Archive for: February 2006
February 27, 2006
Itâ€™s funny sometimes how such simple situations turn into full blow political battles. Americans stood up and took notice when it became news that a company (Dubai Ports World) owned directly by the government of the United Arab Emirates was poised to take over day to day operations at 6 major ports. The first gut reaction was â€œWoah! Back up the cart on this one!â€ by people all across the political spectrum.
If you donâ€™t mind, Iâ€™d like to join the continuing questions about Hurricane Katrina and ensuing events. Why were so many caught unawares? Whoâ€™s to blame for the failures? The federal government? City and state leaders? Maybe. Butâ€¦
All the Iraqis fighting and killing each other over the bombing of the 1,200-year-old Askariya shrine in Samarra, Iraq, should all settle down and stop pushing Iraq to the brink of civil war. After all, it was the Jews that blew up the shrine, not radical religious elements within Iraq eager to continue the 1,400-year tradition of Sunni and Shiite Muslims slaughtering each other. At least that is what Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini say.
In the middle of February, Ilan Halimi, a young Jewish Frenchman, was lured into the hands of kidnappers by a pretty female decoy. Assuming that he was rich because he was Jewish, Ilan was held for an initial ransom of over $500,000 — an amount later lowered to $6,000 when it became clear to the kidnappers that Ilan’s family was not as well off as their racist assumptions imagined. (See story at Killing in France Seen as ‘Wake-Up Call’ Washington Post)
One of the first columns I composed as a writer, was an analysis of the motives behind the criticism of Rush Limbaugh specifically, and public figures who proclaim a set of moral values in general. The editorial coincided with Limbaugh’s release from a drug rehabilitation center. I was unprepared for the barrage of hateful and vulgar responses I received from readers, who accused me of unconditionally defending Limbaugh. That was certainly not the case, but today I am clapping for the “Rushbo.”
February 26, 2006
Two weeks ago, an article entitled â€˜Internet Media Gets The Nod In Roveâ€™s 2006 Game planâ€™ laid out some details of Mr. Roveâ€™s intention to enlist the aid of some well known bloggers to help promote the Republican agenda.
As if on cue, the Dubai duplicity bubbled and roiled out of the caldron.
February 23, 2006
Six of One or Half Dozen of the Other
Insult and injury are part of the present geopolitical landscape. Not many apologies are being offered up by anyone and even if they were, would it make much difference, would it avert a war or the next act of terrorism? Let’s see.
Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten newspaper issued an apology and whisked it off to the Jordanian news agency Petra for publishing cartoons that supposedly were insulting to the prophet Muhammad. The arguments about the poor taste of the cartoonist notwithstanding, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Denmark’s prime minister says he and his government cannot apologize for the country since the newspaper is independent and not an agency of the government. To most people this makes sense but Islam is not most people.
Back on February 11th, I was very troubled to learn that a government-run United Arab Emirate (UAE) company called Dubai Ports World (DPW) had bought out a UK-owned ports group called the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, giving it control of roughly 30 percent of the terminals at U.S. seaports in New York, Miami, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Baltimore and New Orleans.
February 20, 2006
I donâ€™t celebrate â€œPresidentâ€™s Dayâ€. I celebrate individual presidents, not the whole gaggle of them. These days, George Washington has been relegated to that â€œtruth telling guyâ€ to be seen on the one dollar bill and on TV commercials at the end of February or that guy lumped in with Lincoln on â€œPresidentâ€™s Dayâ€. And that is a shame, indeed, for, without George Washington, our presidency and nation might have had a far different attitude.
But, what made Washington such a giant for our times as well as his? For one thing, he knew how to act in public.
Principles can be very easy to announce and avow. They can also be amongst the most difficult things to stick to when they begin to conflict with your moral code of values. On one hand, it is very easy to say you support freedom of religious expression. It may prove quite difficult, however, to morally defend someone worshipping Satan. If you can at once, condemn, on a moral basis, the depravity of worshipping evil, and also defend the freedom to do it you are a consistent person who refuses to allow your morals, that is the manner in which you live your life, to override your ideal that everyone has an inherent freedom to live as they choose.
February 19, 2006
There is little doubt that people now remember Presidents day as a day to find a good deal on a car. How did things get like this?
Commerce was never meant to be at odds with congress or even juxtaposed with it. But Presidents Day, it seems, like other special holidays has gone the way of all flesh. Even as a boy I remember questioning how the Birth of a Savior could be overtaken by the notion of a fat little benevolent man who comes bearing gifts. How did the celebration of a risen Savior get replaced with a candy egg bearing bunny? How are the hopes of a new year brought in by ending the old one in a drunken stupor? These
questions don’t need to be answered as much as pondered. The answers are largely understood, knowing how to back out of our clearly cuckoo behavior is not.
When President Bush gave his “axis of evil” speech he went out of his way to make the world understand that it isn’t a war with Islam itself that we were joining — and I say joining because the war had been started by the Jihadists decades before. And, in observance to our Western principles, that must be the correct way to view our conflagration with radical Islam.
Let’s face facts, it certainly is uncomfortable to a Westerner who has been brought up on tolerance, freedom of religion, and liberty to contemplate a war against an entire religion. But are we approaching a time when Western nations won’t have a choice but to target Islam itself in certain ways to keep their own people safe. The best course of action is to make public displays of Islam and certain of its practices illegal in Western nations.
The mainstream media, which is anything but mainstream, has again shown its propensity to make a mountain out of an ant hill. Over the past week, media pundits have done everything in their collective power to wring yet another Bush Administration scandal, from out of the periphery of the fantastic. This time the catalyst is Vice-President Dick Cheney’s accidental shooting of a hunting companion while Quail hunting in Texas.
February 17, 2006
I had occasion to see an Op Ed in the French newspaper Le Figaro that so exemplifies the reason the Europeans cannot understand the era in which we live that I thought it might be instructive to “fisk” it, or dissect it here.
The Op Ed was written by a French Muslim named Moncef Marzouki, a Tunisian writer and professor, and a former candidate in the Tunisian Presidential election. It can be found translated into English on watchingamerica.com. titled: Westerners Must Understand How Muslims Think .
February 15, 2006
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On Feb 14th, Chicago Sun-Times columnist, Richard Roeper, wrote one of his columns about the fact that Chicago White Sox Manager, Ozzie Guillen, did not accompany the team on their visit to the White House.
He used this occasion not solely to write in support of the ball player, but as a vehicle to attack George W. Bush, saying in part: â€œâ€¦I just couldn’t shake hands and smile with President Bushâ€.
(See Roeperâ€™s columns here: Lay off Ozzie: Sometimes you can’t pay your respects )