Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s extended campaign ad — filmed before the United States Congress — has been grabbing all the headlines, but on Last Week Tonight last night, John Oliver drew viewers’ attention to an earlier piece in support of his reelection:
Christian Science Monitor wants to know: Why is ISIS threatening Twitter employees with ‘lions’? Of course, CSM also has the answer:
Supporters of the extremist militant group called for the death of company employees in response to Twitter’s blocking of social media accounts associated with the Islamic State.
That much, I could have guessed. But I clicked on the headline not to find out why ISIS was threatening Twitter employees — after all, does ISIS really need a cause? — but because I was curious: Why lions? And since CSM appears to have been uninterested by that zoological choice, I decided to delve into the question for myself — and now, for you. You’re welcome.
In a recent post, I detailed how some people described the acquisition of Seamless in Kuwait (how clever) as the largest Middle Eastern exit since 2009. They forgot, of course, that Israeli startups routinely eclipse Talabat’s $170 million purchase price — or maybe excluding Israel from “the Middle East” was a conscious decision. Either way, they’re redrawing maps.
But those offenders are small potatoes (which you may presumably order on Talabat). This time, I’d like to call your attention to the pages of the New York Times. In yesterday’s column, Islam and the West at War, Roger Cohen described the current conflict between, well, Islam and the west:
Back in early October, Stephen Colbert (z”l) reported on the fact that two months into its war against ISIS, the U.S. military had yet to give the operation an official name. Or as he put it, “Nowhere has Obama been weaker than in the realm of strategic nomenclature.”
A little over two months ago last night, John Oliver* — in a segment on the phenomenon of police militarization, prompted by then-recent events in Ferguson — poked fun at the Keene Police Department for having cited the tiny town’s annual pumpkin festival as justification for its purchase of a Bearcat** (which looks like this):
So when this year’s festival erupted in riotous disarray, a whole mess of people gleefully and predictably gloated that those events somehow served to vindicate the Keene PD. Here’s a brief sample:
I want to briefly address another story that recently made the rounds, best expressed in this headline from Vox: “The perfect response to people who say all Muslims are violent, in one tweet“.
By ‘people who say all Muslims are violent’, the headline is responding to (inter alia) HBO comedian Bill Maher, who argued on his show that members of “the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are actually not extremist outliers but represent the inherent violence and intolerance of Islam itself, and by extension its 1.6 billion followers.”
Vox counters by citing this tweet and subsequent explanation:
Since the beginning of October, I have written three posts about Arrested Development in real life for no apparent reason. I probably should have collected a few examples and posted them all together, but they generally came up one after the other, I can’t help myself, and that idea didn’t occur to me until just now, so — acknowledgement this post probably doesn’t deserve to exist out of the way — let’s get this over with.
Sometime over the past couple of days, I noticed that McClatchy currently employs a journalist working in Irbil (Arbela), Iraq, who goes by the name of Mitchell Prothero. After I noticed his name the first time, I started noticing it on other articles, as well. But who is he really?
You might be wondering, “Mitchell Prothero. Sounds like a name. What am I missing?”
The ever-insightful Clickhole chimed in last week with a piece titled 5 Ways ISIS Can Reduce Its Carbon Footprint. All you need to know about the piece is right there in the headline, but — if you insist — here is a condensed list of the supplied suggestions:
- Purchase carbon offsets
- Reduce number of security checkpoints
- Avoid setting oil wells on fire
- Eat locally
- Take public transportation
The exercise was transparently ridiculous — as if anything with the word “Islamic” in the title needs any help going green. But if that doesn’t convince you, here are 5 things the Islamic State is already doing to help reduce the threat of climate change, in no particular order:
On Tuesday night’s show, in a segment titled The Kinda-Sorta War and the U.S.’s Mysterious Allies, Stephen Colbert turned his attention to Barack Obama’s kinda-sorta war on ISIS, and the mysterious Arab allies his government insists are ready to carry out airstrikes in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. There was just one problem — check out the graphic he used to illustrate the unidentified Arab partners and see if you can spot it:
A few days ago, I came across an article on Tablet that proclaimed “Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is the best film of 2014, and one of the least Jewish movies ever made.”* This seemed like a pair of extraordinary claims. So when I sat down to watch the movie earlier today, I kept them both in the back of my mind.