Monday, May 16, 2011

The Morning Blog

In the wake of yesterdays alleged sexual assault of a New York chambermaid, another woman has come forward to accuse Silvio Berlusconi....Sorry, Dominique Strauss-Kahn of rape. Strauss-Kahn is apparently known by the nickname "The Great Seducer" in his native France (granted, that's a coup for any economist and certainly more dignified than "Bunga Bunga"). The article notes quite possibly the most obvious observation of the day:

But attempted rape charges are far more serious than extramarital flings and could do far more damage to his reputation in France and abroad.

Thanks for clearing that up Yahoo News...

Sarah Bait: Speaking of the dirty French...The show Top Chef Canada will be doing a challenge featuring some traditional French fare. Careful: If not prepared properly, eating it can lead to the galloping trots.

What can one say about the sectarian violence in Egypt other than that it was probably inevitable? It's fantastic that Mubarak is gone, don't get me wrong. But it's silly to think that all of the sectarian passions he kept bottled up in the country would depart with him.

In which a woman named Slaughter argues for the death penalty for dictators. This comes as prosecutors at the Hague have requested arrest warrants for Qaddafi. I think it's misguided to be honest. Do some dictators deserve to be put to death? Of course. But if this sort of penalty is on the table, what are the odds that they will ever be convinced to abandon power through peaceful means?

The Arab Spring comes to Israel. It was only a matter of time. It's sad that countries like Syria are yet again, using Palestinian grievances to distract from their own internal problems. Notably, Hamas police is Gaza did what they could to stop protesters from reaching the Israeli border. I'd like to think that this is a sign of their willingness to work with Israel as part of a responsible coalition government with Fatah. I'd also like to believe in Santa...Sigh, we must live in hope.

Sen. John Kerry is in Pakistan discussing our relationship in the wake of the Bin Laden raid. Some thoughts: I really do think that this is basically diplomatic sabre rattling. As much as we might loath the Pakistani government and as little as we trust them, we really do need them. We can't conduct the war in Afghanistan without their supply routes. And if that means aid or rather: bribes, then so be it. That said, as soon as that war "ends", we'll have little reason to maintain ties. That brings me to my second thought: Given the massive amount of aid Pakistan receives in exchange for its efforts fighting terrorism, why on Earth would it want to see this source of revenue dry up? Their incentive is to do just enough to keep things from spinning out of control but certainly not enough to end their local insurgencies.

John McCain lays into Bush apologists defending the use of torture. He effectively savages the idea that torture led to the raid on Bin Laden. Anyone get the sense that now that he's not facing the pressures of running for President, he's free to be honorable once more?

It raises the question of course, why is the government continuing to use the State Secrets Doctrine to hamstring lawsuits over the use of torture?

Have to give it to the Taliban: Even Steve McQueen didn't figure out a way to make a profit during his Great Escape.

Good luck, Sweet Mickey. I think things can only get better for Haiti. Considering that they weren't even able to keep the lights on during his taking of the oath of office, he's certainly got quite a bit of work to do.

Pictured: Shocked.
Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa is shocked....SHOCKED! over allegations that Colombian terrorist group FARC has been funding his election campaign. He's gone so far as to offer to take a lie detector test to prove his innocence, something that's certainly more convenient than addressing the mountain of evidence showing links between him and FARC as analyzed by a UK think-tank.

Speaking of terrorists, I have to confess that I'm completely baffled by the resurgence of violence by IRA off-shoots. Can anyone clear this up for me? Seriously, it's been decades since there were any problems. What's the beef here? Is Ireland running out of protest folk songs and just needs some new material?

Maybe they're just furious over their handy defeat by Azerbaijan. Hey, congratulations Azerbaijan! I don't know that I'm going to get to say that again, any time soon so...Well done!

2012 Watch: So long Huckabee. Conor Friedersdorf makes a modest proposal asking that the media reign in its coverage of candidates until they actually commit. It's not a bad idea. It would certainly give lesser known candidates a chance at greater coverage if they announced early. If nothing else, it would prevent the massive time waste that is coverage of joke candidates like Trump.

I think this is definitely good news but I'm going to make an awful pun about it anyways: Former ball boy announces he's gay. In all seriousness though, should the fact that there are homosexuals involved in sports surprise anyone? It's an industry like any other, employing human beings like any other. Inevitably, some of them will be gay. Finally, though I hate to traffic in stereotypes it's pretty clear that gay men are far more obsessive about working out than straight men. They're the ones with the muscles. Is it really any surprise that they'd be competing in sports? This sort of thing is long in coming.

Interesting piece on the role of oil speculation in the price you pay at the pump here. The good news: There's plenty of oil. The bad news: It's already been bought.

You think you've got problems...

You'll put your eye out!

End of an era. I'm really disappointed that the shuttle program is ending. I can't believe that henceforth, our astronauts will be reliant upon Russian claptraps to get into space.

Not that it's going to matter...In case you haven't been following news of critical import, the Rapture is scheduled for Saturday. Way to ruin everybody's weekend, God! I know that there's not much time to get ready but I would urge everyone to go shopping at once! You'd don't want to meet your maker wearing without some proper formal wear. Get something nice for the event.

Not that anyone's going anywhere.

As far as other dates go, we can expect to be completely out of money on August, 2nd. I imagine that it will be awkward for people from Rent-A-Center to show up at the White House and take back the TV.

Oh for the love of...Let's just file this one under Protect the Children! and never speak of it again.

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