Saturday, September 28, 2013

Quote of the Day: Seymour Hersh on Modern Journalism

The old Pulitzer Prize winner is none too pleased with the current state of things.  Here's a piece of it:
"... the New York Times still has investigative journalists but they do much more of carrying water for the president than I ever thought they would … it's like you don't dare be an outsider any more."

Friday, September 27, 2013

Nerd Journal: Children of the 90s

Remember that 90s-pop-as-psyops post?  Here's a follow-up now that Hanson and you and I have grown up ... a little.  Fellow children of the 90s, enjoy:


Perverse Consequences and China's One-Child Policy

The entire policy is a barbarous atrocity.  

Disgustingly Cute: A Marine Rescues Baby Bunnies

No better friend, as the saying goes ... Four chick magnets orphaned rabbits get a second chance at life in Camp Pendleton, CA.  Here's a photo too:


Cartoon Commentary: Internet Privacy

Only In Australia

The new prime minister can't move into his official residence because the place is infested with possums.  No, really.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tweet of the Day: Idiocy On Display

Remember how I've been slamming the Obama Administration for being deeply, disturbingly, delusionally unserious about foreign policy?  That meant for a little while I wasn't looking very hard at domestic policy.  Well, guess what, I'm finding equally epic unseriousness there too.  This is an actual tweet from the official White House Twitter account. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE FREAKING KIDDING ME.  

Obama and company are trying to peddle Obamacare to an increasingly skeptical nation, its initial boosters are now jumping ship, the government's having to delay piece after piece of this craptastic law's implementation, and the best you can do is caption a gorram mouse on a swing?!   And, NO, rising insurance premiums are NOT ADORABLE.  I want to slam my head against the wall.  I wish we could call for a big fat vote of no confidence.

"Bond Girls" or "Bond Women"?

Someone thinks that the term "Bond Girls" should be changed to "Bond Women."  He then argues that James Bond wants real relationships with women and not just casual disposable sex, an argument that prompts La Parisienne and me to ask incredulously, Have you even seen any James Bond movies?  

And I don't care if the guy is writing Bond books.  He's no Ian Fleming.

007 is practically his own genre, and genres have expectations and rules.  Leave James Bond alone!  Let him drink, smoke, brawl, and flirt as much as he pleases as long as he's also sparring with Moneypenny and Q and M and going after bad guys.

Gee, next we'll see some awful wussified version of Bond who is a pacifist vegan hipster or something!  No, thanks.  I leave you with classic vintage Bond: women want him and men want to be him.  It's movie magic.

Oh, James.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Denial Is Not Just A River in Egypt

This speaks for itself, really:  Obama at the UN said that the world is a more stable place than it was 5 years ago.  We're living in the total defiance of reality, people.

How bad is bad?  Even the New York Times said he was "a somewhat diminished American president who faced a skeptical audience."  You don't say!

The Onion's mockery is now online.

Syria Analysis: Assad Is "Fortunate In His Enemies"

[Sarkis] Naoum {a Lebanese journalist} says that Assad has been singularly fortunate in his enemies: a fragmented Syrian opposition, divided Arab countries, and a Turkish government whose reach exceeds its grasp. 
"He is fortunate because he has Iran, which is willing to go all the way to support him, while there isn't a single Arab country that has this kind of determination to enter the battlefield on the side of the opposition", Naoum said. 
"He is also fortunate because there is an American president who has no appetite for war and because Russia wants to settle its scores with America (via Syria)".

Quote of the Week: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta Addresses His Nation

The despicable perpetrators of this cowardly act hoped to intimidate, divide and cause despondency among Kenyans. They would like us to retreat into a closed, fearful and fractured society where trust, unity and enterprise are difficult to muster.  An open and united country is a threat to evil doers everywhere.  With our values of solidarity and love for our homeland, we fought proudly and bravely to secure the freedom to lead our lives as we choose.  Our choice is codified in our Constitution. 
We have overcome terrorist attacks before. In fact, we have fought courageously and defeated them within and outside our borders. We will defeat them again. Terrorism in and of itself is the philosophy of cowards. 
The way we lead our lives; in freedom, openness, unity and consideration for each other represents our victory over all those who wish us ill.  We are as brave and invincible as the lions on our Coat of Arms. 
My Government stands ready to defend the nation from internal as well as external aggression.  I urge all Kenyans to stand together and see this dark moment through. Donate blood.  Provide information to the authorities.  Comfort and reassure the affected families.  Let us ashame [sic] the Devil and his works by demonstrating our timeless values of love, compassion and solidarity. 
…We shall hunt down the perpetrators wherever they run to. We shall get them. We shall punish them for this heinous crime.

