Today's Blogs

Tiananmen, Uzbekistan?

Bloggers discuss Friday’s massacre in Uzbekistan; they also ponder the Supreme Court’s decision to allow vineyards to sell directly to consumers and have fun with the Observer’s list of “The top 50 things every foodie should do.”

Tiananmen, Uzbekistan?: Protesters angry about the imprisonment of 23 businessmen took over a prison and local government offices in Andijan, Uzbekistan, Friday. Government troops opened fire, and demonstrations spread around the country; while numbers vary wildly, an opposition party estimates that 745 people were killed. Uzbekistan’s president, Islam Karimov, has blamed Islamic radicals, but the New York Times (among others) suggests they were protesting “endemic poverty, corruption and repression.”

Asserting that the protests have Tiananmen Square-like significance, Eunomia’s conservative Daniel Larison fulminates, “I am not calling for an intervention against Karimov, but in this case it is our government’s lackey that has murdered hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people and Washington will be partly culpable if it does not act decisively to repudiate this butcher.” The Coming Anarchy’s Chirol, an American studying in Germany, points out, “Until a credible alternative to Karimov appears, it seems unlikely anyone in the west will stick their neck out to force change.”

On Jihad Watch, Islam scholar Robert Spencer seems to be alone in believing Karimov’s version. He writes, “Learned analysts have long insisted that Uzbekistan was a bastion of Islamic moderation. I have responded the way I always do: by asking how these moderates counter jihadist recruitment. The response: silence or abuse. But it looks as if the answer these learned analysts did not want to give was: they don’t, and they can’t – except by force of arms.” At Socioeconomics, Web designer Serdar Kaya blasts Spencer’s description of a “Muslim riot” and writes, “[Spencer] looks quite OK with the Muslims being indiscriminately killed when all they want is a better life. A life preferably free of bloody dictators.”

Heydudewhoa!’s Colin, a Washington, D.C., resident, has been posting dispatches from a Peace Corps friend in Uzbekistan. The friend reports experiencing Internet censorship: “Well, it’s official. The BBC web-browser in my local cafe has been blocked by a crude looking page that is supposed to look like the MSN homepage.”’s Central Asia devotee Nathan provides a roundup of Uzbekistan-related news and notes that journalists were expelled from Andijan. “I’m often critical of the Russian media, but for many Uzbeks it is the most reliable source of information available,” he writes. On Scraps of Moscow, American ex-pat Lyndon translates a news story claiming that Uzbek head Islam Karimov holds the U.S. partly responsible for the riots.

Read more about Uzbekistan on Technorati; read liberal Whiskey Bar’s timeline of U.S.-Uzbek relations.

Wine, wine, everywhere: Most bloggers are delighted with yesterday’s Supreme Court decision that struck down laws preventing vineyards from selling to out-of-state customers.

“While the decision may be a small loss for state rights, it is a big gain for wineries. On a social level, it is also a victory against prudish notions about alcohol, but that battle may take a bit longer to win. I personally love the vineyards in Virginia  … and expect this ruling to be most helpful to them,” opinesDuane Gran’s log of thoughts. “No offense to the great Commonwealth in which I live, but every wine I’ve ever had that was produced here basically … sucks,” writesThe Llama Butchers’ Robert.

UCLA corporate law professor Stephen Bainbridge puts a cork in the festivities, pointing out that there will be pressure on states to ban direct-to-consumer shipments altogether. “[I]t’s not at all certain that consumers in the 24 states that had banned direct to consumer sales will soon be able to buy wine on the internet and have it shipped to their home or office,” he cautions.

Gag me with a spoon: Bloggers are poring over the Observer’s list of “The top 50 things every foodie should do” before dying. Readers are advised to: “Dive for sea urchins … Eat fish on the Pampelonne St-Tropez … Make love in a vineyard … Sniff a white truffle … Kill a pig.”

On Kaetchen Rides the Short Bus, an ex-caterer scoffs at the high-priced suggestions and at the term “foodie.” Her list of alternate suggestions includes, “Eat something you grew. … If nothing else, buy a basil plant, keep it for a week, then eat the basil.” 360 Degrees of Sky, the blog of an NGO volunteer in Zambia, suggests, “1. Picking and sorting tea, to fully appreciate exactly what people (yes PEOPLE, human beings) have to do to get you your bloody Earl Grey 2. Living for a week with some villagers who eat one meal of maize porridge a day, to truly appreciate what it’s like to be hungry. …” But Megnut’s Meg Hourihan, who co-founded the company that created Blogger, exclaims, “Amazingly, I’ve already done ten of the items they’ve listed! Is that because I’m a ‘bon viveur’?”

Read more about the Observer’s to-do list.

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