Patterico's Pontifications

4/1/2014

American Tax Dollars at Work

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:14 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Camel

The Obama administration is planning to spend $400,000 to commission a camel staring through the eye of an over-sized needle sculpture from American artist, John Baldessari. The camel sculpture will be installed in front of the American Embassy in Pakistan. The art is called, “Camel Contemplating Needle.” It is reflective of the New Testament and Qur’an teachings about the difficulty those who are wealthy have in entering heaven

Buzzfeed posted a government document which described the sculpture as, “large 500lb fiberglass aluminum, stainless steel, acrylic and painted contemporary art piece.”

The “Camel Contemplating Needle” commission is being defended by the United States. The U.S. State Department is claiming that the price of the artwork was ‘reasonable’ and it reflected ‘the values of a predominantly Islamist country’.

From U.S State Department’s press spokeswoman, Christine Foushee,

‘The proposed purchase comes from the department’s Office of Art in Embassies.

‘In new construction projects, a small part of the total funds, about 0.5%, is spent on art purchases.’

Also, from the federal website, John Kerry explains,

“For fifty years, Art in Embassies has played an active diplomatic role by creating meaningful cultural exchange through the visual arts. The exhibitions, permanent collections and artist exchanges connect people from the farthest corners of an international community. Extending our reach, amplifying our voice, and demonstrating our inclusiveness are strategic imperatives for America.

Art in Embassies cultivates relationships that transcend boundaries, building trust, mutual respect and understanding among peoples. It is a fulcrum of America’s global leadership as we continue to work for freedom, human rights and peace around the world.”

Two points:

- The average annual income in Pakistan is $1,250.

- Last year, a comprehensive list of Government waste was posted by the NRCC. Should this latest project be posted on the list, perhaps after the $100,000 on taxpayer funded comedy group tour in India? Or maybe after the $697,177 on a climate change musical?

–Dana

94 Responses to “American Tax Dollars at Work”

  1. That’s a lot to spend on a camel that you can’t even eat.

    Pious Agnostic (7eb3b0)

  2. shirley they can’t be serious;

    narciso (3fec35)

  3. A third point (of frustration) to me, is, it’s difficult to consider this gross expenditure, which is certainly reasonable in light of it being an American Embassy in the heart of Pakistan, when one considers Pakistan’s abhorrent human rights violations, particularly with the treatment and degradation of its women and girls. Then it becomes a bit difficult. But again, this is an American Embassy.

    Dana (9a8f57)

  4. Needles to say, it does illustrate the ups and downs of State Departments policy and priorities …

    Alastor (e7cb73)

  5. They have a lot of dromedaries in Pakistan, do they?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  6. I hate hate hate the argument that any individual expenditure is small in comparison to the overall project, or the budget as a whole.
    #cowboypoetry

    JD (a75442)

  7. pretty sure we’re the one’s getting humped here.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  8. It’s a white camel! At a winery! Massive multi site 4/1 spoof I’d say.

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/aramroston/exclusive-us-taxpayers-to-spend-400000-for-a-camel-sculpture

    elissa (0666e5)

  9. elissa – But everybody knows all muslims love camels!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  10. Yeah, daley. They slaughter camels so humanely.

    elissa (0666e5)

  11. Aniconism is the sin. Why are we committing it? (The representation of living beings in art is forbidden to the more conservative of Islamic teachings.)

    htom (412a17)

  12. Okay, enough of the April Fools garbage stories. You are not going to fool us again this year.

    Amazed_476 (78a5e8)

  13. LOL– a fiberglass sculpture wouldn’t last a month on a schoolyard in America– let alone survive a car bomb in Paki.

    elissa (0666e5)

  14. I’m willing to bet that the camel has a better chance of getting into heaven than his owner does !

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  15. I’m just chuckling at Buzzfeed’s religious and cultural bigotry.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  16. The problem is that we even HAVE an “Office of Art in Embassies.”

    The first act of any prudent President would be to order a moratorium on all federal purchases of art, furnishings, and travel pending review.

    Those who are moving into new buildings will be permitted to hire movers to move their old furniture. Those in existing buildings should learn to love their current art and furniture – and building, ’cause there ain’t gonna be no mo’ until the budget is straightened out.

