Anthony Weiner and Other Democrats in Sex Scandals Don’t Mention God

25 July 2013
Published in Blog

By Dean Obeidallah

July 25, 2013

(The Daily Beast) Not only is there a stark political divide between Democratic and Republican politicians on policy issues but also on sex scandals. What’s the difference, you ask? Simple: God.

No, I’m not saying Republican politicians claim that God told them to do it. Apparently, God only tells Republicans to run for president, not to cheat on their wives—at least not yet.  

But when politicians get caught in these scandals—truly one of the only activities that unites elected officials from both parties—Democrats tend to talk about “therapy” and letting down constituents, while Republicans talk about the big guy upstairs.

One need look no further than South Carolina Republican Mark Sanford and New York Democrat Anthony Weiner, a.k.a. Carlos Danger. And for those who fault the Democrat for using that alias when he was having racy online chats with women after he resigned from Congress in 2011, when you have a name like Weiner, Carlos Danger is actually a step up.

This week Weiner addressed the new revelations at a hastily called press conference. The New York City mayoral candidate didn’t invoke God or any other supernatural force but spoke of more earthbound issues, such as asking for forgiveness from his wife and “asking New Yorkers to also give me another chance.” His wife, Huma Abedin, then spoke of all the therapy that helped them cope with the stress of enduring her husband’s scandal(s).

To continue reading this article please click HERE to visit The Daily Beast.com

Edward Snowden, want my advice?

07 July 2013
Published in Blog

By Dean Obeidallah

July 5, 2013

(CNN) -- Edward Snowden, you need help! And I'm here for you. I enjoy offering people suggestions -- which you may even be aware of if you read my e-mails when you were working at the NSA.

I don't know where you thought you'd end up after disclosing classified documents detailing our government's surveillance program, but I doubt you thought you'd be roaming the halls of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport checking out the wide range of restaurants there-- the Russian cuisine at "Mama Rashas;" maybe the Burger King or the restaurant in Terminal D called, "Hippopotamus" -- which, I think you'll agree, is a horrible name for a place that serves food.

It must drive you crazy to know that the airport even offers a fear-of-flying treatment center for people afraid to fly while you are still begging for just a seat in coach. I know you grow bored browsing for hours at the duty-free shop, wishing you had a plane ticket so you could at least buy tax-free caviar or vodka.

So Edward, I want to propose some creative suggestions that you may find helpful

1. If you can't get out of airport, pitch a reality show about being stuck there. It could be an international version of "Project Runway" -- how to get on one. How hard could it be to get a Kardashian to sign on?

2. At this writing, you have applied for asylum in -- depending on whom you ask -- 21 countries. WikiLeaks claimed Friday that you have applied to six additional unidentified countries, and the Venezuelan president said that he was ready to take you,according to reports. Bolivia appears to be following suit. That would be a break, because with some of these other nations you clearly have no shot. It's not unlike when I was graduating high school with mediocre grades and applied to Harvard. Barring a clerical error, I was not getting in and I'd say it's the same for you. So say goodbye to countries like Germany, Italy, and Spain.

To continue reading please click HERE to visit CNN.com.

‘Rumsfeld’s Rules’ Review: Good Rules, Shame He Didn’t Follow Them

19 May 2013
Published in Blog

By Dean Obeidallah

May 19, 2013

(The Daily Beast) The Donald is back with a new book. Not Donald Trump, but the original cantankerous, ill-tempered Donald, who possibly has uttered the expression “You’re fired” with more glee than Trump. I’m speaking of Donald Rumsfeld—the man who served in several positions in the federal government, the most recent his “star turn” as secretary of defense under President George W. Bush.

Rumsfeld new book is titled Rumsfeld’s Rules, and it promises you “leadership lessons in business, politics, war, and life.” It’s sort of like Game of Thronesmeets The Secret.

In Rules, Rumsfeld offers numerous lessons to succeed in these various fields. But the No. 1 lesson I have gleaned from his book is: ignore your past and instead re-create yourself so you sound amazing. Rumsfeld has done just that by offering us rules to live by that paint him as a thoughtful, considerate person who is cross between Steve Jobs and Gandhi.

Not that I can blame Rumsfeld. Who would write a book highlighting their negative qualities or failings when offering suggestions for others to emulate?

Lets put it this way. If Jodi Arias wrote a book one day offering dating tips, I’m sure it would be filled with suggestions like “be a good listener,” “treat your partner as you want to be treated,” etc. It’s highly doubtful she would recommend you stab the person you are in a relationship with 29 times and then shoot them in the head.

To continue reading this article please click HERE to go to The Daily Beast.








Can We Forgive Paula Deen?

29 June 2013
Published in Blog

By Dean Obeidallah

June 29, 2013

(CNN) -- Once a racist, always a racist? Will bigots always be bigots?

Or can people truly evolve over time for the better? And if they do, should we applaud their metamorphosis and welcome them back?

