Throwing a fit over “Fitna”

The European movie Fitna is currently unavailable anywhere. American bloggers are having fits because they can’t see it in order to determine whether it is offensive or not. According to the April 1, 2008 (!) Jordan Times:

The 15-minute film entitled “Fitna”, an Arabic word for sedition or disturbance, portrays Islam as a threat to the Western world. It shows images of violent acts and holds Islam and the Koran responsible for them.

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende released a statement on behalf of the Dutch government on the day the odious film was posted on the Internet.

The Dutch government banned the movie from being displayed on cinema screens.

“The film equates Islam with violence. We reject this interpretation. The vast majority of Muslims reject extremism and violence. In fact, the victims are often also Muslims,” the statement reads.

“We, therefore, regret that Mr Wilders has released this film. We believe it serves no purpose other than to cause offence. But feeling offended must never be used as an excuse for aggression and threats. The government is heartened by the initial restrained reactions of Dutch Muslim organisations,” Balkenende said.

Judeh said that the government valued the Dutch government’s condemnation of the film.

Geert Wilders, the far-right Dutch MP who produced the film, heads the Freedom Party that has nine seats in the Dutch parliament.

The Dutch government, however, remains on alert for delayed responses to Wilders’ film.

“Sometimes it can take months before the true repercussions are felt,” AFP reported Balkenende as saying.

Meanwhile, Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen sought to dampen anger through diplomacy and met with 26 ambassadors from the member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, including Jordan’s envoy.

After the meeting, Verhagen issued a statement saying: “I am happy with the moderate reactions we have been getting from the Muslim world.” He added, “the rhetoric in some countries shows that we must be alert.”

Alert? Anger? Agression? Threats? Repercussions?

Well, all I can say is it’s a good thing all these diplomats aren’t “portraying Islam as a threat to the Western world.”

Posted in Arab culture, Religion. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Throwing a fit over “Fitna”

Maya Angelou: a birthday party upstaged by Jeremiah Wright–and a new poem for Hillary

I hadn’t thought about Maya Angelou for years.

This week she made the news, not for being her own intriguing self, but because Senator Obama’s controversial pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was given a standing ovation when he turned up as a surprise guest at her birthday party at Chicago’s Saint Sabina Roman Catholic Church. |video|

maya3.jpgThe first time I ever heard of Maya Angelou was in a philosophy class some fifteen years ago. The instructor asked the class what they were reading and who inspired them. Several of the black women said Maya Angelou, and recommended I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Then, Angelou attracted national attention on January 20, 1993 when she read her poem On the Pulse of Morning |video| |text| for the Clinton inauguration. It contains some now familiar themes: hope , change and yes, courage:

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Although the Rev. Wright is said to be a personal friend, Angelou is known to be a Hillary Clinton supporter. The new poem for Hillary:

State Package for Hillary Clinton

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may tread me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

This is not the first time you have seen Hillary Clinton seemingly at her wits’ end, but she has always risen, always risen, don’t forget she has always risen, much to the dismay of her adversaries and the delight of her friends.

Hillary Clinton will not give up on you and all she asks of you is that you do not give up on her.

There is a world of difference between being a woman and being an old female. If you’re born a girl, grow up, and live long enough, you can become an old female. But to become a woman is a serious matter. A woman takes responsibility for the time she takes up and the space she occupies. Hillary Clinton is a woman. She has been there and done that and has still risen. She is in this race for the long haul. She intends to make a difference in our country. Hillary Clinton intends to help our country to be what it can become.

She declares she wants to see more smiles in the family, more courtesies between men and women, more honesty in the marketplace. She is the prayer of every woman and man who longs for fair play, healthy families, good schools, and a balanced economy.

She means to rise.

Don’t give up on Hillary. In fact, if you help her to rise, you will rise with her and help her make this country the wonderful, wonderful place where every man and every woman can live freely without sanctimonious piety and without crippling fear.

Rise, Hillary.


According to Maya Angelou’s official website, she was born April 4 , 1928, which makes this her 80th birthday. May the years be gentle with her.

