Sunday, December 14, 2008

Some good news out of Iraq ......... at last

Saturday, December 6, 2008

10 classic clueless-user stories

#1: Icon by any other name

I had one user, the sweetest lady, who was not very computer literate. After she got her new computer, she said, “Where are my programs?” I told her that I had made shortcuts on her desktop to the programs she used. She said, “When I click on the icon, that’s not the right program.” When I asked her which program she was referring to, she said, “The third icon down.” I asked her which program that was. “Oh, I don’t know the name of it. I just know on my old computer, it was the third icon down program.”

This one took a while.

– nabess

#2: Money’s worth

Client: I don’t understand why that accounting software cost so much. It’s only been used once.

Consultant: What do you mean, it’s only been used once? You use it every day.

Client: No, I don’t. You used it once when you put the program on my computer and it’s been sitting in the box ever since.

…Time to get my money up front….

– BWestly

#3: IRQ sale

One of the contractors in my office ordered a new computer through his company. Unfortunately, he ordered a NIC with an RJ45 connector and we were on a coax network at the time. This was back in the days of Win95. I informed him of the problem and said I had a spare NIC to give him if he would order the correct NIC to replace the one I provided.

He got on the phone with his company and complained about the NIC. This guy thinks he is a computer genius, but really just thinks that bigger, better, and more are always the solution. So he ordered everything he could think of in this computer. Not a single bay was open and most of the slots were filled. Needless to say he had an IRQ problem. His company gave him the number of the computer company and told him to call their sales department. I was happy to see him on the phone because then he wasn’t bothering me while I set up his computer. I overheard him say to the sales department, “My land guy says I’m out of IRQs. Can I buy some more of those?”

– Idbollert

#4: Retention dissension

We currently have a great policy for keeping e-mail to a minimum. It’s only kept 90 days, then it’s deleted, so if you want to save it past the retention period, you have to put it into a file somehow.

This has been in effect for several years, but amazingly, we had a couple of executives in the legal dept who built up 40,000 messages in their inboxes each, without having any deleted. I finally got the connection when the new “retention policy” was published. The company lawyers who wrote it had a line in the document that excluded themselves from the policy and made sure they could keep everything forever!

– msholtva

#5: ####

One of our marketing managers complained that he couldn’t make any sense of a telephone management spreadsheet I’d sent him because he couldn’t see when the calls were made. I explained that each worksheet in the spreadsheet had a name and the name indicated the applicable month. Two minutes later, he arrived at my desk saying that he still couldn’t make any sense of the spreadsheet because there were no dates in the worksheets. I opened my copy and showed him that the dates and times were in column A. He then tried to tell me that I had sent him the wrong file because his column A just had “stars” in it! Oh boy-was his face red when I showed him how to expand the column! Makes you think, huh?!

– PhatKatz

#6: Must have been the instructions

Back when floppy disks were the only portable medium (good old 5 1/4 and 3.5 inch disks hold not much more than a mere 360K), I was working as a field engineer for a third-party support firm. Remembering two calls always brings a smile to my face.

Caller #1: A guy rings up and says that he has just received his new update on four 3.5 inch floppy disks and he followed the instructions supplied with the update to the letter. He had a problem with the machine reading the second disk, just would not accept it. After a few probing questions, a site visit was required, so I attended the next day and was amazed by what I saw. Yes, the guy obviously had a problem reading the second disk after following the installation instructions:

1. Insert disk 1.

2. Run setup, click OK when asked.

3. When asked, insert disk 2.

What I found was that he had not removed the first disk and had actually managed to get both disks into the floppy drive AT THE SAME TIME. Ooops.

Caller #2:

Me: Hello, Tech Support.

Caller: Hello yes, I received this update from you for my new PC, but it cannot read any of the floppy disks you sent me.

Me: Hmm. Can you please explain what’s happening?

Caller: OK, I opened the box and read the instructions telling me to put in disk 1 and run setup.

Me: Good; next?

Caller: So I got the disks out the box and put the first disk into the drive after removing the protective cover.

Me: Protective cover? Do you mean the little white sleeve that the disk comes in?

Caller: No the big black cover that the disk comes in. Is it supposed to be that hard to get the disk out?

At this point I fell off my chair, only just managing to put the caller on hold before breaking out in a laughter fit. When I attended his home, he had not only managed to take out the disk from inside the disk casing, he had actually managed to get it lodged into the drive and then broke the heads of the drive when he tried to get it out.

– darkside

#7: Memorable lessons

Several years ago, our organization finally got a T1 connection, so everyone suddenly had access to the Internet. The firewall with content filtering software was installed, but we were still playing around with the filtering settings.

Lots of our workers were complete newbies, so I had to teach a class on using browsers and e-mail clients. I had a mixed class of men and women, most of them completely new to computers. One of the guys was a very religious man, and everyone there was well aware of that.

At one point, I asked everyone in the class to enter in the URL box. After a moment, I heard a gasp, followed by everyone in the room busting out in laughter. Seems my religious friend didn’t know how to spell “Yahoo” and had instead entered “Yuho.” To his shock, and in front of a room full of witnesses, he was immediately transported to a raunchy porn site! The poor guy will never live it down!

– Quiet_Type

#8: If it don’t fit…

Back in the early ’90s, I was the PC support person for a tire manufacturing plant. Most of the computers had dual floppy drives (5 1/4 & 3.5), but there were some old clunkers (IBM PCs) with only 5 1/4, as well as some state-of-the-art 286 Compaqs with only a 3.5″ drive. It is latter that this story is about.

I got a call from a summer engineering student that her disk had gotten stuck in the drive. When I got to the computer I found that she had her work on a 5 1/4″ floppy. She was trying to load this work on one of these new Compaqs. The disk was too big, so she decided that, since the material that the floppy is made from is the same, if she were to fold her large floppy in quarters to make it fit the drive then the drive would still read it. Thing is, this person was otherwise a very smart, logical person. I also had a fairly good rapport with her, so I asked her, “How is the drive suppose to spin the disk if it is folded?” The lights came on, cheeks reddened, and she made me promise not to tell ANYONE what just happened. I didn’t in that job, but we both had a good laugh.

– support

#9: Not a speck of dust

I work for an engineering company. I had an engineer (with an engineering Ph.D., no less) call me about a broken mouse. When I arrived at his office, he showed me the problem by moving the mouse smoothly from one side of the mouse pad to the other while pointing out that the cursor moved in jerks. I showed him how to open the mouse, remove the ball and how to clean the crud from the rollers. After this, the mouse worked perfectly. He was quite happy and I left satisfied that this “problem” had been solved to everyone’s satisfaction.

However, the next morning, I again received a call from Dr. X to say that his mouse was broken. This time when I arrived, he moved the mouse from one side of the pad to the other while the cursor did not move at all. When I turned the mouse over, I found that our engineer had decided that the mouse was poorly designed to allow all of the dust and debris to enter it. To correct this poor design, he had applied scotch tape over the entire underside of the mouse! I have to admit, he would probably never have had a dirty mouse problem again!

– ESchlangen

#10: Most important meal of the day

User: “Is sausage bad for printers?”

To this day, I wish I had replied, “Patties or links?”

– Mchappell


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cool Reflection

Saturday, November 22, 2008

فتش أوراق زوجتك

غابت عنه لبعض شأنها ، ووجد نفسه وحيدا في غرفة نومها ، وهجمت عليه سانحة من الفضول ، لِمَ لا أتصفح هذا الدفتر الملقي عرضاً بجانب السرير ؟
تصفح فوجد رسوماً ضاحكة ، وأخرى حزينة ، وفهم شيئا وتحير في أشياء ، وجد شعراً جميلاً ، وغزلاً ، وشوقاً إلى اللقاء !
ترى هو المعنى بذلك أم سواه ؟
هل تُخفي في قلبها رجلاً آخر ؟
هل جحدت عني شيئاً من تاريخ ما قبل التاريخ ؟ هل ثَمَ تجارب أو مغامرات ؟ هل جسدها معي وخيالها مع حبيب آخر ؟
تذكر أبيات الشناوي :

لا تَكذبي ، إني رأيتكما معا
ودعي البكاء فقد مللتُ الأدمعا
ما أقبح الدمعَ السخينَ إذا جرى
من عين كاذبةٍ فأنكر وأدعى
إني رأيتُكما ..
إني سمعتُكما ..
عيناك في عينيه ..
كفاك في كفيه ..
وشفتاك ضارعتان ترتجفان من شوق إليه ..
كوني كما قد شئت لكن لن تكوني
فلقد صنعتك من هواي ومن جنوني
ولقد برئت من الهوى ومن الجنونِ !

قام إلى هذه الأدراج ففتحها واحداً بعد الآخر ، وأقبل على القصاصات والأوراق يقرؤها بِنَهَم ، يبحث عن مشاعر مكتوبة ، وأسرار مدفونة ، وكنز قد يكون ثميناً ، أو يكون أصبع ديناميت يفجّر هذه العلاقة المقدسة !
وجد قصّة رمزية رائعة الوصف ، محكمة السبك ، لو نشرت لحفزت أقلام النقاد والأدباء على التناول والتحليل ، وقف عندها طويلاً يبدو أن المرأة غير منسجمة في علاقتها معي !
ها هي تتحدث عن الحزن والأسى ، ها هي الدموع تبلل الورق ، مشاعر مكتومة ، وألم ممض .. هاه .. إذاً كل جهدي ذهب أدراج الرياح ، وما ثَمّ تقدير ولا عرفان للتضحيات التي أقدمها !

