A Second Iranian Revolution?

I’m no expert on Iran. But what I do know about the country is that it contains a well-educated populace that has not been totally loving 30 years of theocratic rule.

Ahmadinejad seems to be popular among Iran’s fundies (they remind me a lot of Bush voters as they tend to be older and more conservative and religious than most) as he represents the theocracy while Moussavi seems to be a reformer who is popular among the secular set and young people. In the says leading up to the election, there appeared to be a groundswell of popular support for Moussavi.

80% of the people voted, we’re told and Ahmadinejad won the official vote in a landslide. The problem is that Ahmadinejad’s victory by such a wide margin makes little sense.

Today, the people of Iran have stood up against dictatorship. Whether the uprising leads to a new Iranian revolution is anyone’s guess.

But the signs are hopeful.

And This Is Bad News?

OK, yes, in this economy, I don’t relish any business going under.

But still, I think this might be good for the county’s soul:

A new study by AlixPartners, an international business-advisory firm, suggests that up to 40 percent of the nation’s chain restaurants could be fighting for their very survival within the next 12 months.

The startling study reveals that many chains are taking a beating as a result of a combined one-two punch of fewer diners spending less money and massive debt. AlixPartners’ analysts described the plight of the industry as worrisome, citing low-price, quick-service eateries as the lone bright spot.

Four out of ten chain restaurants may go under in the next year? Does that mean that we can say goodbye to bland and “fun” places like TGI Friday’s and Applebee’s in favor of locally-run restaurants serving ethnic and local cuisine that have some heart?

Can we do away with crap like Buffalo chicken tenders, blossoming onions, and fried cheese spooge?

A guy can dream.

Dispointment: Irrititing People I’ve Never Heard of Seem to Have Not Been Tortured in Jungle

I’m against torture. Really, I am.

I’m glad that Obama is going to close Guantanamo Bay and I don’t think that torture is in line with our country’s values.

But if a television network tortures extremely vile self-centered people who claim to be celebrities? Meh. Ok, count me in.

Of course, I’m talking about “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.”

I’m sorry that I feel compelled to blog about this. But I do. After all, I’m only human.

Since I last mentioned this piece of schadenfreude theater, we learned that these people named Heidi and Spencer Pratt, who are apparently more popular than the Beatles because of their love of Jesus were fighting with the other castmembers who included Lou Diamond Phillips, Sanjaya from American Idol, an intoxicated and mean model named Janice Dickinson, Fundie Baldwin, and a bunch of other people were put in the jungle to fight and eat bugs.

Since then, for some reason I will never understand, I went back and watched the rest of last week’s episodes and tonight’s show after I learned that the loathesome Heidi and Spencer had been tortured by NBC.

In last week’s episodes, we got to see Phillips’ hand chewed on by rats, Janice fighting with some guy about something because she was in a drunken rage, and one of the many people I’ve never heard of get kicked out of the jungle by the American people. And Fundie Baldwin baptised that Spencer prick because that Spencer prick loves Jesus and wants to be like Fundie Baldwin in three years. Oh, and then Fundie Baldwin’s brother Fat Baldwin joined the cast.

But the most important part of last week was that Heidi and Spencer left the show because they were far too important to hang out in the jungle with a bunch of other people no one has ever heard of. And then Jesus talked to them and told them to go back to the jungle.

Tonight, Jesus let them go back to the jungle, but before doing so, they were forced to spend the night in some kind of a dark room with spiders. They got through it (that room really looked not much worse than my Peace Corps house) and then went back to camp in good spirits.

Everything seemed to be fine until Sanjaya endured some reptiles and amphibians in a tank of water.

Then that Heidi pretended to be sick and another “celebrity” left the jungle for good. Heidi went to the hospital after mumbling something about Jesus. Patty Blagojevich then sad something about how hard her life is. And then the “celebrities” were upset about not getting enough lobster (seriously!) and we learned that that Heidi and that prick Spencer will never, ever return to the show.

