Saturday, May 31, 2008

Middle School has 7th graders go Saudi Arabia for a night

Culture: Surprisingly they made it really authentic to make people more at home. I have a feeling they taught all of it as very "quaint."

For one night, on May 9, the quaint colonial town of Amherst, New Hampshire, was transformed into a Saudi Arabian Bedouin tent community, with the help of 80 seventh-graders at the Amherst Middle School. The weather cooperated, providing 85 degree temperatures to give an authentic Saudi feel to the evening.

More than 250 guests arrived at the open tent and were welcomed with an Arabic greeting of “Marhaba” by students at a Saudi customs desk.

During the check-in, guests selected a traditional Arabic name for their name badge and completed an actual Saudi customs form, which warned in bold letters “Death for Drug Trafficking ” at the top.

Once inside, guests were encouraged to circulate among 14 different stations created by the students.

The Arabic food-tasting station offered four entrées, curried chicken, lamb, tomato chicken with cardomom, and Moroccan chicken, served with pita breads, hummus, and couscous. Fresh fruits, cardomom coffees, and spice teas were also served.

Flowing fabrics hung from the ceiling separated the family and men-only dining sections. The tables were set on large rugs and lowered so that the diners sat on the floor.

Only the seventh-grade boys were allowed to host the food stations and the Arabic dancing, as the traditions of Saudi Arabia at this time prevent women from participating in these public roles.

Dressed in traditional Arabic wear—long plaid kilts, white shirts and turbans—the boys offered food and entertained guests. The Arabic dancers enthusiastically performed to music and encouraged male visitors to join their dance.

Seventh-grade girls hosted the hijab and veil stations, where other female guests learned how to wear the required head covering and veils. An antique trunk full of black abayas worn by women, and white thobes worn by the men, were available for guests to try on.

Cultural items displayed throughout the room included Arabic books, games, food, and newspapers and magazines.

An Islamic religion station included a Muslim prayer rug with a compass imbedded in it to locate Mecca, readings on the Islamic faith, call to prayer items and prayer beads.

Younger visitors gravitated to the Arabic listening station, the Arabic coloring book stations and the mural, while visitors of all ages found the slide shows of Saudi Arabia to be captivating.

The “open tent” was created to encourage participants to reach out and learn from people around the world, and to promote curiosity and cultural understanding.

Obama quits Trinity Church. Oh now its objectionable.

Politics: Once again, Obama throws under the bus to get away from it. How can he honestly quit this church now when its been doing the same sermons, the same radical nonsense since forever? Its not like he can say he was shocked by these type of sermons when he and Michelle sat listening to the sermons for 20+ years. It would have been better to distance himself but not this sort of political stunt.

Eddie Griffin getting served with legal docs on stage.

Nation: That was brilliant by the process server to do it on camera and Eddie for not missing a beat. caution language.

Ford brings Fiesta subcompact to North America

Bidness: Fiesta in 2011, while Honda brings out their subcompact fit hybrid and competitor to the Prius. At some point America carmakers need to stop playing catch up and doing leaps forward because this is why they are getting smaller market share every year.

I confess, I was wrong about the Rachel Ray/keffiyeh bit.

Culture: After reading the outrage that the keffiyeh is merely a piece of clothing by various columnists, I was wrong..

Businessweek: Where do I begin? Dunkin Donuts has decided to pull an Internet ad featuring the compulsively perky Rachel Ray because a handful of blithering idiots said they objected to a scarf she was wearing; that the scarf resembles a keffiyeh, a traditional headdress worn by Arab men that some associate with jihad.

Where do I begin going into how utterly lame and stupid this is. Let me start with the energy source of this keffiyeh kerfuffle: the intellectually pathetic conservative talking head Michelle Malkin who made it her idiotic issue of the week.

For the record…this Irish Catholic boy from New Jersey bought an actual keffiyeh from a street vendor in New York once and wore it a good part of two winters because it made an excellent cold weather scarf.


Of course, Malkin glosses over the fact that the kaffiyeh is a staple of Arab wardrobes all over the Middle East (Jordanians prefer red-and-white ones, Kuwaitis all-white ones, etc.), not just among those using violent means to create a Palestinian state. Simply saying that anyone who wears a kaffiyeh is demonstrating solidarity with Islamic terrorists is like saying anyone who wears a beret believes in Cuban-style communism as espoused by Che Guevara. True, Arafat made it his trademark, but it's critical to remember that to a vast number of Arabs, the kaffiyeh's basically just another kind of hat, and that to equate kaffiyeh-wearers with terrorists sets a dangerous precedent in a country that should have learned by now the pitfalls of underestimating the complexities of Arab (and Muslim) cultures.


Despite the fact that the kaffiyeh is worn by millions, including Middle Eastern men, arty college students, tourists, Kanye West and even U.S. troops, who use it to keep the sand and dust at bay, the bloggers jumped on the case, exposing what they saw as the latest Mideast threat to freedom and democracy—this time in the insidious form of an iced-coffee ad.

....This ad was pulled because anti-Arab bloggers saw it as promoting a culture they love to hate, and they used the terrorism card to push their agenda through.

Toronto Star:

The controversial kaffiyeh, also known as the hatta or the shemagh, is a cloth about 54 inches squared. Commonly seen on the heads of men in the Middle East, the kaffiyeh was historically used simply as protection from the scorching sun. Now, the checked scarves carry a much deeper meaning.

"The kaffiyeh is a visual extension of our struggle, a way to be a thorn in the silence," says Ahmad Habib, Iraqi refugee and a member of the Arab Cultural Resistance music group. "Everywhere, from the Arab world to Toronto, people dress up to paint the world with conformity and indifference. The kaffiyeh stands in the way of that."

The transition of the kaffiyeh from the Middle Eastern version of a baseball cap to a symbol of solidarity came with the occupation of Palestinian land. The kaffiyeh became a symbol of national identity for Palestinians. From the '60s on, Palestine Liberation Organization officials and members, such Yasser Arafat, wore the kaffiyeh everywhere they went.

International coverage of the first intifada often showed pictures of Palestinian civilians throwing stones with kaffiyehs around their faces or necks. But afterward, the kaffiyeh was popular only amongst activists and Palestinian refugees.

During the second intifada in 2000, sympathy for Palestinians began to grow and the kaffiyeh became a way of displaying solidarity.

"Ideally, I want everyone to wear the kaffiyeh," says Habib, "but if it's just worn for the aesthetic value, without the spirit of resistance wrapped up in every thread, then they might as well not wear it at all, and if it becomes appropriated by commercial interests, then that's even worse."