Kenya Police on Twitter

I forgot to post this earlier since life intervened, but here's the Kenya Police's official Twitter feed.  They've been live-tweeting their efforts at Westgate mall.  It's been riveting, and I'll just give one of their many tweets from the aftermath:

Friday, September 20, 2013

Nerd Journal: Musical Mayhem, AKA Turnabout Is Fair Play

It's a hot day, so I have my windows open.  Some totally rude idiot in a neighboring apartment is playing horrible dubstep noise really loudly.  So I am playing this really loudly right back on purpose:


Afterwards I might play the entire Backstreet Boys discography just because I'm in a nasty mood.  I don't care if this is overkill.  "Proportionality" does not apply.  On a related note, Spotify is awesome.

Nerd Analysis: Syria Fallout

Two professors of national security (backgrounds in history and political science) pen this analysis.  Note: they had diametrically opposed ideas about what should be done about Syria, but they agree that the Putin-Obama deal is a wreck: 
For nearly seven decades, American efforts in the Middle East have been based on a bipartisan consensus—one of the few to be found in U.S. foreign policy—aimed at limiting Moscow’s influence in that region. This is a core interest of American foreign policy: it reflects the strategic importance of the region to us and to our allies, as well as the historical reality Russia has continually sought clients there who would oppose both Western interests and ideals. In less than a week, an unguarded utterance by a U.S. Secretary of State has undone those efforts. Not only is Moscow now Washington’s peer in the Middle East, but the United States has effectively outsourced any further management of security problems in the region to Russian president Vladimir Putin.
UPDATE: OK, how about this negative feedback in the New York Times, no less?  Ouchie.  

Tweet of the Week: "Wheel of Fortune" Meets Foreign Policy


Public Service Announcement: Shakespeare on PBS Tonight

"The Hollow Crown," the acclaimed BBC production from last summer, is finally hitting American airwaves at PBS.  Here's the official webpage and here's the video:

Once more unto the breach, dear friends.

Hello Kitty Monstrosity of the Day: Da Plane, Da Plane!

Well, I had noted this thing flying around Asia, but now it's in LA.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Quote of the Day: Loose Lips Sink Ships ... of Fools

"We're conducting foreign policy by faux pas. This entire episode has been driven not by deliberate strategy but by slips of the tongue. Obama’s declaration of a “red line” on chemical weapons was a slip of the tongue. So was Secretary of State John Kerry’s offer to have Syria give up its chemical weapons. There is no plan, no coherence to anything this administration is doing on Syria." 
I can't resist adding an image:

Can You Handle Philosophical Arguments in Russia?

You probably Kant.

Meet ZXX, the Anti-NSA Font

Well, it's a heck of a font all right.  Maybe the NSA can't read it very well, but I'm not sure that I can either for any length of time without getting a massive headache.

"Borderline ... feels like I'm going to lose my mind"

Maybe we should stop blaming colonial borders for the Middle East's problems? (And, no, I won't apologize for quoting vintage Madonna first thing on a Monday morning.)

Am I A Jacksonian?

