Fake anti-Muslim video identified

Over a year ago, I posted a link to a fairly obvious anti-Muslim (and anti-Obama) video of some children reciting something, titled “School Children Sing Praises of Obama”. The video “translation” subtitles claimed the children were saying:

The Kenyan Muslim
Will soon destroy the great Satan from within
He will speak of hope and change.
but the greedy Americans will be defeated!
Yes we can…


The video echoed around the blogosphere for a while and even got as far as Snopes without ever being identified.

Thanks to someone who left an anonymous comment, the content of the video has now been identified. Both children are reciting from the Koran. The first child is reciting the beginning of Surah al Mulk and the second child is reciting the beginning of Surah al-Tariq.  Here are the two verses in transliteration (pronunciation of the Arabic written in the Latin alphabet), in Arabic, and in an English translation by Pickthall.

Thanks, anonymous.


Sura al-Mulk 67:1-3 Sovereignty الملك

Bismi Allahi alrrahmani alrraheemi

1. Tabaraka allathee biyadihi almulku wahuwa AAala kulli shayin qadeerun

2. Allathee khalaqa almawta waalhayata liyabluwakum ayyukum ahsanu AAamalan wahuwa alAAazeezu alghafooru

3. Allathee khalaqa sabAAa samawatin tibaqan ma tara fee khalqi alrrahmani min tafawutin fairjiAAi albasara hal tara min futoorin

بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

تَبَٰرَكَ ٱلَّذِى بِيَدِهِ ٱلْمُلْكُ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍۢ قَدِيرٌ ﴿١﴾

ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلْمَوْتَ وَٱلْحَيَوٰةَ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًۭا ۚ وَهُوَ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلْغَفُورُ ﴿٢﴾

ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَٰوَٰتٍۢ طِبَاقًۭا ۖ مَّا تَرَىٰ فِى خَلْقِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ مِن تَفَٰوُتٍۢ ۖ فَٱرْجِعِ ٱلْبَصَرَ هَلْ تَرَىٰ مِن فُطُورٍۢ ﴿٣﴾


Sura al-Tariq The Nightly Visitor الطارق

Bismi Allahi alrrahmani alrraheemi
1. Waalssamai waalttariqi
2. Wama adraka ma alttariqu
3. Alnnajmu alththaqibu
4. In kullu nafsin lamma AAalayha hafithun
5. Falyanthuri alinsanu mimma khuliqa
6. Khuliqa min main dafiqin

بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
وَٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلطَّارِقِ ﴿١﴾
ٱلنَّجْمُ ٱلثَّاقِبُ ﴿٣﴾
إِن كُلُّ نَفْسٍۢ لَّمَّا عَلَيْهَا حَافِظٌۭ ﴿٤﴾
فَلْيَنظُرِ ٱلْإِنسَٰنُ مِمَّ خُلِقَ ﴿٥﴾
خُلِقَ مِن مَّآءٍۢ دَافِقٍۢ ﴿٦﴾

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
1. By the heaven and the Morning Star
2. - Ah, what will tell thee what the Morning Star is!
3. - The piercing Star!
4. No human soul but hath a guardian over it.
5. So let man consider from what he is created.
6. He is created from a gushing fluid


Obama for Congress

This was postmarked March 21, 2000.

It reads in part, “When Bobby rush ran against Rep. Charles Hayes eight years ago, he said it was time for a change. He was right, and he won a seat in congress on that message. That sentiment, sadly, is correct today. It’s time for a change in the 1st Congressional District. The Tribune endorses state Sen. Barack Obama, a civil rights lawyer, community activist and rising star on the local political scene who was elected to the legislature in 1996….”

No serial comma.

Posted in Obama. Comments Off on Obama for Congress

Obama Cairo speech link

Here is the link to the Obama speech delivered at Cairo University June 4, 2009 (official White House transcript). Here is a link to the YouTube version (55 minutes).