"It bothers me a lot to see the kaffiyeh go mainstream because now when you see someone wearing it, you don't know if they're wearing it for that reason, or just because it's a fashion," says University of Toronto student Jameela Jaber, a Palestinian.

"When I watch the news and see a dead Palestinian being carried to his grave, you see him wrapped with a Palestinian flag and kaffiyeh. You see everyone else wearing it. My grandfather wore it all the time."

The kaffiyeh has emerged as a symbol of resistance against oppression worldwide. "At a time when Iraq is occupied in the most violent way, the kaffiyeh, or shemagh as it is known in Iraq, carries the pride and dignity of my people and the sweet smell of Iraqi soil," says Habib. "I wear Baghdad around my neck, just like I carry it in my heart."

or maybe not.

Friday, May 30, 2008

(Poll) Florida residents aren't ready for a hurricane

Florida: Of course not, especially in South Florida, the pattern is do nothing till the day before it hits, then whine about where is my free water/ice and why the power isn't back on right now after it passes. Pretty much a state of do nothing then whine someone else should do something for you.

In Miami, Spanish is becoming the primary language

Culture: Becoming? Its been the defacto language since the mid 80s. There is zero incentive for anyone at this point to learn English in the Miami area.

Local Mosque Being Unfairly Monitored by Fed. Surveillance

Culture: The feds seems to be keeping an eye on a mosque where two of the 9/11 terrorists worshipped.

Members of San Diego's Muslim community have called for congressional hearings into whether local mosques are being unfairly monitored by federal surveillance, it was reported Thursday.

The San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations recently filed the request for hearings with the U.S. House and Senate judiciary committees and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Joining the San Diego group in the request are the Anaheim chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, the Times reported.

Information about the alleged spying on Southern Californian mosques surfaced in an article published last week by The San Diego Union-Tribune. The article discusses a case about classified files and their content concerning terrorism being stolen from an office at Camp Pendleton.

Ed Buice, a spokesman for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, confirmed to the Times that an investigation is under way into "whether individuals connected to the military may have been involved in illegal activities."

"I appreciate that the groups asking for congressional hearings want to know more about what all the dots are and how they all connect," Buice told the Times. "But there is still much work to be done in this case, and we cannot discuss the details of the ongoing investigation."

The Union-Tribune article mentioned only one mosque in San Diego by name, the Islamic Center of San Diego, where two of the 9/11 hijackers worshiped in early 2000.

Keffiyeh kerfuffle hits Bondi bottleshop.

Australia: People are just so sensitive about a little old scarf, it must be Malkin's fault. In this case looks like the woman had no clue and just got badgered from all sides.

The "keffiyeh kerfuffle" - which forced Dunkin' Donuts to dump an ad featuring a celebrity chef wearing a scarf similar to a traditional Arab head-dress - has hit a Bondi bottleshop, one of its staff claims.

Sandra Tieger, 20, alleged to she began to feel like a terrorism supporter following the reaction to her wearing a black and white scarf to work at Kemeny's.

Ms Tieger's claims - which the store rejects - follow attacks on an ad for the US Dunkin' Donuts chain, in which celebrity chef Rachael Ray wore a scarf. Critics have said the scarf has "violent symbolism and anti-Israel overtones".

But Ms Tieger said she had "no idea about the politics" when she bought the scarf at the Tree Of Life store.

"I thought it was a nice scarf, a cowboy scarf. I thought: 'It's black and white, no-one will say anything to me because that's all we can wear [with our work uniform]'.

"A Palestinian customer came up and asked me if I'm wearing this scarf as a fashion statement or for political reasons.

"I had no idea what he was talking about because I don't follow politics at all. I just laughed it off.

"Two days later he called and complained about it."

Shevonne Hunt, a freelance journalist who has reported on the keffiyeh's popularity in Australia, said many Palestinians were annoyed the widespread use of the keffiyeh for fashion had watered down its meaning.

Ms Tieger continued: "A few days after that, I wore the scarf again. A few customers started to complain who were Jewish; there's a lot of Jewish people in the area.

"My boss said 'Could you please take it off, we have to be neutral'."

After allegedly explaining she was wearing the scarf for style reasons only, Ms Tieger said her manager told her: "You shouldn't be wearing it, not here."

"I said: "They're selling it everywhere, there's no escape."'

......US commentator Michelle Malkin described the scarf's use in the Dunkin' Donuts ad as "clueless sporting of a jihadi chic keffiyeh".

"Anti-American fashion designers abroad and at home have mainstreamed and adapted the scarves as generic pro-Palestinian jihad or anti-war statements.

"Yet many folks out there remain completely oblivious to the apparel's violent symbolism and anti-Israel overtones."

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff said the wearing of the keffiyeh as a fashion item was a "non-issue".

"It's a non-issue as far as we are concerned. If someone chooses to wear such an item for whatever reason that's their choice."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Obama caught between Pfleger and the deep blue sea.

Politics: Father Pfleger spews out the usual nonsense that the radical Trinity church with its buppies and others like to cheer on to keep it real.

Obama comes out saying he is disappointed with Pfleger, I mean he has only been in Chicago and working with people like Pfelger and Wright for how long but is surprised by the crap coming from him? That is a flat out lie. He knows what these guys have said over the years and all he can muster up is he's disappointed. Pfelger is sorry because he got caught.

Standpoint, new uk mag giving lefty writer some pain.

Media: In the UK, conservatives over there have figured out how to navigate thru their media opponents and the chattering glitterati to be considered once again a force with a little help of New Lab flopping around in vain. That is the opposite of what is happening here as we see the mental midgets of GOP leadership content to sit back and do nothing while ticking off their supporters.

The right is resurgent. Boris in London's City Hall. Crewe the unkindest cut for Gordon Brown. The left is seemingly bereft of ideas and alternative leaders. Now a new magazine, Standpoint, declares its mission to be nothing less than the defence of western civilisation, and claims its values for the right.

Free speech and a free press, the dignity of individual and family, liberty of religious conscience, parliamentary democracy, human rights balanced by duties: "If these are rightwing values," says Standpoint's editor, Daniel Johnson, "I plead guilty."

One may also point out that nearly all the values Johnson holds dear were won by liberals and leftwingers, and opposed through the centuries by the right. But there's something far more insidious about the aims of Standpoint, and thus of at least a section of the newly-confident right.

Johnson speaks up for the "toleration of minorities" - "but not at the price of moral relativism". In this last line, although veiled in terms that reference the British debate about multiculturalism, it becomes clear that these new warriors for western civilisation believe in the maxim that the best form of defence is offence. These principles are not to be fought for only in the realms where their seeds spent many hundreds of years growing into the mighty oaks they are today.

