Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Bits: Staten Island's Marshlands, Turkey & Kurdistan, Takes on Pakistan's Martial Law, Gay Muslims and the SF Mayoral Race


"Protecting a Wild Patch of City Marshland" by Andy Newman, from the New York Times

"This is a window into what Staten Island used to be," he said. "And here it still is."

Just from reading this article, I have the strongest urge to go and see what's there. I have that and the Rossville Boatyard to check out.


"The Turks Are Coming! Oh, They're Already Here" by Andrew Lee Butters, from Time

He was describing the Turkish camps along the Turkish-Iraqi/Kurd border and this line was just too good (and I'm a sucker for anything with rivers):

"One camp that's home to some 300 fighters in a ravine carved by the cold blue waters of the lower Khabour river looked like a beautiful place for an invading army to die."


"Musharraf's Martial Plan" by Benzair Bhutto, from the New York Times

I disagree with Bhutto's lede ("Nov. 3, the blackest day in Pakistani history;") I think I can think of several other moments that are worthy of that distinction. Otherwise, I agree with everything else she says and especially like how she called the U.S. out in the end. Let's see, though, what she does on Friday. She already tried to negotiate with Musharraf before and it went nowhere. I hope she knows not to make the same mistake again.


"Mushy: Handsome in Uniform" by Maureen Dowd, from the New York Times

Normally, I don't like Dowd's style. Sure, what she has to say is true, but she tries too hard to be clever. Today, though, she made some great points:

"America's influence is not unlimited. And unfortunately for the oppressed, Mushy's open defiance is helping to further undermine America's influence. But we will use what influence we have left to pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains and that human beings aspire to live at the mercy of bullies."

"All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will ignore your oppression and excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will not stand with you."

"In the long run, there is justice without freedom, and there can be human rights once the human rights activists have been thrown in the pokey." [That reminds me of the situation in Burma.]


"Pakistan's General Anarchy" by Mohammed Hanif, from the New York Times

A former member of the Pakistani Air Force Academy wrote about the power of and the rise of Islam within the Pakistani military:

"Only last month, Pakistan's Navy, in an audacious move, set up a barbecue business on the banks of the Indus River about 400 miles away from the Arabian Sea it's supposed to protect.

"It's a happy marriage between God and greed.

"For now, the general's weekend gamble seems to have paid off. From Washington and the European Union, he heard regrets but no condemnation with teeth—exactly what he counted on.

"General Musharraf has always tried to cultivate an impression in the West that he is the only one holding the country together, that after him, we can only expect anarchy. But in a country where arts teachers and lawyers are behind bars and suicide bombers are allowed to go free, we definitely need to redefine anarchy."


"Gay Muslims Find Freedom, of a Sort, in the U.S." by Neil MacFarquhar, from the New York Times

Something I've never thought about until recently.


"San Francisco Mayor's Race Offers Drama, but No Suspense" by Karl Vick, from the Washington Post

I sent this article to Sean with the subject: 'this is partly why i love san francisco,' and it's true. Gavin Newsom, the incumbent cheating hearthrob of a mayor, isn't the star of the race--he has to compete with a nudist, homeless taxi driver named Grasshopper, sex club owner, a previously jailed blogger (Josh Wolf, who refused to show video footage of protests), and more.

The idea, according to Quintin Mecke, another mayoral candidate, is:

"After seven years of Republican rule, we want to be as far left as possible, because we have tilted so far to the right that moderation is not going to get us anywhere near balance."

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