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Saturday: Stuff

Hi guys.  I’m still here but extremely busy this week.  Check back in a few days for more posts.

The wildfire sweeping North Africa and now spreading to Yemen reminds me of the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the downfall of the Soviet Union.  Exciting times.

Good wishes to the Egyptians in their struggle against corruption.  May it be accomplished with as little bloodshed as possible.

You can follow it here on Al Jazeera.


56 Responses

  1. Good to hear from you. I was getting a tad bit worried.
    I have been lurking at your site since June 2008 and
    The Confluence has since been a required stop on my daily trip around the WWW.

    I will continue to drop in on a daily basis.

  2. How’s Katiebird?

  3. good to hear that Icame by earlier and wondered where is every one

  4. What Lowell said.

  5. Looking forward to your next post!

    And hi to katie, in case she passe by!

  6. Also what Lowell said. Glad it’s just being busy. Best to everyone.

  7. I am just afraid that after the revolution the Islamic fanatics will end up in power because they are more treacherous than any other group seeking power. In fact I am half afraid this is a rebellion sparked by some fanatic group who intends to take over once the people have done all the hard and most dangerous work.
    I hope I am wrong.

    • You probably are.

      • Based on what though?

        • The concern with Muslim fanatics.
          From what I am reading, Egyptians are fed up with the dictatorship, corruption and lack of economic opportunity. It’s not like a protest against the West that happened in Iran in the late seventies.
          I wouldn’t be surprised if the religious nutcases tried to butt in but Egypt can see from Iran’s example what happens when you go down that road.

    • I am serious, I am really afraid for these people. If they get rid of the present government and their respective dictators, what then? Is there a constitution or the beginnings of one? Is there a plan, a “well trained Militia”, to back up the revolutionaries and bring a real democracy?

      • Oh, lordy! They may be completely without rules. There will be earthquakes and floods, dogs and cats living together.
        Egypt has been figuring this nation stuff out for 5000 years now. They’ll survive this too.
        If anything, getting rid of Mubarek might be the best way to restart the constitutional process. He kind of preempted it after the assassination of Anwar Sadat.

        • And an Egyptian government that won’t torture for the CIA/HS could have a beneficial effect on our own constritutional processes, too.

      • It looks like the protesters will win if the millitary lets them – or doesn’t try very hard to stop them. It is unclear where the sympathies of the millitary fall. In that case, I think the leadership of Egypt will fall to some millitary structure. They are organized into a leadership structure, unlike (reportedly) the protestors.

        Here’s what I don’t know, does the Muslim Brotherhood have influence in the millitary? I think this would be the big indicator of what to expect.

        • I think they do. The orignial coupe which ended the king’s rule which brought in Nasir,Sadat and Mubark was influanced by the Muslim Brotherhood. By the way they are not the same as the Alqaida and the fanatics, or at least not exactly. But still I don’t like them. Nasir who was percieved as a socialist in his early political life, may be before the coupe, was a muslim brother. But he ruled as a secular from the left. Mubarak has to go. specially since he wanted his son to take over, and the son is as bad. I don’t see any other people in the horizon to take over, Mubarak made sure of that. So the Islamic organizations out there will be his ticket to maintain power. Since hating Islam is the flavor of the time, by the west at least.

    • You mean the Islamic fanatics that the US carefully cultivated for decades on end after WWII. Hmm, i wonder where they learned their treacherous skills?

      Look around, the US is quietly planting the seeds that it’s behind this movement. Would that make the rise of “Islamic fanatics” what the US wants? (I don’t believe the nascent storyline if only because it doesn’t follow the “color revolution” playbook, and those have all been US creations.)

      But so far, there has been very, very little religious component to the protests. What there has been has shown solidarity between Egyptian Christians and Muslims. There’s also been almost no anti-American component…excepting protesters showing that the tools of repression were given to Mubarak by the United States. Finally, the Muslim Brotherhood has been incredibly quiet throughout.

      The deeper problem, imo, in analyzing this situation is that a great many Americans will assume that Egyptians must want to be just like us, so any Islamic component will be treated as a fanatical takeover. It seems mostly that Egyptians want an end to a police-state dictatorship (which is propped up by the United States) and the establishment of representative government. Any such government is likely to have an Islamic flavor if only because most Egyptians are Muslim. But there’s nothing to suggest that Egyptians can’t have Islam and democracy…unless we buy into the idea that Islam itself is evil.

      If we’re for self-determination we must accept that others may have a different idea than us about what’s in their own best interest.