They are the bedrock of a universalist credo that Standpoint believes all should profess. And that "all" contains multitudes. Never mind from Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic: this means from Jakarta to Rio de Janeiro, Benghazi to Beijing, Mombasa to Moscow. West is best, and any countries, creeds or cultures that beg to differ are wrong.

Another lament is there is no conservative mag that is bold enough to do that here. More fighters less whiners needed.

Newsweek changes Obama cover from dark to sunny.

Media: All because an editor's wife didn't like that Black Jesus wasn't being represented as Black Jesus.

"...To illustrate this cynical lesson in realpolitik, the magazine had originally planned to run the suitably stark cover above and on the left, according to the person who supplied us with a copy. But that cover was "killed" late Friday night, we are told, and replaced with the bright and sunny front at right — a bizarre choice given the gritty lead article and stark collection of supporting pieces on racial division. More outlandish still is the purported reason for the cover switch:

After working on the attached cover all week and making multiple modifications, the cover was killed late Friday night. Why? The wife of the editor stopped by, apparently saw the cover and expressed her disapproval. Amazingly, the previously approved cover, worked on all week, was killed. I guess we know who has the final say...

The editor of Newsweek, proud 13-year veteran staffer Jon Meacham, ran a defensive, hand-wringing editor's note about the cover package, so it's entirely possible he switched the cover of his own accord — the one at left having undergone "multiple modifications" already per our tipster. But it's also not difficult, thanks to that same, hedging editor's letter, to imagine Meacham pushed to the point of overhaul by the slightest gust, such as a stray comment from his low-profile wife Keith, a schools administrator most recently at Harlem Day Charter.

The editor should have known better, no covers without Obama being the chosen one is just not allowed.

One columnist goes after Malkin, the other says terrorists like the minutemen..

Media: Some insipid woman by the name of Linda Lowen who is PC and multicult to the hilt on NYTIMES site whines about Malkin selling out because she is a minority while going after Rachel Ray.

If you don't recognize the name, she's the flavor-of-the-month among conservative commentators. True, she has significant credentials as a journalist. But (and I can say this as an Asian-American woman) she would probably not be where she is today as a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, standard-issue conservative. Because Malkin is Filipino - and Asian-Americans are a rare commodity in the conservative movement - she brings with her the cachet of diversity. And that makes her the current conservative 'It' girl pundit. But I digress.

Well as a minority I will call you a dumb bitch for the prejudiced racist creed that is exclusive to liberals who feel the color of your skin dictates what your ideology and mindset should be. Utterly offensive to any thinking human being this stereotypical drivel. She then links to a thoughtful piece about the kaffiyeh by Pierre Tristam who supports Palestinian terrorism by using Michael Moore speak.

So when hysterically reactionary bloggers who, born the day before yesterday, associate the keffieh uniquely (and fearfully) with Palestinian militants, and manage to make enough noise to force a company to stop airing commercials featuring a keffieh, one has to wonder: what, exactly, is the objection?

The association with “terrorism”? Not so. Palestinians rebelling against Israeli occupation aren’t “terrorists” anymore than Minutemen rebelling against King George’s redcoats. And suicide bombers targeting civilians, who can legitimately and unequivocally be called terrorists, didn’t make a habit of wearing keffiehs (it drew the attention of Israeli forces hip on profiling).

Two people who are thinking to themselves how great they are by educating the masses about the history of the scarf. The liberal mindset on display.

Update# Another silly person on the dying LATIMES paper blog Monica Corcoran has this to say.

Even more disquieting is the fact that Dunkin' Donuts quickly yanked the ad. reports the controversy -- including Fox News commentator Michelle Malkin, who spewed: "The kaffiyeh, for the clueless, is the traditional scarf of Arab men that has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad."

Um, for Malkin -- who is beyond clueless -- the kaffiyeh has been worn by many a Parisian grad student and dozens of celebrities -- including Colin Farrell, David Beckham (above), Kirsten Dunst and both Olsen twins.

The scarf even showed up on the Balenciaga runway (right) and later sold for more than $1,000. That doesn't strip the scarf of its political origins, but it shouldn't be deemed a symbol of jihad fever either.

Monica, blame Yasser Arafat and his buddies for making it a symbol of terrorism. Just because a bunch of ditzy celebrities and Parisian grad student wears it(honestly name me one terrorist that French leftists wouldn't support) doesn't make it any less toxic of a symbol. I bet Monica wondered why Peruvians got pissed when the biggest ditz of them all Cameron Diaz walked around Peru with a Mao bag. After all the words "serve the people" shouldn't take away from the fashion statement.

VVD, Wilders Set up Museum for 'Forbidden Art'

EU: Thumb in the ruling party's eye which has gone off the deep end not to offend the middle east or Muslims.

The conservatives (VVD) and Party for Freedom (PVV) are jointly initiating an exhibition space in the Lower House building where art can be exhibited that is 'forbidden' by politicians for fear of offending Muslims.

The VVD is making a space in the Lower House building available for the work. This is a room the party itself normally uses for small meetings and receptions. The PVV is supporting the 'free-thinkers space'.

VVD leader Mark Rutte said he has had contact with cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot. The artist would be prepared to exhibit the eight cartoons in the room that are according to the Public Prosecutor's Office (OM) criminal productions.

The OM had Nekschot arrested by 10 police in his home in Amsterdam two weeks ago on charges of discriminating against Muslims and people of darker skin-colour. This was based on a complaint by a radical Muslim that was made three years ago - in 2005.

Rutte says the present cabinet, a combination of Christians and socialists, is killing freedom of speech in the Netherlands. The government allowed a painting to be removed from a town hall because two women showed their breasts in it, tried to ban Wilders' anti-Islam film Fitna and is now encouraging the Amsterdam police to learn the Koran, according to Rutte.

Fight Club in Union Square.

Nation: Or in other words, the mystery and danger of the fight club is now officially passe.

Monkeys Control a Robot Arm With Their Thoughts

Science: Yep, the fall of humans is near...very near.

Two monkeys with tiny sensors in their brains have learned to control a mechanical arm with just their thoughts, using it to reach for and grab food and even to adjust for the size and stickiness of morsels when necessary, scientists reported on Wednesday.

The report, released online by the journal Nature, is the most striking demonstration to date of brain-machine interface technology. Scientists expect that technology will eventually allow people with spinal cord injuries and other paralyzing conditions to gain more control over their lives.

The findings suggest that brain-controlled prosthetics, while not practical, are at least technically within reach.

