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November 21, 2007

Comments

I think worldwide health, peace and a-pony-for-every-child is likely to come about sooner than Mark Steyn ceasing to be an idiot.

Blame Canada! Blame Canada!

Happy Thanksgiving you guys.

For some people, the whole point is to make us look like idiots to the Arabic-speaking world. We're good, they're bad. The more they dislike us, the better we feel about ourselves.

The disturbing thing is that GOPers really believe they can profit by promoting that outlook. Either they are stupid themselves, or they are cynicaly angling for the stupid vote.

-- TP

I was disappointed in Obama's pointing to that period as his most important foreign policy qualification, and I was disappointed in Clinton's campaign's knock on that. And Edwards has been even worse. Eagerly looking forward to the end of the primary season.

In other news, Rilkekind had his surgery and is back from the hospital presumably cured and everything's fine in the Rilkehaus.

In other news, Rilkekind had his surgery and is back from the hospital presumably cured and everything's fine in the Rilkehaus.

Excellent. Best wishes to all in Rilkehaus.

Thanks, Jes. Hope you're enjoying whatever one does in your neck of the woods this time of year instead of traveling in awful traffic to overeat and drink too much and quarrel with the relatives.

In other news, Rilkekind had his surgery and is back from the hospital presumably cured and everything's fine in the Rilkehaus.

Just the thought of one of my kids having to have surgery makes me weak in the knees. I suppose I'd get through it, but still...I have a hard time not fretting over their having a somewhat bad cold. It's always good to hear that something like that is over and all is well. I'm not sure if "congratulations" is quite the right word, but "Congratulations!"
Rilkefan.

So, Obama went to a madrassa back in the early '70s in Indonesia. BFD. I don't recall that Indonesia was a hotbed of radical Islam back then, but I could be wrong about that. Certainly, though, far too many years have passed in order for that to be of any concern.

I also don't care about Obama's drug use. Bully for him for admitting it upfront.

Please excuse the random return at the end. That's to Rilkefan, not from Rilkefan.

Glad to hear it rilke. Can't imagine the anxiety that must produce.

As for this:

It's silly, it's childish, and it makes us look like idiots in the eyes of the Arabic-speaking world.

The "it" in that sentence could either be:

A. The Corner
B. Mark Steyn
C. The Bush administration.

I'm even offering a "D" - all of the above.

I'm glad to hear that the Rilkekid will be home for TDay.

Obama went to a Catholic parochial school, too.

Well there is no reasoning with some people!

Hope you're enjoying whatever one does in your neck of the woods this time of year instead of traveling in awful traffic to overeat and drink too much and quarrel with the relatives.

Get rained on, mostly. And look forward to next month, when we'll overeat and drink too much and quarrel with the relatives, meantime giving and receiving presents we do not want. Never mind. My dad just had an operation on his eye, and I was suffering the most awful qualms between when he told me and when it was clear he was really recovered and doing well, which I imagine is a low percentage of the qualms of a parent - so I'll be having a private thanksgiving this week, regardless of weather.

Rilkefan:

That's great news about Rilkekind! I hope things continue improving. My best wishes.

Publius: "is on a par with worrying that Senator Clinton attended junior high."

By November 1 of next year, there will be pictures of Hillary posted by the usual suspects depicting her naked at make-out parties sporting all manner of battery-powered devices, and grainy video of her as 8th-grade class President imposing a tax on the cafeteria cupcakes to finance the gummint-run yearbook.

More seriously, there is a meme developing among the worst the country has to offer, which will gain traction as the election approaches, that the gigantic mortgage credit crisis, which has been "securitized" worldwide as untransparently as possible by the free market effing geniuses on Wall Street, and is killing the banks and other financials, is .... the Democrat's fault, particularly whoever is the Democratic candidate.

And, that the turmoil in the markets is not because of this crisis, but because the markets (in other words, the geniuses on Wall Street) are scared senseless by the prospect of a Democratic President.

Some will answer that the market "knows" the future and prices accordingly and is never surprised by reality. Really, then how come the market knew nothing about Countrywide Credit's balance sheet the day before its stock started cratering? If the market is so prescient, tell me the level of the DJIA on February 1, 2008, since the market has transmitted this information to the favored few.

Also, what am I having for dinner next Wednesday?

Believe me, all of you, including the doomsayers who comment here, own this unpriceable paper somehow, somewhere.

All of that, natch, while the corrupt republican party has wielded the levers of power at Treasury and the Fed by proxy for the past seven years.

It will work, because by next year the American people will be so ripely bent over for demagoguery that they will look to a thug like Guiliani (who shares with Bin Laden delicious thankfulness for 9/11) or the other Republican candidates for punishment, because that is what they peddle.

Parenthetically, Clinton, Obama, and Edwards have been pathetic warriors against these folks. Ditto for the Democrats in Congress.

You now see, on FOX and CNBC, guests on financial shows and the Mussolini talk-show venues touting new, alternate American currencies to the dollar, abolishing the Federal Reserve, all manner of Ron Paul extremist horsepuckey.

In other words, lubing up the electorate for what they hope is the final blow against liberal vermin and gummint.

