Saturday, November 14, 2009

The AK will turn hardcore the Clay Aiken

That boy shakin', I'm throwin' 'em Troy Aikman

Great song for today...Fred the Godson references Howie Mandel, Clay Aiken, and Troy Aikman within the first few lines. Not quite as impressive as dropping Lane Kiffin, but still.

I'm running around a bit this weekend, what with school catching up to me and all, so I just wanted to note a few things. I'll try not to get too political/angry, and let you make your own decision. We'll see how that works out.

Most fascinatingly, Peter Galbraith made his own oil deal with the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq. Galbraith is ostensibly a private citizen, but he's been in a buncha think tanks, he was the first ambassador to Croatia the US had, and he carries around this "friend of the Kurds" label. He's been a big proponent of the Federalization of Iraq: splitting it into Shi'a, Sunni, and Kurdish districts. A lot could be said about this on either direction, sure, but it's important to note that it Federalization is not the US Policy in Iraq. All the same, he made his own oil deal with a Norwegian company that will bring Kurdish oil out through Turkey independent of what the rest of the Iraqi oil industry does. He apparently gets 5% (~$115 million). As the Times says:
As the scope of Mr. Galbraith’s financial interests in Kurdistan become clear, they have the potential to inflame some of Iraqis’ deepest fears, including conspiracy theories that the true reason for the American invasion of their country was to take its oil. It may not help that outside Kurdistan, Mr. Galbraith’s influential view that Iraq should be broken up along ethnic lines is considered offensive to many Iraqis’ nationalism.

In short, he circumvented the US government and US war effort and made a deal that benefits him personally at the detriment of US interests. I'm really not against this, it's perfectly fine with me, I cannot make that clear enough. And quotes like the following are legit:
“I believe my work with DNO (and other companies) helped create the Kurdistan oil industry which helps provide Kurdistan an economic base for the autonomy its people almost unanimously desire.” [quoth Galbraith] “So, while I may have had interests, I see no conflict,”
But this is certainly a big deal. I was expecting more anger about it. Fox News is surprisingly not even reporting when I was expecting red-mist rage. I'm not even sure what to make of that.

In other news, there's purportedly a USMil trained tiger mauling people in Afghanistan. (h/t to Ghosts of Alexander. The real story behind his article is actually really interesting, if not exactly new news). Is this a good time for the Bear Cavalry image? Yes, of course it is:

And then, going stateside, the US is looking to seize a few mosques because they're tenuously related with a bank that's tenuously related with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The article mentions that seizing religious buildings is always a bad idea. I couldn't agree more, I'm hoping it's just an alarmist article because you really don't want to mess with that if you're a democratic government, I think. But hey, if you can do things with closed mosques half as cool as closed malls, I'm down:
...deconstruct the moribund mall, they advised, and reconstruct it as a shopping center-cum-ecotourist attraction, its stores squatting, half-submerged, in the nearby wetlands remediation project.
And finally, the reason for the opening lyric, a happy belated birthday to Mr. Kalashnikov. According to Alex Visotzky, who has the blog I want to have, you used to be able to buy an AK-47 in Sierra Leone for $10. The dude basically took away the state's monopoly on large-scale gun violence with his invention, so here's a toast to bringing us in to war in the 21st century!

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