Video at the link

This Rachel Ray scarf thing is out of control stupid.

Culture: I commented on this earlier and everyone is in an uproar still because they don't understand the problem. I expect dolts like Olbermann and the View girls not to understand because of their limited intelligence.

Rachel Ray picked out a scarf that looked like a kaffiyeh worn by many people in the middle east but became associated with the terrorist Yasser Arafat. Over the years it has also become fashion chic as the NYTIMES showed last year.

“I knew that with the doormen, it’d be easily identifiable as a hip accessory,” Ms. Hukahori said.

Once the trademark headwear of Yasir Arafat, and long associated with his Palestinian countrymen, the kaffiyeh has lately shown up on the shelves of adventurous boutiques in the United States and even mainstream retailers like Urban Outfitters.

Its newest wearers, who wrap it around the neck like a scarf, say they are less Fatah sympathizers than fashion party crashers. The kaffiyeh appears to be the dubious successor to last year’s Che Guevara T-shirts, a symbol denuded of any potent political associations by pop culture.

....Many in the Jewish community, in particular, object to people wearing the scarf as a fashion statement. “Because there are people who wear the kaffiyeh as a sign of solidarity with Palestinians, some people view it as an endorsement of terrorism,” said Mik Moore, chairman of the board of directors for the Jewish Student Press Service, an independent nonprofit organization.

Dr. Swedenburg doesn’t think it should be viewed this way. “I think to associate it directly with terrorism is to tar all Palestinians with the brush of terrorism,” he said. “That’s a mischaracterization.”

Dr. Davis shares this opinion. “I think it diminishes its meaning and its value to just say ‘it’s been used by terrorists,’ ” he said. “I think it has a much richer history and a much richer meaning system than that.”

Dunkin' Donuts at first said no and backtracked because it does sorta resemble the fashion chic stuff that is floating around. DD decided to be safe and just take the ad down because people were seeing it in a different light. That is all. I don't think Rachel Ray is a terrorist supporter and the assistant that picked it out did it for fashion not politics.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Obama supporter accuses Jews of 'McCarthyism'

Politics: You poke enough times at Jimmy Carter and his boys and eventually this erupts to the surface. I wonder what Mika is going to say?

A foreign policy expert consulted by presidential hopeful Barack Obama has accused members of the American Jewish establishment of "McCarthyism" in its attitude towards critics of Israel.

Former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski says that the pro-Israel lobby in the US is too powerful, while the slur of anti-Semitism is too readily used whenever its power is called into question.

Presenting a solution for the Middle East, he listed historical compromises that had to be made by Israelis and Palestinians but accused the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) -- the largest and most influential lobby group -- of obstructing peace efforts.


He said: "AIPAC has consistently opposed a two-state solution and a lot of members of Congress have been intimidated and I don't think that's healthy."

He added that other country-specific lobbies, such as the Cuban-Americans, the Armenians and the Irish, had also exerted undue influence in Washington.

Mr Brzezinski, who served under former US president Jimmy Carter, was a key player in the 1978 Camp David Accords and remains an important voice in the US foreign policy establishment. An active author and analyst at 80, he is close enough to Mr Obama that his remarks may feed fears in the American-Jewish community that he will soften America's traditional pro-Israeli stance.

This perception has been created in part by his professed willingness to talk to Iran and partly by other foreign policy associates.

He has been accused before of being "anti-Israel" by some Jewish academics, writers and bloggers after criticising Israel for excessive use of force and unwillingness to compromise.

Last year, censure of him reached new heights when he defended academics John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. They had criticised the pro-Israel lobby and were accused of questioning the state of Israel's existence.

"It's not unique to the Jewish community -- but there is a McCarthy-ite tendency among some people in the Jewish community," he said, referring to the Republican senator who led the anti-Communist witch hunt in the 1950s.

"They operate not by arguing but by slandering, vilifying, demonising.

They very promptly wheel out anti-Semitism. There is an element of paranoia in this inclination to view any serious attempt at a compromised peace as somehow directed against Israel."

Although Mr Brzezinski is not a formal day-to-day adviser to Obama campaign, he said that he talks to Mr Obama.

He wholeheartedly endorses the Illinois senator, lauding him as "head and shoulders" above his opponents. And he says he is the only candidate who understands "what is new and distinctive about our age".

In turn, Mr Obama has praised Mr Brzezinski as "someone I have learned an immense amount from", and "one of our most outstanding scholars and thinkers". They share very similar views on the folly of the Iraq war.

Gina Carano and the whiny bitches of womens MMA

Sports: I watch MMA on occasion, mostly the big events(poor Jardine..ouch) but womens's MMA has always been this very niche part of the sport until Gina Carano came along and made a name for herself in the cage and on American Gladiators as "Crush." Now every sport when they start out and to take itself up to higher levels need stars. Names that people can spot and cheer on. On that note, Gina has become the face of women's MMA made off of her talent/looks and her outside ventures like American Gladiators. As expected it has made other women in this section of MMA jealous, envious and fitting every single stereotype of the bitchy woman image.

Yet for every fan that ogles at Crush in her shiny, skin-tight metallic suit while she bashes contestant's heads in with a giant-sized Q-tip, there are detractors, mostly MMA-orientated, who confirm her greatest fear: Carano shouldn't be taken seriously as a fighter.

Her performance against Minnesota college student Kaitlin Young (Pictures) this Saturday at EliteXC: Primetime on CBS will undoubtedly suffer, they say. She shouldn't have agreed to a second season of the time-consuming series, they note. She should have stayed home and trained. Carano just doesn't care about fighting.

There is a congregation that believes the physically captivating Carano has been given more opportunities then many of her counterparts, some of them much more seasoned than herself. It's a thought ESPN's "E:60" series touched upon when they profiled Carano a few weeks ago.

EliteXC Live Events president Gary Shaw, an accomplished boxing promoter who discovered the former muay Thai fighter in her hometown of Las Vegas, is quick to defend Carano's honor.

"It's a real fight with Kaitlin and if she's successful, she moves on," says Shaw. "If she doesn't she'll still move on. Those girls that have negative things to say, if they're in the right weight class, they're gonna have an opportunity -- if they can fight. But just because someone's done it longer, doesn't mean they're the right person."

I discount the hardcore MMA fans who have concerns because I lump them in the same group as pro wrestling hardcores who demand a certain purity that is unreasonable in reality.

Kaitlin Young, who is new to the MMA, hasn't done herself any favors in the run up proving she would help grow the sport by giving weak interviews and humorless interviews that are as painful to watch as pulling teeth. Tara LaRossa who is great talent is a perfect example of Shaw's "not the right person" to help grow the divison.

