Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gallup Reports: Muslims and Westerners Say More Interaction Is Better, Obama Helps

The Couch Potato (as opposed to common) Conservatives like Michelle Malkin would have you believe that Muslims "hate" westerners, and particularly Americans, and don't want to interact. But the results of a multi-year research report say otherwise.

According to Islam Online, 59 percent of those surveyed think more, not less, interaction between Westerners and Muslims would be a benefit and not a threat. Those are the findings of a study entitled “Measuring the State of Muslim-West Relations: Assessing the ‘New Beginning’," by John L.Esposito and Dalia Mogahed of the Gallop Organization, and finished and released on November 28, 2010, although its findings are just being widely disseminated. (You can see it with a click here.)

At the center of the study is a poll that surveyed almost 100,000 people in 49 countries. It revealed the following:

1. Muslim views of Muslim-Western relations have changed over time, and for the better. The study reports "In 2009, 61 percent of MENA (Middle East and North Africa) residents - compared with 52 percent of those living in Asia and 49 percent of those in sub - Saharan Africa - said the quality of the interaction between the Muslim and Western worlds is important to them.

2. The degree of change in Middle East and North Africa residents has been greatest since Barack Obama was elected President of The United States. But Obama's approval rating declined in MENA regions in 2010. That's not attributed entirely to policy change, specifically the War in Afghanistan, but an increased awareness of Muslim-Western relations by Muslims after Obama became President of The United States.

3. While the state of Muslim-Western relations is important to Muslims, they don't believe Westerners share the same level of concern.

4. Those who say violent Muslim-Western conflict is unavoidable are more likely to point to religion as the basis for the forecast of increased tensions.

5. Muslim-Western tensions rise more from political than religious conflict. The study reports "Increasingly, a strong focus on the Iraq war and a sense ofurgency in calling for complete U.S. withdrawal is another unique aspect of sentiment in the MENA region." That would force the question on the War in Afghanistan.

On that note, the study focuses on Afghans, explaining the results of eight years of research:

Much has been written about the major security challenges facing Afghanistan.Yet when Gallup asked Afghans an open-ended question about the single-most important problem their families face today, the most frequent responsesgiven in October 2009 were bad economy in their local city or region (21 percent),unemployment (20 percent), high costs of goods/personal financial problems (15 percent),and lack of security (15 percent).

Moreover, a majority of Afghans (55 percent) explain that "things have gotten better" since the fall of the Taliban. But the most interesting statistic is that a fewer Afghans view Muslim-Western interaction as a benefit.

A Complex Report, But Overall, Good News

The study contains far more information than presented here, and is worth a good read when you have the time. As Sara Reef noted in Islam Online "although we have made some progress in improving Muslim-Western relations, there is still a lot of work to be done." But it's also clear that President Obama has been the driving force in America's improved image to the Muslim World.

Moreover, it's clear the Muslim World is more complex and varied than man Americans realize. That's a direct counter to Couch Potato Conservatives like Sarah Palin, who tend to refer to and paint Muslims with one brush, and believing that Muslims can be easily profiled. Or Michelle Malkin, herself Asian, but has no problem casting Muslims as one people and in a distorted and bad light.

Hopefully 2011 will see the emergence of more enlightened conversation on Muslim-Western relations, without the noise from Palin and Malkin.

Stay tuned.

99er Dawn Rayner Expanded ABC Interview Released Today

After a disappointing abbreviated version of her interview aired on Sunday, 99er Dawn Rayner’s expanded ABC interview was released today.

Dawn (who can now be found on Twitter @DawnRayner) announced yesterday her surprise at “going viral” with the ABC Sunday Night segment on World News Tonight.

See below the expanded version of the great interview Dawn gave to ABC - below.

UPDATE of the Bud Meyers Story:
Today, the story which commanded the attention of Arianna Huffington and Ali Velshy last Friday and the Host of Radioornot Nicole Sandler this Monday finally hit the Huffington Post in a full feature article by Arthurb Delaney.