Complete text:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Middle East, Obama, Public Policy. Comments Off on Obama Cairo speech link

Arabs, what do you think of this picture?

obama-jon-faveau-speechwriter-groperAre you Arab?  Do you know Arabs?  What do you think of this picture?

This is Jon Favreau.  He writes speeches for Barack Obama.  He is the one on the left.  Oh, look, where is his hand?  He put this picture on Facebook.

The large, life-size photograph is a cardboard cutout of Senator Hillary Clinton, Obama’s new Secretary of State.

Where did Jon Favreau get this cutout? The Hillary Clinton presidential campaign had these cutouts in some of their offices. Volunteers liked to take their pictures with the cutout. Here are some pictures of the Hillary cutout from the Denver office, and people taking their picture with it (up in the top left corner).
hillary-cutout hillry-cutout-at-denver1-circled
Yesterday someone asked me what Arabs would think about this photo:


You have Middle Eastern background, don’t you? What will Muslims over there think of the Favreau photo when it reaches them?

Two men and a married woman…. Isn’t that some sort of crime?

Here was my answer:

It’s not usually so much a question of religion but of culture. I lived in the Middle East for a couple years, but it’s a huge place with more than one language and ethnic group, and I can only tell you about the Arabs I was in contact with.

The guy with the bottle–big harram (forbidden, like wasting bread). They might tipple a bit in private with the doors locked, or add something stealthy to a styrofoam cup, (guys only, of course) but public consumption of alcohol is a really big no-no.

Photograph of Hillary? Women over there rarely allow themselves to be photographed–it’s probably more or less up to the husband. But the reason is that the Arab “boyz” will invariably start making x-rated comments. Even a hint of impropriety, and the woman could be killed for reasons of family honor. The photo itself would probably be censored in conservative Saudi because her hair is showing, but Hillary is not showing too much skin in the photo, so from Hillary’s standpoint it’s a culturally acceptable photo. I did meet women who didn’t cover their hair, Moslem and Christian, but not in the rural areas.

The way the guys are acting would probably just confirm their stereotypical ideas of the depravity of American culture. If an Arab guy acted like that it would show a lack of religiousity and pious somberness. In fact, the photo will probably not make it over there. The Arab countries have press censorship (official, not de facto like we’ve got here) and they will not be eager to offend the incoming administration.

Whether the photo will make the rounds of private government officials is another question. The Arabs do understand we have different standards about women, even if they’re not sure what they are. They do have a few women in leadership positions but as their government is based on tribal affiliation, they are holders of seats that are specifically female, not women who have risen with in their communities. So it is very, very possible that the Arabs in decision-making positions will take their lead about Hillary’s real authority in representing the U.S. government from a photo like this. In other words, they will think she is window dressing only.

Yes, it undermines her ability to do her job, in so far as anyone thinks Hillary represents the Obama team and not her own constituency. Who knows, as the wife of a former President, and yes I did see Hillary there with my own eyes–she may be viewed as having her own power base. I think it is a convoluted issue, BO’s continued apparent agreement with Favreau over the respect he is willing to show Hillary may just play into her perceived independent influence, i.e. he doesn’t really want her but she’s too powerful for him to get rid of.

Of course I have to say here Obama is my senator and was my rep before that, and I would like to think he has the presence of mind to put Hillary in that position for the considerable skills she has to offer his team. But in the Middle East gestures mean so much, since words have to be censored, so the meaning could well be interpreted as Hillary not having the authority to speak for the Obama administration in foreign policy matters.

Is this something bad for the man in the picture?  Is this something bad for Hillary Clinton?

Who are you, what do you think, and why?

