Saturday, October 28, 2006

Turkish People are Celebrating Republic's Day.......

This will be my 100th entry!

Sun., Oct. 29 is Republic's Day, which is the closest equivalent to the 4th of July.

Turkey did not become an independent country perse on Oct. 29, 1923, but it was the date that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk formally founded the Republic of Turkey. Previously, Turkey was the Ottoman Empire. Though, Turkey has remained a strong democracy, the trappings of geography and a controversial history continue to cause perplexing problems across all sectors of the at-times politically and socially divided country.

As a Turkish-American, I look forward to this day each year and I feel fortunate that it has fallen a weekend this year. There is always a dinner at the Turkish embassy in Washington DC, as well as many local events. In our region, ATA-NC is hosting a day-long event at the University of North Carolina which will consist of discussions and folk dances. The Turkish students at Virginia Tech, who I have always been supportive of having attended college at nearby Radford University, are hosting a evening dinner at More Than Coffee in downtown Blacksburg.

Turkey continues to face many challenges ahead especially with the complicated situation in Iraq, which has alas caused political complications with the United States. But, I am hopeful that these problems will be resolved soon and even though I am highly poltically opposed to both George W. Bush and Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan, I am glad they have a cordial relationship given the present circumstances involved.

To find out more about Turkey, I recommend the following site:




Friday, October 27, 2006

Politics is getting nasty even at the local level here...

Well, pardon the cliche, but I suppose it has come down to this.

By now, even people living in North Pole, Ak., know about the scandolous mud-slinging in the US Senate race in my home state of Virginia. I actually started to laugh in the floor when I heard that the right-wing drudge report (use of lower case letters is deliberate) actually took passages from Senate James Webb's novels to try and smear him. I do have to wonder- having met the man as a reporter- if Sen. George Allen could write a children's book much less an epic war novel. But, all of this seems highly irrelevant when you consider that Ronald Reagan's last screen-role was as a hit-man in Don Siegel's filmation of Ernest Hemingway's novel "The Killers." Similarly, Gov. Ahnuld (R-Ca) made it big by essentially playing a serial killer in "The Terminator" (1984). Nevertheless, if I were a resident of Malibu or any other California town, my reasons for not voting for the former body-builder would have nothing to do with any of his movie roles- not even "Kindergarthen Cop"............

Here in Rockingham County (NC), just over the Va. state line, the mud-slinging is perhaps just as bad as the Virginia Senate race though. Apparently, a secret mailing went out from a group called "Democrats for Phil Berger Jr." The 34-year-old Berger is the Republican candidate for District Attorney. He faces incumbent Democratic Dist. Attorney Belinda Foster. The suspicious letter for Berger said that as district attorney Foster asked an assistant district attorney, who is actually a Southern Baptist (according to the rumor mill), to convert from Judaism to Christianity because in her words 'all Jews go to........." Since Foster is African-American, one has to wonder if the mailers, who could in fact not be associates of Berger, had racist intentions themselves. The address on the mailing was from Eden, NC, where the Rockingham County Republican Party is based.

Foster herself made the campaign interesting by refusing to debate Berger for our local-TV station whose call letters I myself forget. Her deliberate abensentism made for some awkward moments in the debate (well, what little I watched), but Foster's intentions are quite justifiable when one considers that this tv-station makes about as much effort to cloak their political-leanings as Rush Limbaugh or the aforementioned drudge report. Of course, my blog here makes little effort to cloak political biases (I personally hope everyRepublican in the country except Cong. Frank Wolf (R-Va)- one of the most honest, ethical politicians I know- loses and loses badly on Election Day). But, I am no longer a reporter- except for a few free-lance gigs and I am not going to be hosting any poltical forums anytime soon.

In my own jurisdiction, I will vote for Cong. Brad Miller (D-NC) who is facing ultra-right-wing, xenophobic/homophobic candidate Vernon Robinson who has been dubbed 'the black Jesse Helms.' Robinson's over-the-top campaigns can be found on, where one can also see the pulled-from-the-air ads of former Cong. Mark Foley (R-Fl) who Bill O'Reilly actually tried to label as a Democrat!

If anyone passing through here knows of any other interesting political tid-bits, please pass them on.

And, lastly, if there is anyone who wants to make informed electoral decisions beyond petty partisanship, which I may do when Chelsea Clinton becomes president, the best site for you is:

............I have already checked to see that indeed Sen. George Allen (R-Va) is to the right of Mr. Potato Head.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My Friend from Hollins has Film about Turkey........

