Monday, November 28, 2011

Soda Stream And The Israel's Extreme

It turn out that Soda Stream, the popular gadget to make soda at home is not all innocent. They are now making claims as Earth Friendly. See, more than 3 years ago, I sworn off soda, and have so far kept away from it. So this company has no business with me. But every time I hear my favorite radio show in the DC area promoting it, I cling. People should be made aware of those things, and they should make their informed decisions about he products and the agendas they aline themselves with.

From Soda Stream website

We employ more than 1,000 people worldwide, with over 30 nationalities represented. Company headquarters are located in Israel and we have seven manufacturing facilities in Germany, Israel, Australia, South Africa and China. The SodaStream group has an intellectual property portfolio that includes 65 patents and 198 trademark registrations worldwide.

A Swedish Chain has already kicked out the company from selling there. The Israeli company has been the target of a two-year campaign by Swedish activists who seek to highlight the company’s complicity with the Israeli occupation. The main production facilities for Sodastream are located at Mishor Adumim, the industrial zone of the Israeli settlement Maaleh Adumim in the occupied West Bank.

Sodastream, whose products are sold in 41 countries, has repeatedly attempted to deflect attention from the factory in the occupied West Bank, claiming that it is just one of many around the world.

Why? They have their shop on a Palestinians land--I say Palestinian becasue even the UN recognizes it as so including the EU and the Israel friendly US congress. So next time, you sip some o that soda and thinking yourself that you have done a good deed, think again.

here's why, the story in Israeli major newspaper

This is a company that has done well by coming up with a good idea that people really need, they solve a problem for people. But all that creative juices have failed when they choose to put a factory in an illegal territory. business should make money and add value, not get caught in political controversies that mean nothing to the product and do damage to the brand.

Now the company tried to make nice with the people and now claims that their workers are Palestinians. Fine, but if the land at which your shop is Palestinian, and your workers are such, why don't they list Palestine as one of the locations where they operate? Maybe they can answer that...
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Friday, November 25, 2011

This Halal Thanksgiving I Give Pam Geller The Bird

Not sure if you heard this story here

Butterball Turkeys have been certified halal (the Muslim equivalent of kosher), this is a big brand in Turkey that want to sell more of their birds. Now, some conservative bloggers found some conspiracy and now they are making a mockery of this ordeal.

I first want to thank Butterball for their initiative to provide, Halal turkey that many Muslims appreciate--I am not keen on Halal business, but now many are. Such conservative voices won't have a paycheck unless they manufactured something about Muslims in America and went out to cry about it.

I found this is odd, here's why.
  1. Butterball is making a business decision not a religious one, they want more value and they thought doing Halal Turkey would earn them new customers. Whatever happened to conservatives being pro business? Why are the conservatives trying to stop a company from making a buck?
  2. Butterball sells their Turkeys overseas in many countries where Islam is the religion, it makes sense they would have a Halal division. Why are those conservatives trying to undermined an American company that is doing good by doing good?
  3. Muslims celebrating Turkey day, should be cheered not jeered. No one celebrating Turkey day would be a danger to you. They are part of the society and their shopping choices say as much. Why are you rejecting those Muslims who want to be part of the greater American community?

Per Butterball website:

Butterball is one of the largest global turkey providers in the world. For more than 25 years, Butterball® has been providing quality turkey to markets around the globe. Currently, exporting over 100 million pounds of turkey products annually to over 50 countries, it’s no wonder that Butterball is one of the most celebrated choices for turkey. Butterball is committed to developing the best new products to specifically cater to all international cultures. From our bilingual packaging to flavor profiles geared toward international palates, we are continually developing unique ideas that satisfy the tastes of our customers.
On another note, I do not like when a noble concept becomes a commercialized. I resent that fact that few in the community have established a labeling mechanism which they provide to certain companies if the price is right. But with all that, next time I am shopping for a bird, I would make sure to buy myself a butterball, and send Pam Geller and her loons a bird--the kind I can gesture.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

FedEx Pickup Is As Stressful As Speed Dating

there's a real reason why UPS is number 1 in package and logistics supply in North America, they are not FedEx, that's all you have to be.

first you have to find the number to call to schedule a pickup. Then you have to answer a number of stupid questions that are only meant to waste your time and make the Representative feel like they are doing something with that life of theirs.

Dude, I have a prepaid label, it has all the info they need, but no, they still wanted to ask me questions like where should we come and what time should we come? Then they would ask me where the package will be? It felt like a spped dating, where we have to cram as many impersonal questions in 4 minutes as one can muster.

And then after all that 10 minutes of irritating useless questions, they tell you a FedEx person will come by to pick it up. Here's the story, the FedEx delivery person saw the package but did not want to pick it up. It has all the right labels, he thought, "Not My Problem", a UPS person would be all over that and pock it up, no questions asked.