Denial of service attacks on blogs isn’t just for terrorists anymore

A few months ago someone named GeekLove08 left a message on this blog asking me to post a link to their new video. I don’t consider this to be a political blog as such, but when I saw the video, I had to write a post about it.  The video is of Hillary Clinton clad in a demure pastel pink outfit that I wouldn’t be caught dead in, giving a speech to a women’s rights convention in China, with a Dvorak string instrumental in the background. As the violins soothe and Hillary’s voice intones words of healing

“…there is far more that unites us than divides us…we share a common future and we are here to find common ground…”

a montage of gender-based hate speech images from the current presidential campaign marches across the screen in stark ugliness. If you haven’t seen it yet you might go over and favorite it.

Today I found out that Geeklove’s Come a Long Way blog on blogspot.com, along with several pro-Hillary blogs listed on Just Say no Deal, had been forced out of the blogosphere in a rather ugly episode so typical of this campaign cycle. The blog has since been moved to WordPress.

While Hillary had already suspended her campaign at the time of the attack, the blogs in question had buttons with links to help Hillary pay down her campaign debt.  Now who would want to prevent Hillary’s campaign debt from being paid?

I may have had a close call myself. A few days before the attacks on the other blogs, a pro-Obama website linked to this website and tried make some kind of claim they knew who I was and what my political views were, in spite of having an Obama button and not a link to pay down Hillary’s debt in my sidebar.  كَلْب  (No, that’s not endorsement; I have Hillary buttons too.)  Why they consider me to be so noteworthy I do not know. Perhaps the paid Obama bloggers were being offered a bounty of some sort and they were trying to squeeze me into their criteria.


Related posts:

Al-Firdaws:Cyberspace terrorists or Script Kiddies?

Why attack CafePress.com?

Posted in Conspiracies, Gender, Hillary, Obama. Tags: , , , , . Comments Off on Denial of service attacks on blogs isn’t just for terrorists anymore

Why Barack Obama should tap Hillary for VP–and why she should accept

The Pumas over at pumapac.org had a minor squabble today as some of them tried to make “Nobama” the official creed of the website.  In other words, they don’t want Hillary to accept the Vice Presidency and they won’t vote for Obama even if Hillary is on the ticket.

The Hillary supporters are understandably alienated from the Democratic party. Their candidate was attacked primarily for being female, not for any policy positions or leadership qualities she does or doesn’t have.  She “threw the kitchen sink” at Obama?  What’s that about?  Now the Obama campaign says McCain that he is throwing “everything” at Obama.  Why is the “kitchen” reference being dropped now?  And when Barack and Hillary met at Unity New Hampshire for their joint speech, all Obama could talk about was how she “could do it in heels” as if she were some sort of mysterious monster who didn’t have feet like the rest of us.  I don’t remember seeing her in heels, quite frankly.  And she looks shorter up close than on stage. If she had heels on she would probably look a bit taller.

Even now the party regulars are talking about Hillary’s “historical candidacy”, not her capable candidacy and whether or not she actually got a majority of the popular vote.  While the differences between male and female in the political arena are not obvious to me, at every turn, the Obama campaign pulled out something about her that was distinctly female, not global that everyone could relate to, as if to say, see?… she’s not like us.  If you would turn that around and start making constant racial references about, say, shining shoes or eating watermelon or fried chicken or even just easier suntanning, I bet there would be a very quick public recognition of unfairness, but using female stereotyping doesn’t seem to register on the public psyche.

The gender war extended to informal talking points as well.  The whisper campaign in Chicago was “a candidate needs to be strong”.  Even now the street people lurch around downtown muttering about politics, apparently unaware that the primary season is over, and saying “men are stronger than women”, therefore you have to vote for the man.  Of course, when a woman does appear to be strong or comes right out and says “I am a fighter”, then she is not seen as a proper female, and she starts to lose the educated white males, who don’t think women or anyone else should turn to fighting instead of diplomacy.

Okay, you get the idea.  Everything thrown at Hillary was gender based.  Not just the B-word in the songs played at official functions and worse all over the Obama official website.  Not just the crude anatomical remarks in the blogs.  But also the organized talking points and twists of phrasing and emotionally loaded content worked into comments and campaign speeches. And as for Hillary’s supporters, well, they don’t have valid interests, like the mortgage crisis or health care or social security or anything, they’re just having emotional storms.   It’s all about stuff like catharsis.  Silly hysterical women.  How quickly the DNC accepts that type of argument.