يظن بعض الأزواج أن سلطانهم على الزوجة مطلق ، وأنهم مسؤولون عن تفصيلات فكرها وقلبها وحياتها ، ولا يفهمون في شأن العلاقة الزوجية إلا مبدأ واحداً ، وهو مبدأ " القوامة " .
والقوامة حق قرره القرآن الكريم ( الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنْفَقُوا )[النساء/34].
والنص لا يعني المسئولية المطلقة ، فالقرآن الكريم ذاته حمّل المرأة مسئوليتها المباشرة في أعظم الأمور ، مسئولية التكليف والديانة ( أَنِّي لَا أُضِيعُ عَمَلَ عَامِلٍ مِنْكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنْثَى بَعْضُكُمْ مِنْ بَعْضٍ) [آل عمران/195] ( إِنَّ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَالْمُسْلِمَاتِ وَالْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْقَانِتِينَ وَالْقَانِتَاتِ وَالصَّادِقِينَ وَالصَّادِقَاتِ وَالصَّابِرِينَ وَالصَّابِرَاتِ وَالْخَاشِعِينَ وَالْخَاشِعَاتِ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقِينَ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقَاتِ وَالصَّائِمِينَ وَالصَّائِمَاتِ وَالْحَافِظِينَ فُرُوجَهُمْ وَالْحَافِظَاتِ وَالذَّاكِرِينَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا وَالذَّاكِرَاتِ أَعَدَّ اللَّهُ لَهُمْ مَغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمًا )[الأحزاب/35] .

وهي مسؤولة عن صلاتها, وصومها, وغسلها من الجنابة والحيض, وسائر أعمالها ، وذمتها مستقلة مالياً ، فهي تملك وتبيع, وتشترى وتتصدق ، دون إذنه حتي قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم لصحابياته : « تَصَدَّقْنَ وَلَوْ مِنْ حُلِيِّكُنَّ »! كما في البخاري ومسلم.
قل عن نفسك .. ماذا تخفى عن زوجتك ؟ هل أنت كتاب مفتوح ؟ هل فكرت ؟ أو حاولت ؟ أو غامرت ؟ أو سافرت ؟ أو .. أو .. الخ ؟!
أليس الأصل في العلاقة هو " التكافؤ " ؟
حتى إن من تمام التكافؤ أن لغة القرآن الكريم -وهي لغة العرب -سمّت الرجل زوجاً ,وسمت المرأة زوجاً أيضاً ,فهما زوجان.
وهذا أقوى من لغة التأنيث التي جاء فيها قول الشاعر:

وإن الذي يسعى ليأخذ زوجتي *** كساع إلى أسد الشرى يستثيرها

فلماذا تبدو فضولياً مصراً على البحث عن أوراق منثورة هنا وهناك ؟
أليس للبيوت أسرار ؟ أم ترى أنه لا سرّ عنك ؟
لطالما أخفت أمهات المؤمنين عن سيدنا محمد - صلي الله عليه وسلم -ما تجرى به طبيعة الحياة ، حتى قال لإحداهن يوماًَ, وقد سألها فأخفت :
« لَتُخْبِرِينِي أَوْ لَيُخْبِرَنِّي اللَّطِيفُ الْخَبِيرُ ». كما في صحيح مسلم وغيره.
علاقة الزوجية ليست فوقية مطلقة ، ولها مثل الذي عليها بالمعروف ، واسمح يسمح لك ، ولا تجسسوا ، ولا تحسسوا ، ومن تتبع عورة أخيه تتبع الله عورته ، ومن تتبع الله عورته فضحة ولو في عقر داره .
كُفّ بعد اليوم عن التلصص ، وتوقف عن تقليب الأوراق ، وتعامل مع شريكك على أساس الثقة والاحترام وحسن الظن ، وخذ ما ظهر ، ودع ما خفي ، وإليك النصيحة الواقية من فتن الحياة الزوجية على لسان محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم « إِنَّكَ إِنِ اتَّبَعْتَ عَوْرَاتِ النَّاسِ أَفْسَدْتَهُمْ أَوْ كِدْتَ أَنْ تُفْسِدَهُمْ » رواه أبو داود وابن حبان. والله أعلم .
د. سلمان العودة – الإسلام اليوم

Friday, November 21, 2008

American asks for financial help

It seems, at least according to this article, that the US is 'asking' some gulf countries for around 300 billion cash ( in real money not American stocks ) to help save the US economy from recession. Of course no Arab country would do this if it wasn't out of fear of the repercussions that could result from refusing, you know like overthrowing the government or asking for more rights for Shia's or letting Iran loose.
But what really gets to me is all the colonial mentality suffering Arabs/ Muslims who keep whining about American Supremacy and our inferiority even though this isn't the first time the gulf countries have been forced into helping the US economy and if it wasn't for its UN veto and Military might they wouldn't. The colonially sick ones will even start whining for peace with America, lamenting their terrorist countrymen as if we started the wars or aggressions, how do you peacefully deal with a thieving bully how has no respect for anyone ?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Work Day Prayer

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Another Craigslist Marriage Ad

INTELLIGENT, cultured, 22y/o wm seeking Asian women (pref. Nihonese)

Date: 2008-10-16, 3:29AM EDT

Hello ladies of the internet!

I am here today, as are you, to find the love of my life ideally. Now, I am an introspective and reflective man so over my life I've come to realise exactly what I'm looking for in my ideal woman.

Personally, I am 22 years old, my name is Perseus, I am attending U of T in the final year of my Engineering degree, and I am a little on the chubby side. I am a dedicated Green party voter and staunchly opposed to the Conversative hordes dashing themselves against the impregnable Liberal/NDP/Green keep of our fine enlightened city. I am fond of discussing philosophy and the meaning of life over a glass of wine in the 'even. As hobbies go, I am an avid gamer and enjoy delving into the myriad artistic realities of animé (the origin of my affinity for Asian culture, which is frankly superior).

You MUST fulfill the following requirements:
- Asian
- Woman
- Aged NO MORE THAN 23
- - and NO LESS THAN 16
- Petite build. Ideally no more than 115 lbs.
- - but no 'Paris Hilton' bulimics please! I like my women with some meat on them.
- Like sushi, animé, and video games.

BONUSES include:
- Japanese heritage
- Large collection of animé and manga
- Glasses
- Interest in cosplay and roleplaying
- Traditional Ladies' education

I must stress again that this is for a SERIOUS, long term relationship. Not some 'fling' as though I were a boy toy to be tossed aside.

  • Location: Toronto
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
PostingID: 881177993

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Greenspan Admits Free Market theory was wrong

Greenspan Concedes Error on Regulation

Facing a firing line of questions from Washington lawmakers, Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman once considered the infallible maestro of the financial system, admitted on Thursday that he “made a mistake” in trusting that free markets could regulate themselves without government oversight.

A fervent proponent of deregulation during his 18-year tenure at the Fed’s helm, Mr. Greenspan has faced mounting criticism this year for having refused to consider cracking down on credit derivatives, an unchecked market whose excesses partly led to the current financial crisis.

Although he defended the use of derivatives in general, Mr. Greenspan, who left his post in 2006, told members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that he was “partially” wrong in not having tried to regulate the market for credit-default swaps.

But in a tense exchange with Representative Henry A. Waxman, the California Democrat who is chairman of the committee, Mr. Greenspan conceded a more serious flaw in his own philosophy that unfettered free markets sit at the root of a superior economy.

“I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms,” Mr. Greenspan said.

Referring to his free-market ideology, Mr. Greenspan added: “I have found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I have been very distressed by that fact.”

Mr. Waxman pressed the former Fed chair to clarify his words. “In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working,” Mr. Waxman said.

“Absolutely, precisely,” Mr. Greenspan replied. “You know, that’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.”

The oversight committee held a four-hour hearing on Thursday to determine what gaps in the regulatory structure abetted the crisis that has roiled the world’s financial markets.

Mr. Greenspan appeared alongside Christopher Cox, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and John W. Snow, who served as secretary of the Treasury early in the Bush administration.

In his prepared remarks, Mr. Greenspan said he was in “a state of shocked disbelief” about the breakdown in the ability of banks to regulate themselves. He also warned about the economic consequences of the crisis, saying that he “cannot see how we will avoid a significant rise in layoffs and unemployment.” Consumer spending will decline, too, he said, adding that a stabilization of home prices would be necessary to bring the crisis to its end.

Saying that his thinking “has evolved” in the last year, Mr. Greenspan also defended his record. “In 2005, I raised concerns that the protracted period of underpricing of risk, if history was any guide, would have dire consequences,” he said. “This crisis, however, has turned out to be much broader than anything I could have imagined.”

Several committee members asked who would ultimately be punished for a crisis that has ravaged their constituents’ savings accounts and could eventually lead to an enormous loss of jobs.

Representative Bill Sali, Republican of Idaho, wondered what Mr. Cox would say to “Idaho’s mom and pop investors who have lost so much of their hard-earned savings, their retirement funds, while some of the corporate C.E.O.’s have received, you know, golden parachutes and those kinds of things.” He added, “Is somebody going to go to jail?

