1. The UAE, having already banned Flickr, seems to be considering banning YouTube as well. Most reactions have been negative (duh), but I found this response interesting [Via Global Voices]:
There comes the inevitable question, is youtube totally ‘safe’? Of course not, and I wholeheartedly support censorship on some of its content. Especially the kind of hate inciting content. You might choose to believe otherwise, but WE DO NOT have democracy and total freedom of expression in the Arab World. We have a vicious Sunni-Shia sectarian strife. We have an intimidating rate of illiteracy. We have an intimidating rate of credulity. The stable and relatively prosperous Arab societies are stable because there are measures that ENSURE everything stays stable. Even when stability sometimes borders on stagnation….. in short, I am not worried about moral disintegration of societies, I am worried about strives and rifts. So for the time being, some of the content, in my opinion, may have to be censored.
He or she (can't tell) goes on to say that YouTube of course also serves valuable functions of communication, education, and debate, and should not be completely banned. I found that part of the response interesting because political scientists know full well that "WE DO NOT have democracy and total freedom of expression in the Arab world" and "The stable and relatively prosperous Arab societies are stable because there are measures that ENSURE everything stays stable", they consider it a bad thing (and furthermore consider these stabilizing measures authoritarian roadblocks to democracy--and democracy is generally assumed to be a goal and a good one), and they would probably be shaking their heads in despair at an Arab citizen being so happy with said stability. Just goes to show that it's all fun and games when it's someone else's revolution (or, conversely, when one is not suffering economically or otherwise from the absence of revolution).
2. Wow. After Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) called for the GOP to model an insurgent strategy on the Taliban, I thought we could move past all this. I figured it was the kind of thing that makes sense in your head and then you ill-advisedly say it out loud and then everybody moves on and pretends it never happened because oof. But no:
Now, at a time when the national GOP is trying to find its voice and cultivate new candidates, California GOP activists have begun engaging in a new pastime: issuing "fatwas" to punish state Republican legislators deemed too moderate on tax issues.
The raucous California tea party featured such dramatics as the spearing of a likeness of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's head, and the sledge-hammering of a pile of Schwarzenegger dolls, videos and movie memorabilia - even an action hero lunch box.
The radio hosts' "fatwas" target a handful of moderate GOP legislators who sided with Democrats to end the state budget impasse. Their calls to recall those lawmakers have reverberated throughout the Republican grassroots.
"It's becoming the fatwa party ... the Jon and Ken party," said Hoover Institution media fellow and GOP consultant Bill Whalen.
Eesh. Parroting what you ostensibly hate and are defending "civilization" against has got to be awkward. (Even more awkward than when Al-Qaeda started bitching about a pro-Obama media bias, because this time the Republicans did it, themselves, on purpose.) H/t Balloon Juice.