Bloggers are angry at Iran's latest threat against Israel, heartened by signs that the Vatican is rethinking its ban on condoms, and ashamed at American's lack of geographic literacy.
Iran Threatens Israel: A senior commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards was quoted Tuesday as threatening to attack Israel in the event that the United States does anything "evil." The commander, however, did not define what Iran would consider "evil." Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has previously called for the eradication of Israel. The announcement came before a scheduled meeting of select members of the U.N. Security Council to discuss Iran's nuclear program.
Bloggers, while recognizing this as merely the latest in a long line of threats, remain upset by Iran's announcement. Critic and member of the "radical middle" Annie of AmbivaBlog considers Israel to be a hostage of Iran's whims: "It's the cliché scene in a thousand thrillers and Westerns: the gunman tries to unman the hero by holding a gun to his sweetheart's, friend's, child's head. One false move and I'll blow him/her away." Mac at the liberal Pesky' Apostrophe sympathizes with Israel's plight. "I know that Iran threatening Israel is nothing new, but it must suck to be in Israel right now—knowing that their fate may very well lie in the hands of a man I sometimes doubt can tie his own shoes without creating terrorists in some way."
Lawhawk at A Blog for All finds that Iran is taking its cues from the now-deposed dictator to its west. "Where have we heard this one before. Oh yes, before and during the first Gulf War with Iraq. … Iran is once again playing from the Saddam playbook," he writes.
Conservative Virginian Jimmy Burnett has faith in the might of the Israeli military in the face of an Iranian attack: "Israel can hold its own against just about any military in the world. They have the most technologically advanced military in the world. … Talk about a bunch of cowards, they think that because Israel is physically smaller then the United States that it might be an easy take down in response to something the United States might do." Right Thinking Girl has a quick solution to the pesky Iran problem. "We need to shut them up once and for all and my proposal is controversial but it is no doubt effective: use nukes to turn Tehran into a parking lot. … Liberals will squeal like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs but I don't care– we need to attack sooner rather than later."
Read more about the latest volley of threats from Tehran.
The Vatican and condoms: In what would be a historic shift, the Catholic Church may change its stance on condoms, but only for married couples if one spouse is infected with HIV or suffering from AIDS. Church doctrine currently has a blanket prohibition on contraceptives, but Pope Benedict XVI has asked the church to pen a report on the issue.
"Papa Ratzi and crew are realizing, way late in the game, that the abstinence-only response to the spread of HIV/AIDS is an abject failure," writes North Carolina resident Pam Spaulding at Pandagon. Jonty, the marketing strategist based in Capetown, South Africa, at The Fishbowl, calls the condom ban an "incredibly dangerous principle," and is gladdened by this move. "It's a welcome and brave deliberation, and one which may in the future bring far-reaching consequences for the spread of HIV-AIDS, with the Pope calling for an investigation into the Catholic Church's blanket condom ban. … [T]his is the first signs that this rather short-sighted rule may be up for debate at the Catholic Church's highest level."
At the Inter-Galatic Jester, Bostonian Dan Croak proposes the formation of an interesting coalition. "That is real ministry and real leadership. I'd love to see what kind of reaction this gets in Washington. Is there a partnership opportunity between the church and the State Department to make condoms more widely available to help curb the AIDs pandemic in Africa?"
The libertarian economics student at Defcon: Blog was floored by the headline "Vatican Rethinks Condom Ban" in the New York Times, before ultimately being disappointed by the measure's limited scale. "[F]or a minute there, I really thought the Catholic Church had taken a step out of the dark ages," he wrote.
Read more about the potential change in Catholic Church condom policy.
Don't know much about geography: A recent poll revealed that, despite Katrina and the war in Iraq, a disturbing percentage of American teens cannot locate Louisiana or Iraq on a map. The National Geographic poll found that even more teens could not pick out Israel on a map on the Middle East.
Media gossip blog Jossip finds some balm in what teens do know: "The good news: Seven in 10 can tell the real Paris Hilton from the fake."
Many are disheartened. "At the rate that globalization is changing the world, an attitude that only America matters or, more specifically, 'my backyard' (considering a lot of the survey respondents couldn't even identify other US states), just isn't going to cut it," grumbles Geography Ph.D. student Sue at Very Spatial. But John Cole at Balloon Juice is amused: "I guess one possible excuse is that LA was a little difficult to find, period, as it has been under a lot of water as of late. If we are to believe Ambrose Bierce, who stated that 'War is God's way of teaching Americans geography,' more Americans might be able to find Iran on the map in a few years."
Got a question, comment, or suggestion? E-mail email@example.com.