Mr. Cox replied, “There’s no question that somewhere in this terrible mess many laws were broken.” But he quickly backed off a hard-line approach. “You know, cleaning up the mess through law enforcement after the fact — while important, is not ideal,” he said. “The best thing that we can do, of course, as many of you are focused on — indeed, this hearing is focused on this — is to infer lessons from what happened and prevent anything like this and this astonishing harm from happening again.”

In his prepared remarks, Mr. Greenspan said he saw “no choice” but to impose legal quality requirements for certain types of securities, and added that other regulatory changes would have to be made.

But he still gestured toward his faith in free markets, however shaky it may have become. “It is important to remember, however, that whatever regulatory changes are made, they will pale in comparison to the change already evident in today’s markets,” he said. Those markets for an indefinite future will be far more restrained than would any currently contemplated new regulatory regime.

At one point, Mr. Greenspan appeared to question the efficacy of increased oversight over the financial system, noting, “I think that it’s interesting to observe that we find failures of regulation all the time.”

“If we are right 60 percent of the time in forecasting, we’re doing exceptionally well,” Mr. Greenspan said. “That means we are wrong 40 percent of the time. We at the Federal Reserve had a much better record forecasting than the private sector, but we were wrong quite a good deal of the time.”

The responses from the panel were met with little sympathy from Representative John A. Yarmuth, a Democrat from Kentucky, who likened the three witnesses to Bill Buckner, the former first baseman for the Red Sox whose notorious error cost his team the 1986 World Series.

“All of you let the ball go through your legs,” Mr. Yarmuth said, using Mr. Buckner’s mistake as a metaphor. “And you didn’t want to let the ball go through your legs, you didn’t try to let the ball go through your legs, but it got through.”

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Friendly fire deaths blamed on Iraqi's

Well it seems that the death of 2 US soldiers in December 2006 was deliberately blamed on the Iraqi resistance even though it was an American tank that killed them !

Reminds me of the cover ups of Abu Gharib, I wonder what other dirty secrets we could unveil if we could get all the videos recorded from the helmet mounted cameras ?


Sunday, October 12, 2008

There is a Silver Lining

The crisis has forced the United States to confront bad habits developed over the past few decades. If we can kick those habits, today's pain will translate into gains.

Fareed Zakaria
From the magazine issue dated Oct 20, 2008

Some of us—especially those under 60—have always wondered what it would be like to live through the kind of epochal event one reads about in books. Well, this is it. We're now living history, suffering one of the greatest financial panics of all time. It compares with the big ones—1907, 1929—and we cannot yet know its full consequences for the financial system, the economy or society as a whole.

I'm betting that, in the end, the world's governments will win this battle against fear. They have potentially unlimited tools at their disposal, especially if they act in concert. They can nationalize firms, call bank holidays, suspend trading for weeks, buy up debt and equity, and renegotiate home mortgages. Most important, the American government can print money. All of these tools have long-term effects that are extremely troublesome, but they are nothing compared with the potential collapse of the financial system. And Washington seems to have recognized that it must do whatever is required to shore up that system. Big questions remain. What will it take to stop the fall? How costly will it be? How long before the rescue plan starts to have an effect? But at some point, the panic that gripped world markets last week will end. Of course, that will not mean a return to growth or a bull market. We're in for tough times. But it will mean a return to sanity.

Amid all the difficulties and hardship that we are about to undergo, I see one silver lining. This crisis has—dramatically, vengefully—forced the United States to confront the bad habits it has developed over the past few decades. If we can kick those habits, today's pain will translate into gains in the long run.

Since the 1980s, Americans have consumed more than they produced—and they have made up the difference by borrowing.

Two decades of easy money and innovative financial products meant that virtually anyone could borrow any amount of money for any purpose. If we wanted a bigger house, a better TV or a faster car, and we didn't actually have the money to pay for it, no problem. We put it on a credit card, took out a massive mortgage and financed our fantasies. As the fantasies grew, so did household debt, from $680 billion in 1974 to $14 trillion today. The total has doubled in just the past seven years. The average household owns 13 credit cards, and 40 percent of them carry a balance, up from 6 percent in 1970.

But the average American's behavior was virtue itself compared with the government's. Every city, every county and every state has wanted to preserve its many and proliferating operations and yet not raise taxes. How to square this circle? By borrowing, using ever more elaborate financial instruments. Revenue bonds were backed up by the prospect of future income from taxes or lotteries. "A growing trend is to securitize future federal funding for highways, housing and other items," says Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute. The effect on the projects, he points out, is to make them more expensive, since they incur interest payments. Because they "insulate the taxpayer from the cost"—all that needs to be paid now is the interest—they also tend to produce cost overruns.

Local pols aren't the only problem. Under Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve obstinately refused to inflict any pain. Russian default? Cut interest rates. Worried about Y2K? Cut rates. NASDAQ crash? Cut rates. The economy slows after 9/11? Cut rates. Whatever the problem, the solution was to keep the money flowing and goose the economy. Eventually, by putting the housing market on steroids, the strategy created problems too large to untangle.

The whole country has been complicit in a great fraud. As economist Jeffrey Sachs points out, "We've wanted lots of government, but we haven't wanted to pay for it." So we've borrowed our way out of the problem. In 1990, the national debt stood at $3 trillion. (That sounds high, but keep reading.) By 2000, it had almost doubled, to $5.75 trillion. It is currently $10.2 trillion. The number moved into 11 digits last month, which meant that the National Debt Clock in New York City ran out of space to display the figures. Its owners plan to get a new clock next year.

"Leverage" is the fancy Wall Street word for debt. It's at the heart of the current crisis. Warren Buffett explained the problem in his inimitable way on "The Charlie Rose Show." "Leverage," he said, "is the only way a smart guy can go broke ... You do smart things, you eventually get very rich. If you do smart things and use leverage and you do one wrong thing along the way, it could wipe you out, because anything times zero is zero. But it's reinforcing when the people around you are doing it successfully, you're doing it successfully, and it's a lot like Cinderella at the ball. The guys look better all the time, the music sounds better, it's more and more fun, you think, 'Why the hell should I leave at a quarter to 12? I'll leave at two minutes to 12.' But the trouble is, there are no clocks on the wall. And everybody thinks they're going to leave at two minutes to 12."

If there is a lesson to be taken from this crisis, it's a simple and old rule of economics: there is no free lunch. If you want something, you have to pay for it. Debt is not a bad thing. Used responsibly, it is at the heart of modern capitalism. But hiding mountains of debt in complex instruments is a way to disguise costs, an invitation to irresponsible behavior.

At some point, the magical accounting had to stop. At some point, consumers had to stop using their homes as banks and spending money that they didn't have. At some point, the government had to confront its indebtedness. The United States—and other overleveraged societies—have now gotten the wake-up call from hell. If we can respond and change our behavior markedly, this might actually be a blessing in disguise. (Though, as Winston Churchill said when he lost the election of 1945, "at the moment it appears rather effectively disguised.")

In the short term, all the solutions to the current crisis require that governments take on more debts and larger obligations. This is inevitable and necessary. But that doesn't mean we should, as some noted economists advocate, stimulate the economy with more tax cuts. That would be only one more way to keep the party going artificially—like asking a drunk to go to AA next year, but in the meantime to have even more whisky. A far better stimulus would be to announce and expedite major infrastructure and energy projects, which are investments, not consumption, and therefore have a much different effect on the country's fiscal fortunes. (They are not listed separately in the federal budget, but that's just bad accounting.)

In the medium and long term, we have to get back to basics. Households, for instance, should save more. Governments should put incentives in place that make such savings more likely. The U.S. government offers enormous incentives to consume (the deduction of mortgage interest being the best example), and it works. We have the biggest houses in the world, the thinnest flat-screen TVs and the most cars. If we were to tax consumption and encourage savings, that would also work. Regulations on credit-card debt should be revised to ensure that people understand the risks and costs of these instruments. Moving in this direction would be good for families and for the government as well.

Wall Street will also need to change. Paul Volcker has long argued that the recent spate of financial innovation was nothing of the kind: it simply shuffled around existing resources while contributing few real benefits to the economy. Such activity will now be reduced significantly. Boykin Curry, managing director of Eagle Capital, says, "For 20 years, the DNA of nearly every financial institution had morphed dangerously. Each time someone at the table pressed for more leverage and more risk, the next few years proved them 'right.' These people were emboldened, they were promoted and they gained control of ever more capital. Meanwhile, anyone in power who hesitated, who argued for caution, was proved 'wrong.' The cautious types were increasingly intimidated, passed over for promotion. They lost their hold on capital. This happened every day in almost every financial institution over and over, until we ended up with a very specific kind of person running things. This year, the capital that remains is finally being reallocated to more careful, thoughtful executives and investors—the Warren Buffetts … of the world."

Volcker has also argued that the highly complex financial system was not nearly as stable as people believed and that far-reaching efforts were needed to regulate and stabilize it. Now these issues will get attention at the highest level. The fear on Wall Street is that a Democratic administration would overregulate. But look at who is advising Barack Obama—Buffett, Volcker, former Treasury secretaries Robert Rubin and Larry Summers. It is more likely that what will come from their efforts will be a better-regulated financial system that, while producing less-extravagant profits, will be more stable and secure.