But that's number one shipper, not number 2 that is sworn to give you one heck of a number two experience. I know I never have anything nice to say about FedEx, even on their pickup and the way they do business. their billing is also strange. Maybe they should hire some consultants to help them figure things like not wasting people's time out.

If they had a way to just punch in few numbers, they should have all that info they needed without having to ask me questions, what's your name? But this is for my place of work...

Nobody loves UPS, but thanks to FedEx antics, you cannot help but say, those are the good old days.
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Three Most Recent Posts On Arabic Music

Every now and then I write for other blogs to get the word out about a particular subject that I like or dislike. The past 7 days, I had authored 3 blogs for the World Wide Variety News Blog The Huffington Post. I used to focuses on politics and I still do, but now I try to write more comedy and about Arabic music. While on the subject, sometimes Arabic music can be comedy as well.

Here are the thee topics with links to read the full:

  1. From Resistance to Pop: Liberating Palestine with an Auto Tune. This article is about the rise of pop music coming from Palestine and its new voices. Read here
  2. Rima Fakih, Miss USA, Quotes the Koran To Show Her American Patriotism. This is about the Lebanese American Miss USA that was in DC last week, she gave a talk about challenges she faced living in post 9/11 America Read Here
  3. Iraq and Roll Comes to a Town Near You Read. This one is about my favorite Iraqi rock band, that makes some fine music worthy of a world wide audience Here
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Saturday, November 12, 2011

UTN1 Shines Once Again In Virginia USA

From an entertainer’s perspective, a good concert happens when the performance has gone smoothly, according to plan and expectations. Attending fans are pleased and left with a warm feeling. That also means there are no hiccups or at least noticeable ones. A great concert takes it one step further. There’s nothing quite like a great live show. It's fair to say that not all concerts are the same, some go to party, others to dance. Younger concert goers look for something, older ones look for another, but they both are looking for a good time. Savvy performances mange to draw in everyone in the arena to their live show.

Living in the States for more than a decade, I have seen many cover bands for Arabic music, some were good, some left something to be desired. Such bands mange to bribe the crowd by playing classic Arabic songs that everyone knows and thus sings along to. None of those bands I saw have their own original songs that people memorize.

But all that changed last night. I attended a concert by the Iraqi pop/rock band UTN1 in Tyson Corner, Virginia and it was some experience. First and fromst, UTN1 is an Iraqi band that performs in Arab countries so they know what songs to play and when to play them. Timing is key in Arabic concerts. Kicking off their concert with their all too popular original song Jamila that was an instant hit with the Arab audience and the curios American listener. There was enrgey all over the room as people starting to get cozy and comfortable.

Following this song for half a dozen of Iraqi folklore songs that all Iraqis memorize and appreciate. This brought the best of the concert goers, they flocked to the dance stage and did not stop. Such crowd pleasers" At this post point, everyone jumped in and moved to the beat. And Iraqi group dance circles started to from and welcome all attendees. It must help Hassan to see this kind of energy because then he has to match it and so did Shant on the drum. I have seen performance before not sure what to make of it when their audience gets animated, but UTN1. The band seemed to have a plan and everything happened at their concert seems to be part of the expectations.

The offering of the concerts varied to accommodate the types of Arab concert goers, there are the mellow songs where the lyrics are the show, and there are the upbeat get up and dance ones. Frankly the band won extra credit in my book when they performed this classic Egyptian oldie (video). There are those new age listeners appreciate and there are other songs that have been around for decades and continue to be popular. This is one concert not to miss from a band that knows how to work work up a crowd.

P.S. I was hoping the band will have some CDs and merchandise to allow me and my friends to bring the concert home with us.
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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Video Proof For Gaza's High Unemployment

Gaza is my home, and I laugh when I see videos like these in Gaza, in time for the Eid, the time Muslim slaughter animals honoring the story of Abraham and his son when he was asked to sacrifice him later to be saved by a sheep.

Things got really bad when the bull got loose, droves of young Gaza men and teenagers chased the bull around town hoping to contain him. Not sure what happened, but one thing for sure, I feel bad for the poor bull. He must be terrorized.

This is the kind of video that could start the local chapter for PETA in Gaza. Had all these people had jobs, my aunt would be the one chasing down this animla not droves of youngsters.

مطاردة العجل الهارب2 بالسيارات. Chasing Bulls In Gaza 2011
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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Israel's God Law vs. Man Made Laws

Israelis illegal actions can only cause minor "discomfort" for world leaders. Just look at how soft the statements from EU, UN and the US about the bizarre Israeli decision to expand their projects in settlements.

Palestinians actions however give world leaders "nightmares" and according to those leaders such actions bring an end to the world as we know it. Go and read such comments during the Palestine Statehood bid at the UN.