Does Hillary have a Fat Butt?

Over heard: two guys talking at the side of the stage at an Indiana Hillary rally:

What do you suppose they were talking about…the loss of steel mill jobs in this state? Fighting their insurance companies to get health care coverage? The economy, stupid? Nope.

“She doesn’t have a fat butt. All those pictures always show her butt being really big. She hasn’t got a fat butt.”

What pictures? Who is passing around fat-butt pictures of Hillary?


Posted in Election 2008, Hillary. Tags: , , , , , . Comments Off on Does Hillary have a Fat Butt?

Opinion meter of Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s sermon clips

This is sort of interesting. Slade publishes a real time graph of opinions to the Wright videos by 799 voters broken down by race and political party.

In case you were wondering, the dangling modifier was intentional, hee, hee.

Full Text: Obama “typical white person” interview

Obama: “The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity, but that she is a typical white person.”

The following is a transcript of the full text of the telephone interview 3/20/2008 with Senator Barack Obama and radio host Angelo Cataldi (6:11 minutes). The video of this interview is |here|. An interview with Larry King 3/20/08, in which Obama makes further explanation of these remarks video clip |here|.

Cataldi: Now, ladies and gentlemen, Senator Barack Obama. Hello senator.

Obama: How are you, sir.

Cataldi: Senator, it is a great honor and a privilege to have you on our show.

Obama: Thank you so much for takin the time

Cataldi: Oh, believe me senator. The first question I wanna ask you is a very basic one. Why should we elect you president?

Obama: Well, because I think that we’re at a moment in our history where we need tah –break from the past in a fundamental way. We need to bring the country together. We’ve gotta push off uh, special interests and lobbyists that have dominated Washington, and start getting a government that is tackling in a pragmatic practical way, some real problems that ordinary folks are going through every day, whether it’s losin’ their home to foreclosure or not having health care or seeing their wages and, and incomes flatline, uh, or seeing their loved ones deployed in Iraq. We’ve got some big issues and we can’t just have uh, the same old stuff, and I’ve got twenty years of experience in bringing about real change.

Cataldi: Yah, you mentioned experience and your opponent Hillary Clinton keeps talking about hers, Senator, and I’m always amazed by this, because most of her experience came not as the actual person, like Bill Clinton, but as the wife. How does she get away with using thirty five years of experience when she’s really only had eight in the senate?

Obama: Well, uh you know, it is a fact that she’s been in the public eye for a long time.

Cataldi: Right.

Obama: …so I think that people just feel like they know her, uh, she’s been around. She’s a, a ,a very smart lady and I think people respect her intelligence, uh, but you’re absolutely right, if you compare legislative experience, uh, I’ve, I was in the state legislature for eight years before I went to the United States senate. I’ve been in elected office longer than she has, uh, and ultimately the issue is not how long you’ve been in Washington. The question is what kind of judgment you bring to bear on the problems that we face.

Cataldi: Without a doubt. Senator, you gave an amazing speech on Tuesday, we were actually at the constitution center but not giving as eloquent a speech as you were, believe me, and you talked about your white grandmother and how there was a time when even she feared black men and that she even occasionally would use a racial or ethnic stereotype. (crosstalk) What does she say now about you being so close to the presidency?

Obama: Well, you know she’s extremely proud, and the uh, the point I was making was not that my grandmother, uh harbors, uh any racial animosity, she doesn’t. But she is a uh, typical white person who, uh, you know uh if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know, you know, there’s a reaction that’s been bred inta, uh, our experiences that, that don’t go away and that sometimes come out in, in the wrong way and, and that’s just the nature of race in our society. We have to break through it, and what makes me optimistic is you see each generation feeling a little bit less like that, uh and that’s pretty powerful stuff.

Cataldi: Senator, but you will bear an extra responsibility as president in that you will be the first African American president, um, uh how will you approach that, will you, will you see that as another thing that you have to, you know, take care of every day, people are going to be watching that.

