How backward is Afghanistan? One measure is the fact that everyone has the same birthday, January 1, because the use of modern calendars hasn’t quite reached there yet.
It’s a mystery why anyone in Washington ever thought that nation-building had a chance in such a retro place. Liberals must have thought that killing the Taliban without also building schools etc. would have been too rude to contemplate. Now the jihadists are waiting for the promised pullout of US military so they can take over; sadly huge piles of money as well as American lives were wasted in useless efforts to advance basic civilization for Afghans. There is too much cousin marriage, belligerent tribalism, cultural misogyny and Islam for even minimal social advances to occur.
Below, Afghan women briefly experienced individual freedom and access to education, but the Taliban forced them back into bondage.
KABUL — The first day of January isn’t celebrated as the beginning of the year in Afghanistan, but since the American invasion, it’s become a new kind of holiday — a de facto birthday for thousands of Afghans who don’t know when they were born.
During protracted wars in the 1980s and ’90s, the government didn’t have a system in place to register births. Because identification cards and driver’s licenses weren’t standard in this impoverished nation, families saw no reason to record the exact dates. Government paperwork asked only for an approximate birthday on the Islamic calendar.
But when the United States and its NATO allies arrived, they brought with them a flurry of job opportunities, visa applications and Web sites that all required a specific birthday on the Roman calendar.
“Those of us who don’t know when we were born selected January first,” said a U.S. Army interpreter named Tariq, who first wrote the date on his job application with the military and would repeat it when he applied for a visa, and whenever anyone asked. “It was very easy to remember.”
Like many Afghans, Tariq, who requested that his last name not be used to avoid Taliban threats, has only a vague sense of his birthday, which coincided with the country’s collapse into civil war in the early 90s.
As Internet access became more widespread, with 3G networks advertised in the country’s major cities, the question of birthdays arose with even greater frequency. Urban Afghans were quick to create accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Gmail, all of which ask for the registrant’s date of birth.
“I have been using the first of January for every online registration and social network site,” said Nazer Hussain, 23, a recent university graduate who rattled off a list of Web sites he signed up for using his fake birthday. “In the past, people weren’t well-educated enough to keep record of birthdays.”
In the digital age, the collective birthday has become something of an inside joke here, as young Afghans send each other messages to celebrate. Continue reading this article
The Monty Python funny guys may be getting old, but they don’t want to face an early death caused by angering touchy Muslims. They are famous for tweaking religion in their 1979 comedy The Life of Brian, but there won’t be The Life of Mohammed coming any time soon.
It’s too bad, since the history of Islam is comedy gold, aside from the murders and brutal wars of conquest. Imagine the prophet’s nine-year-old wife Aisha and the possibilities for hilarious domestic misunderstandings between her and the geriatric hubby!
The excellent comic book Mohammed’s Believe It or Else! shows one approach, of illustrated stories from the prophet’s life and early Islam, plus accompanying scripture from the Koran and Hadith.
Another publication that has felt the brunt of Muslim literary criticism is the French humor magazine Charlie Hebdo which was firebombed in 2011 when it announced Mohammed would be a “guest editor” for an issue, as shown below:
Perhaps the only hope for a Mohammed comedy film is for someone to follow the example of What’s Up, Tiger Lily, in which a Japanese James Bond-type film was redubbed with a completely different dialog with hilarious results (Trailer). But there would be no entertaining visuals, like a dancing Aisha music number.
For religious film humor, we will have to stick with The Life of Brian.
One of the funniest bits, for Latin students at least, was the graffito scene: “Romani ite domum!”
During his Monty Python days he poked fun at everyone from the Establishment to Christianity.
But thanks to the threat of ‘heavily armed’ fanatics, Michael Palin has admitted there is one comedy taboo he is too scared to break- Islam.
The 70-year-old said religious sensitivities have increased so much since his comedy days it would now be impossible to make 1979 film Life of Brian – which satirised the life of Jesus – let alone laugh at Muslims.
He said: ‘Religion is more difficult to talk about. I don’t think we could do Life of Brian any more. A parody of Islam would be even harder.
‘We all saw what happened to Salman Rushdie and none of us want to get into all that. It’s a pity but that’s the way it is. There are people out there without a sense of humour and they’re heavily armed.’
