Today's Blogs

Satiric Verses

Bloggers are reacting to Jyllands-Posten culture editor’s rationalization of printing the Mohammed cartoons. They are also up in arms over the president’s decision to give control of U.S. ports to a company from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and gossiping about Nick Lachey’s bid for alimony.

Satiric verses: Flemming Rose, the culture editor of Denmark’s now-infamous Jyllands-Posten, has penned a 1,758-word explanation of why he decided to publish the cartoons. “We have a tradition of satire when dealing with the royal family and other public figures, and that was reflected in the cartoons. The cartoonists treated Islam the same way they treat Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions,” he writes. “And by treating Muslims in Denmark as equals they made a point: We are integrating you into the Danish tradition of satire because you are part of our society, not strangers.” Still, protests rage on.

At the blog of the Rochester, Minn., Post-Bulletin, managing editor Jay Furst praises Rose’s response and explains his paper’s reasons for not republishing the images. “[J]ournalists around the world can respect and empathize with the Danish editor and his newspaper. That doesn’t mean we share an editorial or cultural agenda, and republishing these provocative drawings at this late date, when they’re easily described, would be more a political gesture than an editorial one.” Dutch Israeli historian Bert de Bruin finds hope in Rose’s statement at Dutchblog Israel. “According to Mr Rose, the reactions of most Muslims in Denmark show that they are aware of the fact that their extremist co-religionists threaten them as much as–or even more than–non-Muslims. In my opinion, that awareness is the key to our victory against Islamism and Islam-inspired terror.”

Lindsay Beyerstein, liberal, philosopher, and a freelance pharmaceutical writer at Majikthise, doesn’t buy Rose’s justifications: “Jyllands-Posten is defending the cartoons once again on the basis of free speech. … But if there’s a principle underpinning other liberal principles such as free speech, … it’s the principle of not causing harm by our actions. The cartoons, as intentionally provocative, cause harm. This weakens any claims for protecting freedom of speech against encroaching ‘self-censorship.’”

A columnist and editorial writer at the Charleston Daily Mail, Don Surber, takes issue with the campaign of some bloggers who have advocated that U.S. newspapers republish the cartoons to show their support of free speech: “[Y]ou don’t have to republish Hustler to support Larry Flynt. … It is lunacy to demand that someone publish something to show support for a free press. That is the thing about a free press: Editors do not have to publish what they do not wish to publish.”

Read more reactions to Flemming Rose’s statement. Read Christopher Hitchens’ latest column in Slate on the cartoon protests.

New port authority? Opposition is mounting to President Bush’s decision to transfer operations of six American ports to Dubai Ports World. Governor Pataki of New York and Robert Ehrlich of Maryland have chimed in, joining several senators (including Rick Santorum and Hillary Clinton) who are crying foul.

Joy-Ann Reid at Reid Report criticizes the potential transfer. “How politically tone deaf – and homeland security unconscious… – do you have to be to allow such a thing to happen on your watch?” she asks. “[C]an you imagine how Tony Blair would look if, say, his government authorized all London tube operations to be outsourced to the government of Pakistan, or how Spaniards might feel if suddenly their train operations were in the hands of Morocco? This master stroke is the textbook example of what happens when bad atmospherics meets even worse public policy.” At Generation Why?, Jason, a Texan conservative, announces that he is “standing with Hillary” in opposition to the port transfer, noting that two of the 9/11 hijackers were citizens of the UAE.

At Dennis the Peasant, Kenton E. Kelly, a conservative, is disheartened by the political opposition to the transfer, writing that it will adversely effect future relations with moderate Arab nations. “The government of the United Arab Emirates, as well as the ‘Arab moderates’ we supposedly cherish so, will forever remember the rhetoric of contempt and distrust as well as the legislation introduced to harm and punish them.”

At Political Animal, a Washington Monthly blog, Kevin Drum reads the tea leaves and finds evidence of a White House in decline. “In the brave new post-Harriet, post-Katrina world, outrage over the port deal has been driven equally by both liberal critics and conservatives … For today’s chastened conservatives, it’s ‘trust but verify’ when it comes to the Bush administration,” Drum writes.

The Glittering Eye has a timeline of the acquisition process.

Read more about the potential port handover.

Lifestyles of the rich, famous, and prenupless: In court papers filed last Friday, Nick Lachey indicated he wants his chunk of Jessica Simpson’s fortune, in addition to “miscellaneous jewelry and other personal effects.” Lachey, frontman of the now-defunct 98 Degrees, did not sign a prenup with Simpson before their marriage three years ago.

At State of the Qusan, Qusan faults Simpson’s dad for allowing her to get married without a prenup. “[Jessica’s dad] wasn’t exactly banking on his daughter’s ultimate success and his miscalculation will ensure that a good hunk of her earnings will go to a fallen boy band member. If spousal support is granted, I think it should come from his salary as her manager,” she writes.  She has little sympathy for Nick, however. “There is a price for a grown man who pursues a teenager. … He needs to suck it up, get his jewelry and move on! Next stop for him: ‘Dancing With The Stars’ and/or ‘Surreal Life.’ “

At TV Envy, Nick is chided for his avarice. “After years of using Jessica as a meal ticket, can’t Nick step away with some dignity? Take some advice, Nick: get some pride. And a job.”

On Dec. 16, 2005, Michael K at Dlisted correctly predicted that Nick would be the one to ask for support. Kudos!

At the San Francisco Family Law Blog, Sonia Mansfield uses the Simpson-Lachey split to open a discussion on spousal support. “The purpose of spousal support is to maintain the standards of living of the parties to the level they enjoyed while they were married. It is typically not very long lasting, most often half the length of the marriage, and its additional purpose is to allow the supported spouse to become self-sustaining. Being as well known as the couple is, I presume they were pretty well off, and making a demand for some support is likely to win the day, provided there is a disparity in incomes,” she writes.

Read more about the Simpson-Lachey split.