John Denver, al Jazeera, Cairo, and Jon Stewart

Trip Start Nov 15, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Loft Residence Chiang Mai
Read my review - 2/5 stars

Flag of Thailand  , Chiang Mai,
Sunday, January 30, 2011

Don't ask me why.  The first English song that Thai and Burmese people learn is "Almost Heaven, West Virginia".  I was wearing my alma mater "Fear the Turtle" University of Maryland shirt to a local cafe for Sunday breakfast.  Owner wanted to show off his knowledge of US geography and the promimity of West Virginia to Maryland, changed the music on the stereo to ---yup, you guessed it.  Thai people all around me started singing in phonics.

Only English language news on the basic cable package is Fox and al Jazeera (China Central government has a station too, but it may be worse than Fox).

Watching al Jazeera's coverage of the tumult in the Arab world is fascinating.  They focus on the economic disparities, the corruption, and the high unemployment/poverty as root causes.  They give almost no voice to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic non-secular folks, and when they do they have an alternative viewpoint guest to knock down anti-secular elements. In their coverage they have nuanced the split between the Egyptian military--where the generals have ordered troops to guard embassies, the Port of Suez, museums and antiquities against looters, but not to fire on any political protesters--against the internal security forces which have killed hundreds of political enemies, attacked and beaten reporters, and opened fire with water cannon on an Egyptian Nobel Peace Prize winner.

They then broadcast a lengthy interview --seemingly in its unedited entirety--with Vice President Biden to allow him to share America's take on the uprisings to the Muslim world.

I watched Fox next. Bill O'Reilly did a soliloquy on how al Jazeera,  a"sworn enemy of America" is fomenting a "religious fundamentalist revolt" a la Khomeini vs. the Shah of Iran in 1978 and would have the same type of impact on our geopolitical future for generations to come.  He interviewed former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee--who knew that being Governor of Arkansas and a pretty good bass player makes one a Mideast expert?--on his view.  Then John Bolton, the moron  who Bush nominated for the UN Ambassador and was not confirmed by the Senate.

I switched back to al Jazeera.  They were broadcasting angry Palestinians protesting at the al Jazeera office in Gaza over a story done on Gazans that the protestors did not think was fair.

Bet you will never see Fox publicize its errors or admit its midrepressentations.  Check this out at starting at 2:20 for a really funny recent Jon Stewart cclip on that topic.

Kachin people left today, but most of the mudbrick house is built.  Robert--the Ugandan volunteer--has built mud brick houses in Africa before and has been a godsend.  Camera batteries are recharging so pics will come later.  Met Steve, a retired Philadelphia bricklayer and he is coming to the farm with me on Monday

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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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