Instead of whining and being catty about all the attention Gina is getting, it would be smarter for the other to figure out how to use the attention to boost yourself and the division at the same time. Sex sells and a good looking sexy woman who has the talent to win in MMA cage fighting is going to be a bigger star than someone who is average looking and great talent.

Unless you are happy fighting and being looked on as an oddity, then rock on.

Black Journalists in the tank for Obama? Yes.

Media: The media in general is in the tank for Obama, but black journalists? James Burnett from a Miami Herald Blog.

At any rate, I don't care which side of this presidential election you're on. But to suggest that black journalists collectively have gone out of their way to promote Obama is silly. You can make that argument about the media in general, if you want. Some of you will. And, as usual, I'll disagree. But to say that black journalists specifically have committed this ethical sin? Tsk, tsk, Ms. Ferraro.

National Association of Black Journalists convention August 10th, 2007:

But presidential candidate Barack Obama knew the National Association of Black Journalists convention here had been buzzing for days about a single issue: Was he, the Harvard-educated son of a Kenyan man and white woman, "black enough" to champion issues important to African Americans?

So, facing a standing-room-only crowd of more than 1,500 attendees Friday, Obama answered what the audience had been too polite to ask.

"In part, we're still locked in this notion that, if you appeal to white folks, there must be something wrong," said the candidate, sparking a burst of applause from the crowd. "Part of it has to do with fear - we don't want to get excited because we might be let down in the end. My response is, why not try?"

Obama was an undisputed rock star at the convention, welcomed with a standing ovation from much of the crowd and an audience larger than the group drawn by his biggest rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton.

Initially, the candidate deflected the black enough question in his opening remarks, apologizing for a late arrival by saying "You guys keep asking whether I'm black enough…(so) I figured I'd stroll in."

The avalanche of applause which greeted that line, showed he was in friendly territory. Much as some attendees had hoped the journalists' group would show reserve and objectivity during Obama's speech - NABJ co-founder Les Payne had urged members not to applaud the candidate during a panel discussion Thursday - many here showed unreserved enthusiasm for the senator who might realistically become the first black man elected president.

This was back last August when Clinton was still riding high. Black journalists question was if he was black enough, now they figure yeah he is, they along with the rest of the liberal MSM are in the tank for Black Jesus.

Muslim women say company's dress code violates faith

Culture: Another meeting of the minds with CAIR and Somali Muslims who are objecting this time to work uniforms.

A group of Muslim workers allege they were fired by a New Brighton tortilla factory for refusing to wear uniforms that they say were immodest by Islamic standards.

Six Somali women claim they were ordered by a manager to wear pants and shirts to work instead of their traditional Islamic clothing of loose-fitting skirts and scarves, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a civil liberties group that is representing the women.

The women have filed a religious discrimination complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

"For these women, wearing tight-fitting pants is like being naked," said Valerie Shirley, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota chapter of CAIR. "It's simply not an option."

The other option is to get another job, company accommodation should only go so far for anyone. The other angle to this is complaints that companies should appease to Somali Muslims demands in the workplace has happened in various places before with CAIR eager to back them. Considering Somali Muslims practice a more strident version Islam, I wonder if CAIR is seeing this as great opportunities to make headway of Islamic conditions in the workplace.

South L.A. backyards are becoming barnyards

Culture: Chickens are coming hom...bah, used that line already a couple of posts down. Article on the changing from a black area to latino area who are bringing along farm animals which is irritating people.

For many, the image of South Los Angeles is that of a paved, parched, densely packed urban grid. But increasingly, it is also a place where untold numbers of barnyard animals -- chickens, roosters, goats, geese, ducks, pigs and even the odd pony -- are being tended in tiny backyard spaces.

"Most people don't realize just how many farm animals there are in the city," said Ed Boks, the general manager of the city's Animal Services department.

Indeed, about a block from the beauty parlor where Stone was getting her hair done earlier this month, a pair of goats chewed something dark and unidentifiable as they stood placidly near the traffic whizzing by on Avalon Boulevard. A pit bull next door eyed them lazily.

The cacophony of cock-a-doodle-doos south of the 10 Freeway is one of the louder manifestations of a demographic change that has transformed South Los Angeles in the last few decades.

Once primarily an African American community -- and still the cultural and political heart of the state's African American population -- the area has absorbed tens of thousands of immigrants from Mexico and Central America and is now predominantly Latino. In Southeast L.A., the black population has dropped from 71% in 1980 to 24% in the 2000 census; the Latino population grew from 27% in 1980 to 74% in 2000.

For some folks, the rooster has become a potent symbol of the way their neighborhood is changing.

"Sometimes, I think it's Mexico," said Tony Johnson, who lives in Southeast L.A. He confessed that after being roused early some mornings, he has fantasized about silencing the birds permanently. "Boom. Boom. Boom," he said, pantomiming how he would do it.

But a few blocks away, Jose Luiz, 43, seemed surprised that anyone would be bothered by the noise.

"It's natural to have roosters," he said as he surveyed a new community garden where corn, squash and tomatoes were growing. "I'm Mexican. We are accustomed to hearing them."

Miami is full of wild chickens and its becoming a problem in some counties in Virginia with a growing latino population. No officials are going to put a halt to it because of more pressing issues and no one will tell the new immigrants that having farm animals in the city is a problem. It also brings down the property values.

You want farm animals, live on a farm.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Black Bloggers upset at DNC over lack of convention respect.

Politics: Identity politics coming home to roost, bad planning by the DNC, whiny talk from blogs thinking they should be on the upper tier level when they are not or all of the above?

The protracted primary has been like a bottomless glass to thirsty national and local bloggers -- so much to blog about! -- and about 400 of them have applied to attend the convention. Although four years ago the credentialing of 30 bloggers in a single pool was a historic event, this August there are two blogger pools: a State Blogger Corps and a General Blogger Pool.

The State Corps is considered the more elite; its 55 bloggers will have floor access all four days, sit next to their state delegations and be hooked up to the Internet. Those not chosen for the State Corps are competing for spots in the General Pool, which will have rotating floor access. The State Corps list was announced nearly two weeks ago; the General Pool list, DNC officials say, will be released this week.

Natalie Wyeth, spokeswoman for the convention committee, says criteria for selecting State Corps bloggers were readership, online ratings and focus on local and state politics. The General Pool will also be selected on the basis of readership and online ratings, she adds, with an emphasis on bloggers covering "national politics to niche issues of interest to specific communities."

Race was not a factor in the selection of the State Corps, Wyeth repeatedly says.

