Miss Mabrouk of Egypt

Check the archives too - a lot of good stuff to enjoy. Me myself? Off to new adventures in the blogosphere, if time permits.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Islamic Guide: How to Beat Your Wife

An imam who wrote a book on how to beat your wife without leaving marks on her body has been ordered by a judge in Spain to study the country’s constitution.

The judge told Mohamed Kamal Mustafa, imam of a mosque in the southern resort of Fuengirola, to spend six months studying three articles of the constitution and the universal declaration of human rights. h/t: lgf

One Laptop Per Child

Nicholas Negroponte can still amaze: here is his latest brain-child: a laptop under the $ 100 mark and Egypt is one of the first countries to get it. Big talk? He says there can be up to 150 million shipped every year after 2007; the first millions will be produced this year. The laptops are virtually indestructible, foldable in different ways and come with a hand crank for when there is no power supply.

Yahoo! Site Explorer

Yahoo! is putting out another beta-bid in the war of search: this is the site-explorer; entering my favorite URL (eh... my own) returned quite a few results.

While I was Away

It feels good to be back from a trip out of town; it doesn’t matter where I go or how much more beautiful other cities are, Cairo is still Cairo… so full of love. Instead of trying to catch up with the past week’s news right away, let me tell you what the other bloggers have been up to, if you haven’t been there either for a while.

Baheyya, of course, knows what was happening on both sides of the doors when the president promised to be a good president for one more term. In particular she is noting the creativity of the new political generation. Big Pharaoh also attended the demonstration and ended up smoking shisha with Marxists and catching soldiers playing with Kifaya balloons. Meanwhile, our Egyptian Person is arguing the case for civil marriages and Freedom for Egyptians is picturing what would happen if Cindy Sheehan would come to Egypt. From Cairo on the other hand announced today that he is bored with his blog and will keep blogging at an anonymous location; the comments from Jane and LouLou catches what ought to be said. Across the Atlantic in the great colony in the West, Judith is as always well informed and quick to provide educated comments; here is one about Bush-aide Karen Hughes and Egypt. Hughes went to the KSA too; Sandmonkey caught her there while she was speaking to Muslim women. You shouldn’t miss ‘Aqoul’s take on the same issue. At the Arabist, Issandr have several interesting posts, including a press round-up about the Beni Suef theatre fire scandal. In response to Issandr’s criticism of Juan Cole’s article on the Egyptian elections, Sphinx says Issandr is too hard on Cole. Finally, from our neighbor the Religious Policeman, a post about a failed suicide bomber who got to tell his heroic tale on Saudi national TV…

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Madrassa Abuse

Where is that hand going?

I really don't know what is going on here or where Dangerous got the picture from.

Just as worrying is this report:

Islamic schools under abuse scrutiny

The accounts are disturbing: beatings, forced sex and imprisonment with shackles and leg irons. Abuse accusations from hundreds of children sent to study at Islamic schools are prompting growing calls from parents and rights groups for a full-scale investigation.

Last year, a Pakistani official stunned his nation by officially disclosing more than 500 complaints of sexual assaults against young boys studying in madrassas.

Poor families often count on the nation's more than 10,000 madrassas to take one or more young sons to ease financial strains at home. The boys typically receive little more than Quranic studies for an education. But the big dividend for families is the housing, clothes and meals offered the boys. The schools, which have up to 1 million students, operate with almost no official oversight.

"The mullahs think they are above the law," said Asma Jehanghir, chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, a nongovernment agency. "We have to break this wall of silence."

In the Middle East, few activists have demanded investigations into conditions in Islamic schools, but that could change as groups increasingly challenge traditional centers of influence. "Pakistan is now a center of the showdown between modernizing Islam and forces resisting change," said Irfan Khawaja, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York who follows Islamic affairs. "The madrassa issue is part of this. It will spread around the Islamic world."

Amnesty International and the Human Rights Council of Pakistan have recounted cases in Pakistan of students shackled to prevent escape and noted growing allegations of sex abuse.
"Leaders of religious parties resent official probing into the functioning of the madrassas and threaten retaliation if they are more closely controlled," Amnesty wrote.

Every discussion about Pakistan's madrassas leads eventually in an uncomfortable direction for authorities: the potential problems of leaning too hard on Islamic schools. The madrassas have ties to influential religious and political groups. The core of madrassa funding is a tour of powerful networks: government aid, Saudi donations and zakat, the traditional Islamic practice of giving alms.

Read the full story.

And this IS my last post before I travel. I've tried to upload the picture several times today but Blogger failed me until I gave it one last try.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Far Away Wedding

Suzi dear, it's time for one of those weddings again, that we don't necessarily want the hustle of traveling to attend, but cannot escape. So, after a few intense and interrupted months on the blog, I'll be off for a little while, about four days. The good thing is that I can hand over my PC to the workshop while I am away; perhaps they'll find out why the motherboard fire-alarm is going wild each time I boot it up. Never mind, if the machine is not on my desk, chances are I will not miss it so much while I'm away. I'll send you a post card from the beach - or where ever to I escape the relatives. xx / ritzy

Farming Threatens Ancient Egyptian Sites

Egyptian reliefs dating back thousands of years could disappear within a decade, archaeologists said on Thursday. As Egypt's population grows, agricultural land moves closer to ancient temples and funeral monuments. Water for irrigation is weakening temple foundations and eroding the carvings. cont.

The antiquities are even more threatened than this brief story tells. It is not only about farming, it is inadequate sewage systems, the effects of the high-dam etc. etc. To borrow the voice of the Egyptian Sandmonkey: how do we blame this on the Zionist conspiracy?

Coulter: What Would Reagan Do?

She is fire and she makes me laugh; here are the latest sweets from Ann Coulter's weekly column - don't we just loooove to hate her?
Perhaps President Bush has inadvertently nominated a true conservative to the court with this Roberts fellow. I remain skeptical based on the following facts: (1) Anita Hill has not stepped forward to accuse Roberts of sexual harassment. (2) The Democrats did not accuse Roberts of having a secret life as a racist. (3) We have no idea what kind of videos he rents.

While liberals were preoccupied staging die-ins against Rehnquist and accusing him of chasing black people away from the polls with a stick — something they did not accuse Roberts of — Reagan slipped Scalia onto the court.

... Bush has enacted massive new spending programs, obstinately refused to deal with illegal immigration, opposed all conservative Republicans in their primary races, and invited Teddy Kennedy over for movie night. He's even sent his own father to socialize with aging porn star Bill Clinton.

UN: Resurgence of Racism, Intolerance

UN report warns of global resurgence of racism and religious intolerance As a result of the proliferation of anti-terrorist policy, discrimination against religious groups, minorities and migrant populations is on the rise, particularly at waiting areas at airports, ports and borders, the United Nations' top official for monitoring racism warns in his latest report to the UN General Assembly.

Discrimination against Muslims must be given special attention, but greater vigilance might also be needed against anti-Semitism and "Christianophobia," said Doudou Diene, the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on racism and related intolerance.

Sharon to Follow Barak?

Judith's take on the report about Sharon's eventual resignation I blogged yesterday deserves to be posted here as well:

When I turned on my computer, I found an email from Ritzy asking me to comment on Debka's claim that Sharon is about to retire to his ranch. I was surprised as he is the son of two famously stubborn parents.

He is facing a leadership challenge in the Likud which he just may lose. Popular figures (including Sharon, Yadin and Ben Gurion) who tried to create new parties ended up heading a temporary and small party rather than changing the Israeli political landscape. Of course, Sharon hopes that his threat to leave the party will help him win the internal battle.

His problem is that like Barak, Sharon suffers from credibility gap. He betrayed own campaign pledges by adopting his opponent's platform. The voters rejected Mitzna's idea of a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and Sharon who argued against it, executed it. His opponents will have little difficulty reminding voters that his platform cannot be taken seriously. The corruption charges which haunt his son and the recent financial campaign fund irregularities which haunt him merely increase his vulnerability.

Following Ben Gurion's example and retiring to his ranch would be a gallant way to go. Even those who opposed the disengagement could not but admire the way he executed it. Maybe Peres will also see the light. It is time for a new generation to take charge. The old warhorses are far too worn out. No one is irreplaceable though those in power often come to believe they are.


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Critical Eye on Juan Cole

Issandr at the Arabist is providing good criticism of the Juan Cole article I linked to yesterday. Lovely. Keep Blogging

Cindy Goes to Washington

... marches down Pennsylvania Avenue to deliver a letter to Bush; are followed by 30 (sic!) supporters. / Said it before and I'm saying it again: Time to go home Cindy.

Millionare Flower Genius

Here is a florist that is earning ten times more than the top executives at Toyota. One part Liberace, one part Martha Stewart, the high-earning rose pedal artist mirrors the feminization of Japan's men.

His name is Shogo Kariyazaki and with such fame and money, I have to be his fan. But I'm not sure I'd like to see a similar gender-balancing of the Egyptain men. Like if the hairy Saad and Abdel on my street would take up an interest in home-decoration? Na, let them stay the way the are.

Essential Handbook for Bloggers

Reporters Without Borders today publishes a Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-dissidents. Read Global Voices Review. Quote:
The Handbook for Bloggers is for people who want to be serious participants in the emergent online global conversation: How to set up a quality, credible blog. How to get it noticed. And.. if you’re in a country where there government might not like what you’re saying, how to avoid getting in trouble when you by-pass the information gatekeepers and talk directly to the world.

Laura: It is Jim Beam or Me!

Wet was Katrina and the news of the disaster had Bush to break his promise to stay dry.
"When the levees broke in New Orleans, it apparently made him reach for a shot," said one insider. "He poured himself a Texas-sized shot of straight whiskey and tossed it back. The First Lady was shocked and shouted: "Stop George!"

Don't know if its true but I credit him for his reasonably good taste in Whiskey.

Sharon to Retire

The Israeli PM plans to retire to his Sycamore ranch, according to reports published in the past hours. It is said that Sharon's team has conducted private opinion polls that are indicating that all critical Likud votes would go against him. The central committee will decide to bring forward the leadership primary election from April to December, as demanded by former PM Netanyahu and others. Debka's Washington sources says that President Bush has already been informed of Sharon's plan to retire. Sharon is not expected to set up a new party alliance.

Talabani: Please Do Not Leave Iraq

We Need American Troops
Thank you for liberating my country. Please don't leave before the job is done.

- By Jalal Talabani, President of Iraq. h/t: Stephania

Turkish Beach Dress Code

Istanbul -- male holiday makers on the sea of Marmara beach are told to dress up, females on the same beach are told to dress down. Quote:
"We are Ataturk's women!" shouted Mine Okcugil, 38, clasping the hand of the woman in the chaise longue next to her at Caddebostan. Her own bikini was in danger of falling off her front.

"We are all modern women of the republic," said Semra Aydemir, 52, also in a tiny two-piece.

"We are against terrorism. We are against violence. We are against ugliness."

So it is that men and women roaming the beach in T-shirts reading "Security" keep an eye peeled not only for men wearing too little but for women wearing too much. Female beach-goers no longer are allowed to wade with their legs covered by flowing fabric.

Autoban Traffic Held by Snakes

Sometimes speed is not without limits. Poisonous vipers, giant boa constrictors and iguanas were among the exotic reptiles to escape onto the busy motorway. They brought traffic to a standstill after the van carrying them overturned. The road had to be closed while emergency services rounded up the exotic escapees who did not suffer any injuries.

More snaky moves: First Exotic Dancer Returns To New Orleans...

Cull 10,000 Elephants, Protect Trees

Elephants facing slaughter to protect trees
Up to 10,000 elephants are facing slaughter as South Africa prepares to end its ten-year ban on culling the beasts. I say, let's give them asylum in Egypt; our Elephants went south thousands of years ago. I bet Moses took them all to Israel in a Zionist conspiracy. That would explain how they crossed the sea and how the inferior Jews managed to crush the native Palestinian peace-campers when they forcefully occupied their land despite all UN treaties. So bring back what rightfully belongs to the Egyptian people. Our tourist industry has suffered long enough from not being able to push husk-busts of pharaohs on greedy tourists. And we're kind of fed up with the donkeys in the shawerma and could do with a change on the menu.

Iran Nuke Talks Halted Due to Boredom

Thanks to Phat Phree for making me smile one more time. Best quotes:
After declaring that they were "bored to tears" with U.N. sponsored talks over the future of their nation's nuclear program, Iranian diplomats withdrew from the negotiations without setting a date for further talks.

"Day after day, the same shit. Uranium, plutonium, centrifuge, blah, blah, blah. I just couldn’t take it anymore. Praise be upon the soul of the Prophet for putting solitaire on my Blackberry," said deputy foreign minister Hamed Hamaninejad, who led Iran's delegation.

Though the Europeans are confident that an agreement will eventually be worked out, the Iranian minister is unsure that any agreement would have the desired effect.

"Look, if the mullahs really want to build a bomb and nuke Israel, they're not gonna let some agreement with the Eurofags get in their way.

Somalis Trek 4,000 km for Asylum

A record 4,000 km trek by 26 Somali's during six months from their wrecked country on the Horn of Africa to Mugabe's Zimbabwe. Thank you God, my life isn't so bad after all.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Egyptian: Al-Qaeda didn't Pay Enough

An Egyptian detained in Canada since year 2,000 fears for his deportation that will be decided by a court within days. He is ranked number 20 among those accused for religious violence in Egypt. He is also an Islamist fellahin who ditched Al-Qaeda because they didn’t pay enough.

Mohammad Zaki Mahjoub, 45, was an employee of Osama Bin Laden for fifteen months during 1992-1993. He complained about his monthly salary of USD1,500 since other Islamist were better paid by Bin Laden although they were not actually doing any work while he was working hard in the fields as an expert.

He says prison time is “hellish” and that prison guards unfairly call him “Osama” although he was arrested before 9/11. Sometimes the guards would call him “terrorist” and incite other prisoners to assault him.

Monofi or Sohagi? Yesterday I blogged about Mahjoub's 76 day long hunger strike but forgot to link to the article. Here it is.

Saudi Jihadis Most Popular

In Iraq, foreign Jihadis joining the holy struggle are more popular than their counterparts from Egypt and other poor countries. Apparently, 10 percent, or some 3,000 of the estimated 30,000 insurgents in Iraq are foreign nationals. Although Algeria, Syria, Yeman and Sudan all export more Jihadis than Saudi Arabia, it is the Saudis that has the biggest impact because they often arrive with up to USD 15,000 in cash donations. But they are also the most sought after militants becuase of the media attention their deaths as martyrs bring to the cause. Yepp, they're officialy regognized as such.

I say, it is not only about religion, it is also about class. Welcome, Misters Marx and Engels.

This article says illegal drug trade is funding terrorism in KSA and Iraq. Criminals!

Egypt HR to UK: No Extraditions

Update: Egypt's National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) has turned down a British proposal that it act as a safeguard against torture in the case of Egyptian dissidents threatened with deportation from the UK. Yesterday's post.

Juan Cole on the Presidential Elections

This article was introduced to me recently via blogger Sphinx and I've been looking forward to reading Juan Cole's take on the presidential elections - indeed I enjoyed reading it and appreciate his take on Mubarak's crushing power and the historical background. Keep it. What he fails though is what he is setting out to do: he is criticizing the idea of an 'Arab spring', e.g. democratization following international pressure and the war on terror. That discussion is always welcome. 'Spring' is a punch-line, no one should hold such expectations, at least not yet. But we can't deny the changes in many neighboring nations either; put together they form a picture that is different from how it looked a few years ago. It is too early to say how fast things will change; it may not change much at all. But for now, the fragments are speaking progress that shouldn't be overrated or denied. For one observer’s personal account that isn't far off the mark and that was published today, read this. The problem with Cole is that he doesn't even try to analyze this country's recent events in a regional perspective. Still, worth the time reading if you're not familiar with recent political events or the parliamentary history.

Fudgy Fisk Continued

Let us look at Robert Fisk’s argument one more time, since blogger Sphinx has posted a comment saying I ought to re-read Fisk’s article. Fisk’s argument is exactly as I laid it out. His point is that he doesn’t want leaders of regimes he despise to propagate for values that he feels are not appreciated in this part of the world. That makes him a sucker.

Fisk disagrees with the policies of ‘the Christian West;’ these are in direct conflict with his own views of how the situations in Palestine and Iraq (and many other places) should be handled. That is his opinion. For a moment, he forgets about the Eastern European and Asian countries that are part of the same treaties, forums and conflicts. But so far, so good; to this point nothing is telling me that he is not supporting Universal Human Rights. In the same way, if I disagree with Bush and Blair, I may still be able to understand that they made their choices out of concern for Human Rights, not against it. Joshka Fischer disagreed with them, and I understand that his argument was also based on the universal rights of people everywhere in the world. Bill Clinton and Kofi Annan failed in Serbia and Rwanda, but I still think they should carry on their mission for Human Rights.

That is however not how Fisk sees it. The hands of ‘the Christian West’ are sullied beyond belief and since the West no longer have any suitable people to carry the torch of Universal Human Rights, those who try should shut up. He even goes one step further: the Human Rights are not Universal after all.
How can we suggest that a religion based on "submission" to God must itself "submit" to our happy-clappy, all-too-Western "universal human rights"? I don't know.

They are “too-Western.” But that discussion should start from the other end: if HRs are not Universal, which specific rights then are not applicable to non-Western people, e.g. Muslims, and why? In other words: “Mr. Fisk, I know you disagree with my actions but if you would be so kind and try to think of this as an intellectual discussion (see, I don’t agree with everything going on in the world either but for the sake of humanity, I am open to discussion). The answer I am demanding is to a question any moral man would be obliged to answer: if Human Rights are not Universal, tell us why that is and what rights it is you think doesn’t' apply to whom. Also, what alternative do you offer?

At some point in history, even Arab leaders must have subscribed to the idea of Human Rights because their states are part of the charters. They weren’t dishonest, were they? ‘The Western Christian World’ - despite its failures if you so like - still has a few things to say about HRs also because Arab leaders do not say it at all. They are not reluctant to promote Human Rights for religious reasons, but for political. Their power is oppressive; upheld by abusing their citizens. Speaking about HRs would be to admit mass-abuse of a whole nation.

For the Arab leaders, it is easier to hide behind religious clerics that yet haven’t dared to take on the intellectual challenge and explain what God said to the Prophet that is impossible to accomodate with UHRs. Since Fisk thinks HRs are not Universal, he doesn’t bother to go that way. It is a no-go land to re-interpret the Quran and that is the end of the story. Except of course, Westerners shouldn’t follow their tanks to our lands and tell Muslims what is right and wrong. But it is not a question of ‘the Christian West’ against the Muslim. Can I stress that enough? You will hear it from ‘the Christian West;’ because that is the only compass you have today, even if you pick it apart with all its faults. Who else is willing to propagate for HRs? It would be a suitable cause for Islam; it would fit into the idea of a global Muslim community. But we are not there yet. Rather quite far away.

Let me put it this way: “The majority of the refugees in the world are from Muslim nations. And so are the terrorists. I am not trying to lecture you, I am just asking you to recognize that this is what the world is dealing with and since one part of the world firmly believes in Universal Human Rights and you do not, how will you solve your problem, and what alternatives will you provide?”

Fisk thinks that is too much to ask, so he really is a sucker.

He has already argued along this line: “they propagate UHRs but they don’t live according to how they learn.” The answer is: That is your opinion but please remember that two wrongs do not make one right. “But they have blood on their hands.” Well, let us take them to court for that but we still owe them and the rest of the world our answer.

A point about this quote from Fisk because he is really stuck in the fudge:
…our constant, whining demands that prominent Muslims must disown the killers who take their religious texts too literally, that we have long ago lost our moral compass.

…we are in no position to lecture the Islamic world on human rights and values.

The East and the West cannot demand that religious leaders here in the Middle speak up against fundamentalists – it is an issue to be hidden behind borders according to Fisk. Thus, Egypt can demand an end to the occupation of Iraq but Spain cannot demand religious leaders to confront the arguments made by preachers of terrorism and make it clear to everybody what is acceptable according to Islam and not. Regarding Human Rights and moral values, we are in the fortunate position where people in the Middle East are several steps ahead of Mr. Fisk. No one wants to be lectured but no one minds when foreign politician are speaking up for the rights of the people in the Arab world. Most of us would like them to say it more often, and stop propping up our corrupt and oppressive regimes that can’t bother about the rights we deserve. Hint: December 10, 1948.

Fisk, Still Stuck in Fudge

Blog-fella Sphinx has decided to keep me busy this week by hailing first Galloway, then Juan Cole and now Robert Fisk. I appreciate the argument and love different voices in the Egyptian blogsphere. And I can't resist commenting on this Fisky article.

The larger part of the article is concerned with less flattering quotes from the Bible and the Quran; violent and bloody indeed. Thank God we don't take it literally, as fundamentalists on all sides have done and still do: Karen Armstrong has dealt with it so much better so many times before. Fisk, however, is arguing that we need not seek conciliation between religion and human rights; and since it is Islam that is the topic of discussion it is Islam he wants to protect from the notion of human rights. Hello? Anyone home?

Human Rights are not universal according to Fisk and the Western Judeo-Christian world shouldn’t impose its conception of Human Rights because – here it comes – the Western world itself is failing to live up to it!!

Leave aside the philosophical debate of whether Human Rights are universal, that debate is academically over for most scholars; Human Rights are universal. Fisk doesn’t even mention the philosophical reasons it shouldn’t be, he just brushes it off with a ‘we are no better’ explanation. Even if the west is not ‘better’ (and in many cases I’m arguing it is not) that by itself is not a valid argument against the idea of universal human rights; it is stupidity, at its best since two wrongs still do not make one right. Period.

The U.N. was formed after the WWII – as a reaction against war and cruelty if you so like. The guiding principles for the organization were adopted December 10, 1948; it is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Links: UN, UN, UNHCHR, Wikipedia. Getting the world together has been a struggle ever since. The 50+ year project is still an effort. For example; member-states go to war despite UN declarations opposing it; member-states known for total disrespect of Human Rights are chairing Human Right boards in the UN. Still, just because our world is not what we want it to be, we don’t give up on the principles. Right? Unless you are Fisk:
How can we suggest that a religion based on "submission" to God must itself "submit" to our happy-clappy, all-too-Western “universal human rights"? I don't know. Especially when we “Christians" have largely failed to condemn some of our own atrocities - indeed, have preferred to forget them.
His argument is that the West has lost its moral compass. In some ways, perhaps it has. If so, let us help the West or anyone else willing to take it back. Universal Human Rights is not an issue of geo-politics. It has nothing to do with nation. It transcends religion. Yes, that is difficult for some Islamic scholars at Al-Azhar to grasp, just as it has been for Judeo-Christians throughout history (think Crusades). It doesn’t make it less true though. Read the charter and tell us what principle shouldn’t apply to you because you are Arab, Muslim, Chinese, Hindi, or Scientologist. Fisk is of course at the opposite end:
A hundred years of Western interference in the Middle East has left the region so cracked with fault lines and artificial frontiers and heavy with injustices that we are in no position to lecture the Islamic world on human rights and values.
Not? Well, pass the lectureship to Mubarak and Ghadaffi! Finally, it is true that the West can be blamed for a lot of problems in the region. But the main problem is still the fact that people living here are not allowed to choose their own governments. If they try, they are beaten, imprisoned, sometimes executed. And it is not as if people here do not know it. It is just easier to blame someone else. It is also the line from the official propaganda machine to divert the blame. Fisk has made a career buying into it. He has as much intellectual moral weight as Galloway and Cole – which is roughly on the level of the dictators we have been discussing.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

UK Radicals Fear Deportation to Egypt

Britain is talking to Egypt about handing over exiles wanted by Cairo. Some Egyptian Islamists in Britain are wanted for militancy in Egypt, where they face death sentences. Egypt's prime minister said in May the United States had transferred as many as 70 militant suspects to Egypt, whose government has been fighting Islamist groups for decades. New-York based Human Rights Watch said the U.S. war on terrorism had made Egypt the world's main destination for detainees transferred under a practice known as rendition, which usually occurs in secret.

Read also this report on Hani al Sibai, the Director of al Maqrizi Center in Hammersmith in London, who says he have credible information the British ambassador to Egypt have held discussions with the National Council for Human Rights in Cairo to try and reach an agreement to extradite him and other Islamists currently residing in Britain, including a high-ranking official in the banned Gamaa Islamiya. Also: the deported Omar Bakri who is reversing his fatwas out of fear! Further: my previous posts on how radicals are treated in Egypt. Link. Link.

Baheyya on President Gamal

The Return of Baheyya! This time she's unveiling the plot to install the younger Mubarak as President. Of Ruses and Resistance - read it all.

All Terrorists are Drugged

He was not the only one; all terrorists are heavily sedated. They are drugged by a media, which gives credence to false stories, written according to its author’s mood, added to fabricate pictures and selected from an angle that serve the interest of terrorist groups, be it former Baath party members or Islamic extremists.

