Thursday, September 27, 2007

Licensed to Drive?: Saudi Women Behind the Wheel -- on TV, Anyway

Hassan Fattah, a Times reporter that doesn't always annoy me, has written an interesting piece on the quiet movement for Saudi women's right to drive. Well, as long as men are allowed to, women should be allowed to as well, obviously. Hm. Here in the US, it might be a better place if ONLY women were allowed to drive.

But honestly, I think that the 'right' to drive is much like the 'right' to be in the military: ultimately destructive to humanity. *All* of our rights to drive should probably be more limited than they are -- and public transportation should be more prioritized.

Says the guy who grew up three blocks from the Ford Motor Company's first factory. In fact, growing up I also saw many an mhejaba* behind the wheel of a minivan. Ah, globalization...

*woman who wears a hejab

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

So are we waiting for the glowing '666' to appear on some general's forehead, or what?

I was first made aware of this story by the AP* via (yes I read them -- they are to be ignored at our peril!). The above is an aerial photo of a US Navy barracks complex in San Diego. I couldn't make this stuff up. Apparently it's been standing there for like 40 years...

The advent of googlemaps and satellite photo, though, have made this image more widely available. And the military honchos are feeling the heat. Taking a bold, courageous moral stand, one official said "We don't want to be associated with something as symbolic and hateful as a swastika". I like the syntax there, as if the swastika's symbol-ness is as bad as its hatefulness. But anyway. Amidst a public outcry, the Navy will spend $600,000 to change the shape of the complex. That's fine -- money that could be going to a warship going to make things look less Nazi-ish. But how much do we have to pay to have the US government stop *acting* so Nazi-ish?

*I'm pissed, BTW, at the AP. Their usually relatively responsible reporting has been leaning to the far right on Iran for some reason. The Associated Press has perpetuated the "wiped off the map" lie about Ahmadinejad (using quotation marks no less!) numerous times in the past week or so.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Very Much Worth Watching: Ahmadinejad Schools Bush/60 Minutes on war (and Katrina!)

Well, as I type, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is at Columbia University. New York is in an Islamaphobic frenzy right now. Kudos to Columbia for holding their ground.

I actually tussled once with the University's President, Lee Bollinger, back when he was Prez of UMich. The issue at hand was the sweatshop conditions under which "U of M" gear was being made. We ended up occupying his office and he ended up adopting many of our demands, though he pulled underhandedness along the way and wussed out on things he didn't need to wuss out on. Thank God his backbone seems to have grown firmer since those days. And thank God many New Yorkers are insisting on the importance of free speech. But it disturbs me that even most liberals are willing to let the racist demonization of Ahmadinejad stand. The "he's a monster, but even a monster should be allowed to speak" camp.

Not that I love MA. I just don't think he's any more of a monster than Sharon or Sarkozy or Bush or Cheney or Bill Clinton or Musharraf or Blair or... You get the idea. The Leaders Of Men tend to be sleazy and violent.

Anyway, Ahmadinejad, before leaving Iran, gave an interview on 60 Minutes.* This reporter sucks. And I don't mean Anderson Cooper- or even Wolf Blitzer-level sucks. I mean Bill O'Reilly -level sucks. But Ahmadinejad's responses are cutting and hilarious. At one point, he's like "You're like the CIA here! This isn't Guatanamo! This isn't Abu Ghraib! This is Iran! I'm the President, Bitch!!"**

*Apologies, but the video link is on some cornball conservative's site. Better than making y'all sit through a commercial, though.
**OK, so I added the "Bitch", but it was there, hanging in the air, unspoken...

POSTSCRIPT: CNN has some highlights of the Columbia talk. Notable:

- U. Prez Lee Bollinger's insulting treatment of MA -- how bizarre that I sat across a bargaining table from the guy and saw that same smug wealthy white man posturing!

- MA's ominous, disturbing comment "we don't have gay people in Iran". Right, dude. Not only are there gay Iranians, there are apparently enough gay Iranians to suppot a whole webiste called!