Over to you, Bill.

postscript: You may also use this comment as a signal that the stock market has bottomed, given my track record, which is terrible, but on a par with the geniuses on Wall Street, not to mention everyone else.

Sorry, back to Bill for the regularly scheduled programming.


I don't see all that much in the way of tarring, G'Kar, unless mentioning it is strictly verboten.

Mostly, he seems to be poking fun at Obama's feeble grab at foreign policy credentials, which is kind of a headscratcher considering the incumbent's foreign-policy experience prior to gaining office.

So, stupid. But stupid in a different direction than you're pointing.

Also, what am I having for dinner next Wednesday?

Turkey, again.

Parenthetically, Clinton, Obama, and Edwards have been pathetic warriors against these folks.

Warriors nothing. They haven't even risen to the level of hall monitors.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

On-topic: With this and the Romney thing in the last couple of days, I'm starting to wonder whether NRO is trying to become a gossip rag.

Off-topic: I just wanted to wish everyone here a happy Thanskgiving, and thank you all for your congeniality to a newcomer. There are so many insightful and thoughtful bloggers and commenters here that I find myself wishing it were a web-community. Even so, it's my favorite blog on the web.

And the cheese-eating surrender monkeys send their kids to ecoles, where they're brainwashed into loving Jerry Lewis and worshiping some demon named Dieu.

Slarti: I think that using 'madrassa' rather than the translation, 'school', and doing it on purpose, counts as a smear.

I could be wrong, though. Likewise, I suppose that when the same people pointedly call him Barack HUSSEIN Obama, they could just be in favor of using people's full names.

But Thanksgiving was last month...

Oh, wait, you guys must be in the US. Okay, have a happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a lack of serious lower G-I repurcussions!

Particular good wishes to the Rilkekind and haus-hold.

Regarding political coverage in these h ere United States: Remember when I used to complain that watching the news on TV was like watching an indoctrination channel for children? That would be an improvement over what's going on now. I have no idea what the deal is. Possibly it's all a great big goof, experimenting to see just how completely idiotic they can get before no one watches them anymore.

Slarti: I think that using 'madrassa' rather than the translation, 'school', and doing it on purpose, counts as a smear.

I think that if Steyn had said: "Ah, the school years", readers would be left wondering what the hell he was referring to.

I think that if Steyn had said: "Ah, the school years", readers would be left wondering what the hell he was referring to.

which maybe shows how f'ing stupid, an intentionally xenophobic and racist, the original reference was in the first place.

good ol' GOP - always making me regret giving them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to overt racism.

Hilzoy: Likewise, I suppose that when the same people pointedly call him Barack HUSSEIN Obama, they could just be in favor of using people's full names.

Do these same people pointedly refer to Hilary Rodham Clinton?

I have to admit that this sounds like a tempest in a teapot to me. The point of the tiny post seemed to be that Obama's basis for foreign policy experience is lame. And since that basis had to do with his time overseas as a school kid, the use of "madrassa" gets the overseas part and the school kid part in one word. Of course, I don't claim to know what was in the author's head. And I agree that any smear attempt based on Obama's attending a madrassa is utterly stupid. I'm just not sure that this is such a thing.

I should probably learn to spell madrassah too.

Since I will probably be busy all day tomorrow serving as sous-chef and then doing the washing after the meal, allow me to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

I don't think there's an official English spelling for the word, you can probably use either spelling.

The "madrassa" smear must be having some effect, my aged mother repeated it to me anxiously a few months ago. Sigh.

Oddly, many people opposed to her DO habitually refer to her as Hillary Rodham Clinton. I have no idea why.

Looking at my last two posts together, I should perhaps clarify that nobody to my knowledge has referred to my mother as Hillary Rodham Clinton. :)

"I think worldwide health, peace and a-pony-for-every-child is likely to come about sooner than Mark Steyn ceasing to be an idiot."

Also a plagiarist.

But, after all, I'm a dhimmi.

Tony P.:

For some people, the whole point is to make us look like idiots to the Arabic-speaking world. We're good, they're bad. The more they dislike us, the better we feel about ourselves.

The disturbing thing is that GOPers really believe they can profit by promoting that outlook. Either they are stupid themselves, or they are cynicaly angling for the stupid vote.

It's in the Republican political DNA, I'm afraid. They've defined themselves by defining the Enemy as the communists, the radicals, the anarchists, the bombers, the strikers, the foreign-speaking, the foreign-born, the poor, since the late 1800s.

Sometimes it's the Chinese, or the Japanese, and the Yellow Peril. Sometimes it's swarthy southern Europeans. Sometimes it's Slavs and Eastern Europeans and Russians. Sometimes it's Mexicans and Latin American types. Once it was Indians.

Nowadays it's Muslims, Arabs, Persians, and Spanish-speaking poor people.

The fear vote is always big.

What else is new?

"In other news, Rilkekind had his surgery and is back from the hospital presumably cured and everything's fine in the Rilkehaus."

Most excellent to hear.

"So, Obama went to a madrassa back in the early '70s in Indonesia."

Indonesian public school. They don't, in fact, speak Arabic (as a national language) in Indonesia. Who knew?

