Monthly Archives: October 2009

George W. Bush smiles a lot in his new job: Motivational speaker

Maybe this was the job that George W. Bush should have had all along: Motivational speaker. The former president took the stage yesterday in Fort Worth, Texas, where he tried to inspire thousands of screaming people, many of whom paid … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who speaks for Islam? Meet an actor, L.A. writer, and other smart (and funny) Muslims

Muslim people don’t laugh – at least not on most American TV shows, movies, and news programs, which focus excessively on Muslims who plot violence, talk about violence, or are somehow touched by the threat of violence. Maz Jobrani, the … Continue reading

Posted in religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Nobel interview that never ran: A talk with novelist Naguib Mahfouz

Almost 20 years ago, during my first trip to Cairo, I managed to get an exclusive interview with Naguib Mahfouz, the only writer in the Arab world to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Mahfouz talked about the early influences … Continue reading

Posted in literature | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

VW used ethnic slur to name its ‘Touareg’ SUV

In a hurry to get to a movie screening yesterday, I was speeding down a San Francisco street when a gas-guzzling SUV pulled in front. Already predisposed to distrust the driver (for lurching into my lane and polluting the atmosphere … Continue reading

Posted in world | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dear Republicans: Reagan would have applauded Obama’s Nobel

Nice to know that the Republicans’ most vocal pundits have retreated to the position they know best: Cynicism. Minutes after the Nobel Committee announced that President Obama had won its annual Peace Prize Award, a phalanx of conservative suits – … Continue reading

Posted in politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Groupies, Polanski and David Letterman: The ‘X factor’ of celebrity scandal

Put aside the much-hyped shows on Oprah Winfrey, and the celestial ranking on bestseller lists, and what’s most noticeable about Mackenzie Phillips’ kiss-and-tell memoir, “High on Arrival,” is the predatory narcissism that was everywhere in her young life. Phillips’ out-of-control … Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment