Monthly Archives: August 2006

Broken Gun

We’re in the train. I walk into the train car ahead of me and pull out my space-age looking gun. I try to be menacing, “If you don’t give in to our demands, I will shoot every single one of you.” Yet, they aren’t taking me seriously. I decide that I have to make them take me seriously. I point my gun at the closest person. I pull the trigger, but instead of a giant laser beam, a tiny stream of water squirts out. They laugh at me.

I’m angry because they aren’t playing along. What’s wrong? In other dreams, the guns, the special attacks, don’t work, but everyone else acts as if they do. Of course, when that’s the case, usually nothing happens instead of a stupid squirt of water.

I tried to imagine the laser beam — a huge red laser beam shooting out of the gun — but still, the gun didn’t work.

I’m surprised I didn’t take control of the dream at this point, because I was semi-lucid. I was aware that I was dreaming, at some level, but not aware enough to realize the implications of being inside a dream.

A Small Note on the Term Islamofascist

Saying that someone is an Islamofascist, or Islamic fascist, doesn’t mean that all Muslims are fascists any more than saying that someone is a Chinese-American means that all Americans are Chinese or all Chinese are American.

I use the term because it’s the most accurate term out there for describing who these people are. The cartoon debacle proved that. They resorted to violence to try to get a Western government to repress an independent newspaper.

Iran-Romania Oil Barge Junk

You know what? I looked up the oil barge thing, and it was very, very boring. Like, honestly, I give as much a shit about this as I give a shit about John Mark Karr. Which is a very small amount of shit!

(To steal from Mr. Colbert) All you need to know: Iran’s being a punk-ass bitch again.

I know that isn’t exactly a paragon of civilized political discussion, but I’m in “not giving a shit” mode.

A Democrat with a Plan???

Whuh??? Democratic Senator Biden’s op-ed in the Washington Post: A Plan to Hold Iraq Together.

Obviously since I’m a Republican, I’m obligated to question his patriotism and shout from the rooftops (c’mon everybody, join along), “CUT AND RUN! CUT AND RUN!” Karl Rove should make t-shirts and/or a song.

Or maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I should say that this is a reasonable start, and we should have a civilized debate about what we should do in Iraq. Maybe I can disagree with his plan without saying that Osama wants you to elect Democrats. Alas, if only we lived in such a world. Still, I will do my small part.

Here’s Biden’s reasonable 5-point plan:

First, the plan calls for maintaining a unified Iraq by decentralizing it and giving Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis their own regions. The central government would be left in charge of common interests, such as border security and the distribution of oil revenue.

Second, it would bind the Sunnis to the deal by guaranteeing them a proportionate share of oil revenue. Each group would have an incentive to maximize oil production, making oil the glue that binds the country together.

Third, the plan would create a massive jobs program while increasing reconstruction aid — especially from the oil-rich Gulf states — but tying it to the protection of minority rights.

Fourth, it would convene an international conference that would produce a regional nonaggression pact and create a Contact Group to enforce regional commitments.

Fifth, it would begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces this year and withdraw most of them by the end of 2007, while maintaining a small follow-on force to keep the neighbors honest and to strike any concentration of terrorists.

I disagree with point 5, specifically. The keyword is stability. I believe that withdrawing troops will make Iraq less stable. A “small follow-on force” will not be enough to “keep the neighbors honest.”

I’m not sure that you can make “oil the glue that binds the country together.” I don’t see how this plan makes oil a unifying force. Still, a more federal system may be the least worst choice that we have when it comes to Iraq.

I really, really like point 3. Ever since I read the book about the Marshall Plan, I realized that an economic plan for Iraq was necessary. Unfortunately, Bush doesn’t realize that. Even in the provinces where we had modest success, the lack of jobs threatened to tear it all apart.

