Category Archives: Iran

This week in The Pendulum…

For the first issue of the summer, the opinions section will have a nice little balance of that warm, fuzzy optimism that you’ve grown accustomed to reading in other publications, and the typical grizzled, commentary that tends to dominate the editorial pages. If you’re on campus (all three of you) then pick up your copy on Wednesday, but if not, take a look on the Internet. I heard it’s the hip, new thing.

As for a few sneak peeks at this week’s content…

  • Learn about the humility and honor in charity, no matter how small the contribution may seem.
  • Can Obama’s new “Can’t we all get along?” policy for the Middle East accomplish anything?
  • Reality TV doesn’t just hurt the pride of super models and the crotches of the contestants on “Wipeout.”
  • The revolution in Iran will be televised, and the West can do nothing but watch.
  • Hard times don’t mean that deplorable behavior is inevitable, it means that ideologues will have an excuse for their depravity.
And find out just what this cat and his bumper car have to do with Obama's economic policies...

And find out just what this cat and his bumper car have to do with Obama's economic policies...

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Filed under Business, Culture wars, Elon, Government, Hollywood, International, Iran, Media, Military, Morgan, Obama, Pendulum, Religion

Working for the Clampdown

Democracies are such a problem. Sure, they provide a solid basis for capitalist enterprise, grant people greater control of the government and give a nation greater credibility on the world stage. But oh, when failure and discontent festers in the minds of the voters, what are the poor strongmen in the palaces of power to do? They can’t just let themselves be voted out by popular will, nor can they win an election by the slightest of margins. They must keep hold of their scepters and make it seem as though they have a mandate, to keep those snippity upstarts from mustering the gall to question them.

For Iran’s ruling parties, specifically Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President (-cough-) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the problems democracy creates for despots have come to a boiling point. The country is embroiled in a multitude of protests after the presidential election, in which the government (Iran has no independent agency that verifies election results) ruled that Ahmadinejad had taken the election with 66 percent of the vote, despite a lengthy series of logical and statistical reasons why such a result is highly debatable (which are detailed in this excellent article).

Ahmadinejad carefully decides whether or not he recieved 66 or 65 percent of the popular vote.

Ahmadinejad carefully decides whether or not he received 66 or 65 percent of the popular vote.

I’ve made snide remarks about Twitter in the past, what with its stupid character limit and apparent lack of usefulness in comparison to other web applications, but the uprising against the Iranian government has been by and large covered via people going onto Twitter and other similar Internet resources and informing the world about just what’s going on. Many of the major news outlets have devoted large amounts of their coverage to these reports, especially as they’re faced with an increasingly tyrannical Iranian government trying to take control of everything being covered in their country (the Associated Press’ problems with allowing non-governmental Iranian news sources access to materials are covered here).

Even though reports are now coming in that Internet speeds are drastically decreasing nationwide, either due to increased use or for more dubious reasons, the movement for reform in Iran, led by presidential candidate (and to some, President) Mir Hossein Moussavi, has done an incredible job utilizing the web, to the extent at which I don’t go to the BBC or CNN first for information about the protests and the backlash, I head to the blogs (with The Guardian’s liveblog being first and foremost) and to, amazingly, Twitter. It’s through online resources that I’ve gained much of my knowledge, and though it all must be viewed with a grain of salt (a ton of people are now going wild about a supposedly leaked document from the Iranian government proving the elections results were fraudulent, especially now that the man who supposedly leaked them has been killed in a suspicious car crash, but the document has yet to be completely verified).

It would be nice to think that these protests will lead to immediate change and a swift alteration of the guard in Iran, but the government is simply too powerful, with too many resources and too few morals to be taken down so easily. What this contested election does mark is the begining of the end of the current Iranian regime, and an indication that tanks and explosives aren’t needed for democracy to flourish in the Middle East. All there needs to be is a strong voice, a call for change and a government incompetent enough to view the pursuit of nuclear power as more important than the nation’s economy. And it doesn’t hurt for there to be media that isn’t forced to work with those clamping down on free speech to spread the good word out to millions at home and overseas.

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Filed under Culture wars, Government, International, Iran, Media, Morgan, Technology

News briefs!

Put down those preemptive Peeps, it’s not Easter break yet. Here’s a quick rundown of everything that you’ll need to know until tomorrow…

  • Somali pirates boarded the U.S. container ship Alabama and are currently holding its captain, Richard Phillips captive, though the remainder of the ship is reportedly back in the control of its crew. The Alabama, which was carrying food aid intended for Mombasa, Kenya, was boarded at 7:30 a.m.. The crew has made contact with the media and some of their families, and it seems as though none of them have been hurt, despite their unarmed disadvantage against the gun-toting pirates.

    This comes just two days after the Malaspina Castle, a British ship, was boarded by pirates. Last year, almost 100 ships were attacked across the globe by pirates, 40 of which were assaulted close to Somalia. There’s been a strong international effort to bring about an end to such activities, with the American, Chinese, Japanese and Russian warships all patrolling the region.

    It’s nice to think that by tossing some battleships into the sea, this growing pirate problem can be put to an end, but they operate in such small groups, and can vanish so quickly that they’re akin to the small group of terrorists who laid siege to Mumbai last year.

  • Three cheers for diplomacy! If the State Department is to be believed, the U.S. will soon join up with Iran, the U.N. and other European powers discuss Iran’s nuclear program. This is, of course, pending Iran’s acceptance of its invite. Sure, Iran isn’t the most lovable of countries, but this is certainly an improvement over the U.S. wrinkling its brow and poo-pooing them from behind plate glass while they step ever closer to the bomb.
  • In a report that’s sure to shock everyone, the International Association for Dental Research in Miami concluded that prolonged partaking of sports drinks, with all of their hydrating, sugary goodness, can be bad for your teeth. Next week, they’ll decide that eating a diet comprised entirely of Fruit-Roll-Ups is also detrimental to one’s health.
  • Newt Gingrich has come out and said that the Obama administration is “intensely secular” and “anti-religious,” though Obama hasn’t done anything regarding religion one way or the other. Could it be that he’s creating a space, a void, perhaps even a separation between the church and the state? Meanwhile, I’ll go listen to Pearl Jam and boot up my Sega Genesis, because apparently it’s 1994 and Gingrich is important.

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Filed under Crime, Government, Health, International, Iran, Military, Morgan

Putin’ it right back in our faces

-Morgan Little

As the first post in the Opinions blog, it only makes sense for this to be a quick discourse dashed off in the wee hours of the night. The presence of pajamas and an unshaven visage only sweeten the deal.

Remember Russia? Back when you were reading Time for Kids, when the extent of your world news came from a four-page leaflet handed out in your social studies class, and perhaps the grumblings from your father against that charlatan Bill Clinton? Back then, Russia was the bad guy who vanished into ambiguity and 80’s action films, led by an adorable, bumbling red-nosed supposed drunk. The bear had been tamed, and was giving every impression of having but one goal in mind; to dance about feebly for the entertainment of the victorious United States. Oh the nineties, when Nike’s factories were viewed as the most oppressive dictatorships in the world and the attitude of, “Well, we won…let’s get on with that utopia thing!” pushed away any fears.

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Filed under Iran, Morgan, Obama, Russia