Monday, April 26, 2010

Islands in the Persian Gulf Stream...

Paul Krugman
E J Dionne Jr
Meghan McCain

"The danger of judicial activism now comes from the right, not the left. It is conservatives, not liberals, who are using the courts to overturn the decisions made by democratically elected bodies in areas such as pay discrimination, school integration, antitrust laws and worker safety regulation." - E J dionne Jr
“Arizona is ground zero for the wingnuts. There’s a problem with illegal immigration and no one wants to do anything constructive about it so you get crap like this.” - friend of Meghan McCain
"In the White House,you feel like you're in the proverbial bubble. And it's hard to break through." - Barack Obama

President Obama is hosting an economic summit with Muslim leaders at the White House today. I thought it would be interesting to see how other Arab countries deal with the transgressions of Tehran. Not surprisingly, the interaction is a bit more polite.

There are some small islands in the Persian Gulf, or the Arabian Gulf, near the shipping lanes used for oil tankers, which Iran has been occupying since their mighty display of Naval maneuvers the last few days. Iran had established some maritime offices on the islands two years ago, and this fact was rubbed in Arabian noses last week. The foreign minister of the UAE called on Iran to end its occupation of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs. "Last week, Sheikh Abdullah was quoted by the UAE news agency saying: "Occupation of any Arab land is occupation ... Israeli occupation of Golan Heights, southern Lebanon, West Bank or Gaza is called occupation and no Arab land is dearer than another."

Whoa, them's fightin' words, said Iran: "... his explicit comparison of the islands claimed by the UAE to Arab lands occupied by Israel was called "brazen and impudent" by Tehran, which said on Saturday it hoped he had been misquoted."

No way, in your face, replied the UAE minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan. "The UAE's position is one of hope that the Iranian side will end this dispute peacefully and calmly. We hope the Iranian side will look at this dispute and the occupation not only as an obstacle to improving relations between our two countries but also as an obstacle to Iran's relations with Arab states. For the sake of everybody, we hope this issue will be resolved peacefully and as soon as possible."

Not only did the Iranian spokesmodel hope that the UAE was misquoted, but he kicked it up a notch, and darkly warned that: "The repetition of such statements will ensure the intense reaction of the Iranian people."

And that's where the situation stands. No Great Satan was tossed about, no rattling of swords, or threats of nuclear bombs, no dispatching of suicide bombers; this may be the future of how diplomacy works. At least until tomorrow, and we find out what exactly "the intense reaction of the Iranian people" is. Maybe they'll all text bad things on their Blackberrys, or they might just stay at home and watch more Disney cartoons in protest...

In countries like Iran, where officially music is frowned upon, many younger people use the Internet to find and download music they like. For musicians this may be their only source to listen to what is contemporary in other parts of the world, finding inspiration for  creating their own music. In traditional music, Iran used to have some of the best musicians in the world. Most of them are dispersed to other parts of the globe, many live in Los Angeles. In fact, Los Angeles has the largest Iranian community outside of Iran, and is often called Little Tehran...

Oh yeah, it's Monday and I'm bored. All of the news is just a rehash of the weekend, and how many protests and crooked elections can one read about before becoming jaded? Even after two cups of good coffee, its hard to keep any interest up. I could write about the anti-immigration law that was passed in Arizona, but it will soon make its way through the courts, and the only person who will gladly abuse it will be Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Mariposa County. Besides, Arizona also passed a birther bill, requiring all political candidates to show their birth certificates, known as the Taitz Act. I know we have laws now that protect us from frivolous lawsuits, but what is to protect us from frivolous laws?  We should be putting sunset clauses into all laws that are passed. Then the laws will end after a few years, and if it was a good one, we renew it. If it's a weird one or a stinker, we let it ride off into the sunset...

There is an organization whose goal is to give out at least a billion laptop computers to poor kids in developing nations, and they say that even six billion would not be enough. But the whole world is connected to some form of the Internet, and it has changed all of our societies. Cheap solar panels connect to televisions and dvd players, and recharge cell phones.  One of the problems that North Korea has is that with the proliferation of cheap Chinese solar panels, many people now have cell phones and can get connected to the outside world. The government can no longer control all of the information it feeds its citizens. After Kim Jong-Ill dies, so will his authoritarian hold on the lives of the Korean people. Maybe then South Korea will no longer have the world's highest rate of suicide... China is trying to contain this trend by having its own Internet, and filtering and censoring all information in and out of the country. After the US, it has the most amount of computer users, and with that many bored teenagers, their will be countless ways found to by get around the censors. And with thousands of bored teenagers with nothing else to do in their lives, an army of malicious hackers can be born, preparing for the upcoming cyberwar... Maybe Armageddon will be in virtual space and time...

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