From the article:
Meyers wrote that he's out of money and facing eviction in less than a month. He's a "99er" -- a person who exhausted all available unemployment extensions, which in some states amount to 99 weeks of aid, without finding work. There's no official estimate of how many people have exhausted 99 weeks of benefits -- only about half the 50 states provide 99 weeks in the first place -- but the White House estimates that 4 million people will have exhausted all available benefits by the end of the year.

CNN's Ali Velshi said during a Friday broadcast that he saw what Meyers wrote via Twitter. "Bud, I think you're listening, so hang in there," Velshi said. "You're not forgotten by everyone. You're in our heart and thoughts."
Talk-radio veteran Nicole Sandler, who started a website for 99ers, invited Meyers to join her for apodcast on Sunday. She asked him if what he'd written was a suicide note.
"It's a note of desperation, a lack of options," he said. "I want to do everything I can to cling to life. I think life is the most important thing there is. There's that and nothingness. But I'm 55 and been out of work over two years -- I'm not physically fit enough to survive on the street."

FYI: The 99er Nation (UI Exhaustees) welcomes over 22,000 new members every week!

Heads up: Tomorrow’s article will feature more on the upcoming Gust appearence by Rick Sloan of U-Cubed this Friday on Paladinette’s Jobless Talk.....stay tuned for some exciting new things in our fight for Unemployed Americans! Do NOT be left behind. Join U-Cubed Today!

[The donation button below is for Paladinette. If you like what I write please donate so I can keep on fighting for the 99ers! Thank You!]

In response to TEARS FOR A KING

In her column yesterday reflecting on the meaning of celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, Tears for a King, Michelle Dianne asked some pointed questions.

"We’re celebrating? From the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire to the molehills of Mississippi, freedom still fails to ring for millions of Americans and we’re celebrating?"

Michelle Dianne
17 January 2011

Let's define celebrate: to observe or commemorate, typically but not necessarily in a public way, an event, drawing attention to remind others what matters.

The quintessential example is likely "personal" non-holiday birthdays, which rarely (if ever) focus on the woman who gave birth, but instead serve as a reason to express affection, or at least acceptance, without eliciting suspicion of an agenda: we can say, or hear, "Happy Birthday" without looking for motivation beyond "You're OK in my reckoning," even between near strangers. It's a low-cost, low-risk social exchange.

Celebration takes on another dimension altogether when we celebrate an official holiday - when we observe the birthday of a political or religious figure that choice conveys our recognition of their enduring impact - the significance of their contributions to many lives.

In that sense King's holiday is celebration-worthy and, though I might sooner have chosen the anniversary of an event, I accept that his accomplishment went well beyond any one appearance or speech; for all he brought to the consciousness of both oppressed people and those who chose to look the other way, I applaud the Powers That Be (or, that "were" in this case) for ensuring we officially, collectively reflect on and commemorate the impact and importance of his philosophy, commitment, and courage.

It is right, in other words, that children in the United States in particular -- children who might otherwise never so much as hear King's name -- have reason in every school in the nation to learn how awful and un-equal things really were despite the lofty language in our Constitution and the so-called integration of our Armed Forces. History doesn't repeat itself, but people who don't know history may well repeat some mistakes rather than learn from them.
"The other day R. Lee Gordon asked the African American community on Facebook what it will take to put the “B” back in *Lack Unity; the brother got only two responses. Think about that and answer me this: What are we celebrating?"

Michelle Dianne
17 January 2011
I'm fervently in favor of celebrating King's life and the changes his actions stimulated; marking his birthday spreads the awareness, it keeps us from glossing over the past, and conveys that he's as relevant to our story as the officially-most-revered of our Presidents. What we celebrate is that the courage and certainty of King's actions moved us farther, faster in a critical direction than we'd have made it without him. King's holiday is an affirmation of our "all men are created equal" aspiration, and the power of people to grow and improve.

So while her closing question implying we may be making a mistake -- implying the need to think more about the meaning of the day -- was a good one, with much yet unaccomplished, with miles to go and promises of our founding fathers still un-met this cold, snowy January, I submit it is more important to ask routinely either, "How can/does our celebration inspire continuation of the progress toward true equality?" or, "What would Martin do?"
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Robert Frost

Thomas Hayes is an entrepreneur, former Democratic Campaign Manager, journalist, and photographer who contributes regularly to a host of web sites on topics ranging from economics and politics to culture and community.

