Posts Tagged ‘POLITICS’

The interior ministry of Saudi Arabia recently released a list of 50 names that parents cannot give to their newborn babies.

Most of the banned names fall into three categories: names that are perceived as offensive to Islamic sensibilities, names affiliated with royalty and names of non-Islamic or non-Arabic origin. Some of the names are common in Saudi Arabia.

Has the ban created anger or amusement among those already bearing these names? Perhaps a little of both.

Names such as Malaak (angel), Rama (Hindu god)  and Amir (prince) fall into the first two categories. Some of the names are controversial because they can be interpreted in multiple ways. Alice and Linda make the list. Non-Arabic names, yes, but why those names and not Tiffany or Emily? Has there been a trend toward babies with Western names? I have yet to hear of a Saudi baby named Alice.

Benyamin, which is on the list, happens to be the name of the Israeli prime minister. Abdul Naser, another name on the list, is the name of the famous Arab nationalist ruler of Egypt, who was at odds with Saudi Arabia. Coincidence?

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Call Me Bob

Chief Sitting Bull


For the umpteenth time this month, I’ve come across yet another white anglo-saxon claiming to have the blood of Native Americans running through their veins. The blood is always mentioned in vague terms, the ancestor never actually identified. The one commonality is that  these pale-faced wannabes are always adamant concerning the actual tribe from which they originate. They may not know if it was a great-granny or a second-cousin-twice-removed, but there is no hesitation that they are of solid Cree/Cherokee/Navajo/etc. stock. For the sake of full disclosure, I must confess that I, too, have made the claim of bearing the blood of some long-lost Cherokee relative.  I can’t help but wonder if there is some kind of reverse racism going on here. Are we caucasions so sensitive about having taken over this continent that we somehow harbor a hidden need to prove our right to be here? If everyone I knew who claims to be part-Sioux really were part-Sioux, it is hard to imagine that there would not be Indian casinos sprouting up like weeds on reservations in every valley of this country. Oh, that’s right. Never mind.

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Occupy Wall Street

Shopping center parking lot

The Culture Vulture is harboring a suspicion that the Occupy Wall Street  movement is targetting shopping malls. Or maybe they are just in need of some much-needed retail therapy, after so many nights of sleeping in tents and eating Dominoe’s pizza. No one ever said the life of an activist is an easy one. No, it’s clear that they have shifted their focus and are now morphing into a new movement: Occupy Mall Street. How else to explain it? The economy is in terrible shape, but I still can’t  find a parking spot.

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Don't Mess with the U.S.!

After a recent trip to Europe, a friend asked about the difference between Americans and Europeans. One of the first things that came to mind is how we perceive time and history. Europeans have an historical frame of reference that dates back thousands of years. Kings and revolutionaries have come and gone, leaving only a legacy of battle-scarred ramparts. Castles have been built and defended, only to be replaced by Ikea. Territories have been won and lost, as well as ideologies and systems of government. They’ve seen it all. No wonder they are a bit cynical, a tad jaded. Europeans are surrounded by the past. Their daily lives are cloaked in memories of failed city-states and martyred ideologues. Ancient remnants of past civilizations are unavoidable. Cafes and markets and yes, even Starbucks, are housed in buildings that are older than the great

Hmm, what should I wear today? I know! I'll wear my flag shirt!

monuments of Washington, D.C. America is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, compared to Europe. We have the passion and optimism of teenagers in matters of  justice and the political process. We really believe we can make the world a better place. The bloom is not yet off the rose.

Another observation is that patriotism is a virtue for Americans.For many Europeans, patriotism is dangerous. They’ve seen the consequences of nationalistic fervor. Hitler could not have succeeded without the hot blood of zealous patriotism flowing through the veins of the German people. It’s hard to fault western Europeans for their reluctance to wave the flag.  Only in America, would entrepreneurs dream up the idea of selling the American flag as an article of clothing. Only in America do people not only wave the flag. They wear it.

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What is a Chair?

Woman and boy sitting in chair

Image by George Eastman House via Flickr

“There has been an attempt, an erroneous one, to make a special class of the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie is simply the contented portion of the people. the bourgeois is the man who has now time to sit down. A chair is not a caste.”                  Victor Hugo

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Quirky City by the Bay

San Francisco recently passed an ordinance prohibiting McDonald’s from including toys in their Happy Meals. Healthy living is obviously a high priority for this community. Meanwhile, homeless people defecate on the sidewalks, residents smoke pot openly in public and meth users plant themselves in the path of tourists on Fisherman’s Wharf – drug paraphernalia in one hand, the other extended in supplication. Go ahead. Put a dollar in that man’s hand. Golly, I sure hope he doesn’t use it to buy a hamburger.

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Doonesbury’s Demise

If I needed proof of the approaching irrelevance of the Boomers, I was slapped in the face with hard evidence today. Doonesbury is back in the comics section of the Sunday paper. For those unfamiliar with the concept, a newspaper is something that used to be delivered to your doorstep in the wee hours of the morning. The paperboy would wave at the milkman, who also travelled in the wee hours of the morning, delivering milk to your doorstep. (at my house, Ed would walk right into the house, calling out, “Milkman!” open the fridge, shove aside last night’s leftover pot roast and put the milk away. And yes, there are so many astonishing things about that last sentence, that you probably think I’m lying) Anyway, back to Doonesbury. People used to love or hate Doonesbury. Some years ago, there was so much controversy over Doonesbury’s political satire, that it was relegated to the opinion section. When Doonesbury moved out of the comics section, the lovers and haters were placated and peace in the newsroom was restored. Fast forward a few years and Doonesbury is back in the comics section, with nary a peep from the readers. Not only are there too few readers to warrant a controversy, Doonesbury’s edgy humor is no longer quite so edgy. Ask your kids if they know who Doonesbury is.  I dare you!

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Lenin’s Politics

“A lie told often enough becomes truth.” Vladimir Lenin             

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