A disgruntled one?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tweet of the Week: Compare and Contrast

The Christian Exodus From The Middle East

It's Sunday.  Spare a thought for those being persecuted in the Middle East.  The assaults on Christians in Egypt and Syria recently have been horrific.  Here's a piece of the article in Foreign Affairs:
At the start of World War I, the Christian population of the Middle East may have been as high as 20 percent. Today, it is roughly four percent. Although it is difficult to be exact, there are perhaps 13 million Christians left in the region, and that number has likely fallen further, given the continued destabilization of Syria and Egypt, two nations with historically large Christian populations. At the present rate of decline, there may very well be no significant Christian presence in the Middle East in another generation or two.  
This would be a profoundly important loss. Christianity was born in the Middle East and had a deep, penetrating presence in the region for hundreds of years before the rise of Islam.  
. . . But it is important to note that the removal of the region’s Christians is a disaster for Muslims as well. They are the ones who will be left with the task of building decent societies in the aftermath of these atrocities. And that task will be made immeasurably harder by the removal of Christians from their midst. It is not just that the memory of these brutal actions will taint these societies -- perpetrators and victims alike -- for the indefinite future; it is also that Muslims are removing the sort of pluralism that is the foundation for any truly democratic public life. One of the refrains of the Arab Spring has been that Muslims want to put an end to tyranny. But the only lasting guarantor of political rights is the sort of social and religious diversity that Muslims in the region are in the process of extinguishing. If nothing is done to reverse the situation, the hope for peace and prosperity in the Middle East may vanish along with the region’s Christian population. 

Quote of the Day: Syria and Iran

The Russian "deal" is a fiasco.  This related point is obvious, but it still needs saying:
We cannot imagine a worse signal to send to Iran as it continues its push for a nuclear weapon.
Naw, really?

Art History Nerd Fun: Identifying the Artist

This is hilarious.  The last one made me laugh out loud.

Molasses Morasses

I knew this headline from Honolulu reminded me of something.  A similar sticky mess happened in Boston in 1919.  Yuck!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Tweet of the Day: Garry Kasparov on Syria

The Russian chess master, human rights advocate, and opponent of Putin has been on Twitter speaking his mind, and he's not happy:

In Soviet Russia, Cards Play You

And, boy, have we been played.  Ugh.  The craptacular Russian deal on Syria is now officially a thing.  I don't even know what to say.  

What a total mess.  Hell, a fictional Starfleet engineer knows more about diplomacy than the clowns that we've seen lately:

How Assad will now regard any attempt to stop him:

Meanwhile in the Kremlin, this is the look on Pooty-Poot's face:

And this is what is happening to America's standing in the world:

Oh, and this is me ... and maybe you too:

Quote of the Day: Mark Steyn on Putin

Pretty much, yeah:
Putin has pulled off something incredible: He’s gotten Washington to anoint him as the international community’s official peacemaker, even as he assists Iran in going nuclear and keeping their blood-soaked Syrian client in his presidential palace. 

Putin vs. Obama in Images

You know, waaaay back in early August, before the Syrian fustercluck had really happened, Iowahawk said something that I think is well worth repeating now that we've seen how Putin played Obama like a fiddle and completely outmatched him.  At the time the tweet was mostly just a sassy quip.  Now it's not so funny, is it?

Buzzfeed just did a brutal photo comparison of the two doing photo-ops, and well, here it is, kids, because it makes Iowahawk's tweet all too concrete.  Yeah, Buzzfeed is evil and stupid and likes to steal images and links and stuff, but it just might say something about Obama's plummeting level of "cool" that even a silly, often-juvenile outfit read by undergrads who like celebrity gossip and puppies does this:


Unfair?  Maybe.  But not necessarily untrue in what the comparison says about the public image and reputation of these two.  I never drank the Obama Kool-Aid, so I'm looking around at colleagues and former Kool-Aid drinkers now surprised and increasingly appalled at the sort of empty suit they elected to office not just once but twice while preening in their own self-righteousness as they did.  Now the whole thing has blown up in our collective faces.  Shocker, eh?  The Putin thing is unspinnable, no matter how hard the White House spin doctors try.  Obama aside, this is bad for the country ... and everybody who thinks a world dominated by the likes of Russia, China, and Iran would be a Very Bad Thing.  Shall we end with a bitter laugh?

Great Moments in Research: Academics Launch Fake Social Media Site to Study Chinese Online Censorship

Hey, for once the "Great Moments in Research" tag isn't being used sarcastically.  This is fascinating.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hello Kitty Monstrosity of the Day: Hello Fruit-Flavored Beer


If you're morbidly curious, here's a review by some poor sap who actually tried this.