    Estragon (ada867)

  17. ‘In new construction projects, a small part of the total funds, about 0.5%, is spent on art purchases.’

    So let’s see, if we’re spending $400k on this sculpture and if art spending is only supposed to account for about one-half of one percent, does this mean that we are spending $80 million on this new embassy? No, silly: we’re spending almost ten times that much on the new embassy in Pakistan. I mean, nothing says nation in decline quite like shelling out almost $800 million on an embassy in a country that mostly hates us. And to think: if the 0.5% art expenditure holds for this embassy, then we’re planning on decorating it with $4 million in art. Good thing we have plenty of money in the treasury, huh?

    JVW (9946b6)

  18. Camel Jockeys!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  19. Do people even bother to read the comments and the supporting “source material”?

    elissa (0666e5)

  20. At first I thought this was the April 1 post elissa warned us about last night, then I guess it isn’t…
    If $400,000 is 0.5% of the total cost of the new embassy, then it will cost $400,000 x 100 x 2= $80,000,000. I haven’t priced bomb proof and spy proof structures recently, so maybe that is a bargain.
    But yes, a bit tone deaf and ironic, spending that much money while criticizing being rich in a land of poor people.
    Overheard in the market, “Those ridiculous Americans, don’t they know we have cars?”

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  21. Baldassare, the artist, does not appear in the Office of Art, a tipoff,

    narciso (3fec35)

  22. What changed your mind? I’m curious, Doc.

    elissa (0666e5)

  23. Massive multi site 4/1 spoof I’d say.
    Do people even bother to read the comments and the supporting “source material”?

    It seems you are trying to tell us this is a hoax.
    But I must say, if you are giving a quote from John Kerry, I would think it more likely a quote if it passed the common sense test.

    So, I am confused.
    Besides, the link had a 3/31 date.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  24. I don’t normally read Buzzfeed, elissa, so looking at it I can’t tell if it is new media stuff I just don’t get, or pulling a fast one on me.
    I’ve never been involved in procuring things for the feds, don’t know what an official requisition looks like.
    Besides, people at Buzzfeed were making serious comments about AID to Pakistan and such.
    I once had an official environmental impact statement giving our dorm in college the approval to build a nuclear reactor.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  25. likely a quote hoax

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  26. The problem is that we even HAVE an “Office of Art in Embassies.”

    This. Given that we do have such a program, and that out of an $800M construction budget for a new embassy $4M has to be spent on art, I don’t see the objection to this piece. I don’t even question the need to spend something to decorate a new embassy to an important ally, so it makes a good impression. But a fixed set-aside like that is a bad idea even in good financial times, let alone at a time when we’re completely out of money, and the entire construction is being done on the national credit card.

    Even in good times, there shouldn’t be an “art budget”; the decorator should submit a plan for how to make the new embassy look nice, and it should be approved or rejected on its merits, not on the basis of what percentage of the total cost it represents. If having an embassy that doesn’t make us look cheap costs 0.5% of the construction cost, then that’s what it costs; and if it costs 5% then that’s what it costs. But if it can be done for 0.05% then we shouldn’t spend more than that.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  27. Well, spoof or no spoof, my link to the Christian Science Monitor from 2009 suggests that we are spending $740 million on the new embassy in Pakistan, so in light of that why would $400,000 for a camel sculpture be so silly that we shouldn’t think it is possible?

    JVW (9946b6)

  28. Given that we do have such a program, and that out of an $800M construction budget for a new embassy $4M has to be spent on art, I don’t see the objection to this piece. I don’t even question the need to spend something to decorate a new embassy to an important ally, so it makes a good impression.

    Yeah, when we eventually evacuate the embassy as it is being overrun by Islamic militants and President H.R. Clinton decides that are going to cut-and-run and leave everything behind, we’ll be glad that we spent $740 million and furnished it with $4 million in art.

    JVW (9946b6)

  29. Office of Art in Embassies
    Art in Embassies Program (AIEP) promotes the cultural identity of America’s art and artists by borrowing original works of art by U.S. citizens for display in approximately 180 U.S. embassy residences worldwide. These exhibitions are collections of art loaned from galleries, museums, individual artists, and corporate and private collections. Each exhibition is developed collaboratively between a United States ambassador and one of AIEP’s curators.

