There are tons of websites devoted to Lost. This CNET article links to a bunch of them. I pretty much stay away from them in order remain surprised but every now and then I read a little or check Technorati to see what other bloggers are saying. (Though you can't really search for "Lost" as it's too common a word, I recommend searching for character names like "Hurley" or "Sawyer.")
I don't really know where the show is going and there's a lot of speculation on the boards/blogs about what's really going and it's impossible to determine if things in the show are hints, red herrings, or just coincidences the writers aren't even aware of. Anyway, after tonight's episode some things came together for me that I figured I should throw up here just so I'm on record in case 1) no one has thought of this before, and/or 2) I'm right. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong it's only a stupid TV show. So on the other side, there's some speculation that while underwhelming you may not want to read if you've DVR'd tonight's episode.
A woman who carried out a suicide attack in Iraq two weeks ago was identified Tuesday as the first European female suicide bomber.
The Belgian anti-terrorism unit has confirmed that the woman was a Belgian citizen who converted to Islam after her marriage to a Muslim fundamentalist, news service RTL reported Tuesday.
American military forces identified the woman at a combat scene in Baghdad. She was carrying recently issued Belgian identity papers which revealed she had traveled via Turkey. There are no traces of her radical husband who is believed to have organized her trip.
If you're keeping track, this suicide bombing is "believed a first for a Western woman who has converted to Islam."
Congrats to Belgium. The smart money was on France.
Belgian authorities "want to dismantle this network, which we knew was on our territory and which aimed to send volunteers for the jihad to the battlefield," federal police director Glenn Audenaert told reporters, referring to an Arabic word which among extremists can mean holy war in addition to its definition as the Islamic concept of the struggle to do good. [Is it really necessary for the AP to exlplain the two versions of jihad to us 4+ years into this war? Especially when the second meaning is obviously not what this is about.--Rob A.]
The dawn raids in Brussels and three other cities across the country involved more than 200 police officers and followed media reports that a Belgian woman had blown herself up in a Nov. 9 attack in Baghdad.
She was 38, her first name was Mireille and she came from a middle class background in Charleroi, said an official close to the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The woman had converted to fundamentalist Islam after she married a man from Morocco, officials said. "This is how she came into contact with the organization which allowed her to become a fighter for jihad," Audenaert said.
Her husband was killed in Iraq in a separate incident, officials said. Audenaert refused to give any further information about the couple.
Looks like Jeff Conaway is the new Gary Busey. You have to watch the video of him freak out on Celebrity Fit Club.
The clip online is only an excerpt and doesn't include him screaming "I WAS IN TAXI, YOU KNOW TAXI?!! ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR TV SHOWS OF ALL-TIME!!! I WAS IN GREASE, ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS MOVIES OF ALL-TIME!!!"
Depending on how you and your co-workers feel about Kenickie's man-jugs, the video may be NSFW.
...While somewhat on the subject of Taxi, I should have linked to this last week but it's one of the best blogposts of the year. (Via The Manolo.)
After summing up recent acts of violence and less "final" attempts of censoring critics of Islam, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross closes with this:
UNFORTUNATELY, WE IN THE WEST haven't always been vigilant about standing behind speech rights. Too often, when Islamists threaten free expression, some Westerners clamor to make excuses for them. In 1997, for example, Salman Rushdie and novelist John le Carré had a high-profile feud in the letters section of the Guardian. In the course of the feud, le Carré said that Rushdie bore the responsibility for the bounty on his head because "there is no law in life or nature that says that great religions may be insulted with impunity."
Beyond the apologists, Western legal systems are often confused about the intersection of free expression and religion. Religious vilification laws, for example, are counterproductive because they signal that the slander of a religion can be punishable by law.
Standing up for free speech in the face of religious fanaticism should be automatic for anybody who understands the classical liberal principles upon which Western society was built. Unfortunately, it seems that many Westerners either fail to understand these principles, or else fail to grasp the reality of the threat. Ultimately, it is Salman Rushdie's response to John le Carré that encapsulates the consequences of not recognizing the current Islamist attack on free speech: "John le Carré is right to say that free speech isn't an absolute. We have the freedoms we fight for, and we lose those we don't defend."
