Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pirate Season Beginning, Angry Arab, RNC and Phone Sex

Gail Collins
David Broder
John Avlon
"Did you hear about this? President Obama, big surprise visit to see the folks in Afghanistan. Did you read all about that? That's kind of exciting. It turns out he was shooting an episode of 'Undercover Boss.'" –David Letterman

"This was an important meeting. Both presidents agreed that we have to work to wipe out terror networks. Get rid of terror networks, like Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Fox News." –David Letterman

"Obama demanded more accountability. He said we got to have more accountability, we got to have a crackdown on corruption; we have to have a better government. And he said if it works in Afghanistan, we're going to try it back home in the United States." –David Letterman

Now that spring is here, it means good sailing in the waters of the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, which brings the dreaded Somali pirates out swarming the seas like a hive of infuriated wasps. Since January they already have attacked 37 ships and have hijacked 7 of them, and are holding 143 crewmen hostage. Recently, an American warship captured a pirate mothership and skiff in the Indian Ocean, and a Turkish Navy ship captured a skiff with 9 Somali pirates out on a raid.

One result of this very real paranoia is the drastic rise in expenditures on maritime security by the Arabic Gulf states. Added concerns over the future security of offshore oil platforms, especially by Saudi Arabia, is causing them to: "spend billions of dollars on naval equipment, ranging from ships to unmanned drones." Yes, the boys are shopping for new toys...
"In terms of percentage growth, the Middle East and North Africa actually leads the world naval market. The focus is on capabilities that can give you the anti-piracy, anti-terrorism sorts of missions."

In addition to buying up smaller, maneuverable Corvette type ships, as built by the British Navy. Many countries are now trying to manufacture their own, and we may soon see a spike in Arabic armaments beyond the infamous IED explosive devices. India has its own navy, and South Korea sees a market niche where they can excel. Of course, there is always the danger that some extremist groups will end up with their own manufacturing base and make their own arms like they do in other parts of the world, but then they would be in competition with Iran...
Congratulations to my friend the Angry Arab for being in the top twenty rated pro-Islamic sites by Britain's anti-terrorist service. The implication is that they are also pro-terrorism, anti-Western, jihad-promoting sites as well. I have linked to his site for over a year, and he is certainly not pro-terrorist at all. Like any secular Muslim who lives and teaches in the United States and once was married to a Jewish woman, his relationship with both the East and the West is complex. He is against corruption, politicians who lie and spread their own agenda no matter what country or religion they belong to. He angrily points out the hypocrisy in the news, and passionately cares what goes on in his native Lebanon and surrounding areas. To think that he is pro-terrorist is laughable, and this was pointed out in a blog published in al Jazeera:. "The third blog on the list also raised some eyebrows, if not led to laughter of irony. The Angry Arab blog is written by As'ad Abukhalil, a Lebanese-American professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus, and visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley.


According to statements he has made on his blog, he is a self-proclaimed atheist and secularist. Abukhalil, who has regularly written for Al Jazeera, said that the Ricu study "shows the ignorance of Western government and their media standards". "Arabs and Muslims are treated like a monolith with no distinctions and delineations permitted to categorise them," he said. Just as the colonial powers treated them as a lump of people, they are still seen that way."
"Designating Angry Arab as a leading Islamist site full of incitement to would-be jihadists would have been laughable had the subject not been one of life and death for so many of Britain's targets in this one-sided war,"
Personally, I love it that there are people out there who are grumpier than I am, and I value their differing opinions that make me think. Keep up the good work, As'ad...

phone sex with michael steele...
The Republican National Committee just can't get a break, they continue on making stupid. As related in Politico: "The Republican National Committee sent a fundraising mail piece earlier this month with a return number that leads to a phone-sex line offering "live, one-on-one talk with a nasty girl who will do anything you want for just $2.99 per minute." At the bottom of a piece designed to resemble a census form, a toll-free number is listed next to the national party's address.


A voter in Minnesota received the mailer and called the number intending to complain about the attempt to raise money with a form that looks like a government document.


But the Minnesotan was instead directed to a second toll-free number that greets callers as "sexy guy" before offering them the chance to talk with "real local students, housewives and working girls from all over the country."

Fallout from this and recent fiscal revelations that the RNC approved $2000 for a visit to an upscale bondage-themed strip club last month, has had Sarah Palin asking that they take her name off of an upcoming fund-raiser, and Tony Perkins, head of the anti-gay Family Research Council, telling its members not to donate any money to them. Bummer, dudes...

china, china...
China has a lot worse problems than fake bribery trials, recycled cooking oil in its restaurants, and illegal manufacturing short cuts. Recently, the bodies of 21 babies were found in bags labeled as medical waste and dumped into a river. From the NY Times: "The bodies of 21 babies were found in plastic bags in a river in northeast China, state media reported Tuesday. The bodies, some in bags marked “medical waste,” others with hospital identification tags on their toes, were recovered Sunday and Monday from a river in Jining, a city in Shandong Province. The authorities said at least 15 bodies appeared to be of aborted fetuses or infants who had died at Jining Medical College Hospital, state media said. Hospital officials could not be reached for comment."

I will also bet that that most of the aborted were girls, adhering to a long held tradition that girls are worthless to a family. In rural areas of China many families still will kill their firstborn if it is a girl... I remember a few years ago when it was a scandal in the US, finding medical waste bags with used syringes and actual medical waste that had washed up on the beach, and were traced back to individual doctors, but this kind of incident is obviously much worse, and will probably be buried by the Chinese government, even if an investigation is actively pursued... thank God I don't have any pictures for this, and yet it is stories like this that will be censored by the authorities if people try to look for it in their homegrown search engines...

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