Ringing in ’07: Best Year Ever?

I say it every year, but there’s really no doubt — 2007 is bound to be the best year ever. Any day know the NEW new beginning will be upon us with the announcement of Barack Obama‘s run for president, da Bears are in the playoffs and as far as the Cubs are concerned, after 99 years, I’m thinking Next Year is Here!

Here are a few photos from my New Years commemorations. As can be seen in the flickr slideshow below, a hot date to the Flaming Lips / Gnarls Barkley / Cat Power blowout at the new USC Galen Center was followed up New Years morning by my first trip to the Rose Bowl with my Dad and brother-in-law, to witness the Trojans (who I’m supporting w/ my grad school tuition) clobber the Wolverines (pops’ alma mater and the second sports team I ever saw in person –after the Cubs).

Highlight of the Lips’ set was a killer spot-on cover of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody — second song of the set. Click here to see 4 minutes of it. More from the show on YouTube: Flaming Lips, Gnarls Barkley, Cat Power.

Here’s to a happy 2007 — the best year ever?!?!?

How Does the New York Times Moderate User Comments?

The Times’ site has amassed over 2,000 comments regarding the execution of Saddam Hussein in the last 36 hours. The sentiment of the majority appears to denounce the practice of execution and the rapid manner in which Hussein met his fate following a “farcical” trial. Reactions ranged from: “bin Laden is next,” to “this is a sad, sad day.”

There are a TON of comments. Most are devoid of hyperlinks (although a couple odd ones from the shady-right partisan informationclearinghouse Web site snuck into a couple) and despite an abundance of typos and poor spelling, I didn’t notice any “bad words” at first glance.

However, my interest is piqued by comment #2032:

P.M. Alessandrini:

I submitted, today at 11:20 am, a comment criticizing the fact that links to videos concerning the execution of Saddam Hussein in yesterday and today’s web edition of the New York Times are coupled with advertisements, in video and image form, for the new film about Idi Amin, “The Last King of Scotland”. Criticism of coverage and its presentation is absolutely pertinent to this issue, and should not be suppressed. Let us not forget that support among the US public of the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq was due largely to a campaign of misinformation by the Bush administration, made possible – with only too few exceptions – by cooperation from the US media. Nonetheless, after seeing my comment listed as number 1953 below the heading, “Your comment is awaiting moderation”, it has not appeared on the page of comments one hour later, despite the fact that numerous comments submitted afterwards have been posted. I therefore invite your readers to see my comments about the coverage of the New York Times in the coming days on the website of the Atlantic Free Press, to which I am a contributor, if this criticism continues to be censored from the NYT comments page.
posted on December 31st, 2006 at 12:29 pm

The commenters originally moderated comment 1953 has not since appeared. Minutes later, another commenter adds, “It seems that the NYT has decided to take side rather than just delivering news and let Americans speak their mind.”

Shortly after that, theh posting of comments appears to have been halted. As I write this (5:57pm EST) the last posted comment is from 12:40pm EST, despite a standing invitation on the NYT Home page for fresh comments.

I’m very interesting in learning about the Times’ policies regarding readers’ comments and who/what disqualifies particular content from being posted. Anyone? Calame, are you reading?

A happy, healthy new year, readers!

forget it or not

Here’s to kissing 2006 goodbye. Let’s not miss it or forget to remember it. After all, history cannot pass judgment on its domain, contrary to popular belief.

Symbols leave there mark. Imagery and circumstance is what defines the times. Therefore, while little reason remained for anyone in the world to appreciate Saddam Hussein, one (of 1 billion or so Muslims worldwide) might find it insulting to lynch a former head of state on the eve of a major Muslim holiday.


Eid ul-Adha
. A Muslim holiday celebrating Abraham’s sacrifice of Ishmael to God. You’d think a so-called “born again” Christian could respect this, but then again, George W. himself might regret being considered within his family the expendable son to brother Jeb’s Isaac. The symbolism is just sickening. If he so wishes to be judged by history — let him at least BE history.

This is also a message for any hopeful candidates out there who wish to join Jalal Talabani and Hamid Karzai as U.S. approved temporary leaders for GWoT countries. We created Saddam too. And then hanged him.

As the death toll in the War on Terror since the war began in Iraq in March 2003 likely breaks 3,000 today, here’s a dramatic image reflecting Bush’s impression throughout the world of conflict.


A Kashmiri protester shouts slogans behind a fire from an effigy of U. S. President George W. Bush against the execution Saturday of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein , in Jammu December 31, 2006. (Amit Gupta/Reuters)

UPDATE: Marc Lynch posts reactions to the timing of the execution with Eid.

Anger over the timing has probably overwhelmed any other sentiment (with “it doesn’t change anything, Iraq is still a mess” coming a close second).