    History:
    AIEP was established within the United States Department of State in 1964 by President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie. President Kennedy had the goal of promoting national pride and a sense of cultural identity by displaying America’s art and its artists throughout the world. According to the program’s first director, Nancy Kefauver, the group’s original goal was to cover “those bare white walls in embassies abroad.” Today the program places more than 5,000 works of art, including original paintings, sculptures and prints, in the public rooms of the ambassadors’ homes of nearly 170 U.S. Embassies worldwide.

    What it Does:
    Art in Embassies has a team of curators in charge of organizing exhibitions. “We try to create thematic exhibitions so they can tell a story in themselves” said Gwen Berlin, director of AIEP. For example, in Paris, the U.S. Ambassador to France has hosted an exhibition of U.S. women artists who have lived and worked in France. AIEP organizes exhibitions in collaboration with each ambassador. The team also negotiates all loans, and, once all loans are secured and the art is insured, AIEP’s registrars coordinate with professional art handlers for the assembling, packing, crating and….

    http://www.allgov.com/departments/department-of-state/art-in-embassies-program?agencyid=7200

    elissa (0666e5)

  30. April 1, 2014

    BREAKING NEWS: MSNBC PURCHASES MORNING JOLT NEWSLETTER FROM NATIONAL REVIEW IN SIX-FIGURE DEAL

    Readers, you may have noticed commercials for MSNBC’s Morning Joe program, hosted by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, touting the program as a Morning Jolt.™ That branding effort was, in fact, an early promotion for MSNBC and NBCUniversal’s effort to diversify its morning news assets. Last night that effort took a dramatic step forward — with an additional bit of leaning forward — as NBCUniversal finalized its purchase of the Morning Jolt™ newsletter from National Review, Inc.

    In exchange, National Review, Inc. received an undisclosed sum, as well as a second round draft pick in this year’s National Media Pundit Draft, held May 8-10 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

    And now, presenting our New Morning JOE-LT format…

    Why Doesn’t Joe Scarborough Run for President? ..

    Samm,y Finkelman (d22d64)

  31. U.S. Is Weighing Release of a Spy for the Israelis
    Kerry canceling planned trip to meet with Palestinian leader Abbas

    It looks like Abbas is doing his best to scuttle the deal. That is, he may accept prisoners but won’t continue negotiations.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  32. elissa, are you saying it is a hoax because in truth what the US does with art and embassies is not accurately described?
    In Philadelphia new buildings of a certain minimal size do need to have a public art display on the grounds, so the idea of an embassy “needing” some art is not at all unrealistic.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  33. If Kerry and 0bama really want Israel to release more murderers, they shouldn’t just release Pollard, they should show their own commitment to peace and reconciliation by releasing Sheikh Yassin, Charles Manson, KSM, and the Tsarnaev kid.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  34. In Philadelphia new buildings of a certain minimal size do need to have a public art display on the grounds, so the idea of an embassy “needing” some art is not at all unrealistic.

    Yes, that sort of set-aside is all too common. My comments above apply to them all, wherever they exist.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  35. Sheikh Yassin, went ‘Norwegian blue,’ about 10 years ago, thanks to an Israeli F-16,

    narciso (3fec35)

  36. A better sculpture, and one the Pakistanis would appreciate, would be a statue of Obama in his famous cranial-rectal inversion poise.

    Kevin M (b11279)

  37. Or, we could go whole hog, so to speak, and put up a sculpture of a Predator drone.

    Kevin M (b11279)

  38. By the way, this appeared in the Daily Caller along with “Bob Dole Considering 2016 Presidential Run” which seems a bit off.

    http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/31/exclusive-bob-dole-considering-2016-presidential-run/

    Kevin M (b11279)

  39. the lack of the author in that office link, or mention of this project on a wiki, would suggest
    the fraud,

    narciso (3fec35)

  40. When it’s difficult at first glance to separate April Fool’s parody from actual news then “Idiocracy” merely is a decade or less away.

