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Thursday, March 03, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging 

Speakers!



And I promise next time I'll have some fresh Speakers pics or perhaps even (gasp!) another cat.

And by "promise" I mean something like "if I get around to it and/or remember." And by "another cat" I mean a dog.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

RIP Bubba 

The very important headline of the day?

Bubba the Leviathon Lobster Dies at Zoo

Apparently this lobster weighed upwards of 20 pounds and was estimated to be at least 30 yrs old and possibly as old as 100.
Bubba will be examined to try to figure out why he died, although Capp and Wholey guessed it may have been the stress of being moved.
Who gives a shit why he died? Eat that big, tasty motherfucker!

Who's Your Daddy - Egypt Style 

Following up on this post on the possibility of emerging democracy in Egypt, I just read an interesting article from The Guardian that ties in Mubarak's democracy announcement with another flaunting of the traditional Egyptian status quo - a woman's filing of a paternity suit and its apparent acceptance by the government.

Kevin's comments to the last post summed up my gut reaction to Mubarak's statements pretty well:
It was either Leiter or Juan Cole who noted that Egypt is going to allow multi-party elections, but only officially approved parties can participate. This means parties with actual popular support will be kept out of the elections. Hopefully this is a baby step in the right direction but it might also be a way to coopt the notion of free elections without actually making and progress. Sigh.
Here's the post by Cole to which Kevin refers.

But the Guardian article gives me a little shred of hope omre than I had before because this announcement appears to be coinciding with a general liberalizing trend in the country. These elections may be cover, but if it'sthe symptom of a positive trend, I'm willing to be happy about that.

Congratulations... 

...to my friend Ian Roberts (of Probative fame) on the revelation that his family will be one person bigger in the coming months.

I know he's excited...and I'm excited for him.

Reactionary Yugguns 

I got this in my inbox this morning:
The YCT (Young Conservatives of Texas) have organized an "Immigrant Hunt" for this Wednesday, March 2nd on the West Mall on campus-- they have reserved the space
from 11:00am-1:00pm.

They recently organized a similar event at the University of North Texas.

This time around they plan to wear color-coded anti-immigrant shirts and "hunt for immigrants" who will be YCT-ers dressed in brown for Latina/os, yellow for Asians, etc. and offer rewards.
Here's the site with pictures from that UNT event.

Is it me, or is the College Republican/Young Conservative community getting a little more brazen than they used to be. I guess having your ideological peers in power can light a little fire under one's ass.

But should someone let them know that W. is on the other side of this issue? Maybe this is their way of calling attention to the issue and their disagreement with the leadership of their side of the political spectrum. But if that's the case, why design the protest to be so offensive that it would be politically harmful for anyone with any power to even pay it heed?

I'm not going to harp on the fact that this event is offensive. I'm not a PC warrior and I'm glad that the Young Right is paying enough attention to the Young Left to coopt the practice of theatrical protest. It's a hell of a lot more entertaining than watching a bunch of virgins march around with pictures of aborted fetuses.

Oh. And for the record, I'm not a member of YCT. I took this bit of text from an e-mail calling for a counter-protest.

UPDATE:

I've heard a rumor that the YCTers will be handing out Taco Bell gift certificates to the "winners" of the "hunt."

For those of you who don't know, that's a rather clever dig at the campus lefties who have been protesting against Taco Bell for some time now because they apparently use slave labor (or next to it) to pick their tomatoes.

Is it just because I sit on the left side of things and see things from that angle that I find so much of the "protest" activities of the young right to be more reactionary and vindictive (as opposed to actually attempting to change something "for the better" - which depends, of course, on one's perspective)? I'm really curious.

CLARIFICATION: What I mean is that protests like this from the Young Right seem to me, as a leftist, to be more "nanny nanny boo boo, your values suck" than "here are our values and we will support them."

Monday, February 28, 2005

Democracy Promotion 

I had a post a while ago criticizing the Administration for being a little less excited about the democracy promotion part of their democratization program than they are about the "bombing shit" aspect of their democratization program.

Well, there's been some (at least apparent) gaining of ground in the democratization game. Egypt's Hosni Mubarak announced last week (click the link...it's a personal goal of mine to get to the point in life where I can speak in front of that kind of backdrop to a world audience) that he would be allowing actual contenders to run against him for president.

Then yesterday, the protestors in Lebanon apparently applied enough pressure to convince the pro-Syrian government to resign en masse from their hold on power.

Both of these things are announcements of things that have not actually happened yet, but it would be a little overpessimistic not to see them as steps in the right direction generally.

What do I think about these developments? I don't know enough to make any really informed judgments, but I will make one broad stroke that applies to Iraq as well. What if democracy means Islamic law? Egypt is, despite flaws, a relatively (relative to Iran, etc.) secular state. Would it be an improvement if truly free elections led to the installment of a theocratic regime?

I think that as long as there is some constitutional limitations on power and assurances that the government can change over time, this would not necessarily be a bad thing. In other words, if the Islamic state was nonpermanent and could be changed by vote, that's just democracy in action. But what of the decision of some Iraqi politicians to support enshrining Islam in the constitution?

More questions than answers, but hope underlying it all. The events in Lebanon are especially compelling and inspiring, even though the agenda of the protestors aside from "Syria out!" is rather shrouded in uncertainty.

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