In 1989, Mr Rushdie was forced into hiding after the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa calling for him to be killed in revenge for his novel The Satanic Verses. Continue reading this article
The Associated Press has plopped out an article that is rather curious. It worries over the idea that immigrants are increasingly living in communities of “racial isolation.” The scribbler visits California farm town Watsonville and frets that nearly everyone is Mexican and speaks Spanish. A hispanic who was the first mayor of his ethnicity observed, “It’s got a very different feel than a traditional American town.” Forty percent of town residents are foreign born and most of the business signage is in Spanish.
Below, downtown Watsonville, which is described as “like being in a small Mexican town” by a resident.
Isn’t that what liberals wanted? Haven’t they condemned assimilation as racism against poor victimized brown people? Haven’t they insisted on America becoming a bilingual Spanish-speaking country so immigrants wouldn’t have to learn English? Even though a strong majority of US voters supports English as the official language, liberals reject language assimilation. Plus, expecting immigrants to accept American values is likewise thought to be cultural arrogance on the part of the citizens.
Immigrants are taking part in the American economy to improve their material lives, and most seem happy living in ethnic and linguistic separation from the dominant culture. They came for the money, not to become Americans as previous generations of immigrants did. They have their own Spanish-language media catering to their desires and the Watsonville library has Bilingual Toddler Time. None of the Mexicans in the article seemed to be pining for inclusion in the broader society. Watsonville should be seen as a paradise by liberals who looked to immigration to make America less American, but Dr. Frankenstein doesn’t seem satisfied with his creation.
Whatever were the liberals expecting when they promoted the mass immigration of millions without assimilation? The balkanization result was totally predictable.
WATSONVILLE, Calif. (AP) — In a grassy downtown plaza, strolling musicians wearing glitzy cowboy outfits blast a mariachi song, while Spanish-speaking shoppers bustle between farm stands, sampling tart cactus leaves, sniffing roasting chilies and buying bundles of warm pork tamales.
The scene is an increasingly typical one in towns across California, where Hispanics are on pace to become the largest ethnic group next year. And Watsonville is but one of dozens of California communities where Hispanics outnumber whites.
The town of 52,000 on the picturesque Central Coast, where good soil and pleasant weather enrich crops of strawberries and lettuce, and a driven and determined low-wage workforce fuels small factories producing everything from high-end shock absorbers to handcrafted glassware.
Spanish is spoken in most homes and businesses in town, and one out of five households is linguistically isolated, meaning no one over 14 speaks English.
Rising immigration hasn’t made Watsonville more diverse; it is a community heading toward racial isolation, a growing phenomenon in a state that offers one possible look at how the nation may change as non-Hispanic whites become a minority in the coming months.
Like most U.S. towns, Watsonville has been formed by waves of immigrants, Croats, Portuguese, Filipinos and Japanese, each arriving with their own language, customs and cuisine. The current surge of Hispanics has brought a Latin American influence.
“For me, downtown Watsonville is like being in a small Mexican town,” said Oscar Rios, who was Watsonville’s first Latino mayor. “Everyone speaks Spanish. The restaurants are Mexican. It’s got a very different feel than a traditional American town.”
Rios came into office after a landmark voting rights case 25 years ago deemed Watsonville’s at-large election system discriminatory and mandated district elections to end all-white political leadership. At the time, 50 percent of the residents were Hispanic.
Today, 82 percent are either immigrants, or descendants of immigrants, mostly from Mexico but also elsewhere in Latin America. Continue reading this article
Now all of Britain faces the January opening of its national doors to Romanians and Bulgarians due to the commandment of the European Union that open borders must prevail. The newbies will all be poor and headed for the welfare offices to take advantage of the UK’s generous benefits. The Roma tribe is so backward that even Muslims think they need socialization training.
When Poland entered the EU in 2004 the diversocrats predicted only a few thousand Poles would immigrate to the UK, but the number grew to a million, so current reassurances from experts are not convincing.
Ah, diversity! England is facing even worse overpopulation, and the new residents will be jihadists, professional thieves or welfare moochers. Such is the cultural enrichment of diverse immigration, particularly when transnational organizations (i.e. the EU) order it against the wishes of local people.
Now that long-term unemployment benefits for over a million workers are about to end, the press is full of stories about Americans who cannot find jobs. It’s a fine opportunity for the liberal media to bash hard-hearted Republicans who don’t want to extend the program (which would require still more insane borrowing).