    Speaking of which, one of the glaring and all too frequent mistakes the cocooned right makes is dismissing so much of what the left does as mere stupidity. The left is far from stupid. They’re crazy. Not dumb. Everything has a purpose.

    Leftism preys on specific demographics. There are Machiavellian reasons for faux art grants, just the same as there are reasons for the likes of Common Core, gay marriage rallies, environmental studies, Pell grants, mortgage loan relief, extended unemployment benefits, student loan relief efforts, an expanded NLRB, card check, paycheck dues deductions, etc.

    For every dozen conservatives who appropriately mock and scoff at this sort of nonsense spending there’s a trust funded liberal idiot (BIRM) in Pacific Heights who finds out about it, gets excited and then donates real cash to ActBlue or some other left-wing PAC. Money matters. A close win here or there, a few extra attack ads over there, an Angle or Akin candidate over here, a Landrieu-Jenkins or Franken-Coleman fraud show over there. It all adds up.

    The Dems since the Watergate era always have held far more elected political offices than logic and reason would indicate. Reagan won 49 states in ’84 but the Dems never lost the House and two years later took back the Senate, despite a roaring economy. Obama started out as the worst president in history and only got worse in his first term, yet easily was reelected, to the utter shock of allegedly conservative blogs and talk radio.

    While erstwhile conservatives are worried about cable TV broadcasts with fewer viewers than live bowling tournaments, or print newspapers with fewer readers than “Maxim,” the left is marshalling its resources among deranged or alternately dependent demographics who actually vote. Underestimate them at your own risk and that of your kids.

    Lawrence Westlake (4fc30a)

  41. Well, I thought the following was also kind of a clue:

    To emphasize Baldassari’s fame, the contracting officials pulled a section from Wikipedia. “John Anthony Baldessari (born June 17, 1931) is an American conceptual artist known for his work featuring found photography and appropriated images.”……..The $400,000 price tag “is actually a very a reduced price for this sculpture,” he said. “There is an art market that makes these prices, and this is one of the most prominent American artists.”

    I assume we’re all familiar with this prominent artist’s work, right?
    Then there was the curious reference to the New Testament in choosing a theme (to be used in a Muslim country):

    ..a not-so-subtle play on the New Testament phrase about the difficulty the wealthy have in entering the kingdom of heaven.

    elissa (0666e5)

  42. for $400,000 the artist should cover it with feces for free

    this is half-assed

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  43. Comment by Lawrence Westlake (4fc30a) — 4/1/2014 @ 4:01 pm
    Very, very true. When parody and reality cannot be separated, we are in trouble.
    Ms. Fluke was an illustration of this.
    Sec. Sibelius said (unless she meant it as an April Fool’s joke…) that Obama’s interview on “Between Two Ferns” helped get the massive increase in enrollments to get to 7 million. (I heard it with my own two ears).

    Well, elissa, the article said something about the difficulty that wealthy people have getting into heaven was an idea in Islam as well, so I thought in one way the idea of a shared concept (assuming the person knew more about Islam than I did) was not bad at all.

    I freely confess I have no idea who prominent American artists are. I know there is one around the corner who painted (paintings of) many houses in our neighborhood, including ours, and asked $25,000 for it at a gallery in NYC. Then there was Norman Rockwell, but he’s not with us anymore.
    I’ll stop now.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  44. R.I.P. Charles Keating
    – Also an expert (of a kind) at putting American dollars to work . . . for himself.

    Icy (14327b)

  45. “When parody and reality cannot be separated, we are in trouble.”

    MD in Philly – Am I correct that you are referring to the erstwhile Mr. Westlake’s commentary?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  46. I’d have that sucker looking like Joe Camel in a Peshawar Minute!

    Colonel Haiku (a5f959)

  47. WAY off topic, but after a very stressful few weeks since my comment about buying MNKD, The FDA ADCOMM just voted 14-0 to recommend approval of Afrezza for type 2 diabetics, 13-1 for approval for type 1 diabetics. Short sellers had been in cahoots trying to scare ordinary (that’s me)into selling at a loss and simultaneously covering their short positions.