In other words, no, there's no truth to the claim that Obama went to a "madrassa." Sheesh.

I appreciate G'Kar's efforts, and point, but it seems to me that this is not a small point that should be overlooked and unstated. Indonesian public schools aren't called "madrassas." Period. What they call things in Arab-speaking countries thousands of miles away isn't exactly the most salient fact.

For what it's worth, beyond what it's called:

[...] On Monday, CNN filed a story from Indonesia indicating that the school Obama attended was not a madrassa.

"This is a public school. We don't focus on religion," Hardi Priyono, deputy headmaster of the Basuki school, told CNN. "In our daily lives, we try to respect religion, but we don't give preferential treatment."

CNN also interviewed one of Obama's classmates, Bandug Winadijanto, who said the school isn't and has never been an "Islamic school."

"It's general…There is a lot of Christians, Buddhists, also Confucian," said Winadijanto. "So, that's a mixed school."

Not Islamic, and not Arab, either.

"I don't see all that much in the way of tarring, G'Kar, unless mentioning it is strictly verboten."

Mentioning what? The false claim that he went to a "madrassa"? Yeah, I tend to think that "mentioning" lies, as in "passing them on," rather than pointing out that they are false, should be verboten. You?

"So, stupid. But stupid in a different direction than you're pointing."

You're saying Steyn wasn't deliberately trying to say that Obama is one a them crypto-Muslims, who we know deny Our Lord Jesus Christ?

If so, I'm afraid that you're once again being impossibly naive.

Why are you claiming falsely that Obama went to a madrassa, Slart?

"There are so many insightful and thoughtful bloggers and commenters here that I find myself wishing it were a web-community."

It isn't? Why not?

Seriously, I'm wondering what your definition of a "web-community" is (or "web community: the hyphen seems unnecessary). I trust you're not confusing it with some particular type of software?

"Even so, it's my favorite blog on the web."

What's your favorite blog off the web?

Hilzoy: "Slarti: I think that using 'madrassa' rather than the translation, 'school', and doing it on purpose, counts as a smear."

I'm completely baffled that no one seems to feel it's worth pointing out that you're talking about a "translation" from an irrelevant language. Wtf does what the word "school" means in Arabic have to do with Obama growing up in Indonesia, except as a smear, pray tell?

If Obama gets the nomination, the GOP will have 30% of the country believing he's a muslim by April and another 10% by August. This is part of why he won't win. The other part is that he's black.

Welcome to America.

"And I agree that any smear attempt based on Obama's attending a madrassa is utterly stupid. I'm just not sure that this is such a thing."

Oh, for god's sakes. They've been running a huge freaking national campaign for months. It's been on since January, and even earlier. Wake up.

"I think that if Steyn had said: 'Ah, the school years', readers would be left wondering what the hell he was referring to."

Quite so. What's your point?

Valid point, Gary. I confess I was curious if, in fact, Obama went to a madrassah at all, but since Muslim nations often use Arabic to some degree because the Quran isn't to be translated, I didn't bother to check.

Still, the use of madrassah to imply something horrific still peeves me. It's a bloody school.

"Oddly, many people opposed to her DO habitually refer to her as Hillary Rodham Clinton. I have no idea why."

? You don't get that there are still lots of people out there who think that a woman who doesn't change her name when she marries, or still uses her maiden name in some way, is some kinda hippie freak lesbian communist liberal who went to Woodstock, and would wear jeans in the White House while having group sex and hanging crack pipes on the Christmas tree, which is actually a Muslim tree?

Gary Farber: en fuego

As support for my 1:57pm, I give you, The Poorman Institute for Freedom and Democracy and a Pony.

[...] Sometimes it's the Chinese, or the Japanese, and the Yellow Peril. Sometimes it's swarthy southern Europeans. Sometimes it's Slavs and Eastern Europeans and Russians. Sometimes it's Mexicans and Latin American types. Once it was Indians.

Nowadays it's Muslims, Arabs, Persians, and Spanish-speaking poor people.

I meant to include, and it fell out, a couple of sentences linking this to the discussion of Reagan and Philadelphia/Neshoba, Mississippi. But the finding of a new domestic enemy in "radical Black revolutionaries" and "civil rights leaders," as J. Edgar Hoover, and Richard Nixon did in the Sixties (Hoover was on it in the Fifties, actually, and I hope that youngersters aren't unaware of COINTELPRO), and in Nixon's adoption of the Southern Strategy, wasn't just incidentally part of this longer history and context.

In other words, no, there's no truth to the claim that Obama went to a "madrassa."

Wait...I thought "madrassa" just meant "school". You're saying he didn't go to school?

But, y'know, if it's not a madrassa, I'm ok with that. G'kar's post said madrassa is the same as school, so I rolled with that. If it isn't, possibly he ought to post a correction.

"Seriously, I'm wondering what your definition of a 'web-community' is (or 'web community': the hyphen seems unnecessary). I trust you're not confusing it with some particular type of software?

I meant "web-community" as a sort of software, or a common set of features (like user blogs and threaded comments). Maybe I should have said, "wishing that the site had more community software features". That would have probably needed scare quotes though, because people exchanging ideas is a feature of a community.

