Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Hamas wins Palestinian Authority election; chaos to ensue


Well, this is a lovely state of affairs. Known and acknowledged terrorists who hold as their primary principle that Israel should be pushed into the sea and not dealt with as a sovereign nation are now in charge of the Palestinian territories. Hamas, the organization best known in the West for blowing the hell out of Israeli civilians, has won parliamentary elections in the Palestinian Authority, exceeding all expectations (including their own, I gather) and gaining a majority government instead of the expected strong minority and coalition government. (For those not familiar with proportional representation in parliamentary systems, and hence the concept of coalition government, click here.)

To be fair to the Palestinian voters, Hamas is also known within the Palestinian territories as a provider of several social services, and the votes of many were influenced more by opposition to the corruption of the former ruling party, Fatah, than for any particular support for Hamas, but they are still a terrorist organization that Israel (rightly) will not negotiate with until they fundamentally change their charter and methods, and hence the election results will destroy any attempt to move the peace process forward. In fact, this puts Hamas in the interesting position of being a ruling government engaged in multiple acts of war against Israel; if Hamas' armed wing continues terrorist operations after the Hamas-led government takes power (as I have very little doubt they will), then Israel would have every right to consider such activities as acts of war and respond accordingly. "Accordingly" involves declaring war on the Palestinian Authority, with all of the actions that such a declaration entails. In short, the West Bank and Gaza would be completely occupied again in a remarkable hurry should the most likely scenario play out.

Some pundits, reporters, and world leaders have expressed the possibility, even the expectation that Hamas might change it's ways now that it has gained legitimate power. And pigs might sprout wings and fly tomorrow. Hamas leaders have stated that they will not alter their positions one whit from their extremist stance that precludes negotiation with, or even the existence of, Israel; nor will they renounce terror tactics.

I wish the very best for all involved in this, but I cannot help but think that the Middle East is in for yet another war.

About me

Well, I suppose I should introduce myself, after a fashion.

As my partial list of interests in the previous post probably shows, I'm a gamer (of the tabletop pen-and-paper variety as well as more conventional computer gaming), a music student (bassist, to be precise), and political junkie. I do my level best to keep up with current events, and try not to form concrete opinions on something without thoroughly researching that thing first. I used to maintain a blog of sorts at my web forum, found here, though I updated very infrequently.

To address those interests in order, my gaming specifically consists of vast quantities of Dungeons & Dragons, a game I thoroughly enjoy and incidentally inspired the name of this blog (or rather, one of my characters did); some Halo and Halo 2 on other people's X-boxes, and several real-time strategy PC games, including Dawn of War and Warcraft 3. In D&D, I'm most fond of playing paladins, a preference that partially reflects my general outlook on life.

I am, as I mentioned above, a bassist, and a reasonably accomplished one if I do say so myself. I play in both the jazz and classical styles, though I got my start in bluegrass and actually started reading for bass from treble clef parts and guitar chord lines. Before taking up bass, I was a trumpet player of enough skill to sit at the top of the trumpet section of a state championship marching band (Forest Park Marching Rangers, Indiana class D champions, 2001 to be precise), but lost my ability to play over the course of having braces. I am also a bass singer.

Politically, I'm all over the map; if one was to take an average of all my positions on various issues, the result would probably be center-right (as most of those online political tests make me), but that isn't nearly the sum total. I suspect that I'll be making many politics-related posts over the course of my sojourn in the blogosphere, and know that I'll be making one or two today, so I'll let my positions come out there rather than make this the Longest Blog Post Everand ensure that no one reads it thereby.

One other note before I go on to my next post: In keeping with the blog title, I do tend to ramble and have rather purist viewpoints on a lot of things. Just remember, patience is a virtue, and I will eventually get to the point... and if you disagree with that point, I just may decide to smite you.*

*This last comment was made entirely in jest.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Grand opening

This will be a mixed bag sort of thing. I'm not one to write much about my personal life aside from ranting when things suck, so this will mostly follow news, politics, and things that interest me, such as gaming developments and the wonderful world of music and music education. This is probably just as well, since blogs about people's personal lives (with a few notable exceptions) tend to suck mightily.

For now, guest replies will be accepted by the blog so that people don't have to sign up if they just want to leave a comment, though this will change quickly if I get a lot of spam. Enjoy reading. Or don't. Not like it makes a difference to me anyway.