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Zorro's Journal
Zorro's Journal
November 9, 2021

Westfield Brandon mall's hijab store serves a growing need in Tampa Bay

The owner of DAZ Hijab said she opened her store because of a growing number of Muslim women who have few shopping options in the region.

It’s never been easy for Eman Khalifeh to find modest and fashionable clothing as a Muslim woman.

So Khalifeh opened her own store to help the growing Muslim community in Tampa Bay find women’s clothing and accessories. DAZ Hijab opened inside the Westfield Brandon mall in July. It’s one of just a handful of stores in the Tampa Bay area that cater to this community.

DAZ Hijab began as an online store in 2014, Khalifeh said. When Khalifeh, who came to Tampa Bay from Denver, began researching a good place to open a brick and mortar store, Florida’s Gulf Coast caught her eye.

There are around 18,000 hijabi women — a term describing Muslims who wear a hijab head covering — living in Tampa Bay as of about a decade ago, according to the Islamic Community of Tampa. With Tampa Bay’s accelerated growth, that number is likely higher today, said Hatem Fariz, the group’s director.

November 8, 2021

Man Who Only Recently Cracked Code On 'Buck Fush' Still Puzzling Over 'Let's Go, Brandon'

GLENBROOK, IL—Turning the words over in his head in a dogged attempt to understand their import, Ted Dobbes, a local man who just recently cracked the code behind “Buck Fush,” reportedly spent Tuesday puzzling over the phrase “Let’s Go, Brandon.”

“Okay, well I can certainly rule out ‘Let’s Bo, Grandon,’ because that’s simply nonsense, and it doesn’t seem to be a reference to a historical event or literary figure,” said Dobbes, 45, a self-described amateur cryptographer who had spent the last nineteen years rooting out the hidden message behind the popular anti-Bush slogan, but now found himself facing his most difficult challenge yet.

“I’ve spent hours writing out every possible anagram and flipping the words every which way. I’ve even held the letters up to a mirror in case that does anything, but I still can’t wrap my head around it. Think, Ted! Think.”

At press time, Dobbes had reluctantly filed away “Let’s Go, Brandon” in his mental catalogue of indecipherable enigmas alongside the word “TRE45ON” and an image of Calvin urinating on the phrase “Hope And Change.”

November 8, 2021

Oscar the Grouch Cuts Ties with Ted Cruz

SESAME STREET (The Borowitz Report)—Ted Cruz’s unprovoked attack on Big Bird has cost the Republican senator the support of a longtime backer, Oscar the Grouch.

In a rare press conference at his trash can, Oscar said that he had supported Cruz’s political career for years “to show solidarity with a fellow-monster.”

For Oscar, however, the dustup with the popular avian character raised concerns about further association with Cruz: “He could hurt my brand.”

“Don’t get me wrong—I can’t stand Big Bird,” he said. “His relentless sunniness, to me, is intolerable. But that’s no excuse for Ted Cruz to go off like an asshat.”


November 8, 2021

Tucker Carlson Is a 'Manipulative Son of a Bitch' -- and Other Thoughts from Adam Kinzinger

The outgoing Republican lawmaker gets candid about what he was ready to do Jan. 6, his next election, and whether Republicans will pay a price for their addiction to Donald Trump

Adam Kinzinger is the kind of Republican that Democrats say we need in Congress to put American politics on a more even keel.

Throughout Donald Trump’s rise to power, Kinzinger, a 43-year-old Republican representative from Illinois, grew more wary of the president’s willingness to stay inside the boundaries of his executive authority and more convinced that Trump would try to dismantle democratic institutions that got in his way. Kinzinger was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection,” and he’s one of only two Republicans, along with Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, sitting on the House select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

But while Democrats say they want a Republican like Kinzinger, when presented with a real-life example, it becomes clear that a lot of them don’t really mean it. Democrats in Illinois redrew Kinzinger’s district on unfavorable terms and essentially ended his career in the House. “I think that what it says to people is that you want Republican allies in the defense of democracy until it’s politically advantageous to not,” Kinzinger says.

Kinzinger announced last month he won’t run again, another setback for a politician who was once seen as destined for bigger things. A veteran of the Iraq War, a principled and cleareyed conservative who avoided the kind of culture-wars talk that had become increasingly prevalent on Fox News and Facebook, Kinzinger was frequently the subject of presidential chatter.

That is, until he started opposing former President Donald Trump. As he (mildly) puts it, he is now “persona non grata,” censured by his party and shunned by some members of his own family.