    Well it worked beautifully (not on me) since the shares dropped to 4$ a share at Monday’s close. MNKD was trading in After hours as High as 9.50 (boy I wanted to sell) tonight but settled at $8.50. The asking price for Wed. morning pre-market trading is $9.50 – we’ll see if that happens. Anyway, I expect there to be a wild trading tomorrow!

    I did not expect anyone to act on my advice even if they has done due diligence because the “fix” was in to smashing the price down. But I still wanted to try to pump up the price on something I truly believed in.

    Kiss me, I’m rich!

    felipe (6100bc)

  48. Q. What do you call a Taliban who owns six camels?

    A. A pimp

    Colonel Haiku (a5f959)

  49. It’s a spoof. Although Pakistan was under British occupation and it’s not impossible that educated Pakistanis would be familiar with allusions from the King James translation, representations of living things are frowned upon in Islam. I’ve heard it said that on Judgment Day the artist will be asked to make his creation come to life and when he cannot do it to the broiler he goes.

    nk (dbc370)

  50. good move Mr. felipe!

    that sounds very exciting

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  51. The PDUFA date (expected approval) is April 15. I expect the stock will already be oversold by then, though. Who knows?

    felipe (6100bc)

  52. An old man in the Northern Territory was showing some tourists how to top up a camel with water.
    “That way,” he said, “You get an extra day out of them between drinks.”
    As the camel bent down to drink, the old man picked up two bricks and bashed them over the camel’s balls.
    The camel sucked in its breath and took on three days’ extra water.
    “Doesn’t that hurt?” asked a tourist.
    “No”, replied the old man. “Only if you get your fingers caught!”

    Colonel Haiku (a5f959)

  53. Thanks happy! I’m drinking bubbly right now with my fellow investors! We are taking turns sharing the good news with good people! I’ll be on tilt, soon.

    felipe (6100bc)

  54. JVW @ 29 so in light of that why would $400,000 for a camel sculpture be so silly that we shouldn’t think it is possible?

    It’s not the sculpture – it’s the subject of the sculpture.

    But then when you consider “Tilted arch”….

    http://art-nerd.com/newyork/tag/tilted-arch

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)

  55. Did the State Department miss the elephant, err camel in the room? And once Muslims in Pakistan realize what it means.. Whew! This represents a quotation from Christ in the New Testament. Matt. 19:14 :

    “…23And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24″Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 25When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?”…”

    I can’t believe anyone in the State Department would be dumb enough to put a New Testament statue up at their embassy in Pakistan. Wait… Never mind

    I'd rather be surfin (219a87)

  56. I’m surprised it was destroed as long ago as 1989. I visited that place – I trhink to go into the GPO bookstore.

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)

  57. The story claims that Moslems also have that story.

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)

  58. Make that matt: 19:24

    The famous “camel through the eye of a needle”

    I'd rather be surfin (219a87)

  59. felipe – Congratulations!

    Ask Hoagie for a kiss.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  60. Sammy, checked and the claim is correct. There is an version of the quote. Interesting. But, I can’t imagine Obama promoting “leaving your possessions and following Jesus” at the State Department. What’s their real message? Promote involuntary redistribution for Pakistan? Or, or a promise that the US will be made to redistribute to the world? .

    This is the Qu’ran’s version. A different message and a threat:

    AL A’RAF 7.40 To those who reject Our signs and treat them with arrogance, no opening will there be of the gates of heaven, nor will they enter the garden, until the camel can pass through the eye of the needle: Such is Our reward for those in sin.

    I'd rather be surfin (219a87)

  61. Possibly it was actually a rare Greek word, kamilos, meaning a particular type of “rope” or “cable made up of camel hair, which was misunderstood by people to whom the anecdote or story was related to, as being the word kamêlos (camel) itself.

    Camel is actually originally a Semitic word. (the third letter of the aleph beis in some dialect)

    The anecdote possibly was preserved by people who knew Aramaic, and later re-translated back into Greek, with two different words being used for “needle” in different versions of the anecdote.

    Cyril of Alexandria first proposed this, but thought it was a scribal error. That has the objection that that errors tend to happen towards the easier reading, not against it.

    But if it started out as a mistranslation into Aramaic of something that was said in Greek, it would be understandable – the word kamêlos would be easier than kamilos.