The financial industry itself is likely to shrink, and that's not a bad thing, either. It has ballooned dramatically in size. Curry points out that "30 percent of S&P 500 profits last year were earned by financial firms, and U.S. consumers were spending $800 billion more than they earned every year. As a result, most of our top math Ph.D.s were being pulled into nonproductive financial engineering instead of biotech research and fuel technology. Capital expenditures went into retail construction instead of critical infrastructure." The crisis will stop the misallocation of human and financial resources and redirect them in more-productive ways. If some of the smart people now on Wall Street end up building better models of energy usage and efficiency, that would be a net gain for the economy.

The American economy remains extremely dynamic and flexible. Even now, the most surprising data continue to be how resilient the economy has been through all these shocks. That will not last, especially if the panic persists. But even so, it highlights the fact that the U.S. economy has underlying virtues and, after a tough recession, will probably recover faster than many can now imagine. The rise in emerging-market economies, which have been powering global growth, will not vanish overnight, either.

A new discipline would benefit America in a more general sense, too. Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has operated in the world with no constraints or checks on its power. This has not been good for its foreign policy. It has made Washington arrogant, lazy and careless. Its decision making has resembled General Motors' business strategy in the 1970s and 1980s, a process driven largely by a vast array of internal factors but little sense of urgency or awareness of outside pressures. We didn't have to make strategic choices; we could have it all. We could make blunders, anger the world, rupture alliances, waste resources, wage war incompetently—it didn't matter. We had more than enough room for error—lots of error.

But it's a different world out there. If Iraq cast a shadow on U.S. political and military credibility, this financial crisis has eroded America's economic and financial power. In the short run, there has been a flight to safety—toward dollars and T-bills—but in the long run, countries are likely to seek greater independence from an unstable superpower. The United States will now have to work to attract capital to its shores, and manage its fiscal house better. We will have to persuade countries to join in our foreign endeavors. We will have to make strategic choices. We cannot deploy missile interceptors along Russia's borders, draw Georgia and Ukraine into NATO, and still expect Russian cooperation on Iran's nuclear program. We cannot noisily denounce Chinese and Arab foreign investments in America one day and then hope that they will keep buying $4 billion worth of T-bills another day. We cannot keep preaching to the world about democracy and capitalism while our own house is so wildly out of order.

It's a fundamental American belief that competition is good—in business, athletics and life. Checks and balances are James Madison's crucial mechanisms, exposing and countering abuse and arrogance and forcing discipline on people. This discipline will be painful for a country that has gotten used to having it all. But it will make us much stronger in the long run. If we can learn the right lessons from this crisis, the United States will once more be playing by its own rules. And that cannot be bad for us.


Its not the poor who have lived beyond their reach its the rich !

McClatchy Washington Bureau

Posted on Sat, Oct. 11, 2008
Private sector loans, not Fannie or Freddie, triggered crisis
David Goldstein and Kevin G. Hall | McClatchy Newspapers

last updated: October 11, 2008 04:56:24 PM

WASHINGTON — As the economy worsens and Election Day approaches, a conservative campaign that blames the global financial crisis on a government push to make housing more affordable to lower-class Americans has taken off on talk radio and e-mail.

Commentators say that's what triggered the stock market meltdown and the freeze on credit. They've specifically targeted the mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which the federal government seized on Sept. 6, contending that lending to poor and minority Americans caused Fannie's and Freddie's financial problems.

Federal housing data reveal that the charges aren't true, and that the private sector, not the government or government-backed companies, was behind the soaring subprime lending at the core of the crisis.

Subprime lending offered high-cost loans to the weakest borrowers during the housing boom that lasted from 2001 to 2007. Subprime lending was at its height vrom 2004 to 2006.

Federal Reserve Board data show that:

_ More than 84 percent of the subprime mortgages in 2006 were issued by private lending institutions.

_ Private firms made nearly 83 percent of the subprime loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers that year.

_ Only one of the top 25 subprime lenders in 2006 was directly subject to the housing law that's being lambasted by conservative critics.

The "turmoil in financial markets clearly was triggered by a dramatic weakening of underwriting standards for U.S. subprime mortgages, beginning in late 2004 and extending into 2007," the President's Working Group on Financial Markets reported Friday.

Conservative critics claim that the Clinton administration pushed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make home ownership more available to riskier borrowers with little concern for their ability to pay the mortgages.

"I don't remember a clarion call that said Fannie and Freddie are a disaster. Loaning to minorities and risky folks is a disaster," said Neil Cavuto of Fox News.

Fannie, the Federal National Mortgage Association, and Freddie, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., don't lend money, to minorities or anyone else, however. They purchase loans from the private lenders who actually underwrite the loans.

It's a process called securitization, and by passing on the loans, banks have more capital on hand so they can lend even more.

This much is true. In an effort to promote affordable home ownership for minorities and rural whites, the Department of Housing and Urban Development set targets for Fannie and Freddie in 1992 to purchase low-income loans for sale into the secondary market that eventually reached this number: 52 percent of loans given to low-to moderate-income families.

To be sure, encouraging lower-income Americans to become homeowners gave unsophisticated borrowers and unscrupulous lenders and mortgage brokers more chances to turn dreams of homeownership in nightmares.

But these loans, and those to low- and moderate-income families represent a small portion of overall lending. And at the height of the housing boom in 2005 and 2006, Republicans and their party's standard bearer, President Bush, didn't criticize any sort of lending, frequently boasting that they were presiding over the highest-ever rates of U.S. homeownership.

Between 2004 and 2006, when subprime lending was exploding, Fannie and Freddie went from holding a high of 48 percent of the subprime loans that were sold into the secondary market to holding about 24 percent, according to data from Inside Mortgage Finance, a specialty publication. One reason is that Fannie and Freddie were subject to tougher standards than many of the unregulated players in the private sector who weakened lending standards, most of whom have gone bankrupt or are now in deep trouble.

During those same explosive three years, private investment banks — not Fannie and Freddie — dominated the mortgage loans that were packaged and sold into the secondary mortgage market. In 2005 and 2006, the private sector securitized almost two thirds of all U.S. mortgages, supplanting Fannie and Freddie, according to a number of specialty publications that track this data.

In 1999, the year many critics charge that the Clinton administration pressured Fannie and Freddie, the private sector sold into the secondary market just 18 percent of all mortgages.

Fueled by low interest rates and cheap credit, home prices between 2001 and 2007 galloped beyond anything ever seen, and that fueled demand for mortgage-backed securities, the technical term for mortgages that are sold to a company, usually an investment bank, which then pools and sells them into the secondary mortgage market.

About 70 percent of all U.S. mortgages are in this secondary mortgage market, according to the Federal Reserve.

Conservative critics also blame the subprime lending mess on the Community Reinvestment Act, a 31-year-old law aimed at freeing credit for underserved neighborhoods.

Congress created the CRA in 1977 to reverse years of redlining and other restrictive banking practices that locked the poor, and especially minorities, out of homeownership and the tax breaks and wealth creation it affords. The CRA requires federally regulated and insured financial institutions to show that they're lending and investing in their communities.

Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote recently that while the goal of the CRA was admirable, "it led to tremendous pressure on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — who in turn pressured banks and other lenders — to extend mortgages to people who were borrowing over their heads. That's called subprime lending. It lies at the root of our current calamity."

Fannie and Freddie, however, didn't pressure lenders to sell them more loans; they struggled to keep pace with their private sector competitors. In fact, their regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, imposed new restrictions in 2006 that led to Fannie and Freddie losing even more market share in the booming subprime market.

What's more, only commercial banks and thrifts must follow CRA rules. The investment banks don't, nor did the now-bankrupt non-bank lenders such as New Century Financial Corp. and Ameriquest that underwrote most of the subprime loans.

These private non-bank lenders enjoyed a regulatory gap, allowing them to be regulated by 50 different state banking supervisors instead of the federal government. And mortgage brokers, who also weren't subject to federal regulation or the CRA, originated most of the subprime loans.

In a speech last March, Janet Yellen, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, debunked the notion that the push for affordable housing created today's problems.

"Most of the loans made by depository institutions examined under the CRA have not been higher-priced loans," she said. "The CRA has increased the volume of responsible lending to low- and moderate-income households."

In a book on the sub-prime lending collapse published in June 2007, the late Federal Reserve Governor Ed Gramlich wrote that only one-third of all CRA loans had interest rates high enough to be considered sub-prime and that to the pleasant surprise of commercial banks there were low default rates. Banks that participated in CRA lending had found, he wrote, "that this new lending is good business."

(e-mail: khall )at)

McClatchy Newspapers 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Breaking News

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Changing the way others live

The End of America?

Consumerism, expansionism undermine democratic way of life, Bacevich says

By Caleb Daniloff

One week after the September 11 terrorist attacks, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was quoted as saying, “We have a choice. Either to change the way we live, which is unacceptable, or change the way they live. We chose the latter.”

During his lecture last night before a packed audience at the Metcalf Ballroom in the George Sherman Union, Andrew Bacevich, a College of Arts and Sciences professor of international relations and history, argued that it was time for Americans to abandon that thinking and instead look inward. We must change the way we live before it’s too late, the retired U.S. Army colonel urged.

