Jackson has been spending time in the Gulf state as a guest of the royal family since a Californian court acquitted him in June of child molestation. A Reuters photographer saw him in a popular shopping mall in the centre of the capital Manama all in black, with sunglasses, gloves, a veil covering his face and dressed in an abaya, or full-length robe -- but with men’s shoes peeping out below.
Men's shoes? Who knew Michael Jackson wore them? Even so, here's the real story:
Jackson is getting ready to produce his first Islamic anthem after announcing his conversion to Islam.
A weekly Bahraini newspaper has published an article with the title, “Michael Jackson Releases an Islamic Anthem,” in which Michael Jackson mentioned that the time has come for him to confess, in front of God, that he has made many mistakes and wishes to apologize for everything.
ON OCTOBER 21, A new message came out of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia,
the land of Wahhabi Islam, with its commitment to financing jihad, its
public beheadings, and its total subordination of women. But rather
than the usual extremist preaching, promoting the bloody terrorist acts
of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq or inciting hate against non-Wahhabi
Muslims, Jews, Christians, and others around the world, the message was
a call, in imperfect English, for "the first Saudi bloggers meet up."
And with it, Saudi Arabia passed a milestone . . .
Men and women blogging together, of course, represents a total flouting of Saudi rules mandating sex segregation. And there can be no turning back. Saudi authorities cannot confiscate all the computers, Blackberrys, and cell phones in the kingdom. Nor can they forbid the use of the English language.
Saudi Blogs inventories more than 80 active sites, 67 of them in English or English and Arabic. Saudi women produce some of the most interesting sites. They are so daring in their freedom of expression that one congressional staffer who reads them regularly expressed complete bewilderment, asking, "How can this happen?" The globalization of American culture obviously has a lot to do with it, since many blog entries are written in the hip-hop, text-message idiom of Western teenagers.
The most startling and thought-provoking Saudi blog is "Farah's Sowaleef," sowaleef meaning "chitchat" . . . Writing in a generally readable mélange of English and occasional Arabic, the author, Farah Aziz, alias "Farooha," reveals herself to be a student at "KSU" -- King Saud University (not Kansas State), the kingdom's oldest university. Farooha is a "spoiled jingoistic" resident of the capital, Riyadh, as well as of Najd, the desert province from which Wahhabi radicalism and the royal house of Saud emerged.
"Blogging has also become a major phenomenon in theocratic Iran," notes Schwartz:
But in Saudi Arabia, the sudden explosion of blogging coincides with evidence of a very real move toward openness in religious thinking, guided by the new king, the octogenarian Abdullah. At a global Islamic summit at the end of 2005, Abdullah proclaimed the need for "moderation that embodies the Islamic concept of tolerance," adding, "I look forward to Muslim inventors and industrialists, to an advanced Muslim technology, and Muslim youth who work for their life just as they work for the Hereafter, without excess or negligence, without any kind of extremism."
That vision sharply conflicts with the obsessions of al Qaeda and Hamas, which exalt death over life. . .
"Saudi Blogs": For all its simplicity, the phrase has a revolutionary ring, like "Continental Congress" or "Polish Solidarity." For now, the Saudi authorities continue to block conventional websites maintained by reformists, like tuwaa.com, while permitting infamous Wahhabi hate sites, like alsaha.com, to operate. But the tyrants are falling behind and losing control of events. The spirits of the pamphleteer Benjamin Franklin and the great communicator Ronald Reagan must be tickled.
We were caught in the crossfur of a Crazy Hour Moment while innocently walking out of the downstairs bathroom this afternoon. At the very moment we made the 90-degree turn towards the kitchen, the Babe's path crossed ours. He was in the middle of a special-ops scramble, his claws engaging our stockinged foot as he rushed down the stairs, made a 180-degree furpin turn at the bottom of the stairs and then dashed into the bathroom and leapt up to the platform above the shower. No harm done, but lots of great photo ops.
We missed Cartier-Bresson's "Decisive Moment" -- or did we? as Baby wound down the Crazy Hour with a seemingly effortless maneuver down the outside wall of the shower to the window sill, top of the toilet and thence to the bathroom floor. What Crazy Hour? I don't know what you are talking about, the Babe seemed to say as he exited in Sane Kitty Mode stage right.
