Big Rock Candy Mountain

The official voice of the Deseret Liberation Organization

Akbar Ganji

I love Akbar Ganji. Like Tom Paine of old he is a journalist who is not afraid to criticize anyone, regardless of their political stripes. But unlike Paine, he also realizes the important place tradition has in civic life. His bravery is exemplary, and should be had by all journalists.

Here is an excerpt from an interview with Radio Farda he gave shortly after being released from prison.

Well, we say that we reject violence, terror, and revolution. However, this should not be translated into passivity. [Mohatma] Gandhi, who is the father of the nonviolent struggle, has extracted the thesis of civil disobedience out of his doctrine. Our reformist friends think that peaceful struggle necessarily means lawful activities. [But] they have tied our hands with unjust and inhumane laws, and we cannot do anything about it. Thus there is no choice other than breaking the unjust law. This is civil disobedience, and you will only have to pay the price for breaking the law.

Another thing I love about him: his independence. Other dissidents have been bankrolled by the U.S. and/or Saddam. Other dissidents have reacted violently. But Ganji criticizes U.S. and Israeli policy just as much as he criticizes that of Iran. His credentials as a revolutionary and former IRGC member distance him from traditional MKO, Tudeh, or National Front affiliated nonsense.


Filed under: Politics, ,

Obama’s hair options

Vincent Hussein Obama

A suggestion for the ears.

Jamie Malonowski thinks the current economic crisis requires Barack Obama to grow a beard:

But there just might be a good reason for Obama to grow a beard: foreign policy. Consider that in the almost 100 years from Wilson to Bush that America has had clean-shaven presidents, the following individuals have been prominent among its enemies: Pancho Villa, Kaiser Wilhelm, Adolf Hitler, Emperor Hirohito, Hideki Tojo, Josef Stalin, Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Gamal Abdel-Nasser, Hafez al-Assad, Daniel Ortega, the Ayatollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein, and Osama bin Laden, and right now we’re not exactly sweet on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Who knows? But the evidence points to a trend—and an opportunity. A bearded Obama would show the world that America bears no one ill will. Everyone starts with a clean slate, if not a clean lip.

At his press conference to announce Bill Richardson as his commerce secretary, Obama reacted to Richardson’s new clean-shavenness: “For some reason, maybe because it was scratchy when he kissed his wife, he was forced to get rid of it—but we’re deeply disappointed with the loss of the beard.”

Are there any 11-year-old girls out there who would like to send the president-elect an email?

I agree with the general sentiment. However, I think Obama shoud go beyond that. He should emphasize his status as the first African-American president and the first big change since 1980 by also growing an afro. After the recent revelation that he uses the less-than-hip Microsoft Zune, a ‘fro would be the best way for him to gain vital cred with the hipsters spent hours in Colorado and Ohio, putting him into office (unless, of course, he was sporting the Zune ironically). It doesn’t need to be a big afro, just something that emphasizes his blackness, cool, and youth. If he grew a ’70s-style ‘stache, it would be even cooler.

For the record, Richardson should make like Geraldo and grow a Mexi-stache. It is just the message young Latino males need today: you can grow a mustache and reach the highest echelons of American society as long as you stay in school.

Filed under: Politics, , , , , , ,

Bow down before Big Stiggy

Apparently, Joseph Stiglitz knows everything and if we heed his advice all will be well. Twenty years ago, he predicted the current economic crisis:

…When banks retained the mortgages which they issued, they had greater incentives to screen loan applicants. The brokers who write the mortgages often receive commissions on the loans they write, with little or no accountability on their efficiency in screening. Their incentives are thus only to ensure that the loans meet (on paper) the requirements of the loan… [T]he broker has an incentive to find an appraiser who will appraise the property accordingly. The question is, has the growth in securitization been a result of more efficient transactions technologies, or an unfounded reduction in concern about the importance of screening loan applicants? It is, perhaps, too early to tell, but we should at least entertain the possibility that it is the latter rather than the former.

Bow down before Big Stiggy. At least put him in charge of something. Stiglitz is king.

Filed under: Politics,

Wonkette does it again

A particularly brilliant post:

Florida Republicans are a very special breed of morons. They will pay you $20 to give you a blowjob in the bathroom, they will keep you up at all hours on the Instant Message Blonker if they think you are a hot pimply teen, and they will hang up on you if you are the President-elect.

