Tuesday, February 28, 2006

More good news from Iraq

...the international community should also "start planning for the contingency that Iraq will fall apart, so as to contain the inevitable fallout of regional stability and security."

A new report finds Iraq "teetering towards civil war." This article, interestingly enough, puts the death toll since the mosque attack at 130. Where are these news organizations getting their numbers?

Atrios has it right

It's not racist to object to us cozying up with truly shitty governments. I imagine the people of the UAE might be fine people. But the people who run the country are just a bunch of shitty human rights abusing suffrage opposing terrorist hanging out with assholes. The relevant question is whether these people should be running significant port operations.

Atrios has a series of posts today about the UAE port deal. Most notably: the government of the UAE participates in the Arab boycott of Israel. And the Bush Administration used to "care" about that, but I guess when business interests override national security interests, well, all of that goes out the window.

This doesn't add up

MSNBC reported last night that 1,300 people had been killed in the mosque violence. Now CNN is saying it's only 300 people, and says that Iraqi officials "dispute" earlier newspaper reports that the number was "much higher." This doesn't add up.


The latest CBS News poll reports that Bush's approval rating is down to an all-time low of 34%. If only we could have had these numbers in October 2004.

Monday, February 27, 2006

This is insane.

The latest violence in Iraq, I'm talking about since the mosque was bombed last week, has claimed 1,300 lives.

Yeah, sure, we can fix this mess. GET US OUT OF THERE!!!!!

Ned Lamont

A lot of blogs are talking about Ned Lamont's primary challenge against Joe Lieberman. The link above goes to a site called LamontBlog, which is an unofficial blog promoting Lamont's candidacy. This particular entry gives excerpts of an interview with Lamont.

From this interview, and from the interest he's getting from the blogs, it seems like Lamont might be the real deal, a chance to get a real Dem in that seat and get rid of the Republican boot-licker Lieberman. If I were in Connecticut, I'd vote for Mr. Lamont in the primary. Though one wonders about his chances in the general--much of Lieberman's success comes from his support base among Republicans. Can Lamont win the seat without that support base? Honest question--I don't know.

File not found

The above link is to the official page of the Palestinian National Authority. Click on it, scroll down the page and look for "The Palestinian Vision of Peace." Click on that, and this is what you'll find:

Active Server Pages error 'ASP 0126'

Include file not found

/articals/details.asp, line 2

The include file '../Connections/mopic_con2.asp' was not found.


Quote of the day

"Nobody knows the age of the human race, but everybody agrees that it is old enough to know better."
- Anonymous

Friday, February 24, 2006

Bill would redirect funds to Oklahoma's roads

Car tag and registration money in Oklahoma currently goes to the General Fund. This bill would apparently redirect that money to road and bridge construction and maintenance. Fantastic news if it passes, because Oklahoma's roads and bridges are in sorry, sorry shape.

Dems ahead on national security for the first time ever

Good news brought to my attention by the good folks at DailyKos. Looks like the Democratic Party is beating the Republicans for the first time EVER on the issue of national security. This according to a new poll released by the Rasmussen people. Link is above. This is a huge deal, and very very good for the Democratic Party.

What this means is that November will see huge changes and major incumbents go down. I predict a Democratic sweep of the Senate and a major gain for the Dems in the House. Dems taking back the House would be nearly impossible due to the horrid redistricting system we have especially in states like Texas. Of course, what else would you expect when you put political parties in charge of choosing political districts? That's why I'm in favor of creating an independent non-partisan Federal body to map out congressional districts. Or maybe have a non-partisan body in each state that does it. Either way, it's got to be non-partisan.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

From tolerance to bullying

The problem with the Islamic world is not that they get offended at cartoons that are against their faith. Indeed, we Jews should likewise defend Islam against every act of defamation. But as Jews we have been conditioned to believe that violence is never a legitimate response to anything but a direct threat to human life. Arab newspapers regularly publish anti-Semitic caricatures displaying Jews with giant noses snorting up money. But the idea of going and torching Arab offices or threatening journalists with beheadings, as leaders of Hamas have done to the Danish cartoonists, would be as distant from us as eating pork on Yom Kippur.

