Today's Blogs

Nasrallah to the Rescue

Bloggers fret about Hezbollah’s humanitarian push in Lebanon. They also glory in Tom Cruise’s termination at Paramount and wonder what the real deal is behind that Sunday-school teacher fired for being female.

Nasrallah to the rescue: According to the New York Times, Western charities like Mercy Corps have been hindered by the State Department because they can’t channel aid or relief funds through Hezbollah. This is good news for Hassan Nasrallah’s militia, which has beaten everybody to the punch in assisting the injured and homeless. Bloggers are not happy that “Construction Jihad” is now how the Lebanese spell relief.

At the Human Province, Sean, a copy editor with an interest in language and philosophy, addresses our rigid criteria for offering reconstruction help:“I’ve talked to people from other internatonal NGOs, and this is a common problem in places like Lebanon. The US government stipulates that organizations cannot have anything to do with anyone who has anything to do with groups on the ‘terrorist list.’ This has caused NGOs to be fractured to the point where the American and other European branches have seperate offices in the same city.”

Former U.S. Navy Commander Jeff Huber at Pen and Sword links the aid dilemma with Iran’s nuclear ambitions: “Iran, of course, has no problem whatsoever with distributing money through Hezbollah, so guess whose money is getting to the needy in southern Lebanon. How likely, then, are Russia and China to back sanctions against the country that’s providing the bulk of the aid to southern Lebanon?”

Bianca at Charity Blog Network understands the U.S. government’s position but worries about human costs: “What is detrimental about this predicament is that innocents will get trapped between a rock and a hard place. There are thousands of people who are of in need of aide and if agencies that receive money from the U.S. are not allowed to transfer those funds due to Hezbollah interference, those people will be left without the urgent care they need.”

Pro-Israel liberal Noam Scheiber at the New Republic’s The Plank chastises the Bush administration for failing to coordinate aid disbursement ahead of time. Hezbollah’s rush to fill the void created is bad for both Israel and the United States: “I know Condoleezza Rice has said we’re planning on increasing aid to Lebanon from $30 to $50 million per year. But if a.) that money doesn’t start flowing quicky and b.) we’re not seen as the ones delivering it or c.) the money is seen as going directly into the pockets of corrupt Lebanese officials, it’s not going to do us a much good.”

Read more about reconstruction troubles in Lebanon.

TomSplat: Paramount fired Tom Cruise Tuesday after a 14-year relationship. Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone told the Wall Street Journal that it was because Cruise had been making all the wrong moves in his off-camera life. You know, like couch hopping on Oprah, vowing to eat placenta, hassling the shrinks, etc.

L.A. tabloid blog Defamer cites the Cruise camp’s attempt at damage control, specifically the claim that Tom really just wanted to take his production company independent with hedge-fund cash. Of course he did: “No one can possibly begrudge an embattled, fading movie star and his producing partner their crazy dream to one day be publicly branded as unstable by the eighty-three-year-old media mogul who’s decided that they’re no longer worth their asking price.”

But some bloggers think Cruise isn’t the only one running around unmedicated. “[I]f I were a Viacom shareholder,” declares Niki Finke, “Eat the Press” columnist for The Huffington Post, “I’d be asking Ol’ Sumner right now: Are you nuts? Fine, don’t do business anymore with the freakish dwarf actor who’ll never win an Oscar unless he buys one at auction and who gets an exorbitant amount for each movie. But why the fuck are you setting up his legal piranha (Bert Fields, who’s never lost a case) for what could well be the biggest lawsuit ever to hit Hollywood?”

Celebrity gossip blog The Superficial says the aliens in the killer tripods can have the damn place: “Sure he’s loony, but he’s also Tom Fucking Cruise. He makes three phone calls and he owns half of Korea. He’s as big a celebrity as humanly possible so the fact that he lost his job means the entire world is finally going insane. It was a good run, but we might as well just pack up our stuff and move to the moon.”

Read more about Paramount and Cruise.

Our lady of the pink slip: Mary Lambert, a Watertown, N.Y., Sunday school teacher at the First Baptist Church for 54 years, was axed earlier this week. Why? Because she’s a woman and men shouldn’t be taking instruction from women, the church’s pastor said. Some Christian bloggers, however, maintain that’s not the whole story.

At religious right-busting Tennessee Guerilla Women, Egalia argues that the virtue of the devil is in his loins: “And as everyone knows, men simply cannot gaze upon women without having [blush] erections. Thanks to the rigid enforcement of the Holy Bible’s teachings, uncontrollable men [used to be] protected from the horrid sins that resulted from gazing upon the over-sexed bodies of wanton women. Mary Lambert has been teaching at this man’s church for 54 years. Fifty-four years of unbridled male erections is enough!”

Susan Olasky at evangelical World magazine’s WorldViews believes there’s more to this story than just the sensationalist headline. ABC News, for one, “glazes over a statement from Pastor Tim LaBouf, who said Lambert’s sex was only one reason the board fired her, and that ‘Christian courtesy’ prevents him from saying any more than that. Perhaps this is really just a case of the media making a mountain out of a molehill.”

Read more about Mary Lambert.