This could be very interesting … or maybe a flop. Islam Channel, a British Muslim TV channel broadcast on satellite and webcasts, plans to host a weekly religion quiz show called “Faith Off” from mid-June. It’s meant to promote better understanding among religions by pitting teams from different faiths against each other. As the Guardian’s religion correspondent Riazat Butt put it, the show will pit “Jews against Muslims, Sikhs against Christians and Hindus against Buddhists, with contestants competing for cash prizes.” Sounds like an interesting idea, but I don’t know if it will make great TV.

Like all quiz shows, its success will depend on how well it’s presented, how interesting the questions are and how knowledgable the contestants are. But one of the recurring religion stories you see is the survey about how little many people know about their own religion. In fact, they’re hardly news anymore.

So I wonder how well contestants will do even with questions about their own faith, let alone anything dealing with another religion. And what about issues where there are differences of opinion within one religion? If the producers weed out all the difficult and contentious questions, is there enough left to make a lively and challenging show?

It’s like living inside a Salvador Dali painting.

More Barbies For Iran

Iran’s leaders are racing to obtain nuclear technology in the face of United Nations disapproval, backing troublemakers in Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza, and issuing weekly predictions of the death of Israel. But there is one thing that seems to make them mighty nervous: Barbie.

Recently Iran’s top prosecutor warned that the ever-popular long-legged plastic doll with streaming blonde hair and an exaggerated figure is a “danger” to the state. The Associated Press says Barbie is sold on the black market wearing swimsuits and miniskirts in a society where women must wear head scarves in public and men and women are not allowed to swim together. The government has been trying to stamp out Barbie as what it calls a Western “Trojan Horse” since at least 1996.

“The irregular importation of … toys,” including Barbie, Spiderman, Harry Potter, and computer games, “which unfortunately arrive through unofficial sources and smuggling, is destructive culturally and a social danger,” the prosecutor said in a letter to Iran’s senior vice president, a copy of which was made available to the AP. “Undoubtedly, the personality and identity of the new generation and our children, as a result of unrestricted importation of toys, has been put at risk and caused irreparable damages.”

Demographics help explain why the mullahs quake at the sight of Barbie. Iran’s rulers come from the first generation of revolutionaries who took over the country 30 years ago. But two thirds of Iran’s citizens are under the age of 35. Life is not good for most Iranians. One in four lives in poverty. The country cannot create enough jobs for young Iranians joining the work force, according to a paper recently published by the Council on Foreign Relations.

Official unemployment is in double digits despite record oil income. Many young Iranians are well educated and would like to live under a more liberal and better run regime. Barbie may well represent their aspirations — and those of their children — for a freer life.

Western pop culture, democracy and free markets have much, much more to offer young Iranians, as well as Muslim youth worldwide, than the crabbed patriarchal rules of conservative Islam. Iran’s rulers have every reason to fear their oppressive system is doomed. That speaks to their fear of Barbie.

FDR lied to Congress to get us into World War Two (a war many leftists believe was ‘unnecessary’):

FDR “lied us into war because he did not have the political courage to lead us into it,” Rep. Clare Luce blurted out in 1944.

The target of Luce’s accusation was a president who by then had entered the pantheon alongside Lincoln and Washington. FDR’s courtiers savaged the lady for maligning the Great Man, but few could credibly deny the truth of what she had said.

No matter the justice and nobility of America’s cause in World War II, FDR had lied us into war. Even as he soothingly reassured the mothers and fathers of America (“I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars”), he was stoking war, and provoking Germany and Japan.

FDR lied about the secret war he had ordered U.S. warships to conduct against German U-boats. He lied about who fired the first shots when the U.S. destroyers Greer and Kearney were attacked…

FDR sent picket ships out into the path of the Japanese fleet in the hope they would be sunk. He gave Lord Halifax secret, but unconstitutional, assurances America would defend His Majesty’s colonies in the Pacific. He spurned a secret peace offer from Japan’s Prince Konoye and issued a secret ultimatum to Tojo’s regime on Nov. 26, 1941.

As Secretary of War Henry Stimson wrote in his diary two weeks before Pearl Harbor, “We should maneuver them into … firing the first shot.” FDR was guilty of impeachable high crimes. But as Field Marshal Moltke told Admiral Tirpitz, as he ordered the German army to invade neutral Belgium in 1914, “Success alone justifies war.”

One has to wonder why the catastrophe of World War Two (an ‘unnecessary’ war in the eyes of many on the left) has not led to the excoriation of Franklin Delano Roosevelt by the left (and the inevitable elevation of Adolph Hitler as a misunderstood ‘victim’ of democracy as is the case in the Arab world), a conflagration that cost 50 million lives.

George Bush isn’t even in FDR’s league.

See Little Green Footballs:

The company that published Scott McClellan’s new Bush-bashing book is Public Affairs Books, and their Editor at Large is a guy named Peter Osnos: About The Century Foundation.

The owner of Public Affairs Books is a company called Perseus Book Group. Here’s their ownership tree: Perseus Books Home.

The firm is owned by Perseus Funds Group, (holding company Perseus LLC) a capital management firm that grew from about $20 million in 1995 to over $2 billion now. Big infusions of cash seemed to help it grow exponentially and it closed funds almost as fast as it opened them. The board has tons of liberals from the Clinton and Carter Administrations with credentials that almost put Osnos’ to shame as far as far left causes go. Their website is here: PERSEUS – merchant bank and private equity fund management.

From Blue Grass Red State:

Here are 6 other fun books by the publisher of former Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s stupid new book. The George Soros funded publisher Perseus was in charge of this. Notice that George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton both are criticized, but Barack Obama gets graded on a different scale, as usual:


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