Obama: Well look, I think that uh if I’m uh, in the oval office I’ve got all kinds of things to worry about

Cataldi: That’s true ha ha…

Obama: …you know that, that comes with the job, but I wouldn’t be running if I wasn’t confident that I could help the country work through some of these issues. At the same time as we’re taking care of the business at hand, which is making sure that the economy’s working for ordinary people that they’ve got health care, that they can afford to send their kids to college, that we can end this war in Iraq that has cost us so dearly in blood and treasure

Cataldi: Senator the, the, your position about ending the war in Iraq has fascinated me because your opponents are saying if we do it the way senator Obama wants to do it we will be empowering our enemies, how do you respond to that.

Obama: You know, we’ve empowered our enemies by going into Iraq in the first place, I mean, think about it, we diverted resources from Afghanistan where bin Laden was and al Qaeda was, Afghanistan is now more violent ttah at any time since the Afghan war started. Bin Ladin is still at large. He sent out a tape yesterday, uh… we spent more money on this war than any war in our history and the, and there’s no end in sight, uh, it, it it has strained our alliances, fanned anti-American sentiment, it has been a strategic disaster uh and, you know, what I’ve called for is a responsible withdrawal that would get our strategy back on the right track.

Cataldi: Thank you, senator. Senator, you know what your schedule is… the one other thing I really wanted to know is, watching you on the campaign trail on Tuesday, it’s such an immense thing that we ask you to do before we elect a person president. How has it changed you?

Obama: You know uh, uh, one of the good things is , I think it ah, ah, it makes me realize that actually I can handle stress fairly well.

Cataldi: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, haaa, ha, ha

Obama: So you know I tend to be a pretty calm guy, uh, uh and I think that its made me appreciate my family that much more because I sure miss them.

Cataldi: Well that’s great. Senator we we can’t thank you enough for the time you’ve given us, and if there’s any thing we can do to help you carry Pennsylvania, we would do it, you’ve got a lot of fans here at WIP.

Obama: I look forward tah seeing you guys…maybe I can drop by the studio sometime.

Cataldi: Ah! Please! That would be awsome. Maybe after you’re president. Thank you, senator.

Obama: Talk to you soon.

Cataldi: Senator Barack Obama. Oh, that was…he’s very eloquent isn’t he?

Female voice: Very good.

Cataldi: He just automatically exudes that charisma. Did you feel that, Al, did you feel the charisma?

Male voice: So is he coming in?

Cataldi: Well, it sounds like he’s on his way in right now.

Male voice: (inaudible)…pitch before the primary….

Female voice: We’re definitely gonna promo that if he comes in.


Cataldi: That was exciting.

Posted in Election 2008, Obama. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Full Text: Obama “typical white person” interview

Judge orders ESL classes

Here’s one idea for boosting enrollment at your local community college:

A judge known for creative sentencing has ordered three Spanish-speaking men to learn English or go to jail. The men, who faced prison for criminal conspiracy to commit robbery, can remain on parole if they learn to read and write English, earn their GEDs and get full-time jobs…

“Do you think we are going to supply you with a translator all of your life?” the judge asked them.

The four, ranging in age from 17 to 22, were in a group that police said accosted two men on a street in May. The two said they were asked if they had marijuana, told to empty their pockets, struck on the head, threatened with a gun and told to stay off the block.

How would you like these students in your class, though?

Easter Sunrise Service Fashion Statement in Chicago’s Daley Plaza–Lime Green Jersey Barriers

The Easter 2008 sunrise service in Chicago’s Daley Plaza might have been drab except for the lime green plastic jersey barriers cleverly utilized as a wind break from the fierce Lake Michigan winds that rage down Washington Avenue in March.


Posted in Curiosities, Homeland Security, Humor, Illinois, Terrorism. Comments Off on Easter Sunrise Service Fashion Statement in Chicago’s Daley Plaza–Lime Green Jersey Barriers

Mike Gravel goes Libertarian-bye, bye, bumper stickers

Mike Gravel announced today he has left the Democratic Party and will run for president on the Libertarian Party.