So what are the choices that Hillary’s supporters now have?

1. Keep trying to get Hillary the nomination.  After all, the convention is not over, the vote was close, and neither Hillary nor Barack has enough votes to win without the superdelegates.  I say go for it.  The process was put in place for a reason.  They should follow it.

We already have one president who doesn’t think he should follow the rules in everything from reporting for military service to writing “signing statements” about which parts of every new law he doesn’t intend to follow. We don’t need another president who ignores the law and ends up with approval ratings in the dungeon.

If Hillary had not dropped out of the race when she did, she would have been able to continue to collect contributions through August, and pay down considerably more of her campaign debt.   She did drop out, and for the benefit of the Democratic party, not for her own benefit. The party has not helped her and has marginalized those who supported her, whose interests she represented. You see the talking points all over the blogs: “you lost, get over it”.  The Democratic leadership considers Hillary’s supporter to be losers, not voters. The message the DNC gives them is not “your interests are important and will be represented by us in some way” but “you are not important.”  When that happens, voters go looking for someone who says they are important and who will represent their interests.

In the likely event that Hillary does not get the nomination, the followers will then have new choices.

1) Hold their noses and vote for Obama.

2) Write in Hillary’s name, possibly invalidating their ballots.

3) Vote for McCain.

4) Vote for a third party candidate, like Nader, Barr, or McKinney, thus helping McCain win but in way that shows dissatisfaction with the Democrats rather than satisfaction with the Republicans.

5)  Forget about the presidential race and work to elect candidates to the congress who will stop voting with Bush and who will bring back peace and prosperity. Politics is local.

Quite frankly , I think there is room under the Puma umbrella for all of the above positions. But I don’t think the Pumas should write off the idea of Hillary as vice president until the moment  Obama actually names someone else, if he does.

Usually the arguments for Hillary as Vice President are advanced along lines of winning the general election.  Swing states. Electoral votes.  Hillary won these states, they say, and Obama can win them with Hillary on the ticket.  Okay that’s important, but I want to go beyond the math.

What would an Obama/Clinton ticket be able to accomplish for the country?  What would the next four years look like?  First of all, whether you are a true believer Koolaid drinker or an empty suiter Clintonista, you have to admit that Obama can deliver a speech. Imagine the next four years with stunning rhetoric and even more stunning delivery.  And vision.  Not to mention hope, change, and audacity.

Now, everyone pretty much admits that Hillary is a tireless policy wonk.  3AM and all that. Also that she knows how to meet endlessly with foreign leaders and people who can help her legislative agenda.  She’s hardly a noob with either domestic or foreign policy. Now, imagine Hillary explaining things to Obama’s speechwriters.  Oooh! I like this more and more. Obama can be like Ronald Reagan and sit in the oval office like teflon while Hillary and the minions keep everything running smoothly.

But here is the real reason Hillary should be VP.  It’s no secret that Hillary wanted Obama as her VP when she was the frontrunner.  She could have run an attack machine like McCain is running now, but she pulled her punches.   She said he didn’t have “experience”.  Now you can’t get over having an evil character, but you can get over not having experience, just by getting some experience–as a VP under an experienced president.  So Obama could have gotten his experience under her, if indeed he is capable of working under any woman, and that would have moved his career along.

Instead, Obama (and Axelrod) mounted a campaign that tore apart the Democratic party, painted the Clintons as racists, when I believe they are not, and possibly damaged Hillary’s career.  Even more important is the gender based attack they used.  This type of attack invalidates the career and character of every woman in America.  It cannot be allowed to stand.  It cannot be allowed to win.  Many women would rather see McCain win that see a malicious and evilly misogynist campaign like this succeed.  It must fail.