“These are precarious times, even frightening times,” he said. “The United States really does seem to be teetering on the brink of an abyss, and worse, our political system seems ill-prepared and desperately ill-equipped to respond effectively.”

Rampant consumption bolstered by increasing debt, a quasi-imperial executive branch unchecked by a weak Congress, and a nation largely unmobilized in the face of two wars and an open-ended global campaign against terror, Bacevich said, are all threats to the foundations of American life.

“Every war back to the War of 1812, when the U.S. has entered into a conflict, the first thing government does is to expand the federal army,” he said. “The Bush administration explicitly urged the American people to carry on as if there was no war, and I have to say, we did as instructed.”

Speaking as part of the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center’s Ready to Vote series, Bacevich drew on themes from his latest book, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism, part of Metropolitan Books’ The American Empire Project, a series of books on American aspirations at home and abroad by leading writers and thinkers.

The long-held American foreign policy of expansionism — beginning with the acquisition of territory, opening of markets, and establishment of colonies — has run its course, he said. The strategy enhanced U.S. power and material abundance, but was “not a morally uplifting enterprise.”

Bacevich, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, who served in Vietnam, argued that transforming the greater Middle East is beyond our capacity and has only bred bitter anti-American sentiment — at the cost of nearly a trillion dollars and more than 4,000 American lives. Looking abroad to preserve our way of life no longer makes sense, he said.

“Can anyone possibly think at this stage that changing the way ‘they’ live is plausible or affordable?” he said. “To persist on the course that we are following will only lead to ever-greater debt and ever-greater dependence.”

The American economy has since become import- and credit-driven, he said, drawing on outside forces to support an increasingly consumeristic lifestyle. Bacevich said that he felt this distinct shift in values when Black Friday, the first day of the holiday shopping season, became a prime indicator of economic health rather than exports and savings accounts. He called for a new strategy, grounded in realism, “to see the world as it is, and ourselves as we really are.”

As for the presidential campaign, Bacevich said that the election should be a referendum on U.S. foreign policy, but he views both candidates as implicitly endorsing the open-ended global war on terror as the essential core of that policy and only disagreeing on operational approaches. “The election is more likely to yield continuity than the much-touted change,” he said.

During a question-and-answer period after the speech, Natasha Cohen (CAS’12) asked Bacevich how internal change might be brought about.

“We need to live within our means, as individuals in our households and in terms of the services provided for by government at various levels,” he answered. “I’m no economist, but I do believe there is no free lunch. Everything has to be paid for.”

Caleb Daniloff can be reached at

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sheep or Wolf

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Woodward's 'The War Within'

I just read Angry Arab's review of Bob Woodward's book 'The War Within' and it seems interesting. Even though I probably won't read it myself as books like these usually don't add anything new to my perception of things and can cause me to vomit; but they are a good source for reference. You can read it below.

The War Within by Bob Woodward should be read by all those who want to understand the American war and occupation of Iraq. There are many things that have not been mentioned in the media reviews of the book. Woodward is unlike himself in this book: he has more cited sources and more (very brief and in passing) analytic conclusions than usual. You really are struck that none of the civilians who handle Iraq at the White House know the Middle East, or have studied the Middle East. Those who know the Middle East were in the military and were skeptical from the beginning. Gen. Abizaid for example drew the right conclusion early on: "We need to get the fuck out." (p. 5). You read that Ahmad Chalabi was seen by the US government as the future leader of Iraq--kid you not. Apparently, Chalabi had promised to show up in Iraq with 10,000 to take over the country. (p. 49) What is lacking in reviews of the book is the most damning conclusion: that the Bush administration was lying to the American public throughout: statements that were made in public were contradicted by classified reports that were read in private meetings. In fact, the best case scenario for Iraq was according to them a Mubarak-like dictator. In the words of Sen. McConnell: "I'd settle for Egypt."(p. 81) And you read about the pathetic sectarian figure: the puppet prime minister, Nuri Al-Maliki. The puppet is at pains to dismiss accounts of public opinion surveys that point to Iraqi public rejection of American occupation. He assures US officials: "We do not have public opinion polls in Iraq...There are definiately those who talk about the Americans leaving. But it is the top-level people who will decide, and we want you to stay." (p. 111) Some people spoke of "bringing Saddam back" as plan B for Iraq. (p. 123) And Gen. Moseley summed up his views on Israelis and Palestinians: "Pack of assholes on both sides."(p. 174) And it is quite amusing to see that Bush and Rice and other officials refer to Middle East leaders as their examples of Middle East public opinion. Bush was thus bragging that he is supported in Iraq by Musharraf, Karzai, and Saudi king. (p. 209). And you read that puppet Maliki was offended when ambassador Khalilzad would dictate orders to him. He wanted more respect as a puppet. (p. 210) And you really have to read Secretary Rice analyzing Arab public opinion. I mean, who can you blame such people: her chief adviser on Arab affairs is Elliott Abrams, for potato's sake. She insists that "Many of the Arabs see Iran now as more dangerous problem than Israel." (p. 220) Such is the quality of Middle East expertise at the White House. I remember that chief Middle East hand at Clinton's White House, Bruce Reidel telling Middle East Quarterly that Arab public opinion is not displeased with the sanctions that were imposed on Iraq in the 1990s. (He now advises Obama on the Middle East, I heard). You read how Gen. Petraeus orders another US puppet, Iyad `Allawi: "Get in the game." (p. 332). And Bush summs up his views of Iranians: "These are assholes." (p. 334) And you think that Sarah Palin is woefully ill-prepared to be president? When Bush is a two-term president? And you read about the Saudi King: how unhappy he is about the Iraq situation. He was expecting a replacement of Saddam by another Sunni dictator. He was angry with the Americans over that and would refuse to discuss the matter. And like Saudi media, he would refer to Shi`ites as "Safavids"--he is as ignorant as his media, not knowing about the glories of the Safavid dynasty.(p. 347) You read that Hadley at the White House decides where puppet Maliki should go and visit.(p. 354) And Hadley was handing out copies of a column by Thomas Friedman.(p. 420). If this is where they get their wisdom on the world, can you blame their ignorance? And Bush refer to the American imperial occupation in the Middle East as "freedom hegemony" when somebody told him to refrain from using the term "military hegemony."(p. 425). That is all folks.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

One reason why Islam bans interest

I was going to write a post defending the practice of not using interest and how had Islamic law been applied in Banks, properly, the current global credit crisis could have been averted. Of course being lazy and a bit tech savvy I found an article doing it for me, which I have pasted below. There is even another article describing the offering of sharia compliant banking services in Britain, Canada and Germany that some might find interesting. This last article also supports my opinion; but from an Islamic site, so opposers of sharia might find it too biased.

Credit crisis gives Islamic finance a chance to shine
By Umesh Desai
Tuesday, August 19, 2008

HONG KONG: The global credit crisis presents the $1 trillion Islamic finance industry with an opportunity to expand its appeal beyond Muslim investors, as a haven from speculative excess.

The message may have particular resonance in the West after the crumbling of the U.S. mortgage market left banks holding hundreds of billions of dollars of nearly worthless credit instruments tied to home loans by a web of complex structures.

While conventional banks worldwide are nursing losses of more than $400 billion from the credit crisis, Islamic banks are virtually unscathed. And they are playing up the contrast to scalded shareholders, bondholders and borrowers and fearful depositors.

"It's very much a return to old-fashioned conservative lending," said David Testa, chief executive of Gatehouse Bank, which began operations in April as the fifth Islamic bank in Britain.

"The current global market condition has given Islamic finance a great opportunity to show what it can do - help to fill the liquidity gap," he said.

Investors traumatized by the credit crisis could seek comfort from the stricter rules imposed on lending by Islamic law, which bans some of the structures and financing methods that quickly unraveled during the U.S. mortgage crisis.

Testa said that Islamic finance practices were more fiscally conservative, with direct participation by investors in plans that do not involve parking assets in off-balance-sheet vehicles.

Islamic finance is based on Shariah, or Islamic law. It requires that gains be derived from ethical and socially responsible investments and discourages interest-based banking and investments in sectors like pork, gambling and pornography.

The Asian Development Bank estimates that Islamic assets globally have a combined value of about $1 trillion, with annual growth of 10 percent to 15 percent a year. Al-Rajhi Bank of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait Finance House are the two biggest Islamic banks in the Gulf region. In Malaysia, the largest Islamic lender is Maybank Islamic, a subsidiary of Malayan Banking.

The jump in popularity of Islamic finance is drawing the interest of companies outside the Middle East.

City Developments, one of the largest developers in Southeast Asia, said last week that it could issue Islamic debt and sell hotels to enhance its ability to make acquisitions.

The Islamic finance industry, which was nearly nonexistent 30 years ago, has certain distinguishing features that make it less risky, analysts say.

Islamic bonds, or sukuk, replace coupons with payments backed by the performance of tangible assets. Islamic law prohibits the payment of interest and requires transactions to be linked to assets, thus deterring the kind of complexities prevalent in conventional financing operations.

Debashis Dey, the Dubai-based head of capital markets at the law firm Clifford Chance, said that although the Islamic finance industry was adapting conventional products to make them compliant with Shariah, it was a long way from sophisticated products like collateralized debt obligations.