The government may not be perfect but it does accomplish a few things. Safe drinking water. Highways. The National Park system.  Sorry, but I just can’t take the Libertarians seriously.

The Mike Gravel for President buttons, magnets and bumper sticker link in the sidebar has been deleted.

Do you have an astrologer?

Yes, I do have an astrologer.

The Jordan Times used to have a really great horoscope for people learning English. I wish they still had in in their online paper. It was great because of the understandable English. Every day we started class by reading our horoscopes out loud. The Moslem students–and some of them were pretty devout–assured me it was okay to read horoscopes as long as it was for entertainment and not a substitute for Allah.

navhoroscopered.gifSome time ago I put a horoscope widget in the lower right column and linked it to Rob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology. Every once in a while, when politics gets me feeling a bit jaded, I go over there and read my horoscope just to smell the fresh air. For entertainment only, of course.

For some reason, today’s message was just what I needed to erase today’s static and be ready to get back on the hamster wheel tomorrow:

You are potentially a genius. Maybe not in the same way that Einstein and Beethoven were, but still: You possess some exceptional capacity that is absolutely unique. You’re a masterpiece unlike any other that has ever lived in the history of the world.

Furthermore, the precise instructions you need to ripen into your genius have always been with you, even from the time before you were born. In the words of psychologist James Hillman, you have a soul’s code.

You might also call it the special mission you came to Earth to carry out; the divine blueprint that contains the open secret of how to be perfectly, unpredictably yourself; the master plan that is your heart’s deepest desire.

Would you like help in deciphering it? The Divine Intelligence Formerly Known as God is always on call, ready to help. It’s your birthright to ask Her a specific question every day about what you need to do next to express your soul’s code; it’s also your birthright to receive a response.

The divine revelation may not be as unambiguous as a little voice in your head. It might appear in the form of a TV commercial, an odd dream, or an encounter with a stranger. It could be demanding and difficult, delivering information you’d rather not have to deal with. Or it might show up as a clear and simple feeling of knowing exactly what to do, and it could be easy and fun.

What question will you ask the Divine Wow today?

Posted in Widgets. Comments Off on Do you have an astrologer?

Keeping the Camel’s Nose child-friendly

Some time ago I signed up for an online shop to design campaign buttons, t-shirts, magnets, and bumpers stickers. I still have some campaign gear online for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, although I haven’t added any new items lately.

When I started the online shop, I had to check a box that said whether my website was child-friendly or not. That was easy. Up to that point, my focus was mainly on the Middle East, and I hadn’t written anything I wouldn’t want my Jordanian roommate to read. Also I wanted children to be able to read my site, and not have it restricted by any parental control software.

Since I wrote a couple of pieces about Obama’s Trinity church, people have been leaving comments with a lot of profanity. I have never had this problem before. So what do I do now? I’m a big fan of free speech. I want to hear what people think. I want to provide a public forum for the exchange of ideas.

So far, I have just replaced the profanities with asterisks, so the original intent of the writer is still obvious. But the effect is quite frankly a bit more moderate than the original post. Wouldn’t it be more realistic to leave in the original words so people can get the idea of what kind of person is expressing these opinions full-blast?

I am well aware that there are lot of blogs out there that try to use profanity in a hip way. You can decide for yourselves if they are offensive in a way that is socially redeeming and make a point or whether they just come off as being ignorant and offensive.

Okay, so the Camel’s Nose is not a democracy. It is my personal kingdom, and I am the Queen. If I decide I don’t like seeing a bunch of offensive language every time I open my browser, I can do something about it. I can make my own website civil and idea-driven. And for now, that’s what I’m going to continue to do. I do want the exchange of ideas, even ideas I don’t agree with. As long as they are couched in language that is civil.

Is that reasonable? If you don’t agree, I am willing to entertain other ideas. The comments are still open.

In the meantime, if you are thinking about posting a bunch of expletives here, just think what impact your ideas will have once I get through replacing the profane words with asterisks. Will you have any ideas left?

Posted in Obama, Technology. Comments Off on Keeping the Camel’s Nose child-friendly