Another voice heard from. Sometimes the Jerusalem Post is a little bit right-wing for my tastes, but then there are articles like these that make you think, even if you don't necessarily agree with everything they're saying. This article laments that Islam as a religion has gone from being a global leader in culture and education and ethics, to being a global "bully" that calls for blood every time someone dares raise a finger to disagree with it. The article does NOT say that every Muslim is a bully--nobody but the most strident right-wing nutjob would take that position--but it does say that Islam as a religion is being used to justify horrible acts of violence and fanatacism. Once again, this article is presented as a thought piece, and I don't necessarily agree with everything in it.

Gore in '08?

Two right-wing news sites have interesting stories giving a parallel between Gore's loss in 2000 and Nixon's loss in 1960, and predicting that Gore might be able to make the same kind of political comeback in 2008 that Nixon did in 1968. Both sites see Gore positioning himself to the left of Hillary and Kerry, as the anti-war candidate, and posit that his best chance would be if he rallied the Deaniac wing of the Democratic Party to win the nomination.

Interesting. If he wins the nomination, Gore might actually have a real shot at winning the general, considering the implosion of the Green Party, which was his nemesis in 2000, and assuming a continued farce of corruption and horribleness coming from the Republicans.

The articles are here and here.

Sheehan, Musicians Plan Protest Concert

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan and REM frontman Michael Stipe will headline a New York concert to urge the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

The concert, dubbed "Bring 'Em Home Now!" will be held at the Hammerstein Ballroom on March 20, the 3rd anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Rufus Wainwright and Bright Eyes will also perform, it was announced Wednesday.

Sheehan, who camped outside President Bush's ranch in Texas last year to protest the Iraq war, will speak during the concert. Her 24-year-old son, Casey, was killed in Iraq in 2004.

Chuck D, Fischerspooner, Peaches, Steve Earle and Devendra Banhart are also scheduled to perform.

"It is impossible not react to the current state of affairs through personal action and artistic production," said Casey Spooner of Fischerspooner in a statement.

Organizers said the concert will be followed by a national "Bring 'Em Home Now!" speaking tour that will feature Sheehan and various authors traveling to 15 U.S. cities in April.

More concert performers were expected to be added later.

Damn I wish I could go to that. Who knows, maybe Sheehan's tour will come to Okieland? Doubt it though...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Sign the petition!

Subject: Stop AOL's email scheme


I just signed an important online petition because the very existence of online civic participation and the free Internet as we know it are under attack by America Online, and we need to fight back quickly.

The petition's at:


AOL recently announced what amounts to an "email tax." Under this pay-to-send system, large emailers willing to pay an "email tax" can bypass spam filters and get guaranteed access to people's inboxes--with their messages having a preferential high-priority designation.

Charities, small businesses, civic organizing groups, and even families with mailing lists will inevitably be left with inferior Internet service unless they are willing to pay the "email tax" to AOL.

The petition says: "AOL, don't auction off preferential access to people's inboxes to giant emailers, while leaving people's friends, families, and favorite causes wondering if their emails are being delivered at all. The Internet is a force for democracy and economic innovation only because it is open to all Internet users equally--we must not let it become an unlevel playing field."

AOL's proposed pay-to-send system is the first step down the slippery slope toward dividing the Internet into two classes of users--those who get preferential treatment and those who are left behind. We must preserve the Internet for everybody.

Can you sign this emergency petition to America Online?



Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Port Deal that Broke the Camel's Ability To Protect Itself

Ok, a strangled turn of phrase, but apt. The link above is a DailyKos analysis of the President's deal allowing the UAE to control 6 of our ports. Even such right-wing heavies as Bill Frist and Dennis Hastert, both of whom lick Bush's scrotum on a regular basis, and enjoy it, are coming out against this thing. And now Bush is saying he'll veto any attempt to block the deal. What exactly is going on here? Why is Bushie sticking so hard to his guns, when he seems to be the only one doing so? It's a little fishy, if you ask me.

Hamas could be just what we need?

The right will say that Hamas is lying now just to gain temporary advantage. They still want us out of here.

Some surprise. We want them out of here, too. Just as much.

We both failed in trying. Perhaps both of our peoples are finally ready to try something new. Living apart, and going on living.

I don't know if I agree with this article, but it does give an interesting perspective on the whole situation. What's that saying? Only Nixon could go to China? Well, this article seems to be saying that only terrorists like Hamas can get their fellow terrorists in Islamic Jihad and other groups to disarm. In any event, this article is presented as a thought piece, and I don't necessarily endorse its views.

Don McCorkell for Mayor

Just Progress, PAC (JP), a Democratic Political Action Committee organized by citizens for political integrity and a just society, endorses Don McCorkell, Jr. for Mayor of the city of Tulsa. JP endorses Don, because his record of government service and vision for Tulsa�s future perfectly matches our vision of a government that fosters Prosperity, Equal Opportunity, Healthy Communities, Civil Liberties, and Environmental Integrity.

A Background of Personal Integrity and Outstanding Public Service

Don McCorkell is a devoted family man who has been married for 37 years to Marilyn McCorkell. Don and Marilyn have raised two outstanding young men, Joe and Matt.

Don moved to Tulsa when he was in Junior High School. He has worked hard ever since to help make Tulsa a better place to live. Don's service includes Chairing the Greater Tulsa Council (1973-1975) and representing Tulsa in the Oklahoma State House of Representatives (1978-1996).

As a State Representative, Don promoted political integrity by authoring the laws that created Oklahoma's first Ethics Commission. As Chair of the House Economic Development Committee, Don promoted prosperity by sponsoring The Quality Jobs Act, The Oklahoma Center for Advancement of Science and Technology, and the Oklahoma Capital Investment Board. To insure the health, safety and liberty of Oklahoma's seniors and children, Don led efforts to reform how the State regulates nursing homes and provides children's services. He was also instrumental in establishing the Child Abuse Fund. Don also promoted equal opportunity by authoring or co-authoring laws designed to provide quality education to all our children, including the historic Education Reform Act (HB 1017), the Oklahoma Education Deregulation Act and the Oklahoma Teacher Preparation Act.

While in the State Legislature, Don never engaged in private work that conflicted with his work as a public servant. As a consequence, he felt the need to leave the legislature in 1996 in order to secure the means of financing his children's college education. Although he had little wealth, Don used his vision, hard work and belief that anything is possible to become one of Oklahoma's most successful entrepreneurs as owner and CEO of Sequoyah Capital and Development, LLC.

An Exciting Vision for Tulsa's Future

Now Don seeks to use his visionary talents and problem solving abilities to help Tulsa achieve a brighter future. This year, while other Mayoral candidates participated in Tulsa's most ineffective government, or vacillated about taking a leadership role in Tulsa's affairs, Don launched a series of interactive citizen's seminars on how to help Tulsa achieve a higher quality of life. Through these seminars, Don and Tulsans from all walks of life addressed Tulsa's problems and opportunities in many areas including public safety, improving streets, education, economic development, the arts and environmental protection.

From Don's citizens' seminars has emerged an exciting Vision for Tulsa�s future. It includes:

# Restoring cooperation and civility to city government without superimposing on our Democratic form of government at-large councilors beholden to a power-elite. Don will do this by engaging the elected representatives of every part of Tulsa in the task of improving living conditions in every Tulsa neighborhood. (Note, Don was the only Democratic candidate for Mayor who took the early lead in opposing at-large councilors).