As to hyphens: what-ever.

Slarti, let me try and explain:

madrassa does mean school in arabic so it would be correct to say that Obama attended a madrassa IF he actually went to school in a foreign country where arabic was a native language.

However, Obama went to school in Indonesia. Arabic is not the predominant language in that country. Saying that Obama attended a Madrassa is like saying he attended an Escuela: in some narrow pedantic sense, that's correct, but the overall statement is incredibly deceitful.

"Wait...I thought 'madrassa' just meant 'school'. You're saying he didn't go to school?"

"Madrassa" means "school" in Arabic. You're saying that when we refer to Barack Obama's public elementary school, we should refer to it in Arabic?

Why?

No, I'm not saying that, Gary. Please refrain from putting words in my mouth.

No, I get that, Turbulence. And Gary. And whoever else manages to point it out before I respond, but: this post of G'Kar's talks about how madrassa and school mean the same thing. It doesn't talk about how it's not actually called a madrassa.

Which, believe it or not, is something I didn't know, or particularly care about.

Impossibly naive as that might seem. I guess you're going to have to take my word for it.

"No, I'm not saying that, Gary. Please refrain from putting words in my mouth."

Slart, I replied to your comment "You're saying he didn't go to school?"

Could you please explain to me why this is a perfectly fine form for you to use, but when I reply using it, you object and assert that it's "putting words in [your] mouth"?

Thanks.

Next, could you please answer the question, just as I answered yours?

Next, could you please explain why it is that you chose to respond by saying "No, I'm not saying that, Gary," and not include what you are saying?

And maybe, to especially enlighten us, might you choose to bother to explain what, then, you are saying?

Why are you claiming falsely that Obama went to a madrassa, Slart? Why do you refer to Obama's public school using the Arabic word?

You started off asserting that Steyn was "So, stupid. But stupid in a different direction than you're pointing."

Were you or were you not saying that Steyn wasn't trying to say Obama went to an Islamic school?

Thanks muchly.

And whoever else manages to point it out before I respond, but: this post of G'Kar's talks about how madrassa and school mean the same thing. It doesn't talk about how it's not actually called a madrassa.

Which, believe it or not, is something I didn't know, or particularly care about.

You didn't know or particularly care that you don't normally speak Arabic?

Could you perhaps rephrase? What, exactly, is the thing that you did not know? "It doesn't talk about how it's not actually called a madrassa": what is the thing that "is not actually called a madrassa"? There's no coherent antecedent in what you wrote, I'm afraid: "madrassa and school" isn't an object, which makes this paragraph a bit incomprehensible.

This is what you said, Gary:

You're saying that when we refer to Barack Obama's public elementary school, we should refer to it in Arabic?

I invite you to show me where I said that. It shouldn't be hard to find, or fail to find. Meanwhile, you can consider that foreign language words make it into common use in other languages all the time, and if you look into the Indonesian language, you'll find that one such source of foreign words is Arabic.

Which is not at all uncommon. I'm not saying that has happened, but it's a possibility that has you putting words into my mouth.

Next, could you please answer the question, just as I answered yours?

There are lots of questions. Which one are you referring to, in this instance?

...but now that this is turning into a nit-picking tournament, and since I have to load up and drive up to the in-laws' house, I'm going to have to leave off. I don't know if or when I'll be back.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Gary.

This is what you said, Gary:

You're saying that when we refer to Barack Obama's public elementary school, we should refer to it in Arabic?

I invite you to show me where I said that.

Slarti, this is kooky-bizarre.

Our previous exchange:

In other words, no, there's no truth to the claim that Obama went to a "madrassa."

Wait...I thought "madrassa" just meant "school". You're saying he didn't go to school?

I didn't write "Obama didnt' go to school," either.

Why on earth are you objecting to a form of response you just used?

Are you feeling all right?

"I'm going to have to leave off. I don't know if or when I'll be back."

Wow, you come on, perpetuate a vicious lie about Obama, repeat it, argue that there's nothing wrong with it, question that anyone is doing any such thing, then demand that I not engage in ordinary rhetoric identical to yours ("you're saying that...?"), and then say you have to run.

Wonderful.

"Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Gary."

I'll be sitting here alone, with no family, and no local friends to eat with, desperately worrying about running out of money in a couple of weeks, and putting off writing a post about it, while also remembering to give thanks for the good things in my life, and around us, actually.

But I'm perfectly and absolutely sincere in wishing you, and everyone who will celebrate it, a happy Thanksgiving, of course. Rolling one's eyes over someone's rhetorical style, and naivity, are trivial.

Whoops, I apologize for referring to Publius rather than G'Kar as the author of this post.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

They are practicing for when they announce her name in the impeachment proceedings.

I remember the gusto with which the late, but not nearly late enough, Robert Bartley and the Wall Street Journal editorial page would intone "William Jefferson Clinton" back in the last century. A narrator of that loathsome editorial page would sound like the dramatic newsreel voice-over in "Citizen Kane" ....

John Foster Kane.

I appreciate all the good wishes above. I should note how thankful I am that Mrs. R. and I were each able to take three days off work, that her mother could come out here for over a week to help, that we have insurance, that we can afford to live near a great children's hospital, and on and on. Many many families aren't nearly as lucky as us.