The actual AP story about this horrible instance is just pathetic.

Filed under: Politics, , ,

Itinerary for Tomorrow

6:45: Wake up, bathe, &c.

7:30: Read the papers, eat, etc

8:35: Persian class—watch a film in Persian and/or review stuff

9:25: Go to library, work on crap, Finish the necessary paperz, etc, etc, etc.

5:30: Go to IR, learn about poor peoplez.

Filed under: Miscella

Some beautiful idiocy

From Jeffrey Goldberg:

From the mailbox, in reference to my post on how to keep alive in a terrorized hotel:

How about not supporting governments that oppress their own people? The U.S. has a  history of supporting dictators, and then we wonder why Americans are a target abroad. For us to be really safe, we have to stop consorting with enemies.

Yes, that explains why the Lashkar-e-Toiba attacked the Taj in Mumbai, doesn’t it?

lolz, cuz we lyke, supported the LeT (my abbreviation) for years cuz Pakistan was the only country in the region that wasn’t all “nonaligned movement” on us during the Cold War. And then Pakistan decided to be cool for a change this spring but lyke the ISI was teh lame and kept blowing stuff up.

Filed under: Miscella, Politics,

Hitchens on Mumbai

Christopher Hitchens has a spot-on commentary on the Mumbai attacks. Most of his usual preachiness is gone. But he goes on one bizarre tangent:

When Salman Rushdie wrote, in The Moor’s Last Sigh in 1995, that “those who hated India, those who sought to ruin it, would need to ruin Bombay,” he was alluding to the Hindu chauvinists who had tried to exert their own monopoly in the city and who had forcibly renamed it—after a Hindu goddess—Mumbai. We all now collude with this, in the same way that most newspapers and TV stations do the Burmese junta’s work for it by using the fake name Myanmar. (Bombay’s hospital and stock exchange, both targets of terrorists, are still called by their right name by most people, just as Bollywood retains its “B.”)

Well, actually, in the native Marathi and Gujarati languages, Mumbai has always been the city’s name. It was just the Hindi and English transliterations of the city’s name that were changed from Bombay to Mumbai. Still, I do agree with him that changing the foreign names of cities is pretty stupid. Romans call their city Roma, but we don’t; why do we have to waste time and money changing all the English literature on Bombay to literature on Mumbai?

Anyway, the article is great. Why is this guy still writing for Vanity Fair even as total nitwits have managed to infiltrate the opinion columns of every major daily? Since he is now a citizen, it is his patriotic duty is to unseat Dowd, Friedman, Kristol, or any of the other cretins at the NYT, or one of the innumerable host of wingnuts at the WSJ. The WaPo columnists can stay; they generally do not make claims that are factually innaccurate, condescending or trite. USA Today doesn’t count.

Filed under: Politics, , ,


The TOI reports:

United States intelligence agencies had warned India “twice” about a potential maritime attack on Mumbai at least a month before audacious terror strikes that has left about 200 people dead and scores injured, media reports said….

On November 18, Indian intelligence also intercepted a satellite phone call to a number in Pakistan known to be used by a leader of the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, believed to be responsible for the weekend attack, Indian intelligence officials were quoted as saying by

The Indian intercept also revealed a possible sea-borne attack, it said, citing officials.

EPIC FAIL. But at least Manmohan Singh wasn’t cutting down trees while cutting counterterrorism funds while all this was happening (Sonia Gandhi probably was).

The Times of India is quickly becoming mandatory reading for me, much as FT became mandatory when the economy started to tank. When something is doing poorly, one feels much more of a duty to read about it.

Filed under: Politics, , , ,

A good point

From the Facebook group “Keep the Mass in Christmas”:

So, we’ve all seen those tacky bumper stickers on the backs of Buicks everywhere, proclaiming, “Keep Christ in Christmas!” (Often with accompanying nativity scene.)

Fine, fine. That’s all well and good, but what about the second half?

Many, shall we say – recent – Protestant denominations forget the original festivities of the holiday: A traditional and solemn church celebration of Christ’s birth.

Not some egregious rock concert with so-so performers trying to peddle their latest X-TREME TEENS 4 JESUS merchandise.

Amen. Christianity is not cool, and never will be. It is not “uplifting.” It is holy.

Filed under: Miscella,

Amazing Facebook Groups

Some of the greatest groups on Facebook:

Filed under: Miscella, , ,