Archive for June, 2008

Where the hell is Matt?

I thought I’d post this. It makes me smile.

All those people gathered just to dance for this one guy’s video. So easy to unite.

We keep reminding ourselves of the shittiness of the world, and we forget to embrace the good. There are good people out there, who have good intentions. Unfortunately, they are overshadowed by the awfulness of the bad ones. I need to remember there’s good out there. I need to remember that for every slimeball, there’s a saint. Maybe one day I can be a saint. Insha’Allah.



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Guilt is a bitch


I have no reason for this post, but it’s nearly 5am and I can’t sleep.

I’ve been thinking about the emotion of guilt lately and how I’ve come to find its uselessness rather perplexing. Think about it. Think about the last time you felt guilty about anything. I mean, really felt guilty. Feel your heart empty. Feel your eyes water with regret. I’ll bet it was pretty awful. Now think about how that has benefitted you in your life. Did you really need to feel that awful? And was the reason for it even worth feeling that guilty over? Did you do anything wrong that warranted you to feel that way in the first place?

So, what good does guilt serve to us as a human race? Most people would say it serves to make us feel remorseful for immoral actions, so that we might not repeat them in the future. On the contrary, however, it seems that most offenses that illicit a sense of guilt are committed more than once. From terrible sins such as adultery, to popular sins like drinking alcohol, to simple, everyday sins like lying – guilt certainly succeeds in making people feel bad, but not bad enough to stop doing whatever made them feel that way.  

And then there’s the argument that guilt is felt by those who are good, because it reminds them of their humanity. In other words, to feel guilty is know you are human, that you have a conscience and a heart, and this is a good thing. I beg to differ. If I could choose to feel guilty and be a “good person” or not feel any guilt and be labeled an asshole, then elect me President of the United States and call me George Bush, cuz I will choose to be an asshole without hesitation. Besides, what good does the emotion offer to someone who already is a good person? The people who need to feel guilty are the ones out there doing all the bad shit. Murdering babies, raping women, and stealing elections. Those people need to be feeling the guilt, not me.

Ok, I get it. Yes, I know that if we didn’t feel guilt then we’d all be assholes and the world would be a very dismal place. But true, deep-seated guilt is debilitating. It’s paralyzing. It makes us regret our existence and sends us into a spiral of self pity that no one benefits from except, maybe, a psychiatrist. But why?

We are we the only species on earth who feel guilty. Animals have no use for it. It’s not biologically beneficial. Sure animals feel sadness. They feel loneliness. But they do not feel guilt. Reprimand a dog for eating your shoes and it will whimper, but that’s not out of guilt. That’s from fear.

But hey, maybe that’s where guilt comes from. Fear that God will punish us for not feeling bad for what we’ve done…or didn’t do (not fast, not pray, lying and telling the homeless man on the street you didn’t have any change even though you did, cuz you thought he’d buy crack with it…etc.)? So I can perceive the origin of guilt. But still, that fear isn’t enough to stop us from doing it again. Besides, there are atheists who have no fear of God and yet still experience guilt. Furthermore, isn’t guilt also a product of society? I know we’d feel guilty for committing adultery here, but in some states in Africa it’s a common practice for a man to have sex with several different women openly. 

So where does this meaningless feeling come from? Why must we experience this aching in our heart if it yields no apparent redeeming outcome? And most importantly, how do you get rid of it?  


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Kucinich, God Bless You

The cynic in me is slowly returning.

I was a fool to think that the US people would care about the actions of their government. We were all fools to think that electing Democrats into Congress 2006 would somehow cleanse the nation of the sin of re-electing Bush, because the Democrats are the moral ones, right?

For nearly 5 hours, Congressman Dennis Kucinich listed the “high crimes and misdemeanors” of President Bush through 35 articles as evidence for beginning impeachment hearings.

But no one cares.

I used to not care either. “Look to the future,” I always thought. The damage was done, and we just need to wait out the storm for a couple more months until the new administration steps in. But that’s assuming the new administration isn’t Republican. And isn’t Democrat. See, while I was falling for Obama’s soaring speeches and mesmerizing campaign, I’ve recently been reminded that the two parties may differ in policy, but their end result is the same: Ignore the people.