# Championing excellence in public education. Don will use all of the power of city government to insure that public schools serving the City of Tulsa will provide excellent educational opportunities to all Tulsa children. In doing so, he will address the most important reason middle class families have fled Tulsa to the suburbs: The perception that Tulsa's Public Schools provide quality education only to students enrolled in magnet schools. Mayor Bloomberg of New York and Mayor Daly
of Chicago have proven that the quality of public education can improve dramatically when the Mayor focuses all possible economic and moral attention to the quality of a city's public schools. Oklahoma City recently used the economic power of city government to rebuild its schools. Don will bring a relentless focus on quality education to the Mayor's office.

# Reforming regulatory processes to make them more fair, effective and efficient. Tulsa's processes for granting permits to new economic development projects are unfair, ineffective and inefficient. Don will solve this problem through state of the art permitting processes designed to give residents of affected neighborhoods and proponents of new projects the maximum opportunity to agree on project designs. This will insure that Tulsa�s regulatory processes provide developers maximum flexibility consistent with protecting the public's welfare and safety and give neighborhoods the most effective means of protecting their safety and integrity without imposing unnecessary costs on developers.

# Restoring Tulsa as a Regional Center for the Arts. Tulsa's reputation as a regional arts center was a vital engine of economic prosperity in the past. As mayor, Don will promote a revival of our arts communities so that Tulsa will have the most vital and exciting arts districts from here to Santa Fe.

# Reducing Crime. Recently, our chief of police acknowledged what Don already knew, that Tulsa is experiencing a surge in violent crimes. Don is the only candidate to fully acknowledge the magnitude of this problem, and he has developed a plan to give our law enforcement organizations the personnel, training and equipment needed to meet this challenge.

# Protecting Our Water. Don is the only candidate who understands that poultry waste may soon destroy much of Northeastern Oklahoma�s rivers and lakes, and expose all of us to the risk of incurring serious illnesses, if dramatic changes are not made soon in how the poultry industry operates. Accordingly, Don will support the Oklahoma Attorney General's lawsuit against the Poultry Industry and will insist on a state-of-the-art audit of Tulsa�s settlement with the Poultry Industry to insure that it truly protects our water and our health.

To make this vision a reality, please join Just Progress in supporting Don McCorkell for Mayor.

To learn more about Just Progress, visit our website at

Just Progress is a good group of local activists formed from the wreckage of the Dean for President campaign in '04. I used to be active with them but haven't been to an event in a long while. In any event, if they're for McCorkell, then I'm for McCorkell.

Friday, February 17, 2006

What the hell?

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is building a "Museum of Tolerance" on a Muslim graveyard. Ok, there has GOT to be more to this story, but if there isn't, then it's pretty crystal clear that this is a HORRIBLE idea. It's a Museum of Tolerance, aimed at promoting interfaith understanding and respect, and you're desecrating a graveyard to build it? I'm sorry, I don't buy the excuse that there are archeological and historical remains everywhere in Jerusalem. Surely there's a location that isn't a graveyard actively visited by people with relatives in it? This...just isn't right.

Quick note

I've just been looking over some of the posts I've done recently, and it occurs to me that progressive folks looking at this blog might not see much recently from a progressive standpoint. My little rant about consumer activism and my pro-Israel stance have kind of muddied the political waters a bit I think. Well, I don't apologize for being pro-Israel, though I do try to take as balanced a view as possible. I am a progressive Zionist.

All this to say that my political views are constantly evolving. In the last ten years, I've gone from being completely apolitical, to being a quasi-socialist, to being a real socialist, to being a hardcore socialist, to being a communist, to being a Democrat, and, ok basically I've wavered between far left and center-left. Right now I'm somewhere between Trotsky and Howard Dean.