Ulysses Gustavus Holmes

From wikipedia:

The word [madrassa] is also present as a loanword with the same innocuous meaning [i.e place of learning] in many Arabic-influenced languages such as Urdu, Hindi, Persian, Turkish, Kurdish, Indonesian, Malay and Bosnian.

Which leads me to ask about something I've never understood. Why is it that every other parliamentary democracy in the whole bloody world has a parliament, but Israel's is always called the K'nesset?

Yay for the rilkekind! Speedy recovery to the rilkehaus, and Happy Thanksgiving to one and all, even you heathens who don't celebrate it (:

I also have always wanted to know if you can get a good knish at the Knesset.

Yay rilkekind!

Mike: Why is it that every other parliamentary democracy in the whole bloody world has a parliament, but Israel's is always called the K'nesset?

For much the same reason as the Dáil Éireann is called the Dáil and not the Lower House.

Countries that were until extremely recently ruled by Britain tend to make a point of using the proper name in their own language for their own government, rather than backsliding into English even if everyone speaks it.

(Plus, with the Irish there's the joy of listening to BBC commentators fall over themselves trying to pronounce Taoiseach and Oireachtas correctly.)

I didn't think for a long time that the whole Obama is a Muslim and went to a Madrasa thing didn't stick but I've met two people in the past two weeks who were convinced that he was a Muslim. It's weird. Perhaps things like this only work on the uninformed. People see the smear and accept it but never pay attention for the follow up and retraction.

It's fairly common to read and hear of the Russian Duma, as well.

Those who pay attention refer to the Islandic Althing, although admittedly that's not a huge number of people. On a mildly larger scale, Spain has the Cortes Generales.

Only because I'm a fount of trivia do I know that the Isle of Man has the Tynwald, and Norway the Storting. The Iranian Majlis is in the news quite a bit, though.

Probably the next most common such reference in Western journalism, though, is to the Bundestag, don't you think?

I also have always wanted to know if you can get a good knish at the Knesset.

And what *did* they eat at the Diet of Worms?

Good points, Gary.

Probably the next most common such reference in Western journalism, though, is to the Bundestag, don't you think?

You might be right. What's even more amusing is when an American reporter, talking about the Bundestag, for whatever reason, mentions the name of the building where that assembly meets. "It's called the Reichstagsgebäude? Reichstag? Bundestag? Who won the last World War, anyway?"

great news Rilkefan. At some point over the weekend, I'll put up a thread at TiO about dealing with kids being sick, for everyone to rabbit on about their experiences, something that parents love to do and non-parents often roll their eyes at.

I didn't think for a long time that the whole Obama is a Muslim and went to a Madrasa thing didn't stick but I've met two people in the past two weeks who were convinced that he was a Muslim. It's weird. Perhaps things like this only work on the uninformed. People see the smear and accept it but never pay attention for the follow up and retraction.

Congratulations. You have now grasped the point of the repeated association of "Obama" with "Madrassa".

It is to place and reinforce into the minds of low-information voters a connection between "Barack Hussein Obama" (black, suspiciously Muslim Name) and "Islam" -- which, in those same low-information minds, means "terrorism".

That's the entire point of it. It's not sloppy English. It's a deliberate and repeated attempt to make sure everyone NOT paying attention has the subconcious belief (or outright worry) that Obama is sympathetic to our "enemies" -- if not one outright.

It's the usual dog-whistle politics.

Mike: And what *did* they eat at the Diet of Worms?

Apparently they're famous for fried fish rather than sausages.

I was unaware that Obama didn't actually go to a school which it would be customary to refer to as a madrassa. I didn't question it because I wouldn't care much if he did. I'm sure lots of perfectly decent people have gone to such schools. If it's not true, it's not true, and a journalist should know before writing it. Under such circumstances, I would be more likely to question his or her motives.

"And I agree that any smear attempt based on Obama's attending a madrassa is utterly stupid. I'm just not sure that this is such a thing."

Oh, for god's sakes. They've been running a huge freaking national campaign for months. It's been on since January, and even earlier. Wake up.

I was only referring to the linked post, so my being aware of the national campaign was neither here nor there. I know this campaign may be huge, freaking and national, but I had been only vaguely aware of it between changing diapers, working, doing laundry, washing dishes, bathing children, and sometimes (not nearly enough) sleeping. Wake up, indeed.

Well, generally speaking 'madrassa' is Arabic for 'school'. However, I have found it to have a politico-religious connotation (although only ambiguously so) in situations of politico-linguistic tensions. In Algeria in the 1920s-1930s for example, if you spoke of an 'école' you probably meant a French-language school in the colonial system. If you spoke of a 'madrassa' you might well be referring to the Arabic-language Quranic (among other subject) schools run by religious scholars (sorta) in opposition to the colonial system.

Since the Arabic language is so tightly enmeshed in the Islamic religion, in certain situations the use of an arabic word can therefore have deliberate connotation.

Indonesia and Pakistan, as largely Islamic, multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic countries with obvious Arab cultural and Arabic cultural influences, might well exhibit the same phenomenon.