But while Islamic products are coming into favor, analysts say market commentators and intermediaries may be too zealous in promoting the merits of Islamic finance as a safe product.

Mohamed Damak of Standard & Poor's cited the case of the boom in real estate financing in the Gulf mainly by Islamic banks in the past three years, amid soaring property prices.

"A correction of the real estate sector would impact Islamic banks involved in this business line. Islamic finance is not immune from risk," he said.

Even as experts are weighing the degree of insularity that Islamic financing provides, there are differences in the way accounts are prepared and in how Shariah law is interpreted.

Banks in Britain differ in their accounting operations from banks in Bahrain, for example, which in turn differ from banks in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Dey, at Clifford Chance, said the lack of standardization posed a hurdle to growth, but others said that a cookie-cutter approach was not desirable and that regional differences would remain.

"Complete standardization may not happen - there will always be variants," said Raj Maiden, managing director at Five Pillars in Singapore, who added that it was more important to tailor products according to the needs of each market.

While the debate rages on whether Islamic finance provides a safer bet or is merely a potential source of irrational exuberance, most agree the industry should make the most of the attention it is now receiving.

"If Islamic banks step up to the mark, then they will gain traction," said Testa, of Gatehouse.

What does this mean

on-the-edge left this in her comment on the last post:

"And I would like to say this , going out on a limb to do so , at least these acts were fostered on the Libyan people by a foreign occupying government ."

I'm not sure about what she meant so could someone help me out here ?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Italians coming back ?

"There is a community which suffered an injustice, because it was expropriated of its properties and thrown out and which is asking today to go back to Libya. This is envisaged by the Treaty and it must be implemented immediately". Thus Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi from the stage of the party of Azione Giovani, answered to those asking how the Italians who resided in Libya will be protected.

I don't remember any Italians earning anything legitimately, they were no different from any other colonizers they kicked out the natives from the most fertile farm lands and out of the centers of the main cities using war and death. They only thing they have a right to is death, they were lucky to get out alive the first time around ! And any step that allows them to return, by anybody, will ultimately cost many lives on both sides.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Who Speaks for Islam: Part II

This is the second part of the series, again my highlights are in blue ;)

In this five-part series, carried every Friday during Ramadan, Gulf News excerpts the fascinating conclusions of the largest ever opinion survey of the world's Muslims, carried out by Gallup. Who speaks for Islam? by John Esposito and Dalia Mogahed was published by Gallup Press.

What do the world's one billion Muslims really think? What does the silent majority of Muslims want for their lives, and in their politics? Why are the aspirations of the vast majority of Muslims in direct contrast to most of the world's impressions of Muslims?

Western confusion over Sharia

The majority of Muslims believe women should have the right to vote and hold jobs and leadership positions.

Sharia has been equated with stoning of adulterers, chopping off limbs for theft, imprisonment or death in blasphemy and apostasy cases, and limits on the rights of women and minorities. The range of differing perceptions about Sharia surfaced in Iraq when Shia leaders, such as Iraq's senior Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, called for an Islamic democracy, including Sharia as a basis of law in Iraq's new constitution. An Iraqi Christian member of the Iraqi constitution's drafting committee, Yonadam Kanna, said in summer 2005 that the consequences of making Sharia one of the main sources of law would be dire. "For women it would be a disaster." Nevertheless, more than
1,000 Iraqi women rallied in support of Sharia in the southern city of Basra in August 2005
in response to another rally opposing Sharia in Baghdad a week earlier.

Taking a stance on the debate regarding the role of Sharia in Iraq's new constitution, then-administrator L. Paul Bremer in 2004 said of the interim constitution, "Our position is clear. It can't be law until I sign it." Donald Rumsfeld, then-Secretary of Defence, warned in 2003 that the United States would not allow Iraq to become a theocracy like Iran, confusing the idea of including Sharia in Iraq's new constitution with creating a theocracy, or clerical rule.

Although in many quarters, Sharia has become the buzz-word for religious rule, responses to the Gallup Poll indicate that wanting Sharia does not automatically translate into wanting theocracy. Significant majorities in many countries say religious leaders should play no direct role in drafting a country's constitution, writing national legislation, drafting new laws, determining foreign policy and international relations, or deciding how women dress in public or what is televised or published in newspapers. Others who opt for a direct role tend to stipulate that religious leaders should only serve in an advisory capacity to government officials.

In the West, Sharia often evokes an image of a restrictive society where women are oppressed and denied basic human rights. Indeed, women have suffered under government-imposed Sharia regulations in Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Sudan, the Taliban's Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. However, those who want Sharia often charge that these regulations are un-Islamic interpretations.

Gallup Poll data show us that most respondents want women to have autonomy and equal rights. Majorities of respondents in most countries surveyed believe that women should have:

- the same legal rights as men (85 per cent in Iran; 90 per cent range in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Turkey, and Lebanon; 77 per cent in Pakistan; and 61 per cent in Saudi Arabia). Surprisingly, Egypt (57 per cent) and Jordan (57 per cent), which are generally seen as more liberal, lag behind Iran, Indonesia, and other countries.

- rights to vote: 80 per cent in Indonesia, 89 per cent in Iran, 67 per cent in Pakistan, 90 per cent in Bangladesh, 93 per cent in Turkey, 56 per ceaent in Saudi Arabia, and 76 per cent in Jordan say women should be able to vote without any influence or interference from family members.

- the right to hold any job for which they are qualified outside the home. Malaysia, Mauritania, and Lebanon have the highest percentage (90 per cent); Egypt (85 per cent), Turkey (86 per cent), and Morocco (82 per cent) score in the 80 per cent range, followed by Iran (79 per cent), Bangladesh (75 per cent), Saudi Arabia (69 cent), Pakistan (62 per cent), and Jordan (61 per cent).

- the right to hold leadership positions at cabinet and national council levels. While majorities among those surveyed support this statement, those in Saudi Arabia (40 per cent) and Egypt (50 per cent) are exceptions.

While Sharia is widely depicted as a rigid and oppressive legal system, Muslim women tend to have a more nuanced view of Sharia, viewing it as compatible with their aspirations for empowerment. For example, Jenan Al Ubaedy, one of 90 women who sat on Iraq's National Assembly in early 2005, told the Christian Science Monitor that she supported the implementation of Sharia. However, she said that as an assembly member, she would fight for women's right for equal pay, paid maternity leave, and reduced hours for pregnant women. She said she would also encourage women to wear hijab and focus on strengthening their families. To Ubaedy, female empowerment is consistent with Islamic values.


Most Muslims want a legal mixture

Both sexes alike across the Muslim world support some Sharia input.

Cutting across diverse Muslim countries, social classes, and gender differences, answers to our questions reveal a complex and surprising reality. Large majorities in nearly all nations surveyed (95 per cent in Burkina Faso, 94 per cent in Egypt, 93 per cent in Iran, and 9o per cent in Indonesia) say that if drafting a constitution for a new country, they would guarantee freedom of
speech, defined as "allowing all citizens to express their opinion on the political, social, and economic issues of the day."

However, while acknowledging and admiring many aspects of Western democracy, those surveyed do not favour wholesale adoption of Western models. Many appear to want their own democratic model that incorporates Sharia — and not one that is simply dependent on Western values. Actually, few respondents associate "adopting Western values" with Muslim political and economic progress. Abuses in the name of Sharia have not led to wholesale rejection of it.

In our data, the emphasis that those in substantially Muslim countries give to a new model of government — one that is democratic yet embraces religious values — helps to explain why majorities in most countries, with the exception of a handful of nations, want Sharia as at least "a" source of legislation.

In only a few countries did a majority say that Sharia should have no role in society; yet in most countries, only a minority want Sharia as "the only source" of law. In Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangla-desh, majorities want Sharia as the "only source" of legislation.

Most surprising is the absence of systemic differences in many countries between males and females in their support for Sharia as the only source of legislation.

For example, in Jordan, 54 per cent of men and 55 per cent of women want Sharia as the sole source of legislation. In Egypt, the percentages are 70 percent of men and 62 per cent of women; in Iran, 12 per cent of men and 14 per cent of women; and in Indonesia, 14 per cent of men and 14 per cent of women.

Ironically, we don't have to look far from home to find a significant number of people who want religion as a source of law. In the United States, a 2006 Gallup Poll indicates that a majority of Americans want the Bible as a source of legislation.

Forty-six per cent of Americans say the Bible should be "a" source, and 9 per cent believe it should be the "only" source of legislation.

Perhaps even more surprising, 42 per cent of Americans want religious leaders to have a direct role in writing a constitution, while 55 per cent want them to play no role at all. These numbers are almost identical to those in Iran.


The misconception of a religion

September 11 attacks have doubled fear of the faith in the US.

The failures of governments, the hijacking of Islam by rulers and by terrorists, as well as assassinations, suicide attacks and abuse of women and minorities have taken their toll on Muslim societies and on the image of Islam in the West.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll in 2006 found that nearly half of Americans — 46 per cent — have a negative view of Islam, seven percentage points higher than observed a few months after September 11, 2001. According to the poll, the proportion of Americans who believe that Islam helps stoke violence against non-Muslims has more than doubled since the 9/11 attacks, from 14 per cent in January 2002 to 33 per cent. Similarly, a Pew Research
Centre survey found that about a third of Americans (36 per cent) say Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence among its followers.

