DC, NYC, Austin Texas

I know, I suck, I haven;t been updating, even though I have like 30,000 new links to share everyday. maybe I should get my del.ici.ous account and do those instant link posts that other people do. Hmmm… Anyway, on to bigger news.

People, By now you know that when I come to the US i usually stick to Boston, New York or DC. This time it's no different…almost. I will also be coming to Austin Texas for a bit. So, if you are a fan of this blog, and wanna meet up, send me an e-mail @ sandmonkey at gmail dot com, and let's meet up and put some faces to the names.

See you soon, hopefully…

SM 

Comments

  1. Austin is a great town. I’m an American currently living in Yemen. Consequently I haven’t been reading your blog lately because internet access here is terrible. However, I’ll let you know next time I’m in Egypt. Have a fun trip to the states. Ramadan kareem.

  2. Mike Nargizian says:

    you’re going to be in NYC again?

  3. CHICAGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Three restaurants to try while you are in Austin:

    1. Castle Hill — Austin’s best. You can get a great lunch for under $15 a person. Prices go up for dinner.

    2. Kim Yung — best meal in town for under $10 a person. Gotta like Vietnamese food.

    3. A Palestinian owned restaurant and market on the east side of I35. Unfortunately the TV blares Al-jazeera all day. You do NOT want to talk politics here. But the humus is good.

    There are also some good places on South Congress. Great live music at the Continental Club. Sixth Street is overrun with college kids.

    Enjoy.

    PS For late night, go to Katz’s Deli. Tell Mark that Keith says hi.

  5. See you in Austin babe :)

  6. Hey Sandmonkey,

    I know you are traveling, but how about some updates about Suzanne Tamim and the Rockslide? Me appreciates your perspective.

    E-Man

  7. E-man for updates on Tamim’s murderer and the rock slide go to egyptian chronicles.

    She has you tube interviews and photos galore. Monkey is 2 busy & lazy lately.

  8. When are you traveling? My house in the States is not far from Boston.

  9. jsahdgfkjsahfd says:

    What’s the difference between Palin and Muslim fundamentalists? Lipstick
    A theocrat is a theocrat, whether Muslim or Christian.

    By Juan Cole

    Sep. 09, 2008 | John McCain announced that he was running for president to confront the “transcendent challenge” of the 21st century, “radical Islamic extremism,” contrasting it with “stability, tolerance and democracy.” But the values of his handpicked running mate, Sarah Palin, more resemble those of Muslim fundamentalists than they do those of the Founding Fathers. On censorship, the teaching of creationism in schools, reproductive rights, attributing government policy to God’s will and climate change, Palin agrees with Hamas and Saudi Arabia rather than supporting tolerance and democratic precepts. What is the difference between Palin and a Muslim fundamentalist? Lipstick.

    McCain pledged to work for peace based on “the transformative ideals on which we were founded.” Tolerance and democracy require freedom of speech and the press, but while mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Palin inquired of the local librarian how to go about banning books that some of her constituents thought contained inappropriate language. She tried to fire the librarian for defying her. Book banning is common to fundamentalisms around the world, and the mind-set Palin displayed did not differ from that of the Hamas minister of education in the Palestinian government who banned a book of Palestinian folk tales for its sexually explicit language. In contrast, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.”

    Palin argued when running for governor that creationism should be taught in public schools, at taxpayers’ expense, alongside real science. Antipathy to Darwin for providing an alternative to the creation stories of the Bible and the Quran has also become a feature of Muslim fundamentalism. Saudi Arabia prohibits the study, even in universities, of evolution, Freud and Marx. Malaysia has banned a translation of “The Origin of the Species.” Likewise, fundamentalists in Turkey have pressured the government to teach creationism in the public schools. McCain has praised Turkey as an anchor of democracy in the region, but Turkey’s secular traditions are under severe pressure from fundamentalists in that country. McCain does them no favors by choosing a running mate who wishes to destroy the First Amendment’s establishment clause, which forbids the state to give official support to any particular theology. Turkish religious activists would thereby be enabled to cite an American precedent for their own quest to put religion back at the center of Ankara’s public and foreign policies.

    The GOP vice-presidential pick holds that abortion should be illegal, even in cases of rape, incest or severe birth defects, making an exception only if the life of the mother is in danger. She calls abortion an “atrocity” and pledges to reshape the judiciary to fight it. Ironically, Palin’s views on the matter are to the right of those in the Muslim country of Tunisia, which allows abortion in the first trimester for a wide range of reasons. Classical Muslim jurisprudents differed among one another on the issue of abortion, but many permitted it before the “quickening” of the fetus, i.e. until the end of the fourth month. Contemporary Muslim fundamentalists, however, generally oppose abortion.

