When Al-Jazeera bought Current TV for $500 million in January 2013, former Vice President Al Gore, who co-founded Current, praised the deal.
Both Al-Jazeera, a network owned by Qatar’s oil-rich royal family, and his far-left Current TV, Gore said, were founded “to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling.”
Last week, Gore and Current TV shareholders sued Al-Jazeera for fraud because, Gore attorney David Boies told reporters, “Al-Jazeera America wants to give itself a discount on the purchase price that was agreed to nearly two years ago.”
I give a few hundred bucks to worthy causes each year. I should give more, I suppose. Maybe one day I will. I’d probably increase my donations somewhat if the fundraisers were more skillful or ingratiating at their jobs.
A fundraiser’s first job, as I see it, is not to alienate his/her prospect at the very outset of the contact. But this fact seems to escape many of the groups that get in touch with me.
One way to lose my gift is to assign the phone call to a person whose foreign accent is so pronounced I can’t understand what he/she is saying. I have little prejudice against Pakistanis, Hispanics, Saudis, Filipinos or other overseas groups. But I become apoplectic when the fundraiser’s command of English is so lousy I have no hope of understanding what he or she is saying.
I’m directing this column to Muslim readers who may be out there. Also, to students of theology or anyone else familiar with the Koran - the writings by Mohammed on which the Muslim religion is based.
I want any of those folks to let me know exactly where in the Koran this is written: “‘Ye of the Muslim faith must venture forth and find men, women and children who do not worship our God - Allah. These people are infidels. They are the enemy. They must be cast out. They must be killed.’”
If anyone can find such a command, or anything like it, in the Koran or other official documents of the Muslim religion, I’d like to know about it. It might help clear my thinking about what is happening today (Aug. 13, to be precise) in much of Iraq, especially on northern Mount Sinjar.
I guess I’ll never get rid of Hurricane Charley. I was asked by my friends and former co-workers at the Osceola News-Gazette to write about the storm from my perspective as assistant editor of that newspaper 10 years ago. August 13 marks the 10th anniversary of the storm, and the News-Gazette is publishing articles about the event.
I remember going to a political function Aug. 12, 2004, knowing that Hurricane Charley was likely to hit Kissimmee. I was immersed so much in the jokes and news tips that I didn’t think much about how we should cover Charley.
As the bands from Charley loomed overhead early the next afternoon, I began to sense that the storm had the potential to cause widespread damage.
A couple of days ago I heard the expression “soup-and-fish” for the first time in many years. It translates into “formal men’s wear” or “a tuxedo.” It was popular in the 1920s and thereafter.
I first ran into soup-and-fish in the summer of 1954 in Atlantic City, N.J. I had completed two years of college, and had taken a job as a desk clerk at a mid-sized hotel not far from the Boardwalk. Its owners were Joseph Blaker, a pint-sized nicotine addict, age 60 or so, and his buxom, all-knowing wife, whose first name I’ve forgotten.
The hotel’s chief (and only) bellman was a huge, wall-eyed black man named Craft. He was a study in calm, suppressed irritation, triggered a dozen times a day when Mr. Blaker called out “Craft!” each time any sort of problem or errand arose.
The New York Times has seen the light. On Sunday, the paper editorialized in favor of an end to the federal ban on marijuana. According to Tony Newman of the Drug Policy Alliance, The Gray Lady has become the first major national newspaper to support legalizing marijuana.
The Times did not celebrate marijuana use; it simply addressed the downside of prohibition - 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession in 2012, with a disproportionate representation of young black men. The editorial also laid out a rational view of marijuana. While research suggests that marijuana can have adverse affects on adolescent brains - hence the paper’s support for a ban on sales to those under 21 - it’s not as hazardous to health as alcohol and tobacco. The paper also made this common sense but rare assertion: “Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults.”
My guess is the editorial board wanted to appear relevant instead of late to the party. In 2012, Colorado and Washington voters approved ballot measures to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Last year, a Gallup poll found that 58 percent of respondents support legalization. I think the New York Times wanted to speak out before voters in Oregon, and perhaps Alaska, pass similar legalization laws in November.
Labor Day poolside picnic LARGO – Bring the family and a blanket and enjoy your own picnic basket by the pool, during an extended three-hour session at Highland Family Aquatic Center Monday, Sept. 1, noon to 3 p.m.
Enjoy a special family and friends discount admission. Do not bring alcohol or glass into the facility. Splash’s Snack Bar will be open.
Madeira Beach Social Club meeting MADEIRA BEACH – Madeira Beach Social Club meets the first Monday each month at 1 p.m. at Madeira Beach City Hall. Everyone is invited to join the festivities, refreshments and entertainment. In addition to its monthly meetings, club members get together for bridge, canasta and trips to local attractions.
Members do not have to live in Madeira Beach. Membership dues are $10 a year. Call Dianne for more information at 397-3434.
MLK Neighborhood Center Coalition planning sessions CLEARWATER – The Clearwater Martin Luther King Jr. Neighborhood Center Coalition hosts weekly planning sessions every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at 1201 Douglas Ave. It also hosts a neighborhood community market each fourth Saturday, with the June market set for the 28th.
The Community Outreach Team invites people to join them in making phone calls or writing letters to the residents in the neighborhood surrounding the center to inspire neighbors with the progress that is being made.
Qi Gong meditation classes ST. PETE BEACH – Weekly Qi Gong moving meditation classes are held Tuesdays, 8:30 to 10 a.m., at the Warren Webster Center, 1500 Pass-A-Grille Way.
The cost is $10 per class.
Classes are lead by acupuncture physician Joyce Lockwood who studied Qi Gong in China and
is certified as a Qi Gong practice leader in the U.S. through the Institute of Integral Qi Gong and Tai Chi.
Qi Gong is an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates slow graceful movements, breathing techniques and deep relaxation.
SEMINOLE - American Legion Post 252, 11433 Park Blvd., offers a monthly spaghetti dinner the first Tuesday of each month from 5 to 7 p.m. The dining room is open to the public. Legion membership is required to purchase alcohol. For more information, call 391-6324.