MSNBC went so far as to peg the issue to racism, that whitey needs to fork over the cash because of high black unemployment.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Michelle Marshall is one of the 1.3 million long-term unemployed Americans who will lose jobless benefits Saturday.
Marshall, 56, has been out of work for a year, since she lost an administrative assistant job that paid her $44,000 per year.
She started collecting $624 each week in New Jersey unemployment benefits, but the state benefits ran out after 26 weeks. When federal benefits kicked in, she collected $521.
But Marshall will stop getting these checks next week.
That’s because Congress failed to extend the recession-era program when it passed a budget deal last week.
Federal benefits kick in after state benefits run out, and range between 14 to 47 weeks, depending on the state where a person lives.
According to government figures, the average weekly benefit check is $300.
Even the cut from the larger state check to the federal benefits was hard for Marshall. She had to consolidate her $12,000 worth of credit card debt and enroll in a mortgage assistance program.
When the benefits stop entirely, she doesn’t know what she’ll do.
“I imagine I will go apply for food stamps,” she said. “Depending how long this goes on, I might lose my car, which will impact my ability to get a job. I won’t be able to drive to interviews.” Continue reading this article
“Shanty towns spreading in Stockholm. Around Stockholm there are small shack villages populated by poor European migrants. Social agencies estimate that there are now a total of some 30 active settlements in the capital. …
Using plywood, plastic, inflatable boats and building materials some 20 shed-like buildings have been set up at Högdalen in southern Stockholm. … several of the homes have fireplaces and simple insulation. A type of home that you might associate only with a shanty town in Africa.”
On Friday, I heard a radio report about “migrant” farmworkers who live in taxpayer-subsidized housing in Watsonville, one of 24 such facilities in California. The existence of specific welfare for foreign nationals is part of the “welcoming” attitude the state has toward foreigners, which liberals regard as a sign of their moral superiority.
The immigration status of the 104 families in the facility was not mentioned, merely hinted in the audio version where we hear, “It’s harder to cross the border than it used to be.”
Below, the state’s housing units in Watsonville cost less than $400/month for non-American farmworkers while private rentals in the town are more than twice that amount.
However, from the moocher viewpoint, the cheapo housing is less than perfect because it is open to farm pickers only six months of the year. Most pack up and return to Mexico in November when they are required to leave. But the new complaint is how the education of Mexican kiddies is interrupted by the regulations which put them in two school systems every year.
Say, wouldn’t Mexican school immersion be an invaluable cultural enrichment, one that allows the kiddies to soak up their all-important raza heritage?
Despite the cultural opportunities of Mexican schooling, the Center for Farmworker Families hopes to overturn the regulation of closing the housing half the year and keep it open so eager little scholars can make more use of free-to-them American education.
The fields around Watsonville produce more than half a billion dollars in berries every year. After the raspberry vines have been cut back for winter and the strawberry fields plowed under, some farmworkers from Mexico still go back for a few months each year. At the Buena Vista Migrant Center, the end of the season means it’s time for 104 families to move out. But as Rowan Moore Gerety reports, more and more farmworker families are having second thoughts about migrating twice a year. At the Buena Vista Migrant Center, home to 104 farmworker families for six months a year, that means it’s time to move out, but more and more families are giving second thought to migrating twice a year.
“Today is our last day, the end of the program, so we’re doing inspections,” said Camp Manager Martin Gomez on November 25, checking the keys to an empty duplex. Buena Vista is one of 24 state-run camps around California, built in the 1970s to improve living conditions for migrant workers. For farmworkers living on wages of about $350 a week, it’s a pretty good deal: rent is less than $400 a month, and the camp offers free daycare. But there’s a catch: to live there, you have to move at least 50 miles away during the winter.
Rogelio Fernandez, who is headed to Michoacán for the winter, has been coming to California to pick strawberries for 38 years. He followed in the footsteps of the men in his family. “My grandfather was a bracero, my father was a bracero,” he said. Continue reading this article
On this religious holiday for many Americans, we shouldn’t forget the Christians around the world who are persecuted under the Islamic jackboot. Muslims sometimes use Christian holidays as an occasion to attack followers of Jesus, and this Christmas has been no exception:
Christians in Muslim countries are awaiting Christmas not with joy, but with trepidation.
