Friday, August 25, 2006


As we bloggers get more serious about our websites there is a tendency to attempt to turn them into mini-MSNBC's or Yahoo News sites.

We start a commentary on a subject and we want to follow-up as if our readers only read our one little blog and were blissfully unaware of events in the real world unless we "educate" them through our brilliant blog entries.

Of course nothing could be further from the truth. Most Interent readers are extremely well informed.

For example I only have about 30 to 45 minutes to follow the news and read my favorite bloggers each morning. And, like most of you, I have a routine that takes my to almost a dozen sites. I read the morning Internet with my coffee just like I used to read the morning paper. Yet I get a wealth of news and information.

Can I digress just a moment? I live is a very tiny town of only about 9,000 people. Yet we have not one, but two excellent Local Internet News Sites. I want to give them their props here and even suggest you check them out to see just how robust LOCAL NEWS can be with the advent of the Internet.

For literally "up-to-the-second" news we go to Breezy News, a website developed by the very visionary Boswell Media who own our local radio station. This web site is updated several times a day and is, frankly, a lot better than many big city newspaper and radio sites. They have up to the minute weather, too, a must have in tornado prone central Mississippi.

New to the Internet is our local weekly newspaper, but the website is more polished and covers stories in greater depth. Check out
The Star-Herald. As part of the very large Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc., their offering is considerably more polished and uses a pre-packaged professional journalism template. The advent of the Internet allows the newspaper to escape the bonds of weekly publishing and update it's site daily if necessary.

Back to my Ketchup Report. So even though it is completely unnecessary I do want to revisit and update a couple of stories and commentaries I've recently posted. Ketchup (catsup for you purists) is just my cute way of saying I want to "catch up" or just to add a little tangy condiment to the meat of previous blog entries.

France to Send 2,000 Troops to Lebanon

Reuters reports this morning (along with every cable news channel) that France has belatedly agreed to send 2,000 troops to Lebanon as they had originally proposed. I want to applaud this decision. I'm very hopeful this will help.

National Public Radio had a really superb report this morning that details the reasons that Lebanon has such a weak government and the reasons Hezbollah is able to make such strong inroads. The report is "must listening." CLICK HERE:
Divided Lebanon Wary of Hezbollah 'Victory'

It seems that many in Lebanon actually lay the blame for the current situation on the French and their design of the weak central government put in place when France granted the country independence in 1948.

My comments are not more "dump on France" and neither is the NPR report. But it is great background necessary to understand the situation in the middle east.

Islamic Religious Persecution, Freedom of Religion and Women's Rights

We need to look deep into our souls and decide exactly when and where we are willing to take a stand. I wrote about this back on May 4, 2006 in
Where is Our Holy War? and several times since as the news continues to bring these issues to the forefront.

The news yesterday about Lina Joy's very dangerous effort to convert to Christianity in Malaysia is the latest example. Here's a snippet of a report from The
Wall Street Journal. Registration is required to view entire story (in fact you need a paid on-line subscription).

"In 1998, Azlina binti Jailani changed her name to Lina Joy and was baptized a Catholic in a church in Kuala Lumpur. Ms. Joy now wants the government to stop classifying her as a Muslim."

"Although Malaysia's constitution guarantees freedom of religion, civil courts now routinely refer any cases involving Islamic matters for adjudication in shariah courts. And the shariah courts almost never grant Muslims the right to leave the religion."

Lina Joy's life is very much in danger. Her lawyer's like has also been threatened.

These stories are repeated day after day in most Islamic countries. Shariah law absolutely forbids leaving Islam. The penalty is usually death (or conversion back to Islam).

As a religious liberal and a social liberal I am appalled by this denial of basic human rights.

It reminds me again how very badly we need both Lebanon and Iraq to succeed as a multi-ethnic democracies.





Vigilante said...

"It reminds me again how very badly we need both Lebanon and Iraq to succeed as a multi-ethnic democracies."

That's the biggest kiss-off on Afghanistan I have read in short and pathetic history of seeing Afghanistan kissed off (by our missleaders).

Congratulations, Wizard. I wouldn't have thought they could be surpassed.

the WIZARD, fkap said...

Vigilante, I take great personal offense at your remarks.

I have been an outspoken and overwhelming supporter of human rights and democracy in Afganistan long, long, long before anyone was willing to pay a passing moment's notice to the horrific abuses there under the (U.S. supported and supplied) Taliban regime. My writings are prolific and well documented on this matter as is my generous financial support to both the people of Afganistan and the groups who worked tirelessly to bring attention to a problem the world and the United Nations simply preferred to ignor.....

It is a tragedy that it took 9/11 to bring the world's attention to the terror in Afganistan.

The ultimate embarrassment to the entire world should be that it was George Bush who actually did anything to free the people of Afganistan from that tyranny.

For you to question my absolute devotion to universal human rights and universal democracy from a single sentence in a single posting is outrageous.

That one sentence didn't include Russia, it didn't include Iran, it didn't include North Korea, it didn't include Northern Ireland, it didn't include Sri Lanka and it failed to include Darfur, let alone the entire Sudan. Do you think I'm kissing them off, too?

the Wizard......

Vigilante said...

Wizard, I should feel so busted for playing "Gotcha" on Afghanistan. I apologize and rescind my earlier post. (It was sitting there for days, and no one was jumping on it: I couldn't resist.)

Having said that, I'm disputing the assertion in your response:

"...that it was George Bush who actually did anything to free the people of Afghanistan from that tyranny."

Not only did Bush not accomplish his mission of bringing Osama bin Laden to justice, he squandered financial resources, a vast international consensus & coalition, and military assets which would have gone a long way toward making the removal of the Taliban a permanent historical fact - all so he could turn (prematurely) to his un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI).

This is an old argument, but it bears repetition.

I give Bush zero, zippo, credit for achievement in Afghanistan. He SQUANDERED golden opportunities.

As we speak, conditions in Afghanistan are slipping through our fingers like the sands of time.

As for Darfur - and you have my respect for your advocacy on this issue - you can forgetaboutit.

Our once greatly esteemed and morally elevated U.S. of A. now has no credible force to back up diplomatic initiatives in the Sudan. All we can do is talk loudly and wave our small, weak and droopy stick.

Bush! (The worse president in history).