The easy answer -- as we are seeing with Paula Deen -- is to quickly label the person a racist for past insensitive remarks and cast her out to the fringes of society. But that's not the best answer for our nation.

I say this as a person who been called racist slurs on numerous occasions. I'm of Arab heritage. I have an inbox full of e-mails from people calling me things like "sand n----" or telling me "Go back to where you are from." (Which, I should note, is New Jersey).

I'm also a Muslim, and I don't even want to describe here the litany of hate-filled insults that have been directed at our community and myself. The worst part is that these slurs don't come just from ignorant bigots who can easily be dismissed, but often by elected officials and even religious leaders.

But I will say this -- if a person who had called me a "sand n----" later expressed remorse and sincerely explained that they now understand it was hateful and wrong, I wouldn't respond with: "Too bad, you're a bigot for life."

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't invite them over for dinner, either. However, I would cautiously applaud their change of heart and hope to see it evidenced by not just an apology, but by deeds as well.

And I would do this not just because they did the right thing by me, but also because they did the right thing by our society. They were evolving for the better and this in turn makes us a better nation.

To continue reading this article please click HERE to visit CNN.com 

Bigger threat: Edward Snowden or NSA? CNN Podcast "The Big Three"

17 June 2013
Published in Blog

(CNN) -- What do you think of Edward Snowden? By leaking classified documents to the media and revealing that the National Security Agency has been monitoring our phone and Internet usage, is he a traitor or a hero? Could he simply be a narcissist looking to get famous? Or do you not care about either him or the NSA surveillance programs?

Chris Cuomo, co-host of the new CNN morning show, "New Day," joined us to discuss the top issues in this week's episode of "The Big Three" podcast. (Be sure to tune in to "New Day," which premieres on Monday June 17 at 6 a.m. ET.)

I must note that while I disagreed with Cuomo's view on Snowden, as a fellow graduate of Fordham Law School, his logic and comedy chops were impeccable. It's something we share and that distinguishes me from my co-hosts Margaret Hoover and John Avlon. (At least that's what I keep telling myself.)

Back to Edward Snowden. A poll this week found that 31% of Americans consider him a patriot while 23% view him as a traitor. But a whopping 46% say they don't know. Is it because these 46% simply aren't following the story or because they have accepted government surveillance as the price for security?

As Cuomo pointed out, Americans have "matured" since 9/11 over the issue of government surveillance. Consequently, he believes that many do accept increased monitoring if it means that we can prevent another 9/11 or Boston Marathon bombing.

But to me, "we the people" have a right to know when our government is spying on us, especially when officials like James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, denied such a program existed when asked about it under oath by Congress just a few months ago. How else can we hold our government accountable if we aren't informed of its actions?

You can listen to this week's episode of CNN's podcast "The Big Three" on Soundcloud.com or iTunes.


No 'Avenger' in sight for America

24 May 2012
Published in Blog

(CNN) -- America is in trouble. And we know it.

Just look at recent polls: 70% of Americans would describe the nation's economy as bad. Some 61% think our country is on the wrong track. Only 24% of Americans think the economy has actually improved in the past few years. And almost two-thirds of Americans are concerned about being able to pay for their housing.

We could use Captain Economy to help us create jobs. Plus we need Deficit-Reduction Man and Five-Percent-GDP-Growth-a-Year Dude. Or maybe we can just let The Hulk loose in Congress and tell him: "Hulk: Smash!"(I'm not sure how Hulk smashing Congress helps the economy, but I think most of us would pay to see it.)

But, alas, there's no superhero in no sight. There's only President Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.

I must admit that there was a time in 2008 that I thought Obama could have been a superhero, but I was wrong. We have seen his campaign theme morph in four years from "Yes We Can" to "It Could Be Worse."

To continue reading this article please click HERE to take you to CNN.com 

Click HERE to watch Dean Obeidallah on CNN discussing this article.

Sacha Cohen's Movie A Minstrel Show

13 May 2012
Published in Blog

(CNN) -- Sacha Baron Cohen's new movie, "The Dictator," is a modern-day minstrel show judging from the trailer and Cohen's comments promoting the film while dressed as the film's star, "Gen. Shabazz Aladeen," the leader of a fictitious Arab country.

Cohen, who is not of Arab heritage, plays this Arab character while sporting a long fake beard and speaking in a strong Arabic accent, which would be fine, except the character is showcasing the worst stereotypes of Arabs.

For example, at a news conference in New York City this week promoting his film, Cohen exclaimed: "Welcome devils of the Zionist media and death to the West." He then joked about liking TV shows that showed Arab terrorists killing Americans and admiring fashion designer John Galliano for hating the Jews.

To me, this is essentially the same as white performers in blackface portraying black people in buffoonish negative stereotypes for the enjoyment of white America.

To continue reading please click HERE to visit CNN.com.