    Against that, there is dcumentation for the simile of an elephant going to an eye of a needle, as something implausible, either seen in a dream or an example of arguing something.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_of_a_needle

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)

  62. Could have been someone said the rope story one time – it became a figure of speech, and was misunderstood as being the camel itself rather than a camel hair rope, and still later somebody substituted elephant.

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)

  63. Oh good allah, Sammy

    elissa (0666e5)

  64. Sammy’s right, elissa. It’s a hawser, anchor rope, actually made from camel’s hair. And needle-hole is hole made by the needle and not eye of the needle according to the modern Greek translation of my New Testament.

    nk (dbc370)

  65. So we are paying $400,000 for a mistranslated quote?

    I'd rather be surfin (219a87)

  66. But people had been burned for “mistranslating” the Scriptures in England, and it would also be lese majeste seeing as it was the King James translation, so Anglobiblolaters have gone to great lengths to preserve the camel with a hump and four legs through the eye of a needle image.

    nk (dbc370)

  67. Sure he is, nk. When he starts a sentence off with “could have been” or “maybe”, and then follows with “was misunderstood” we’re in for a long wild ride. Think back to Benghazi.

    elissa (0666e5)

  68. April Fool, you are surfing.

    nk (dbc370)

  69. in this bearded spock universe, you can’t rule out anything for sure, has Buzzfeed let us in the joke

    narciso (3fec35)

  70. felipe–

    I expect that’s good news, but MNKD has a few issues still. They’ve not announced a production partner and they badly need one. If they have to sell to a major pharma company right away, the stockholders who aren’t Al Mann might not get what they are hoping for.

    Kevin M (b11279)

  71. Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 4/1/2014 @ 5:09 pm
    Yes. I remember nothing if this person has a history and/or reputation here, just responding to his comment.

    This is the Qu’ran’s version. A different message and a threat:
    AL A’RAF 7.40 To those who reject Our signs and treat them with arrogance, no opening will there be of the gates of heaven, nor will they enter the garden, until the camel can pass through the eye of the needle: Such is Our reward for those in sin.
    Comment by I’d rather be surfin (219a87) — 4/1/2014 @ 6:10 pm

    Ok, now I’m confuzzled. Is surfin’ making something up to extend the gag, or was the original gag actually more credible than thought? I know less about Arabic and the Qu’ran than I do Greek translation.

    nk, are you trying to tell me that people get all befuddled trying to interpret a passage that is mistranslated? Oh, the agony!!
    Though I do know a very interesting story about Bible translation.

    Congrats, felipe!

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  72. The best lies always have to have an element of truth.

    elissa (0666e5)

  73. Well, unless we’re talking about Debbie Wasserman Schultz or Chris Matthews.

    elissa (0666e5)

  74. Painted Jaguar: So, you’ve got legitimate sounding quotes from Kerry, a relevant passage from the Qu’ran, a government willing to waste money, an art mandate frequently employed in the US, and I guess a real artist. So, how does the saying go, it’s accurate even if it isn’t true?
    Did you see that the UK Guardian ran with it too?

    Well, unless we’re talking about Debbie Wasserman Schultz
    Comment by elissa (0666e5) — 4/1/2014 @ 7:06 pm

    I’m not sure if her statements count as “good lies”. My mummy and I find her claims are so outrageous that you wonder if they are true because you can’t imagine somebody trying to pass them off as true if they’re not. My mummy told me that if she caught me doing that, I was going to get a good cuff upside my painted head.

    Painted Jaguar (a sockpuppet) (f9371b)

  75. You should always listen to your Mummy.

    elissa (0666e5)

  76. No hay amor como el de la madre, nino.

    nk (dbc370)

  77. “Yes. I remember nothing if this person has a history and/or reputation here, just responding to his comment.”

    MD in Philly – He very much reminds me of a commenter who would stop by this “low wattage” blog to tell Patterico and the rest of us we were “doin it rong.”

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  78. If that’s an April Fools joke a number of publications fell for it and repeated it.

    Nah, I’m a reader but seldom post. I hope that’s OK.