Trollin' Trollin', Trollin'

A thought occurred to me that this might be some kind of a first in the annals of political rhetoric on insulting one's own audience.  See: On Tuesday Obama gave a weird, incoherent speech that managed to insult both the Right and the Left (according to him, apparently I care only about "military might" and not a whit for anything else).  Then the very next day on Wednesday Putin writes an op-ed that trolled the entire nation.  So, gentle readers, we've been trolled twice in two days by the heads of state of two different countries.  Gee, I can't wait to see what happens today, and it's only Thursday.  I CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS WEEK TO BE OVER. 

UPDATE: Well, I had to ask, right? Right on cue ...  Troll du jour is of course Assad himself, now making conditions about "giving up" his chemical weapons.   

Quote of the Day: The Russian "Deal"

Oh boy.  From former State Department official Robert Joseph, who a decade ago helped negotiate Libya’s agreement to give up its nuclear and chemical weapons:
“I don’t think for one moment that the Syrians will give up their chemical weapons stocks. They will say they will give it up and they will play the game to undercut any support for a military strike. But they will then start to put conditions on verification and on the foreign presence in Syria.  Soon, they will start in with Israel; demanding that Israel’s nuclear weapons be put on the table. All of this will lead nowhere for the United States — exactly where Damascus and Moscow want it to go.”

Life Imitates Satire: Putin in the New York Times

Wait a minute: Did Putin seriously write an op-ed ...  in the New York Times ... on the anniversary of 9/11 ... mocking American exceptionalism?  Putin who famously runs around shooting tigers and wrestling polar bears and doing all that "look at me" macho-man BS to make himself look exceptional?  (While also persecuting gay people and girl punk bands?)  Is this real life or is this fantasy?  Caught in a landslide ... no escape from reality ... Whaaaaaaaaaaat? 

This is, I think, only the beginning of the fallout from the Syria-Russia fiasco.  I repost the image I made on that day.  Thanks to the Obama Administration's utterly incompetent handling of Syria that has made the president an international laughingstock, I think we'll all be getting a lot more use out of it in days to come.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Syria Speech

I'm sorry. I'm watching this thing, but I cannot take this unserious man seriously.  The content of this speech is so much rhetorical fluff and filler.  His mouth is moving, but I can't hear a bloody thing over the sound of How Idiotic This Administration Has Been For Days.  This is CYA BS meant to cover up the unbelievable clusterfark that this has become.  This sucks.

Well, at least this craptastic speech was short.  Ugh.  Here, you can enjoy Stephen Green's drunkblogging of it.

UPDATE:  The speech in a nutshell:

Syria In Images

It's gotten to the point that I can no longer find polite words necessary to discuss the Syria fiasco, which seems to get more insane by the second.  So I resort to images.

How the Obama Administration thinks it's doing:

How the media will try to present this to the public as some kind of Obama victory:

How I'm feeling:

A video bonus, since someone has now called this "Monty Python's Flying Damascus."
Look, at this point you either laugh or you cry.

Nerd Analysis: Putin and Syria

Historian Arthur Herman ponders the Putin deal, which he sees as a poison chalice:
The deal may save Obama from embarrassment but it makes America look weak. ...
Even more, this Putin deal undoes 40 years of a US policy of keeping the Soviet Union, then Russia, out of a major role in Middle East affairs. Ever since the Yom Kippur War every American administration has recognized that no peace or stability is possible in the region if it becomes an arena for Great Power competition between the US and Russia. This isn't the place to summarize the why and hows of that policy; but what Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon achieved and we've sustained ever since, has been completely undone by the Obama team over the last four years, especially in Syria.  
This Putin deal puts the seal on that reversal. Iran, Israel, the Saudis, everyone who doesn't read the New York Times will know: Russia now calls the shots. And when Russian personnel flood the country, ostensibly to monitor chemical weapons, and the Russian naval base in Tartus is finished, and we do nothing, it'll be the biggest stand down by a Western power in the Middle East since Suez.
This isn't going to end well.

