foreign affairs


Oh, good, police in the Mexican state of Sinaloa announced the arrest of drug kingpin and all-around no-goodnik Carlos Leyva earlier today. Carlos has been at the head of the snappily named Beltran Leyva drug cartel, which deals in drugs, small home furninshings and many more drugs, since his older brother Arturo (“The Bearded One”) was killed in a shootout with police two weeks ago.

This arrest marks a major victory in the war on drug cartels that Mexican President Felipe Calderon has been waging with little success for some months. At least, it will be seen as a victory until some underling sees an opportunity, takes over the cartel, and continues business as usual.

So, what, like five minutes ago?

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Virginia Foxx, despite spelling her name with a double x in the traditional ‘stripper or pornographic performer’ style, is actually NOT a stripper. Rather, she is a caricature of the old lady from the ‘Where’s the beef?’ commercials if she went off her meds and decided to spend the recent of her brief, mean time on Earth strangled hippies with her ancient, claw-like hands. She also has the honor of being the craziest, most offensive member of Congress to come out of the Carolinas recently, which is really and truly saying something.

After calling the Matthew Shepard murder a hoax and repeatedly using the phrase “tar baby” on the floor Congress, Foxx recently declared the prospect of health care reform to be a bigger threat to the nation than “any terrorist right now in any country.”

Now, I’m no fear-monger, but I have to take issue with the fact that Virginia Foxx (again, not a porn star, despite what her name would lead you to reasonably assume) certainly appears not to hate or fear terrorism at all. Which is just wrong headed. If there’s one thing the last eight years have taught us, it is that nothing is scarier than terrorism. Nothing, anywhere, ever. The very word “terrorism” is, grammatically speaking, literally two thirds PURE TERROR and one third suffix. Nothing is scarier than that. Not health care reform. Not swine flu. Nothing.

So why doesn’t Virginia Foxx hate terrorism? Does it have something to do with her confusing stripper name? That’s a question only she can answer.

But until she can answer it, I think she should step down and relinquish her seat in Congress to someone who we know hates terrorism. For example, this bear in India’s Kashmir, who killed a pair of militants who were holed up in his cave. That bear fucking HATES terrorism. Hates it so much he mauls terrorists, or even just militant guerilla rebels, which are a lot like terrorists, kind of, to death. So even if he is Indian, and a bear, he is a True American. Not like Virginia “Probably Never Been An Adult Film Star But Totally Spells Her Name Like One” Foxx.

Today, we cross the Atlantic to a media environment in which putting a bigoted neo-fascist on live television is still a controversial decision, rather than a basic cable news channel. England’s favorite fascist member of the EU parliament, Nick Griffin, the head of the British National Party – which believes that people who are not white are well,not subhuman, but… yeah, well, subhuman is probably a pretty good way to describe it – was on the BBC’s Question Time last night, over the protests of hundreds of people who, for some reason, didn’t want to see this guy made a total asshole of on live TV.

The appearance, it’s fair to say, did not go well for Griffin, who at various points claimed that every unpleasant thing he’d ever said about any minority was a lie, invented from whole cloth by the media, couldn’t seem to wipe the smile from his face when questioned about whether he denied the Holocaust, and spent most of the program being lambasted by angry audience members, which actually makes really great TV, and which you can get a load of below.

This morning, Griffin has his knickers thoroughly in a twist over the show, lashing out at the BBC for letting people ask him mean questions, because after all, racist shit-bags have feelings, too. The BNP leader described the show as “a lynch mob,” and say what you will about him, Griffin knows a lynch mob when he sees one – his good buddy, KKK leader¬†David Duke, gave him a tutorial on them, you see. Griffin also reportedly feels demonized by the audience and the panel he was part of, but really – when you run an political party whose main goals include the deportation of white citizens… you’re pretty much already a demon.

Do you ever have that sinking feeling that your best effort – isn’t quite good enough?

This would seem very much to be the case concerning global efforts to combat the spread of the A/H1N1 influenza virus – that’s swine flu if your feeling nasty. Since it roared onto the scene months ago, the A/H1N1 virus has continued spreading unabated across the world. So what’s being done to make sure this thing doesn’t get out of hand? Are we hiring help to take the stress off of the embattled school nurses who will be on the front lines when the US school year starts? Or making sure at risk groups like parents of school aged kids get vaccinated?

Nah. We’re making sure all the really important flu prevention techniques are hitting the ground running. Like lame browser video games and homemade YouTube PSAs.

So when your major metro area is shut down by swine flu in the coming months, just remember – we couldn’t have done any better. And that is incredibly pitiful.

This week provided one instance of almost unheard of good news with the release of a study that seems to demonstrate a high school program that teaches students something of value in the real world. and no, it’s not how to make a cutting board.

A study found in the August issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine shows that integrating information about healthy relationships into standard ninth grade health classes reduces incidence of dating violence later perpetrated by students. In addition to seemingly quelling dating violence, the program raised rates of condom use in participating students two years down the road.

Seem too good to be true? Well, only kinda. The program is being tested in Canada, which is already a socialist utopia of sorts, shrugging off ¬†the ill effects of the global recession and providing health care for all of it’s citizens with out anyone having to get all shouty or death threatening over it.

Imagine, enacting an inexpensive, common sense program on violence prevention and safe sex that effectively reduces levels of violence and risky sex. Wacky, right?

Current TV reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee, are safe and sound back in the US following almost 5 months of imprisonment in North Korea. Their release comes on the heels of a visit to North Korea by former president turned humanitarian/wealthy gadabout Bill Clinton.

Oh, Bill Clinton, is there anything you can’t do?

You can find some handy background on Clinton’s trip over at Caffeinated Politics. Apparently Al Gore and Bill Richardson were among the names on the short list for this diplomatic mission, but at the end of the day, North Korea wanted Bill Clinton. Because everybody wants Bill Clinton, whether they admit it or not.

The bar none best article on foreignpolicy.com this month?

It’s got to be Marc Lynch’s exploration of power and career progress in rap culture – in particular the burgeoning feud between The Game and Jay-Z – and what it says about power and hegemony. Check out the full article here or for the more audio inclined, Lynch’s recent interview on NPR here, which sums up his rather interesting argument up quite nicely.

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