spider-Man 3, which isn't due out until next summer. Guess it's never too early to get the word out.

Interestingly, despite appearances, it's not a black-and-white shot. Make of that what you will, but I think it all but confirms the identity of the film's secondary villain (played by Topher Grace).

In addition to returning stars Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and James Franco (possibly making his final descent into Goblin-dom in this installment?), Spidey 3 also marks the addition to the franchise of Bryce Dallas Howard as Gwen Stacy, James Cromwell as Captain George Stacy, and Thomas Hayden Church as The Sandman.

Unlike the third X-Men flick (saddled with the truly unfortunate appelation "The Last Stand"), which I'm feeling more and more hinky about the closer that release date gets, I'm getting a pretty positive vibe so far from the various developments here.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Port Problems

I've been following the newscycle's latest tempest-in-a-teapot with a certain degree of bemusement. For those of you not in the know, the "issue" getting various politicos' undies in a twist is the deal that was brokered between the US government and a UAE company to take over six US ports. Naturally, sensing any easy win, a lot of electioneering Democrats and Republicans alike have chimed in with their supposed shock and horror at this development, proclaiming, if not in so many words, "How can you keep our country safe if you have Arabs running these ports?" Like I said, maybe not in so many words.

What I find interesting, aside from the barely-simmering racism underlying these concerns, is the obvious lack of concern held by the Administration. What does it say when they've been hitting us over the head with the dangers of the "Arab peril" for the past five years, and yet they didn't think twice about reaching this deal in the first place. Come to all the conclusions you want, but something tells me that they're not as worried as they want you to be. That in turn should make all of us wonder about the very nature of the supposed threat.

Scanning the blogs, I see that Mark Evanier has chimed in on this topic too, basically echoing my thoughts, so click on over there and give Mark a read.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Recommended Reading

You know things are looking grim not just for America's misbegotten adventure in Iraq but also for the neoconservative movement as a whole when Francis Fukuyama, author of the revered neocon tract The End of History and the Last Man, is carving out its epitaph.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

From THE ONION...

Bush Hides U.S. Report Card in Sock Drawer

CRAWFORD, TX—According to White House sources, following yet another disappointing grading period for the nation he leads, President Bush hid the national report card in his bedroom sock drawer Monday. "We, as a nation, got a D in international relations, a D in economics, and an F in military history," Bush reportedly said. "We must work hard to make sure no one finds out about this." Critics say the report-card-hiding effort is immature, and point out that the sock drawer is the first place The New York Times will look.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Ragin' Cheney

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing funny about Dick Cheney and his itchy trigger finger nearly killing a guy. What is funny, and a little impressive, is how quickly our nation's late night comedians are able to rush into action when something like this drops smack in their lap. To wit, this AP compilation of some of last night's best Shotgun Cheney material. While you're at it, you may as well read this blog posting by Bill Maher, and when you're done there, head on over to OneGoodMove.org, where you can see the entire segment from last night's Daily Show.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Worst. Parent. Ever.

You may or may not be familiar with those "zombie" scare websites. Basically it'll be a video or flash site that you're viewing when all of a sudden a zombie will appear and scare the crap out of you if you aren't expecting it. Anyway, take a gander at this video and see what I mean with that post heading. Seriously, some people should have their kids taken away...

Cartoonish

Wow, has it actually been a week since my last post? That can't be right...

I guess the last week got away from me a little bit between planning my classes and trying (and failing) to get some traction on my thesis. All the while the controversy over those political cartoons which I mentioned last time (and which the newslets won't let us escape from) has been continuing on its merry way. As it happens, even I ended up getting involved in all the brouhaha, in my own sideways fashion. And in case you're wondering, no, I wasn't burning the wrong flags or holding up a moronic sign.

Rather, I got a call Saturday night on my way home from WonderCon (which you can expect an update on as soon as I get a chance) from a reporter at the San Jose NBC affiliate. Apparently they were doing a story on local reaction to the outcry and were looking for a local Muslim who could look poised, articulate, and dashingly handsome on television while providing the voice of calm, reason, and enlightenment. Don't ask me how they decided that I fit the bill, but there you go. I spent some time last night trying to track down a clip on the affiliate's website to no avail, but take my word for it. I did pretty good if I do say so myself. Which I do. So there.

Anyway, as much as I'd love to sit here and continue to tell you how amazing I am, the point is that I've just about reached my saturation level in following the various shenanigans, as I'm sure you have. Given that, I thought you might appreciate two articles that very nicely put the period on all this nonsense with the cartoons, the first is by James Carroll in the Boston Globe, and other by Tariq Ali from the Guardian over in the UK.

And that's it for that.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Addicted to Outrage

Over the course of the past week, I've followed with varying degrees of anger, astonishment, befuddlement, and bemusement the saga of a Danish newspaper printing cartoons offensive to Islam and Muslims, and the protests/riots that have ensued in their wake. Oy. If ever there was a case of a wrong being rewarded with a wrong...

Regardless, I was all set to type out a lengthy, sure-to-be thought-provoking treatise on the insanity of the whole situation and the need for all parties concerned to just sit down and take in a deep cleansing breath, but then I stumbled upon the newest column from British journo Robert Fisk wherein he tackles this very issue.

Since Fisk manages to dissect things far more effectively (and eloquently) than I could ever hope to, I'll just link to him, and when you're done you can add in a "what he said" on my behalf.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Lies and Lying Liars

OneGoodMove has posted a clip of Jon Stewart contrasting the media's soft touch for anything White House-related with the hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners stylings of...Oprah Winfrey? Click the link and see for yourself.