Friday, April 25, 2014
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A Load Of Old Famous

The hottest Olympian? No longer the bust that is Bode Miller. Tanith Belbin gets the online gold medal, according to Yahoo's buzz index. She's a newly American ice dancer, whose good looks made her name the most-searched-for term during the winter games. There was a run on "tanith belbin photos" and "tanith belbin pics," suggesting a hunger for something worth more than a thousand words.

A Load Of Old Famous

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Belbinbyap The hottest Olympian? No longer the bust that is Bode Miller. Tanith Belbin gets the online gold medal, according to Yahoo's buzz index. She's a newly American ice dancer, whose good looks made her name the most-searched-for term during the winter games.  There was a run on "tanith belbin photos" and "tanith belbin pics," suggesting a hunger for something worth more than a thousand words.

Last year the Washington Post's Dana Priest told a chilling story about a German man of Lebanese decent who was abducted on vacation in Macedonia and wound up spending months in an Afghanistan prison cell until it was determined that he was not a member of al Qaida. The rendition of Khaled El-Masri didn't help U.S.-German relations. Some recent German press reports question just how innocent El-Masri was.

Apple crowed about selling its one billionth song for download last week (Coldplay's "Speed of Sound"). But someone got there first: TouchTunes, which delivers to digital jukeboxes, has sold more. But it isn't rumored to be readying a slick new boombox.

Forget Iceland. If you want a really cool place to vacation, consider Verkhoyansk, the Siberian outpost considered the coldest city on the globe. It's plugging its record -67.8 degrees celsius (minus 154 fahrenheit) temperature with a "Tourism at the Earth's Cole Pole promotion for extreme tourists, Der Spiegel reports. Only hitch: a neighboring  Arctic town thinks it's the coldest.

The new Neil Young flick -- a gorgeous tribute to the universal chicken farmer or echoes of The Mighty Wind?

Good to know that some of what Yahoo! calls the nation's "wildest , weirdest and wackiest street names" are within a few hours drive. Second place went to Divorce Court in Heather Highlands, Pa. Unexpected Road in Buena, N.J. and Shades of Death Road in Warren County, N.J. ranked 7th and 8th respectively. The winner of the online poll sponsored by Mitsubishi Motors: Psycho Path in Traverse City, Mich.

When did blondes start having more fun? You've got to go back to caveman days. The Times of London says food shortages gave northern European woman blonde hair, and these traits made them stand out against their rivals during a fiercely competitive period at the end of the Ice Age, when men were scarce.

That guy sitting next to you at the Terrorism - Past, Present and Future course at Yale? That would be the former spokesman for the Taliban. Chip Brown wrote the cover piece for the Sunday Times Magazine on Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, who you may from Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911, insulting a woman who objected to the Taliban's treatment of women. He was 22 when he toured America, and defended the fundamentalist regime's decision to destroy those giant Buddha statues. He's now at Yale on a student visa. That angers John Fund of The Wall Street Journal, who notes one reason Rahmatullah was admitted was that Yale had previously lost an intriguing foreign student to Harvard.

The scribbled text of Johnny Rotten's reaction to the Sex Pistols's acceptance into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: "Next to SEX - PISTOLS  rock and roll and that hall of fame is a piss stain. Your museum. Urine in wine. We're not coming. Were not your monkey and so what? Fame at $25,000 if we paid for a table, or $15,000 to squeak up in the gallery, goes to a non-profit organization selling us a load of old famous." For more, Rotten's the Filth and the Fury site.

That Dude
Posted 02/27/2006 12:11:36 PM
Tanith Belbin makes me weak.  She reminds me of a younger, better looking, non-crazy version of Julia Roberts.  
jay lassiter
Posted 02/28/2006 06:18:35 PM
Gay men everywhere agree:  Tanith is *the* one.  Yup, maybe even the hottest girl jock since Ms. Kournikova.

daniel rubin
Posted 02/28/2006 08:04:26 PM
appreciate the fine eye.
George Swan
Posted 03/02/2006 12:45:02 PM
In your recent column you repeat allegations that Khaled El-Masri, the German citizen kidnapped by the CIA, and held for five months in one of their secret interrogation sites was not as innocent as critics of the Bush extrajudicial detainee policy claimed.

That was disingeneous of you, and a disservice to both your readers and Mr El-Masri.  Following your link you find the assertion that El-Masri belonged, twenty years ago, to the "al Tawhid" group.  A web search for al-Tawhid reveals no links for an "al-Tawhid group".  It reveals that "al Tawhid" translates simply as "monotheism". The search does turn up links to two groups; the "Ahl al Tawhid", a 1,000 year old Levantine minority ethnic group known, in English, as the Druze.  The other group, Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, is a recent radical, fundamentalistic militant group, which does engage in terrorism.  Jama'at al-Tawhid is now known as "Al Qaeda in Iraq".  

Web searching reveals that "Ahl al Tawhid" translates as "people of monotheism".  And that Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad translates as the "movement for monotheism and holy war".

I put it to you that it is far more likely that El-Masri is a member of the Druze ethnic group.  The German reports you linked to state that El-Masri even reported his ties to "al-Tawhid" on his refugee claim.  I put it to you that it is far more likely that he would state that he was a member of an oppressed minority group on his refugee claim than that he would state he was a member of a radical terrorist group.

The German reports you linked to assert that El-Masri lead a squad of fighters, in Lebanon, pre-1985, if true, would also fails to tie him to terrorism.  Lebanon was in the middle of a civil war in the early eighties.  Almost ever young man of military age men would have seen some kind of military service.

I understand the temptation of Americans to clutch at straws, and try to find ways to explain away the shameful conduct of the CIA -- who continued to hold El-Masri, for three months, in squalid conditions, even after they determined that his kidnapping was due to a case of mistaken identity.  But giving in to this temptation is just not responsible.  I think true American patriots would want to face the facts squarely when public officials fall short of American ideals.
Daniel Rubin
Posted 03/02/2006 01:10:38 PM
thanks for reading, and for making a host of assumptions. yes, we americans are all about explaining away his rendition. I'm not sure you quoted the article I linked quite fully. the german report, translated from focus magazine said this:

"The German-Lebanese Khaled el-Masri who was abducted to Afghanistan was the commando chief of a radical movement in Lebanon, Focus reports.

The German-Lebanese commanded a 16-man armed group in Lebanon according to information from German intelligence. That was conveyed to FOCUS from the 273 comprehensive secret report of the German security authorities for the parliamentary oversight committee (PKG). 

According to it, El-Masri was a leading member of the radical movement Al-Tawhid (spelled "el-Tawhid" in German) at the start of the 1980s. The organization stood close to the Muslim Brotherhood ideologically and above all fought the Alavite sect in Lebanon that they saw as un-Islamic. The area of operations for El-Masri and his troop was supposed to be Tripoli." 
  
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About this blog
Daniel Rubin is a columnist and The Inquirer's director of social media. Since joining newspaper as a staff writer in 1988, Daniel Rubin has reported from Mayfair to Macedonia, 27 countries in all. He has been the European Correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers and for two years he sat at home and wrote Blinq, the paper's first daily blog. Dan began newspaper work in Norfolk and Louisville, Ky., after getting his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Northwestern University. He has lived in all four commonwealths, most recently in Pennsylvania. He teaches urban journalism at the University of Pennsylvania

Email Blinq here. My day job - Inquirer metro columnist - is here.

Reach Daniel at drubin@phillynews.com.

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