The previews tell us that Heidi’s sister, no doubt another loathesome child of privilege will join the others on Wednesday and that some of the celebrities will “fight.”

I really have no idea why I care, but that’s the nature of irritainment.

And the torture allegations?

Untrue:

“Any accusations that Spencer and Heidi were harmed are untrue,” says the source. “There was no danger, no life-threatening situations — in fact, they were actually protected from the elements, unlike the other contestants.”

Damnit!

Well, a guy can dream.

Biblical Marriage

Betty Bowers, America’s best Christian explains:

Is it clear now?

Photo of the Day

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Hal Turner Arrested

In March of 2008, I wrote this post about white supremecist and right-wing internet talk show host Hal Turner, his friendship with Sean Hannity, and his threats on the lives of all three major presidential candidates at the time. I stated that I hoped the Secret Service was paying attention.

Well, it looks like he continued his bile and law enforcement finally took note:

Radio host Hal Turner — accused of hosting a website that incited Connecticut Catholics to “take up arms” and singling out two Connecticut lawmakers and a state ethics official — was taken into custody in New Jersey late today after state Capitol police obtained an arrest warrant for him.

Turner, who has been identified as a white supremacist and anti-Semite by several anti-racism groups, hosts an Internet radio program with an associated blog. Last week, the blog included a post that promised to release the home addresses of state Rep. Michael Lawlor, state Sen. Andrew McDonald and Thomas Jones of the ethics office.

“Mr. Turner’s comments are above and beyond the threshold of free speech,” Capitol police Chief Michael J. Fallon said in an e-mail announcing the warrant. “He is inciting others through his website to commit acts of violence and has created fear and alarm. He should be held accountable for his conduct.”

Snip.

“It is our intent to foment direct action against these individuals personally,” the blog stated. “These beastly government officials should be made an example of as a warning to others in government: Obey the Constitution or die.”

And, the post continued, “If any state attorney, police department or court thinks they’re going to get uppity with us about this; I suspect we have enough bullets to put them down too.”

You know, there’s a lot of hyperbole in talk radio and the blogosphere, but his words are so clear and so direct that they go way beyond hyperbole and enter into the realm of serious threats.

Free speech is one thing; incitement is another.

GOP Discovers Racism

The wingnuts are in a tizzy over racism! They just won’t tolerate racism of any kind because racism is bad.

Tom Tancredo’s former speechwriter and the current Executive of Tancredo’s Team America PAC just plead guilty to a hate crime for uttering the “n” word at an African-American woman while giving said woman a karate chop (?). And despite Tancredo’s years of anti-immigrant hysteria, he just won’t tolerate racism of any kind!

Rush Limbaugh, the guy who told an African American caller to take the bone out of her nose and call him back, just hates the idea that President Obama has nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court because white men like him are part of an oppressed minority.

You don’t think that Sotomayor is a racist? Well, she’s a member of La Raza, an organization that exists to improve opportunites to Latino Americans! What more proof do you need?

Well, the nonracist denizens of Free Republic also think she’s a racist.

Thankfully, Bob Herbert brings some sanity to the discussion:

Here’s the thing. Suddenly these hideously pompous and self-righteous white males of the right are all concerned about racism. They’re so concerned that they’re fully capable of finding it in places where it doesn’t for a moment exist. Not just finding it, but being outraged by it to the point of apoplexy. Oh, they tell us, this racism is a bad thing!

Are we supposed to not notice that these are the tribunes of a party that rose to power on the filthy waves of racial demagoguery. I don’t remember hearing their voices or the voices of their intellectual heroes when the Republican Party, as part of its Southern strategy, aggressively courted the bigots who fled the Democratic Party because the Democrats had become insufficiently hostile to blacks.

It’s nice that they’ve discovered that racism really is an issue in our country, but it would be nice if they attacked actual racism rather than racism invented to score political points and scare the GOP base that sees its influence and relevance waning as the country changes while they refuse to adapt.

Please pass the popcorn. In the upcoming weeks, we’re sure to hear more of this amusing tripe from Limbaugh and his ilkmates.