Truly, they have been drugged by speeches made in mosques, promises of beautiful virgins in paradise and statements signed by those with no knowledge of jihad except empty words and slogans. They have been tricked by leaders who continue to call for a definition of terrorism at a time when it is urgent to define resistance!

- Tariq Alhomayed, editor in chief, Asharq Al-Awsat.

The Ugly Weekly

Another archive tech-note for the record: I had to change back to weekly archiving since the September page wouldn't load. I apologize for any inconveniance. Week by week, it seems to work fine but I want the monthly back; awaiting a reply from blogger support...

Liberal Larry Does it Again

New Bush Hurricane Targeting Gay Community
In the terrible aftermath of Hurricane KKKatrina, the nation watched with renewed horror - if not a certain sense of schadenfreude - as Hurricane Ophelia bore down on the white republican stronghold of Florida. Then she suddenly veered away, no doubt after a late night phone call from Brother Jeb to Brother Shrub, and made a beeline for North Carolina and its 1.5 million Blacks. Now, Bush's latest hurricane is targeting the Florida Keys, specifically Key West, admired for its vibrant gay community and vociferous opposition to George Bush. Bush's infamous intolerance for diversity is about to claim its next round of victims. Even as New Orleans slowly recovers, Bush's "cleansing" of the Keys has already begun. The doors and windows on hundreds of gay discos have been boarded up. Thousands of frightened citizens have already pranced to higher ground... - Blame Bush

Simon Wiesenthal, RIP

Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal dies at 96
Simon Wiesenthal, the Holocaust survivor who helped track down numerous Nazi war criminals following World War II, then spent the later decades of his life fighting anti-Semitism and prejudice against all people, died in his sleep at his home in Vienna on Tuesday. He was 96 years old.

Wiesenthal, who had been an architect before World War II, changed his life's mission after the war, dedicating himself to tracking down Nazi war criminals and to being a voice for the 6 million Jews who died during the Holocaust. He himself lost 89 relatives in the Holocaust. Wiesenthal spent more than 50 years hunting Nazi war criminals, speaking out against neo-Nazism and racism, and remembering the Jewish experience as a lesson for humanity. Through his work, he said, some 1,100 Nazi war criminals were brought to justice.

Wiesenthal's quest began after the Americans liberated the Mauthausen death camp in Austria where Wiesenthal was a prisoner in May 1945. It was his fifth death camp among the dozen Nazi camps in which he was imprisoned, and he weighed just 99 pounds (45 kilograms) when he was freed. He said he quickly realized "there is no freedom without justice," and decided to dedicate "a few years" to seeking justice. "It became decades," he added.

Even after reaching the age of 90, Wiesenthal continued to remind and to warn. While appalled at atrocities committed by Serbs against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo in the 1990s, he said no one should confuse the tragedy there with the Holocaust. "We are living in a time of the trivialization of the word 'Holocaust,"' he said in an interview with The Associated Press in May 1999. "What happened to the Jews cannot be compared with all the other crimes. Every Jew had a death sentence without a date."

Egyptian in Canada on Hunger Strike

The wife on an Egyptian security suspect held in Canada is concerned about his life as he is now on the 76th day of a hunger strike.
The 45-year-old Egyptian native could save his own life by ending his hunger strike; however, Ms. Elfouli said that would not resolve the question of why prison officials have so far not dealt with his health issues, or allowed him to have a liver biopsy, as recommended by a doctor in 2004, to determine a course of treatment for hepatitis C.

Edit: Here is the link.

Rafah Border: Kids Used as Drug Mules

PA: Kids duped into drug smuggling
The Palestinian Authority admitted on Sunday that children were being used in the smuggling business along the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. PA policemen deployed along the border in the past 48 hours have arrested a number of children who were carrying drugs in schoolbags.

The head of the PA's anti-drug police unit in Rafah, said his men have seized more than one ton of drugs, as well as alcohol, that were smuggled from Egypt over the past few days. He said more than 70 Palestinian and Egyptian suspects have been arrested in connection with the smuggling of drugs.

Sheehan Award Nominee

It wasn’t enough for blogger Freedom to ask the minister of culture to shoot himself, now he is guilty of “grilling” the artists who perished in the Beni Suef theatre fire. That is from a blog positioned as a human rights activist’s forum. I now really think she is capable of sinking even lower; hence the nomination to the Sheehan Award.

There is supposed to be a protest this evening, at the opening of the experimental theatre festival which will be boycotted by many as a response to the negligence that made this fire so lethal. Good. Too bad the protests were not held before the fire. It would have saved the lives of the now killed artists, critics and spectators – some 45 in total. Instead of refusing to work in make-shift theatres that are not secure, the same people who are now protesting have made their careers by following suit and adapt to the system. Instead of utilizing the Beni Suef building in a way as safe as possible, the theatre group BLOCKED the main entrance with stage props. They surrounded the walls with paper décor. They lit candles on the stage; candles that were knocked over and caused the inferno.

There is more negligence. The official protest site is listing a few important points that should be taken seriously by the government but also by the performers and directors.

1) The employees of the theatre and all people responsible for supplying fire extinguishers disappeared. Fire extinguishers were found locked up in cabinets. Advice: Next time you’re on tour, inspect the facilities, if these cannot be approved, refuse to perform and tell your audience why.

2) Fire trucks and ambulances were late, ineffective and poorly equipped. Note: that is the situation throughout the country and the government is to be blamed. Next time, do not use any props or décor that endanger security, assume the government will fail to rescue your spectators.

The site is listing several other points of negligence (scroll down to the English translation). I do support their fight against the authorities. It is a tragedy; a criminal investigation need to be monitored closely and the only positive about this is that this fire has been a warning to everybody; things cannot just go on as they are.

Previous posts here and here and here and here and here.

Hillary Refuses to Meet Cindy

I'm picking up where Sandmonkey left this morning: NYPD intervened at a rally held by Cindy Sheehan's movement; they yanked away the microphone as she were going to speak! I haven't read more about it but I assume they had their legal reasons. Even better: Cindy is now threatening Hillary Clinton. "Mrs. Clinton is 'waiting for the best political moment to say' she opposes the war. ... 'You say it or you're losing your job,' she said. Now, Hillary is refusing to meet with her: Ms. Sheehan said she has requested a meeting with Mrs. Clinton but has not gotten a reply. Asks Michelle: "Think the Sheehanites will be setting up Camp Casey II outside the Hillary 2008 headquarters?"