The article also includes a link to this Wiki entry cataloging the murders and attempted murders of Rusdie's translators throughout the world. I either never knew or had forgotten that part of the story.
TigerHawk links to what will surely be one of the most linked to posts of the next few weeks: American Future's working on compiling the NYT's editorials on Iraq going back to the Clinton administration. The first installment encompasses 1993-2000.
A couple of quick thoughts: First, you'll remember what a complete ballbuster "keeping Saddam in his box" really was.
(9/4/96) The American cruise-missile attacks on military targets in southern Iraq yesterday were a reasonable, proportionate response to Mr. Hussein’s latest act of aggression, this one directed against thousands of his own countrymen.
Second, there really was never any doubt in the minds of the Times (or the rest of the damn planet) that Saddam was hiding some kind of weapons program.
(8/12/98) Iraq has resisted inspection at every turn, leaving inspectors convinced it retains the ambition and means to develop biological and chemical weapons. Mr. Hussein has repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to attack his neighbors, even his countrymen. Allowing him to replenish his stockpile of biological and chemical weapons would threaten the Persian Gulf region and its oilfields, as well as Israel. Few developments would so directly endanger American security interests.
Bust out a flannel shirt, put on Badmotorfinger, and take the walk down memory lane, because as TigerHawk puts it:
One cannot understand the arguments about the purposes of today's war without understanding the arguments during the Clinton years.
I've never posted about or linked to Jane before, but her fight against the Yemeni government is one of the most remarkable and under-the-radar things going on in the blogosphere today. Here's a clip of her most recent post.
Vulgar? Personal Attacks? Swearing and Cursing? A Romatic Relationship? bwahahahaha The very best is “owner of a bad website.” I can’t stop laughing.
Maybe its the woman thing, but they just can’t wrap their heads around the idea that no one is directing me, not for love or money. For a long time, the accusation was that I was a Yemeni man in disguise. That’s been pretty well debunked. Maybe its better if they think I have some organization behind me, but I’d love to see the Yemeni officials’ faces the day the reality sinks in that its one woman, all by herself (well, with a blogosphere and a solid editor), who is bringing them so much grief by speaking the (well-documented) truth.
Do they want him dead or is someone *cough* Rikki Rockett *cough* just sending "a message"?
Poison singer Bret Michaels escaped serious injury Monday night when his tour bus was fired at in a drive-by shooting. Michaels was in Chicopee, Massachusetts, to perform at an invitation-only acoustic show at the Rumble Seat Bar and Grille and was sitting on his tour bus prior to the gig when a shot was fired from a white Ford F-150, according to a statement from his spokesperson.
The singer was struck in the face by broken glass, but was not seriously injured in the incident. "It is going to take more then a cowardice act like this to make me stop performing or stop my tour," Michaels said in a statement. "I plan on staying out and finishing the shows as scheduled. I want to thank all of my fans in the Chicopee area for staying out last night, and I will be back. Hopefully, with the help of many people, we will catch the person who did this and they will be brought to justice."
We have already heard from Sir Christopher Meyer's memoirs, DC Confidential, that intellectually Bush is not the lunk we took him for. But now we discover he's a kick-ass cyclist too. And that's a thoroughly dispiriting thought: not only does the most rightwing American president since, well, Ronald Reagan, clearly love cycling as much as I do, but he's a real bikie, not some loafing nodder. We always knew Bush spent an inordinate amount of time home on the range, but we just thought he was a bit workshy and easily bored with ruling the free world. It turns out he's been honing himself as a two-wheeled athlete.
But they just couldn't pass up a chance to make a Chimp joke.
The only compensation is that, according to AP, Bush barks when he's pedalling hard uphill, giving out a low growl with every stroke - "Hrrr, hrrr, hrrr"; a sort of simian male version of the Sharapova grunt. At least, if I went for a ride with the president, I could tease him about that. Not that I'd see him for dust, of course.