KK's Korner

No telling what’s being thought of in the mind of a lunatic

Archive for January 2nd, 2011

Any Sale Is A Best Buy

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OK, so I make my fair share of Muslim jokes. But that’s because I care.

In fact, I make these quips so that whenever I actually come out and defend those of the Islamic faith, you know it’s for real.

In the ballroom of an upscale hotel a short train ride from New York, advertisers, food industry executives and market researchers mingled — the men in dark suits, the women in headscarves and Western dress.

The setting was the American Muslim Consumer Conference, which aimed to promote Muslims as a new market segment for U.S. companies.

While corporations have long catered to Muslim communities in Europe, businesses have only tentatively started to follow suit in the United States — and they are doing so at a time of intensified anti-Muslim feeling that companies worry could hurt them, too.

“We are not saying, ‘Support us,'” said Faisal Masood, a graduate of the University of Illinois, Chicago, and management consultant. “But we want them to understand what our values are.”

There are signs the industry is stirring: Masood, a Wall Street executive who organized the gathering, had attracted only 200 or so attendees when he started the event last year. This year, he had to close registration at 400.

The worldwide market for Islamically permitted goods, called halal, has grown to more than half a billion dollars annually. Ritually slaughtered meat is a mainstay, but the halal industry is much broader, including foods and seasoning that omit alcohol, pork products and other forbidden ingredients, along with cosmetics, finance and clothing.

Corporations have been courting immigrant Muslim communities in Europe for several years.

In the United States, iconic American companies such as McDonald’s (which has a popular halal menu overseas) and Wal-Mart have entered the halal arena. In August, the natural grocery giant Whole Foods began selling its first nationally distributed halal food product — frozen Indian entrees called Saffron Road.

Along with new customers, however, the companies draw critics and can become targets in the ideological battle over Islam and terrorism.

It’s all about the free market. If there is enough of a Muslim base in a region, there is no reason why businesses shouldn’t try and accommodate in order to make a buck. Why do you think you have to push “1” on your telephone to hear an automated message in English? Say what you will about the millions upon millions of invaders south of the U.S. border, but there are a bunch of other, legal, citizens which speak Spanish and companies are just doing business.

U.S. companies have faced some resistance. Last year, Best Buy Inc. was inundated with calls, e-mails and letters complaining that the company was anti-American after acknowledging a Muslim holiday — “Eid al-Adha,” or the Feast of the Sacrifice — for the first time in a national ad. That year, Eid al-Adha fell around Thanksgiving, so the ad, a small bubble at the bottom of the page, appeared in the company’s Thanksgiving flier. Critics seized on the timing in their complaints.

“They used very abusive language,” said Nausheena Hussain, a marketing manager for Best Buy in Minnesota. “It was pretty sad.”

Best Buy executives stood by their decision. Soon, Muslims started calling to thank Best Buy and set up a Facebook page honoring the company.

Funny thing is I saw an “Eid al-Adha” reference in this week’s Best Buy circular earlier today. Hell, I’m less “offended” by that than the stupid “Happy Kwanzaa” which was right next to it.

Written by kkktookmybabyaway

January 2, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Posted in News

Farewell Swindell

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So here I thought this was going to be an actual column about some of the good things Fast Eddie has done while governor of this commonwealth.

The train wreck is about to be cleared.

That undoubtedly is the perception many Pennsylvanians have as Ed Rendell prepares to leave the governor’s office after eight stupefyingly unspectacular years.

The governmental derailment that included uncontrollable spending, tardy budgets, contentious clashes with legislators and sweetheart deals for the governor’s cronies finally appears ready to be uprighted.

Rendell unquestionably leaves a tarnished reputation as new conductor Tom Corbett prepares to toot the train whistle. But will his legacy remain that way forever? I think not. I believe the passage of time will reveal that Rendell was:

And then I got to this part…

• An advocate for the truly needy

When state lawmakers in 2005 infamously awarded themselves pay hikes of as much as 54 percent — in the middle of the night, without debate or public input — Rendell applauded the move.

“I believe this is good legislation,” he said. “(Lawmakers) have a reasonable right to expect periodic raises, which they deserve.”

After four months of public outcry, Rendell helped revoke that right to expect periodic raises by signing legislation rescinding the pay grab.

• Kind and compassionate

Rendell’s proposed solution to a lengthy 2009 budget impasse was to advocate the murder of state legislators he felt were behaving counterproductively.

Referencing the 1964 James Bond movie “Goldfinger,” Rendell recalled a scene in which the titular villain killed a roomful of gangsters by using poison gas. “You might have thought after watching (bickering legislators) that that would have been a good idea,” he said.

• A model of tact and decorum

Apparently not realizing he was speaking into an open microphone at a public event, Rendell two years ago praised then-President-elect Barack Obama’s selection of Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as Homeland Security secretary.

“Janet’s perfect for that job,” he noted, “because for that job, you have to have no life.”

• A strong proponent of highway safety

During a four-month period in 2004, Rendell’s vehicle was clocked several times traveling over 100 mph on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Although the governor later acknowledged that was excessive speed, he explained he didn’t always order his state trooper chauffeurs to travel that fast.

“I’ve told my troopers that I don’t want them exceeding 80 unless they need to pass, or unless there’s some real exigent circumstance,” he said.

The maximum speed limit when the governor made that remark was, and remains, 65 mph.

• An astute judge of character

Upon state Sen. Vince Fumo’s retirement announcement in 2008, Rendell praised the Philadelphia Democrat. “(Although) no one is 100 percent good (or) 100 percent bad, the balance tips greatly toward the good work that Vince Fumo has done,” he said.

Rendell was 100 percent wrong. A year later, Fumo was convicted on all 137 counts of conspiracy, fraud, tax offenses and obstruction of justice with which he was charged.

Rendell might exit with the reputation of being an incompetent conductor. But consider the accomplishments listed above and ask yourself: How could history fail to treat this man kindly?

The one thing I will truly miss is the better half screaming “FAT-ASS!!!”, or an equivalent thereof, every time Fast Eddie soundbite is played on television or radio.

Written by kkktookmybabyaway

January 2, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Posted in News

Hook ’em Horn Frogs

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So yesterday my gut was telling me that Wisconsin was going to pull away from TCU and win the Rose Bowl. And the Badgers would have won — if college football had five 15-minute periods.

Yay, TCU. I find it funny that for a team which was heralded for its defense the offense carried the day. The Horn Frog’s defense looked WAY out-sized, but a win’s a win.

Especially when it’s in Pasadena.

Written by kkktookmybabyaway

January 2, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Posted in Sports