Archive for October, 2010

Twenty reasons Barack Obama stinks

October 29, 2010

The US midterm Congressional election is a referendum on Barack Obama’s presidency so far. His Democratic Party is likely to lose one if not both houses of Congress due to a single simple fact: Barack Obama stinks. In case you haven’t been paying attention for the past two years, here are 20 key reasons why.

He was elected by a national vote.
Supreme Court Justices are much better qualified to choose a president.

Not a single US landmark has been destroyed by terrorists during his presidency.
George W Bush got a pair of landmark buildings destroyed and a third attacked in less than half the time Obama has dallied.

He has two daughters, but they’re not even twins.
Neither one has even been arrested for getting drunk either.

He’s part of the elite.
Bush only went to Andover and Yale because the rest of his family did.

Lived with much older white women while underage.
Called them “Mom” and “Grandma” – what a sicko!

Works in a government job and lives in public housing.
Geez, don’t they all.

Only cut taxes for middle class and poor.
He has a deep-seated hatred of rich people.

His father was never Ronald Reagan’s vice president.
His own vice president never patriotically funneled tens of millions in government contracts to his former company.

People say he’s Muslim.
Where there’s smoke, something’s not kosher.

He speaks proper English.
What does he think, he’s like better than us?

He’s never been arrested for drunk driving.
See above.

Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd died during his presidency.
Bush made the hard choices to keep them safe. Now it’s ObamaCare for all.

Says he roots for the Chicago White Sox.
But never even tried to buy the team and get a sweetheart land deal out of it.

Doesn’t have a ranch.
He owns a house across from a synagogue. Wow, there went that neighborhood.

Condoleezza Rice never called him “my husband.”
And Susan Rice isn’t even Condi’s sister.

Distinguished himself earning an advanced degree at Harvard.
As if Law Review matters more than poker at drinking clubs.

Name ends in a vowel.
Typical Chicago backroom politics.

Lousy bowler.
Lousy pool player, too.

Hasn’t invaded a single country under false pretenses.
Bush didn’t do that until his third year, but he had Congressional authorization for it by now.

Never warned anyone he would be the first black president.
At least with Bush, what you saw was what you got.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, financial crisis, and cheap lingerie.

Self-publishing still second best

October 26, 2010

My writing career took off after I started publishing my own newsletter (gasp!) 25 years ago. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to get other people to publish my work. So I know both sides of the self-publishing debate.

In the Third Decade blogger Silver Erieann didn’t know all of that – and I hadn’t thought it through – when she asked for my thoughts on conventional versus self-publishing recently. Her blog is refreshingly irreverent, even if your third decade is nothing but a fuzzy memory.

Silver Erieann is also a fan of my novel of Hong Kong On Air, now available in US bookstores. The orange alert remains in effect: I’ll burn this book unless you buy it.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, financial crisis, and cheap lingerie.

School for bombers grad fights terrorism

October 19, 2010

At the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival earlier this month, I met one of Indonesia’s leading anti-terrorism campaigners. Noor Huda Ismail graduated from Pondok Pesantren Ngruki, the Islamic boarding school co-founded by Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, the alleged spiritual leader of the Jemaah Islamiyaah terrorist group responsible for the Bali bombings. Ngruki graduates led the 2002 Bali bombings, and Ba’asyir also served time related to the attack, accused of failing to notify authorities about the impending assault.

Ismail’s mentor when he entered Ngruki as a 12 year old, Utomo Pamungkas, received a life sentence on terrorism charges. In Temanku, Teroris? (My Friend, the Terrorist?), the former Washington Post Southeast Asia correspondent writes about how their paths diverged as students and beyond. As reported in Asia Times, Ismail’s observations led him to start a foundation to help convicted terrorists reject political violence through, among others things, currency trading and shrimp farming.

Meeting such fascinating individuals, from Ismail to China’s Ma Jian and hearing what they have to say about their lives and works in an intimate, idyllic setting make the Ubud Festival one of the world’s best literary events.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, financial crisis, and cheap lingerie.

Author Ma Jian links Nobel Peace Prize, Bali

October 11, 2010

This year’s seventh annual Ubud Writers & Readers Festival featured Chinese writer in exile Ma Jian, who I interviewed for Asia Times. The author of Beijing Coma, Ma has chosen to write books about China from outside, going back only for visits that he reports include frequent questioning by police.

Coincidentally, while Ma was in Bali, fellow democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to change the system from inside China. It’s fruitless to debate whether Ma or Liu is working most effectively to win freedom for the People’s Republic of China. It’s much more important to remember, and beyond debate, that Beijing’s rulers and their Communist Party are responsible for suppressing freedom and democracy in China.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, financial crisis, and cheap lingerie.


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