Fox News reported that in Iraq, “Christians are afraid to put up a Christmas tree or other decorations, according to one Christian pastor in Iraq. Such displays of faith in an increasingly extremist nation can bring threats and violence, say human rights groups. Christian churches must be regularly guarded, but congregants are even more on edge during their holiest days.”
And in Nigeria, according to Reuters, “fearing attacks by Islamist militant group Boko Haram over Christmas, Nigerian police said on Sunday they had ordered extra patrols, surveillance and covert operations to better secure potential targets during the festive period. The militants have struck every Christmas for the past three years, most dramatically in 2011, when they bombed three churches. One of them, on St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla, on the edge of Abuja, killed 37 people and wounded 57.”
Likewise in Indonesia, Reuters reported that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono “has ordered police to step up security around churches over the Christmas holidays following reports of possible attacks.”
Meanwhile, Xinhua reported that last Saturday, “Syria’s armed rebels fired multiple mortar shells on a church in Syria’s southern province of Daraa, killing 12 people and injuring many others.” Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III Laham “told Xinhua in an interview that Syria’s long-term crisis has displaced more than 450,000 Christian Syrians and killed more than a thousand of them.” IB Times reported Thursday that in the Central African Republic, Muslims recently murdered Christians wholesale, “killing nearly 1,000 men over a two-day period and systematically looting civilian homes.”
Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako recently said that Iraqi officials were readily giving Christians visas to leave the country, saying that there was “a whole strategy to help Christians leave Iraq” and warning: “The Middle East is going to empty of Christians.” Continue reading this article
In Mexifornia, the growing population of hispanic kids is still doing poorly in school compared with the palefaces. A recent meditation from the Associated Press implies that the problem is Low Expectations, neatly pinning the blame on teachers and society as a whole. No mention of non-scholarly cultures at home.
Even so, the AP story suggests that if only there was more positive thinking about diverse students, they would respond with more effort and better grades, even though expensive programs of ethnic coddling, like bilingual education, haven’t worked. Despite all the special attention, half of hispanics drop out of high school.
Unfortunately for the future of California, Governor Brown wants to spend more money on sub-average students rather than on advanced programs for exceptional young people who could create wealth for the state. Excellence is being sacrificed because liberals believe in equality of outcome rather than opportunity.
Below, Below, hispanic moms line up with kids in Ventura County for free-to-them school chow, with no tiresome cooking required. (For details, see California Free Food Gets Many Takers).
The AP reminds the reader early on of rapidly changing demographics, particularly that hispanics will outnumber whites in California next year. But not to worry about the dismal future; after chronicling a collection of gloomy statistics, the piece ends with a hispanic wanna-be rocket scientist!
PAJARO, Calif. (AP) — As Hispanics surpass white Californians in population next year, the state becomes a potential model for the rest of the country, which is going through a slower but similar demographic shift.
But when it comes to how California is educating students of color, many say the state serves as a model of what not to do.
In California, 52 percent of the state’s 6 million school children are Hispanic, just 26 percent are white. And Hispanic students in general are getting worse educations than their white peers. Their class sizes are larger, course offerings are fewer and funding is lower.
The consequence is obvious: lower achievement.
Just 33 percent of Hispanic students are proficient in reading in third grade, compared with 64 percent of white students. By high school, one in four Hispanic 10th graders in California cannot pass the high school math exit exam, compared with 1 out of 10 white students.
And while overall test scores across the state have gone up in the past decade, the achievement gap hasn’t changed.
“The expectations at my school were just so low, and that’s so shortsighted,” said Alvaro Zamora, 17, who excelled despite the educational challenges in the Pajaro Valley, a farming region near the Central Coast where his classmates were almost entirely Mexican immigrants or children of immigrants.
“Most economies are driven by innovation. If you don’t have a math and science literate population you won’t have the majority of the population innovating,” he said.
Nationally, an achievement gap is also showing up as Latino enrollment has soared from one out of 20 U.S. students in 1970 to nearly one out of four, and white students account for just 52 percent of U.S. first graders. Continue reading this article
Every Christmas season, the world glances toward Bethlehem and sometimes notices the disappearing Christians in the town of Jesus’ birth as hostile Muslims make life untenable there and beyond.
