Monday, September 22, 2008

America and the Pakistan Problem

All I can say is what the hell America? Do you want to start a war with a country that has nuclear weapons?  Yes, they have terrorists in their country but you don't fight terrorists by breaking the sovereignty of another nation just because they have not been particularly cooperative with America's (not the world's) mission. The country is on the verge of civil war. That means things could be a bit tricky to negotiate with them right now, you know? Oh and haven't you learned your lesson yet about not starting civil wars in countries?

Can we please use some common sense? Quit unilaterally trying to rid the world of terrorists. You're only creating more problems. How do you fight an enemy that has no nation? Tell me that!!

Unfortunately, America forgets the wise words of Jesus:  "Put your sword back in its place...for all who draw the sword will die by the sword."


Reading:  "Xenocide" by Orson Scott Card and just finished "Myth of a Christian Nation" by Dr. Gregory Boyd
Listening to:  "Lost in the Sound of Seperation" - underOath, Russell Brand Podcasts, SoulSurvivor USA
Watching:  Chuck, Entourage, The Dark Knight

Friday, September 19, 2008

Favorite Time of Year

Starting about October and lasting until January, my favorite time of the year is officially here. It's not Christmas, it's not Thanksgiving.

It's prestige movie season!!!

I love this time of year because for the most part the quality of movies is astounding. The films offer something for the mind to chew on instead of the simple entertainment of the summer films. Generally, more than 70% of my favorite movies of any given year come out around this time of year. I will admit that I probably sink too much money into going to the movies but I love it. But here's a list of some of the movies I'm looking forward to seeing:

-Revolutionary Road
-Quantum of Solace
-The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
-Crossing Over
-Yes Man
-Seven Pounds
-The Day the Earth Stood Still
-The Brother's Bloom
-Body of Lies
-The Changeling

That's all I can think of right now. I'm sure there are others.


P.S. I think The Dark Knight is probably going to end up being my favorite movie of the year. It's pretty amazing even if it's not necessarily the most "fun" movie.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

20 Questions for Sarah Palin

This is a great article from (my favorite policy, economics and ideas site). Lately I've been feeling quite strongly that the President doesn't just need to portray a good image of America, have strong morals and convictions, but he/she also needs to be one of the smartest people in the country. Really. A "C" student from Yale doesn't cut it (sorry Mr. Bush). 

Here's why:

Though Republican campaign handlershave resisted the clamoring of "elitist," mud-slinging reporters for a press conference with Sarah Palin, the VP nominee will sit down for her first campaign-trail interview with ABC's Charlie Gibson at some point later this week. While campaign advisor Rick Davis says she's not scared to answer questions, Palin is said to be enduring some intense cram sessions with foreign policy tutors like Joe Lieberman.

Her passport stamps may be few, but Palin and her supporters remain adamant that the barracuda has what it takes to roll with the world's most formidable leaders and even its heavy-hitting bullies. Among the list of credentials cited are Palin's role as commander of Alaska's National Guard, her stint as mayor, and, infamously, Alaska's close proximity to Russia.

We've put together a list of suggested questions for Gibson that we think will reveal how aware Palin is of the issues awaiting her in Washington as well as offer a glimpse of the potential world leader that lies beneath the lipstick-wearing hockey mom. Feel free to suggest some of your own.

  1. In a broad and long-term sense, would you have responded differently to the attacks of 9/11?
  2. Is Iraq a democracy?
  3. What’s the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?
  4. What is your preferred plan for peace between Israel and Palestine? A two state solution? What about Jerusalem?
  5. How do you feel about French President Nicolas Sarkozy's recent visit to Syria? Do you believe the United States should negotiate with leaders like President Bashar al-Assad?
  6. Nearly 40 percent of the world's population lives in China and India. Who are those countries' leaders?
  7. Do you support the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement, which would lift restrictions on sales of nuclear technology and fuel to India, a country which hasn’t signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty?
  8. Other than more drilling, what steps do you suggest the U.S. take in order to move toward energy independence? Do you believe more investment is needed in alternative energy research? If so, how would you recommend this funding be allocated?
  9. How would you balance concerns over human rights and freedom in China with the United States' growing economic interdependence with that country?
  10. What's more important: securing Russia's cooperation on nuclear proliferation and Iran, or supporting Georgia's NATO bid? If Vladimir Putin called you on the phone and said, "It's one or the other," what would you tell him?
  11. Critique the foreign policy of the last administration. Name its single greatest success, and its most critical failure.
  12. What do you think will be the most defining foreign-policy issue in the next five years?
  13. What role should the United States play in the global effort to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS? Should it support contraception, or abstinence only?
  14. You've said that the federal government spends too much money. What, in your view, is the appropriate level of spending as a percentage of GDP?
  15. You're an advocate of reducing environmental restrictions on drilling. How much oil needs to be found in the United States before the country achieves energy independence?
  16. What are your picks for the three most enlightening books written on foreign policy in the last five years?
  17. Who among the world's leaders can be listed as the top three friends of the United States and why?
  18. In your opinion, which U.S. president was the most successful world leader and why?
  19. Which U.S. political thinkers, writers, and politicians would you enlist to advise you on matters of foreign policy and why?
  20. Who is the first world leader you'd like to meet with and why?

Ramadan - A Few Observations

Well, after a great 9 day trip in the UK, I arrived back to Tunisia 5 days or so into Ramadan.  I've been back now just a fews days but I have a few observations.

-First off, right when the fast breaks the streets are empty of course.  But at 7:30 pm.  I found it a bit creepy, kind of like that scene from the beginning of 28 Days Later.
-I keep seeing people drink or eat during the day.  Ha!!  I respect that if you're not going to fast, why try and hide it.
-It's funny to me that right after the fast breaks, everyone is smoking and eating a ridiculous amount of food.  

That's basically it.  I've talked to a few people about it and most of them say the first few days are hard but then it becomes normal because your eating schedule shifts.  But it is hot and I don't know if I could manage doing it for a month.  I am frustrated though that all the sandwich places are closed.  I want some Chez Joseph (my fav sandwich spot).