Facebook Status Listlog

Since summer is nearing its end, I decided now would be a fun time for a Facebook status listlog:

  • August is MOVING!!
  • Kate is cleaning out her aviator of a summer’s worth of crap.
  • Jason is announcing that the part tonight will be fucking crazy!!
  • Tym is on campus all day.
  • Sarah is listening to the clock tick.
  • Cary is thinking of converting to Federerism.
  • Matthew is going to be at work when his room assignment info goes online.
  • Paige is missing her lovelys from school <3.
  • Gina is missing her B______ 0:).
  • Heather is counting the hours until she’s done with camp.
  • Arash is is en route to baltimore via Raleigh, NC and a 311 concert.
  • Ingrid is drinking espresso at Bully Blend’s.. w/ Jack Billion! (he’s at a different table) it’s a small world.
  • Keshav is watching Zoey 101, hoping that Joycs (the puppy) will get a good home as she has been returned.
  • Ethan is has eaten all the blackberry pie.
  • Jeff is excited for Donatos.
  • Terrence is remodeling.
  • Cameron is sitting in CCJ 201.
  • Stevie is exhausted.
  • Tiffany is finally over the flu… looking forward to going back to hopkins!
  • Bill is looking forward to making it back to Hopkins to chill with all you cool people.
  • Shana is not looking forward to Friday. :(.
  • Jessica is wanting to go home sleep, eat, talk to the fam and see Brian.
  • Sean is remembered well at the Chelsea Hotel.
  • Mike is a driver not a thinker.
  • Shawn is concerned about Mother Nature. Mother! Nature!
  • Ashley is listening to KMEL online cuz she misses the Bay.
  • James is praying for daylight…of August 27th.
  • Clara is probably still doing laundry.
  • Winnie is debating the pros and cons of ethnic studies and theatre.
  • Roy is done looking for a supplier.
  • Christine is content after eating at the House of Chicken and Waffles.
  • Jude is sucking in his gut.
  • Ashley is thinking of Anna’s sweet lips…
  • Elizabeth is in London.

There are a few gems in there, but none are as brilliant as mine:

  • Shawn is a motherfucking snake on a motherfucking plane.

Pluto Demoted

It is so official: Pluto is not a planet. Take that, you pluto-loving sons of bitches.

Funnily enough, in that op-ed Tom Kreider admits: “Even I was a little abashed last week when the International Astronomical Union tried to protect Pluto’s status by proposing an absurdly broad definition of planethood that encompasses moons, asteroids and trans-Neptunian objects — in other words, pretty much any half-formed hunk of frozen crud that can pull itself together into a ball long enough to get photographed by the Hubble.” The defender of Pluto says it more eloquently than I how that other proposed definition, scientifically and aesthetically, isn’t worth a Vice President (which itself isn’t worth a warm bucket of spit).

And I’ll quote the op-ed again to illustrate why Pluto shouldn’t be a planet: “Pluto is idiosyncratic — neither a dull, domestic terrestrial planet nor a surly, vainglorious gas giant. It’s mostly ice. It’s smaller than our own Moon, and has an orbit so eccentric that it spends 20 years of its 248-year revolutionary period inside Neptune’s orbit. It’s tilted at a crazy 17-degree angle to the ecliptic, and its satellite, Charon, is so disproportionately large that it’s been called a double planet.”

The anthropomorphization in the article was starting to piss me off, though. Come on! Pluto is a fucking chunk of ice in space! It doesn’t have feelings! It doesn’t care if we humans categorize it as a planet or not.

Here’s the new definition of planet for the more scientifically minded: “a celestial body that is in orbit around the sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a … nearly round shape, and has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.” Pluto will now be categorized as a “dwarf planet.”

Ooh yeah, I am gloating now. For a long time (compared to my relatively short life so far), I have said Pluto is not a planet. Vindication at last!

Iran Watch

I missed this story a few days ago: Iran tests short-range missile. Iran began a series of war games, but I don’t think the war games themselves are cause for alarm since the article says that: “Iran has routinely held war games over the past two decades to improve its combat readiness and to test equipment such as missiles, tanks and armored personnel carriers.” Keyword: routinely. Nothing new. However, the surface-to-surface missiles they tested are troubling. They seem to be sending a signal similar to the one that North Korea was sending a while back, when were testing missiles. Is the message one telling the West to stay back, or is it aggression towards Israel? Or both? If only we lived in a world without nukes… this would not be troubling at all. One more thing: I wonder if they bought these missiles from Russia.