      • I agree. Egypt could end up being more like Turkey and less like Saudi Arabia or Iran.
        Very odd, I just saw a report where the Saudis were condeming the protestors as taking their calls for freedom too far while a message from some minitey in Iran is saying Mubarek should accede to protestors demands and step down without any further bloodshed.
        What to make of that?

      • yes, please excuse me, I forgot to put on my hair shirt and beat myself with my hate america stick. Silly me.

        I too think people have the right to self determination which is why I hope they can manage a government free is the radical Islam that has taken over so much of the ME, to the detriment of women. But I suppose that is a secondary issue. Women’s rights NOT being human rights after all.

        You know, if you had left the superciliousness out of it that would have been a good comment, if a tad paranoid about the US’s part in all this.

      • SUPERB comment, Lex! Thank you.

      • I really don’t have enough background knowledge to form a “clear cut” opinion on what’s going on in Egypt, and I’m not sure I agree with much Lex says except for this, which I find important to keep in mind:

        “… Egyptians want […] the establishment of representative government. Any such government is likely to have an Islamic flavor if only because most Egyptians are Muslim.

        If we’re for self-determination we must accept that others may have a different idea than us about what’s in their own best interest.”

        • yeah, but that comment falls in the “duh” category. No person who is a liberal commenting on a liberal message board is going to think much differently. That is not what people are worried about.

          BTW most Americans are Christians so that means our government should have a Christian flavor, no? Which means that atheists all over the internet should stop bitching and moaning, so as not to be thought of as intolerant and socially conservative and guilty of believing in American exceptionalism ?

    • The Muslim Brotherhood is a powerful movement in Egypt and in other ME countries. They may end up in charge of the government and they do hold the fundamentalist view of women in Islam. It’s not out of line to be concerned with how women will be treated under a new regime if it is heavily influenced or dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood.

      • thank you Jean Louise (my middle name is Louise and my sister’s is Jean… I always think of that when I see your name)
        There is a tendency among people who are leftist of who think of themselves as leftist to believe that we must tolerate and be understanding of treatment of women in other cultures that we would not accept for ourselves. F*ck that. While they think it makes them open minded, more sophisticated and Urbane than the rest of us, it is really nothing more than misogyny, a total disregard for half the population of the world.
        In addition, I don’t think that life for the average man in a government of Mullahs is all that great either.
        I believe in the separation of church and state for the whole world. If it is so very important for us, why not everyone else?

    • The Muslim Brotherhood is active in Egypt. and they’e organized. It’s not hard to predict that they will end up in charge and they oppose women’s suffrage. It is not out of the ordinary to be concerned about how ends up on top in this struggle.

  8. Beware of the “looting narrative”; there’s at least one report of a looter with an ID from the Ministry of the Interior. Also, “thug” has a more precise meaning for Egyptians: It means a plainclothes policeman; they have a very bad reputation. Live blogging here.

  9. Good to see you RD! Glad you will still post when you can – I love to read your opinions.

  10. I’m in the middle of a crazy day. Imagine me (ME) being called on to work on a broken garbage disposal!!

    Actually, as it turned out, the garbage disposal was fine. It’s the drain pipes that are a mess. (shudder)

    Parents are calling roto rooter on Monday. So I’m temporarily released from duty.

  11. Just got back from seeing “The King’s Speech”. I have been trying to go to the theatre and see as many of the award winning and nominated movies as I can. I saw and loved “The Black Swan” . I rented “Social Network”, eh (obnoxious 25 year old hacker boys are not my favorite species.). I rented “Inception” which I have to finish watching tonight, but I am so far very impressed.
    “The Kings Speech” is one of those understated movies full of English actors giving understated performances which never the less leave you very moved by some small point in history. I highly recommend it and I can’t imagine a better performance than those given by Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush.

    • King’s Speech was very good. A-
      Black Swan freaked me out A- for movie, A- for Portman
      Inception? Highly overrated. It sort of reminded me of mission impossible meets the matrix. Pretty cool special effects but Ellen Page was wasted. She’s too good an actress to want to be stuck in an all boys movie as the token female. Leonardo DiCaprio just doesn’t do it for me. I find his forehead distracting. And while the story wasn’t that hard to follow, the end had so many possible interpretations that it would have been a little less maddening if the director had provided more of a clue. Call me picky. B-
      Havent seen the Social Network but from what I hear, it is yet another manifestation of the “geeks have no social lives” theme and I don’t know if we really want to be nailed with any more stupid stereotypes. Why not just say that there aren’t that many of us to begin with, which makes it harder to find each other. We’re not social misfits. We don’t want to fit in with most of society, which seems rather gullible and prone to peer pressure and the latest fads or fears, like the idea that Muslims are always on the verge of going all jihad and taking over countries and forcing sharia law on everyone. I’m more worried about the fundamentalist Christians doing that. They’re a lot more scary to me and way too close got comfort. Muslims? All the ones I have ever known have been friendly and decent people. I guess you actually have to KNOW them before you stop believing all that social pressure. And you have to KNOW fundamentalist Christians to get an idea of how insanely crazy they can be.
      But anyway, I haven’t seen social network yet and suspect I’m not going to like it. It’s always annoying when an outsider reports on a cultural aspect he can only observe but never fully appreciate.
      Nevertheless, I hate Facebook and avoid it ad much ad possible. He might be a geek, but Zuckerberg’s creation is very vulnerable to abuse by the wrong elements and I don’t need people I don’t know very well filling up my wall with propaganda they are spreading. Very dangerous.