So don't fret, fellow progressives, I'm with you. I've been reading DailyKos and Atrios quite a bit lately trying to get a better grip on the blogosphere and how I can fit into it and make a worthy contribution. But it's a bit discouraging when I think about the fact that there are now millions of blogs out there, and it's going to take an enormous amount of work just to get noticed. I'm further discouraged by the fact that when I send the bigger blogs e-mails asking for advice, I don't get any answers. I know I need to get my own domain name, and as soon as I can afford that, I will.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Mark Warner for President?

Interesting analysis of Mark Warner as a potential Democratic candidate and his thoughts about how Dems can win elections in "red" areas. I'd still like Barbara Boxer to run, but this guy might not be bad. Heck, he's a Democrat who managed to win the governorship of Virginia--and he apparently did it without resorting to becoming a DINO (Democrat in name only) like some people I know...ahem Brad Henry.

Charge them or release them.

UN Calls for Guantanamo Bay to be closed or detainees charged and tried in open court.

It's about damn time. You can't be a country that calls for expanding freedom and democracy overseas, and have what amounts to a political prison on your own territory. Hopefully this'll help to bring some international pressure to bear.

It's funny. Guantanamo Bay is in Cuba, which is theoretically our enemy because it's a politically repressive regime. And Guantanamo bay is American territory. And right there, on American soil, separated from Cuba by nothing more than a fence, there's political repression and torture happening. The hypocrisy couldn't be more stark.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

This is who the Palestinians want representing them.

Hamas: 'We drink Jews' blood'
By Nadav Shragai

A Hamas Web site recently published the videotape wills of two suicide bombers, with two main messages: One is directed to the Jews whose blood Hamas pledges to drink until they flee from the land of the Muslims, and the other is devoted to a mother who helps her son plan a suicide attack, according to Palestinian Media Watch, which presents the video shown on the Hamas site after its victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections.

The video shows Idham Ahmed Majila and Maumin Rajab Rajab, who blew themselves up at the Karni crossing at the end of 2004. "My message to the hated Jews: There is no God but Allah," Majala says. "We will hunt you everywhere, when you wake and when you sleep. We are a blood-drinking people and we know that there is no better blood than Jewish blood.

"We will not leave you alone until we quench ourselves with your blood and we will quench the thirst of our children with your blood. We will not rest until you leave the lands of the Muslims."

Rajab, the second terrorist, says: "By the life of Allah, we will destroy you. We will blow you up. We will take our revenge on you. We will purify our land of you, pigs, who have defiled our land. By the life of Allah, we will take our vengeance. We are carrying out this operation as harsh revenge against the sons of monkeys and pigs."

The video also shows a good-bye scene between mother and son as he gets ready to leave for the attack, with the mother helping him put on the explosive vest. In the background is a song, "O beloved mother, my mother. Don't cry for us."

I don't think I really need to say anything more about this.

funny cartoon

yoinked from http://atrios.blogspot.com

Monday, February 13, 2006

Why Consumer Activism Is Futile

Capitalism is by its very nature unethical. The profit motive rules all, and the invisible hand of the market raises its middle finger to anyone who would suggest otherwise. Therefore, anyone seeking to create “ethical consumerism” will always be thwarted, will never succeed, will always be frustrated because some aspect of their ideals has been compromised.

It is absolutely impossible for anyone to be truly ethical in all of their purchases. Because of this impossibility, consumer activism itself is so impractical as to become impossible. Therefore, one should not focus one’s energies on buying “ethically.”

If a consumer wants to direct his spending towards reducing global warming, he can, for instance, buy a hybrid automobile, like the Toyota Prius. By buying the Prius, the consumer is reducing his impact on global warming. However, he’s also hurting the efforts of labor activists to promote the purchase of union-made cars. Toyotas are, by and large, not union-made.

If, right now, the consumer wants to protect both the environment and labor, he would have to buy a Ford Escape hybrid. By doing so, he is already compromising his environmental values, because the Escape is a bigger automobile, produces more emissions and gets worse gas mileage than the Prius; thus, it is less environmentally friendly than the Prius.