    Palin’s stance is even stricter than that of the Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In 2005, the legislature in Tehran attempted to amend the country’s antiabortion statute to permit an abortion up to four months in case of a birth defect. The conservative clerical Guardianship Council, which functions as a sort of theocratic senate, however, rejected the change. Iran’s law on abortion is therefore virtually identical to the one that Palin would like to see imposed on American women, and the rationale in both cases is the same, a literalist religious impulse that resists any compromise with the realities of biology and of women’s lives. Saudi Arabia’s restrictive law on abortion likewise disallows it in the case or rape or incest, or of fetal impairment, which is also Gov. Palin’s position.

    Theocrats confuse God’s will with their own mortal policies. Just as Muslim fundamentalists believe that God has given them the vast oil and gas resources in their regions, so Palin asks church workers in Alaska to pray for a $30 billion pipeline in the state because “God’s will has to get done.” Likewise, Palin maintained that her task as governor would be impeded “if the people of Alaska’s heart isn’t right with God.” Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei of Iran expresses much the same sentiment when he says “the only way to attain prosperity and progress is to rely on Islam.”

    Not only does Palin not believe global warming is “man-made,” she favors massive new drilling to spew more carbon into the atmosphere. Both as a fatalist who has surrendered to God’s inscrutable will and as a politician from an oil-rich region, she thereby echoes Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has been found to have exercised inappropriate influence in watering down a report in 2007 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    Neither Christians nor Muslims necessarily share the beliefs detailed above. Many believers in both traditions uphold freedom of speech and the press. Indeed, in a recent poll, over 90 percent of Egyptians and Iranians said that they would build freedom of expression into any constitution they designed. Many believers find ways of reconciling the scientific theory of evolution with faith in God, not finding it necessary to believe that the world was created suddenly only 6,000 ago. Some medieval Muslim thinkers asserted that the world had existed from eternity, and others spoke of cycles of hundreds of thousands or millions of years. Mystical Muslim poets spoke of humankind traversing the stages of mineral, plant and animal. Modern Islamic fundamentalists have attempted to narrow this great, diverse tradition.

    The classical Islamic legal tradition generally permitted, while frowning on, contraception and abortion, and complete opposition to them is mostly a feature of modern fundamentalist thinking. Many believers in both Islam and Christianity would see it as hubris to tie God to specific government policies or to a particular political party. As for global warming, green theology, in which Christians and Muslims appeal to Scripture in fighting global warming, is an increasing tendency in both traditions.

    Palin has a right to her religious beliefs, as do fundamentalist Muslims who agree with her on so many issues of social policy. None of them has a right, however, to impose their beliefs on others by capturing and deploying the executive power of the state. The most noxious belief that Palin shares with Muslim fundamentalists is her conviction that faith is not a private affair of individuals but rather a moral imperative that believers should import into statecraft wherever they have the opportunity to do so. That is the point of her pledge to shape the judiciary. Such a theocratic impulse is incompatible with the Founding Fathers’ commitment to tolerance and democracy, which is why they forbade the government to “establish” or officially support any particular religion or denomination.

    McCain once excoriated the Rev. Jerry Falwell and his ilk as “agents of intolerance.” That he took such a position gave his opposition to similar intolerance in Islam credibility. In light of his more recent disgraceful kowtowing to the Christian right, McCain’s animus against fundamentalist Muslims no longer looks consistent. It looks bigoted and invidious. You can’t say you are waging a war on religious extremism if you are trying to put a religious extremist a heartbeat away from the presidency.

  10. brooklynjon says:

    Re 9,

    Roe v. Wade is an imposition of religious beliefs (that abortion is acceptible) on all the states. If an extremist President is ever to have the power to ban abortion nationally, it will be because Roe v. Wade establishes the precident of abortion as a federal issue, rather than one decided by states individually. If there is anything that ultimately makes it possible theoretically that abortions in my fair state of New York may be made illegal in the future, it is the antifederalist precedent set by Roe v. Wade. It is an abomination. And I say this as someone who not only supports abortion “rights”, but who actually performs abortions.

    And you don’t have to be a religious extremist to suspect that the whole man-made global warming thing is a farce. You just have to be a scientist with an eye to critically analyzing research, data, and scientific communication. Global Warming has been happening for the past 10,000 years. In that time, the level of the ocean has increased so much that the shoreline at New York City has moved inland by 100 miles. All of this happened before the first factory was built, and the first internal combulstion engine was fired up. The data from antarctic ice shows that a warm atmosphere causes an increas in CO2 (released by the oceans) and not the other way around. And current accelerated glacial melt in the north (which is a continuation of something happening for 10,000 years) is accompanied by increasing glaciation in the southern hemisphere, and is likely due to changes in magma flows beneath the surface of the Earth.