    I'd rather be surfin (219a87)

  79. MD, Sammy enlightened me that the camel/needle Biblical quote also showed up in the Qur’an. That quote was found with an extremely quick search. I admit I was surprised. I can relocate the link if requested.

    I'd rather be surfin (219a87)

  80. As an American, I am finally proud of my country. Assuming this story is real.

    Both of those statements could be true using a Venn diagram. Unless I am lying.

    What day is this?

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  81. Maybe the camel sculpture needs to be outfitted with an explosive suicide belt as the islamic guarantee to heaven without passing through hell is martyrdom (‘striving in the cause of Allah‘). Thus a sculpture of camel, needle and suicide belt will encompass both Christian and muslim ideas of how best to get to heaven.

    Gharkad (f12169)

  82. Sheikh Yassin, went ‘Norwegian blue,’ about 10 years ago, thanks to an Israeli F-16,

    Indeed he did. I meant Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  83. I’m a reader but seldom post. I hope that’s OK.
    Comment by I’d rather be surfin (219a87) — 4/1/2014 @ 8:13 pm

    Painted Jaguar: By all means they do. I rarely get to post, sometimes not for months or even years at a time, but I’m always treated kindly.
    Mr. nk, es la verdad, habla Quechua tambien?

    Painted Jaguar (a sockpuppet) (f9371b)

  84. 64. 84. Comment by I’d rather be surfin (219a87) — 4/1/2014 @ 6:10 pm and 4/1/2014 @ 8:18 pm

    AL A’RAF 7.40 To those who reject Our signs and treat them with arrogance, no opening will there be of the gates of heaven, nor will they enter the garden, until the camel can pass through the eye of the needle: Such is Our reward for those in sin.

    Somebody, however, translates or understands that as rope!

    (and says it is the result of a mistranslation of Aramaic into Greek)

    http://humanprovince.wordpress.com/2008/10/10/camels-and-the-quran/

    However, in looking for camels in Muhammad Asad’s translation of the Qur’an, I came across his note to verse 7:41, which is translated as

    Verily, unto those who give the lie to Our messages and scorn them in their pride, the gates of heaven shall not be opened; and they shall not enter paradise any more than a twisted rope can pass through a needle’s eye

    by Asad and as [sic]

    For those who reject Our Signs and turn away from them in disdain, the gates of heaven will not be opened, and they will not enter Paradise until their pride and arrogance are so humbled and reduced that they can pass through the eye of a needle

    by Asad’s colleague Muhammad Zafrulla Khan.

    Asad’s annotation reads as such:

    Lit., “until (åattä) a twisted rope passes through a needle’s eye”; since this phrase is meant to express an impossibility, the rendering of åattä as “any more than” seems to be appropriate here.

    As for the word jamal occurring in this sentence, there is hardly any doubt that its translation, in this context, as “camel” is erroneous.

    As pointed out by Zamakhsharï (and confirmed by other classical commentators, including Räzï), Ibn ªAbbäs used to read the word in the spelling jummal, which signifies “a thick rope” or “a twisted cable”; and the same reading is attributed to ªAlï ibn Abï Öälib (Täj al-ªArüs).

    It is to be noted that there are also several other dialectical spellings of this word, namely, jumal, juml, jumul, and, finally, jamal (as in the generally-accepted version of the Qur°än) – all of them signifying “a thick, twisted rope” (Jawharï), and all of them used in this sense by some of the Prophet’s Companions or their immediate successors (täbiªün).

    Ibn ªAbbäs is also quoted by Zamakhsharï as having said that God could not have coined so inappropriate a metaphor as “a camel passing through a needle’s eye” – meaning that there is no relationship whatsoever between a camel and a needle’s eye whereas, on the other hand, there is a definite relationship between the latter and a rope (which, after all, is but an extremely thick thread).

    On all accounts, therefore, the rendering of jamal as “a twisted rope” is, in this context, infinitely preferable to that of “a camel.”

    The fact that the latter rendering occurs in a somewhat similar phrase in the Greek version of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew xix 24, Mark x 25, and Luke xviii 25) does not affect this contention.

