Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


*From the AP wire:

'Mother' of Iraqi women bomber network arrested

BAGHDAD (AP) — A woman accused of helping recruit dozens of female suicide bombers looked into the camera and described the process: trolling society for likely candidates and then patiently converting the women from troubled souls into deadly attackers.

The accounts, in a video released Tuesday by Iraq police, offer a rare glimpse into the networks used to find and train the women bombers who have become one of the insurgents' most effective weapons as they struggle under increasing crackdowns.

In a separate prison interview with The Associated Press, with interrogators nearby, the woman said she was part of a plot in which young women were raped and then sent to her for matronly advice. She said she would try to persuade the victims to become suicide bombers as their only escape from the shame and to reclaim their honor.


She said she was "able to persuade women to become suicide bombers ... broken women, especially those who were raped."

In many parts of Iraq, including conservative Diyala, a rape victim may be shunned by her family and become an outcast in society.

Police interrogators were not in the room during Jassim's interview with the AP, but they were in an adjoining chamber.

Jassim did not offer additional details on her alleged role in the attacks, but suggested she was pressured into working with the insurgency.

She claimed that Ansar al-Sunnah provided her a house in Diyala, where she operated a shop selling the traditional robes for women called abaya. She added, however, that Ansar al-Sunnah once threatened to bomb her house if she did not cooperate.

"I worked with (Ansar al-Sunnah) for a year and a half," she told the AP.

It's at times like this I have to pray, "Please exist God. Please let there be a hell for such as these."

Oh, and just one quibble. In "conservative" Islamic societies, women who are raped are not "shunned" by their families - they are killed by their families.

* Michael Phelps got caught on camera with his snout in a bong only a little smaller than the Olympic-sized pools he sets world records in.

Gotta watch that stuff, it really ruins your health!

It is one of the enduring mysteries of our time, that a vice which doesn't involve sex, and is indulged in by a fraction of the population large enough to swing any election and is most likely just short of a majority - can still get you time and a career-destroying record.

What gives?

That's not a rhetorical question, I really mean what the hell is going on here? What powerful vested interests give a damn about keeping pot illegal? (Aside from drug dealers I mean.)

The notion that pot would displace alcohol is silly. Ask any pothead what he wants after a couple of hits, a Pepsi or a beer?

*President Obama made his first overture to the Islamic world on Al-Arabiya, and seems to be clueless that he's had a huge loss of face.

I am not going to crow about this, it's my country too. But doesn't he have Rahm Emmanuel at his side to clue him in?

*Something has been bothering me ever since the presidential campaign. I was recently reminded of it when going through old comments posted.

It's about Sarah Palin and the brutal way the media treated her.

Understand, it's not about sympathy. At its worst, I'd say it was THAT LOOK on Katie Couric's face when interviewing Palin. You could see it in her eyes - Katie wanted to kill her.

But there's a saying about heat and kitchens that covers that one. Palin was visibly unnerved, Katie was in control. (God how I wish she'd lost control, gone for Sarah physically - and gotten herself stomped.)

Practice Sarah, practice. And remember, femina lupa femines.

No, what bothers me is the merciless fun poked at her for that answer, "I can see Russia from my house"* in the Gibson interview.

Damn it, I knew what that meant right away! My wife knew it without having to think twice about it. Any Eastern European would know what it meant!

Or, think about this. If someone asked a politician from the southern border states, "What do you know about illegal immigration?" and they answered, "I can see Mexico from my house" - you'd know what they meant.

It means, "I pay attention to this issue - because I have to. Because I can't avoid it."

Turn my example around, "I can see Canada from my house,"* means nothing - because Canada is not threatening.

So did the media deliberately misconstrue that one?

Doesn't seem likely, FOX didn't pick up on it and go to her defense.

No, what's frightening is, they flat didn't understand.

That does not bode well for us.

Update: It just occurred to me that it might work turned around though. If a Canadian politician said, "I can see the U.S. from my house," that could be very meaningful in certain contexts.

*Correction: What Palin actually said was, "There are parts of Alaska you can see Russia from." That quote is how Tina Fey lampooned her. Point remains the same.


  • At 2:43 PM, Blogger Dog said…

    Hello Steve:

    Long-time reader, but first-time poster here. The question about Pot, probably is not the best subject to comment on, but... Simply put, there is still a substantial amount of the population who isn’t convinced that legalization won’t cause more problems than it solves. However, that pendulum is swinging.

  • At 4:21 PM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Hi Dog, welcome.

    Well pot relates to some more serious issues - like terroism and how to combat it.

    I'm wondering if people would be so hinkey about surveillance of suspicious people and monitoring of suspicious activity, if they weren't quite so concerned about getting busted for their private but illegal vices?

  • At 1:14 PM, Blogger Matt Vietor said…

    "I can see Russia from my house."

    She didn't say that, Tina Fey said it on Saturday Night Live while posing as Sarah Palin

  • At 4:30 AM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Nope, see here:


    She certainly didn't say it in that whiney Tina Fey voice.

    And BTW, who the hell ever thought Tina Fey looks like her?

    Sarah Palin is "smoking hot in a naughty librarian sort of way." Tina looks like a rat-faced "mean girl."

  • At 6:14 AM, Blogger Matt Vietor said…

    Well I'll be damned...

  • At 6:23 AM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Perhaps so, but you won't be alone.

    So see you in hell, and I mean that in the nicest way;)

    You know what they say, "Heaven for climate - hell for company."

  • At 8:30 PM, Blogger Ted said…

    I think it's well past time to roll TF off the potheads...There are definatly bigger fish to fry.
    That will not stop the wing-nuts (especially them of the funny-mentalist pseudo-"Christian" religious bent) from screaming and whining about it like they do about homogamy and other victimless crimes.
    Too many authoritarians, too little ammunition!

  • At 9:49 AM, Blogger Libertarian_Libertine said…

    "Sarah Palin is "smoking hot in a naughty librarian sort of way." Tina looks like a rat-faced "mean girl.""

    Come on.

    I respect you and I love this blog, but your Palin fetish is verging on creepy.

    Tina Fey is better looking than Sarah Palin, at least now. And Sarah Palin is hot in that "middle aged former beauty queen who has mostly kept her looks".

  • At 12:05 PM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Sarah Palin is 13 years younger than I am - that gives you a certain perspective about having "kept her looks."

    I think she looks loads better now than her early beauty queen pics.

    Not that I have anything against younger women either, Palin is also 16 years older than my wife. Who I think is more stunning than when I met her eight years ago.

    At least some of that has to do with personality - and would be a good subject for another blog post.

    For example, Paris Hilton does absolutely nothing for me. Zero, zip, nada. Her face seems so absolutely vacuous it gives her the sex appeal of a display window mannequin.

    I think I'd have far more fun on a dinner-and-movie date with, America Ferrara for example.


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