The Telegraph of London is – quite seriously – raising the question of whether Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Holocaust-denying president of Iran, has a more nuanced background than he lets on:
A photograph of the Iranian president holding up his identity card during elections in March 2008 clearly shows his family has Jewish roots.
A close-up of the document reveals he was previously known as Sabourjian – a Jewish name meaning cloth weaver.
The short note scrawled on the card suggests his family changed its name to Ahmadinejad when they converted to embrace Islam after his birth…
Experts last night suggested Mr Ahmadinejad’s track record for hate-filled attacks on Jews could be an overcompensation to hide his past.
Unfortunately, the rival Guardian newspaper apparently has no sense of irony and this morning declared the idea to be hogwash:
Professor David Yeroshalmi, author of “The Jews of Iran in the 19th century” and an expert on Iranian Jewish communities, disputes the validity of this argument. “There is no such meaning for the word ’sabour’ in any of the Persian Jewish dialects, nor does it mean Jewish prayer shawl in Persian. Also, the name Sabourjian is not a well-known Jewish name,” he stated in a recent interview….
Yeroshalmi, a scholar at Tel Aviv University’s Center for Iranian Studies, also went on to dispute the article’s findings that the “-jian” ending to the name specifically showed the family had been practising Jews. “This ending is in no way sufficient to judge whether someone has a Jewish background. Many Muslim surnames have the same ending,” he stated.
Following on other outlets’ examinations of U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ use of leadership PAC money, McClatchy News Service this weekend looked at the track record of other members of Congress from Georgia:
Chambliss isn’t the only member of the Georgia delegation to use his leadership PAC money on high-priced fetes. Fellow Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson spent $128,453, or roughly 26 percent of the $485,008 his 21st Century Majority Fund raised, on entertainment, travel and events, according to staff records.
The bulk of the entertainment money was spent on Isakson’s annual two-day golf tournament fundraiser at the Atlanta Country Club and East Lake Golf Club.
“It’s one of those situations where you have to spend a little money to raise money,” said Isakson spokeswoman Sheridan Watson. “Sen. Isakson created the 21st Century Majority Fund to raise money for Republican candidates. He feels the PAC has been successful and responsible in meeting that goal, with 58 percent of the funds going to campaign contributions.”
Eleven of the 15 members of the state’s congressional delegation have leadership PACs. Of that group, all but Chambliss directly donated at least 50 percent or more of the funds raised to other candidates. Rep. John Linder, R-Lawrenceville, and Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, gave nearly all of the money their leadership PACs raised to other candidates.
Very rarely do you find a lawyer begging for a chance to bankrupt herself with contempt-of-court fines. But the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer has discovered this one:
Attorney Orly Taitz, the “birther” lawyer under threat of sanctions by U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land for filing a “frivolous” lawsuit, filed a motion Friday asking the judge to recuse himself because of personal contacts and financial stakes he may have with President Barack Obama’s administration.
Land was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush.
Taitz represented Army Capt. Connie Rhodes when she filed a Sept. 4 complaint arguing Rhodes shouldn’t be deployed to Iraq because Obama couldn’t legitimately hold office. Land not only ruled against Rhodes, but ordered Taitz to explain why he should not fine her $10,000 for filing a “frivolous” lawsuit.
On Friday, Taitz asked for Land’s withdrawal from the case, that his stocks in Microsoft and Comcast could give the judge a financial stake the outcome of her case.
She also declared that, by challenging President Barack Obama’s legitimacy, was merely following in the footsteps of Thurgood Marshall – and Land was playing the role of the evil, segregationist judge.
Reports the newspaper:
“What, for example, was ever more political in 20th century Georgia than the question of school desegregation?” Taitz asks. “Surely this distinguished southern judge would have jailed Thurgood Marshall in the 1940s and ’50s for contempt when the future Supreme Court justice repeatedly filed cases demanding on constitutional as well as social and psychological grounds the desegregation of primary and secondary public schools against well-established precedents such as Plessy v. Fergusson …”
The Chattanooga Times Free Press has this bit of good news for you – though the tidings are even better if you live on the Tennessee side of the line:
The U.S. Bureau of Census reported that property taxes for the typical Tennessean rose last year by $2 a month to $924 per year, placing the Volunteer State among the 10 lowest-cost states for property taxes during 2008.
In Georgia, taxes on homes rose 5 percent during 2008 to an average of $1,298 per year. Georgia’s average property tax bill was lower than all but 16 states, census figures indicate.
The Commerce Club and One Ninety One Club, the two spots where Georgia’s elite go to eat and deal, announced this morning they would merge into a new club that will be located on the 49th floor of the One Ninety One Peachtree Tower in downtown Atlanta.
A board of directors is to be formed from legacy members of each club.
You will still not be invited, but from now on, the rejection will only sting half as much.
While you ponder the above, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:
Atlanta water, sewer rates among nation’s highest. Atlanta’s black women voters in play. Atlanta election registration deadline looms. Georgia hospitals rated ‘weak.’ Grady doctor meets with Obama. Austell’s hands-on mayor aids cleanup. Lawrenceville mayor admits conflict of interest.
Cynthia Tucker advises President Obama to take his time on Afghanistan. We’re creating sex offender vagabonds, warns Bob Barr. Cobb County: American dream sunk unless leaders step up. Sandy Springs: Surfeit of stuff surfaces after flood.
From elsewhere in Georgia:
InsiderAdvantage: State still dispensing fat pensions, but now you can’t see who’s getting what. MDJ: Marietta city council should take the plunge into blogging on Web site.
WP: McChrystal faulted on troop statements. WSJ: Al Qaeda’s diminished role stirs Afghan troop debate.
For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.