Nixon resigned for “perjury, wiretapping, and bribery,” and Clinton was impeached for “perjury and abuse of power” you’d think that the needless murder of millions, and the blatant lie to drag the United States into a war would be a black and white case for impeachment. And yet the Congress remains silent. When Bush’s disapproval ratings are nearly at 70%, most of those believing him to be the worst President in US history, how can a movement to impeach not occur?

WHY NOT IMPEACH? Because it’s an election year. So morals go out the window. Ethics are ignored because they don’t want to waste time and take away from other more urgent matters. Hearings on steroids, for example. WHAT THE HELL???

Is Bush going to just leave office, return to his ranch in Texas and live out the rest of his days, unscathed, as if nothing happened? This can’t be. Granted, even if an impeachment went through, he’d probably still live in obscurity on his ranch in Texas when his term ends, but at least we’ll have some solace in knowing that the history books will note his presidency as a stain, marked veritably with an impeachment.

So, I take my hat off to you, Congressman Kucinich. You are far too intelligent, and far too noble a man to surround yourself with your idiotic colleagues in the House. And furthermore, knowing the stupidity of the American public, I’m surprised you were elected into Congress at all.



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Let’s have a dialogue

Yesterday was the end of the three-day International Islamic Conference for Dialogue. The conference had about 600 “influential scholars” according to the Guardian UK. It is heavily backed by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia with the main purpose of creating harmony and tolerance between Muslims and non-Muslims from other monotheistic religions.

What struck me as odd was that the Guardian described King Abdullah as “seen as the bridge between the West and the Muslim world.” They even quoted Dr Ezzedin Ibrahim from the Ministry of Presidential Affairs in the United Arab Emirates saying that “Saudi Arabia is the cradle of Islam and only King Abdullah could be effective in calling Muslims from all parts of the world.”

I completely disagree with both statements. King Abdullah is after all a monarch, in charge of a country that one of my professors rightfully described it as a family business. And as far as bridging the gap between Muslims and the West, Saudi Arabia is the most restrictive regime towards peoples of other faiths. There is a steadily rising Catholic population of migrant workers — mainly from the Philippines — who have yet to be given a place of worship. Not only that, but in a country where there is constant discrimination against non-Saudis, even if they are Muslims, I strongly contest that its leadership should be the ambassadors of the Muslim world.

It is too bad that the royal family continues to reap the benefits of U.S. protection. I don’t hope for a coupe or violent revolution but there has to be room for dissent. A regime that’s too sure of its continued existence doesn’t usually stop to listen to the other side.

The IICD also covered issues such as terrorism and Muslim-Jewish relations. Luckily, there was consensus among the clerics and “scholars” that terrorism is to be condemned, however the issue of Jewish people was rather divided. The grand mufti and Saudi Arabia said that we cannot have dialogue with them because of the situation in Israel. His Egyptian counterpart, who was the most popular speaker, said that he will only talk to Jewish people if they denounce Zionism.

Reference: Guardian U.K. []


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Where is the humanity?

An elderly man age 78 years was a victim of a hit and run near downtown Hartford, CT. He was hit by a car that seemed to be racing another and both sped away after the incident. What is more shocking is that a security camera captured footage of the accident and the apparent oblivion and inaction by pedestrians and drivers present at the seen. For nearly 90 seconds no one came over the accident victim and tried to help him. Several cars slowed down to see what has happened and just drove off. It wasn’t until a police officer arrived following a call to an unrelated incident that people gathered to see if the man was alright.

Police released the video tape of the accident in an effort to help identify the driver responsible. I have posted it here but be warned THIS IS VERY GRAPHIC. The victim was rushed to the hospital and he is doing well.


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Es tu, Obama? :-(

U.S. Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Chicago on Friday. (AP)


When Obama retracted his statement, “No people have suffered more than the Palestinians” I forgave him. When he shamelessly courted Jewish voters by pointing out various similarities in their ideals, proclaiming his Christianity, as if being Muslim was cancerous, I forgave him. Even when he said he’d bomb Pakistan, I forgave him. In regards to his speech before AIPAC, however, I can’t be so merciful.
OK. Jews vote. Jews have money. I get it.  But some things just can’t go uncontested. The two subjects that stick out sorely are, 1) He refuses to negotiate with Hamas, since “there is no room on the negotiating table for terrorists” and 2) He supports an Israeli state with an undivided Jerusalem as its capital.