Either that, or Obama and Axelrod must build the party back up with Hillary–and the voters she represents–as part of the process.  It’s the pottery barn argument. Obama and Axelrod have set back women’s issues in this country considerably but not irrevokably.  Wouldn’t it be lovely if David Axelrod could use his considerable public relations skill to restore the Clinton presidency to the place in history it deserves, and reverse the damage the Obama campaign has done to Hillary, to the Democratic party, and to American women everywhere?

Terrorist fist jab morphs into academic wrist bump

Today I was on the south side of Chicago less than half an hour from Obama’s former church.  Yup, right next to the neighborhood that is the hotbed of the vanguard of the leading edge of the latest and greatest new stuff.

A colleague came over to the table where I was sitting and began to shake hands with everyone around the table. I confess he caught me with my thumb and forefinger deep into the strawberry jam end of a bagel.  No matter.  Instead of shaking hands he just bumped wrists. Actually more of a forearm bump, just below the bone on the pinky side of the wrist.

I am reminded of a similar gesture where I once tried to shake hands with a devout Muslim male who was ritually washed in preparation for prayers (and thus could not touch a woman) who offered me the sleeve of his forearm. Thus we preserve the need to greet each other and make each other feel welcome while observing life’s little realities.

Wrist bump.  Remember, you heard it here first.

Posted in Curiosities, Obama. Tags: . Comments Off on Terrorist fist jab morphs into academic wrist bump

The Oprah effect

Via  Marginal Revolution: A study claims that Oprah’s endorsement of Barack Obama was responsible for an additional 1,000, 000 votes for Obama. The study compares vote tallies with circulation figures for the Oprah magazine O and with geographical variations in sales of books included in Oprah’s Book Club.

Her reference can literally mean the success or failure of a variety of products. For example,
when the cosmetic company Philosophy’s “Gingerbread Man Salt Scrub” was included in the 2004
favorite things list, the company was forced to rearrange its entire production schedule to meet the
resulting demand (Walker, 2004). After selecting Ciao Bella blood orange sorbet for her 2007 list, the
company’s website received 3 million hits in one week compared to an average of 175,000 in previous
weeks. Clarisonic skin-care system had their sales increase “10-fold in just one week after her
endorsement” (Goldman, 2007). After challenging her viewers to beat the one day sales record for Lance
Armstrong “Livestrong” bracelets, 900,000 bracelets were sold—besting previous records by
approximately 600,000.
A negative comment by Winfrey can be equally damaging to a products success. During a 1996
show concerning “mad cow” disease Winfrey stated that her fear of the disease “stopped me from eating
another burger” (Babineck, 1998). The day after the show cattle futures fell 10 percent (Verhovek, 1998).
Winfrey was subsequently sued by a group of cattleman claiming they suffered losses of $12 million.

Could the Oprah effect be the reason why, after the votes were counted, the Obama campaign couldn’t be compared with the Jesse Jackson campaign in ’84 and ’88?

Posted in Obama. Tags: . Comments Off on The Oprah effect

Fifteen minutes of fame for the Camel’s Nose, and a prayer on the Arab side of The Wall

I have finally gotten discovered by The Bigtime.

PRI’s The World has linked to me in their August 5, 2008 edition, having discovered me through no less than Reuters. The piece that caught their attention was Obama weasels on Palestine.

Sooner or later, bloggers discover other blogs creating links to them. A lot of the sites that link to me are bogus, only printing the first line of any piece I write, and sometimes even crediting the writing to someone else. They put up a few ads and use my content to make money. These websites don’t last very long.

Other sites that link to me are real people, not electronically generated content. They’re interested in what I say. That’s not always as nice as it sounds. A while back, before all the media fuss about Barack Obama’s church, I visited the church and wrote some opinions about whether it was racist. I say it is. Unfortunately some of the bloggers who link to that piece are looking for something to bolster their adherence to some ideology or another, rather than engage in systematic thinking. Others are looking for someone to link to them in exchange for a link, in order to symbiotically increase the google mojo of both our sites. That’s fine with me. Still other bloggers that link to me are just ordinary people like myself, some international.

