Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I've Moved.

Did I mention that I moved? Oh, yeah, I did.

My new site address is

If you subscribe to this blog via e-mail, please go to the new site and re-subscribe.

Looking forward to hearing from you there!!

Nope, I don't know when the next terrorist hit is going down.

So, I was in the E.R. for four hours yesterday because I had "hives." Sounds disgusting? It was. And itchy, very itchy. I tried to explain to the doctors that it was because I started trying to customize a Wordpress template, but they seem to think it was something I ate. What do they know? They obviously haven't ever tried to customize a WP template.

Anyway, I'm posting this YouTube clip of American Iranian comedian, Maz Jobrani. You may know him from the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour which is the source of this clip.

Who doesn't beleive that this has happened to me, like, a million different times in my life?

Monday, October 20, 2008

The General's Got My Back

"I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, 'Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.'

Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim; he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian.

But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. "

--General Colin Powell (Ret.) at Meet the Press

This whole "Isn't Obama a Muslim" issue has really started to upset me.  And not upset in the sense of, "That-makes-me-so-mad," but upset in the sense of  "if-I-hear-one-more-person-say-that-I'm-going- to- start-sobbing."

That question really, really hurts my feelings.  People are certainly entitled to their opinions. Still, to intimate that the status of Muslim precludes a person from being American enough to be President of the United States equates to the suggestion that I am not American enough, in general.  

I believe that Gov. McCain isn't a prejudiced man, but I do fault him for not addressing this issue in the "really right" way.  

And just to be fair, I understand the need for political expediency, but Sen. Obama's repeated focus on the fact that he's Christian instead of saying something to the effect of "you would be better served by asking yourself why that is important to you" hurt my feelings, too.  

A few weeks ago, I wrote the campaign an e-mail about it.  

I got a form letter directing me to a page on his site which enumerated all the ways that he was Christian as well as the many ways in which he supported the American Jewish community.  And that's great, good for him and all the Christians and Jews in this country.  But, really, all I wanted was one measly sentence that said, "Hey, back off,  you narrow minded bigots, Americans can be Muslim, too."   

This whole thing made me feel victimized.  

Yes, that's a strong word.  But, it's in response to a strong accusation.   When people assume that a Muslim president automatically translates to a president aligned with terrorists, they assume that Muslim Americans don't take the responsibilities of American citizenship as strongly as others.  I don't presume that all Muslims in this country take their citizenship as seriously as myself, but I'm sure that the same can be said of any religious group in this country.    

I have an argument that is well reasoned, in my opinion, regarding how my faith doesn't at all preclude me from fulfilling every obligation incumbent upon American citizens.  

But, you know what?  Until I see Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Scientologists, or any other religious group having to defend their religious choices in the context of their obligations as American citizens, I don't think I should have to share my defense with anyone else.

That said, I would like to end this post thanking General Colin Powell (Ret.) for his statements made on "Meet the Press."  

Thank you, General, for giving the "really right" answer.

Thank you for sticking up for me when no other politician would willingly do so.  I know you don't have an election to win, but it still made me feel better to see someone do the right thing.

Thank you for reminding everyone that I, the soldier who gave his life for his country, and that seven year old boy have a right to all of the privileges, honors and aspirations that any other American in this country does.

Watch Powell's interview here and admire how a real American stands up to injustice.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

The Absolute Last Bit Of Evidence You Need

These guys definitely know something that John McCain supporters here just do not know.  I get it, though.  This is going to take foreign policy to a whole new level.  

I did take some cough syrup about an hour ago, so I hope this is still as funny tomorrow as it is at this very moment.

Thanks to Sandhya at Literary Safari for this.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Points of Reference

This year's topic for Blog Action Day? Poverty.

Some people approach defining poverty within the context of material goods. Do you have enough to eat, drink, and a roof over your head? Yes? Then, you, according to some Americans, are not impoverished.

In an attempt to understand "American Poverty," I did what any Internets junkie would do, I googled the phrase "american poverty." This took me to a site called The Heritage Foundation, a self described think-tank, whose mission is to

formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.

This foundation takes issue with recent statistics from the Census Bureau which suggest that 14% of Americans live at or below the poverty line. "Poverty," writes an author on the site, "means destitution...[lack of] nutritious food, adequate clothing, and reasonable shelter."

Based on this definition of poverty, only about 2% of this nation's population are actually impoverished.
There's more in this article suggesting that the poorest people in our nation live much better than the majority of the world's middle class.

So, this is our new paradigm? Am I to understand that this position suggests that as long as the bottom 14% of this nation lives better than the middle class in, say, Sierra Leone that poverty is just not an issue in our nation?

Personally, I believe that American's should examine poverty as a function of disparity and access rather than material goods.