But, to the frustration of black bloggers, the list appears to be mostly white -- during a primary race in which black voters turned out in droves in Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi. And, they add, this pool is for coverage of a convention that might very well see the first African American presidential nominee.

In other words, this constitutes convention drama and, rightly or wrongly, people are getting called out, e-mails are being exchanged, accountability is being demanded. Francis L. Holland, one of the vocal black bloggers, sent e-mails to DNC officials asking that 15 black-operated blogs be added to the State Corps. "There is nothing 'Democratic' about an all-white Democratic National Convention floor blogging corps," he wrote in an e-mail. Holland is also asking for the inclusion of 15 Latino-operated blogs.

Yeah, that is just stupid proposal but I'm amused at the DNC who touts AA support refuses to do just that for the DNC convention and going with actual objective numbers and clout to suit their needs. I have no problem with that and as the blogsphere grows so will the clout of different minority based blogs.

I do object to this in the article.

With the Democratic National Convention less than three months away, and with Web pundits playing an even bigger role during the four-day event, a whole other drama is chewing up the blogosphere -- and the often unmentioned Afrosphere.

Hell no. Someone come up with a better sound nic for black owned blogs if you have to have one. Afrosphere?

Dutch Imams says the Dutch government are wimps.

EU: The arrest of Dutch cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot prompts the Union of Moroccan Imams to slam the Dutch ruling party for being scared of any criticism of Islam.

The Union of Moroccan Imams in the Netherlands has questioned the arrest of cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot. "Debate is healthy; you are allowed to say anything," said chairman Yassin Elforkani yesterday in De Pers newspaper.

Nekschot (Neck Shot) was arrested two weeks ago in his home in Amsterdam, by about 10 police. The Public Prosecutor's Office claims that eight of his cartoons are offensive to Muslims or persons with a darker skin colour. As far as is known, no cartoonist has ever been arrested before in the Netherlands.

"Certainly if it is really only about these cartoons, I consider the arrest remarkable," said Elforkani in De Pers. "Debate is healthy; you are allowed to say anything". How far someone can go in the debate is a question of ethics and not a legal question, he argues.

"The cabinet is more afraid of criticism of Islam than the Dutch Muslims," concludes De Pers. (...) "Their attitude is considerably more matter-of-fact than that of the government" in questions about freedom of speech.

...In the Lower House, various MPs have suggested that the arrest of Nekschot was an appeasement signal from the Netherlands to the Arab world after Fitna. The arrest after all followed a complaint - by a radical Muslim - made way back in 2005 and hence lying in a drawer for three years.

G8 copyright bill to govern info on iPods and snuff out torrents?

Internet: Erk, this trade agreement does sound like the RIAA and MPAA dream come thru in slamming shut any sort of file transferring and make your mp3 player a likely crime scene.

OTTAWA - The federal government is secretly negotiating an agreement to revamp international copyright laws which could make the information on Canadian iPods, laptop computers or other personal electronic devices illegal and greatly increase the difficulty of travelling with such devices.

The deal could also impose strict regulations on Internet service providers, forcing those companies to hand over customer information without a court order.

Called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), the new plan would see Canada join other countries, including the United States and members of the European Union, to form an international coalition against copyright infringement.

The agreement is being structured much like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) except it will create rules and regulations regarding private copying and copyright laws.

Federal trade agreements do not require parliamentary approval.

The deal would create a international regulator that could turn border guards and other public security personnel into copyright police. The security officials would be charged with checking laptops, iPods and even cellular phones for content that "infringes" on copyright laws, such as ripped CDs and movies.

The guards would also be responsible for determining what is infringing content and what is not.

The agreement proposes any content that may have been copied from a DVD or digital video recorder would be open for scrutiny by officials - even if the content was copied legally.

"If Hollywood could order intellectual property laws for Christmas what would they look like? This is pretty close," said David Fewer, staff counsel at the University of Ottawa's Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. "The process on ACTA so far has been cloak and dagger. This certainly raises concerns."

The leaked ACTA document states officials should be given the "authority to take action against infringers (i.e., authority to act without complaint by rights holders)."

Anyone found with infringing content in their possession would be open to a fine.

They may also have their device confiscated or destroyed, according to the four-page document.

The trade agreement includes "civil enforcement" measures which give security personnel the "authority to order ex parte searches" (without a lawyer present) "and other preliminary measures".

More links.

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement Slashdot - 4 hours ago
International copyright talks seek BitTorrent-killer laws Register, UK - 2 hours ago
G8 agreement would criminalise having copyrighted content on your iPod CrunchGear, NY - 1 hour ago

Wal-Mart Supercenter in North Lauderdale nixed

Bidness: Super hyper local issue here.Last seen trying to split the state into two, North Lauderdale officials have stopped a Walmart Supercenter because they have delusions of being actually in Coral Springs or Boca Ration.

NORTH LAUDERDALE - Wal-Mart has shelved its plans to build a Supercenter on an old U-Pick farm, delaying city plans for a destination mall for at least a year.

The 43-acre Town Center was supposed to feature a 207,204-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter in a new commercial district on the south side of McNab Road, a working farm until 1998. The plan also called for an 80-room hotel, restaurants and 36,000 square feet of additional shopping, according to the city.

But the city and Wal-Mart have been at odds over which should come first: the Wal-Mart, or the surrounding retailers.

Further complicating the conflict, city officials refused to approve the tenants that Wal-Mart sought for the center. Wal-Mart development officials told commissioners last year the city could not attract desirable names such as Morton's Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill, Houston's or Ann Taylor and City Manager Richard Sala would not approve the businesses they could deliver. Those businesses have not been identified.Now, Wal-Mart has decided to just sit back and wait until next year to "re-evaluate our position," said company spokeswoman Michelle Azel Belaire. "We're just not looking to do a new store at this point in time."

If officials think that those stores will fit well into North Lauderdale, they are dreaming. This is a city that is mostly lower middle class. You either are buying a home here as you are moving up or you are living in the many senior homes retiring. Its not a place to have a Bonefish or Ann Taylor. The need for a supercenter is questionable anyway considering the location of N.Laud is within short driving distance of every major shopping center in the North Broward.

If officials want to be more upscale and grow like Sunrise did to the West, they need to tighten up on zoning laws, cut the amount of check cashing and podunk 7-11 like stores to attract an upscale crowd.

Obama sees dead people?

Politics: Via Instapundit.

A MEMORIAL DAY GAFFE? "On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes -- and I see many of them in the audience here today -- our sense of patriotism is particularly strong." Nice.

UPDATE: Airbrushing, at the
Obama website.

*sniff* Who are you people to doubt Black Jesus's visions?