That said, it seems from the CNN program someone cited above that Obama did not attend anything that might remotely be called a 'madrassa' outside the Arabic world, so it's purely of academic interest anyway.

Bear in mind the Algerian example I gave above is very ambiguous in any case, because if the person in question did not speak French, or did not speak Arabic, they would presumably use 'madrassa' or 'ecole' exclusively. Only in certain situations might it signify something more.

Someone familiar with Indonesia should obviously help is out, as we're all just pontificating otherwise.

In sum, G'Kar's initial point stands - this is a cretanous xenophobic stunt that doesn't even make sense when translated into an Arabic-speaking context.

One should not be surprised at this. It's part of the American psyche that continually wants to paint foreigners as the Other..and a Dangerous Other at that.

That brush has been tarring Chinese Americans, German Americans, Irish Americans, Japanese Americans, Chinese Americans (again!) and so forth....so it should not be surprising that it's trotted out again and aimed at an American (and that it's still working...)

"Every kid in the Arabic-speaking goes to a madrassah. Madrassah is Arabic for school."

Yep. Excerpts from ‘the madrassa and me’ by one sharp guy with roots in Bangladesh who has actually attended a Madrassa, and who now runs a popular scientific website:

“The schedule:
4:30 AM wake up, "read" Koran.
5:30 AM perform dawn prayer.
5:45 AM keep reading.
6:00 AM eat breakfast.
6:30 AM keep reading.
11:00 AM lunch.
11:30 AM sleep for siesta.
2:00 PM keep reading.
7:00 PM dinner.
7:30 PM sunset prayer.
8:00 PM keep reading.
10:30 PM last prayer.
11:00 PM sleep.
...and repeat.

A few points. I left out two day prayers.”

Thus the thriving aerospace industry in Islamic countries.

http://www.gnxp.com/MT2/archives/001892.html

And on the open thread track, don’t worry John. Freddie Mac has a core capital valuation of $36.6 billion, magically $0.6 billion above the minimum amount required by regulators to hold. Surely no engineered accounting there. The share price has dropped over 50% in the last twenty days though. The $36 billion of assets represents less than 1% of Freddie Mac’s exposure. Real estate prices are down 30-40% from their peak in many markets.

I wrote the link below on October 29th, before a major American institution lost half of its value. Compare with today’s Wall Street Journal cover. I don’t get no respect:

http://brickoven.blogspot.com/2007/09/freddie-mac.html

"I don’t get no respect"

That's because you talk only to yourself, aren't responsive to others, engage in constant non-sequiturs, cite phony sources, cite phony statistics, and your only responses are to mix and match the above. As we know, I can provide cites to all of this, but when I do you -- big surprise here -- don't respond!

Result: why would anyone bother repeating the experience of trying to engage you? You follow the pattern of a troll.

In response to Uhg waaay up thread: I don't thinnk Obama's skin color works against him. Sure, lots of Americans are racists, but the worst ones won't vote Democratic anyway. There is, however, another pwerful force in our society: fear of being called a racist or being perceived as one. Many, many Americans are afraid of this. The corportsate press, for example, has been kind to Obama (the madraqssa swear wqs debucked by ABC and CNN). Why? Because the decisionmakers for the corprotate media don't know how to smear him without appearng to be racist. Race works for Obama, not against him.

AS for the "Obama is Muslim", scare tactic: well, some people will believe that, but people who are that stupid are going to vote Republican anyway. The smear won't influence normal people, especially if the MSM is afraid to promote it.

OK Gary;

You got me on the 5,000 Englishmen leaving per week. I wasn’t able to find the article and had to substitute an updated article noting that something like 4,000 Englishmen leave per week. I can’t account for the difference. Perhaps one article referred to an annual average and the other to some peak. I don’t know.

Other than that, I think I’m pretty clean. I should monitor these threads more closely. Here I am, take your best shot.

There is, however, another pwerful force in our society: fear of being called a racist or being perceived as one.

Which lasts right up until one gets into the anonymity of the voting booth.

Race works against Obama. Period.

Goodnight Gary. Have a good Thanksgiving, never forget what it represents.

I just wanted to wish all you wonderful people a happy T-day, but it sounds like some of you are already practicing for the snipe-fests with your relatives. Chill out, kiddos! Save the ammo for the evil wingnuts!

When I was growing up, I attended a madrassa. At least my parents referred to it as a madrassa. Since the school was a catholic school run by an order of monks and since my parents were Christian immigrants from the middle east, I think we can conclude that: people who speak arabic refer to schools using the arabic word madrassa. That is all.

Bill,

OK I give up, what does thanksgiving represent? And why should Gary in particular be enjoined to never forget that?

Does Gary strike you as insufficiently thankful? Is he insufficiently devoted to our state religion of thankfulness?

Since the school was a catholic school run by an order of monks and since my parents were Christian immigrants from the middle east, I think we can conclude that: people who speak arabic refer to schools using the arabic word madrassa.

That actually seems like a poor example, given that you attended a religious school...

Realizing that my only argument here is that I speak some Arabic, I'm just going to note once more that madrassah is, in fact, Arabic for school. Not religious school. Not school intended to brainwash young minds into becoming suicide bombers. Just school. Take it for what it's worth.

