Egypt, Winter and the Super Bowl
I guess these are three main news stories we’re all talking about this week but try as I might, there’s just no way to connect them all.
I saw the first commentary today stating that Barack Obama will be remembered as the American President who lost Egypt. I never knew we owned them. And if so, he’s had plenty of help from his predecessors. U.S. foreign policy has always been only partly about the protection of human rights and democracy. There’s that pesky thing known as “national security considerations.” Hosni Mubarak is not the first “strongman” we’ve backed in the name of stability.
And while democracy is always a worthwhile goal, the world is more complicated than that. Sometimes nations (or entities) elect leaders who go directly against our national security interests (see Palestine and Lebanon). But in the case of Egypt it does appear that there is a reasonable alternative to Mubarak in the form of pro-democracy activist and Nobel laureate, Mohamed ElBaradei. He told ABC News over the weekend that the U.S. imploring Mubarak to suddenly implement democratic reforms after three decades of dictatorship did not exactly win the U.S. any friends last week.
Nor have the tear-gas canisters marked “Made in the USA.” Who knew the only thing not made in China these days were tear-gas canisters?
I am apparently the only resident of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area last week that did not a) lose power or b) get stuck in a traffic jam. But that’s only because I live a block from the Verizon Center and I think I’m on their electrical grid. And I don’t own a car, which makes me happy each and every day.
I kept track of the craziness though. I clearly remember the tweet some poor woman sent to the Washington Post around 11:35pm the night of the snow/ice storm as she sat helpless on the GW Parkway: “Help. Pregnant and STARVING.”
I have numerous friends who just got their power back this past weekend, leading me to wonder if PEPCO might also be the main power company in Iraq because the parallels are eerie. Except here there’s no active combat and no one’s bombed our infrastructure.
Parking passes for the NFL title game in Dallas this weekend are selling on E-bay for $1,000. They’re contemplating putting in 15,000 new seats to an already new stadium so the NFL can stuff as many humans as possible into the venue. In some of those additional seats, you can’t see the giant scoreboard which is quite an accomplishment since that scoreboard is described as being half the size of North America. From the other extra seats you can see the scoreboard but can’t see the field.
And there’s reportedly a stripper shortage in Dallas right now—the city is short of the preferred 5-1 visitor-to-stripper ratio. Super Bowl veterans point out that the out-of-state strippers don’t usually get into town until Thursday when the rest of the bigwigs arrive so there shouldn’t be any cause for concern.