Obama says won't guarantee Ahmadinejad a meeting

Politics: Slowly but surely backtracking from his no precondition insanity ploy. But doing so he is trying a slick move to confuse the issue with first he will have low level talks before any direct talks which is a crock. We all know what Iran wants to do, hell we know what every one of these countries want out of America. So that part about listening to their concerns is ridiculous.

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (Reuters) - Democrat Barack Obama underscored his willingness to talk to leaders of countries like Iran that are considered U.S. adversaries but said on Monday that does not necessarily mean an audience with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Obama, the Democratic Party front-runner vying to face Republican Sen. John McCain in the November race for the White House, has said he was willing to meet with leaders of countries such as Iran, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela without preconditions.

McCain has criticized that view, saying that sitting down with someone like Ahmadinejad would give the Iranian president a spotlight and send the wrong signal to U.S. allies such as Israel.

Iran does not recognize Israel's existence and Ahmadinejad has called the country a "stinking corpse."

Obama, an Illinois senator, said Iranian presidential elections in 2009 would be a factor in the timing of any meetings, as would considerations of who wields the power.

"There's no reason why we would necessarily meet with Ahmadinejad before we know that he was actually in power. He's not the most powerful person in Iran," Obama told reporters while campaigning in New Mexico.

Under Iran's system of clerical rule, the Islamic Republic's religious establishment has final say in all state matters.

The McCain campaign accused Obama of backtracking.

"Over the past year, Sen. Obama has repeatedly confirmed that he'd meet unconditionally with Ahmadinejad and the leaders of Syria, Cuba and Venezuela," said McCain spokesman Brian Rogers.

Republicans have accused Obama of inconsistency on his policy on talking to adversaries. In recent weeks, Obama and his aides have emphasized that, while there would be no "preconditions" for potential top-level meetings, there would be extensive staff-level preparations.

In the case of Iran, Obama said, "Preparation means that there are low-level talks in which there's clarity about our concerns around the nuclear weapons program but that we're willing to listen to their perspective."
Obama said his position has been consistent.

McCain is correct on the GI Bill, Obama playing politics.

Politics: What is so hard to understand unless you are intellectually dishonest or stupid that the longer you serve in the military the more benefits you should get? This is like arguing that someone who busted his/her ass in the armed forces for 20 years should get the same benefits as someone with a couple of years in the forces. Also trying to imply McCain of all people doesn't care about the troops is hilarious.

Last week, the Democratic-controlled Senate approved the bill, which would substantially increase educational benefits for service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Lawmakers blocked a more limited version that McCain supported.

"I am running for the office of commander in chief. That is the highest privilege in this country, and it imposes the greatest responsibilities. And this is why I am committed to our bill, despite the support Senator Webb's bill has received," McCain, a Navy veteran and Vietnam prisoner of war, said at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial Monday. "It would be easier, much easier politically for me to have joined Senator Webb in offering his legislation."

However, McCain said he opposed Webb's measure because it would give the same benefit to everyone regardless of how many times he or she has enlisted. He said he feared that would depress reenlistments by those wanting to attend college after only a few years in uniform. McCain said the bill he favored would have increased scholarships based on length of service.
Obama spent much of last week criticizing McCain over the college aid bill, part of a strategy to link the conservative Republican — who favors staying the course in Iraq — to the deeply unpopular Bush administration.

Obama told veterans while campaigning in Puerto Rico on Saturday: "I don't understand why John McCain would side with George Bush and oppose our plan to make college more affordable for our veterans. George Bush and John McCain may think our plan is too generous. I could not disagree more."

McCain said Monday: "I take a back seat to no one in my affection, respect and devotion to veterans."

Obama camp: America should not be leading in the world.

Politics: Obama was part of a fund raiser for ex-pats in the UK who tend to think of themselves as being worldly for being overseas also a helluva lot more airy headed about issues where basically America should be a lapdog to everyone else.

Barack Obama has called for the "special relationship" between the US and Britain to be "recalibrated" to make it a fairer, more equal partnership, the Guardian has learned.

Senator Obama, who leads the race to be the Democratic candidate for the US presidency, made the remarks in a telephone address to a fundraising event attended by American expatriates in London.

He has long been seen by British officials as the most anglophile of the three remaining presidential candidates, but these latest comments are his first public suggestion that the relationship is unequal and ripe for change.

"We have a chance to recalibrate the relationship and for the United Kingdom to work with America as a full partner," Obama told more than 200 American expatriates gathered at the Notting Hill home of Elisabeth Murdoch, the head of Shine television production company and daughter of the media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.

The event, which raised more than $400,000 for the Obama campaign, was intended to be confidential, but several guests have since confirmed the senator's remarks. A foreign policy adviser to the Obama campaign said the remarks on the US-UK relationship reflected the senator's general foreign policy approach.

"It's no longer going to be that we are in the lead and everyone follows us. Full partners not only listen to each other, they also occasionally follow each other," the adviser said.

The event in Notting Hill brought together some of the most prominent and wealthiest American expatriates in Britain, particularly from the arts and media, who were served miniature hot dogs and pecan pies before the telephone linkup with the candidate.

Co-hosting the event alongside Murdoch were Kay Saatchi, an art collector and former wife of Charles Saatchi, and Josh Berger, the head of Warner Bros in the UK and Ireland. Among the guests was David Schwimmer, the former Friends sitcom star. Gwyneth Paltrow was due to attend but opted instead to appear on a New York television talk show.

She sent a message that was read out at the event explaining that one of the main reasons she was supporting Obama was that he had a multiracial background, "a name like Barack Obama", and had lived outside the US. He therefore had "experience of other cultures" and was aware that the US could not operate as a lone global policeman, Paltrow said, according to guests at the event.

Obama drew on the same theme in his remarks, saying: "I was brought up by an expatriate [his mother and him lived in Indonesia when he was a boy] and I know what it's like to look at the world differently."

"He has created an enormous amount of interest among Americans here, because he represents real change," said Berger. "I have not organised one of these events before, but I took it upon myself to get involved because I feel strongly about change and about Barack."

He said Obama had far more support among US expatriates in Britain than Hillary Clinton. "He is someone who is going to be much more mindful about the rest of the world - certainly more than the current administration, which is not hard."

There is the Obama camp again showing they don't think America should be the leader on world issues. The whole tone is America should a part of a group going along with the rest of the pack. America should always be the Alpha dog not the omega waiting to be led around.

As for Coldplay wife and the other ex-pats irritating sophomoric reasons to vote for Obama, you can see how their intellectual capacity is centered around the typical white liberal self loathing and superficial qualities of Black Jesus. Hell, I was a young kid living outside of America, I guess that makes me more than qualified to be President.

