Monday, January 28, 2008

No SOTU This Year

Last year I live-blogged Bush's State of the Union address. I'm not sure I'm up to it this year. I'm just getting over the flu and frankly I can only stomach so much of Bush before I have to turn off the TV. If I change my mind, I'll post something.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

New Rules for Women in Saudi Arabia

It's not a big step, but it is a big step. Women can now stay in a hotel by themselves. They do have to show ID and register with the police. It sounds really little, but this is kind of a big step. Usually women have to have a male guardian with them, they can't travel alone. So this is a step in the right direction. Sometimes it's the babysteps that count the most.

Female Kuwaiti Minister

Yes, the Minister of Education is female. She's had some problems lately and been accused, basically, of being too liberal. She just survived a no confidence vote. I think the fact that she passed it is a good sign, that things are opening up in Kuwait and people are more willing for them to open up.

News Roundup: Gaza

It figures, I'm sick for a while and the world goes to hell even more. So, what's going on? I'm mainly going to concentrate on Gaza. They've been cut off from the world. Israel closed the border and won't let anyone cross. They've run out of money, power, and now food. But Israel still refuses to do anything about that. So the people decided to rush the border with Egypt (more and more). And before anyone says "Hey, why don't you blame Egypt for any of this or ask why they didn't do anything?" - well, the border with Egypt is pretty small. Gaza is on the Mediterranean Sea, and it's surrounded in about the following percentages: 40% Mediterranean, 10% Egypt, 50% Israel. It's part of the Palestinian Territories, and it's been cut off because Hamas is in charge and Hamas hates Israel and wants it destroyed. Israel claims it is cutting off Gaza because of rocket attacks coming from there. And of course Hamas claims the rocket attacks are in response to Israeli attacks. Let's forget for a moment who is attacking whom at different times. That still leaves us with the Gaza Strip cut off from power, food, and money. And that is because of Israel.

Let me spin you a scenario. There are drug dealers and gangs in the Southside of Chicago and they kill innocent white people at a mall. So Chicago decides to put a wall around the Southside. So all the people who live there who AREN'T criminals are stuck and they start to run out of food and out of power in the middle of winter. Frankly, I can't think of any Americans who would stand for that. They'd be going "but what about the innocent people and the children?" But if it's Gaza, then it doesn't matter. Because Israel has decreed that all those Palestinians are terrorists, even the kids. And America won't stand up and say, "hey, stop launching attacks that kill children, open up the border so they can get food and medicine." It makes me sick that my own country could condone this. If it was anyone but Israel doing it, someone would have used the word genocide by now.

Enough soapbox, let's look at the news:
That's enough for now. I gotta think about something else.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sick Gator

I'll be out for a while - got the flu.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Bush is "Inconsequential"

Interesting article in the Asia Times about US-Iranian Relations (props to Scholars & Rogues). I do find it humorous that Bush has basically become Carter. The US does seem to be going out of its way to find a reason to attack Iran. Of course, I've been saying that for almost a year now. This is definitely going to be an interesting year (isn't that a Chinese curse?): we've got the presidential elections and both parties need a nominee, we've got Iraq & Afghanistan, we've got the weirdness with Iran, we've got that practically guaranteed peace between Palestine and Israel, and we have a lame duck president who doesn't want to be a lame duck (hence most of the previously listed issues). Let's hope we all survive this year!


I saw Bush on tv last night and he was touting the wonderful debaathification that the Iraqi government just passed. Which, quite frankly, confused me. Today I read articles and apparently what Bush meant was un-debaathification (yes, I made that up). Debaathification is when the Baath party members were taken out of offices and jobs because they were Baath party members. That law has now been changed. See Juan Cole's post from today for some interesting comments about the law - especially since some of the Baathists opposed it.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Women Journalists in Yemen

I just added the Yemen Times to my links list and found an interesting article about female journalists meeting with the US Ambassador. The meeting was set up by the Women Journalists Forum and was specifically for the female journalists in Yemen.

Analysis: I think this is great. Yes, there are female journalists in Yemen. Just because they cover their faces doesn't mean they're backwards and ignorant. I was offended by a quote from the ambassador: "I realize how informed female journalists are and the clear understanding and concern for their country’s welfare they have." So, you thought because they were women they wouldn't be informed? I'm not sure if that's sexist or orientalist, or both. He'd be lynched if he said that to female journalists in the US. But since it's an Arab or Muslim country that makes it okay? This is part of the problem!

Peace for Israel & Palestine?

Well, color me surprised. Bush said that Israel should go back to the pre-1967 borders and give compensation to uprooted Palestinians, instead of having them return.