In the next bit of news from Iran: Iran ‘fires on Romanian oil rig’. An Iranian warship fired at a Romanian oil rig (owned by a private company) and then boarded and occupied the ship. I wonder how much attention this received in the news. (Probably not much.)

The explanation for this is murky: “The Romanian company in Iranian courts earlier this year over a dispute involving another oil rig, Fortuna, the financial weekly Saptamana Financiara has reported. It was unclear whether the incident was related to legal issues.” (Is that even proper grammar?)

Even if it did have legal issues, what gave Iran the right to take over the oil rig? I wish I knew more details, but the aggression on Iran’s part seems unwarranted.

I’ll be following this story.

Why We Can’t Move On

John Dickerson’s article in Slate, Scare Them Back, inspired me to take a look at some of my past entries. First, though, since I know most of you are too lazy to click that and come back here, I’ll give a quick summary. Basically, he says that Democrats should counter the Republican fear-mongering strategy with their own fear-mongering: Republicans are encouraging more terrorists. In my opinion, that strategy won’t work. I’ll delve more into that, but first, I want to show what I wrote before.

Shortly after the 2004 elections, I wrote this: Advice to Democrats after Kerry Loss. I said terror decided the election. I said, “Democrats, if you want to win, you have to convince the general American public that you understand that radical Islam (called Islamofascism in some circles) is a threat to America, and the world.”

I hammered the point again in 2005 with this entry, Populism is Dead. I said, “Defeating terror is more important than defeating the Republicans.” I said, “Memorize this, Democratic Party: 9/11 was an overt act of war.”

If they had taken my advice, they would be poised to sweep the Senate and House, instead of victory being in question. Alright, perhaps not, but my point is still relevant another year later. Democrats have not convinced America that they take the War on Islamofascism seriously.

It’s pretty obvious why. All you have to do is delve into the Fray and find this gem: Why this obsession with the War on Terror?. I’ll reprint it in its entirety.

If you’d stop for a minute to really think about it, there’s nothing Bush or anybody else, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green or any other hue, can do to stop a small group of committed, resourceful terrorists from blowing themselves and any number of American persons, places or things into millions of small pieces. Nothing. The lack of terrorist attacks since 9/11 is more testimony to the lack of effort on the part of the terrorists than to anything we have done or could do.

Of course if we did that, we’d stay up nights, worried that the next breath might just be our last. At least the Republicans give some of us what we need: a false sense of security that works just as well as the real deal … until the Big One comes along. Republicans know that if we stop thinking that all terrorists look like Mohammed Atta and start considering the fact that they could just as well look like Timothy McVeigh, the panic would be palpable.

Perhaps we should start an Epicurean Party: Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die. Even good, fundamentalist Christians should be attracted to a platform that follows the Master’s teaching not to give thought for the morrow, for who knows when the hour comes for one to die?

Yes, let’s bury our heads in the sand. Let us go our merry little way and pretend that there aren’t extremists out there who want to wipe Israel off the map and America too. Let’s pretend 9/11 was just some isolated event, not an overt act of war.

If we are not vigilant, the odds of dying go way up. If Iran gets a nuke, the odds of dying go way up. If Islamofascists ignite regional or wider war, your odds of dying go up. Your hour of death will come much sooner.

Still, there’s a kernel of truth in Dickerson’s article: “Still, if Democrats don’t aggressively ask whether the Republican policies are inspiring a greater number of people to devote their lives to killing Americans than would otherwise be the case, we’ll miss a chance to have the kind of messy, realism-filled public debate we somehow continue to skirt.” We really need to have this messy, realism-filled public debate. That’s why I feel that we’re failing in Iraq.

However, my opinion is that the main reason why we aren’t having this debate is that there are still people out there who are not convinced of the very real threat of Islamofascism. (Disagree that this is the main reason? Please comment, I’d like to see other opinions on why we haven’t had the messy, realism-filled public debate. Bush is a close second reason, in my analysis.) Five years after 9/11 we’re still trying to convince people that terrorism is a threat. 9/11 was an overt act of war. The Democratic Party still hasn’t convinced the American people that they understand that.

