Monday, May 9, 2011

The Morning Blog

As the Pakistani opposition calls for resignations following the raid that claimed Bin Laden, arguing that it represented a critical failure to protect Pakistan's sovereignty (which I think is correct), the foreign minister has come forth to denounce claims that Pakistan was either incompetent or complicit in the war on terror. It's pretty much what you'd expect. However, I'm confident in saying that it marks the first time in history a Pakistani has been compelled to use the phrase "being in cahoots".

The Economist looks to the ultimate failure of Bin Laden here:

More than that, Mr bin Laden’s desire to murder his way to salvation has at last aroused widespread disgust among Muslims. After al-Qaeda slaughtered Shia and Sunni Muslims in their thousands in Iraq, even fellow jihadis began to condemn his doctrine of takfir, under which radicals took it upon themselves to declare other Muslim apostates and kill them. According to a poll by the Pew Research Centre, confidence in Mr bin Laden in the Palestinian territories has fallen from 72% in 2003 to 34% now. In Jordan it is down from 56% to 13%.

His death by the way, has also sparked a proposal to expand our ridiculous, humiliating security theater to trains. If you think for one moment that this won't shortly be applied to Greyhounds as well, you simply haven't been paying attention. Remember when the argument was "If you don't want to deal with the security at the airport, you can travel some other way"?

You may recall the assertion during the Bush administration that warrantless wiretaps were necessary to fight terrorism because precious intelligence could be lost if courts refused to sign off on bugs. How many warrants were approved last year by this famously obstinate court? All of them. It doesn't bother me so much that the Bush administration fabricated a ludicrous claim to justify violating constitutional claims to privacy. What bothers me is that these violations are clearly, and systematically allowed. The purpose of requiring a warrant is to give the courts the opportunity to fulfill their duty to protect citizens from an obtrusive government. This shows conclusively that they are utterly failing in this.

Speaking of warrantless surveillance... In the event you'd like to give in to your inner paranoiac, here's a helpful how-to.

The Arab Spring heats up. This is a good example of the ultimate threat of authoritarian regimes, I think. They are first of all, inherently finite. They simply can't last forever. While they persist though, sectarian gripes that would have normally been resolved through normal, civil processes are simply suppressed. When that suppression is removed, they inevitably explode (See: Iraq).

Sneaking across the border? There's an app for that.

The CME Group which manages many of the commodity exchanges in the country has taken steps to burst the bubble of silver prices. There's been a ripple effect felt across other commodity markets such as crude oil. On a personal note, I have quite a bit of silver and frankly, was quite happy with the bubble the way it was, thank you very much!

Your daily dose of genius. I have to confess, sometimes when I read the writings of the VERY, VERY SMART about the inner workings of cosmology and the strange, strange nature of reality itself, I can't help but wonder if sometimes they aren't just making it up as they go along? Sometimes it all just sounds like a feverish pot dream.

Fun with Google Translate: Chasseur de tetes.

And fun for your iPod! New York sounds like...

I am so sick of these political teases. I wish they'd just throw their hat in the ring already, so I can start mocking them in earnest! Anyways, fabled amphibian Newt Gingrich has prolonged the pussy-footing by announcing that he will announce an announcement concerning the presidency eventually. That's what you want in a leader! Decisiveness!

Interesting example of the Butterfly Effect I think: A dispute over an 8 year old boys passport may have ramifications on the foreign policy powers of the President.

In other citizenship news, Haitians living abroad that have accepted citizenship from other countries may be able to get dual citizenship. Why someone would want to be Haitian eludes me but hey guys, have at it.

A number of Imams recently met in Charlotte to discuss islamophobia. Sadly, they had quite a bit to talk about.

It's just after Mothers Day and she likes him so...Mom Bait: Happy Birthday to a miserable, old ass.

Photos of the Day. No animals were harmed in the making there of.

Well, now I understand why I didn't get one for my birthday.


A life of Swedish minimalism. It convinced me that La-Z-Boys truly are the pinnacle of design.

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