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January 31, 2005

It is truly a great day for Iraq and all the freedom loving people in the world

From Iraq the Model, on today's elections:

The first thing we saw this morning on our way to the voting center was a convoy of the Iraqi army vehicles patrolling the street, the soldiers were cheering the people marching towards their voting centers then one of the soldiers chanted "vote for Allawi" less than a hundred meters, the convoy stopped and the captain in charge yelled at the soldier who did that and said:
"You're a member of the military institution and you have absolutely no right to support any political entity or interfere with the people's choice. This is Iraq's army, not Allawi's".
This was a good sign indeed and the young officer's statement was met by applause from the people on the street.

The streets were completely empty except for the Iraqi and the coalition forces ' patrols, and of course kids seizing the chance to play soccer!

Congratulations to the more than eight million Iraqis who put their lives on the line to say no to terror, hate and intolerance. You should all feel very proud of what you have done, both for the Iraqi nation and for the world.

January 31, 2005 at 02:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 30, 2005

Al Jazeera is not pleased...

It is a great day for all Iraqis, and a terrible day for Al Jazeera.  Here is how their english homepage characterized the early Iraqi election reports:

Al Jazeera's take on the Iraqi elections

January 30, 2005 at 05:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 29, 2005

Cautious optimism

I am cautiously optimistic about the prospects for tomorrow's elections in Iraq. I suspect that surprisingly high percentages of Kurds and Shiites will vote, rendering the participation of Iraq's non-Kurdish Sunni minority moot. (Most Kurds are Sunnis, but not ethnic Arabs.)

We shall have to see how the international press spins the story, but judging from this morning's CBS News coverage (featuring a surprisingly bad looking Dan Rather in Baghdad), the conclusions should follow along usual partisan lines. It was striking, comparing Fox's upbeat, "dawning of a new day for democracy" coverage versus CBS' grim, almost apocalyptic tone. Someone else will have to explain to me how America's liberals maneuvered themselves into a position where they are secretly (or not so secretly) hoping for anti-democratic terrorists in Iraq to prevail.

In the end, however, the only editorial opinion that will matter are those expressed by the Iraqi's themselves. Insha' Allah, they will be encouraged by the results.

January 29, 2005 at 01:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 25, 2005

Fallujah Milblog

Want to know more about what really happened in Fallujah? Read this, and the rest of the posts in this blog, by a US Army tanker who fought in the battle for Fallujah.

Hat tip to an anonymous post on the NY Craig's List Rants and Raves board.

January 25, 2005 at 11:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The perils of blogging in Iran

Today's LAT has an interesting piece by Megan Stack profiling Hanif Mazroui, one of the 20 or so Iranian bloggers arrested by the Mullahs in last fall's crackdown on internet dissidents.

The article also mentions (and links to) a personal weblog by former Iranian Vice President Mohammed Ali Abtahi. His blog is pretty interesting, though it appears that he has been forced to remove his comments about the presidential commission investigating the torture and mistreatment of the arrested journalists and bloggers, at least from the English language version of his website.

January 25, 2005 at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 20, 2005

More evidence of Europe's cultural superiority

Check out the new Romanian pop group "O-Zone" that is sweeping the charts in Europe... (Link to low quality screen capture of original silly video here.) Here are some links to, umm, creative interpretations of their latest hit single, Dragostea Din Tei:

Hat tip to the American Digest.

January 20, 2005 at 09:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 19, 2005

Proof of Syrian and Iranian Interference in Iraq?

You would think that this MEMRI translation of a taped interview with the Commander of Saddam Hussein's "Army of Muhammad" confessing that his group had received military and financial aid from government sources in Iran and Syria would have received at least some attention from the MSM. The interview was broadcast on an Iraqi TV channel based in the UAE last Friday, but I have yet to see anything about it in the western press. Here is an excerpt:

. . . Many factions of the resistance are receiving aid from the neighboring countries. We in the Army of Muhammad - the fighting has been going on for almost two years now, and there must be aid, and this aid came from the neighboring countries. We got aid primarily from Iran. The truth is that Iran has played a significant role in supporting the Army of Muhammad and many factions of the resistance. I have some units, especially in southern Iraq, which receive Iranian aid in the form of arms and equipment."

Interrogator: "You're referring to units of the Army of Muhammad?"

Muayed Al-Nasseri: "Yes. They received money and weapons. As for other factions of the resistance, I have reliable information regarding the National Islamic resistance, which is one of the factions of resistance, led by Colonel 'Asi Al Hadithi. He sent a delegation to Iran from among the people of the faction, including General Halaf and General Khdayyer. They were sent to Iran in April or May and met with Iranian intelligence and with a number of Iranian leaders and even with Khamenei."

"You mean they personally met with Khamenei?"

Muayed Al-Nasseri: "According to my information, they met with him personally, and they were given one million dollars and two cars full of weapons. They still have a very close relationship with Iran. They receive money, cars, weapons, and many things. According to my information, they even got car bombs."

The interview goes on to describe official aid from Syria, beginning during the latter part of 2003.

January 19, 2005 at 07:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Your tax dollars at work...

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) evidently develops online games for kids, including this bizarre Tsunami-themed game. Be sure to check out their homepage, which features Herman, FEMA's spokescrab. (Hat tip to popbitch.)

January 19, 2005 at 06:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 18, 2005

Mountains vs. Molehills in Cambridge

Harvard President Larry Summers' intellectual honesty has gotten him into trouble with the PC police again. Apparently, Summers -- speaking last week at an off-the-record conference on "Diversifying the Science & Engineering Workforce: Women, Underrepresented minorities, and their S&E Careers" sponsored by the National Bureau of Economic Research -- had the temerity to discuss several possible causes of the numerical underrepresentation of women in a talk on a possible "research agenda" to study the issue.

According to a report in the NYT by Sam Dillion, Summers cited several possible causes for women's underrepresentation, including the conflict between child rearing and the time demands of an academic career and a possible biological link between differences in men's and women's test scores in standardized math tests. It was this latter hypothesis that prompted Prof. Nancy Hopkins of MIT to walk out. Here was how Hopkins explained her actions to the NYT:

When he started talking about innate differences in aptitude between men and women, I just couldn't breathe because this kind of bias makes me physically ill.
Hopkins, who apparently has made something of career in advancing the cause of faculty diversity, is co-head of MIT's Council on Faculty Diversity, one of the founding members of MIT's Committee on Women Faculty, and a member of MIT's Academic Council, which serves as the President of MIT's cabinet. As a scientist, she should understand the difference between raising a hypothesis to guide further research and making an argument for a specific conclusion. As an adult, she should also learn to take a deep breath and remain calm. Surely raising the question that there may be some link between biology and sex-based differences in test scores is no reason to walk out of an academic discussion.

Yesterday, Summers issued a statement clarifying his position on the issue saying, in part:

I am deeply committed to the advancement of women in science, and all of us have a crucial stake in accelerating progress toward that end. In the spirit of academic inquiry, my aim at the conference was to underscore that the situation is likely the product of a variety of factors, and that further research can help us better understand their interplay. I do not presume to have confident answers, only the conviction that the harder we work to research and understand the situation, the better the prospects for long-term success.
Fortunately for Harvard, Summers is too self-confident and bull-headed to allow this kind of bogus furore to influence him. Semper fi, Larry.

January 18, 2005 at 12:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 14, 2005

You know you're getting old when . . .

. . .  Rock stars start dying from natural causes:

January 14, 2005 at 09:55 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack