Saturday, May 27, 2006

Brangelina Baby BORN!

Ladies and Gents, Kings and Queens, Bums and Bagladies -- this is the post you've awaited so very very long (well, since you discovered the pregnancy about five month ago) It's finally here...

Yup, while you were away living your anonymous lives, the so-called most gorgeous baby in the world (though only a handful of people have seen it as yet) was born on the night of 27 May in Namibia to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt...the little girl was named Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt and it's gonna have a damn good life!

In media terms, this is a great story not just because the main characters are two very attractive, successful young people who have found love and created a family (the Jolie-Pitts already have two adopted children, 4-year-old boy Maddox and toddlerette Zahara) but because it's a tale of modern love, complete with bravery, passion and, oddly-enough for a couple of wealthy Hollywooders, compassion (you know, adoption, UN ambassadorships, architecture for humanity, etc...).

They met on the set of the film Mr and Mrs Smith and became friends nearly two years ago (Brad swears that though he had developed an emotional involvement with Angelina, it didn't go further than that till he had ended his relationship with ex-wife Jennifer Aniston and she says she believes him). Once Brad's divorce was finalized, he initiated the process of adopting Angelina's kiddies and -- bet you didn't know this -- both she and Brad legally changed their last names to Jolie-Pitt at this time. Wow. Moseying along down lover's lane, the Jolie-Pitts got pregnant and nine months later we have a happy little family with everything but a marriage certificate to seal the deal. These people are doubtless going to entertain us for some time to come. First stop: the multimillion dollar photos of the newborn sprout...cLiCk!


Genghis Rock

When I was little, my aunt used to tell me the savage stories of Changiz Khan -- the Mongol leader who tore through Asia and into Iran, tilting chidren's heads back and cutting out their tongues with his sword. He didn't just kill, she would tell it, but would brutalize -- women, children, pet dogs and goats -- anything in his way. I would imagine him at his bloody task, perhaps even incapable of stopping himself since, as I supposed, his fingernails were long, sharp claws like the chang in his name so says (chang is Persian for 'claw'). Of course Iranians would pass down such tales of this warrior -- whether his brutality is true or not, there is no doubt that he ravaged Iran in his path of domination and the conquered rarely look favorably upon the conqueror.

For the Mongols, however, Changiz (or the English spelling, Genghis) was a hero, a God (there exists a cult in Mongolia that worships him) -- the greatest Mongol ever to have lived. So naturally, like another Asian god, Freddie Mercury, a rock opera has been made in his honor. "He was a good husband, a good son, and a good friend and I wanted to show him that way," says one of the makers of this opera. Hmmm...I don't know about the rest, but if by "good husband" you mean a man who slept with so many women that today, according to a scientific study, 1 of every 200 men in the world can trace their genetic material back to him -- then, well, I guess the Mongolians have different standards for their menfolk.

Nonetheless, if you happen to be in Mongolia in the near future, it sounds worth a peek, if only to bask in the moshpit of a man who knew how to use his weapon. Ahem...


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Enwrong: Guilty as Charged

(logo source:

Nearly 5 years, 5,600 jobs, and over 60 billion dollars of fraud later and the accounting scandal that was Enron has finally come to rest: the verdict is Guilty. Like many of the grandest criminal acts of the last 5 years, Enron had something to do with rich ol' Texans and their penchant for screwing over as many people as they can get away with. And, as with the Bush League's other disreputable national and global enterprises, Enron was all about energy -- you know, stuff like building natural gas pipelines in enemy territory. C'mon people -- let's get those creative juices flowing! This is getting way too predictable.

On trial were founder Ken Lay (The kind of stubby, squinty, bald guy who proves that money just can't buy happiness. Or looks.) and his greasy sidekick former CEO Jeffrey Skillling. The charges? Well, bribery (involving the kind of political muscle a Texas President could exert for ya?), insider trading, falsifying accounting records, money laundering, securities and wire fraud (the seemingly paltry charge Skilling was convicted of today), and a number of other illegal business practices -- all of which Lay was found guilty of. Sentencing, bizarrely enough, is set for September 11th -- surely a reminder to all terrorists to maintain honest accounting practices, if nothing else.

Does this mean there is justice in the world? If you wish, but mostly what it means is that Bush has the lowest approval rating in Presidential approval-rating history and throwing a couple scraggly buddies behind bars couldn't hurt the voting curve. Yee-haw!

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Tea Party for Iran

Today's the big party, folks. The Security Council members (US, France, UK, China and Russia) as well as a now acceptably conservative (though headed by an obesely freckled Cabbage Patch doll) Germany (they missed out on being on the Security Council after that whole World War II fiasco -- remember that?) have gathered together for tea and crumpets and a little Iran bashing in London today.

UK: One lump o two, Francey deah?
France: Eu! You soo-praz me Angleterre.
UK: One lump it is, mown amee. No dieting fo frogs, is theh?
Germany: Ooh! Ooh! Bitte, gif me ze extra lump. Lumps reemynt me of wieners! (licks fat freckled lips)
China (whispering to Russia): Hoh! Dey ah peegz dee Westahnahs...
Russia (whispering back to China): I egree. Sleep me deh braid besket -- no lines today!
US: Hey! What the hell's going on over thire? I ordered cahffee lak tain minutes ago!

Yes, today the countries who make decisions for everyone in the world are holding their tongues to bear each other's company long enough to decide how to subordinate that loud-mouthed Ahmadinejad. Wonder what'll come of it? Well, as we know, these people usually get what they want, so barring some unfortunate instance of sanity, Iran will be given a more-serious-than-the-last-time ultimatum, or, as predicted before, be slapped with a healthy dose of sanctions. Crumpets anyone?

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Ripping Iran Apart

(the cartoon that sparked today's Azeri riots in Iran. The children are yelling "roach! roach!" See for more info)

Why would this story make it to the Reuters wire? Well, for the same reason that similar stories depicting so-called ethnic unrest amongst Kurds, Azeris, Baluchis, Jews, even Sunni Muslims in Iran have taken a center stage in Iran coverage over the last year. (Never once do these reports mention that minorities actually have it quite good in Iran, a nation established, from the beginning, by a vast array of ethnicities and the first nation to produce a charter of Human Rights that included specific sections on equal rights for ethnic and religious minorities. Not to mention the fact that the Supreme Leader himself is an Azeri Turk.)

It is no secret that the UK and the US are thrilled at the prospects of divvying Iran along ethnic lines and have actively included this potentially cancerous issue into their Iran agenda over the past year, at least. US Senators and their UK counterparts have held subcommittees, meetings and various open-forums discussing (i.e. encouraging) civil unrest in Iran. The previously normal level of minority dissonance is without a doubt a key platform for splitting Iran at its seams.

It is astoundingly arrogant to imagine ethnic divisions in someone else’s country when your own country teems with such problems to such an extent that racism is nothing less than an open secret. In the UK, a significant political party whose primary platform is that England is "for the White British working class" is rapidly gaining ground in elections. And in the US, one need look no further than that wellspring of reality, hurricane Katrina (and its ugly racist aftermath) to see an accurate picture of a racism that has lain dormant under the not-snow-white skin of that society for nearly 4 centuries.


George W. Bonobo

It seems it is now time to put to rest the joke comparing George W. Bush to primates, well, not completely, of course, since he is still chimp-like in his appearance, after all. However, new research indicates that, unlike the Georges bushius slowbrainicus, some apes such as the bonobo and orangutan are capable of forward planning. That would exempt the slowbrainicus as it has proven repeatedly that it is not capable of planning ahead. Apparently, these apes are capable of projecting their future needs by, for example, storing tools for later use and then actually remembering to use them when the need arises (shocking, I agree). In Bushspeak this would be comparable to having a plausible plan for the reconstruction of a nation that has been preemptively attacked, preventing the further destruction of our enviroment, or, simply, planning to chew a pretzel before actually stuffing it into one's mouth. Sadly, the slowbrainicus is prematurely evolved (perhaps this is why it is so against the theory of evolution) and this function is not within its brain capacity.


Monday, May 22, 2006

Early Early Funny

American television produces a right load of crap on a regular basis -- even the most entertaining and successful shows out there are devoid of anything that resembles goodness or kindness. In fact, the main attraction of American television is an unrelenting meanspiritedness that is only diminished by a pervasive selfishness. Show after show exalts these two less-than-commendable qualities in characters that are often amongst the most popular on the show. Think Scrubs with Dr Cox, Will and Grace with Karen, or Desperate Housewives with, well, any one of the main characters, really.

And then, out of nowhere, NBC has proferred what appears to me to be the very first successful tv show not only starring a goodnatured character but with its main theme as being good to other people. It's shocking and I didn't believe it first, but My Name Is Earl is not only honking-out-loud hilarious, but truly feelgood television. The whole show is about how Earl wins $100,000 in the lottery and decides to make right with karma by rectifying a long list of all the terrible things he's done in his life. Jason Lee has a provocatively expressive face, not to mention a cool approach to acting that totally embodies what anyone would expect of a guy called 'Earl.' His co-star Ethan Suplee (remember that huge guy from Mallrats that spent the whole film trying to identify the picture in the computer-generated poster?) is the perfect sidekick for a show about hicks who rise above us all.


Dying in Afghanistan

Apparently, unbeknownst to the most of us, the southern part of Afghanistan is due to be handed over to NATO sometime in July (which serves to explain why in recent weeks 10-50 people are being killed there daily. Or not.). What a shame it is indeed that there exist no actual peacekeepers in the world because the so-called ones, just like soldiers in a war, go to foreign lands and instead of strengthening communities and bringing stability, they end up intimidating people in their own neighborhoods, creating further divisions and instilling hatred. They are, in essence, hostile invaders rather than kindly visitors. Just think if all this energy and funding were spent to send people to foreign lands to meet new people, to learn about their way of life and to nurture an environment of appreciation and respect. Obviously, governance and the military have very little to do with thinking, let alone with bringing peace.


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Bush Speak English Now

Finally, we get to hear it from the horse's mouth -- El Prezidentay says Americanos need to speaka the English. This coming from a man whose own command of the language is pobre at best (just ask that little Latina girl he's reading the book to, above)'ve all seen it before, but here're a few more recent samples of Senyor Bush's ivy-league linguistics:

"I aim to be a competitive nation." San Jose, Calif., April 21, 2006
Yes, yes you do, you megalomaniacal worm-digger.

"If the Iranians were to have a nuclear weapon they could proliferate." Washington D.C., March 21, 2006
Don't worry Georgey, the Iranians have been proliferating a lot in the last 27 years -- they've managed to double their population in this
time -- tell that to Alberto Gonzales!

"I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the Secretary of Defense." Washington, D.C. April 18, 2006
Nah isn't that sweet! Georgey's learned a new word. But you're pronouncing it wrong darl, it's di-vi-der.

"I strongly believe what we're doing is the right thing. If I didn't believe it — I'm going to repeat what I said before — I'd pull the troops out, nor if I believed we could win, I would pull the troops out." N.C., April 6, 2006
Tell us more about your belief system -- it's faskinating.

"I believe that a prosperous, democratic Pakistan will be a steadfastpartner for America, a peaceful neighbor for India, and a force for freedom and moderation in the Arab world." Bush mistakenly identifying Pakistan as an Arab country,
Islamabad, Pakistan, March 3, 2006
'Yup, there's a whole lotta Ay-rabs in Pack-istan. Heck there's a whole lotta Ay-rabs everywhere and I'll be damned if I let them proliferate much more'n this.'

"I like my buddies from west Texas. I liked them when I was young, I liked them then I was middle-age, I liked them before I was president, and I like them during
president, and I like them after president."
Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 1, 2006
And we can't wait till you're after president. That'll be good times.

Let's not end this post without mentioning the obvious: the United States government is now officially frightened to death of Hispanics. I guess decades of depending on trailer park reproduction as a means of maintaining a White majority has simply failed -- los Latinos just do it better. C'mon Jorgito! Your Attorney Heneral Alberto Gonzalez could have told you that -- what with being the 2nd of eight children and having three little hijos of his own. Can't hide that under your cowboy hat Bertito!


Friday, May 19, 2006

Saudi Ya Like That?

Looks like the US's second biggest (pun intended) ally in the Middle East has one more thing in common with it: obesity. Apparently, "about 52 percent of Saudi Arabia's men and 66 percent of women are either obese or overweight." Yes, those overflowing robes of modesty are overflowing for a reason. Well, what do you expect of women when they are never even taught physical education in school because, among other dangers, the girls "might become attracted to each other after seeing their classmates in tight leotards and tops". Women can only take walks in restricted outdoor areas or shopping malls (sound familiar? the Mall of America even has special opening hours and statistical information for its MallStars!). Adding further fat to the waistline, it is considered imprudent for women to seek physical education in gyms or other public exercise facilities. Hmmm, maybe the Saudis are onto something here: keep the women fat and they won't want to wear anything but XXL abayas. Way to enforce religious fundamentalism...


Thursday, May 18, 2006

The United States of Mexico

It might be fair to say that wars won and lost are legitimate -- a habitual pattern of human history that is often reversed over and over again. Lands are obtained, power is exerted and then lands are regained and power is lost. But it's also fair to recognize the record of history. Large segments of the Middle East, the Mediterranean, the Central Asian Republics, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India were once part of the Persian Empire -- this is significant because people's lives were impacted by these conquests and the residues of linguistic, cultural and religious practices are now part of the fabric of these peoples' lives, long after the conquerors have themselves been conquered. The point being that people nonetheless carry on existing and the mere act of being conquered does not erase them from the face of the planet.

How many people know that nearly 1/4 of the present-day United States, 23.6% of its current land mass -- including the resourceful states of Texas, California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah -- was once part of Mexico? How many Americans know that? The farcical headlines about border control between these two nations highlight a severe deficiency in America today, and as far as I can tell, in America from day one: a seemingly innate ability to ignore human history. The first Americans (read: British settlers) cared not a pittance for the natives of that vast and bountiful land they'd found themselves in possession of. Thanksgiving is not a celebration of mutual neighborliness, but rather a misrepresentation of these settlers' concessions to the natives during their first bitter winter in that frontierland. The natives were kind and helpful and taught the settlers how to feed themselves in this land during that first dangerous frost. The Americans accepted their kindness and returned it by killing most of them off.

The best solution to the serious shortcomings of American life, society and culture is a massive increase in population. If Americans had more neighbors and more proximity with other humans, so many of their problems which are increasingly rooted in their isolationist mentality, would be resolved, domestically as well as internationally. Europeans aren't more civilized than Americans, they're just more comfortable interacting with people because their countries are so tightly knit. The US is, after all the world's 3rd largest country according to land area. With an inhabitable land mass of 9,631,418 square km and a population of only 298,754,511 -- that calculates to a population density of 31 people per square kilometer. Compare that to Bangladesh where there are 1002 people per square kilometer or Italy where there are 194 people per square kilometer. Even the US's greatest ally, England (it's good to see these two friends again after all that fuss over the 1776 War of Independence) has 384 people per square kilometer.

Thirty people per square kilometer might even seem extensive to anyone who's ever driven through Montana where the number is probably closer to three. It can't possibly be in anyone's interest to have vast breeding grounds of isolationist ignorance -- none of whom, by the way, are doing a great deal of breeding anyway. The best and fastest way to increase the US population is through immigration, something that, in moral terms, the US intrinsically owes to the rest of the world, having achieved such heights (or is it depths?) in making other countries so uninhabitable that their citizens not only leave but escape with hopes of never having to return.

The problem is, the Mexicans are making their own immigration decisions, without consulting the US government which prefers to dole out Green Card Lotteries of its own choosing in order to regulate immigration patterns. But if the US is so adamant to prevent Mexicans from crossing the border, or to control immigration overall, it should stop destroying the economies and societies of other nations so that their citizens will not be forced to leave. At the least, it needs to recognize the patterns of human history and be more welcoming to the very people who may one day conquer it.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I Don't Think So

Maybe these European negotiators were banking on 'ilunga' -- the Congolese word meaning "a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time." But Ahmadinejad is stopping short of that: "We won't be bitten twice," he said to the Europeans today.

Ahmadinejad has rejected a package offer (I wonder if it's wrapped in pretty paper with a big pink bow?) from the Europeans (aka. Britain, France and that overgrown cabbage patch doll's Germany) which was meant as an incentive for Iran to ensure them (ie. the US) that it would give up its uranium enrichment program.

But Iran was no longer in the market for European negotiations having seen how it was stabbed in the back the last time it played nice and backed off the nuclear program. "Do you think you are dealing with a 4-year-old child to whom you can give some walnuts and chocolates and get gold from him?" Hmmm, in place of 'gold', Ahmadinejad should have said 'oil' and instead of '4-year-old child' he should have said 'idiot'.

Yes, this charade of so-called international diplomacy stumbles on as all the while the real proof that the world is a lawless frontierland bellows in the background: Iraq still looms.



Well Folks, you saw it here first, though I must admit I'm surprised there haven't been earlier efforts at pointing out that Ahmadinejad and Bush not only have tactful diplomacy, impotent leadership, and religious fundamentalism in common but they happen to look very similar, too. Indeed, Bush is a White Man's Ahmadinejad in more ways than one. The same beady eyes with the same just-close-enough-to-be-simian distance between them. The same pursed lips, pointy ears and shadowy eyebrows. Only difference is Ahmadinejad's curly lashes and three Musketeers beardling might put him ahead on the lady vote. It's all there, plain as day for you to see: Ahmadinejad and Bush are one and the same, though somehow I can't believe that an Iranian takeover of the world would be quite as damaging as the present American one.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Plame Update: Cheney Knew

The latest update on the Plame scandal is that Dickity Cheney was, as suspected, most likely involved in the illegal namedropping that started this all. Not only that but he may have been the very one to have ordered the leak in the first place, though for now his underling Scooter Libby is the one facing the charges.

New evidence suggests that from the day Ambassador Wilson's NYT op-ed came out in July 2003 till the day, a week later, when his wife's name was publicly leaked as a CIA agent, the Chainsaw's angry little brain was working overtime calculating moves to discredit Wilson (and his claim that the US government was exaggerating the wmd claim). Apparently, he made the following handwritten notes on the periphery of the op-ed on his copy of the NYT:

"Have they [the CIA] done this sort of thing before? Send an Amb. to assess a question? Do we ordinarily send people out pro bono to work for us? Or did his wife send him on a junket?"

The key word here being WIFE -- proving, in his own words and his own handwriting that Chainsaw knew that Plame is Wilson's wife. And now Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor in the case, also knows and is using this in the case against Libby and his former boss. Boggles the mind how much these people get away with yet when a poor black man steals a television, he loses his life to the criminal justice system. The US system needs a heck of a lot more checks and balances or else it needs to start from scratch with a better system.

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Iranian Space Tourist

There she is, the to-be-first female space tourist and she's Iranian, no less. Although now Anoushe Ansari is, like all good Iranians, also a naturalized US citizen. The Russian Federal Space Agency made the announcement last week that she could be in space as early as the fall of 2006, though she is scheduled for a spring 2007 flight on the Soyuz spacecraft. Her family made it big time with their telecom equipment company which is now an investment firm called Prodea, Inc., and have since invested quite a lot of money in space tourism. The cost? A minimum of $20 million -- I guess Bill Gates just doesn't like to fly high, otherwise, surely he would have been first in line for a chance at space tourism.

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Dear George...

You know, it's sweet to find that digital communications and advanced technology have not prevented the most sentimental amongst us from actually writing (well, typing counts these days) letters to our loved ones (or hated ones, as the case may be). Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reinstated this long-lost, but time-honored tradition with his letter to George W. Bush. Honestly, though, the sheer brilliance of it is astounding, especially coming from a Presidency which, over the last 27 years, has very little to show for itself. It's almost like a Dear John letter really -- I mean, if Bush replies, it shows he still cares, if he doesn't reply it means he's plotting his revenge. And we all know that's not far from the truth...


Welcome Back...

Welcome! No, really, please, come in... yes, this is the entrance to the former Golestan Palace, the former Shah of Iran's residence. Today, it has armed guards and an occasional retiree at the gate, directing you to a 1 minute photo-op of Iran's past. See George? Tony? You'll still get a royal welcome, sort of...