Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Democratic Dorkiness

Politics: One of the reasons the democrats are losers in so many left leaning eyes is their bizarre grandstanding that is so GOPesque in style and substance. Why on earth do real democrats care that the Iraqi Prime Minister calls Israel an aggressor given that it is attacking indiscriminately en masse right now in a far disproportionate manner than it was attacked? Here's a passage from the CSM:

... US Democrats are calling for a boycott of the speech to Congress Wednesday by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki after he recently denounced Israel's raids on Lebanon and Gaza. Last week Mr. Malaiki said it was time for "the world to take quick stands to stop the Israeli aggression." Maliki has also refrained from giving his opinion about Hizbullah.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said unless Maliki "disavows his critical comments of Israel and condemns terrorism, it is inappropriate to honor him with a joint meeting of Congress."

What on earth does this mean? Condemn terrorism? He does that everyday. Maliki has virtually the same opinion, if not one even more tame, than Kofi Annan. This is an obvious and calculated ploy to make Republicans look bad to their base.

While we're chatting about todays events -- I have some friends in the military who state it is very unlikely that a targetting mistake is made. An errant missile, that's possible, but selection of targets is checked, and re-checked, and checked again. I highly doubt the US didn't deliberately hit the Chinese embassy back during the Kosovo campaign, and I highly doubt the Israeli's didn't hit the UN on purpose. For what reason, I don't know. The Israeli's are hardly in love with the UN.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Al Gore's Movie: An Inconvenient Truth

Movie Review: We saw the new Al Gore movie last night. I admit, I am in a similar category to most folks I know - I believe global warming is happening, that it is bad, and that I can't really do too much about it. I highly recommend this movie, not only does Gore paint an undeniable reality, but it is truly shocking. And what is more shocking, is that society is not far more shocked given the looming disasters. I was really moved, and feel compelled to action, but have no idea what to do. Recycling and driving less just don't seem to cut it.

I'm also one of those people who assumed Gore was a wooden robot who inspired a bit too much to be president; I was, however, moved by Gore's passion and steadfast persistence on this issue despite becomed mocked as "Ozone Man" by our lovely leader of mass cranial prowess. Here's a classic quote from W on the campaign trail in 2000: "This guy is so far out in the environmental extreme, we'll be up to our neck in owls and outta work for every American."

The website referenced in the movie is:

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Paradise Lost by Robert Fisk on Lebanon

Politics : An absolutely moving article about the destruction of Lebanon I encourage everyone to read by Robert Fisk called Paradise Lost in The Independent. Here's a rather large snippet:

For 30 years, I've watched this place die and then rise from the grave and then die again, its apartment blocks pitted with so many bullets they looked like Irish lace, its people massacring each other.

I lived here through 15 years of civil war that took 150,000 lives, and two Israeli invasions and years of Israeli bombardments that cost the lives of a further 20,000 of its people. I have seen them armless, legless, headless, knifed, bombed and splashed across the walls of houses. Yet they are a fine, educated, moral people whose generosity amazes every foreigner, whose gentleness puts any Westerner to shame, and whose suffering we almost always ignore.

They look like us, the people of Beirut. They have light-coloured skin and speak beautiful English and French. They travel the world. Their women are gorgeous and their food exquisite. But what are we saying of their fate today as the Israelis - in some of their cruellest attacks on this city and the surrounding countryside - tear them from their homes, bomb them on river bridges, cut them off from food and water and electricity? We say that they started this latest war, and we compare their appalling casualties - 240 in all of Lebanon by last night - with Israel's 24 dead, as if the figures are the same.

And then, most disgraceful of all, we leave the Lebanese to their fate like a diseased people and spend our time evacuating our precious foreigners while tut-tutting about Israel's "disproportionate" response to the capture of its soldiers by Hizbollah.

I walked through the deserted city centre of Beirut yesterday and it reminded more than ever of a film lot, a place of dreams too beautiful to last, a phoenix from the ashes of civil war whose plumage was so brightly coloured that it blinded its own people. This part of the city - once a Dresden of ruins - was rebuilt by Rafiq Hariri, the prime minister who was murdered scarcely a mile away on 14 February last year.

The wreckage of that bomb blast, an awful precursor to the present war in which his inheritance is being vandalised by the Israelis, still stands beside the Mediterranean, waiting for the last UN investigator to look for clues to the assassination - an investigator who has long ago abandoned this besieged city for the safety of Cyprus.

At the empty Etoile restaurant - best snails and cappuccino in Beirut, where Hariri once dined Jacques Chirac - I sat on the pavement and watched the parliamentary guard still patrolling the faade of the French-built emporium that houses what is left of Lebanon's democracy. So many of these streets were built by Parisians under the French mandate and they have been exquisitely restored, their mock Arabian doorways bejewelled with marble Roman columns dug from the ancient Via Maxima a few metres away.

Hariri loved this place and, taking Chirac for a beer one day, he caught sight of me sitting at a table. "Ah Robert, come over here," he roared and then turned to Chirac like a cat that was about to eat a canary. "I want to introduce you, Jacques, to the reporter who said I couldn't rebuild Beirut!"

And now it is being un-built. The Martyr Rafiq Hariri International Airport has been attacked three times by the Israelis, its glistening halls and shopping malls vibrating to the missiles that thunder into the runways and fuel depots. Hariri's wonderful transnational highway viaduct has been broken by Israeli bombers. Most of his motorway bridges have been destroyed. The Roman-style lighthouse has been smashed by a missile from an Apache helicopter. Only this small jewel of a restaurant in the centre of Beirut has been spared. So far.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Ameen's Show is Coming Up

Art, Life: Ameen's show is coming up for those who don't know. The reception will be Saturday, August 12, 6-10 P.M. at Gallery 6311. Her paintings are amazing and the show will consist of entirely new work. The images are primarily street scenes from our recent trip to Punjab. Mark it on your calendars!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Whistler Fun

Life: We just got back late Sunday night from a fun week up at Whistler. It was so nice to spend a week just lounging and mountain biking. I was thrilled to be able to take my new bike out for a week of bonding. Nayan had a blast too - usually he misses home, and mentions it a few times when we're away. Not once did he mention home, and when it was time for us to leave, he started crying. I also spent some days with Nayan in the mini bike park near the skate park. He had a blast. There's a bunch of dirt mound rollers that he would ride up and over and occassionally fall, and cry. I'd suggest perhaps they were too big, and he'd say between sobs, "but they're too fun, I can't stop..." On one occassion, I turned around and he was staring down a 10 foot wall that drops into a half pipe. I pointed at him and ordered him to get down. Next thing I know, he took the only slightly less crazy route, and wound up flying through the air and landing on his face in a pile of boulders. I realized my perspective as a father is so different on bike crashes - more fear, less laughing. Turned out he bounced up like a rubber band and while wailing that he never wants to ride his bike again, was able to ride home fine with no scars lasting more than a couple hours.
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