Monday, September 19, 2005

Ballot Initiative

The New Republic has a good piece on the race for power in Egypt.

Effect of Arab Leaders No-Stance

Opinion piece from Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed who I've been quoting and disagreeing with here in the past months. This time though, in the words of BP, he is hitting the nail right on its head. Money quote:
Iraqis believe the current Arab stand will prove to be counterproductive and predict terrorism will, in turn, infiltrate other societies and create havoc. Unfortunately, they appear to be right. The terrorist bases currently being established in Iraq are bigger and better equipped that those in Afghanistan, where many Arab young men received military training and returned to practice their craft in the countries of origin.

Iraq - was it Worth It?

With all the difficulties that have surfaced, can the war be justified – was it worth it? Absolutely. Removing Saddam was a moral obligation; the way he abused his subjects is difficult to match in the history of dictators; he breached almost every paragraph in the peace treaty from the first Gulf War; giving in to him or continuing the disastrous embargo would have made the catastrophe permanent. For the coalition, there was also the issue of global security. It is easy to cry failure when a bomb blow in London, but don’t forget the attacks that have been hindered; the terrorists that never made it to our countries because their networks were smashed and the fanatic warriors imprisoned. At least for the U.S. that hasn’t seen an attack on its ground, moving the theatre of war to Mesopotamia was a good idea. Unfortunately for the Iraqi’s, that’s where the Jihadists are gathering these days. The advantage for the anti-terrorist fighters is that the Jihadists are forced into a war and it isn’t as easy for them to meet fully equipped troops as to sneak explosives into a shopping mall with unsuspecting civilians. And no, the issue of WMD was never a crucial issue. It become an important argument in the effort to convince the U.N., but it was enough that the possibility of WMD’s in Iraq existed, the threat of it and Iraq’s resistance to account for what it had done with the recorded stacks of for example biological agents were enough to motivate intervention; Saddam’s cooperation would have made the difference. For the aftermath, the failure to secure the country is as obvious as the good things coming out from Iraq. Had the U.N. chosen to enforce its own declarations and demand that the first Gulf War peace treaty was honored, they would have given legitimacy to the conflict that would have erased any contra-clams of legitimacy that the insurgents are using today – and too many people in the Arab world are heralding. It was obvious where we were heading; everybody knew the invasion would not be stopped by the U.N.’s withdrawal; the options were to let the coalition led by ‘the Great Satan’ go alone, or make it a united effort of the world. Lives would have been saved if the U.N. had opted to take its responsibility.

Let us not forget that the only people who have the right to say if it was worth it or not is the Iraqi people. The rest of us are simply standing on the side and our discussion is academic at best. It is certainly not up to the Egyptian people to produce a verdict; if suspicions of tainted interests are to be raised, this nation and its leaders should stand first in the queue of the examination board. This is why no one really bothered to listen to Egypt before the war and can only pretend to be interested now. Despite rhetoric allusions to Arab solidarity there were no solidarity with the Iraqi people under Saddam. Most people in this country had not even heard of his mass-killings, systematic torture and use of chemical weapons. Most thought he wasn’t too bad. And if they could live with Mubarak, why couldn’t the Iraqi’s put up with Saddam? Most intellectuals who had heard about the evils and should know better, chose not to believe it; blamed it on the conspiracy or simply ignored it. After the ousting of Saddam, the willingness to help – for example by securing one area of one city – is non-existent as well. The sad fact is that most people are waiting for an even larger disaster, simply for the opportunity to glee and say ‘we told you so.’ As for what the Iraqi people think, the answer was given in the last elections and will be stated again next time they’re off to the polling stations.

Troubles of Reconstructing Iraq

Reconstruction dollars - ten billion of them so far - didn't buy support for the occupation in Iraq as we had assumed, notes Andrew with a link to a troubling NYT report from Najaf where too much money has disappeared and many projects haven't been finished. Indeed, one has to ask if those responsible for handing out money to contractors and aid agencies never had any experiences of making business in the Middle East. Did they really expect that the corruption that penetrated the wrecked society, the pyramid hierarchy that teaches people to suck up and kick down and only look after themselves, would disappear over night? Or that there was a closeted sense of common good that everybody would embrace and prioritize above everything else once the dictator was gone? I am sorry; it is not as easy as that. That said, many are trying and with a leader able to rally the people and project a vision worth striving for on all levels, the society will slowly heal its wounds and come together. Chrenkoff did a great job blogging the good things coming out of Iraq; the facts speak for themselves and are in sharp contrast to the information we receive from other media. Read his piece in the WSJ. The Good News Central has picked up from where he left. Another positive resource is Winds of Change that also has a good archive of good news. Gateway Pundit and Publius Pundit are also worth the visit.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Afghanistan Pictures Better than Words

A picture is worth more than a thousand (biased) words. It is so true. I was not going to blog anything on the election in Afghanistan - although there are some funny stories as well, I think you've heard about the donkey's now - but favorite blogger Riding Sun, far away in the East, is reminding us of how important it is. But instead of blogging the pictures myself, I urge you to pay him a visit once you're done with this site.

Pepy, the first Egyptian Gay Blogger

Suzi love,
I assume you have barely recovered from the hectic election campaign – I hear you had to exhaust yourself by standing next to his side during a full speech every day. Please, if you have a few minutes to spare for my ponderings again:

It has been a week of deep thoughts in the Egyptian blogsphere: From Cairo has been wrestling with a neo-Nietzschian-quasi-Zoroastrian take on the killing of God and good vs. evil. ‘Slap-the-bitch, sluts-rocks’ Sandmonkey has decided that his savior-days are over; battered women will no more be allowed to take over his life. Big Pharaoh, who dared writing in desperation about the perils of being a young man before sex & marriage and then took off to relief himself in Alexandria, seems to have entered a new phase in his life. Instead of stalking the bikini-girls of Agami with his mobile phone camera, as any other Cairene bachelor would have done, he went underground in gay Alexandria and found himself cozy with a girl who was half man, or vice versa, and says he really wanted another one of them to sit on his other lap, just to set straight the gender balance. You see what I am saying? This is the week after he approached a truck full of soldiers, and asked the sweetest of the lads if he "could hold the big black baton," and, thrilled by the “forbidden, extended my hands and started feeling it. It was made of hard rubber. It's very good…”

Let’s mobilize our fruit-flying fag-hagging motherly support and help young bloggers stuck in confusion about women and gender, let us call in the gorgeous crowd of young unmarried life-time advisors surrounding your...er... favorite politicians. Perhaps they will allocate some money for a new blog-chapter for minorities. I’m sure Bush will take notes. Meanwhile, I’ll wait until next time this Pharaoh return with fresh holiday experiences; hopefully he will reveal whether Alexander’s pretty boys really found him so Big after all. It is a refreshing thought.