    Juan Cole believes that freedom applies to him, and to people who agree with him, and no one else. Juan Cole is free to express his belief. And I am free to say that Juan Cole is an idiot.

    bj

  11. Well said brooklynjon, as usual!

  12. Mike Nargizian says:

    Juan Cole like most far left academics is an annoying fool who loves to hear himself ruminate at end and loves to condescend to anyone with a differing opinion… including by calling actual Iraqis living there “CIA spies” without a shred of proof… just cause he’s Juan Cole…

    That being said the Supreme Court sometimes rules on things it technically doesn’t have the jurisdiction to…. so if you want to make abortion a state issue than you will get all kinds of problems with that… and if you hold to the hard and fast rule about Supreme Court jurisdiction that you would still have Jim Crow laws and blacks going to separate schools, waterfountains and restaurants…

    The Bottom Line is – things are often not black and white and sometimes a jury or judge or the Supreme Court doing something for the wrong reasons turns out to be a good thing… life/democracy is a constant stretching from the middle and adjusting… and the battle to how far it should stretch will continue to change and “stretch” as well.

    Mike

  13. Mike Nargizian says:

    a pun intended

  14. @ posts 9-13

    These are well-written. There is your compliment.

    None of them is on topic. Please do not hijack Sandmonkey’s blog. Get your own. Livejournal will set you up for free.

    PS I misspelled the name of one restaurant in my previous post. The Vietnamese restaurant is named Kim Phung.

  15. brooklynjon says:

    antares,

    conversations wander. i don’t think that is necessarily hijacking. in this case, the original topic of the post is really a nontopic.

    Mike,

    Separate-but-equal runs afoul of the equal protection clause because separate but equal really was separate and unequal. If there really were separate and equal facilities, I suppose it would not run afoul of the constitution, but what would be the point of that? The obvious point of separation is not to give the other guy something at least as good as what you have.

    In striking down the de facto apartheid regime that existed in much of the south, no new rights had to be imagined into the constitution. Not so with Roe v. Wade. The majority opinion said so. They made up a constitutional right out of thin air because it was good policy. That’s just not the way things are done in a consititutional democracy.

    I’m not sure what kind of problems I would get if abortion were a state issue. Murder is a state issue, and that seems to work all right. If Utah wants to make abortion illegal, I have no problem with that. I also won’t live in Utah. Pragmatically speaking, in some communities, people vote with their feet and refuse to use ob/gyns who perform abortions, using market forces to restrict the supply of abortion providers. In liberal states, abortion was legal before Roe v. Wade, and so it’s overturn would ahve no effect other than returning the issue to the states, where Massachusetts can then do whatever it wants without outside interference.

    bj

  16. Kalmeni ya homar :)

  17. SM,

    If you are going to Austin, make sure you take your camera up to Mount Bonnell in the morning and go have a drink at the Oasis at sunset. You might go to the Texas State Museum in between and see Colonel Travis’ last message out of the Alamo. Go up in the tower of UT Austin and see where crazy Charles Whitman sniped on the campus below. Go see a million bats fly out of the bridge at Congress Avenue at dusk. Go across the river and have a drink at one of the riverside hotels. Go to Hooters for dessert. Take a walk along the Hike & Bike Trail. You probably already know where Sixth Street is, Party Man.

    If you’re a computer geek, you might enjoy going to the Alligator Grill on S. Lamar in Austin. It’s got pretty good jambalay. It’s also where they filmed the restaurant scenes in “Office Space.” The Central Market is a couple miles south of there, Austin’s big organic food market.

    If you have an extra day, drive 90 minutes southwest to Fredericksburg, TX and see the National Museum of the Pacific War, one of the best museums in the US. There are a lot of bed & breakfast joints in Fburg, if you dig doing that sort of thing. Chicks love it. Me, not so much.

  18. SM,

    If you are going to Austin, make sure you take your camera up to Mount Bonnell in the morning and go have a drink at the Oasis at sunset. You might go to the Texas State Museum in between and see Colonel Travis’ last message out of the Alamo. Go up in the tower of UT Austin and see where crazy Charles Whitman sniped on the campus below. Go see a million bats fly out of the bridge at Congress Avenue at dusk. Go across the river and have a drink at one of the riverside hotels. Go to Hooters for dessert. Take a walk along the Hike & Bike Trail. You probably already know where Sixth Street is, Party Man.

    If you’re a computer geek, you might enjoy going to the Alligator Grill on S. Lamar in Austin. It’s got pretty good jambalaya. It’s also where they filmed the restaurant scenes in “Office Space.” The Central Market is a couple miles south of there, Austin’s big organic food market.

    If you have an extra day, drive 90 minutes southwest to Fredericksburg, TX and see the National Museum of the Pacific War, one of the best museums in the US. There are a lot of bed & breakfast joints in Fburg, if you dig doing that sort of thing. Chicks love it. Me, not so much.

  19. Sam, are you still going to be in Austin? Ike kinda threw a wrench in most peoples plans. I may be helping out a mutual friend by transporting a generator to the hurricane area, would love to meet in Austin if I do, if you’re there.