Secret Service made the right call on Ted Nugent

22 April 2012
Published in Blog

(CNN) -- Rocker Ted Nugent found himself being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service after making this statement last weekend at the NRA Convention: "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year."

While I dismissed Nugent's comments as just another idiotic statement by the person known as "The Motor City Madman," others thought Nugent may have violated the federal law that makes it a crime to threaten the president of the United States. CNN contributor LZ Granderson even wrote an article entitled "Ted Nugent should be in jail," calling for the arrest of Nugent. However, Granderson recognized that under the law as it stands, Nugent would not, in fact, be imprisoned for the comment at issue.

Threats against the president of the United States should not be tolerated, regardless of the president's political affiliation. And I'm aware that we live in a particularly alarming time as threats against President Obama have jumped 400% from those made against President George W. Bush.

To continue reading this article, please click HERE for CNN.com

Why Candidates' Gaffe-a-thon is Good for Us

28 March 2012
Published in Blog

(CNN) -- This last week has been chock full of gaffes by our presidential candidates -- a veritable gaffe-a-thon, a gaffe-a-palooza. President Obama and the Republican presidential candidates almost seem to be trying to one-up each other's blunders.

This "March Madness" started off slowly enough last Monday with a small one by Rick Santorum: "I don't care what the unemployment rate is going to be. It doesn't matter to me."

But then, just days later, the gaffes started flying fast and furious. On Wednesday, Mitt Romney's communication director Eric Fehrnstrom told CNN that he wasn't concerned if Romney was moving to the right on certain key issues during the Republican primaries because, as he put it: "You hit a reset button for the fall campaign. ... It's almost like an Etch A Sketch."


To Continue reading this article, please click HERE for CNN.com 

Why is the US Supreme Court afraid of TV Cameras?

05 April 2012
Published in Blog

The United States Supreme Court - the highest court in the land - one of the most powerful institutions in the world, is afraid of something most of us would relish: Being on television.

The United States Supreme Court recently completed hearings on the question of whether the nation’s healthcare law--unaffectionately referred to as Obamacare--is constitutional. This is clearly one of the most important Supreme Court decisions since the Court’s ruling concerning the 2000 presidential election in the case of Bush vs. Gore. (In case you forgot, Bush won that one.)

So how many TV cameras were allowed in the Supreme Court to capture the lawyer’s arguments in this historic case? Two? Three? One? Nope, the answer is zero.

The US Supreme Court denied the medias’ request to allow cameras to film the oral arguments in this case--a case which will not only impact millions of Americans, but will also likely have a tremendous impact on this November’s presidential election.

It’s simply mind boggling that TV cameras are not permitted to televise this case yet we are able to watch live coverage of Lindsey Lohan’s probation hearings. (All of them.) We were even able to watch Snookie’s hearings in the Seaside Heights municipal court as she plead guilty to charges arising from a drunken escapade on the beaches of the Jersey shore.

Television cameras are allowed in the trial courts in 36 of our States and even more on the appellate level. Some State Supreme Courts like New Jersey, Texas and Utah, to name a few, even offer live web streaming of the lawyers’ oral arguments and archive them for years on their respective websites.

But the US Supreme Court – the highest court in the land – would rather work behind a cloak of secrecy than allow us to see their proceedings. While we can listen to audio recordings of the court proceedings the day after the hearings, we are precluded from watching the hearings live. In fact, only about 250 members of the public are allowed into the court to observe the arguments together with a handful of members of the media.

Why don’t they allow TV cameras? One argument is that there is a fear that lawyers or justices will “showboat” for the cameras- as if a lawyer will open his/her argument with: “Before I talk about the healthcare law, I’d first like to sing a song from ‘Les Miserables.’”

As a former lawyer, I can assure you that a lawyer would not risk embarrassing themselves, undermining their case before the US Supreme Court, and subjecting themselves to a lawsuit for malpractice by turning their oral argument into an audition for “America’s Got Talent.”

The other argument raised in opposition to the cameras is that the clips will be taken out of context. That is always a concern, but if that argument were followed, it could be used to ban television cameras from televising any government functions, from US Congress to municipal court trials.

The US Supreme Court should have allowed cameras to cover the health care arguments. First, it would have given all of us more information about the legal issues surrounding the health care law. I, for one, could use some more facts on this law and I think most of us could as well.

Second, it would increase the public’s confidence in this politically charged case. We would have been able to watch the arguments and discuss the issues ensuring full transparency.

As Illinois Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride stated in January as the Illinois Supreme Court finally agreed to allow TV cameras into that court: "The idea behind this is simple. We need to have the courts be more open. By having the public keeping an eye on what is going on in the courtroom, it can act as a check in the balance of power.”

If there ever was a case for the US Supreme Court to allow TV cameras, it was this one.  But now if you want to watch judge discuss important issues, you are stuck with the judges on “American Idol.”

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