PS: Pharaoh Pepy was gay. Did he blog?

More Porn Please, we are British

Yuckily yuckeelay yuck - here is another thingy why I'm so glad I live in a Muslim society: Pornography is becoming so accepted even teenage girls see it as a career. Smut has become normal, porn imagery is now displayed on children's eye-level in supermarkets. England is the porn capital of Europe with access to 27 sex-channels. In one month, 32 million women visited at least one adult site. And then there is this:
In a magazine poll 41% of women said they had intentionally viewed or downloaded erotic films or photographs. More than one in 10 had watched or sexually interacted with someone on a live webcam.

These findings support a recent British survey of 1,000 girls, aged 15-19, which found that 63% aspired to be glamour models, while 25% preferred the idea of lap dancing. For many, the erotic lifestyle and look is not seedy but has become aspirational.
Pre-teen girls are putting pictures of porn stars on their web-pages. They provide links to smut sites. A porn-actress who had published a bestselling auto-biography was surprised when pre-teen girls showed up at signings and said they saw here as a positive icon.

What does the Queen say about all this?

Does anyone wonder why Muslim immigrants are donning the hijab?

It is slowly growing on me: Muslim Women Rule!

Blair: Gloating BBC Full of Hatred for America

Yes that is what British PM Tony Blair told Rupert Murdoch. That's my man! Rule Britannia! Too good his wife is hideous - it's not against my religion to marry a divorced ex-PM if that would be the situation when his job is over.

Fire-Theatre's Main Doors Closed

Hosni Mubarak and Hosni Farouq are not becoming more popular among blame-pointing artists after the president refused to accept the culture ministers resignation. But as more is revealed about the fatal fire in a Beni Suef theatre, we know also know that the main exit was blocked by stage props, forcing the 150 people inside to escape via a smaller door. Many did not make it through that only door. Blocking the main exit was not the minister’s fault; that was lethal negligence by the same theater management that surrounded the walls with paper décor AND lit candles on the stage. Those calling for Farouq’s early termination by a bullet in his head should instead call the artistic community and tell them that safety always has to come first. No matter what. Even if the government has cut their grants. There is no performance, no grant and no job that is so important that they can risk the lives of colleauges and audiences like this again.

Blog Search Advanced (sic!)

There's more to the new Blog Search (blogger, google) than I thought: here is all you wanted to know but were too afraid asking about; advanced search, site search, language search - and more. For example:

All of the standard Google Search operators are supported in Blog Search. These include:

Additionally, Blog Search supports the following new operators of its own:

Edit: Personally I still find the easiest way to search a site or blog is to use Google's toolbar and choose "search this site," it also generates more accurate results than the google/blogger beta search from the nav. bar.

Burger King Jihad

Remember a few years back when some people figured if you hold a bottle of coke up-side down and look at the label through a mirror, the text Coca-Cola appears as "La Allah"? Well, history doesn' repeat itself but sometimes events are very similar. The Scotsman reports about a new ice-cream cone at Burger King that has a lid... that either represent a spinning ice-cream cone... or Allah. Burger King is withdrawing the lids and the Muslim council is advising on the re-design. The guy who spotted the offending ice-cream cone is not happy though: "This is my JIHAD, How can you say it is a spinning swirl? If you spin it one way to the right you are offending Muslims." So he is calling for a boycott... I haven't seen the lid but I give him right in point, but not in proportions. h/t: lgf

Thanks Galloway, Now Please Go Home

I didn't think anyone gave any credit to George Galloway anymore, until I heard he is touring the U.S. I wanted to say something about him but the guy is so far off the mark and dirty in his business, politics and rhetoric so it seemed meaningless; you either grasp it or you don't. (I would never make it as a teacher). So instead of reading the transcripts from the debate with Hitchens, I went looking for some recent comments. To my delight, I found this, via Andrew:

The Honorable Member of Britain's House of Commons has become the new love-child of American progressives for his in-your-face accusations about our own government's mendacity in sending our troops to war in Iraq. I myself quoted Galloway with admiration.

But the man who saluted the "courage" of Saddam Hussein in 1994, who today can't and won't account for nearly a million dollars in income and expenditures for a charity he founded to buy medicine for Iraqi children is not, friends, the best choice as our anti-war spokesman.

Where did this guy come from? Who invited him here? The answer: US Senate REPUBLICANS. As Cindy Sheehan was gathering public sympathy as the Gold Star mom against the killing in Iraq, the Republican party decided to import an easier target to pummel. So they brought over the "I-salute-your-courage, Saddam" religious fundamentalist crack-pot who can't tell us where the money went.

That's why the Republicans chose him for us. This gross cartoon from abroad whose "charity" is stuffed with loot from an Oil-for-Food profiteer is the image they prefer on TV to Cindy Sheehan whom they dare not confront.

Yes, Galloway was the punching bag that punched back, and for that we are appreciative. Now GO HOME, George.

Edit: Powerline has a nice beating of Gorgeous George.

Yglesias Award Nominee

I like the idea. Seems timely, somehow. A celebration of the open-minded honest discourse. Says Andrew: "Hey, a new award, and this time a nice one. It's an award for bloggers - or anyone else for the matter - who is prepared to alienate their core readership with some unpleasant truths."

September 18

I have posted the "today in history" today and yesterday since these dates coincide with some landmarks in our regional history, well, international as well. The events reminded me of the years behind us, so many issues we have tried to solve so many times.

1961: UN Secretary General killed in air crash
1970: Rock legend Hendrix dies after party
1978: Arab-Israeli breakthrough in US The leaders of Israel and Egypt reach a settlement for the Middle East at Camp David in the US.
1987: Superpower treaty to scrap warheads

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Increased Security at Gaza Border

Perhaps there will be some kind of order at the Gaza-Egypt border after all.

