Saturday, October 11, 2008

Links For Saturday

Stuff to read:

We've finally found the perfect metaphor for Sarah Palin: "post-turtle". India Uncut has the explanation (courtesy Nikhil):
A 75-year-old Texas rancher recently explained this term to a country doctor. The conversation turned to the US election, and Sarah Palin’s vice-presidential candidacy, and the old rancher observed: “Well, ya know, Palin is a post-turtle.” The bemused doctor asked what a post-turtle was, and the old man replied: “When you’re driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that’s a post-turtle.” The rancher continued: “You know she didn’t get up there by herself, she doesn’t belong up there, she doesn’t know what to do while she is up there, and you just wonder what kind of dumb ass put her up there to begin with.”

It's good to see Nawaz Sharif really invested in this war.
Insiders said that a major part of the four-hour session remained lacklustre as majority of the participants left the house after the first hour.

The chief of PML-N, Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, who had attended the first day’s meeting, was absent from the house. Only Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani remained seated till the end.

Should I be worried that the WTB is sending me a story about a woman pouring hot water on her husband's groin?

Isn't India saying that it would not object to a Pak-US civil nuclear deal kind of like Brad Pitt saying that he would not object to a sexual relationship between Angelina Jolie and Carrot Top? Listen up, India: you can't get credit for being gracious when the probability of the event you're graciously allowing is vanishingly close to zero.

Great interview of Sarah Silverman in the Guardian. Also, if you haven't seen it already, please check out this killer joke by Silverman on Paris Hilton - with the latter in the audience. The only thing funnier than Paris Hilton's reaction is Jack Nicholson's reaction.

Finally, here's a great story on John McCain losing his shit while playing craps. No, seriously. If the repeated phrase "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?" doesn't entice you to click on the article, nothing will.

Have a good weekend, guys.

21 comments:

Nitin said...

Hi,

I'm a regular reader of this wonderfully opinionated blog.

I want to mention the bit about India and a possible US-Pak nuclear deal.

(a) It is not only or perhaps even about graciousness. It's about interests. There are a number of serious strategists who believe a US-Pak deal, of the nature of the US-India deal, is good for India. The context of the last few years kept such views from being put forth strongly, but you can expect them in future. Especially if the current dispensation in Islamabad holds.

(b) Chances might appear zero, but they are non-zero. I'd say it is meaningful to think of Pakistan's trajectory rather than absolute chances at this point in time.

Ahsan said...

Nitin:

My first instinct is to say "what rubbish" but my second instinct is to ask you to elaborate on (a). How exactly would India's strategic interests be served by such a deal? I'm quite curious, mainly because I've never heard that view before. I'm sure a bunch of our readers would be interested too, so do please enlighten us.

Farooq said...

I saw that Sarah Silverman thing a while back and I didnt find it all that funny. It was a very predictable joke. A bit like someone comming out and cracking a "Bush is dumb" gag. Which is why I'm so surprised people celebrated it as such a classic diss. Probably more for the reactions by Hilton and Nicholson.

Nitin said...

Ahsan,

Stated simply, it is better for Pakistan to run its reactors under a greater degree of transparency than it would otherwise. Neither the nasty Khan business nor the shadowy Chinese support for Pakistan's nuclear programme can be said to be in India's interests---yet, those are the options Pakistan has if there is no deal.

So a move towards reduction of proliferation risks can well be a positive for India. (As it is for Pakistan)

Of course, there is the issue of how this affects Pakistan's ability to increase its stockpile (which in a strict sense is a negative for India). But heck, I for one don't think playing the warheads game like the US and USSR during the Cold War is any way to play the deterrence game. Some will argue that the argument is that playing the game will bankrupt Pakistan. But Pakistan has numerous other ways to go bankrupt, without any help from India; even if producing warheads would actually bankrupt it.

I believe a nuclear war is unwinnable, and as long as Pakistan has nuclear weapons and delivery systems, then it doesn't matter if it has 150 or 200 warheads. The doctrine of minimum credible deterrence accounts for such a scenario.

Of course, the deal won't be had merely because it is in India's interests, or that India wishes it. Until Pakistan can present an altogether different face to the world, there will be no deal.

Ahsan said...

Farooq:

Completely disagree. First of all, a joke doesn't have to be "original" to be outrageously funny, it just has to be delivered well. I mean, you know exactly what a guy like Dave Chappelle or Chris Rock is going to say (race, drugs, women) but that doesn't make them unfunny, does it? For me, the Silverman joke was the "oh, snap" moment of the past year. I mean, just listen to the crowd going "oooohhh" - it's a great moment, if a little mean.

Nitin:

That's a very interesting point of view. Essentially the argument presupposes that India's strategic interests would be most threatened by some variant of "oops, we did bad" vis-a-vis Pakistani nukes (e.g. more proliferation for profit, illegal takeover, etc). An accident, or an accident of history, is what most threatens India - this is the underlying idea behind your point that India would be best served by greater transparency.

However, at least up till the present, what has also threatened India's strategic interests is a close relationship between Pakistan and the US (or, rather, this has been PERCEIVED to be threatening India's strategic interests by policy elites in India). With that in mind, and given that nuclear cooperation would be a considerable step up in terms of a viable and strategic partnership between the two countries, I can't see how India would genuinely prefer to see that happen. The only way it COULD happen is if there has been a fundamental shift in Indian thinking on how much Pakistan's relationship with the US matters to India; if you have evidence (policy papers, think tankers' speeches, op-eds) for such a shift, I know I would love to see it (as would our readers).

