Friday, February 02, 2007

Mi Casa es Su Madrassa

By now everyone has heard the brouhaha over the non-story of Barack Obama's educational background: He attended a madrassa in Indonesia when he was six. Madrassa means school in Arabic so this isn't exactly startling news (Obama went to SCHOOL!), but according to Insight, a website run by the Universalist Church of Sun Young Moon, it means "Islamic terrorist training school." But who cares what a two-bit website says, right? That is until the good folks at Fox News decide to quote it as fact on their cheerful "Fox and Friends" morning show.

Besides the fact that these are non-facts, I love the idea that now it is okay to reach as far back as the womb when investigating a presidential candidate's background. What's next, A scathing report on the number of time outs a candidate received in first grade? Sonogram pics? Yeesh.

Once Fox realized their mistake, they of course hurried to correct their mistake: (Make sure to watch the whole thing).

Now there is a moving and heartfelt apology. Nothing makes up for people calling you a terrorist on national television like sort of being invited to do the weather.

Related Facts from My Past:

I went to a progressive elementary school called PS3 in Greenwich Village. We didn't have desks, we had "work areas" which were shared tables, and rugs and benches. We called all of our teachers by the first name. We had mandatory art, dance, music, and acting classes. Our principal's name was John Meltzer and he was a striking man from New Zealand who was very thin, stood about 6'5", and always wore a white/cream colored suit with open collar. (I am sure he wore other things, but I think this was a sort of uniform). He was bald on top but had flowing white hair along the sides. He was a pretty charismatic and scary presence around the school. It was a real hippie/liberal school. Half of my teachers were openly gay, and we discussed politics a great deal. I recall taking a class trip and our teacher having us chant some sort of political slogan on the streets as we went to wherever we were going. I am pretty sure this was illegal, but I think if you had asked any of us at the time we would have said it was fine with us because we supported whoever the candidate was -- we were a pretty politically savvy group of youngsters.

I also once almost got kicked out of camp for beating a girl up. When I was young I had a CRAZY temper. Something would set me off, and I would literally see red -- I had some kind of weird inner rage issue, which fortunately has mellowed into vague irritation as I have gotten older. I don't remember what happened exactly. I was about 10 years old and it was my first year at sleepaway camp, and a girl who was in my cabin called me a name or something and I just lit into her--I punched her in the face and scratched the shit out of her stomach. It turned out that she had asthma, so the fight set off this severe attack and she got sent to the hospital. I don't know why they didn't send me home at the time, but I think camp was almost over and it was more trouble than it was worth. So I lucked out there.


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