“Nuns on the Bus” for Immigration Reform

It is interesting which stories about the United States get play in the foreign press. In searching Al Jazeera, the first write-up I came across was Kristen Saloomey’s article on Nuns on the Bus. These sisters are led by Sister Simone Campbell and Sister Eileen Marnien and they are an immigration reform group. And they are (apparently) traveling around fifteen eastern states, pushing their ideas on immigration:

This week I met a nun from Philadelphia who works with immigrants.

Sister Eileen Marnien told me how the Sisters of St Joseph bought an old funeral home in her city and converted it into a welcome centre after a number of Catholic schools in the area closed down, leaving them with no work.

“I feel like we sisters do what we have always done,” she said. “If there’s a need, we step up.”

Sister Eileen was attending a rally for immigration reform outside St Joseph’s Pro-Cathedral in Camden, New Jersey, one of dozens of events organised by a group of sisters who call themselves the “Nuns on the Bus.”

They’ve launched a 15-state bus tour to raise support for an immigration reform bill currently making its way through the US Congress.

Sister Eileen Marnien told me how the Sisters of St Joseph, nuns on the bus (www.nunsonthebus.org)
Sister Eileen Marnien told me how the Sisters of St Joseph, nuns on the bus (www.nunsonthebus.org)

“We have a very narrow window of time in which to get it done so we thought, what else can we do?” said Sister Simone Campbell, the head of the Catholic lobbying organisation Network and the force behind the Nuns on the Bus.

“It is the urgency of now that got us back on the road.”

Do read what Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League, has to say about the group. It is telling that the nuns won’t speak out against abortion, but have no problem pushing immigration reform. Al Jazeera probably loves publishing this story. It shows a schism in the Church and highlights a bruising political battle.

Putin and the Bourgeoisie

Q: What does Al Jazeera have to say about Murmansk and the Russian Navy? A: A lot apparently. Things I noticed: Dmitry Medvedev looks uncomfortable with Putin speaking, Russia is still using that ridiculous term bourgeoisie, and Al Jazeera can’t tell a Norwegian ship apart from a Russian one. (I also wonder where the news-reader, David Chater, screwed up last to be sent to Al Jazeera.)

Salem Zahrani and Asaad Bshara Throw Down

If you like contentious television, you may want to check out this near-fight between Salem Zahrani and Asaad Bshara on Hezbollah’s al-Manar television station:

Salem Zahrani and Asaad Bshara
Salem Zahrani and Asaad Bshara

Two Lebanese guests on a political program scuffled late Friday over the crisis in Syria during a live broadcast on Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television station.

The heated debate between Salem Zahrani, who heads a Lebanese media center and is known for his supportive stances for President Bashar Assad, and Asaad Bshara, who opposes the government in Damascus, almost turned violent during the program that was dedicated to the crisis in Syria.

The argument between the two culminated with Zahrani flinging two glasses at his opponent, prompting the host to intervene before the show was taken off air.

“Some people talk about Syria in a hypothetical manner just like your guest here who turns on Al-Arabiya [TV] and Al-Jazeera and reads a website [to get information on Syria] while I know Syria in person and that’s why I can talk about it,” Zahrani said.

“What level of dialogue is this? You watch [Syria’s pro-regime] Dounia Television and argue with me?” Bshara asked, pointing to the other guest.

It is funny, I used to watch al-Manar to practice Arabic before all the web-streaming options were available. Now, I can just ignore it.

Al Gorezeera, a New Television Channel

Al Gorezeera
Al Gorezeera, Current TV + Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera just purchased Current TV. And Al Gore stands to make about $100 million out of the sweet deal.

There are still people who will not watch it, who will say that it’s a ‘terrorist network, said Philip Seib, the author of “The Al Jazeera Effect.” Al Jazeera has to override that by providing quality news.

Management has already selected a new name for the channel, Al Gorezeera. . .