A century ago, Bethlehem was 90 percent Christian. Today the population has dwindled to around 15 percent. So now the place is a Muslim town with a Christian history — like the rest of the Middle East.
Meanwhile, some leading politicians of Bethlehem want to go against the ethnic cleansing trend and encourage Christians to stay in the community, even return from abroad. The reason is not a newly developed sense of human compassion (which is hard to locate among the Soldiers of Allah), but the appeal of money. Allowing the birthplace of Jesus to devolve into a cardboard theme park run by Muslims who despise the Christian message is understandably unappealing to religious people who want to visit the place of the Gospels. So Christians are now seen as desirable living props to attract tourist cash.
Of course it’s unsurprising that Christians want to leave. Who can blame them? Islam and freedom are incompatible, as Dutch statesman Geert Wilders has noted.
Below, a worshipper lights candles at Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity.
BETHLEHEM, West Bank — There’s been something missing in the birthplace of Christianity: Christians.
For years, Palestinian Christians have been quietly abandoning the place where Jesus is said to have been born in a manger. Middle-class residents here have packed their bags for less chaotic lives in Latin America, Europe and the United States.
Tourism ground to a halt more than a decade ago, during the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, and is now experiencing a comeback.
But Palestinians say major challenges remain: the Israeli military checkpoints and security barrier that separates Bethlehem from Jerusalem, a ten minute drive away; the shuttered homes and shops that are symbols of a stagnant economy; and the Israeli settlements that are growing around Bethlehem on land claimed by the Palestinians for a future state.
Vera Baboun, Bethlehem’s first female mayor, wants to make her city open to all, especially to Christian pilgrims — and those Palestinians who have left. A Christian whose late husband spent three years in an Israel jail during the first intifada, Baboun wants to lure back former residents, and roll out the red carpet to encourage Christian pilgrims to extend their stays. Continue reading this article
Public Radio International, aka PRI, is a media outfit that produces a half-hour program on the local NPR station called “The World”. It is quite the celebration of diversity, even more than the mother ship of NPR, if that is possible.
A recent item opined that “an amazing diversity” of Muslim taxi drivers in New York City — half of the total number! — were admirable fellows for pursuing their five-times-daily prayers to Mecca even if it means double parking or blocking the streets for other drivers.
Obstructing fire hydrants? No problema, since the Muslims pay the tickets, so they can keep their cabs and continue to do their Allah thing. Authorities apparently overlook the obvious public safety complications.
“We have to pray no matter what!” says one, so annoying infidels will just have to adjust to oh-so-special Muslims, who got here via Washington’s diversity-tuned immigration policy.
Below, Allah’s loyal cabbies perform their rituals at a gas station.
The link below includes the audio version, with colorful diverse details, although it’s hard to imagine a similarly positive portrayal of Christians involved in their religious activities from PRI.
New York City is home not just to a massive fleet of iconic yellow taxis, but to an amazing diversity of cab drivers.
Roughly half of the city’s 40,000-odd cabbies are Muslims who hail from countries all over the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere — and a great number of the drivers are observant, praying five times a day. Which raises the question: How and where do these men on the move pray?
When you spend your days driving a taxicab, it’s impossible to say where, at any given moment, you might wind up. Followers of Islam can perform their five daily prayers in any relatively clean space, even bowed down on the side of the road. But the process isn’t so simple. You first need to ritually wash with water and then to prostrate yourself facing east, toward Mecca.
“That’s why we have an app in our iPhone, we know where is the Mecca,” Youssef Kamal told me. “Right now, I’m here, right? I check my iPhone, check which is the Mecca. Straight to Mecca. Like, I am in Mecca right now. Technology!”
I found Kamal praying alone at the BP gas station on the corner of Houston and Lafayette streets. He’d taken a prayer mat from the cardboard box kept there for drivers, laid it down in front of the pumps and was kneeling in the cold. Continue reading this article
Indio High School recently showed up in the news because of a student being diagnosed as having tuberculosis and 45 others testing positive for exposure.
The school responded to the threat by requiring all students and staff to be screened before returning to the campus after Christmas vacation. TB is highly contagious among people sharing space over extended periods of time. The disease has been largely wiped out in this country but is still an active public health problem in the third world.
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