November 8, 2021

Gaming the political system corrupts us all

The United States has fallen into the ranks of flawed democracies. Let’s stop the slide.

It’s football season. Two football teams, the Blues and the Reds are playing a game. What makes this game different is that the game officials are selected by and are from the Reds team. They determine the rules of the game, which can change as needed to favor — you guessed it — the Reds.

Fair-minded football fans — not the Reds and their fans — would cry foul that the rules favors the Reds and would expect the commissioner of the league to step in to restore the integrity of the game. Watching the game would be useless and worse, the Blues might also defer to devious methods to match the Reds. The game would be corrupted.

Well, this is what is happening to our political process. It is being corrupted because the Republicans (Reds), with their majority in state houses, are gerrymandering districts. They are making it more difficult for certain segments of the population to cast their vote. Case in point: Fewer voting precincts in minority neighborhoods coupled with restricted mail-in voting suppresses the minority vote.

A majority of conservatives conveniently believe the lie that the election was stolen. The mendacity and corrupt practices that their leader — Donald Trump — engages in has become grist for the mill for a large swarth of the party. Politics to them has become a blood sport.

Transparency International explains corruption as the abuse of power for personal gain. It is corrosive because it erodes trust, weakens democracy — repeat: Weakens democracy — hampers economic development, exacerbates inequality and tribal divisions. Based upon their Corruption Perceptions Index, the United States ranks 25th, which is virtually last amongst large, first-world democracies.

November 7, 2021

Liz Cheney to Fox News: 'Un-American' to Call Jan. 6 a 'False Flag'

While not naming Tucker Carlson explicitly, Cheney’s comments on Fox News definitely appeared to reference the Fox star’s recent docu-series sowing doubt about Jan. 6.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) went on Fox News Sunday and took an apparent swipe at Fox News star Tucker Carlson, claiming that anyone who spreads “false flag” conspiracies about the Jan. 6 insurrection is “un-American” and “dangerous.”

In recent days, Cheney—who is the vice-chair of the House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 attack—has engaged in a heated back-and-forth with Carlson and Fox News over his Patriot Purge docu-series.

“It appears that Fox News is giving Tucker Carlson a platform to spread the same type of lies that provoked violence on January 6,” Cheney tweeted on Oct. 28. “As Fox News knows, the election wasn’t stolen and January 6 was not a ‘false flag’ operation.”

In the deranged three-part series, which is currently airing on Fox News’ online subscription streaming service, Carlson suggests that the federal government orchestrated the Capitol riot to frame conservatives. He further warns there’s a “new war on terror” targeting “legacy Americans,” all while relying on a bevy of conspiracy theorists and provocateurs to bolster his claims.

November 7, 2021

'Four Seasons Total Documentary' Takes Us Inside the Trump Presidency's Most Humiliating Moment

The new doc “Four Seasons Total Documentary” examines Rudy Giuliani’s disastrous press conference outside of Four Seasons Total Landscaping and how it came to be.

The Donald Trump presidency was a disgraceful disaster, what with all the grifting and colluding and treason and insurrection. Yet it was also an embarrassment of comedic riches, most of it due to Trump and company’s preternatural ability to say and do the dumbest and most ludicrous things imaginable. Sitting at a tiny desk. Complaining about toilets. Promoting bleach as a COVID cure. Remarking that George Washington “took over airports” during the Revolutionary War. Suggesting we nuke hurricanes. Drinking a bottle of water with two hands. Being laughed at by the UN General Assembly. Claiming the moon was part of Mars. Blaming windmills for causing cancer. Hugging and kissing the American flag. Wearing orange clown make-up. “Very stable genius.” “Yo-semite.” “Person, Woman, Man, Camera, TV.”

Yet of all the inane moments of Trump’s Oval Office tenure, perhaps none was more humiliating—and thus encapsulated his administration better—than the press conference held by his team on Nov. 7, 2020, four days after the presidential election. At that infamous affair, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani spoke to the media in front of a garage door at Four Seasons Total Landscaping. Since the company had zero connection to the Trump campaign, it made no sense that it would be the venue for this get-together, which was designed to give Giuliani a platform from which to spout nonsense about non-existent election fraud and the legal challenges he and his cohorts would be mounting. Nonetheless, Giuliani took to a podium in the parking lot of this seeding, irrigation, and lawn maintenance outfit and rambled on about his delusions of corruption, culminating with him raising his arms to the sky and bizarrely bellowing, “Oh, the networks!” after word spread that national TV news stations had declared Joe Biden the election’s victor.