Quote of the Day: Cereal Killer

Why, yes, let's make our already-ludicrous "case" for striking Syria even more ludicrous by infantilizing it with this metaphor:
"A second senior official, who has seen the most recent planning, offered this metaphor to describe such a strike: If Assad is eating Cheerios, we're going to take away his spoon and give him a fork. Will that degrade his ability to eat Cheerios? Yes. Will it deter him? Maybe. But he'll still be able to eat Cheerios."
Cheerios?  Silverware?  I guess the only up side is hoping that metaphorically Assad then stabs himself with the fork.  Or something.  What the hell is wrong with these people?  From the beginning, the Syrian mess has been characterized by folks from the president on down saying the stupidest things imaginable within earshot of ... oh, everybody.  

Let this be a lesson to you, my darlings: THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK. THEN THINK AGAIN.  AND A THIRD TIME BEFORE YOU OPEN YOUR TRAP. Remember that timelessly relevant axiom: "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

Speaking of ... Obama is giving his speech tonight.  

Monday, September 09, 2013

LOL: Great Military Quotations, Obama-Style

The historian in me is really tickled by this, especially by "I came, I saw, I dithered."

Now For Something Cute: Dog Scores Goal

Need a break from foreign policy debacles?  Try this:

Life Imitates the Onion: Kerry's "Unbelievably Small" Strike

SERIOUSLY?  Geez, I need to stop paying attention to the Unserious Syrian Silliness because our so-called leadership is apparently patently full of officious incompetents.   You'd have to have a heart of stone not to laugh (bitterly).  OK, let the song play in your head but with these new and improved lyrics!

World of Warcraft In-Joke Surprisingly Applicable to Syria

Quip of the Day: PR Problems

Sunday, September 08, 2013

I Would Have Totally Named Him "Higgs." Or "Hadron."

I'm not even kidding.  Here's a snapshot of the proud papa.  Congrats!

Quirky Asia Files: Ceremonial First Pitch, South Korean Style

Ki Bo-bae is an Olympic archer.  So, really, what did you expect when you asked her to throw the first pitch, right?

My all-time favorite, though, has got to be this one.  She's a rhythmic gymnast, people!

Quote of the Day (Non-Syrian Edition): Chinese Dream

The always-readable View From Taiwan blog notes this thought by a Sina Weibo user:
“Taiwan is a place where the people call the shots.  National leaders there must make decisions that reflect the values of individuals in society, rather than simply corrupting and oppressing vulnerable groups.  In Taiwan they’ve protected Chinese culture, human rights and freedom of speech. ... Why in the world would the Taiwanese people ever want to return to the motherland?  The Chinese Dream is actually in Taiwan.”

How About More Security Cooperation For Taiwan & Japan?

Something to think about. Note this observation too:
"Together or independently, both governments have an obligation to pursue domestic and international options to fill legitimate defense needs, if the U.S. is unwilling to provide."

Syria: Thoughts and Quotations

A few quotations instead of an actual personal essay because your humble hostess needs to finish her schoolwork before she can watch football:

Saturday, September 07, 2013

One Last Day of Sea and Sand

Summer's almost done, but this is a good warm weekend, so let's enjoy it with a hilariously tongue-in-cheek music video of a fantastic song:

From Russia With Love

That was better as a James Bond flick than as Putin's latest move.

Syria: Is A Weak Strike Really Better Than None?

This writer in the WaPo thinks so, and though that is certainly open to debate, he does acknowledge this: "The president created this sour choice between an inadequate strike and no strike. It is a choice between a bad option and a less bad option."  Well, DUH, he created this PR mess by basically ad-libbing us into a war and then flailing around about it both at home and abroad, embarrassingly abroad.  

Notice that in the weak strike/no strike/bad choice/worse choice thinking, "a meaningful strike that actually serves a larger strategic purpose" doesn't really enter into the calculus.

Say "G'day" To Australia's New Prime Minister

Tony Abbott crushes Labour's Kevin Rudd in a landslide.  I'm finding this especially interesting because people kept saying he was "unelectable."  Here's an electoral map showing results.  Rudd had looooong since been having issues with the great Australian public, heh, even before the whole let's-mutiny-against-Julia Gillard business a while back.  As for Abbott, I'm very cautiously optimistic, and I'm liking what some of his first words are:
"From today I declare that Australia is under new management and that Australia is once more open for business."

