Friday, November 12, 2010

Daddy's Boy

It doesn't seem that there's a record of me writing about this lecture, but in my mind I was convinced I did. In any case... It was the first day of the World Cup this past summer, the world was still trying to figure out what that noise coming out from the TV was, and 3 million tourists were conspiring against Fadi Abboud by booking trips to Lebanon only to cancel in the very last minute.
Charbel Nahas, minister of missed calls, was giving a lecture at Al Madina theater about the Lebanese economy. I would say around 50 people were in attendance, but you can get a more accurate number from the state "intelligence" apparatus that sent this photographer who was there to capture a a mug shot for every single person in attendance.

Without naming anyone or throwing out any accusations a la libanaise, Nahas gave an intelligent comprehensive look at the Lebanese economy over the years: how enough cash inflow has kept it afloat, what happens when the lifeline dries up a bit, how the massive amounts of cash are consumed, etc... He also went on to talk about how things work in the cabinet, and how hard it is to get something on the agenda, and that the major thing he was hoping to accomplish in the budget war was to get all the expenditures accounted for on paper something you'd think is a given. Well it isn't. A lot of official spending of public money is done off the books, and we're not talking about all the unofficial spending.

During Q&A, I was tempted to ask about the average IQ in the room when the cabinet is in session, since I have my doubts that the comprehension capacity of some ministers including the prime one can handle economic theory. Unfortunately I didn't get my answer then as the microphone never reached me.

I did get my answer my yesterday when the Prime Minister broke into the "my daddy can kick your daddy's ass" rap against Nahas. The Hariri court chorus took over from there, and boy oh boy was I mistaken. Silly me expecting them to understand Economics, how about we start with playground rhetoric... Maybe throw in a few Yo Momma jokes. Eventually the kids will grow up. 

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Don't Worry, be Crappy

I am not worried that we're on the eve of the long promised Armageddon-esque national unity cabinet meeting; it's probably over-hyped. I'm not worried about the speeding traps around our highways; au contraire I really hope they outlast the short lived red light cameras experiment. I'm not worried about the sweeping republican victory in the U.S. mid-term elections and what that might bring our way; it's not like change was sweeping Washington. I'm not worried about the alarming drought indicators and the whole water security issue that suddenly became fashionable this week; I probably won't live to see it. I'm not worried about a power vacuum, although I do need a vacuum cleaner for my apartment. 

I am not worried about Hassan Nasrallah's speech on Thursday, or about the three thousand counter speeches on Friday. I'm not worried that the Resistance is more worried about chauvinistic pride than it is about clear acts of spying. I'm not worried about the truth. This whole rhetoric is beyond passé

I am not worried about the rising gas prices since most of my commuting is on foot. I'm not worried about the rising price of bread because frankly I should cut down on carbs. 

I am not worried about the stockpiling of weapons, since I'm not naive to think that ever stops. I'm not worried about a certain $60 billion purchase of weapons, although I do wonder what will be the return on investment when it's sold as scrap metal.

There is this one thing though that has me a bit uneasy. The recent increase in security measures on May Ziadeh street in Clemenceau scare the crap out of me. If Walid Jumblat is worried, I worry.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Se le gazon total

I'm all for more green spaces in the city, even if the "sodwalk" is the way to do it...
I guess it's time to hang up the mocassins and dust off the long retired cleats.