In contrast, the majority in the Muslim world see Islam through different eyes — as a moderate, peaceful religion that is central to their self-understanding and their success. As we saw in the last chapter, overwhelming numbers of Muslims continue to identify religion as a primary marker of their identity, a source of guidance and strength, and crucial to their progress.With the exception of Kazakhstan, majorities of those surveyed in Gallup Polls of countries with substantial Muslim populations (as high as 98 per cent in Egypt, 96 per cent in Indonesia, and 86 per cent in Turkey) say that religion is an important part of their daily lives.

This compares with 68 per cent of respondents in the US and 28 per cent of respondents in the UK for whom religion is an important part of their daily lives. Yet democracy is among the most frequent responses given as a key to a more just society and to progress. When asked to describe aspects of life that are important to them, significant numbers cite having an enriched religious and spiritual life and a democratically elected government as at least very important.


Who's democracy is it anyway?

Many Muslims feel sceptical of America's intentions in encouraging such political systems across the globe.

If democracy is a desired goal for many Muslims and for US foreign policy, do Muslims believe the West has any role to play? To answer this question, we need to look at some sobering realities. There are a number of challenges in the plan to win the minds and hearts of Muslims; feedback to multiple questions in the Gallup Poll reflects criticisms and scepticism about US foreign policies and actions. Although there was widespread desire for democracy, which many Muslims view as necessary for their progress, with the exception of 10 countries surveyed, majorities disagree with the statement that "the US is serious about encouraging the establishment of democratic systems of government in this region."

Muslim attitudes toward the United States have been affected by what is perceived as America's — and to a great extent Europe's — "double standard" in promoting democracy: its long track record of supporting authoritarian regimes and failure to promote democracy in the Muslim world as it did in other areas and countries after the fall of the Soviet Union.

In a major policy address in 2002, Ambassador Richard Haass, a former senior State Department official in the George W. Bush administration, remarked that before the invasion of Iraq, both Democratic and Republican administrations practised "democratic exceptionalism" in the Muslim world, subordinating democracy to other national interests such as accessing oil, containing the Soviet Union, and grappling with the Arab-Israeli conflict.

More recently, Muslim cynicism about the United States promoting democracy has grown for a number of reasons: the use of "creating democracy" as a retroactive rationale for invading Iraq only after weapons of mass destruction in that country didn't materialise; the impression that the United States was orchestrating an "acceptable" American version of democracy in Iraq with its own hand-picked "George Washington," Ahmad Chalabi; and the trail of human rights abuses from Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib. US and European refusal to recognise the democratically elected Hamas government in Palestine further reinforces such impressions.

"They (US officials) are all for democracy as long as they like the results," Kenneth Roth, head of Human Rights Watch, told The Financial Times. Roth believes that America's mission to promote democracy has become equated with "regime change" and has lost credibility in the Muslim world. "Its push for democracy is over now," he said.In The Washington Post, Salameh Nematt, a Jordanian analyst and former Washington bureau chief for the Arabic-language newspaper Al Hayat, echoed Roth's pessimism: It's a success story for Al Qaida, a success story for autocratic Arab regimes that made democracy look ugly in their people's eyes. They can say to their people: "Look at the democracy that the Americans want to bring to you. Democracy is trouble. You may as well forget about what the Americans promise you. They promise you death."

Worldwide Muslim opinions have been influenced by the explosion in mass communications that has swept across much of the Muslim world and outstripped the control of governments.

Who speaks for Islam: Part I

I found this series of interesting articles, published by Gulfnews, on The Emirates Economist's blog and thought they are worth sharing and republishing for reference as the Gulfnews isn't known for archiving it articles. I have highlighted some aspects of the article that I thought stood out in blue.

Original Link

09/11/2008 10:50 PM | By John Esposito and Dalia Mogahed

In this five-part series, carried every Friday during Ramadan, Gulf News publishes excerpts from the fascinating conclusions of the largest ever opinion survey of the world's Muslims, carried out by Gallup. Who speaks for Islam by John Esposito and Dalia Mogahed was published by Gallup Press.

What do the world's one billion Muslims really think? What does the silent majority of Muslims want for their lives, and in their politics? Why are the aspirations of the vast majority of Muslims in direct contrast to most of the world's impressions of Muslims?

Islam's silenced majority

New book makes a case for democratising the debate about 9/11 and its after-effects.

What many saw as an ongoing conflict between the United States and parts of the Muslim world intensified dramatically after the horrific events of 9/11. Violence has grown exponentially as Muslims and non-Muslims alike continue to be victims of global terrorism. Terrorist attacks have occurred from Morocco to Indonesia and from Madrid to London, and wars in Afghanis-tan and Iraq rage on. War and terrorism have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives since 9/11, the vast majority of victims being civilians.

As we cope with savage actions in a world that seems ever more dangerous and out of control, we are inundated with analysis from terrorism experts and pundits who blame the religion of Islam for global terrorism. At the same time, terrorist groups such as Al Qaida beam messages throughout the world that demonise the West as the enemy of Islam and hold it responsible for all the ills of the Muslim world.

Amid the rhetoric of hate and growing violence, manifest in both anti-Americanism in the Muslim world and in Islamophobia in the West, discrimination against, or hostility toward, Islam or Muslims has massively increased. In the aftermath of 9/11, President George W. Bush emphasised that America was waging a war against terrorism, not against Islam. However, the continued acts of a terrorist minority, statements by preachers of hate (Muslim and Christian alike), anti-Muslim and anti-West talk show hosts, and political commentators have inflamed emotions and distorted views.

Negative perceptions

The religion of Islam and the mainstream Muslim majority have been conflated with the beliefs and actions of an extremist minority. For example, a 2006 USA Today/Gallup poll found that substantial minorities of Americans admit to harbouring at least some prejudice against Muslims and favouring heightened security measures for Muslims as a way to help prevent terrorism. The same poll found 44 per cent of Americans saying that Muslims are too extreme in their religious beliefs.

Nearly one-quarter of Americans, 22 per cent, say they would not want a Muslim as a neighbour; less than half believe US Muslims are loyal to the United States.

Are the negative perceptions and growing violence on all sides only a prelude to an inevitable all-out war between the West and 1.3 billion Muslims? The vital missing piece among the many voices weighing in on this question is the actual views of everyday Muslims. With all that is at stake for the West and Muslim societies - indeed for the world's future - it is time to democratise the debate.

Who Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think is about this silenced majority. This book is the product of a mammoth, multi-year Gallup research study. Between 2001 and 2007, Gallup conducted tens of thousands of face-to-face interviews with residents of more than 35 nations that are predominantly Muslim or have substantial Muslim populations. The sample represents residents young and old, educated and illiterate, female and male, and from urban and rural settings. With the random sampling method that Gallup used, results are statistically valid within a plus or minus 3-point margin of error. In totality, a sample representing more than 90 per cent of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims was surveyed, making this the most comprehensive study of contemporary Muslims ever done.

Surprising conclusions

The study revealed far more than what could possibly be covered in one book. The most significant, and at times, surprising conclusions have been listed below.

Here are just some of those counter-intuitive discoveries:

- Who speaks for the West?: Muslims around the world do not see the West as monolithic. They criticise or celebrate countries based on their politics, not based on their culture or religion.

- Dream jobs: When asked to describe their dreams for the future, Muslims don't mention fighting in a jihad, but rather getting a better job.

- Radical rejection: Muslims and Americans are equally likely to reject attacks on civilians as morally unjustified.

- Religious moderates: Those who condone acts of terrorism are a minority and are no more likely to be religious than the rest of the population.

- Admiration of the West: What Muslims around the world say they most admire about the West is its technology and its democracy — the same two top responses given by Americans when asked the same question.

- Critique of the West: What Muslims around the world say they least admire about the West is its perceived moral decay and breakdown of traditional values — the same responses given by Americans when posed the same question.

- Gender justice: Muslim women want equal rights and religion in their societies.

- R.E.S.P.E.C.T.: Muslims around the world say that the one thing the West can do to improve relations with their societies is to moderate their views toward Muslims and respect Islam.

- Clerics and constitutions: The majority of those surveyed want religious leaders to have no direct role in crafting a constitution, yet favour religious law as a source of legislation.


Global view: Does one size fit all?

While many people commonly speak of Islam and Muslims in broad, all-encompassing terms, there are many interpretations of Islam and many different Muslims.

Muslims come from diverse nationalities, ethnic and tribal groups, and cultures; speak many languages; and practice distinct customs. The majority of the world's Muslims live in Asia and Africa, not the Arab world. Only about one in five of the world's Muslims are Arabs.

The largest Muslim communities are in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, and Nigeria rather than Saudi Arabia, Egypt, or Iran. And millions of Muslims live in Europe, the United States, and Canada, where they represent the second and third largest religion (second largest in Europe and Canada and third largest in the United States).

Because of globalisation and emigration, today the major cities where Muslims live are not only exotic-sounding places such as Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad, Makkah, Islamabad, and Kuala Lumpur, but also London, Paris, Marseilles, Brussels, New York, Detroit, and Los Angeles.

Religiously, culturally, economically, and politically, there are multiple images and realities of Islam and of Muslims.