Friday, September 06, 2013

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Yup, last night in the season opener the Denver Broncos pretty much shredded the Baltimore Ravens, and Peyton Manning (love him or loathe him, you can't ignore him now) appeared to have achieved some kind of crazy apotheosis.  So in honor of the new season, here's something fun for all you football fans:  Deadspin's hilarious explanations of Why Your Team Sucks!

I'm openly rejoicing that now there's football to give us all something to talk about besides the increasingly maddening Syria debacle.  Mama needed a break, OK?  But if I had to pick a moment from last season to be a metaphor for the Obama Syria mess now, then without hesitation I give you this immortal play by (who else?) the New York Jets and Mark Sanchez:

Mind-blowingly stupid and astoundingly incompetent in ways we'd never even dreamed of, it might be classified as leading from (the) behind, ha.  FUMBLE.

Couch Potato Chronicles: Libertarian "Firefly"?

Thoughts on one of my favorite TV shows ever.

Quote of the Day: Linguistic Lunacy

"So farcical have the linguistic games become that we have reached a point at which Congress is being instructed that, Assad having crossed a red line that the executive branch didn’t set, it must accord the executive branch the permission that it doesn’t need to start a war that isn’t a war."

Friday Fun Video: Cookie Monster and Delayed Gratification

Well, how delightful! Tom "Loki" Hiddleston stops by "Sesame Street."  That means cookies for Cookie Monster and eye candy for me!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Great Moments in Research: Thanks, Captain Obvious!

The idea that countries are less likely to engage in war with each other today than in the past has been argued by a number of academics in recent years, including Harvard University psychologist Steven Pinker, author of the 2011 book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined
The new study, presented last week by Ohio State University professor Bear Braumoeller at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, challenges that idea, finding that states are no less violent today than they have been through history.
It depends on the states involved, doesn't it?  I mean, the First World socialist-democratic nation-states of the EU aren't going to start literally massacring each other any time soon, but all bets are off if we're talking about rogue states, intrastate sectarian violence, or, even more messily, non-state (trans-state?) entities run by bloody-minded obsessives.  

Satire Alert: The Onion on Syria and Congress

I can't tell the difference between the Onion's fake news and actual reality anymore.  Here's the headline: "Majority of Americans Approve of Sending Congress to Syria."

LOL: Rosh Hashanah + Daft Punk = Holiday Hilarity

From a delightful Jewish friend of mine, here's a video that's gone viral in Israel ... and now everywhere:

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Foreign Policy Imitates Pop Music Titles

So apparently Putin just called John Kerry a liar ... but one who lies "beautifully." Well, OK, then!  At least these folks are easier on the eyes than either Putin or Kerry, eh?

Eradicating Syria's Christian Communities

A friend of mine who has lived in Syria suggests this article by a history professor.  Some 10-15% of the Syrian populace are Arab Christians, who are already under assault by jihadists.  Here's a sobering thought:
So here is the nightmare. If the U.S., France, and some miscellaneous allies strike at the regime, they could conceivably so weaken it that it would collapse. Out of the ruins would emerge a radically anti-Western regime, which would kill or expel several million Christians and Alawites. This would be a political, religious, and humanitarian catastrophe unparalleled since the Armenian genocide almost exactly a century ago.
I should add, though, that I do not agree with the professor's lumping Israel's military arsenal in with those of other chaotic or rogue regimes of the Middle East.  Apparently even in lamenting the dire straits of Syrian Christians, some people just can't help lobbing a shot at the Jewish state too.  But that's another blog post.

Now For Something Incredibly Cute

All this talk of foreign policy fiascos is deeply depressing, isn't it?  Let's take a break with a kitten that has an "off" button:


Quote of the Day: Libya as Exemplar

That's just great:
As world attention focused on the coup in Egypt and the poison gas attack in Syria over the past two months, Libya has plunged unnoticed into its worst political and economic crisis since the defeat of Gaddafi two years ago. Government authority is disintegrating in all parts of the country putting in doubt claims by American, British and French politicians that NATO’s military action in Libya in 2011 was an outstanding example of a successful foreign military intervention which should be repeated in Syria.
"Lawlessness and ruin," as the article describes the place.  Ugh.