Wikileaks Julian Assange Up For "Best Founder" At Crunchies - #WikiLeaks

Julian Assange makes his presence felt!

The 2011 Crunchies, the annual awards event for the Tech Community produced by TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and Gigaom, is this Friday in San Francisco, and the voting underway (until Wednesday) reveals a nice surprise.

This blogger was the first to openly push for Wikileaks Editor-In-Chief Julian Assange to receive the "Best Startup Award." This for Wikileaks path-breaking impact on World Industrial Culture, showing just how powerful the Internet really is in its ability to rapidly disseminate important information.

Well, Wikileaks isn't up for Best Startup, but Julian Assange is up for "Best Founder."

Here's the list:

Founder of the Year
Julian Assange, WikiLeaks
Dennis Crowley, Foursquare
Jack Dorsey, Square
Kevin and Julia Hartz, Eventbrite
David Karp, Tumblr
Mark Pincus, Zynga

You can vote for Assange with a click here: VOTE.

Jersey Shore Season 3 Episode 2

Sammi has definitely distanced herself from the other females in the house - which is quite unfortunate on her part.

The rest of the girls seem to be having a blast, but Sammi tags along with Ronnie has he does his GTL. Sammi & Ronnie seem to be off in their own little world- but Ronnie makes it clear he misses his boys and would like to spend time with them.

This episode really stood out as one where the audience was screaming at their tvs at Sammi at all the things that she could have done to make it go a lot better. The biggest one was when Ronnie and Sammi missed Sunday night dinner - no one misses Sunday night family dinner. That is where everyone squashes the problems from that week.

A lot went on, but it is just really something to think about in regards to Sammi. This season is being filmed while the other season was airing.

Let's see what's up next.

Regis Philbin Tweets He Needs A Job - No Kidding!

Regis Philbin, who just said he was retiring on Regis and Kelly, got on Twitter with some interesting tweets (does he actually do it, or is it an intern?)

At any rate, it appears Regis still want to work, as he tweets:

Regis_and_Kelly Regis and Kelly
its not like dying, im just retiring from the show, by the way do you have a job for me, -r
2 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

Of course, that wasn't the only tweet...

Regis_and_Kelly Regis and Kelly
i announced my leaving our show today. david letterman just called, he said congratulations, i dont know if thats good or bad. -r
2 hours ago

Regis_and_Kelly Regis and Kelly
It's official... this morning Regis announced that he will retire from LIVE later this year.

And note that Regis says retiring, but I'll bet it's just from LIVE TV.

Regis Philbin Retires - Notre Dame Football Comments Will Be Missed

After a career that spans 50 years as a pioneer talk show host, Regis Philbin announced he's retiring. This is his last year, as the CelebTV video shows:

This blogger will miss Regis' rants about how well Notre Dame Football was or was not doing.

The Notre Dame Alumn never masked his love for the University, but his quips were a great chronicle of how poorly the team performed during most of the Charlie Weis years. And I thought he was going to need Pepto Bismal after the way Notre Dame started the season. But Regis was rewarded with a winning Fighting Irish 2010 tour, and a bowl game win.

Aside from that, Regis was a great complement to the hot, buffed, lovely Eelly Ripa, who expressed surprise over the news that Regis was retiring with "You're what?"

But, after that long in show business, and the record for the longest time on TV, Regis deserves a rest.  He's 77 years old, and his multi-generational work proves that a person can remain relevant at any stage of their life.

Google News Still Keeping Real Bloggers Out

The Italian authorities didn't know what to look for, and so let Google News off the hook by ending their investigation of anti-trust violations. It seems some news sites that opted not to be in Google News were claimed to have been site-delisted by Google entirely.

Google News admitted some problems and promised to change their ways.

The questions are, how and will that apply to America?

Google News is still playing favorites with The Associated Press, and kicking out bloggers from Google News.

Something must be done.

Stay tuned.