The ordinary people thrill me, yes, that’s what life is made of and I love to taste it. But the mainstream media attention is very heady. Getting the attention of MSM means my ideas get wider currency.

The premise of my blog is that one person CAN make difference, just by reaching out, by being tolerant, and enjoying other people for their differences. That’s why my mission statement says “let’s just eat.” In the Arab culture, when you eat with someone, you accept them and shelter them unconditionally, for three days and one third, according to custom. I want that type of acceptance to become contagious.

In particular, every so often I write something about Palestinian independence. King Abdullah has been taking about it all year and says that yes, it can happen this year. I believe him. When I visited the mosque of Omar in Jerusalem, a spot that many cultures have considered to be the navel of the universe, my guide told me there was one spot in the surrounding courtyard where a prayer has a thousand times more influence than in any other geographical location. It’s on the Arab side of the same wall where Obama put his prayer on a piece of paper. I sent up a prayer there for peace and tried to visualize all my Palestinian friends going about their lives without the specter of war.

Of course, prayer by itself isn’t enough. You have to do something to manifest the vision as well, so I told my guide about it. And now I’m blogging about it. I’m trying to blog about it in a very concrete way, in the American way of writing paragraphs with topic sentences and reasons and examples, so other people can start to visualize it as well. And if my sense of history is faulty, they can fill in their own blanks and start to create their own vision.

Palestine the nation. Now.

It’s ours if we want it.

Posted in Jerusalem, Middle East, Obama, Palestine. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Fifteen minutes of fame for the Camel’s Nose, and a prayer on the Arab side of The Wall

View of an Obama presidency from the gutter

MySpace has sent me an email reminding me that today is the birthday of one of my “friends”, a certain  Barack Obama.  So for the Senator’s birthday I will relate a local Obama story.

Last week I paused in the dash to finish all the end of semester paperwork and took a stroll in the neighborhood around my school.  In front of a local day care center, a drunk was shouting about all the people he was going to kill.  That was different.

I made my way to the Radio Shack where my last unfortunate visit had yielded a fawning sales clerk who told me how wonderful it was that someone female would take an interest in technology.  As I restrained homicidal impulses, he read the back of several router packages to me.  Was he amazed that I could read as well?  No, if he was reading to me, he probably thought I couldn’t read.  Never mind, I found a very lovely router for $60 less online through my favorite website, techbargains.com. Maybe reading is such a mystical art, and maybe technology for women is such a novelty, but I sure do know how to accessorize.  The little green lights of the router match my modem perfectly. This visit was even worse.  I had developed a sudden compulsion to look at thumb drives, which were behind the counter.  The lone sales clerk had the volume of a demo stereo cranked to max and I was clearly in the way.  Radio Shack is always so unpleasant.

Returning to the school with a bag of fast food, I settled into the break room and tried to follow the Spanish conversation of the staff.  I had just missed a drunk who showed up at the school.  The same one who had been shouting at the day care center.  “When are you going to give me some food?” he had demanded from the staff.  “Never,” was the answer.

Just wait til Obama is president, the drunk said.  There won’t be any more white people, and you will have to go back to Mexico.

En vino veritas? Is this something going around on the streets or just some drunken raving?  Last winter there was a rumor in the Hispanic community that if Obama won all the blacks were going to riot.  So they didn’t want to vote for him.  In retrospect, after Al Sharptons’s comments about Denver, maybe it’s not so far fetched, but the answer I gave at the time was easy.  It wasn’t that long ago that Chicago elected a black mayor, Harold Washington, and there was no riot.  Just Chicago business as usual.  But what is the expectation on the street?

Posted in Election 2008, Obama. Tags: , . Comments Off on View of an Obama presidency from the gutter