To quote Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, "I demand more of Israel partly because my tax dollars supply arms and aid to Israel. I hold democratic allies like Israel to a higher standard, just as I do the United States."

When Israel does something illegal, the Palestinians and the most of the world calls it a violation of international law. Israel respond by citing some other law--say the Israeli's army code of conduct. Israel dismisses international law and it pretend one of two things:
  1. Such man made laws don't apply to country commissioned by God.
  2. The world is picking on Israel.
On short, when it comes to laws Israel is that sleazy old man with van hanging around school yards with lots of candy. While he might not be doing anything illegal at the moment, you know he is up to no good becasue he was arrested once before on the same charges.
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18 Signs of Arabic Weddings

  1. Your DJ/Singer is also your Limo driver
  2. Everyone on the invite list has creative ways of describing how they relate to you.
  3. If they are your offspring, then they are fit–everyone one else is either fat or too thin.
  4. How come all the cloth napkins end up on the dance floor?
  5. There can be only one black guy, two Latinas and no Asians.
  6. The only time all Arab men in a 20-mile radius have no five o’clock shadow.
  7. The groom can never be the best-dressed man–all other men try to outshine him.
  8. Arab weddings and nuts go hand in hand. They are your main dish, your dessert and seated to your right.
  9. Everyone finds something to complain about to the bride and the groom during the wedding. No, they do not want to hear about your fad diet.
  10. No tents at this wedding; a UNRWA tent is where my family lived before they found their way to America.
  11. Everyone is a fortuneteller.
  12. Debt is no reason not to have a 10 tier cake that will be cut with a 4 ft. knife, also commonly referred to as a ‘sword’.
  13. Americans have Halloween to channel their inner whores, we get Arab weddings.
  14. Forget Arab lounge dot com–spice up your profile at these events.
  15. Girls have all the fun and guys just stand there looking like they were just handed a detonator for an atomic bomb. Although it’s fun to mention how Arab guys do that dance with the hands up, snapping fingers and then cornering a girl in the middle of the dance floor
  16. Everyone asking for free professional advice. If you are a lawyer, then other guests ask you about immigration. “Doctor, can I show you my rash?” Dentist? They’ll all show you their cavities. Gynecologist? The bathroom is that way. Just make sure the hedges are trimmed
  17. No need for a smoke machine, just ask everyone to please Bring Your Own Hookah (BYOH).
  18. No one fornicates, instead interested parties send their mommies to audit your body at an awfully close range.

[Tarboush Tip: Sana, Kellee]

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Finally: Google Wants Your Music Action

I am happy to let you guys on a little thing, I have been doing lately, it's called Google Music Beta . This thing could be the future of music as we know it. To me, the idea is basic. Google is everywhere and so your music will be once you have uploaded it to the Google Music. You can access it anywhere in the world, it travels with you. You can also add it to your phone device namely Android now.

I do not like iTunes, never have and now I am an early user of Google music, in its beta releases. As of now you have to be extended an invitation, and yes you can request one, it takes a day or two and then they will let you know. You can also purchase music, and best yet, you can share it with others who can listen to it once before they decide to buy it or not. This is really cool becasue in this time we are all alone together.

The media player plugin gives you an option of getting about 200 free songs, they are preloaded by your permission based on your genera of preference. Not sure if you guys have an opinion on this matter, but I thought to let you know about it.
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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The So Called Palestinans By Cain's Gaffe Machine

Is Herman Cain a one state advocate? The Republican who was too busy harassing women at his job, should have used his time better if he had read a book about the Middle East. Here's where I am coming from:

Cain, the frontrunner among GOP candidates, invoked the phrase in an interview over the weekend with Israel Hayom, a mass-circulation Israeli tabloid owned by an American backer of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Asked about President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy, Cain referred to the Palestinian bid for U.N. membership: “I think that the so-called Palestinian people have this urge for unilateral recognition because they see this president as weak.”

This might be Cain's way to wish the Palestinians a Happy Halloween by giving them a good scare. This guy claims to be Israeli best friend in the US. But all his statements and blunders reveal that he is the best friend Palestinians have. first he said, the right of return is subject to negotiation--he offended Israelis, but please the Palestinians. Even idiots remarks like Mr. Cains reveal that with friends like Herman, Israel does not need any enemies.

Now his latest comment about the Palestinians and how they don't exist if laughable. even the harshest and most brutal Israeli Zionist is never naive enough to deny the existence of the same people, they wish to see vanish. Cain has topped all of those pro Israeli voices, by denying a problem exists. How will he fix a problem if he denies it exists in the first place? It could be that he sees the people of Palestine as Israelis, so for the Palestinians, this might be a blessing in disguise.

This is like the President of Iran saying, "We don't have gay people". Herman Cain might be running for president in the States, but The Nile is a river in Egypt.
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