When you’re presented a choice between someone who understands the existential threat posed to us and someone who doesn’t, you’ll pick the first choice. Yet, it’s a false dilemma. Bush understands the fact that there is a threat, but he does not understand the threat. He utterly failed in the execution of the War in Iraq.

Democrats, if you want to win, ignore Dickerson’s advice. First, you need to hammer home the point that you understand that there is a war on terror. Say it over and over and over without inserting the word “but” and you will convince the American people. Also, vehemently attack members of your own party who don’t understand the threat. At the same time, paint Bush as an incompetent who “executed” the war poorly. Stress execution. Many Republicans will agree with you on this point. Be above the fray and say that we need a real debate about the nature of the war and the way it is executed. Why didn’t we have an economic plan for Iraq? Don’t stress world community. Stress realism. Say that we need to either do what it takes to win in Iraq or pull-out. Be specific and be smart.

That’s my plan, but not all of it is critical. The main point is convince the American people that you’re serious about Islamofascism. I’ll repeat the most important part: Say that you understand that there is a war on Islamofascism over and over and over without inserting the word “but”. Vehemently attack members of your own party who don’t understand the threat.

One more time: Say that you understand that there is a war on Islamofascism over and over and over without inserting the word “but”. Vehemently attack members of your own party who don’t understand the threat.

I’m begging you to do this. Defeating the Islamofascists over the long haul is way more important than partisanship. We need you. We need a united America to defeat them.

8 Planets

In case you haven’t heard, astronomers got together and decided to redefine planet. Basically, it’s now anything round that orbits a star. (You need enough mass/gravity to get to the point where the body is spherical.) This adds several new planets to the solar system. Pluto and Charon are now planets. Charon is not actually Pluto’s moon, despite what you’ve heard, since they both orbit a centerpoint. I’ve been more inclined to think that Pluto-Charon is a double-asteroid, not a planet. I mean, c’mon, its orbit is way titled compared to the other 8 planets. With this new definition, even Ceres is considered a planet.

It’s not that bad a definition, but I can’t help thinking that we would have 8 planets if people weren’t so wedded to Pluto. Wah-wah you have to shorten your mnemonic device because that stupid thing isn’t a planet. Now look what you’ve done. Pandora’s box is opened. We will have lots more planets to come and now you’ll never memorize all of them.

In fact, screw science. Planets should be more like continents. Our definition of continent doesn’t match the geologist’s definition. Why can’t a planet be something more attuned to the layman?

BANDWIDTHED!

Ah, huge spike in bandwidth! It wasn’t new visitors, though. All the traffic was images. (Chalkboard Manifesto, mostly.) It was all due to hotlinking. I finally went through and disabled hotlinking once and for all! My bandwidth should be going back to normal levels now. So annoying. If I wasn’t on top of things, there could’ve been another bandwidth limit exceeded and you know what happened last time. I honestly don’t really know what caused it. Probably the Myspace again. Those damned hooligans.

Worst Hand of the Night: Smooth Call with the Nuts

I was watching PPT on the Travel Channel… actually, I’m still watching it. Has anyone noticed that when someone goes out, when there’s a showdown, there is a clapping noise? I didn’t even think about it at first, but then I was like, “Hey, there’s no audience there!” Did focus groups like it better with the fake clapping?

Anyway, this guy with the second best hand smooth calls on the river. (I apologize. If you don’t know anything about poker, you should probably stop reading.) That’s not what my title refers to, though. The way he played the hand reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to write about.

I caught a flush — an Ace-high flush on the turn. I was playing the hand such that my opponent definitely had no idea I had a flush. (Forgive me for forgetting the details.) Then, my opponent bets on the river and all I do is call. Horrible, horrible move! I should’ve looked at the cards and realized that there was no hand out there that could beat me. I had the “nuts”, so to speak. In that position, I definitely should’ve raised.

I still went on to win that small little tournament with some friends (with a little luck at one point beating pocket 9′s with pocket 8′s after going all-in pre-flop), but that’s no reason to be complacent about the way I played that night.

I hope to turn this into a regular feature on my blog, talking about the worst hand I played.

Thomas Paine and Taxes

I forgot to write about this back when I finished Rights of Man… Thomas Paine really ripped on taxes, portraying them as a form of oppression. It seemed interesting only because he was a radical leftist and nowadays it’s the conservatives who hate taxes.

