The Spine

BP: A Scandal A Day. Will Petrochina Be The Heir To The Very Valuable Remains?
July 03, 2010

It is just about two and a half months since BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, at the same time exploding the lives of 11 workers whose names no one knows—in contrast to the two haughty executives who seem always to be taking respite from troubles in their conveniently docked boats. The news buried in today’s Financial Times story about BP being “braced for shake-up at top” reveals that, aside from ExxonMobil or Royal Dutch Shell (notice how these are already combines of previous companies), PetroChina seems to be preparing for an “opportunistic bid.” This will not be good for the United St

As Attorney General Holder Was Saying … Nonsense From The Boston Globe
July 03, 2010

This is about the etiology of the "bombings at (the) Pakistani shrine." Apparently no-one in the Obama administration can stand the thought that the killers are Muslims motivated by Islam.  That's the president's view and, as I wrote last week, also the view of his attorney general Eric Holder. No, this editorial in the Boston Globe is not actually a guest article by Holder. But it might as well have been. At Root Is Fanaticism, Not Islam THE SUICIDE bombings at a Sufi Muslim shrine Thursday in the Pakistani city of Lahore, which killed at least 42 people and injured dozens more, hold a useful

Who Murdered The 41 Sufi Muslims in Lahore? A Multiple Choice Question
July 02, 2010

It was a suicide attack by three killers, one a 15-year-old boy. Staged at the shrine of a Sufi saint in Lahore, the explosions were specially engineered to wreak the greatest havoc to life. According to Asia News, “investigators believe the explosives contained metal balls and shrapnel for a more violent impact.” June was the first month in two years without such extravagant explosions. On May 29, however, 93 people were killed in a double attack, also in Lahore, on the minority Ahmadiyya mosque, place of worship of another heresy. Who considers these folks heretics?

Scott Brown Outpolls Obama in Massachusetts
July 02, 2010

I don't usually pay much attention to political polls.  But I couldn't ignore this one with the stunning subhead, "Most popular official in survey."  Reported in the Boston Globe on June 28, it was taken by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center a few days before.  "Asked their opinion of Brown, 55% of those polled said they view him favorably."  What was really surprising was that only 18%  of those asked viewed him unfavorably.  Among independent -the majority of the state's voters- a tiny 11% saw him in an unfavorable light.  And among party Democrats 32% thought of him negatively. 

To Life! To Life! Jihadi Life! Kill Yourself!
July 01, 2010

From the MEMRI blog: In the days leading up to June 30, 2010, the major jihadist web forums featured promotional banners for a new English-language Al-Qaeda magazine, calledInspire. The magazine was produced under the auspices of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's media wing, Al-Malahim, and was to include an exclusive interview with the Emir of AQAP, Abu Basir Al-Wuhayshi, as well as a "guest article" by the radical Yemeni-American sheikh Anwar Al-Awlaki.

Palestinian Fascism: Richard Cohen In The Washington Post
June 30, 2010

I’ve known Richard Cohen, the well-known and deservedly well-placed Washington Post columnist, for years. We’re certainly not close, and there has been a low-key ideological (and psychological) distance between us for years. I think some of his writings on the Palestinians are—let me be gentle—frightfully soft. I would guess that he probably thinks that some of my writings on the Palestinians are frightfully ferocious. But he is no enemy of Israel.

Erdogan Makes A Turkey Out of Obama. Bad Pun, Important Thought
June 28, 2010

Sorry for the bad pun. But it's 1:30 a.m. Monday morning. Turkish political culture is now in tatters. Or, rather, its sensible political culture is in tatters. But the sensible Kemalists were no longer so sensible. They were corrupt, they were very authoritarian, they exported what some of them explicitly called their "surplus population" to Europe. These were mostly Kurds with Turkish passports. Now, some of them are called "Germans." But the reality is that many of them are internal Kurdish exiles.

“For The First Time I’ve Not Been Asked About Human Rights:” Auguries From Obama’s Egypt.
June 27, 2010

A vivid report by Ashraf Khalil in Friday’s Wall Street Journal and an AP dispatch on the same day evoke a moribund Egyptian politics coming to life because of the death of a 28-year old in Alexandria. The murder—and it was a murder!—was committed by the police. Out in the open or, to be precise, down the alley from an internet cafe out of which Khaled Saieed was dragged. Saieed’s face was shown on web sites, and the image was not pretty: a battered face and broken teeth. The police attributed his death to resisting arrest. Of course.   Not surprisingly: ‘We are all afraid for our children.

Oh, Does Spain Have Troubles?
June 27, 2010

The most serious of Spain's torments is its economy. But, unlike Greece, which is basically an underdeveloped country but with high pretensions to being of the heart of Europe, Spain is at the historical and financial core of the continent. What binds the two countries is the artifice that they are both socialist. It is quite different to run a relatively advanced socialist industrial society like Spain's than a country like Greece where governing runs from grandfather to son to grandson, George Papandreou to Andreas Papandreou to another George.

"To Chavez, With Love: Oliver Stone's Mash Note To The Dictators of Latin America"
June 25, 2010

This is not my title. It's one that Ronald Radosh, a scrupulous and brave historian of the political culture of modern American history, has put on his Wall Street Journal essay about Oliver Stone's new venture in trashing our own past by ritual adoration of the iconic tyrants who bring unbelievable suffering to their subjects. The documentary--well, it's not really a documentary--is called "South of the Border," and its co-author, Tariq Ali, a Pakistani writer of agit-prop whom fools call a scholar, admits basically that it is propaganda.