Monday, January 31, 2005

I Am Iraq's Democracy

I was born from the barrel of a gun. Not the guns of the people who actually use me, the guns of foreigners. I am the only chance the people here have for survival. The guns will fire more fiercely if I do not take hold here. I am young, weak, and disorganized. I took my first step recently, but I had to be propped up, not by the people, but by the foreigners. By the guns. I am not wanted by everyone. My neighbors abhor me. The same neighbors that my foreign supporters also support. Is the friend of my enemy my enemy? I exist on life-support, I must become stronger to survive on my own. If I become strong and flourish, will the people who created me still like me? Will they find me useful if the opinions I facilitate do not agree with my creators, the guys with guns. If the resources of my country are not used in the manner the guns want, will I survive? Will my existence create better relations with my neighbor Iran? Are the guys with guns going to build another one of me there? What about Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt? Are the seeds of my destruction already planted within? Will the people who live here and have vast differences of opinion use me to settle those differences? Or will they use the guns?

I am Iraqs democracy.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Dirty South Cleans Up At Sundance

Two, count them two independently produced films, made right here in Memphis have won awards at this years Sundance Film Festival in Park City Utah. "Forty Shades of Blue" won the Grand Jury Prize for American dramatic films. The film stars Rip Torn as an aging record producer who's caught in a love tri-angle. It was filmed entirely on location here last year. I have a friend who works at a local recording studio here where part of the movie was shot. They ended up using him as an extra. He told me the scene he was in invloved him walking into a recording studio, and being cussed out by Rip Torn. I hope to God that scene has not ended up on the cutting room floor.

The other Memphis film "Hustle and Flow", won the Audience Award in drama. The film is about a Memphis pimp who wants to turn his life around by becoming a rapper. Isn't that the dream of all pimps?
This film stars Terrence Manning and DJ Qualls. Incidently, some of the music and sound editing was done at Ardent Studios. And while my friend only helped set up the studio for the session, he is in some ways connected to this movie as well. (So Adam, if you get an invite to either premiere party, remember what we talked about, coattails man, coattails...)

"Blue" was directed and co-written by Ira Sachs, who grew up in Memphis but now lives in New York.
"Hustle" was directed by Craig Brewer, who still lives here, and who plans to make his next movie here as well. Remember those two names, we expect great things from them in the dirty south.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Divine Intervention

Everyone who works on the river likes to gamble to pass the time. We work twelve hour shifts night and day. That's a lot of time to kill when there's nothing going on work wise. I learned how to shoot craps from old guys who have been working out here since they dropped out of school when they were twelve. Poker and blackjack are other river staples. Personally my favorite way to lose money gambling is sports betting. And this is where divine intervention comes in.

I started blogging as a goof over the summer, and for some reason I fell into this weird Philadelphia subculture of bloggers. I now know why that is, God wants me to bet heavily on the Philadelphia Eagles to win the NFC championship game and then parlay that into an even bigger Super Bowl win. It all makes sense. It's all so clear to me now. And it's not just the Philly connection, my brother lives in Jacksonville, site of this years Super Bowl.

I will have to consult with my spiritual advisor (and she knows who she is) about exactly how much to bet. And of course, I'll have to consult with Lefty on the over and under.

Go Eagles!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Please Pass The Democracy

"It's like butta"- Babara Streisand

[In October, Duelfer released a preliminary report finding that in March 2003 -- the United States invaded Iraq on March 19 of that year -- Saddam did not have any WMD stockpiles and had not started any program to produce them] (cnn, left wing rag.)

Let's face it. Invading Iraq was a dumb idea. And I'm not just some "I told ya so" kind of critic. I was against this invasion from the start. From the very beginning, from even before we invaded. The case was never made. It was a mistake.

Most of the people who voted for Bush believed the following:

Saddam has weapons of mass destruction.

Saddam plans on using these weapons against the US.

Saddam played a major role in the 9/11 attacks.

These are all lies. And just because people believe them, doesn't make them true. And just because we now change our war aims from defending ourselves, and retribution for 9/11, to "spreading democracy" doesn't justify our actions either.

We shouldn't be there.

A Shining Beacon Of Democracy

Janurayr 30 must be in the minds of everyone in the Bush administration lately. After all, this is the nuts and bolts of "spreading democracy" in the Middle East. First Iraq, then Saudia Arabia, then Kuwait. It will be like butter. Right???


Just because the White House doesn't cancel the Iraqi elections on the 30th doesn't mean success. The Sunnis/Bathist don't want anything to do with it. Namely, cause their man aint gonna be elected. The Shiite, on the other hand, have embraced democracy full on, they want to vote quicker than you can say "my kid is an honor student at my local madras". It's hard to get excited about either scenerio.

On the other hand, the local paper in Riyad, Sadia Arabia was titled "Democracy: It aint all it's cracked up to be"

And in the local Kuwait daily, a recent headline was "Let's Not Get Carried Away With This Whole Democracy Thing"

These are our closest allies in the region. These are the "beacons of democracy that the people of Iraq look to. Our message to them: You got two brutal dictatorships that border you that are our best friends in the region; don't be like them. Be like we tell you to be.

I like this plan, and I'm proud to be a part of it!