Monday, May 26, 2008

G8 ministers endorse greenhouse gas cuts by 2050

Enviro: This is what is known as punting.

Environmental ministers from the world's top industrial countries say they have the political will to move toward cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050.

However, the announcement Monday by ministers meeting in Japan stopped short of setting a more contentious goal of slashing emissions by 2020.

The G8 statement said that rich nations have the responsibility to take the lead in cutting emissions. The statement is aimed at setting the stage for the Group of Eight summit in Japan in July.

Some G8 members had pushed for a commitment on a 2020 target.

Whatever, nothing is going to happen, just make more announcements about doing this and that then move on.

UK: Jail staff 'fear Muslim inmates'

UK: This is what political correctness and frankly a lack of will to enforce rules will get ya.

A Prison Service report has expressed concern about problems with the high number of Muslim inmates at one of Britain's high-security jails.

A review of Whitemoor Prison in Cambridgeshire found staff were fearful of doing the wrong thing, "shifting the power dynamic towards prisoners".

The Howard League for Penal Reform said the report was "extremely disturbing".

The Prison Service says it will examine how to manage gangs and terrorist prisoners at the jail.

The report, written by the Prison Service's Directorate of High Security, was obtained by the Howard League under the Freedom of Information Act.

It found staff at Whitemoor Prison near March, Cambridgeshire, "appeared reluctant to challenge inappropriate behaviour, in particular among black and minority ethnic prisoners, for fear of doing the wrong thing".

"This was leading to a general feeling of lack of control and shifting the power dynamic towards prisoners," the report said.

"A wing itself felt particularly unstable with a general lack of confidence among staff."

Jimmy Carter sells out Israel for his own publicity

Middle East: Honestly, if he means when he was president or he got the information afterwards, shut the hell up about it. You don' blab stuff like this for any reason and in his case his own selfish reasons.

Israel has 150 nuclear weapons in its arsenal, former President Jimmy Carter said yesterday, while arguing that the US should talk directly to Iran to persuade it to drop its nuclear ambitions.

His remark, made at the Hay-on-Wye festival which promotes current affairs books and literature, is startling because Israel has never admitted having nuclear weapons, let alone how many, although the world assumes their existence. Nor do US officials deviate in public from that Israeli line. Carter, who has immersed himself since his presidency in Israeli-Palestinian relations, was highly critical of Israeli settlers on the West Bank, and of Israel's refusal to talk to elected officials of the Islamic party Hamas, although he said that Israel's security was his prime concern.

Carter, whose presidency was dominated by the 444-day siege in which Iran held 52 American diplomats hostage, said "my advice to the US would be to start talking to Iran now" to persuade it to drop its nuclear work. But he cited Israel's nuclear arsenal - and those of the US, Russia, China, Britain and France - in arguing that Iran would find it almost impossible to develop, in secret, many weapons and the missiles to deliver them.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rachel Ray and the keffiyeh incident.

Culture: LGF and Malkin pointed out the Dunkin Donuts print ad with what seems to be Rachel Ray wearing the keffiyeh which is associated with Yasser Arafat and a symbol of middle east terrorism and groups. I am iffy about it as it does look like a keffiyeh but not exactly like the ones Arafat and others wear. But what is annoying is the intellectual dishonesty from some liberals who seem to think this is nothing but noise.

The keffiyeh has indeed been associated with the intifada, and with former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. But its history as an item of clothing in the Arab world -- and a fashion accessory here in the West -- predates that.

For a 2007 column in Canada's National Post, a conservative paper, Karen Burshtein turned to Ted R. Swedenburg, a professor of anthropology at the University of Arkansas who lectures on pop culture in the Middle East, for his expertise. "Historically, the keffiyeh was an unremarkable, very conventional clothing customarily worn over the head by Palestinian and other Arabs to protect their head and sometimes their faces from the elements -- wind, sun and cold," Swedenburg said. "Then Arafat wore the black-and-white, which was very mainstream, and it became associated with the current Palestinian situation. But to say it is a symbol of terrorism is to say that all Palestinians are terrorists."

Surely Johnson would never imply that. ― Alex Koppelman

Problem with this logic is completely ignoring that items/symbols can have their association changed over time due to certain events, people or groups such as the Swastika that until the Nazis adopted it in the early 1920s meant something good for certain groups. So the keffiyeh may have been an unremarkable piece of clothing before but now it symbolizes something else.

John Kerry still dull about world events.

Politics: John Kerry as Obama's proxy writes in the declining Washington Post about Iran and the three conversations we should have about them. All of them inane.

What might we achieve by talking with Iran? Some say our engagement to date has not been productive -- but a less half-hearted and less conditional approach might well break the stalemate. We won't know until we try.

Dialogue helps us isolate Ahmadinejad rather than empowering him to isolate us. More important, even if we fail to reach an agreement, engaging Iran will spark three conversations likely to strengthen our position.

The first is between our leaders and Iran's. From nonproliferation to counterterrorism, frankly, Iran won't care for much of what we have to say -- but at the right moment, it is not unreasonable to think Tehran would cut a deal in exchange for economic incentives, energy assistance, diplomatic normalization or a noninvasion guarantee.

We have been offering incentives along with other powers and Iran sent over their incentive package which is full on Miss Universe type hopes of world peace. All this means nothing except more delays on meaningful action which allows Iran to advance their programs. Everyone knows Iran is playing them and won't do anything about it. They won't cut a deal that leaves them with a disadvantage and they can get access to everything via other countries or entities like the EU except for diplomatic and noninvasion.

Second is the conversation America's president should be having with the Iranian people. We should seize the chance to tell some of the region's most pro-American people how their own president has isolated them, denying their great culture its place in the world and the region a constructive dialogue.

Iranian people are not stupid, they know all of this already and why most of the young people hate Ahmadinejad. They are trying to make change via the ballot box but are being tripped up most of the time.

The third conversation is with the world. By engaging Iran, we reclaim the moral high ground -- no small feat. If Iran refuses to budge, we have new leverage to expose it as a threat whose bad intentions cannot be explained away.

Ah yes, the global test is back. Anyone who thinks in world politics claiming the moral high ground is a virtue that will change anything also thinks "moral" victories are worth a damn. There is no new leverage to be had by direct talks. All it gives them is more time to delay us while they work on their nuke project. Any leverage will be tempered by the world conversation because they wouldn't want any severe actions to be taken against Iran if they don't stop with their programs.

This is happily backing yourself into a corner and just a stupid article overall.