Gary Farber | November 21, 2007 at 05:32 PM

Probably the next most common such reference in Western journalism, though, is to the Bundestag, don't you think?

It is apparently often overlooked that the German parliament also consists of the Bundesrat. That would be analogous to the US Senate, as originally envisoned, i.e., the representatives of the states in the federal parliament. The Bundesrat is intended to protect the interests of the states ("Laender") but has far less jurisdiction over matters than the US Senate.

I'm certainly no expert, and I welcome correction, but in the online dictionaries I've checked "madrasah" in Indonesian is defined as "Islamic school" or "religious school", whereas plain "school" is "sekolah".

It's not surprising that a borrowing might have connotations different from those the word had in its original language. For example, "sombrero" means "hat" in Spanish, but in English it means a particular kind of hat.

And of course in English "madrassa" seems to mean something like "school run by Islamic extremists", so it's completely wrong to say that Obama attended one.

Realizing that my only argument here is that I speak some Arabic, I'm just going to note once more that madrassah is, in fact, Arabic for school. Not religious school.

Yes, I'm not the world's most sophisticated Arabic speaker by any stretch, but I agree.

Yes, but what is the point of saying "madrassah just means 'school' in Arabic"? (Some Americans are unsophisticated enough not to know that "Allah" just means "God" in Arabic!)

Obama went to an elementary school in Indonesia: that school would have included many Muslim schoolchildren, but as it was not an Islamic school or a religious school, it would not have been called a madrassah, but (as KCinDC just pointed out) a sekolah - just as
P.S. 193 Gil Hodges School in Brooklyn isn't called a madrassah just because many of the kids who go there are Muslims.

Trying to argue that this is not a smear is like trying to argue that bringing up how much John Edwards' haircuts cost is not a smear. Sure, all the candidates undoubtedly have expensive haircuts, but only John Edwards' haircuts are made an issue, because that's the tactic for smearing Edwards.

All of the candidates went to an elementary school in their youth (unless they were homeschooled!) - but only Obama's elementary school gets referred to as a madrassah, because that's the tactic for smearing Obama.

It doesn't matter that, in a right-minded person's eyes, it's not a smear to say that John Edwards pays the person who cuts his hair a good fee to come and cut his hair on the campaign trail, or that a decent person would no more object to having a Muslim for President than they'd object to having a woman for President. The fact is: there are people who would be unalterably prejudiced against having a Muslim for President, and who can be conned into thinking that Obama is a Muslim by the word "madrassah": just as there are people who are unalterably prejudiced against having a woman for President, and who come out with anti-female comments about Clinton rather than criticizing her substantively.

Madrassah, shmadrassah.

What I want to know is how Steyn gets away with block-quoting four paragraphs of someone else's stuff, adding in three sentences of his own snark, and calling that an "editorial".

Does he get paid for that?

Nice work if you can get it.

Happy Thanksgiving, I'm off to put the sweet potatoes in the oven!

Thanks -

"What I want to know is how Steyn gets away with block-quoting four paragraphs of someone else's stuff, adding in three sentences of his own snark, and calling that an 'editorial'."

Hmm? It's a blog post, at the National Review Online's "Corner" blog: it's not an editorial, and Steyn doesn't call it an editorial. What, um, are you talking about, russell?

"Does he get paid for that?"

Mildly interesting question; I have no idea what sort of arrangement magazines like The Atlantic and The New Yorker and TNR and sites like NRO have for paying their bloggers, but I expect that The Atlantic pays pretty reasonably, as they've lured their bloggers from elsewhere, and Sullivan has been making a tidy living for a good number of years now.

My guess would be that small political magazines/sites like TNR and NRO pay significantly less but I, for one, have no idea what the details might be. (Nick Denton's people have been moved from a minimum number of posts per day to being paid by page impressions, in the past year, I gather, for whatever that's worth.)

"...but now that this is turning into a nit-picking tournament, and since I have to load up and drive up to the in-laws' house, I'm going to have to leave off. I don't know if or when I'll be back.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Gary."

Posted by: Slartibartfast |

Slart, it didn't turn into a nit-picking contest; it *was made* into one. By you.

In the spirit of another commenter, discussing another person - do you really think that you fool people when you suddenly beomce incapable of parsing english, or understanding why the use of particular foreign words has meaning?

What, um, are you talking about, russell?

Right you are, I stand corrected. When I browsed the page I saw the NRO logo and assumed it was editorial content.

Making assumptions will be the end of me.

Now it's time for an Alka-Seltzer, some veg-out time, and then to bed.

Hope everyone had a good day!

Thanks -

"Nowadays it's Muslims, Arabs, Persians, and Spanish-speaking poor people."

Of course, there are many people who could be referred to thusly, only replacing the groups you cited with, say, Republicans, religious people, white Southern males, firearm owners, etc. etc. Now I don't know you at all, so I don't know if you have contempt for any of the groups I listed. But I am certain there are people reading this that are bigots, just not the kind you think.

there are many people who could be referred to thusly, only replacing the groups you cited with, say, Republicans, religious people, white Southern males, firearm owners, etc. etc. Now I don't know you at all, so I don't know if you have contempt for any of the groups I listed. But I am certain there are people reading this that are bigots, just not the kind you think.