    One should remember that the Gospels were originally composed in Aramaic, the language of Palestine at the time of Jesus, and that those Aramaic texts are now lost. It is more than probable that, owing to the customary absence of vowel signs in Aramaic writing, the Greek translator misunderstood the consonant spelling g-m-l (corresponding to the Arabic j-m-l), and took it to mean “a camel”: a mistake repeated since, with regard to the above Qur°än-verse, by many Muslims and all non-Muslim orientalists as well.

    http://humanprovince.wordpress.com/2008/10/10/camels-and-the-quran/

    Sammy Finkelman (fb61e5)

  85. Keep it simple, Sammy. Mohammed got hold of the Old and New Testaments from Byzantine missionaries, ate the missionaries and rewrote the Scriptures for the Arabs. Both would have been in koine.

    nk (dbc370)

  86. Actually, it’s made out of polyurethane and rubber that comes complete with a life like anus of Elton John.

    They’ll LOVE riding it.

    © Sponge (8110ec)

  87. and yet another interpretation is that one of the gates of entry to Jerusalem was called the Eye of the Needle because it was so small and confining. Camels could get through but had to be unloaded first (and some say they had to be forced down to accommodate its short height).

    There are, apparently, at least four possible interpretations:

    http://eyeoftheneedle.net/eye_of_a_needle.htm

    T (105f3f)

  88. Comment by T (105f3f) — 4/2/2014 @ 7:45 am

    and yet another interpretation is that one of the gates of entry to Jerusalem was called the Eye of the Needle because it was so small and confining

    This is talked about like it was a fact, but the only evidence for it is:

    Supposing there was such a gate would explain that figure of speech.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  89. 90. Comment by nk (dbc370) — 4/2/2014 @ 6:42 am

    Keep it simple, Sammy. Mohammed got hold of the Old and New Testaments from Byzantine missionaries, ate the missionaries and rewrote the Scriptures for the Arabs. Both would have been in koine.

    Well, Mohammed may actually never have gotten ahold of a copy, at least not early, but he talked to a lot of different people on thise long caravan trips. The people he talked to weren’t the most religiously educated people you could find.

    There were Jews living around there too, and also Christians. The Byzantine missionaries had gotten there centuries before.

    He did rewrite or retell some stories, like about Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. He has a totally different version of that part of the story of Joseph, in which they both desired each other but both were voluntarily chaste – probably based on his own life. (He had loved his boss’s wife – he
    married her finally when he was forty when her husband died.)

    And he also gave her a name – Zuleikah – which maybe also came from Jewish sources – and this name, Zuleikah, I understand, is one of the most
    most common girl’s names in Iran.

    Mohammed actually placed Haman in the time of Pharoah! (I learned this originally from Rabbi Avigdor Miller’s book “Rejoice O Youth”)

    He only mentions him twice, in passing, with no details.

    Now I think I can figure out how this happened:
    (it’s a different theory that anything I’ve read)

    Years earlier he had observed that the Jews celebrated a holiday called Purim, where there had been a plot to kill them all. At that
    time, especially in that region, they used to hang Haman in effigy in the street. So he knew there was a certain person called Haman who had
    wanted to kill all the Jews.

    But that’s all the detail he knew.

    Now there’s story in the Talmud, which he may have heard secondhand from some Jews during the long camel journeys he used to take, which
    is found at Sotah 11a, and also Sanhedrin 106a – I think that means it was told over and over again – and it may be some other places in the
    Babylonian Talmud also.

    The story, attributed to a Rabbi Simai, who probably deduced this out of his own head, is that when Pharoah ordered every Jewish baby boy
    born cast into the canal, he consulted advisers beforehand. And who were these advisers? Well, they are people we know: Balaam, Iyov (Job)
    and Yisro. Balaam was the one came up with the idea, Iyov kept quiet and that’s why he suffered, and Yisro, the father in law of Moses, ran away.

    Now my feeling is that when Mohammed heard this story, he confused Balaam with Haman, because the names sound a little bit similar (Bilum, Huh-mun) and the name Haman was familiar to him, but not Bilaam, and he knew nothing of the plot of Haman or even when it happened, but he knew he had come
    up with a plot to kill the Jews which was foiled and didn’t happen.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.3076 secs.