MSNBC’s Four Seasons Total Documentary (Nov. 7) is a humorous one-year anniversary look-back at that absurd fiasco, when a nondescript company temporarily became the center of the political universe. Those in search of hard-hitting investigative journalism shouldn’t get their hopes up; director Christopher Stoudt’s half-hour documentary doesn’t ultimately get to the bottom of precisely why this press conference took place at northeast Philadelphia’s Four Seasons Total Landscaping. Yet it remains a lively portrait of the business’s brief, shining fifteen minutes of fame, and its shrewd response to being thrust into the global spotlight—the latter of which helped it become a minor, amusing 21st century American success story.

Four Seasons Total Landscaping is owned by 65-year-old Marie Siravo, who runs it alongside the youngest of her three sons, Mike, as well as Mike’s friend Sean Middleton. They’re typical working-class Philadelphians who, on camera, come across as driven, dedicated, loyal people trying to make a living at their chosen trade. Their world was turned upside down by a phone call from a Trump staffer, asking if their premises could be used for a presser; apparently, the president’s team coveted a more out-of-the-way, Republican-friendly area and audience for Giuliani in the wake of a prior incident in which spokespeople Corey Lewandowski and Pam Bondi were drowned out by disruptive downtown-Philly protesters blaring Beyoncé songs. Sensing an opportunity, they agreed, not realizing the crazy attention they were unwittingly attracting.


Looking forward to watching this!
November 7, 2021

Rebel advance to within 200 miles of Ethiopia's capital puts the city and wider region on edge

NAIROBI — After a year of grinding conflict in Ethiopia’s mountainous north, thousands of opposition forces this week pushed their way to within 200 miles of the capital Addis Ababa, forcing the city’s residents to gird for the possibility that the war will soon be on their doorsteps and triggering a cascade of frantic preparations across the region.

The Ethiopian government has called the fight against former government soldiers and volunteers from the country’s Tigray region an “existential war,” and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who won the Nobel Peace Prize two years ago, has vowed to “bury this enemy with our blood and bones.”

Abiy declared a state of emergency that allows for conscription of “any military age citizen who has weapons.” The mayor called on residents to take up arms to secure their neighborhoods. The military asked veterans to reenlist. The U.S. Embassy urged its citizens Friday to leave the country “as soon as possible.” Later Friday, the U.N. Security Council called for an end to the conflict and expressed concern about the impact on “the stability of the country and the wider region.”

Police in Addis Ababa have begun going door to door, searching for Tigrayans who may be sympathetic to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, or TPLF, which is leading the rebel offensive and whose members the government considers secessionist terrorists. The TPLF dominated the country’s politics for three decades before Abiy took power, and are deeply resented by many of Ethiopia’s non-Tigrayans.


November 7, 2021

GOP erupts over its House members bailing out Biden

In Tuesday’s election, Republicans served notice that the clock is ticking on Democrats’ slim majorities in Congress. On Friday, 13 House Republicans delivered the decisive votes to rescue a key part of President Biden’s agenda — an agenda endangered by those in his own party.

Ensue the bloodletting.

Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed late Friday night and is headed for his signature after months of intense wrangling over the details — particularly whether it would be tied to a larger spending plan that progressives insisted upon passing alongside it. But in the end it wasn’t really those progressives who provided the key votes, but rather the 13 Republicans. The final vote count was 228 to 206, meaning if no Republicans had voted for the bill, it wouldn’t have passed.

And some Republicans are predictably furious — with undersold questions about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) future leadership of the party potentially in the offing.

“I can’t believe Republicans just gave the Democrats their socialism bill,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said.


November 6, 2021

Virginians Who Watched Schools Taken Over By Sharia Law Refuse To Make Same Mistake With CRT

ABINGDON, VA—Saying their failure to head off the fundamentalist legal code had prepared them for the difficult fight ahead, Virginia parents told reporters Wednesday that after watching their schools be taken over by Sharia law they refused to make the same mistake with Critical Race Theory.

“We already saw what happens to our schools when we turn a blind eye to this kind of extremism, and I’ll be damned if we’re gonna let that happen again,” said local parent Mary Lester, recounting how difficult it had been to watch her daughters forced to wear burkas and perform the five daily prayers of salāh when they entered high school in 2012.

“Sure, we may not be able to change the fact that they’ve already made it illegal to say ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘God Bless You,’ but at the very least we can stop these schools from teaching our children that all white people should be killed. It’s time to say enough is enough.”

At press time, Lester apologized and told reporters that she had to leave to get her daughters to the masjid on time.


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