What do you think? Do you think American poverty should be defined relative to the rest of the world? Or do you think that it should be evaluated within the context of America itself?

***BTW, I'm doing a guest post at Avitable's blog on Thursday, October 16. If you're interested in reading a "NSGA (not suitable for general audiences) Faiqa", check it out!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Follow Me

For those of you who live under a rock without Internet, twitter is a social networking site that allows users to "microblog."  That's geek speak for "Tell us what you're doing in 140 characters or less."

Unlike Facebook, Twitter allows you to connect with other users without having to wade through annoying applications like, "If you were a prime number, which prime number would you be?" It also bypasses the unintended hassles created by Facebook's Inbox.  As if we all need another e-mail application to worry about?!

If you click on the name of this post, you should be redirected to my twitter profile.  Just a series of updates about what I'm doing right now, and perhaps a link or two is what you'll find.

You will also find that I am "following" 20 people while only 15 people are "following" me.  

The number of people I am following outnumber the number of people that are following me. How can this be?!  I am a more of follower than a leader?

Why does everything that ever happens to me have to be some kind of painful karmic lesson?

First, I tried chalking this whole thing up to the fact that the majority of people in my social network are either very busy people who have better things to do than be on Twitter, or that they're too busy sharpening their wooden pencils in a manual pencil sharpener to be bothered with that newfangled Internets.

Then, I started surfing around the accounts of some of the people I follow.  



Who are these people?  How do you get that many people to follow you?  

If I had that kind of power, I would be working on a viable plan for world domination.  Notice the term "viable"... because I do have a plan for world domination stuck in a drawer somewhere.  It's just not workable.  Yet.

I, too, want to be part of the Twitter elite.  I need to move some place where something terrible is going to happen, so I can get people to follow me as I tweet about it.  

All that said, let me set aside the last shred of dignity I have and, beg you to please follow me on Twitter if you aren't already doing so.  My self respect seems to depend on it.


Monday, October 13, 2008

I Know You Miss Me

I'm moving this blog to a new location by the end of this week (Insha'Allah).

Of course, I'll let you know when it's done.

I'm just telling you in case you start wondering where I went for the next few days.

I'm in Wordpress theme and template hell, that's where I am.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

For God's Sake, Someone Call Child Services

I just don't know what bothers me more about this video. The crazy desi parents yelling at their kid or the rabidly liberal two year old.

My mom has repeatedly bragged to me that when I was two years old, I walked up to a random person at the grocery store and asked, "Do you know who Idi Amin is? Faiqa does."

I'm thinking that a dining table scene similar to the above YouTube clip occurred in my home prior to the Idi Amin incident.

I don't know which is more tragic: that my mom is proud of that or that I actually have an "Idi Amin incident" in my life.

And thanks to Hadji is Dead for bringing up this painful flashback from my childhood.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dead Right

I took a course called "Death in America" a few years ago. At the end of the class, the professor asked, "Do you believe present day America is a death denying culture?"

I believe that we are a death denying culture. We're not stupid. Americans know that every single person born on this earth does eventually die.

But knowledge of a thing, I submit, is not a substitute for acceptance.

The most obvious proof of this for me is the cemetery that I pass on my way to the mall.

An expansive and pristine green field dotted with fake bouquets of colorful flowers, it's typical of the American cemetery built within the past fifty years. Embedded in the ground in the form of flat stones, grave markers are visible only to those who actively seek reminders of those buried there. The architects of this cemetery showed great consideration for those who don't wish to be reminded of death. Your eyes will pass right over this cemetery as you go about your day, therefore ensuring that you'll definitely not think about the the bodies of the mothers, fathers, friends and children lying in that field.

Juxtapose this fairly recent construction with the century old cemetery that is in the middle of my brother's neighborhood in a parish outside of New Orleans. Massive structures of concrete and marble slab over four or five feet tall casually invade the everyday space of the living. People live next door to the cemetery, across the street from it, and even walk their dogs there. Unlike its Central Floridian sister, this New Orleanian cemetery jovially greets its living neighbors and unwary passersby, "Hey baby, (people in New Orleans say "baby," a lot) there's plenty of room in here for you, too. Laissez les bontemps roule!"

The reason for our stubborn denial of death is far more than just a simple fear of dying. Death reminds us that this life is impermanent, which means that everyone in our lives, as we know them today, is impermanent, too.

See, that last sentence is typical of a death denying culture with its use of "permanent" and "impermanent." A person who truly accepts and even embraces death as a concrete reality can say "One day, I will die, my parents will die, my spouse will die, and my children will die." Few people, including myself, can really say that without feeling totally depressed. Denying death certainly affords us the benefit of avoiding the painful fact that everyone we love and cherish will die.

But, I wonder, what are we missing in this trade off?