Let us assume for the sake of argument that the Detroit automakers start producing hybrids in droves, and that somewhere down the line a consumer has the option of buying a Chevrolet Cobalt hybrid. We’ve gotten the consumer to the point of buying an environmentally friendly, union-made car. Good.

But he still has to fill up his tank every so often with gas that likely comes from countries with brutal human rights records. And with oil that comes from the same place. And get his car serviced at a service station that probably has a shoddy environmental impact record and no union. And eventually replace his tires, battery, and various other car parts. And eventually dispose of his car in a landfill.

How is this consumer supposed to be vigilant about absolutely every aspect of his car purchase so that he ensures that his values of environmental and labor activism are promoted with every choice he makes?

You could argue that he’s taking a few steps forward, that he’s making a difference in some areas where he has control, and that because he has no control over the other areas, he shouldn’t worry about them. But by definition, that makes him a hypocrite. Environmental and labor activism matter to him in the buying a car, but not the smaller purchases that maintain the car he bought?

This example can be extended to any aspect of consumer activism. So you’re a vegetarian. And you don’t buy leather clothing. Fine. Do you drink milk? Eat eggs? Because if you do, vegans would argue, you’re supporting the very same kind of animal subjugation and cruelty that drove you to be a vegetarian.

Ok, so you become a vegan. Fine. Where is your non-leather clothing made? Your toothpaste? Your deodorant? Do you drive a car? What do you do with your trash? What is the packaging for your vegan soy milk made of? Do you recycle it? Did the people who made it earn a living wage for doing so and have the opportunity to organize their workplace? Is the production of soy for soy milk environmentally sustainable? How is it farmed? Do the soy farmers have a union or make a decent wage?

The point is, it just seems absolutely impossible to keep everything consistent. If you care about one cause and purchase items accordingly, then someone is going to find a way to call you a hypocrite because you’re neglecting a similar injustice somewhere else.

Consumer activism takes the focus off of a system that needs fundamental structural changes by redirecting activist energies towards the “least bad” options within the system itself. When the system itself is the thing that needs to be changed, using the system to attempt change is futile and counter-productive.

There’s a well-known metaphor about crabs washed up on a beach, and a man going up and down throwing crabs back into the ocean so they won’t die. There’s no way he’ll get to all of the crabs, but his efforts “matter” to the crabs he is able to save.

The problem with this metaphor is that it focuses on the wrong problem. The real problem isn’t that the crabs washed up on the beach and are going to die. The problem is that the evolution of the crab was such that it could not survive out of water.

The solution to this problem is to let evolution take its course, allow natural selection to promote the evolution of stronger crabs with the ability to survive out of water. By throwing the weak ones back and allowing them to survive and propagate, the man was actually impeding the successful evolution of a species.

The nature of a market economy is to produce the cheapest, most attractive and most marketable products to maximize consumer demand, beat the competition, and make a lot of profit. The goal of a market economy is not to create the highest quality, most durable, most efficient or overall best product, unless those attributes come about as a side effect of marketability, cheapness, attractiveness and/or profitability.

If a large enough group of consumers boycotts a particular product for some humanitarian or ethical reason, they might succeed in changing some aspect of its production, but during the boycott they will probably end up spending at least some of their money on something equally objectionable. Therefore, the group has not succeeded in creating the kind of systemic change that may have been their goal. And if not everyone participates, and by everyone I mean a majority of consumers, or at least enough to make a product’s manufacture unprofitable, then there is no incentive for the company to change its behavior.

Take the current boycott of Wal-Mart by labor and human rights activists. These same activists probably shop at Target or K-Mart or any number of large grocery stores or big box chains that do exactly the same kind of damage to the local economy that Wal Mart does, except perhaps on a smaller scale. Labor activists protesting Wal-Mart need to find a union grocery store where they can do their grocery shopping. Fine, the workers at the grocery store are represented by a union, but what about the people who make the products on the shelves? And how are Wal-Mart’s profits doing?