In 1952 he published his book, The Decisive Moment. The book featured a portfolio of 126 photos from the East and the West. It also featured a book cover drawn by Henri Matisse. [Cartier-Bresson's] 4,500-word philosophical preface was where the term Decisive Moment was born. He first wrote it in French, taking his text from the 17th-century Cardinal de Retz: "Il n'y a rien dans ce monde qui n'ait un moment decisif." This translates to "There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment." Henri applied this to his photography style. Henri said: "To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression."
Sounds good, but what mischief has been made in the name of Cartier-Bresson's thrilling premise?
His contention is that during the fifty or so years of media monopoly they became intellectually indolent and are now unable to counter conservatives who, by contrast, patiently built their intellectual armoury during their long period of minority status.
Leftists have become soft and flabby in their thinking over the last 20, 30 or more years because their fellow travelers in the mainstream media -- supposed to be keeping them honest -- have been giving them a free ride, even as thinkers of the right, not enjoying such reflexive support, have been honing our debating and intellectual survival skills. That leaves the left soft and lazy and the right battle ready. Enter the bloggers, stage right.
You don't suppose Rush reads this blog? Whatever. Kohlmayer continues:
This is only partially correct. Although it is true that more and more people are becoming adept in articulating conservatism, liberalism’s present day haplessness is not primarily due to a lack of argumentative skills on the part of its advocates. Unfortunately for them, their predicament runs much deeper. Their real and ultimately insurmountable problem is that most of their beliefs and positions are inherently indefensible. For how does one make a case for multiculturalism, abortion, bigger state, socialized healthcare or higher taxes?
It certainly cannot be done by logic or deductive reasoning -- no matter how skillful they may ever become in these -- since the hard truth is that all of the above ultimately lead to bad outcomes.
Like so many people, I was in a state of heightened emotion and awareness after 9/11. I, who had rarely watched cable news on television, was now viewing it many hours each day, and also reading my usual newspapers and periodicals with greater intensity and focus . . .
But when I started reading many other papers as well, I discovered a surprising thing. The Times and the Globe and most of my previous reading sources (the New Yorker, Newsweek) had pretty much agreed with each other. But now some of the papers predicted widely different outcomes, and analyzed the meaning of events differently.
It was as though I were sitting in a court of law as a member of the jury and being asked to decide a case. Before, I had heard only the presentation from one side. Now I heard both sides, and was trying to give both a fair hearing, and to approach my task without prejudice or preconceived notions.
The very act of looking at logical contradictions in one's own candidate, while turning off the logical analysis parts of the brain, caused a completely different part of the brain to light up instead. ". . . activity spiked in the circuits involved in reward, a response similar to what addicts experience when they get a fix."
[Blog] trolls are getting a fix from denying reality, enjoying a rush from ignoring the logical contradictions. It follows that arguing logic and facts with such people is not only useless, but self-defeating. They are getting positive brain-shocks from reasserting their illogical statements in the face of contradictory facts. Denying reality is making them feel great.
"Love leads to a suppression of neural activity associated with critical social assessment of other people and negative emotions . . . The work could provide a neurological explanation for why love makes us blind."
So George W, Al Gore, John Kerry, Hillary! . . . are mother substitutes? Back to Neo's transformation, it was a questionable Sy Hersh article in The New Yorker insinuating we were losing the war in Afghanistan that finally stripped the scales from her eyes:
I read the entire piece with mounting concern. The Vietnam comparison (although I don't recall it as being overt) was not lost on me. If this piece could be believed, we didn't seem to know what we were doing in Afghanistan.
But could it be believed? I trusted my beloved New Yorker, of course. But I could not escape the perception that there was something very odd about this particular article. Not only was it rather poorly written (something unusual for the magazine, as best I could remember) -- disjointed and disconnected -- but it read like a gossip column . . .
And that wasn't all. I wondered about the point of publishing this piece in the first place. Why did we need to know this so very badly? . . .I didn't see that there was any overriding public purpose in exposing this mission as failed; certainly not enough to justify the breach of security and the possibility of harming our morale and enhancing that of the enemy.
As we wrote our friend in her comments, "If The New Yorker had any sense, it would drop Sy "I certainly can fudge what I say" Hersh and put our own Neo on the payroll for weekly reports from 'the front.'"
