"The Iranians are the world's worst negotiators. They've managed to infuriate everyone." - Kenneth Pollack
"What matters as much or more than the new sanctions themselves is the unhappiness of Iran's leaders with their country being put in the global penalty box for all to see." - Richard Haass
"I was raised to love Israel, and I will teach my children to love it. But we don't get to choose what is true. And if you love Israel not only because it is a Jewish state but also because it is a liberal democratic Jewish state, a state that strives to embody the best in the Jewish ethical tradition, there is only one decent response to these truths: fury. If you're not angry, you're either not paying attention or you don't care." - Peter Beinart
Evidently, Rima's crowning by the Donald Trump organization has caused controversy, mostly from right wing websites who are writing negatively about having a Muslim woman wear the coveted crown. Tunku makes some good points on the difficulties many immigrants have assimilating to American culture: "I can think of few sets of cultural norms that are as mutually exclusive as those of Middle America, on the one hand, and the Shiite faith, on the other." The social concepts of a woman's role is very different, and our insistence on individuality and celebrating female beauty can be seen as a liberating force to women who have traditionally been kept cloistered and covered. Even CNN jumped into the mud with an article titled: "Miss USA: Muslim Trailblazer Or Hezbollah Spy?"
It is a good thing, and an intended consequence to talk about our culture, what role something like a beauty pageant portrays to the world, what values are seen as positive by our immigrant cultures, where we clash or mesh together. For many women the world over, something as silly as winning a beauty title is a lesson in the struggle for their rights as humans. In places like Afghanistan, where we have built schools and encouraged women to get an education, we have imposed a change that has often had violent repercussions, ripples that will be felt for years to come. Besides, Rima Fakih is one happy woman, her family is proud of her, even women in Lebanon are happy for her, and that is all that really matters.
art aliens strike again...
sucking up some painting from a museum in Paris. OK, someone actually broke a window and went past the non-existent security: "Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse worth an estimated $124m have been stolen from a museum in Paris, in what could be one of the world's biggest art thefts." Art theft is actually pretty common, the news rarely goes beyond a local newspaper and a couple of art magazines. So many of the world's masterpieces are locked up in people's private vaults that we will never see them unless they are loaned to a museum for lots of money. Some other recent thefts during the past few years, and you can see that they are well spread out geographically:
- February 2008: Four paintings by Cezanne, Degas, Van Gogh and Monet, valued at over $162m, stolen from Zurich museum.
- August 2007: Two Bruegels, a Sisley and a Monet, stolen from Jules Cheret Museum in Nice, France. Recovered the following year.
- February 2006: Works by Salvador Dali, Picasso, Matisse and Monet taken from museum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
- August 2004: Edvard Munch's The Scream and Madonna, valued at $100m, stolen from Oslo museum. Recovered, damaged, in 2006.
- December 2007: Two Van Gogh paintings stolen from museum in Amsterdam.
For a long time, many of Ron Paul's ideas were considered crack-pot, he fit right in with the John Birch crowd. Now, with the audit the fed bill, he suddenly has become mainstream. Ron Paul supporter were complaining that the tea party had stolen their ideas and way of phrasing the issues, now the proverbial son says he is an ardent tea party supporter. It will be fun to keep an open copy of Conscience of a Libertarian whenever Rand will be interviewed or in debate to see where his ideological sources are when he opens his mouth. I know one thing, after having been sucker punched on the Rachel Maddow show last night, I don't think he'll ever appear there again. Increasingly, she is doing this to guests she disagrees with, instead of having an exchange of ideas. Which is too bad, because she is a smart woman; she just sucks at one on one debating...