President Obama "is preparing a fresh outreach to the Muslim world in coming days," The Wall Street Journal tells us. How exciting! Despite the fact that Obama is the most Muslim president of all time, besides Dwight Eisenhower, his approval ratings have dropped precipitously in the Arab world, and Pakistan is certainly not too pleased with him, either. So, Obama will "deliver a wide-ranging speech":
Angelina Jolie has picked the latest far-flung country from which she plans to pluck another child. And the winner is Syria! According to OK!, which first broke the news of Jolie's latest acquisition, Brad Pitt has decided to sit this one out, since he thinks six kids is plenty. But the people of Syria sure are thrilled!
So you've probably been hearing that the recession has eased a bit, and there are signs the U.S. economy is finally turning the corner. Fewer people are losing their jobs! The stock market had its best April in years! People are spending money again! We have absolutely no idea if this is true or it's all part of some plot by Ben Bernanke to use the power of positive thinking to improve the economic outlook—and if that's the case, we're really screwed—but here's a sign that our darkest days are behind us: Someone actually spent $6 million buying the first-ever Hermès-designed helicopter (or "l'Hélicoptère par Hermès," as they like to refer to it). Okay, so the buyer is in Abu Dhabi and "signature Hermès orange accents" and "natural-grained Hermès calf leather upholstery" never really goes out of style there, but still! We're totally taking this as a positive sign regardless. [Luxist]
It's not just Wall Street bankers, newspaper reporters and auto workers feeling the effects of the financial crisis. Take the Bin Laden family, for example. "The super-rich Saudi Arabian family of the world's most famous terrorist is feeling the pinch of the staggering economy, and has seen their fortune shrink by $1.3 billion over the past year." [Luxist]
You may recall that knife-wielding madman Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama's new Chief of Staff, has a dad named Benjamin who used to be an Israeli terrorist! Back in the 1940s Benjamin was in a militant Zionist group that massacred some Arabs and did various other freedom-promoting actions. These things can be a little sensitive, so uh, hey Rahm, whatever you do, don't let your dad go giving racist quotes about Arabs to Israeli newspapers. Okay? Oh hell, it's too late: So Benjamin, will Rahm influence the White House to more pro-Israel?
Stocks were pummeled once again today with the Dow shedding 500 points and the S&P falling to its lowest level since April 21, 2003. Normally at a time like this, we'd direct your attention to the blog Sad Guys on Trading Floors, or even the more recent Brokers With Hands on Their Faces. In the spirit of diversity, though, we thought we'd mix it up and introduce you to a brand new photo feature, which we're officially calling Sad Arab Traders Wearing Kaffiyehs and Holding Their Hands to Their Faces. More pics after the jump.
As we continue to export sweet, sweet democracy to the Arab world, another gem of Western civilization is gaining prevalence in the Middle East: reality TV! Already fairly popular in places like the United Arab Emirates, Variety reports today that the number of Arabic-produced reality shows is increasing across the world. Programs like Prince of Poets and Star Academy are becoming big certified hits and, as production folks better learn the skills and format of the genre, they are creating more and more original programming, often in the style of Western competition shows. Can Bedouin Wants a Wife be far off? Take a look at clips of Poets and Academy after the jump.
Queen Rania of Jordan is very concerned about people's stereotypes of the Arab world. So she's turning to the world's utmost authority on ignorant stereotypes: YouTube commenters. The model-beautiful queen has posted a video reaching out the ignorant masses, asking them to send in stereotypes "they've heard," so she can "break them down one by one and address them." Hope you have a lot of free time, your highness! "I really appreciate that the queen herself speacks in you tube as a regular human being.Besiades, I couldn´t agree more with whay she says," writes one supporter. Us too! Her full plea to YOU, the racists, after the jump.