Analysis: I'm not sure how to take this. That's a very strong statement by Bush. On the one hand, I think that's the only real solution for peace. It gives the Palestinians land and compensation. But I can't see Israel giving up the land. Bush also seems to think that a peace treaty could come in the next 12 months. So is Bush trying to salvage some kind of legacy before his presidency ends? It doesn't seem to follow the PNAC plan, so Bush must be going off script. Let's see what happens over the next few days.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Bush in Israel

I'll have more on this later. For now, Bush is in Israel visiting Olmert and Abbas - but not Hamas. So that's half the Palestinians not involved right there. The Gulf Times out of Qatar has an article about the visit, including this gem:
"Gift shop owner Tareq Abu Dayya is marking the visit by selling Bush look-alike dolls wearing cowboy-style jackets which dance to country and western music."

Smart ID Cards in Qatar

Apparently Qatar has jumped on the ID Card wagon. According to the Gulf Times, all Qatari nationals have one and the expats will be getting them soon. Let's hope they have better luck guarding data than the UK who is working on their own version.

Iranian Navy

Well, Iran is claiming the naval incident was a fake. I looked over the headlines at the IRNA site, going back through Sunday morning when the incident occurred. I really couldn't find much about it. There are a number of little articles about how the US is waging a propaganda war against Iran, and how there was no incident, it was just ships meeting and asking who was who. That was it. So they seem to be ignoring it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Progressive Blog Dinner

I had never heard of a "progressive dinner," but it has now entered the blogosphere. It's being spearheaded here by Fear and Loathing: The Gonzo Papers. Here's the information, verbatim:

You Are Invited To The Blogosphere's Only Progressive Dinner Carnival

Have you ever been to a progressive dinner? You start out at one house or restaurant to have hors d'oeuvres and cocktails, then move on to a different one for appetizers, and continue moving from place to place all the way through dessert.

That's the idea behind the new Progressive Dinner Blog Carnival...

Soup To Nuts is ONE BLOG CARNIVAL presented in five "courses", each with a different host.

Entries are being accepted NOW.
Dinner will be served on Wednesday, January 30th

{You can submit one post, per blog, on any subject - please do not use any post more than once}

You can participate in 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 courses

The Hors d'oeuvres & Cocktails course...
will be served here, at Fear and Loathing - The Gonzo Papers.
Email your entry for the hors d'oeuvres & cocktails course
to me {subject line Progressive Dinner} at:

The Appetizer course...
will be served at Change Therapy.
Email your entry for the appetizer course
to Isabella {subject line - Progressive Dinner} at:

The First Course...
will be served at Fallen Words
Email your entry for the first course
to Sara {subject line - Progressive Dinner} at:

The Main Course...
will be served at Anja Merret - Chatting To My Generation.
Email your entry for the main course
to Anja {subject line - Progressive Dinner} at:

The Dessert Course...
will be served at Fiction Scribe.
Email your entry for the dessert course
to Jaime {subject line - Progressive Dinner} at:

Your entry should include...

---(-)-> Your name as you want it to appear
---(-)-> The name(s) of your blog(s)
---(-)-> The corresponding URL(s)
---(-)-> The title of your post(s)
---(-)-> The corresponding URL(s)

The Rules are simple...

1. Only English language posts will be accepted.
2. No posts with titles that include profanity or pictures of a sexual nature.

This is a one-of-a-kind blog carnival. The hosts would appreciate your help to promote the event. Let us know if you publish a post promoting the progressive dinner, your effort will be recognized. To make things as easy as possible for all involved, I ask the post more or less follow the structure of this one.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Iran, anybody? Part III

Okay, so maybe it will end up being Iran attacking the US? I'm not sure what's going on over there. One on hand, Bush is heading to the Middle East, so Iran needs to up its profile. And, what with the whole "are they nuclear" question, they also want to look strong. Especially considering that report late last year about them not having nuclear weapons. Iran is situated strategically at the Strait of Hormuz, which is not good - they can sink ships or use armed vessels to keep anyone from passing through there, like, say...oil from the Gulf. That's always a problem whenever you talk about a war with Iran. And then there's the Russia-China situation. What would they do if a war started with the US and Iran? The world is becoming multi-polar it seems. I don't remember for certain, but I think that was the least stable of the systems. I'll try and look it up.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Free Fouad

I missed a lot over the holidays. Bhutto was assassinated & Pakistan is imploding; attacks in Iraq, Algeria; problems with Turkey and Kurdistan; it never seems to end. But the focus of my current post is the Saudi blogger Fouad al-Farhan. He's been arrested and is being held without charges, as far as I can tell. His main crime seems to be criticizing the wrong people in his blog. Check out the links to find out more. The publicity this is getting can't hurt his chances.

Links: Fouad's Blog, Free Fouad, BBC article, Crossroads Arabia.