WHAT THE F***??!? First of all, how the hell can you call yourself a change candidate when you make the same exact promises of 60 years worth of US Presidents? Second of all, how can you run on a platform that pledges diplomacy and negotiation and then proclaim the complete opposite in refusing to deal with a democratically elected, perfectly legitimate government? As for an undivided Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol, Prime Minister Abbas (head of the government that’s ok for the US to deal with) plainly points out Obama’s ignorance: “The entire world knows perfectly well that we will never accept a state without [east] Jerusalem…” I’m sure the peace negotiations will go fine, Senator Obama, considering you don’t know one of the largest (if not the largest) talking point for Palestinians.
Lastly. I thought Obama didn’t care about the Washington lobbyists? Is AIPAC not a lobbying organization?
I understand that to be President of the United States you need to say certain things to get elected. This speech, however, was just plain stupid. There’s a way to ignite support from one side without alienating another. No one asked about a unified Jerusalem. No one asked about negotiating with Hamas. Neither had to be mentioned. A simple “US will be a friend to Israel” would have been sufficient. Nevertheless, he said these things, and in the process he demoralized the Arab and Muslim community. Has he forgotten that Ralph Nader, a man truly unafraid of Washington lobbyists, is running in November?
My friends all know I have maintained a support for Obama throughout his campaign (read a couple of my previous posts for evidence). This is truly a smack in the face.


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Watching the events of Tuesday night was like watching the Oscars. The speeches, the timing, the decor and backdrops, outfits and ties, everything staged and scripted to the last detail. Even the pundits and media analysts played their roles impeccably. They never once failed to point out the obvious, speculate on why their earlier speculations were wrong, and repeat all those talking points we’ve come to know and love.

The night kicked off well before the polls were closed in South Dakota and Montana. CNN, with the help of some neat graphics, reminded us how Obama was only 4 votes away from clinching the nomination. But just before it was official, McCain decided to steal the spotlight with a perfectly timed speech in Kentucky. It was a direct attack on Obama and his lack of experience. The small crowd gathered was initially enthused by his opening remarks. But as he continued the cheers (and occasionally boos at Obama) became less and less audible. There were three or four people (probably campaign staffers) who would initiate them on queue and try to get the crowd going. Anyway, the second half of the speech was basically him bullet point through Obama’s weaknesses and end each list with “and that’s not change you can believe in.” It was the saddest thing I’ve heard. I think my graduation ceremony speaker had a more inspiring speech and I don’t even remember his name.

Next up, Hillary. Her speech came in moments after it was official she had won South Dakota. It was predicted she would use the speech to concede and endorse Obama. To me it sounded like a victory speech. At first my thought was she was just rejoicing her latest victory in SD, no harm done. She would use it to energize her supporters and once they were victory-hypnotized she would ask them to unite behind the Obama. It was the thing to do to unite the party, and it was definitely the thing to do if one loses.

But after hearing her whole speech, my thought was either there is something she knows about Obama that the rest of us don’t yet know, or she still doesn’t know what the rest of us already know — if you have more delegates you win the election. I am leaning towards the latter scenario because if she did know something she would have used it a long time ago. But to be fair she did give her supporters the chance to tell her what she needs to know and invited them to visit her website and express their opinion as to what her next move ought to be.

Well Hillary did more than poll the audience, she also phoned some friends and finally today arrived at her final answer: she will concede on Saturday and endorse Obama.

Finally, Obama’s speech. Energetic, eloquent, inspiring, are just some words that can be used to describe it. But there is more to it too. For the first time he was actually direct and aggressive. He hit back at McCain and did not hold back as much as he did against Clinton. The crowd loved it and at that point, given the historic significance of it, it was hard not to be moved. God I hope they don’t assassinate him.

Note: Clearly I have an Obama bias, so get over it.


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