I agree with you that a nuclear war is unwinnable, but I also think nuclear brinksmanship is winnable, which in turn depends on the balances of nuclear forces and the balance of resolve which drive the credibility of threats in a dispute. In a crisis in which nukes are used as chips (e.g. 2002), it is simply in India's strategic interests to have overwhelming dominance - again, at odds with what you say.

However (and here is where I completely agree with you), we all know this is simply a moot point: there's simply no way that this would happen any time in the near future, with or without India's support. I don't think the nationalist right in Pakistan truly understands the damage wrought by the AQ Khan network, and perhaps it never will. Oh well.

Nikhil said...

I didn't think the Paris Hilton diss was that great either. In fact, if it wasn't for, "I'm fucking Matt Damon", I could honestly have said that Sarah Silverman has never made me laugh.

i bet kimmel wrote it too.

Ahsan said...

Nikhil and Farooq:

It's clear to me that you guys are just anti-Semitic. Listen, why do you like Palestinian terrorists so much?

By the way, Nikhil, did you watch "Jesus is Magic"?

bubs said...

I don't particularly like Sarah Silverman either. On her TV show she's trying the Larry David offend everyone shtick, but it just doesn't seem to work. I think the problem lies in the fact that she chooses huge targets like religion and abortion that have been pretty well-covered by comedians while Larry David comes with stuff like incest survivors.

Nikhil said...

I'm watching her on Letterman right now and I'm convinced that finding her funny is actually socially unacceptable, because she's clearly mentally retarded. or whatever the politically correct term is these days.

Ahsan said...

You know what I find socially unacceptable? Listening to someone who doesn't even watch South Park when they talk about what's funny and what's not.

Nikhil said...

Dude, i've watched it before, and have found it funny, i just don't have the patience / time to watch a cartoon on a regular basis. for better or for worse, i need character development. i don't see why that should reflect on my opinions on humor.

i'd rather watch farooq for an hour than sarah silverman. and i think most people we know would back me up on that.

Ahsan said...

Congratulations. I'm pretty sure you've ensured that for the second time, Farooq will orgasm as a result of something posted on this site. The first was my hagiographic post on Younis Khan more than two years ago.

http://fiverupees.blogspot.com/2006/10/oh-captain-my-captain-one-thing-ive.html

Ahsan said...

Wow. I just skimmed that Younis Khan post again, and realized that having a blog can sometimes be a very embarrassing thing. I don't believe I actually wrote this sentence:

"And yes, if he were to captain on any long-term basis, he would be the best captain this country, maybe any country, has ever had."

I feel really, really stupid.

AKS said...

I can't stand Sarah Silverman at all. At times she invokes within me the same sort of sentiment that Sarah Palin does - i.e. nausea.

I love joining bandwagons.

Nitin said...

Ahsan

However, at least up till the present, what has also threatened India's strategic interests is a close relationship between Pakistan and the US

No. It was and still remains a close relationship between Pakistan and China; and a sense that Pakistan acts as the paw of the Chinese cat.

From this perspective, a US-Pak deal (or rather, a deal that brings Pakistan into sunlight) is a good thing.

As for commentaries, op-eds etc. Watch the space, sir. Unless bilateral tensions get worse for some reason or the other, you will see them coming.

zeyd said...

I'm with Bubs, Nikhil, and AKS here. Bubs pretty much nailed it with the LD comparison, Nikhil with the Farooq one (Farooq's really funny btw, and not at all in the lets laugh at him sort of way) and AKS with the bandwagon joining.

Never really found Silverman funny...it just seems like she's trying too hard. Not trying hard to be funny because she isn't, but trying too hard to use offense as a route towards humour. Humour can be expressed via a plethora of avenues and good comedians tend to mix it up. I haven't seen her do that.

Farooq said...

Dear Administrators of Fiverupees (AKS, NB & Bubs),

I have been a follower of this blog from its inception so I hope my comments are taken seriously rather than dismissed as mere provocation.

I think its high time the administrators mentioned above had a word with Ahsan regarding his outrageously confrontational attitude towards those who exhibit a viewpoint different from his. Ahsan has a tendency to make personal attacks against commenters which I find very disturbing and out of line. Given your vast readership, I think Ahsan should be admonished and put on a tighter leash.

You will notice above Nikhil mentioned that, unlike Ahsan, he didn't find the Silverman gag funny. The South Park comment by Ahsan was a clear personal attack on Nikhil's comedic sensibilities.

We all welcome intellectually challenging debates. But sometimes Ahsan crosses the line of decency. Hence, i propose that Ahsan's name be stricken from your esteemed blog for 2 weeks as adequate punishment and a reminder that personal attacks perpetrated by him will not be tolerated. If, not, then at least a written apology.

Regards,

Farooq.

NB said...

@Farooq

I feel I lack the objectivity to consider your request. I defer to AKS and Bubs.

Ahsan said...

Farooq:

Not sure what the hell that comment was about. If you were trying to be funny, you failed miserably (especially given the expectations that Nikhil had built up for you). If you were trying to be serious, your comment struck a fairly nonsensical tone. I don't know what else to say.

Farooq said...

Case in point.

Nikhil said...

I thought it was pretty funny.

And come on, you are abrasive, especially when you argue - it's not exactly a secret. In fact, it's part of what makes Farooq's post funny, the idea of punishing you for essentially being you.

But fear not, we adore you regardless.