Those Russians Again

Buried in an otherwise uninteresting article about Castro, I found this interesting little tidbit:

Russian President Vladimir Putin joined those sending greetings to the Cuban leader on his birthday and wished him a speedy recovery.

The Kremlin said Putin also promised that Russia and Cuba would continue to be ”active partners.” Putin’s government has sought to revive relations with the island, which had weakened following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Russia is trying to reestablish ties with a brutal dictator — an anti-American brutal dictator. Hm.

No wish for a speedy recovery from me, Fidel.

Discourse Update

Could I climb Mount Everest? Yes and no. It sounds like a simple question, but it’s not. If you were to let me train for years and gave me the proper equipment and team, then yes, I could climb Mt. Everest. If you picked me up in a jet right now and dropped me off at the base of the mountain, then no, I could not climb Mt. Everest.

I think the task I’ve set before myself is too much. A general discourse on governments is just too much to write about. I mean, even Machiavelli separated his discussion of republics and principalities. I’ve never written anything like this before, and I feel like I don’t know enough to write something so broad.

The solution? Limit what I write about. Of course, I’ve been thinking about that all along. What should I write? What should I leave out? But now, I’ve given it even more thought. I’ve decided that I will limit my discourse to the topic of democratization. It seems especially relevant to this time period, and it’s the topic I’m most interested in. I’m still debating whether to limit it further.

One more thing, the current book I’m reading, The Marshall Plan: America, Britain, and the reconstruction of Western Europe, 1947-1952 by Michael J. Hogan, is not telling me what I want to know. I think I’m not going to finish it. Maybe I’ll read the conclusion and introduction. I did manage to finish The Marshall Plan and its Meaning by Harry Bayard Price. Next, I want to pick up a book on the occupation of Japan after WWII.

Exclusive Sneak-Peak Script for New Hummer Commercial

Man walks into restroom. Goes to urinal, between two other men. He takes a peak at one man, then the next.

Tough music starts.

Man goes to Hummer dealership, buys Hummer, drives off.

Compensate for your shortcomings. Buy a Hummer.

If you’ve seen the latest Hummer commercials, this makes more sense. There’s one where this guy is buying tofu and then sees the guy behind him buying red meat. So, he goes and buys a Hummer.

I wish I could film it, or turn it into a one-panel Chalkboard Manifesto.

Viewing the Media’s Anti-Israel Bias from Other Possible Angles

I’m expanding my inquiry into the media’s participation in producing Hezbollah propaganda. This is old, but worth a read: The News We (CNN) Kept To Ourselves. It’s not about the current situation in Lebanon, but it could be relevant. Here we see how intimidation kept journalists from reporting certain stories. When Saddam was in power, their reporting could also put the lives of innocent Iraqis in danger. I hinted at intimidation in my first exploration of this topic, but it wasn’t pivotal to my argument.

How much are journalists being intimidated in Lebanon by Hezbollah? Of course, they didn’t intimidate Hajj into altering pictures of Beirut. That he did on his own accord. So, how much of a role does this intimidation playing? How is it altering their news coverage? I believe it is a component.

On to the second angle… Has anyone watched South Park? I love the show. I was watching “The Passion of the Jew” episode with Mel Gibson the other night. In it, Cartman watches “The Passion of the Christ,” and starts a Mel Gibson fan club. He dresses up as Hitler and hints at a “final solution,” but the adults in the club are completely oblivious, even when they start chanting in German. In South Park, people often fall for the stupidest things. So, I was just wondering if the media was just so unsavvy that they can’t recognize when they’re helping Israel be destroyed. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the case for some of them. “Goodness, all these Jews can do is murder civilians; I better help Hezbollah.”

While we’re on this topic, I have a few other things to say. First, here’s more media manipulation from Hezbollah. A supposed member of the Lebanese Red Cross cares so much about saving lives that he exploits a dead child for PR. Here’s the YouTube video which I will embed later. The weblog where I found that video claims that jihadi manuals have entire sections on media manipulation.