I have been meaning to post this here for some time. As it is, the some time should be now since Sadie Tillery, a friend of mine who went to Hollins University (I was the only guy in her class, which made for a Kafkaesque experience), is about to present a documentary film that she produced entitled "Time Pieces" at the Museum of Radio and Television Broadcasting in New York on Sunday at 5 pm. Alas, I can not be there, but I hope the screening goes very well. "Time Pieces" is a compilation of short documentary films from a host of Turkish and American documentary filmmakers. The project was organized by the FullFrame Documentary Festival in Durham. "Time Pieces" debuted at the festival this year. It was also screened in Istanbul last month. Sadie traveled to Turkey with the film. I have traveled to Turkey many times, but never with a film! But, I may very be traveling there in the summer of 2007, so I suppose any thing is possible............I don't have the link to the film festival that Sadie's film will be in, but if one Googles The Museum of Radio and Television, they should be able to find it........I hope!

Cal Thomas Slam in Local Paper

Since the national spot-light is on the Greensboro area_ a place where I am still trying hard to make friends, I thought I would add this great letter to the editor which was published in "The News-Record" on Monday. It was written by Jean Rodenbough of Greensboro. It reads:

Cal Thomas, in his column, "No place is safe from evil" promotes home schooling as the way to avoid the dangers of evils that lurk in public schools. He is writing about the shooting of the Amish schoolgirls in Lancaster County, Pa. I wonder if he is aware that the shooter, Charles Carl Roberts IV, was home-schooled?



El Presidente Visited Greensboro Today......

(Hail to the Chief- Audio Sound Bite)


I had the 'rare opportunity' to see then-candidate George W. Bush speak at a lavish fund-raiser in downtown Richmond in Februrary of 2000. I was amazed how he sounded just like the sound bites of him that would air on C-Span. Surprisingly, a Republican volunteer agreed with me when I made this comment, but he said that Bush was much 'better in person."

Today in Greensboro and the Randolph County (NC) community of Randleman which is home to Kyle Petty's Victory Junction Camp (ironically, I applied to work there over the summer), some members of the community had a chance to indeed meet President George W. Bush in person. I can imagine that if my child (I don't have any) had been at the Greensboro elementary school, I may have been happy because it is not every day that a child can meet a president. But, if my child had asked Bush a tough question, such as "When are we going to get out of Iraq?"- which few reporters from our area are likely to do (if they can even talk to him), I would be even more proud of him.  

One of the amazing ironies that few local media outlets have examined is the fact that Bush visited a Greensboro elementary school to tout 'No Child Left Behind,' even though Rockingham Community College in my jurisdiction saw dramatic federal cuts in its adult education programs. As someone from the school effectively told me, "Bush may not leave any child behind, but the parents of those children are another matter." The issue was brought to the attention North Carolina Public Radio. They did a segment on RCC's plight, which aired on May 3, 2005.

Tonight, Bush will visit the former ambassador of Estonia who now resides in Greensboro. The dinner is a $1,000 fundraiser for Republican candidates. Given the fact that Republicans stand to lose one or two congressional house seats on Nov. 7 (former Redskins quarterback Heath Schuler is a Democratic candidate in the 12th district which includes Asheville), it seems likely that this year they may actually need the extra cash.

Interestingly enough, "The Vagina Monologues" author Eve Ensler, who has just published a novel (monologues is a play) is also in the Triad. She will be speaking in Winston-Salem for about $10 or $11.

For more coverage of the Bush visit (and, maybe/perhaps the Ensler visit), you can visit Greensboro's CBS-affiliate on the web:

If that is the wrong link, I guess the only I can say is..........oooops!:)  

Friday, October 13, 2006

Intersting NC-Set novel is out now

I lost this initial entry, which was very frustrating. But, I strongly believe in finishing what I started.


There is a great locally-produced public-tv show in NC called "NC Bookwatch." This week's show, which reairs- alas only in NC, at 5 pm on Sun. profiled "Grievances," a novel about an unsolved murder of an African-American youth which happened 30 years ago in SC. The story revolves around a Charlotte newspaper reporter, Matt Harper, who stumbles upon this story and decides to investigate it over his editor's objections. The author Mark Ethridge was a reporter for "The Charlotte Observer." While there, he won a Pulitzer Prize for his work investigating Jim and Tammy Faye Baker. Other "NC Bookawatch" titles include Tom Carlson's non-fictional book "Hatteras Blues," which looks at how NC's Outer Banks are undergoing a surprisingly hard economic turning point.