Instead of judging these religions by the actions of a few, we judge them more objectively: by the contents of their sacred texts revered by fundamentalists and moderates alike. To us, a simple reading of the Abrahamic holy books reveals endorsements of virtually all the oppressive and discriminatory systems that civil and human rights movements have tried to dismantle over time: patriarchy, misogyny, slavery, tribalism, xenophobia, totalitarianism and homophobia, all rolled into one
Ali A. Rizvi: An Atheist Muslims Perspective on the Root Causes of Islamist Jihadism and the Politics of Islamophobia•May 26, 2013 • Leave a Comment
We spent the first night in a cave, built out with river rock, guests to a darvish – a spiritual man living a hermetic life – who had welcomed us and shared his feast of bread, dates and black tea.
Despite leaving early the next day, it wasn’t until after dark that we crested the bigger ridge. As we entered a flat open area, strong lights suddenly illuminated us. My heart skipped a beat or ten. I thought we had been caught.
These were the headlights of the pickup trucks which would take us the rest of the way – we had crossed into Pakistan! The bare, cold, hard, and (to be realized later) heaving and quaking bed of these trucks looked so much more beckoning than the back half of the motorcycle saddle had felt.
Did I mention that we had been on motorcycles? We switched to motorcycles about 5 miles out of Zahedan, as the route we took was only wide enough to be a mule path. We were now en-route to C from point B.
We stopped for our first real meal an hour or two later, at a large caravansara (caravanserai) where hundreds of Afghan refugees escaping from the North had sought shelter (most were clothed the way you picture Bin Ladin). The soupy, plain, rice bowl we ate with our bare hands, to me, tasted like a great risotto or a savory rice pudding.
Soon we clambered back into the back of the pickups. By now, it was becoming clear that while early fall clothes had been adequate for the other side of the ridges we passed, here, the temperature was closer to freezing, and the truck bed did not make for an enjoyable ride. The road was another issue. Not wide enough to allow cars to travel in both directions at once, we were constantly pulling off the road, into the loose gravel, to let buses get by. Which meant having to get out and push the pickup back on to the road.
Twelve hours, many “security” checkpoints and bribes later (you could call it a toll road), we arrived in Quetta. Dinner: Curry and rice! Another memorable meal.
We flew from Quetta to Karachi, where my aunt and my cousins, who themselves had come the same way and were awaiting my uncle’s departure from Iran, were immensely helpful in cutting through the bureaucracy and the palm-greasing. Within a few days, I was dropped off at the airport, where I boarded a plane destined for Paris.
I think I held my breath while we flew over my old homeland’s airspace. I couldn’t imagine what would happen if the plane had to land there.
I have not been back since. I used to think that the world would change, things would calm down, and I’d be able to make the same trip in reverse, with my family, reminiscing about the trip, and laughing about how different it would be. Alas, thirty years later and the area is more unrestful today.
Virtually every adult in the Aurora, CO, in the theater had the same gun-owning rights or privileges as James Holmes, the shooter. On that tragic night, each of those adults could have been armed and used his or her gun in self-defense. Not a single one did. Whether it is because they didn’t own a gun, they didn’t have the gun with them, or they never had a chance to pull it – the reality is that owning guns for self-defense is an NRA fueled myth aimed to sell more guns. Society gets little or no self-defense benefit from guns.
For every grandmother who scares off an intruder by waving a gun, there is another who loses their gun to theft, a child who shoots himself or a friend with dad’s gun, an angry argument that ends in a shooting, …
How often have you seen the following, at the end of webzines or articles, usually on news sites?
Maybe you see the problem already. By the time you’ve read a page full of the article, and at the moment that you realize that the article is multipaged, it is rather unnecessary to use the “single page” button. Good design would dictate that the reader be given the option of reading the article as a single page, without having to read one page of the article before even knowing they had or needed the option.
While this issue is a little different were the number of pages 3 or more, I still think that before the reader begins to read the article, they should have the option then to combine the pages into one, making the user merely have to scroll, and also knowing approximately how long the article will be (based on the scroll bars), or to read to choose to read it in single pages.
My other pet peeve (of the day) revolves around sites, and sadly, Amazon is one, which show you images, with the promise of “Click to enlarge” or “See larger image” if you click or rollover the image. However, and quite often, the “larger” image isn’t. It is the same size. In many cases, the larger image is only 10-15% larger. That isn’t what people expect. If you can’t double or triple the size of the image, then don’t bother promising a larger image!
Here are two examples. These aren’t so bad. I’ve even seen websites which use the same image for both!