Religiously, Muslims are Sunni (85%), who are the majority in most Muslim countries, or Shia (15%) who are a majority in Iran.

Further adding to the diversity, Shia Islam later split into three main divisions: the Zaydis, the Ismailis, whose leader today is the Harvard-educated Aga Khan; and the Ithna Ashari, who are majorities in Iran and Iraq.

Different theologies

Like other religions, Islam also has different, and sometimes contending, theologies, law schools, and Sufi (mystic) orders. Finally, Muslims, whether Sunni or Shia, can be observant or non-observant, conservative, fundamentalist, reformist, secular, mainstream, or religious extremist.

The world's 1.3 billion Muslims live in some 57 countries with substantial or majority Muslim populations in Europe, North America, and across the world.

Major Muslim communities today are not only in Dakar, Khartoum, Cairo, Damascus, Riyadh, Tehran, Islamabad, and Kuala Lumpur, but also in London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, New York, and Washington, D.C. Muslims speak not only Arabic, but also Persian, Turkish, Urdu, Swahili, Bahasa Indonesia, and Chinese, as well as English, French, German, Danish and Spanish.

Muslim women's dress, educational and professional opportunities, and participation in society vary significantly too.

Women in some Muslim societies cannot drive cars and are sexually segregated, but women in many other parts of the Muslim world drive cars, ride motorcycles, and even fly planes.

Some Muslim women are required by law to fully cover themselves in public, while others are prohibited from displaying the Muslim headscarf.

A growing number of Muslim women are choosing to cover their heads, while others do not.

Women majority

In the United Arab Emirates and Iran, women make up the majority of university students.

In other parts of the world, women lag behind men in even basic literacy.

Women serve in government in parliaments and cabinets and have headed governments in Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, while in other Muslim countries, women are struggling for the right to vote and run for office.

Muslim women may wear a sari, pantsuit, blue jeans, dress, or skirt, just as Muslim men may wear long flowing robes, blue jeans, pullover sweaters, or three-piece business suits and may be bearded or clean-shaven.

Perhaps the most striking examples of diversity in the Muslim world are in economic and political development.

Economically, the oil-rich and rapidly developing Gulf states such as Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia are worlds apart from poor, struggling, underdeveloped countries such as Mali and Yemen.

And politically, Islamic governments in Iran, Sudan and the Taliban's Afghanistan stand in sharp contrast with the more secular-oriented governments of Egypt, Syria, Turkey and Indonesia.

In Turkey, Algeria, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Yemen, Pakistan, and Malaysia, Islamic activists have emerged as an "alternative elite" in mainstream society. Members or former members of Islamic organisations have been elected to parliaments and served in cabinets and as prime ministers and presidents of countries such as Turkey, Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Islamic associations

Islamic associations provide social services and inexpensive and efficient educational, legal, and medical services in the slums and many lower middle-class neighbourhoods of Cairo, Algiers, Beirut, Mindanao, the West Bank, and Gaza.

All the while, and in stark contrast, some militant groups have terrorised Muslim societies in the name of Islam; attacked New York's World Trade Centre and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. in the US and set off bombs in Madrid, Spain and London in the UK.

They reflect a radicalism that threatens the Muslim and Western worlds.

The vast diversity of Islam and of mainstream moderate Muslims has been overshadowed and obscured by a deadly minority of political (or ideological) extremists.

In a monolithic "us" and "them" world, Islam - not just Muslims who are radical - is seen as a threat, and those who believe in an impending clash of civilisations are not only the Bin Ladens of the world, but also many of us.


One God and many prophets: Basic beliefs

Islam means "a strong commitment to God" and shares the same Arabic root as the word for peace, or salaam. Jesus' mother, Mary, is mentioned by name more times in the Quran than in the New Testament.

Because faith is central to the lives of so many Muslims around the world, a basic understanding of Islam is necessary to fully grasp much of what is to follow. This section, which discusses the basic tenets of Islam, will be particularly useful to readers who are less familiar, or not familiar at all, with Islam.

Islam means "a strong commitment to God" and shares the same Arabic root as the word for peace, or salaam.

Some Muslim theologians define Islam as attaining peace through commitment to God's will.


This general definition is significant because Muslims regard anyone who meets these criteria at any time in history to have been a "Muslim". And therefore, the first Muslim was not the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), but Adam, the first man and prophet of God. Islam asserts that all nations were sent prophets and apostles (Quran 35:24) who all taught the same basic message of belief in one unique God, and in this regard, all the prophets are believed to have been "Muslims."

"We believe in God and what has been revealed to us; in what was revealed to Abraham and Esmail, to Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and the prophets from their Lord. We do not make a distinction between any of them [the prophets]. For we submit to God." (Quran 3:84).

Like Jesus and Moses, the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) (AD570-632) was born and taught his message in the Middle East, where Islam quickly spread.

Muslims worship the God of Abraham as do Christians and Jews.

Rather than a new religion, Muslims believe Islam is a continuation of the Abrahamic tradition. Thus, just as it is widely acknowledged that the current meaning of Judeo-Christian tradition was forged during World War II, today there is growing recognition of the existence of a Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition, embracing all the children of Abraham.

Muslims recognise the biblical prophets and God's revelation to Moses (Torah) and Jesus (Gospels).

Indeed, Mousa (Moses), Eisa (Jesus), and Maryam (Mary) are common Muslim names.

Jews, Christians and Muslims trace their biblical lineage to Abraham. Muslims learn many of the same Old and New Testament stories and figures that Jews and Christians study (Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark, the Ten Commandments, David and Solomon, Mary and Jesus), sometimes with differing interpretations.

For example, in the Quran, Adam and Eve disobey God and eat the apple together, and this disobedience does not impose "original sin" on future generations.

Also, Jesus' mother, Mary, is mentioned by name more times in the Quran than in the New Testament. The Quran describes Mary's virgin birth of Jesus, who is venerated as one of the great prophets in Islam but not considered divine. According to the Quran, diversity in belief, cultures, and traditions is part of God's intended creation and a sign of his wisdom:

"If God had so willed, He could surely have made you all one single community: but [He willed it otherwise] in order to test you by means of what He has given you. Race one another then in doing good works!" (Quran 5:48).

"Among His signs is the creation of the Heavens and the Earth, and the diversity of your languages and colours. Surely there are signs for those who reflect." (Quran 30:22).

Egalitarian ideals

"O humankind, We have created you male and female, and made you nations and tribes for you to get to know one another. Indeed, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all-knowing, all-aware." (Quran 49:13).

Though no society is free from racial prejudice, Muslims take great pride in what they regard as Islam's egalitarian ideals.

For example, a Moroccan World Poll respondent says what he admires most about the Muslim world is Islam's message of racial equality. "I have a high regard for Islam's values and teachings and the non-racial attitudes of Muslim people." The Quran emphasises the unity of believers around a shared faith, regardless of ethnicity or tribe.

What are the core Muslim beliefs that unite this diverse, worldwide population? As Christians look to Jesus and the New Testament and Jews to Moses and the Torah, Muslims regard the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and the Quran, God's messenger and message, as the final, perfect, and complete revelation.

And, because of the remarkable success of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and the early Muslim community in spreading Islam and its rule, Sunni Muslims look to an ideal portrait of "the first generation" of Muslims (called the companions of the Prophet) as their model - a common reference point by which to measure, judge, and reform society.

Key Points

- The many languages, customs, and ethnicities of the Muslim world illustrate its vast diversity. There are 57 countries around the world that are majority Muslim or have significant Muslim minorities — Arabs make up only roughly 20% of the global Muslim population.

- Faith and family are core values in Muslims' lives, and Muslims regard them as their societies' greatest assets.

- Muslims, like Christians and Jews, believe in the God of Ebrahim and recognise biblical prophets such as Ebrahim, Moses, and Jesus.

- Jihad has many meanings. It is a "struggle for God", which includes a struggle of the soul as well as the sword. The Islamic war ethic prohibits attacking civilians.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Man Rules

I just found this on Jad's thoughts and even though I don't agree with all of it, it is funny :

1. Men are NOT mind readers.

1. Learn to work the toilet seat.
You’re a big girl. If it’s up, put it down.
We need it up, you need it down.
You don’t hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

1. Sunday sports It’s like the full moon
or the changing of the tides.
Let it be.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Ask for what you want.
Let us be clear on this one:
Subtle hints do not work!
Strong hints do not work!
Obvious! hints do not work!
Just say it!

1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That’s what we do.
Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument.
In fact, all comments become Null and void after 7 Days.

1. If you think you’re fat, you probably are.
Don’t ask us.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one

1. You can either ask us to do something Or tell us how you want it done.
Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

1. Whenever possible, Please say whatever you have to say during commercials..

1. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.

1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default setting!
Peach, for example, is a fruit, not A color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.

1. If it itches, it will be scratched.
We do that.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say ‘nothing,’ We will act like nothing’s wrong.
We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

1. If you ask a question you don’t want an answer to, Expect an answer you don’t want to hear.

1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine… Really .

1. Don’t ask us what we’re thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball
or golf.

1. You have enough clothes.

1. You have too many shoes.

1. I am in shape. Round IS a shape!

1. Thank you for reading this.

Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight;

But did you know men really don’t mind that? It’s like camping.