Friday Mashup Part One (10/15/10)

(Note: After today, posting of actual content is going to be iffy for probably about another week at least.)

  • 1) Let’s start with Jonah Goldberg and get him out of the way as soon as I can (here)…

    This is why I never lend out my iPhone when I visit leper colonies:

    Goldberg then includes a story about how quickly germs can be spread from the touch screens of iPhones to one’s fingertips, something of particularly note with the onset of the flu season a month or so away.

    But for Jonah’s information, leprosy, though it is in decline (as noted here), is definitely not something to joke about. As the Wikipedia article tells us…

    Although the forced quarantine or segregation of patients is unnecessary in places where adequate treatments are available, many leper colonies still remain around the world in countries such as India (where there are still more than 1,000 leper colonies),[11] China,[12] Romania,[13] Egypt, Nepal, Somalia, Liberia, Vietnam,[14] and Japan.[15]

    If Goldberg is searching for something to laugh about, though, maybe he should tale a look at this.

  • 2) Next, I give you the following from Christopher Rugaber of the AP here…

    Numerous polls show voters blame President Barack Obama and his party for the slow economic recovery and the 9.6 percent unemployment rate — not much better than the 9.7 percent rate when the year began.

    I know I’ve linked to this a few times already, but I’ll continue to do so whenever lazy reporters like Rugaber say this stuff without any sourcing to back it up.

  • 3) Also, tomorrow is the five-year anniversary of the signing of the Iraqi constitution, as noted here. And at the time, a certain Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History said the following…

    “This is a very positive day for the Iraqis and, as well, for world peace,” Bush said in brief remarks to reporters. “Democracies are peaceful countries. The vote today in Iraq stands in stark contrast to the attitudes and philosophy and strategy of al Qaeda and its terrorist friends and killers.”

    I wish I could tell you that everything is just hunky dory in Mesopotamia now, but alas I cannot – as noted here…

    Washington waits and waits while constantly demanding that Iraq’s government function properly—that its leaders compromise and work together, that it at least provide electricity, trash pick-up, and minimal services to its citizens. Yet all this is impossible because of the structure of government America set up there. Hopelessly dysfunctional, it was doomed from the start.

    There is simply no way Iraq’s government could or can succeed. Think first how we destroyed its civil structure—its police, civil service, most of its functions of government, even schoolteachers were fired en masse. Then it’s easier to comprehend that Washington also set up an unworkable government. Indeed, an article in the American Prospect, “The Apprentice,” indicates that wrecking Iraq as a nation state was intentional.

    “The constitution may well be more of a prelude to civil war than a step forward,” warned another expert in 2005, Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Rather than an inclusive document, it is more a recipe for separation based on Shiite and Kurdish privilege,” he wrote, as quoted in an article by Robin Wright in the Washington Post. The Post report also warned that “the Shiite and Kurdish militias are the de facto security forces in their territories and are loyal to their own political leaders.”

    By 2006, then CIA director Michael Hayden was acknowledging that in Iraq, “the inability of the government to govern seems irreversible.” He added, “We and the Iraqi government do not agree on who the enemy is … . It’s a legitimate question whether strengthening the Iraqi security forces helps or hurts, when they are viewed as a predatory element.”

    Washington’s neoconservatives may look benignly on an Iraq whose dysfunctional government serves as an excuse to keep the region occupied with 50,000 troops and massive air bases. But America’s “mission accomplished” has created an unstable, economically devastated nation that will be yet another constant source of instability for the whole Middle East.

    And this is from a conservative publication, people.

  • 4) Finally, Michael Gerson profiled Christopher Hitchens today in the WaPo (here). And don’t ask me about the column, because I barely read a word of it. And that’s because I’m tired of our media wasting precious online type and column inches over this guy.

    I’m sorry that Hitchens is dying from cancer. I hope his passing from this world comes with as little pain as possible. But somehow I can’t help but get the feeling that our media is hanging with this man through every final hour and second waiting for some moment of clarity in which he’ll exclaim, “Oh God, praise Jesus! You were right all along, and I was wrong!”

    That clearly isn’t going to happen (I have a low regard generally for Hitchens, but I’ll give him credit for remaining true to his beliefs).

    And I also think it’s more than a little disingenuous for our corporate media to give Hitchens a “deathbed conversion” and ignore moments like the one here, where (speaking of Iraq) he criticized Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes for making the rather astute connection between the war and the flooding of cheap credit in the early part of this decade to inflate the housing bubble, in which our ruling cabal turned our economy into a casino.

    Also (linked to the post), Hitchens claimed that Martin Luther King, Jr. “doesn’t deserve his acclaim,” and Hillary Clinton is “an aging and resentful female.”

    And last but perhaps least, I give you this Hitchens moment from an episode of “Real Time With Bill Maher.”

    So, let us allow Hitchens to leave us with as little fanfare as possible, please. I will grant that he should be allowed the dignity to spend his final days as he chooses (which he denied to those caught up in the Iraq maelstrom that he considered “worth the price,” but there you are).

    Before he goes, though, I’ll give him the salute that he so gleefully gave his detractors on the Bill Maher program…

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