Thus, there is no solution as long as the market economy rules the day. Activists who want to really do something need to work for fundamental structural change to the way we do business. We need a social evolution towards an ethical system of producing and consuming goods. Stop trying to buy fair trade coffee. Instead, buy cheap coffee, buy from Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club, Target and Best Buy. Be a capitalist. Because that’s the system in which we all live. And if you play the system, you’ll have more money left over at the end of the day to spend fighting the real battles that need to be fought.

It is probably impossible to bring down capitalism anytime soon, and I’m not sure that should be our ultimate goal. It is true that capitalism won’t fix itself. But it may be possible to create a kind of “social capitalism” by enacting legal reforms and mandates designed to prevent abuses of our planet and our people. Working for fair trade laws is a worthy endeavor. That’s a structural change that can make a real difference in protecting the rights of labor and saving our environment. Another worthy endeavor is working with groups like Amnesty International to fight human rights abuses.

But the easiest way to make a difference is to stay involved in local politics and keep abreast of the issues. The kind of fundamental structural changes needed will never happen without an informed and involved populace actively working to make those changes happen. Consumer activism may be futile, but political and social activism are critical.

--Ethan Jones

Friday, February 10, 2006

Another day, another revamp

Well, this blog is changing again. At least, the name is. It's now called "Sinister," which was originally a Latin term for "on the left side" and only became associated with evil bad things relatively recently in history. The word "sinister" has been used to denegrate southpaws for far too long. So I'm reclaiming the word "sinister" for all my left-handed brethren and sistren. Let's use it as a rallying cry! :-D

Footless hijackers

This has been posted on a number of blogs, but it's straight out of a White House Press Briefing:

Q Scott, I wanted to just ask a follow-up about the LA plot. Is there something missing from this story, a practical application, a few facts? Because if you want to commandeer a plane and fly it into a tower, if you used shoe bombs, wouldn't you blow off the cockpit? Or is there something missing from this story?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know what you're referring to about missing. I mean, I think we provided you a detailed briefing earlier today about the plot. And Fran Townsend, our Homeland Security Advisor, talked about it. So I'm not sure what you're suggesting it.

Q Think about it, if you're wearing shoe bombs, you either blow off your feet or you blow off the front of the airplane.

MR. McCLELLAN: There was a briefing for you earlier today. I think that's one way to look at it. There are a lot of ways to look at it, and she explained it earlier today, Alexis, so I would refer you very much back to what she said, what she said earlier today.

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Cartoon protests

A few things that I think haven't been mentioned enough in this insanity over the Danish cartoons.

1) Arab newspapers often print hateful, bigoted depictions of Israelis and Jews, comparing Zionism to Nazism, and generally being horrible and offensive. How many Iranian embassies have been burned by angry Jews? Beyond that, how much coverage does the regular and constant anti-Jewish, anti-Israel indoctrination in Arab countries get? Not much, that I can see.

2) A lot of otherwise sensible people have been talking about the free speech rights of both the newspaper and the protesters. I agree that the newspaper had the right to publish the cartoons, and that people have a right to be offended. But that offense cannot and should not justify criminal acts of violence. These extremists, and there seem to be a disturbing number of them in Arab countries, have no conception of free speech, and don't understand that when they demand that these newspapers be shut down for printing the cartoons, they're demanding something that would break a fundamental principle of free democracies.

3) When the hell are we, the 15th century? How is it that in a technological age of science and reason, we still have religious fanatacism threatening to destroy the very fabric of society? Can someone please explain this to me? Yes, it has a lot to do with the anti-democratic and oppressive nature of many Arab governments and their often undereducated populaces. But in our own country, we have religious fanatics foaming at the mouth also. Pat Robertson, Fred Phelps, etc. And we're theoretically one of the most technologically advanced, well-educated societies in the world. So where the heck is all of this coming from?