Palestinian security forces move to seal off Egypt border
Palestinians Clamp Down Along Egypt Border

Hosni Farouq to Stay

Egypt's culture minister will stay in his position despite his resignation following criticism after a fire in a theatre. I am pleased. Not because I want to defend the government or am in a position to evaluate his 18 years as a minister. But because the reason for resigning was wrong. Listening to the population is one thing different from bowing to popular winds. When the president is re-instated later this month, he has the opportunity to choose a new government. There are a few people I would rather see go before this one.

Google Blog Search vs. Technorati

Head-to-head: blog search engines - The Telegraph is running some searches on the upcomer and market leader and to little suprise, Technorati is somewhat better.

Al-Jazeera Reporter Held in Spain

BBC says an Al-Jazeera television reporter accused of links with al-Qaeda has been re-arrested in Spain. Tayseer Alouni and a second suspect, Jamal Hussein, were ordered to be taken into custody on the grounds that they might flee. They had originally been bailed for health reasons before the verdicts in their case, due later this month. Mr Alouni denies using a posting in Afghanistan to distribute money to the militant Islamic network. The prosecution says the reporter, who holds dual Syrian and Spanish citizenship, had an "intense and continuous" relationship with Immad Yarkas, known as Abu Dahdah, who is also on trial.

17 September

Jihad's Fresh Face

Here is a good, quick read on what constitutes today's fundamentalists and how we may want to deal with them.

Scary Egyptian Fake Pilot Arrested, U.S.

Is Mahmoud Maawad, 29, a terrorist looking to duplicate the suicide missions of 9/11? Or just a pilot-wannabe with a passion for flying small planes?

Maawad, who is in the United States illegally, is held until trial after prosecutors said they found a pilot's uniform, chart of Memphis International Airport and a DVD titled "How an Airline Captain Should Look and Act" in his apartment.

The FBI is investigating whether the University of Memphis student have any connection to terrorists. He is awaiting trial on charges of wire fraud and fraudulent use of a Social Security number.

"The specific facts and circumstances are scary," said assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Parker.

"It is hard for the court to understand why he has a large concentration of those (aviation) items, and nothing else to indicate Mr. Maawad plans to stay in the community," U.S. magistrate judge S. Thomas Anderson said.

The airport-related items were found during a Sept. 9 search. Since June, Maawad ordered $3,300 of merchandise over the Internet from Sporty’s Pilot Shop in San Diego, including a private pilot course, flight simulator software, a flight gear bag, several DVDs, a $239 Navy leather flight jacket, a $19.95 DVD on “How an Airline Captain Should Look and Act,” and instructional programs on “airplane talk.”

After purchasing approximately $2,500 worth of merchandise, Maawad’s debit card was rejected by Sporty’s for lack of funds and his last three orders were not filled. Agents are in the process of examining his computer hard drive.

Maawad was also cited on March 11, 2005, by Memphis police for selling alcohol to a minor.

Links: Memphis Flyer, Washington Post h/t: Michelle

Cindy: End Occupation of New Orleans!

I read this on a Michal Moore site and after the opening paragraphs I thought it was satire... I checked the site frontpage and realized it is probably the real site... thus what I read from Cindy Sheehan must be her original... and honestly I figured it can't be true, not even Cindy is so stupid... remember I had not even finished reading the article, I just thought the first paragraphs were so bizarr. So I went on a search and after a few seconds, it turns out the whole world has reacted: Drudge linked to LGF and almost brought the site down with traffic; he then linked to Moore and really did bring the site down with traffic! Anyway, here is part of what she says:
I don't care if a human being is black, brown, white, yellow or pink. I don't care if a human being is Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, or pagan. I don't care what flag a person salutes: if a human being is hungry, then it is up to another human being to feed him/her. George Bush needs to stop talking, admit the mistakes of his all around failed administration, pull our troops out of occupied New Orleans and Iraq, and excuse his self from power.

I think my prediction holds: Raising Cindy to the skies will backlash on the anti-Bush/left/democrat movement. For Ms. Sheehan herself, this is just another tragedy in a long line. Go home!

Note Passing at the U.N.

Turns out Bush and Condi were penalized by Kofi for passing around notes during the important U.N. session. Mia: Shaken Not Stirred has the story and picture evidence.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Garbo is 100

Happy Birthday, Greta Garbo, 100 on Sunday. A genius on the screne and this century's premier immortal.

Blame Bush! for Pissing Away Time

Bush Urinating on Company Time
According to newly released photographic evidence, Bush attempted to interrupt a UN Security Council meeting with a taxpayer-funded bathroom break. Do the math, folks. Bush's salary is $400,000 a year, or 76 cents a minute. Let's say he takes six pee breaks a day at three minutes each. Perhaps we should ask ourselves if we can really afford to continue the war in Iraq, AND pay Bush over $7,000 a year to use the loo.

Say what you will about Bill Clinton, but he never allowed his natural urges to interfere with his job. Al Gore hasn't had a bowel movement in over 17 years. Yet Bush apparently thinks he can piss away our hard earned money whenever nature calls.

Well, I say enough is enough. 3,000 American died because the Shrub was too busy reading about a pet goat to do his job. Another 10,000 have gone missing in New Orleans, most likely because Bush was taking a "bathroom break" when Mayor Nagin called begging for help. I stand for an immediate congressional investigation into the Tinklegate scandal. Bush must be held accountable for his bodily functions, before any more innocent lives are lost.

full version here

Ann Coulter Strikes Back

Democrats are so excited about Hurricane Katrina, they're thinking of moving "Camp Casey" to an area outside the National Weather Service. What they haven't figured out yet is how Richard Perle and the "neocons" cooked up a hurricane that targeted only black people. Meanwhile, rescuers in New Orleans have discovered a lower-than-expected 424 dead bodies or, as they're known to liberals, "registered Democratic voters."

In liberals' defense, they've got a better shot at convincing Americans that Bush is responsible for a hurricane than convincing them that John Kerry was fit to be commander in chief. Compared to Kerry, Katrina is a blowhard they can work with.

Liberals think Hurricane Katrina means they get to pick the next Supreme Court justice. And as of today the smart money is on Cindy Sheehan – something about her moral authority being absolute.

It would be a lot of fun to watch liberals going through their "Howard Dean phase" right now, except liberal hysteria always frightens Bush. Instead of poking them through the iron bars of their cages with a stick like a normal person would, Bush soothes them with food pellets and reassuring words. What fun is that?

We're winning! This is no time to concede defeat.

- Ann Coulter's weekly column. Read the rest here.