Archives for December, 2006
In a cramped jail cell in Alexandria, Egypt, sits a soft-spoken 22- year-old student. Kareem Amer was sent to prison for over a month for allegedly "defaming the president of Egypt" and "highlighting inappropriate aspects that harm the reputation of Egypt." Where did Amer commit these supposed felonies? On his weblog.
If the Alexandria prosecutors' standards of censorship were applied in the United States or Europe, thousands upon thousands of bloggers would be behind bars. The basic right of individual free expression is sadly not respected in today's Egypt. Yet the authorities' decision to jail an obscure student for his writing reveals a larger struggle for free speech playing out between dissident bloggers and state prosecutors across the Middle East.
For decades, the region's dictators maintained a monopoly on public information. Newspapers, radio stations and television broadcasts were nearly all state owned. These regime- controlled media outlets toed the government line, maligned political opponents and blocked critical voices. By inverting the watchdog role of the press - in which journalists question, investigate and expose - what should be a critical independent institution was instead transformed into a mouthpiece for regime propaganda.
Yup, it's that time of the year again. Everyone's on holiday and getting in that last bit of holiday cheer in before they adopt (and then forget) New Year's resolutions and get back to the grind of work.
The inevitable list-making has begun. We'll start with movies today.
I've compiled a few different lists of the top movies of 2006. Agree? Disagree? Tell us which ones were your favorites and which ones we should stay far, far away from.
Salon: Cinema to Savor (watch a short ad for site pass)
Rolling Stone: Best and Worst of 2006 Movies
via About.com: American Film Institute (AFI)'s Best Films of 2006
Time Magazine: 10 Best Movies of 2006
LA Times: Best of 2006 by Kenneth Turan
The Bush Administration has acknowledged that polar bears are endangered by the melting ice caps, even though global warming isn’t happening. Well, OK, maybe it’s happening, but carbon dioxide emissions aren’t causing it. The Bush Administration says so.
While the geniuses in Washington work on this problem, do your bit and adopt a polar bear today.
So Billo isn't completely wrong...just 60 years late. What's next? Will the FBI find hidden symbolism in the Leg Lamp that proves it to be a giant liberal plot against gun control? The Grinch is actually code for godlessness and higher taxation?
Wise Bread: FBI Considered "It's A Wonderful Life" Communist Propaganda (h/t Hugh J.)
I love It's a Wonderful Life because it teaches us that family, friendship, and virtue are the true definitions of wealth.
In 1947, however, the FBI considered this anti-cosumerist message as subversive Communist propaganda (read original FBI memo).
According to Professor John Noakes of Franklin and Marshall College, the FBI thought Life smeared American values such as wealth and free enterprise while glorifying anti-American values such as the triumph of the common man.
[..]Naturally I want to get to the bottom of this. I don't want to become an anti-consumerist, especially when our Commander in Chief has decreed that it is our duty as Americans to do more shopping.
So I fired up "The Google" and dug up the original FBI report just to make sure Professor Noakes was right. The original document was a bit hard to read so I transcribed it for your reading pleasure (I did this for free, maybe I am a pinko).
On "This Week,' with George Stephanopoulos, HuffPo's new political editor, Melinda Henneberger, joined ABC National Security Correspondent Jonathan Karl and columnist George Will to discuss the politics of the surge and the very despicable Virgil Goode. Melinda did a fine job representing the blogosphere. She calls Virgil Goode a bigot (OK, that was an easy one) and tabs Gore's movie about Global warming the most important story of the year. (Pick your own.)
However, George Will once again just can't help himself from eating a good helping of zombie brains before he goes on the air. He tries sooo hard to sound sooo much smarter than everybody else that I got bored and almost missed it.
Will: Baghdad is the problem and while we debate what to do in Baghdad, the Shiites are changing the facts on the ground in Baghdad through incremental---not at all stealthy---rather rapid ethnic cleansing. So we may get a monochrome Baghdad out of this which would be ahhh, sad, but perhaps tranquilizing.
Monochrome and Tranquilizing? Is he fraking kidding me. You don't need Will's thesaurus to understand how sick and twisted that statement was. The insurgents are slaughtering hundreds of people (did he expect them to kill a little stealthier?) at a time and he calls the outcome of that display of savagery as having---a calming effect...You know--I wonder if George Will has ever looked in the mirror?
(the clip goes out of sync at the very end. My apologies. I'm trying to take off, but they keep pulling me back in.)...
I had a few C&Lers email this story to me with allusions to Paul Wellstone. Certainly, British Airways' statement hasn't helped.
British Airways blamed poor lighting at Miami International Airport for a commercial jet overshooting a runway with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his family aboard, but airport and federal officials said Wednesday that the lights were fine.
British Airways Flight 209 from London hit some airfield lights after it landed around 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, but it did not leave the pavement and it reached the gate under its own power, airport officials said. No injuries were reported.
British Airways spokesman John Lampl said the pilot stopped the 747 at the end of the runway because he couldn't see the lights to the taxiway.
"Apparently they're doing some resurfacing work and relighting, so the lighting was poor," Lampl said.
But airport spokeswoman Lauren Stover said the lights were working fine.
"There was absolutely no construction on the runway," Stover said. Read on...
That's the actual NY Times headline. (reg. req.)
How sad is it that this would be considered a printable news item? I know that the conventional wisdom during the elections was that Bush was the kind of guy you'd want to have a beer with (which to my mind is the lamest standard to have for the highest office in the land, but I digress). Does that necessarily translate into wanting someone as Commander in Chief that you'd be surprised to learn reads the news? Sorry, but that's really taking anti-intellectualism to a whole new low. (h/t JR)
Is there hope for newspapers after all? Readers may be abandoning the printed versions, but over the last couple of years, at least one person seems to have started reading them, at least sometimes. He lives in the White House.
President Bush declared in 2003 that he did not read newspapers, but at his final news conference of the year last week, he casually mentioned that he had seen something in the paper that very day.
Who said this and why is she here?
We need to work together to support the programs that will help women choose life, and I think we need to be open to a new dialogue on this issue....read on
Then read this too...
When I first read this headline, I thought that either I missed all sorts of parties when I've been in Europe or there's a group of Spaniards who haven't slept since 1982. Apparently, the War on Drugs is being fought there and here, and it looks like the drugs are winning.
A study says 94 percent of all euro bank notes currently in Spain have traces of cocaine on them because of their use in drug trafficking.