Sara at Raising Up Sunshine started this. I've often thought about it, but never thought of blogging about it till now. Go over and put your screwy cat nicknames in her comments. I did. It's a lot more fun and strange than most of those lame pop-culture memes about what TV series you watch over and over.
I was wondering: do only women do this? Give their cats lots of weird nicknames, I mean? Is it a mutation of the instinct for baby-talk and babbling language play between mothers and infants that revs up Broca's area in the little brain? I have a whole unique language of nicknames that I speak to each cat, and mothers have told me that they have just such a special language with each of their children. But T.S. Eliot's writing about it suggests that it may not be exclusive to the female gender.
As we told Annie/Amba in her comments, while we're sure it's not just a girl thing, it definitely derives from the mother-and-baby thing:
I think you're right about Broca's area in the little brain, and it's not just for mothers and their babies. I'm thinking of something I read -- and posted about -- that locates pleasurable feelings between mother and child and feelings between new lovers in the same part of the brain:
Patrick Belton of Oxblog, writing from the land where he has been witnessing the electoral process: "It's not clear anyone wanted this, least of all Hamas, who in assuming the administration of the Palestinian national authority's creaking and often bureaucracy single-handed in a moment when its sole lifeline of European and other international support appears threatened, may just have stumbled into the biggest molasses patch the Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyyah has ever faced. Unlike the Lib Dems of 1985, Hamas did not go to its constituencies to prepare for government. It had prepared for a coalition, or possibly for pristine opposition, but not this.
I became a Republican long before I became a US citizen, long before I came to the US, long before I was old enough to vote. I was a young boy in Vietnam listening clandestinely to Voice of America (VOA) over a short wave radio . . . There, on that old short wave radio, President Reagan gave the "evil empire" speech. Living in a Soviet vassal state, I already knew that they were evil. The inherent evil of the Soviet Union was obvious. But not a single US President had the moral courage to say [the] thing as it was -- not until Ronald Reagan. I knew then that he would be the greatest US President in my life time.
I came to the US in the last year of [the] Reagan Presidency. That was when I learned that my favorite US President is a Republican. I also learned that he favors limited governement. With the past experience with the government where I came from, limited government is a wonderful idea.
Reagan brought me into the party, Newt Gingrich made me a believer. I was an enthusiastic supporter of the Conservative Revolution. Now I fear that the Revolution is dead.
The current leadership race for the majority leader will determine if the Republican Party is still the Party of Reagan, and that the Conservative Revolution is still alive. Roy Blunt is cut from the same cloth as Tom Delay. He is an opportunistic politician who speaks of small government but funds big government.
But don't look for the Republican leadership to lose much sleep over the inherent corruption of unlimited government. They've got too much "invested" -- to use Paul Chesser's word in his must-read American Spectator article, "It's Not Just Pork" [via Mark Tapscott] -- in the status quo.
A clamor against special appropriations --
pushed in Congress by House Majority Leader candidates John Shadegg of
Arizona and John Boehner of Ohio -- is growing, and certainly
promising. But while the focus is on pork, attention should also be
paid to two other insidious products of meddlesome government: economic
development incentives and eminent domain . . .
"Invest" is the favorite buzzword of politicians
-- both Democrat and Republican -- who like to use other people's money
to take chances in risky businesses. The results are often as
scandalous as anything Abramoff has perpetrated.
As is the Supreme Court-endorsed practice of employing eminent domain to give private property to developers, also in the name of economic development . . .
What it represents is a pervasive attitude throughout government, and extending through both political parties, that there are no rights of the people other than those granted by those in political power. Local and state government, with eminent domain and economic incentives, merely represent the farm system that leads to the big-time pork playground.
Will our Porkbuster allies in Congress, together with a new Supreme Court less inclined to discover new "rights" in a "living Constitution," be able to counter what Patrick Chisholm in the Christian Science Monitor calls the insidious "triumph of the redistributionist left."? Or is it too late? Did the commies, via "Stalin's meme war" -- as Eric S. Raymond [via InstaPundit] wrote yesterday -- win our citizens' hearts and minds after all?:
So: we know the Soviets aimed to apply Gramscian subversion as a war weapon against the West, we know they believed themselves to have succeeded in significant ways, and the dominant cultures of the entertainment industry, the press, and academia behave today precisely as we would expect if they had succeeded in those ways (that is, they sneer at traditional values and patriotism and exhibit pervasive left-wing and anti-American bias)