I doubt thtat there are many people on the left who read this site and have prejudices against all white southern males-see, for example, Clinton, Gore, Edwards, Carter, etc.

As to the rest of the examples on your list, note the non-subtle difference between disagreeing with people over ideas, however strongly that disagreement is expressed, and hating people because of who they are--black, Hispanic, Arabic, gay, female . . .

"Nowadays it's Muslims, Arabs, Persians, and Spanish-speaking poor people."

Of course, there are many people who could be referred to thusly, only replacing the groups you cited with, say, Republicans, religious people, white Southern males, firearm owners, etc. etc. Now I don't know you at all, so I don't know if you have contempt for any of the groups I listed. But I am certain there are people reading this that are bigots, just not the kind you think.

The paragraphs you don't quote, prior to the one you choose to quote:
It's in the Republican political DNA, I'm afraid. They've defined themselves by defining the Enemy as the communists, the radicals, the anarchists, the bombers, the strikers, the foreign-speaking, the foreign-born, the poor, since the late 1800s.

Sometimes it's the Chinese, or the Japanese, and the Yellow Peril. Sometimes it's swarthy southern Europeans. Sometimes it's Slavs and Eastern Europeans and Russians. Sometimes it's Mexicans and Latin American types. Once it was Indians.

Nowadays it's Muslims, Arabs, Persians, and Spanish-speaking poor people.

The fear vote is always big.

What else is new?

If you believe that it's in the Republican political DNA to pass laws preventing Republicans, religious people, white Southern males, firearm owners, etc. etc., from entering the country, let alone becoming citizens, a la the Chinese Exclusion Acts, you'll need to provide evidence.

If you believe that it's in the Republican political DNA to pass laws rounding up Republicans, religious people, white Southern males, firearm owners, etc. etc., and departing them, as was done to anarchists, communists, leftists, and suspicious immigrants, in the first half of the 20th century, you'll need to provide evidence.

If you believe that it's in the Republican political DNA to form gangs to shoot and beat Republicans, religious people, white Southern males, firearm owners, etc. etc., as was done to strikers and their families in the 19th century and first half of the 20th century, you'll need to provide evidence.

If you believe that it's in the Republican political DNA to pass laws putting Republicans, religious people, white Southern males, firearm owners, etc. etc., on reservations, make and break laws as to how to deal with them, forbid them from using their native languages, and convert them from their native religions, you'll have to provide evidence.

But if there are genuine parallels, there should be no problem compiling equal mountains of proof and evidence of these two identical sets of circumstances.

Me, I'll be happy to provide hundreds of cites of evidence of the historical facts.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that people who accuse others of bigotry, prejudice, and politics of fear are never free of their own prejudices. In fact, they tend not to even admit to them. I seriously doubt you can make a case that the above listed transgressions were solely Republican in nature, but do try and I'll keep an open mind. Just remember the history of the Democrats. If you want to cite events that occurred a century ago in order to smear all Repubs (and I tend to vote Repub but don't consider myself to be one), then I can note that Repubs freed the slaves, Demos tried to destroy this country in order to keep them enslaved.

Enslaving people. It's in the Democratic DNA.

And you specifically mentioned Yellow Peril. I believe Hearst was a Democrat.

"I guess the point I'm trying to make is that people who accuse others of bigotry, prejudice, and politics of fear are never free of their own prejudices."

Probably few people are ever free of all prejudices. I'm unclear what the connection might be to accusing others, though. And might the relative truth or falsity of such accusations be relevant?

"I seriously doubt you can make a case that the above listed transgressions were solely Republican in nature, but do try and I'll keep an open mind."

I'm quite sure no such case can be made. Do you know anyone silly enough to try?

"in order to smear all Repubs"

Who has such a goal? Lots of Republicans are good people, if often naive and unknowledgeable about the nature of their leaders, and lots of Democrats aren't necessarily good people. Was anyone here saying otherwise?

A comment about "political DNA" isn't a comment about actual DNA, you know.

If it would comfort you for me to assure you that sometimes Republicans are right and sometimes Democrats are wrong, and that Democrats have taken wrong-headed political or policy positions at times, that prior to the second half of the 20th century, the Democrats were often as bad or worse than the Republicans on race, demagoguery, and exploiting fear, and that Democrats can and have done evil things at times, and that many good and fine people are Republicans, and even more good and fine people have been Republicans in the past, and that no one sane would think of drawing any sort of absolute or simplistic black and white picture of the two parties, hey, feel better!

It doesn't make the Republican history any prettier, but no one was trying to say one party was all evil and the other party was all saints, so I'm glad we've cleared up this terrible confusion.

"A comment about "political DNA" isn't a comment about actual DNA, you know."

I know a great deal about one, but not nearly as much about the other. I may have misunderstood, but it seemed to me that you were asserting that Repubs try to whip up fear of The Other. I don't believe they are any more susceptible to this than any other party. The Know Nothing Party they ain't. (insert obligatory joke about Bush here)

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