And, furthermore, what might we gain in trying to incorporate the true acceptance of death in our daily life?

We stand to gain quite a bit, I think. I'm not going to bore you with a discussion of the standard "Rah, Rah, live this day like it's your last" cheer. You're way too smart for that.

As I understand it, denying death allows us to continue deny what's important.

Hustling like a crazy person to win the love and acceptance of other human beings only feels important when we convince ourselves that the approval and love that we may get in return for the hustling is going to last forever.

Getting angry over the latest perceived insult to our egos only feels important when we convince ourselves that if the insult is not rectified, it will stand as an everlasting affront to who we are.

Competing with others over who has the best house, the nicest car and the most toys only feels right when we convince ourselves that some prize will be won in the end.

When we face death head on instead of denying it, though, we face the utter frivolity of these pursuits.

We realize that the only real truth is that everyone gets the same end in this life. Some will face death surrounded by loved ones and others will face it alone. For some, it will happen fast, and for others, it will happen slowly. In the end, regardless of the circumstances, everyone's heart will stop, everyone's breath will fade, and everyone's brain will die.

Death is not a punishment, it's a reality. And I personally feel that the further we remove ourselves from the realities of life, the worse off we are.

This seems nihilistic, but, really, it's most liberating. Accepting death can help us construct a legacy in which we truly believe. Death can serve as a microscope that allows us to dissect our beliefs and deeds in a way that no other experience can adequately parallel.

Accepting death doesn't mean that I can't grieve for the people in my life that have died either.

In fact, it gives me permission to do so in a more subtle and prolonged way, without the self imposed stigma of feeling like I have to "get over it." Because, you can't get over death. It's always going to be there, and ignoring it doesn't make it go away.

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

From the Party That Gave You the Term "Flip-Flopper"

The Daily Show really does have the Best F%^&$#G News Team Ever.  

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Gosh Darn It, That Was A Good Debate

I was going to go all Anderson Cooper meets Wolf Blitzer on you with a detailed point by point analysis of last night's debate, when by the third paragraph, I realized, who cares about the details of a debate that's not even a "game changer," according to one political pundit?

I thought Biden did very well. But, that's because I'm obviously liberal, and decidedly not a maverick, whose partisanship politics is the root cause of all of our nation's evils. And he didn't talk about Dunkin' Donuts, so that was a plus. Personally, I think Barack sat him down and did that magical up and down hand wave thing he does at speeches when eighty thousand people are cheering for him and said, "Settle down, Joe, settle down."

The Dallas Star reported that "Sarah Palin turned in a strong performance last night" and attributed that to her "folksy manner." Hmmm. Last time I checked, I thought we were having a debate over who would make a better Veep, not who would be a better candidate to play Gomer Pyle in the upcoming release of Gomer goes to Washington.

I'm getting the feeling that Palin's getting props because she avoided a Couricatastrophe. (You betchya, I made that up). I watched the debate, and I just read over the transcripts. She was actually O.K.

But, a strong performance? That's a little much. That's like me saying to my husband, "Oh, honey, you're the best husband in the world because you don't cheat on me." The ideal husband should not cheat on his wife, and the ideal Vice Presidential candidate isn't supposed to be funnier to watch than the SNL skits that mock her.

Actually, the reason that Sarah Palin irritates me has nothing whatsoever to do with Sarah Palin. She seems like a nice enough Washington outsider. I just start seething when I think of the possibility that all of those goshes, youbetchyas and gratuitous soccer mom references are winning people over.

If you're going to vote for John McCain because you agree with his policies, I can respect that. Especially since Uncle Joe reminded me last night that it's best not to question the motives of our opponents. But, if you ask me, there is a special place in hell for people who vote for the guy they'd rather have a beer with. They, not the impending economic catastrophe, are the real danger in America.

Because those kind of people don't care about anybody but themselves and they make the rest of us look as dumb as they are. They would rather have the wrong president who doesn't make them feel stupid than the right president who reminds them that they are, in fact, stupid.

Vote for John McCain or vote for Barack Obama, but please make sure your vote is for America and what you believe is best for you and your fellow citizens, not just for yourself.

Oh, and by the way, according to

Obama did say that troops in Afghanistan were killing civilians, a claim that Palin calls “untrue.” Here’s the whole quote, from a campaign stop in New Hampshire:

Obama, August 2007: We’ve got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there.

The Associated Press fact-checked this one, and found that in fact U.S troops were killing more civilians at the time than insurgents: “As of Aug. 1, the AP count shows that while militants killed 231 civilians in attacks in 2007, Western forces killed 286. Another 20 were killed in crossfire that can’t be attributed to one party.”

Aww, golly, c'mon, say it ain't so, gosh darn it.

I really regret not being able to work "maverick" into that last line.

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