Middle East

Not Out of the Woods Yet

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The BBC reports from Tunisia, where the government has lost a dictator but hasn't lost all its dictatorial habits:

Security forces in the Tunisian capital have fired tear gas to try to disperse hundreds of demonstrators outside the interior ministry.

Police and masked men in civilian clothes, armed with sticks, moved through streets looking for protesters.

The renewed protest comes a day after police cleared huge crowds from the streets demanding the resignation of the interim prime minister…police fired tear gas and warning shots to disperse demonstrators.

Elsewhere in the Arab world, the wave of protests has hit Oman and Mauritania.

Update: Tunisia's interim PM steps down.

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  1. Yeah but what about the Oscars?

    1. How to Save the Oscars, my favorite The Fray song.

      What Walker calls demonstrators, I call kids on my lawn.

  2. Mummar say,”Just say NO to Drugs.”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..r_embedded

  3. fired tear gas to try to disperse hundreds of demonstrators outside the interior ministry.

    Wouldn’t that be the exterior ministry?

  4. Are there woods in North Africa?

  5. Somewhat related: the most poorly timed puff-piece article on a dictator ever. A Vogue profile of Bashar Assad’s hot wife:

    http://www.vogue.com/vogue-dai…..he-desert/

    1. “a female version of Prince Charles” =/= “hot”

      1. I was going to click that until I saw your comment.

        1. She’s pretty hot actually.

          1. If I had pics of the First Lady of Syria in her underwear they’d be on my blog.

            1. She looks like Linda Hamilton crossed with Hillary Clinton.

              1. Hasta la vista, baby…

  6. the government has lost a dictator but hasn’t lost all its dictatorial habits … The renewed protest comes a day after police cleared huge crowds from the streets demanding the resignation of the interim prime minister

    Ummm, I’d say they swapped one dictator for another, the latest one called “the interim prime minister”.

    1. Ghannouchi resigned a few minutes ago. The Tunisians did it again!

  7. Syria is known as the safest country in the Middle East, possibly because, as the State Department’s Web site says, “the Syrian government conducts intense physical and electronic surveillance of both Syrian citizens and foreign visitors.”

    Possibly!

    1. “the Syrian government conducts intense physical and electronic surveillance of both Syrian citizens and foreign visitors.”

      Is this why the US is so safe?

  8. When will “the wave of protests” hit the US?

    1. It already hit. People called it the Tea Party.

    2. Wisconsin

  9. When will “the big wave of protests” hit the US?

    1. When you have a reliable cycle of peaceful transfers of power, you don’t need big waves of protests. I know many of the “principled non-voters” (who are strangely not also principled non-complainers) around these parts don’t really appreciate that, but it is an important distinction.

      1. How did the 100 to 1 majority against the TARP bailouts work out for you?

        1. How did the protests of that work out?

          The TARPites eventually got their just deserts at the ballot box. Not an option they have in North Africa or most places in the Middle East, I’m afraid.

      2. Hmm, so if you don’t vote you shouldn’t complain. And if you do vote (thereby giving your consent to be ruled by the majority) you shouldn’t complain. Awesome.

        1. In the social contract theory, you’ve given consent to be ruled by whoever wins whether you vote or not.

          I’m not sure where this idea that voting gives consent came from. That’s like saying that people who fight in a civil war are thereby consenting to be ruled by whoever wins, while those who sit back and watch aren’t.

          My basic point is, if you refuse to vote then those in power have no reason to care what you think, because you aren’t a threat. Now obviously a single voter isn’t much of a threat either; it’s only when voters “clump” into blocs that they get attention. But if you’re not voting at all you’re definitely irrelevant in the body politic.

      3. “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain?” Tulpa? Really?

        Jeezus, if you were any squarer, you’d be a tesseract.

        1. That would also be rather cubic.

      4. When you have a reliable cycle of peaceful transfers of power, you don’t need big waves of protests.

        Probably true when, in addition, “everything’s OK.”

        To answer Jess’s question: When the number of people

        1. … 30yo and under reaches 60% of the population.

          Tags, preview, what ya gonna do?

  10. “legitimacy to rule”
    Seriously? The legitimacy to rule and not the legitimacy to govern? It almost seems like a tacit endorsement of “ruling” people.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politic…..eds-leave/

    “The president stated that when a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now,

  11. “Among their demands are a cap on rising costs of living and a solution to the problem of unemployment.”

    1. Free market and free market?

      1. Yeah, somehow I doubt that will be the solution they try first.

        1. It’s hard for me to be sympathetic to their struggles when they’re willing to fight through the chains and shackles of one bad government only to race to the stockades.

          Just more proof that democracy != freedom.

  12. Not Out of the Woods Yet

    Well, get the hell out of the woods and publish something new

  13. There may be a clearing in the woods.

    “Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi said Sunday he will resign,…”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/…..97682.html

    Just for the record, we’re never out of the woods. Here in the U.S., we’ve been at this for about 234 years–and we’re still not out of the woods yet!

  14. http://www.myfoxorlando.com/dp…..ed-for-dui

    MARION COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) – A woman who was the former president of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving chapter in Gainesville has been arrested for drunk driving.

    Debra Oberlin, 48, was arrested around 1:00 a.m. February 18 after police say the car she was driving was swerving on Northwest 39th Street. According to the arrest report she was given two breathalyzer tests and measured .234 and .239. The limit in Florida is .08.

    As sure as the earth orbits the sun, whenever someone is a single issue fanatic, they are doing it to compensate for something. A .239? That is falling down drunk.

    1. A .239 is close to falling down dead.

      1. Yeah. According to the interwebs, a .2 bac does the following

        0.20 BAC: Felling dazed, confused or otherwise disoriented. May need help to stand or walk. If you injure yourself you may not feel the pain. Some people experience nausea and vomiting at this level. The gag reflex is impaired and you can choke if you do vomit. Blackouts are likely at this level so you may not remember what has happened.

        0.25 BAC: All mental, physical and sensory functions are severely impaired. Increased risk of asphyxiation from choking on vomit and of seriously injuring yourself by falls or other accidents.

        http://www.brad21.org/effects_at_specific_bac.html

        She was almost at .25

        1. Well, it did say she was the former director of the Gainesville chapter of MADD. Maybe she quit because she gained a new respect for drunken driving, and was out experiencing that when she got caught.

          1. Maybe she quit because she gained a new respect for drunken driving

            +1

  15. Until the Carthaginian Empire is restored, there can be no freedom in Tunisia.

  16. The only thing worse than a brutal dictator is a “power vacuum.” Hillary would be happy to explain why that is.

    1. What if the vacuum is filled with something good? Like a benevolent, liberal republic?

      1. I think Ruthless is goin’ for the power vacuums are good.

        If I’m a libertarian, I want a power vacuum. If I’m an anarchist, I advocate for power vacuums like they’re cowbell.

        1. Power vacuums are only good if you have a shag carpet.

      2. What if the bull runs into the china shop, bites onto a feather duster, and dusts the shelves without harming the china?

  17. What’s the difference between a power vacuum and a free society?

    1. It’s who protects your rights.

      In a power vacuum, you have to protect your own. In a free society, you can depend on the government to protect them for you.

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