Even though the futures market for terrorist attacks got shot down by Congress, it's good to see that some people in the government (the State Department, even!) are still coming up with some good ideas. WaPo has an article about the State Department's new Arab language magazine, Hi.

Hi is a new magazine funded by the State Department, published in Arabic, targeted at Arabs ages 18 to 35 and sold on newsstands in more than a dozen countries. It costs consumers about $2 a copy. It will cost American taxpayers about $4 million a year -- minus whatever advertising revenues it can generate.

"This is a long-term way to build a relationship with people who will be the future leaders of the Arab world," says Christopher W.S. Ross, special coordinator for public diplomacy at the State Department. "It's good to get them in a dialogue while their opinions are not fully formed on matters large and small."

The magazine doesn't mention any political issues, and is pure pop-culture fluff. As some critics in the article note, the Arab world is already innundated with American pop culture, so I'm not exactly sure how much of an impact this new magazine will have..but we'll see.

I think it's a good sign that the government is trying something new, rather than just sticking with the same old stuff. Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't, but $4 million a year isn't a lot to spend to find out. You should all know how big a supporter I am of the military, but just imagine the cool psy-ops stuff that can be done on the cheap, for the price of a single tank.

Plus, the beautiful baby on the cover is pretty hot; she reminds me of Eliza Dushku. Mmmm.



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