Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Mazurka

Ballroom dances have steps. Here are the steps of Mazurka (in italics) and the steps of the political Mazurka (in bolds):

1) The first is called the "pas Glissè," or Mazurka step. It is executed by springing lightly on the right foot, and allowing the left to glissade to the fourth position in front, which employs two beats of the bar. Then the left leg is raised to the fourth position behind; this lifting up of the foot is performed on the third beat of the bar. Then you recommence with the other leg, and so on with the rest. This step is called the Mazurka step, because it is the most usual and is unceasingly repeated, either alone or in combination with other steps. The pupil should endeavor to be quite perfect in it before undertaking other and more complicated steps.

1) Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom.

Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens -- leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections -- then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.

States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.

2) The second is called the "pas de Basque."We are here speaking of the Polish pas de Basque, which we must be careful not to confound with the French pas de Basque. The first of these is executed in three, in order to mark the measure. For the first step you jump, changing the leg as in the French step, but holding up the changed leg in the fourth position in advance. For the second beat, you bring this leg to the ground; glissading it slightly; and for the third, you make a coupè under the other foot, beating sharply with the heel, and flinging up the same leg to recommence another step. It is necessary to try and advance well at the second beat, setting the foot to the ground, and avoiding to make the steps by jerks. The pas de Basque of the mazurka should be made by stretching out without crossing.

2) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the hard-line mayor of Tehran who has invoked Iran's 1979 revolution and expressed doubts about rapprochement with the United States, won a runoff election Friday and was elected president of the Islamic republic in a landslide, the Interior Ministry announced early Saturday.

Ahmadinejad defeated Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former two-term president who had won the first round of voting last week and was attempting to appeal to socially moderate and reform-minded voters.

3) The third step has been called the pas Boiteux (a hobble step) because the novices, who can only execute it imperfectly, have all the appearance of hobbling. The first beat is the same as for the pas de mazurka; but instead of lifting up the right leg behind at the third beat, you strike the Coup de Talon with the right foot on the left, and at the same moment quickly raise the left. The heel is placed close to the lower part of the right calf as in the polka; this step always attacks the same foot.

3) Iran showed a defiant face to the world Wednesday after a major breakthrough in its nuclear program, challenging the UN Security Council and shrugging off a broadside of international condemnation.

After President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced Tuesday that scientists had crossed a milestone by enriching uranium to make nuclear fuel, a top military commander declared his country's nuclear progress was unstoppable.

4) The fourth step, called the pas Polonaise, or Coup de Talon is executed by striking the right heel with the left for the first beat; for the second you place the left foot in the second position aside; for the third, you bring up the right foot with a glissade and without springing to the left, and give a fresh coup de talon to recommence. In the course of the promenades this step is executed solely with the left foot; in the rounds it is made with both feet. The position of the foot is the same for the mazurka as for the Waltz à Deux Temps; you must not seek either to bend it or to turn it out, but leave it in its natural position. The coups de talons, which are introduced into various steps of the mazurka, and which are even one of the indispensable accompaniments of the dance, ought to be given well in time, with a certain degree of energy, but without exaggeration. Too loud a coup de talon will always be considered in the ball-room as evincing bad taste.

4) The White House, which has charged that Iran is secretly trying to develop fuel for nuclear weapons, at first reacted mildly to the announcement, saying Iran was "moving in the wrong direction." But later in the day it sounded a more ominous tone, with the National Security Council announcing that the United States would work with the United Nations Security Council "to deal with the significant threat posed by the regime's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons."

Outside experts said that while the country appears to have passed a milestone — one it has approached before with smaller-scale enrichment of uranium — the announcement may have had less to do with an engineering feat than with carefully timed political theater intended to convince the West that the program is unstoppable.

The declaration comes at a time of intense speculation in Washington that preliminary plans are advancing to take military action against Iran's nuclear sites if diplomacy fails, an idea Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld dismissed Tuesday as "fantasy land."

And the easy version for those who have two right feet, by a (possible parody) troll on Eschaton comments:

We will soon be at war with Iran, one of the axis of evil. Live with it. Just sit back and let the US Army take care of this mopping up operation. No one is asking any of you to go fight so calm down.