You Didn't Set That Red Line. Somebody Else Made That Happen.

You seriously expect us to buy this?  COME ON.  This is the age of YouTube.  We've all seen the footage of you making the worst ad-libbed statement in recent foreign policy.  Pfffft.   This attempt is cynically obvious about its own pusillanimous intent.

Blurred Lines.

So what to make of this?  Hmmm:

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Amusing Tweet Du Jour

Quirky Asia Files: Getting From Point A To Point B

It all just makes me want to stay home, ha!

Meanwhile In Egypt

The Egyptian air force has reportedly hit jihadists in Sinai.  Just a reminder that there's a lot more going over in the Middle East than Syria and Obama's incompetent international psychodrama that has monopolized the media of late.

Word of the Day: "Kafkatrapping"

Heh.  More here (by the way, I am Model T all the way, babe).  

New York City From 1836 to 2013

Check this out!

Big Pharaoh's "Complete Idiot's Chart to Understanding the Middle East"

Big Pharaoh's a long-time Egyptian blogger (and tweeter), and this pseudonymous wit has come up with the fittingly, deceptively named, and only partly tongue-in-cheek chart that the WaPo ran a few days back.  If you haven't had a chance to look, take a gander:

Even Big Pharaoh himself admits that it's incomplete and he's constantly having to add to it.  I have to say too that there aren't enough red lines directed at Israel, but perhaps hating Israel is taken so for granted that it's not even necessary to note the fact.  Since the "USA" means for all intents and purposes "the Obama Administration," it should really have green lines going in every direction possible, y'think?

Satire Alert: Coordinating Schedules

This is satire, but only just barely, given the unbelievable, mind-boggling incompetence going on in DC:
Dear Syria: 
An update on your impending bombing: we are waiting for Congress to come back into session and hoping to work out our autumn schedule at that point. 
With the NFL season kicking off in earnest on Sunday, September 8, and series premieres rolling out through most of the month, scheduling your punishment is not going to be easy. We thought we had an opening on September 20 but Secretary of State Kerry refuses to DVR Shark Tank
While we’re on the topic of scheduling, if you had it to do over again, would you have scheduled the gassing for mid-August? I mean, seriously, do you guys vacation? Do you have any idea how hard it is for our government officials to look stern and judgmental against the backdrop of a yacht club? 
Anyway, our indignation at you gassing your own people hasn’t faltered, blah blah blah. A carefully-measured, congressionally-approved (fingers crossed) response awaits you. We’ll send a scheduler. 
President Barack Obama

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Taiwan: Driving In The Rain

This happened yesterday in the Old Country in Keelung. Wait for it ...

In Praise of the Onion


Quote of the Day: War and Therapy

This whole Syria debacle is turning out to be a huge pain in the Assad:
War used to be the pursuit of politics by other means. Today, if the statements made by the Western politicos and observers who want to bomb Syria are anything to go by, it’s the pursuit of therapy by other means. The most startling and unsettling thing about the clamour among some Westerners for a quick, violent punishment of the Assad regime is its nakedly narcissistic nature.  
... Easily the most notable thing in the debate about bombing Syria in response to Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians is the absence of geopolitical considerations, or of any semi-serious thought about what the regional or international consequences of dropping bombs into an already hellish warzone might be. Instead, all the talk is of making a quick moral gesture about ourselves by firing a few missiles at wickedness. In the words of a Democratic member of the US Foreign Affairs Committee, there might be ‘very complex issues’ in Syria, but ‘we, as Americans, have a moral obligation to step in without delay’. Who cares about complexity when there’s an opportunity to show off our own moral decency? 
All the discussion so far has focused, not on the potential moral consequences of bombing Syria, but on the moral needs of those who would do the bombing.
Hell, there's not even a clear objective here.  This is supposed to be satire, but I can't really discern the difference between its substance and the actual expression of purpose from the Obama Administration.  Can you?

Oh, I can't help adding that Brendan O'Neill wins the palm of hono(u)r from me for riffing on Carly Simon as he lambastes the Syria bombification fanboys: "They’re so vain they think someone else’s war is all about them."