Still, I’m having trouble believing that it’s all just slick PR on Hezbollah’s part. I mean, they’re using the Lebanese people as human shields. Then, people die, and supposedly, the survivors are driven into the arms of Hezbollah. Does this sick chain of events make sense? Methinks that there is already Hezbollah sympathizing going on.

Finally, here’s one more article that’s a must-read: Hezbollah’s deadly hold on heartland.

The surgeon led a group of journalists over what remained: mangled debris, shredded walls and a roof punched through by an Israeli shell.

“Look what they did to this place,” Dr. Fatah said, shaking his head. “Why in the world would the Israelis target a hospital?”

The probable answer was found a few hours later in a field nearby. Hidden in the tall grass were the burned remnants of a rocket-launcher.

Confronted with the evidence, Dr. Fatah admitted his hospital could have been used as a site from which to fire rockets into Israel.

This excerpt shows exactly what I’m talking about. This guy is obviously a Hezbollah collaborator. He’s trying to manipulate the media into showing how Israel is killing “civilians” for no reason. His hospital was used as a site to launch rockets. Guess where these rockets land? In Israeli civilian centers! GAH! He’s helping Hezbollah try to kill innocent Israelis, by launching rockets from a hospital.

Also, the article indicates that the Lebanese Red Cross found rocket launcher shreds (in or surrounding… I can’t tell) the area of Qana. I’ll do a search later for that in the NY Times, etc.

I’m rambling and going off-topic now, but I’m just so angry. Hezbollah’s actions are just so obvious to me! Why would CNN let Hezbollah direct one of their segments? Are they that stupid? Are they being intimidated? Or is something more sinister happening? A combination? None of the above?

I do know one thing. Hezbollah is murdering Israelis, launching rockets only into civilian centers, and is using the Lebanese people as human shields. That’s disgusting. If you’re producing Hezbollah propaganda… I’m not even going to finish that thought.

More Lamont and Lieberman

Another concurring voice in the “this is not the end of the world for Democrats” category: Michael Tomasky on Slate. He notes that there are 8 Democratic Senate incumbents up for reelection who voted for the war in Iraq. Only one, Lieberman, has faced a serious challenge. One, Tomasky says, is not a trend. I agree.

Prediction: Conventional Wisdom will soon shift to this camp. There will also be a downplaying of the role of the liberal blogosphere. (Note: If this prediction is wrong, I will completely ignore the fact that I made this prediction. If this prediction is right, expect me to loudly trumpet that I was right and link to the offending headline.)

UPDATE: Then again, to add flames to the fire, I found this statistic from Rasmussen Reports very interesting: “Half (52%) of Lamont voters believe Bush should be impeached and removed from office. Just 15% of Lieberman voters share that view.”

No FMA?

I was going to watch Full Metal Alchemist tonight, only to find that it wasn’t playing. Am I never going to see the final episode? Argh. I never saw the last episode of Wolf’s Rain either. Of course, Wolf’s Rain wasn’t nearly as good as FMA, but I kind of enjoyed it towards the end.

Ah well, at least I won at poker tonight.

Lamont vs. Lieberman? Who cares?

Everyone is… okay, some people who are interested in politics are… all atwitter at the loss of Joe Lieberman. (I think the SF Chronicle had it as the lead story.) The incumbent senator was defeated in the Democratic primary by Ned Lamont, a political newcomer and anti-war candidate backed by the far-left blogosphere (among other supporters). What does this mean for Democrats? What does this mean for elections in the future? Jacob Weisburg seems to think that it spells doom for the Democratic party, that Connecticut’s embrace of Lamont shows that Democrats are ready to repeat their anti-war obsession with Vietnam, alienate mainstream voters, and ultimately lose elections. Many Republicans are busy spinning it the same way. While I agree that many Democrats do not understand the War on Terror (or, even better, the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism), that’s not what I want to discuss, and I will leave it for a later date.

You know I think? I don’t think Lieberman’s loss is a bellwether of any sort. Weisburg admits Lieberman can be “cloying and sanctimonious.” That’s a perfectly good reason to not vote for him. Besides, here’s an election you probably did not hear about. Another incumbent was knocked off, but it was a Republican candidate. Yet, you don’t see everyone pushing the narrative of the Republicans being forced to the right by crazies.

