Today's Blogs

Attack by the Gulf of Aqaba

Bloggers are reacting to the bombings in Egypt that killed 23, debating President Bush’s call for an investigation into price-gouging at the pumps, and snarking on allegations of plagiarism by wunderkind novelist Kaavya Viswanathan.

Attack by the Gulf of Aqaba: The bombing at the touristy resort town of Dahab on Monday that killed 23 people has left Egyptians reeling. Today, as Egypt attempts to celebrate the anniversary of Israel’s 1982 withdrawal from Sinai, 10 people were arrested in connection with the attack, the third terrorist attack on the Sinai Peninsula in two years. While the identities of those in custody have yet to be revealed, some have suggested that the Bedouin of Sinai are responsible.

At Rantings of a Sandmonkey, libertarian “Sandy” reflects on the bombings. “Now every resort in sinai has been bombed, and they all got hit on egyptian holidays, 3 years in a row,” he laments. “I hope it will make egyptians wake up to the murderous nature of the Jihady fucks, but knowing my people, they will create some conspiracy theory blaming it on the jews or the government.”

Blogging from Giza, Canadian expat Maryanne Stroud of Living in Egypt sees the bombings as violent manifestations of a local problem. “[T]he feeling for many of us is that this is part of a serious disaffection between the Egyptian government and the Bedouin who for centuries were the only inhabitants of Sinai,” she writes. “With all of the money flowing through Sinai, very little has stayed there to benefit the Bedouin who barely manage to exist in their beautiful hell. … Why do we need to look abroad for the perpetrators?”

Egyptian heavyweight Big Pharoah, who was vacationing on the Red Sea during the bombing, hopes the attack will not lead to the government clamping down further on the peninsula’s already downtrodden Bedouin community. “The police were so brutal in cracking down on people in Sinai after the Taba and Sharm bombing, people think the attack might have been a retaliation. I believe the government should really reach out to the Bedouins and try to ease things up with them,” he writes.

Conservative Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs is suspicious at the speed with which the Egyptians arrested the suspects and is reluctant to let al-Qaida off the hook. “Acting with curious swiftness, Egyptian police have already arrested 10 people in connection with yesterday’s mass murder in the resort town of Dahab. And they assure the world that the attacks had no connection to Al Qaeda. Just some random Bedouins. You know, from the desert. With computer skills.”

Read more about the Dahab bombings. Read more about the Bedouin of Sinai.

Gassy times: President Bush on Tuesday decried price gouging at the pump and ordered that oil intended for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve be diverted to the market. With oil already selling for more than $75 dollars a barrel and Iran’s future as a cooperative supplier of oil uncertain, many are wary of the prospect of unbearable increases. Prohibitive oil prices have even led some Americans to jump into bed with mass transit.

Some bloggers on the right are defending big oil. “[P]lacing all the blame on the oil companies is a gross oversimplication,” notes conservative Kim Priestap at Wizbang. “There’s Iran’s president who causes the price of oil to jump everytime he opens his mouth. There’s the fact that oil refineries are at full capacity without any plans to build new ones because of ridiculous EPA regulations. And there’s Congress. The energy bill Congress passed is a big contributor to the sharp increase gas prices.” Princeton alum TigerHawk is angered by Bush’s call for an investigation into price-gouging. It is, he writes, “absurd pandering, the demon spawn of Bush’s abysmal political position and the American voter’s belief that gasoline should be a negligible expense. The oil industry – at least that part of it downstream from OPEC – cannot be conspiring to fix prices. It is way too fragmented. A conspiracy like that would require far more people than the usual cabal, probably thousands, and it would be in the interests of any number of the participants to break it.”

On the left, bloggers are seeing some flip-flopping in Bush’s new stance on tapping into America’s strategic reserves. At Think Progress, Faiz lets loose: “In September 2000, then-Gov. George W. Bush criticized President Clinton for proposing to use the strategic oil reserve in response to high prices. … Today, Bush did precisely what he criticized President Clinton for five-and-a-half years ago.”

Lefty Rod at Proof Through the Night thinks Bush is responding now because he’s worried about his proverbial “place in history.” “It seems that the Decider in Chief has in fact decided that high gas prices are a problem that might have an adverse impact on the historical view of his presidency (unlike, say, torture in Soviet-surplus gulags, an illegal war of aggression, or compromising a deep-cover agent’s identity for crass political benefit), and means to do something about it,” he quips.

Read more about Bush’s woes at the pump.

Sophomoric plagiarism: The Harvard Crimson has  reported on conspicuous parallels between passages in Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan’s debut novel and the work of another young adult novelist. Viswanathan’s best-selling How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life was the first book of a $500,000, two-book contract with Little, Brown & Co. that Viswanathan signed to much fanfare when she was still in high school. Viswanathan has since officially apologized for “internalizing” the work of another author.

Bloggers can’t get enough of her fall from grace. “Beats there a heart so cold as not to be cheered by the downfall of Kaavya Viswanathan?” asks Tim Cavanaugh at Reason’s Hit and Run.

“Oh, poor young Kaavya. These things do happen. It’s just that they tend not to happen with precocious young authors who have been signed for half a million dollars. And one usually doesn’t ‘internalize’ word-for-word, either,” opinesGawker. The mood is similarly gleeful over atJossip: “Reading Harvard prodigy Kaavya Viswanathan’s book seems to be sort of like reading Highlights … except instead of finding the toaster in the tree, you look for the matching passages.”

On a less snarky note, Sarah Weinman at Media Bistro’s Gallery Cat has some insight into how the book was written.

Read more about Viswanathan-gate.