- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 23, 2011

HUMP DAY

Ah, Camelgate. Comedy Central’s fake newsman Jon Stewart labored to link American union protests to political upheaval in Egypt by delivering a one-humped Camelus dromedarius to the epicenter of union ire: Madison, Wis. And why not? The entire planet was transfixed by video footage of a regal camel loping heroically into the midst of a recent Egyptian rally. But alas, Mr. Stewart’s attempt to duplicate the effect in the college town failed, owing to miserable weather and camel travail.

The poor creature. Yes, the network managed to get the saddled camel to Wisconsin Avenue, which runs down the middle of Madison. But there was no regal loping. The camel fell in the slush, caught his foot in a fence, then settled into recalcitrant repose on the freezing asphalt, ultimately rescued by firefighters and law enforcement. Waggish correspondent John Oliver never got his big camel moment.

“At first I assumed the worst. Some union was using the wretched desert beast to make fun of the governor. Actually, the truth turned out to be worse. It was ‘The Daily Show’ that had brought the camel,” says John “the Sconz” Craver, an intrepid Wisconsin blogger and videographer who managed to get most of the debacle on tape — and online.

Yes, Mr. Stewart heard from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which recently persuaded Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to drop her agency’s sponsorship of the Iditarod sled dog races, in the name of animal protection.

“We have received several complaints about the camel falling on the ice. Viewers are upset that an animal being used for the show was mishandled and appeared to be distressed, and we’ve confirmed that from a YouTube video of the incident sent to us. I’m writing to ask you to make the compassionate decision never again to use live animals on the show,” the organization’s animal-behavioral specialist Julia Gallucci told Mr. Stewart.

CREEPING UP

“Republican voters are getting what they wanted from the new GOP majority they elected last year,” says pollster John Zogby, who reveals that congressional favorability ratings now stand at 32 percent, up 10 percentage points in the past six months.

The Grand Old Party is getting downright lovey-dovey, meanwhile. Approval of Congressional Republicans is now at 41 percent, up 16 points in the same time period. Congressional Democrats now garner a 34 percent, a three-point drop.

“The votes in the House to repeal health care reform and to cut more than $60 billion from the budget are obvious reasons for the big bump in congressional approval from Republican voters. These actions by the House Republicans also seem to be helping among some independent voters,” Mr. Zogby says. “Any Democrats who assume voters will find the Republicans guilty of overreach without some prodding had better think again.”

SIGN OF THE TIMES

Bloomberg Professional - the mighty information-services arm of New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s financial empire - has launched the Bloomberg Islamic Finance Platform, or ISLM, deemed “a solution for Shariah-compliant products and services,” the company says.

“The Islamic marketplace is growing rapidly, and there is high demand for a wide range of resources,” says Dan Doctoroff, president of Bloomberg LP. “Bloomberg is delighted to increase its commitment to serve this dynamic market, where we have nearly 20 years of experience in reporting on Islamic financial news, in all regions and across multiple asset classes.”

The new ISLM platform will provide news and analytics covering 1,500 Islamic bond issues, 35,000 Shariah-compliant stocks, 500 Islamic funds and an Islamic Community Database “providing full transparency into more than 250 Shariah scholars with details on which sukuk — or financial bond — they have rated, boards they represent and their fatwa endorsements.”

SIGNS OF THE TIMES

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