I feel alone, though. Do you agree? Apparently, Kevin Drum believes the landslide defeat of Cynthia McKinney, who thinks George Bush was behind 9/11, shows that Democrats, in general, haven’t gone over the edge.

I don’t live in Connecticut, so I have no idea why they didn’t vote for Lieberman. Nonetheless, my best guess is that this probably means not that much for the general midterm elections and the next elections in 2008. The liberal blogosphere is not the wave of the future, but just another interest group/constituency that you gotta listen to.

Four Seasons

Today, I chanced upon a striking image, which I’d completely forgotten about. This serendipitous discovery has prompted me to change gears. You, the reader, don’t mind if I delay news commentary for a day, right? You don’t have that short an attention span, do you? Of course not.

Living in the Bay Area, I am exposed to some of the most wonderful weather in the world. (Except for this year, when we experienced record rainfall and record heat.) California doesn’t have its reputation for sunshine for nothing. The disadvantage of daily 70 degree weather (okay, if you believe that it’s daily, I’ve got a bridge to sell you…) is that you miss seasons. I don’t get snow. There’s no beautiful fall foliage. There’s sunny and then there’s rainy.

It’s different on the East Coast. What I found were some pictures I took in Balitmore, from my dorm window. They were taken throughout the year, in an attempt to capture the change in seasons.

This is when I first arrived, in early September. Bad angle, I know, but I didn’t have this planned until after I already had this picture.

summer

Here you can see the leaves changing colors.

fall

Now, all the leaves are gone. That’s why they call it fall, eh. Okay, wait, there’s snow there too. I’m not sure when I took this picture.

fall/winter

SNOW!!!

winter

The rejuvenation… the leaves are back.

spring

More Hezbollah Propaganda

Lloyd, as always, makes an interesting point, so I’ve decided to quote his comment in full from my last entry:

It’s clear that the end result of CNN’s broadcast has been pro-Hezbollah propaganda. However, the real question in terms of the very serious claim of treason is: did CNN willfully and premeditatedly produce the spot?

If the other media outfits (NBC, CBS, the euros) ended up conveying pretty much the same propaganda, the claim of treason is much less a slam-dunk than you make it out to be.

This is much more directly interpreted as a brilliant piece of media manipulation by Hezbollah than an outright act of treason by a given media outlet.

None of which should surprise you, or anyone else. In the war of ideas, the so-called ‘objective’ media are as much weapons as anything else–wittingly or otherwise.

Has CNN willingly and premeditatedly produced the spot? I don’t think that the CNN, as an organization, told their correspondents to go in and produce Hezbollah propaganda.

Here’s a good piece if you want more information: CNN’s Robertson Now Admits: Hezbollah ‘Had Control’ of His Anti-Israel Piece. (A decidedly biased source, but it has lots of quotes from the primary source.) I think it’s interesting that Hezbollah is providing guided tours of the area and the media is falling for it hook, line, and sinker. Or are they? They can’t be that dumb… I mean, the CNN correspondent did later admit that you’ve got to take it with a grain of salt. Yet, from what I gathered from the piece online, it didn’t seem as if any of that was explicitly communicated to the viewer. Should the benefit of the doubt be given? Are they that stupid, or is something more sinister going on? Or is there something in between? However, even if mere anti-Israel bias is translating into pure Hezbollah propaganda, I think someone should be held accountable. Hezbollah has done almost nothing but lob missiles into civilian areas. My eyes are open for more propaganda.

And here’s some more: Reuters admits altering Beirut photo. A photographer photoshopped an image of Beirut to make it look more damaged. Then, the plot thickens: “Adnan Hajj, the photographer who sent the altered image, was also the Reuters photographer behind many of the images from Qana — which have also been the subject of suspicions for being staged.”

There you go. More Hezbollah propaganda, and there’s no doubt this is just the tip of the iceburg. That photo is why I think that the media is more than unwitting dupes. Is there an anti-Israel bias? Probably. Do they want the state of Israel wiped of the map? Probably not, I hope. But they are directly enabling those who want to murder Israeli civilians until the state of Israel is no more. I’ll back off my claim of treason, but they’re treading dangerous waters.