      • I don’t get to the movies very often but I really made an effort to see The King’s Speech and loved every minute.

      • I don’t know that Aaron Sorkin was that far outside the geek world.to misunderstand it. I didn’t feel sorry for Zuckerburg or pretty much anyone else in the story.

      • I saw Social Network. It’s not “Geeks have no social lives”. It’s “That particular geek was a sexist pig and Facebook was born out of his misogyny”.
        Worth a look – and you’ll see from the first minute you are not to identify with Zuckemberg – who, if anything, is the typical Obamacrat.

        • According to Zuckerberg, the only thing the movie gor right was his wardrobe. But the idea that geek can’t get a girlfriend and therefore must retaliate is a bit stereotypical and I’ve heard reviews from other geeks who say Sorkin is refenforcing those stereotypes.
          I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Zuckerberg is politically agnostic, which *might* put him in Obama’s camp. But mostly, he’s probably just a guy who likes what he’s doing and doesn’t think much past the next new version.

          • Of course Zuckerberg said Sorkin got everything wrong. He came off looking pretty bad for using and screwing over his friends. BTW he lost two huge law suits to former friends who got huge settlements when it was proven that Zuckerberg didn’t do it all by himself.
            Nothing particularly great about being a geek. I’ve been one my whole life.

          • I had verified: almost every word Zuckenberg says in the movie is either from deposition transcripts or internet chats. They are all his words. It’s only the dialogues in the beginning and the end that are fictional – everything else is verbatim real.
            Also, the movie does show him with a girlfriend throughout most of the story.

          • The point was not that he couldn’t get a girlfriend, just that he couldn’t get why a woman rejected him.
            I saw his chat transcript while he was creating facebook. It started with “Jessica … is a pig” and went on downhill from there as the movie showed us. Except that the movie had an “Erica” instead of a Jessica.
            You can’t argue with facts, that’s why Zuckenberg decided to cash in the publicity and appeared with Jesse Eisenberg on SNL.

          • In fact, the fictional words Sorkin puts in the woman’s mouth are to the effect: “And if you are going to tell yourself that the reason women reject you is because you are geek, don’t. The real reason is: you are a jerk”

      • well your response was interesting except this part:

        We don’t want to fit in with most of society, which seems rather gullible and prone to peer pressure and the latest fads or fears, like the idea that Muslims are always on the verge of going all jihad and taking over countries and forcing sharia law on everyone. I’m more worried about the fundamentalist Christians doing that. They’re a lot more scary to me and way too close got comfort. Muslims? All the ones I have ever known have been friendly and decent people.

        which is completely silly. Let me know when the Christians you know start hanging, stoning or burning some woman for having sex with (or being raped by) some man she is not married to.
        In the meantime, I know lots of Muslims and they too are very nice people. That has zero to do with what happens in the ME.

    • Just got back from seeing “The Kings Speech” too. Thoroughly enjoyable. So great to see a wonderful movie with decency as the main theme…instead of perversion. People use movies to see how to behave and act and so many of the movies are geared to idiotic adolescents. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush were outstanding. This was the best movie for me this year, by far.

      • IMHO, decency is highly overrated but good stories never are.

      • yes I loved it. But I am torn on the nomination of Helena Bonham Carter for an Oscar. She was pitch perfect but it wasn’t much of a stretch. I don’t know, I was just hoping Mila Kunis would be nominated.

  12. How sad the cultural shifts seem to always become bloody.

  13. !! I just finished a little web project!!

    Now sleep. Back tomorrow.

  14. Waking up is hard to do

  15. oops…… Hillary must not be geeky enough to not worry about Muslims going all Jihady on us.

    “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton refused to speculate on the future of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak or his teetering government. “What we don’t want,” she said, “are radical ideologies to take control of a very large and important country in the Middle East.” (HP interview)

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