LA2AL-Quds

soon and very soon

Sunday, November 30, 2003

One of my friends and former professors Martha Merritt has a great piece on Georgia's "Velvet Revolution" in Friday's Chicago Tribune. You can read her piece here. Her most important conclusion?

"Like former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Shevardnadze struggled to establish a credible presidential network that could carry out his commands. Elections became a tool to affirm his power, rather than a vehicle for accountability and public choice. Both Yeltsin and Shevardnadze have now relinquished power, but neither lost it through an election that empowered the opposition. These were lost opportunities to give the public confidence and to affirm a commitment to democratic political institutions."

This is a great lesson for our democracy building in Iraq. As she concludes, our actions in Iraq, and likewise in all of the Middle East, will require a "continued focus on the means of building democracy instead of just the promise of it".

THE PASSION UPDATE:
Rev. Billy Graham gave his endorsement and support to Mel Gibson's yet to be released film The Passion of Christ . You can read about Graham's support of the film here , although keep in mind this is the anti-Catholic liberal media reporting on it. In one part of the article the AP writer says, "Conservative Catholics who have seen the film have called it powerful". Does anyone have any idea what a "Conservative Catholic" is? Because I've been Catholic for about 22 years now and the only time I've ever heard this term mentioned has been in reference to people who have seen Gibson's film and are supportive of it. The article even hints that Anti-Defamation League representative Abraham Foxman has seen the film, when in reality NO ONE from the ADL has been invited to any of the private screenings Gibson has had.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin thinks Gibson deserves some artistic freedom to portray such a seminal event in the history of mankind, and also makes a great point in reference to another controversial film about JX, The Last Temptation of Christ. Apparently it's OK to make a film about Christ if it portrays him in a negative light and directly attacks the beliefs of millions of people; got to love liberal double standards.

The Passion of Christ is scheduled for release February 25, 2004 Click here to see the trailer..

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Uhh, where did this come from? Oh well, at least my Dad got to see one ND victory this year, 1/3 ain't bad. On the other hand, didn't Ty recruit that entire Stanford team? Riiiiiiight.

Aww, how sad for Senator Clinton that her little trip to Afghanistan was upstated by the President. I guess it wasn't politics when she went to Afghanistan, but only when W. visits the men and women on the front lines, go figure. A great surprise and boost of morale for the troops, as well as a statement that the President means what he says about fighting terrorists wherever they are; especially considering a cargo plane was nearly shot out of the sky there earlier in the week.

On the other hand, Poor Saddam; the American President can fly into the heart of what was once his country, while he's still hiding in some bunker in Tirkit wearing his grandma glasses and his hair a nice shade of silver I would imagine. A nice statement to the Baathist holdouts.

Interesting facts about Bush's visit to Iraq: It is the first time since 1969 that a US Commander and Chief visited the front lines, the last was of course Richard Nixon in Vietnam. The President's trip also marked the first visit of a US President to Iraq.

Drudge has a great account of the secrecy of the trip, courtesy of the Washington Post's Mike Allen.

Andrew Sullivan also has an interesting entry on what Bush thought a normal couple looked like, don't suppose this would get any coverage from the NAACP.

OK, so good old Sony didn't make it as easy as I'd hoped to view my pictures, but all you have to do is register where this link takes you and you can see my pictures. Not too painful if you really want to see me in Jerusalem. I also have two other albums that I'm sure you will be able to see once you register, so here's number 2 and here's number 3.

So after staying up until 3am to try and figure out Yahoo's crappy way to post pictures online my friend Neil hooked it up with a great website at Sony's Imagestation. So if you'd like to check out all my pictures from Jerusalem without reading email after email, click here and tell me what you think.

Friday, November 28, 2003

So I've decided that sending out mass communiques via electronic mail isn't working as well as I hoped it would so with the help of my good friend JJ, the Google Man, I've decided to set up this blog website in an earnest attempt to give people at home and around the states a means to stay somewhat in contact with me. If this works the way I hope, I should be able to post pictures that are easily accessible to the masses, as well as to throw down some random rants on political and international happenings as I am want to do. To say this website won't be biting off the masters of international relations blogging, the Oxbloggers would be a lie, but of course you get the Middle Eastern angle they can't give you from Oxford. And I also must give a shout out to Mike Hoefling and Pac who were the inspiration for this blog's name.

In the meatime, email me at lburke2@nd.edu with pithy comments and I'll get back to you ASAP. Cheers!