Monday, December 27, 2010

The Power of Jon Stewart????

Does Jon Stewart really have the influence necessary to shame Republican senators into ending a filibuster and voting in favor of the 9/11 Bill to provide a financial support package for the 9/11 first responders. I watched the latest "Daily Show" a couple of days ago and was quite impressed that Jon Stewart not only insulted the Republican party(and Fox News)- as can be expected, but he made a valid argument as to why the 9/11 bill should be passed. I thought it was quite ironic that the first responders of 9/11 are the epitome of "American" and the event that revitalized American pride, yet the Republicans in the Senate not only refused to vote for it, but they also instituted a filibuster in attempts to kill the bill.

When Jon Stewart had Mike Huckabee from Fox News on the show, Stewart asked Huckabee why Republicans were dragging their feet on the bill, Huckabee couldn't think of a excuse. Stewart accused Fox News of making 9/11 a trite expression that is used liberally by the station to mobilize its viewers for many issues, most recently, the "terror mosque." Unfortunately, when legislation that was intended to benefit those that defended Americans on that dreadful day, Fox News as well as CBS and NBC failed to cover the issue. How is that possible? It is eerie to know that the media is so heavily intertwined with politics to the point that most watched news stations omit significant government actions because the parties have an agenda to maintain. Although I watched the episode after the show AND after the senate had passed the bill, I wonder if his voice really tipped the bucket.

Earlier in the year, there have been other pieces of legislation that have passed now that we are in the lame-duck period that previously were shot down time and time again. I find it quite interesting that the President and congress are making so much progress and actually have their noses to the grind. The Majority Whip, Senator Reid is making the senate work up until the end of the year and I am eagerly watching to see what else will transpire before the conclusion of the democratic domination.

Who knew that some late night comedy could have such an impact?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Waking Up in Frankfurt

I finally broke down and emptied my memory disk after holding out for three months. On my way home from Jordan, I took a stop in Frankfurt and went on a day trip. Although my sister and I had explored the city together, I hadn't gotten my fill and was determined to explore the city through my lens. It was much colder than the heat of Jordan, but it was worth the jacket and goosebumps! The Frankfurters were sensational, classy and well dressed. It was a lovely change in pace and provided me with a much needed stroll. Here is a quick peek into my day.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Land Called Paradise

I was going along and minding my business when yet another friend sent me an inspiring youtube video that I LOVED! This little clip combines clever ways of presenting the beauties of Islamic culture and contextualizing it for an American audience. In addition to providing exposure to an often misunderstood culture within the United States, this film rehumanizes a religious group that is often inaccurately portrayed by the media and politics.

I think my favorite clip is "Broccoli is my personal jihad," or maybe it's "My son thinks I named him after a Quranic word---I named him after my first crush!"

Adhan that takes me back to Jordan

I was just purusing through some adhans looking for one that sounded incredible when I cam across this one... Obviously there is come echoing and the sound quality is slightly muffled, but what it communicates to me is far more than the actual quality of this piece. When I heard it, this adhan immediately took me back to our small balcony connected to the kitchen at Teta Mahasen's house. I thought of the hot air enveloping my face as the sun went down and at last, we were able to break the fast. I thought of how delicious the food smelled and how peaceful the world seemed. That was one of those moments when everything seemed right. I miss that time, but I know things will feel right again someday soon.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Eco-tourism in Jordan

How does one define responsible development? Maintaining cultural identity and protecting the environment are two key aspects that play critical roles within a society and form the heart of a people. By neglecting these elements, you trade in a piece of a community's individuality, their humanity, in exchange for something worth so much less- money or technology. Here is a USAID project that has become self-sustainable and is positively contributing to the rural development of Jordan in addition to boosting tourism. I have been to the Wild Jordan restaurant off of Rainbow street in Al-Weibdeh and it is fantastic! If you get a chance, try the cocktails and the pasta.

The Link Between the Arab World and the West

Although politics are usually viewed as a divisive yet necessary evil, similar political interests are acting as a link between the West and the Arab world. Take a look at what the Gallup has to say about this topic.