I purchased a Samsung sound bar from BestBuy.com, because of a ridiculously low price-tag. I ordered on or before Dec. 1, and around Dec. 12th (when I was supposed to have received it) I found that I would not be getting it anytime soon. At that point I realized that I had ordered a refurbished unit and that BestBuy didn’t have any more and would ship me one as soon as they did. (I’m sure the Oompa-Loompa that took my order didn’t get a chance to ask the Oompa-Loompa in charge of inventory whether they had one to sell me – I won’t comment on BestBuy’s downward spiral http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrydownes/2012/01/02/why-best-buy-is-going-out-of-business-gradually/)
I would have canceled my order, but my recent experiences with DirecTV and Apple refurbished products has been surprisingly good, and once I read that this sound bar was “Manufacturer Refurbished” and Samsung ensured that they all meet or exceed their strict standards, etc., I decided to let the order ride.
I got the sound bar two days ago, on January 3. As I pulled each piece out of the box, I was dismayed by how badly the glossy, black lacquer finish was marred with scratches and scuff marks – I can only suspect that this unit must have been a demo in a store and was moved around quite a bit. As I pulled the subwoofer out, I noticed heat damage to two areas, possibly from being too close to a source of heat (other devices?).
I was already going to return that unit based on what I found, but I was curious how well a sound bar actually worked so I set it up. No luck. The bar itself worked, but it could not make a wireless connection to the subwoofer. Instead the subwoofer would sit there and periodically it would emit a loud low frequency hum or rumble for about five minutes or so. I tried a dozen or more times, and the next day, magically, while I was on the phone waiting for a Samsung tech support person, it finally made the connection. Now the subwoofer was playing low frequency sound from the TV, but mixing it with that oh-so-pleasant rumbling sound I mentioned before.
The two Samsung technicians were useless. They both were reading scripts – starting with the steps in the same manual I had in front of me – making me repeatedly power down, reset, power up, mute, reset, power down, … Finally, 37 minutes later, the second technician offers to “get this problem resolved”, if only I go through the steps one more time to make sure we had tried everything (everything being a repeat of the same thing). When we got the same result, and he declares, “thank you for being patient, I apologize that you received a faulty unit, I am going to make sure we resolve this quickly”. He started asking me for my address info, and, hoping they might send me a new unit, or a better refurbished unit, I asked him if they would send me the replacement overnight. He said he could look into doing that, as soon as they got this unit back from me and repaired. I probably snorted at that point. “Are you telling me that after what I told you about the physical damage to this unit, and the trouble we are having, and the fact I already waited a month to get this, you want me to wait while you fix this piece of crap? No thanks.” I asked to speak to a manager, and he transferred me to a line that rang and rang until I gave up and hung up.
I took the unit back to the local BestBuy. I still would like a Samsung sound bar, but I am now wary of Samsung. Their customer service was pathetic. I recall my experiences with Sony products and their subpar support.
Be warned: Samsung’s “refurbished” products are not reliable, nor unblemished.
Also, I have to wonder about all those companies out there who sell refurbished units with warranties with only a fraction of the term of the new product warranty. It doesn’t make me feel very secure knowing that they themselves don’t have faith that their refurbished product will last as long as a new unit.
As of right now, Samsung offers 39 different TVs on their US website.
- 10 are 60″ or greater
- 11 are in the 50″s.
- 9 are in the 40″s.
- 9 are 32″ or 22″.
- 21 are LED.
- 9 are Plasma.
- 9 are LCD.
- 14 are 3D.
- Some have WiFi, some have Skype, some run apps…
(LG offers 64 TVs on their US website.)
Next year Apple will probably start selling three TVs. Worldwide.
- a 23 inch model
- a 32 inch model
- a 46 inch model
- They all have everything.
In response to a commenter (who wrote, “ “, I replied:
Right on. Pure Capitalism doesn’t rely on lobbyists and bribing politicians. Companies don’t have to shirk their social responsibilities, so that they don’t have to pick up and go elsewhere looking for new employees and new customers.
People like Mr. Williamson love to criticize the performance of services that they’ve spent a lifetime trying to weaken and tear down. A better public education system, helps Capitalism by providing better employees. Surely he’s still lucid enough to remember how our own educated Americans created the computer and Internet revolutions, before being cast aside and their jobs given to better educated Indians and Chinese.
Similarly, as an employer, I would love to see the government pick up and do things that are not core to my business. I shouldn’t be in the business of providing health care, nor retirement. Chinese companies don’t because China does. Chinese companies pass that savings along in their pricing. Does it not serve Capitalism well to have companies do things that they are “insanely great” at, rather than spend time and resources on providing a retirement plan that won’t go down with the next Wall Street scandal?