Threat called into our local Mosque

This past Sunday Muslim Center of Middlesex County (MCMC) held an Open House encouraging people to bring their friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. to the Mosque if they wanted to come and have any questions they may have about Islam answered. This happens to be the Mosque that my family goes to. Ahead of the event threats were emailed and called in to MCMC which is located in Piscataway just minutes away from Rutgers University. This isn’t in the middle of country somewhere. This is happening in one of the most diverse parts of the country. Anti-Islam posters shoes up recently at Rutgers too.

On the 3rd of this month Piscataway Police Department had come to the Mosque to talk about increased patrols around MCMC. 

The White House and Justice Department continue to be silent on these incidents to seem to be happening daily against Muslims and Jews all over the country. The silence speaks volumes but isn’t surprising when you see who currently holds those positions and who their supporters are. 

What the heck just happened?

It has been a week but the magnitude of the disaster of election night has not fully set in yet. I was extremely confident about which way this election would go. I thought America had a ton of racists, just not that many racists. It turns out I was wrong and  I gave America too much credit. It turned out we had exactly that many racist people in this country. 

Embarrassing is the only word I could think of in the moment. I don’t think there is a better word to describe what happened. Good people around the world are laughing at us and rightfully so. I have believed all along that Trump got into this for publicity. Even he didn’t that the GOP primary voters were that crazy. He was just as wrong as we were. He apparently told Chris Christie that he expected to be out of the race by October 2015

This election was a wake up call for a lot people. Included among them are people who immigrated here in the 60s and 70s. So many of them did absolutely nothing to make themselves a political force. They chose to try and assimilate as if that was going to make racists amongst us dissappear and accept them. Living in denial that something like this would happen here. They could’ve built a strong platform that would’ve strengthened their voting block but they didn’t. This  really was inevitable. 

I don’t want to hear any talk from Trump voters about not all Trump voters being racists. They voted for a guy who from the very first day of his campaign laid out a race war. He campaigned on a platform of bigotry. You embraced him. You own it now. Most of them were so uninformed that it would’ve funny if it went so scary. One thing 2016 made clear was it brought these people out of hiding. In some ways it is a great thing too. We all know people who were around us being fake all these years, at least we know fully the darkness and hatred that was inside them all these years. These people revealing themselves as Trump supporters has just confirmed a lot of the hunches we already had about them. 

There are a lot of dark days ahead. Donald Trump has given a voice to white supremacists everywhere. Hate crimes against Muslims were up 67% in 2015. The 2016 numbers will obviously go much higher. Racist incidents are getting reported at a crazy pace

Our local Mosque here held an active shooter training this week. Have to imagine Mosques around the country will be doing something similar in the weeks to come. 

So what exactly what went wrong? Van Jones spoke well on CNN about the “Whitelash“. The bigotry that was unleashed towards Barack Obama was no coincidence. They planted the seeds for hatred amongst people they could easily fool and take advantage of and that they did. The birther stuff wasn’t a coincidence. The Republican controlled congress doing absolutely nothing  was by design. The crazy talk of building a wall, banning Muslims and jailing Hillary Clinton was not an accident. How long until these people figure out they were duped? How much do hate crimes increase when these people figure out that there will be no wall? 

Even before so many in the media got caught up in her emails while giving Trump a compete pass, Hillary Clinton was a flawed candidate. By now we’ve all read about the questionable campaign strategy in the final days of the campaign. Basically handing her the 2016 nomination in 2008 was a mistake. I truly believe Joe Biden would have won this past Tuesday. 

Where do we go from here? A good starting point would be to not treat this as something ordinary. For the love of God don’t treat this like a regular Presidency. Way too many people treated him as a regular candidate and look at where it got us. Don’t normalize him. This is a bigot. He was a racist long before he became a candidate. It seriously goes back to at least the 1970s. He launched his campaign on a platform of hatred, bigotry and division. Ana Marie Cox brings up a great point, why would Trump change now? 

Don’t ask me to give him a chance. I tweeted this last week and stand by it. “We have to give the racist, sexist, sexual assaulting, violence promoting, hate spreading, money stealing fraud a chance” is a pretty weak stance.

I saw this great tweet yesterday. Couldn’t agree more with it. People who carry the Confederate flag around in 2016 commenting on the Anti-Trump is hypocrisy at its finest. 

In his very first statement from the White House Donald Trump lied. I can’t help but laugh at people who think him selecting Reince Priebus Chief of Staff is a sign of progress or him coming back to the main stream. In that very same press release he announced Steve Bannon of Breitart as his Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor.  He is literally a self proclaimed white supremacist

“Give him a chance!” 

Donald Trump really doesn’t even have the most basic idea of what he is getting into. Him and his team were surprised to find out that they have to hire a new staff. Did these guys not watch The West Wing?

One of his actions after winning the election was to send out a tweet condemning protestors. We still haven’t heard him say anything about the hate crimes being commuted in his name aside from a throwaway line during the 60 Minutes interview. 

“Give him a chance!” 

He has no clue about what kind of President he wants to be. In a matter of seconds he’s saying stuff that contradicts things he said just seconds earlier. 

His business dealings are extremely shady. He didn’t release his tax returns so God knows what dark secrets are there and who he is beholden too. He wants to get his kids security clearance? The same kids who are supposed to be running his business? He is going to make a ton of money doing shady stuff in office isn’t he? Remember his comments on the housing market crisis? Do you really think he wouldn’t take the opportunity to attempt to manipulate things so he gains financially? 

“Give him a chance!” 

Remember when Richard Nixon said “when the President does it it that means it is not illegal.” Donald Trump’s allies are already using the same talking points.  He has Pam Bondi on his transition team. The same Pam Bondi that he bribed to get charged dropped against him.

“Give him a chance!” 

Remember all that talk about Hillary Clinton receiving a debate question ahead  of time? Fox gave at least one question to Trump as well. The network covered Hillary Clinton/DNC extensively despite knowing they had done the exact same thing. Remember Hillary’s emails? Mike Pence is currently trying to keep his emails from becoming public

Barack Obama and Seth Myers absolutely humiliated Donald Trump at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner and rightfully so. Unfortunately now we as a nation are paying a price for it. 

I hate empty gestures. Don’t get fooled by Trump claiming to only take $1 in salary as President.  If he was that worried about taxpayers he would be paying taxes. If he was actually worried he would drop this ridiculous notion of commuting to Washington from New York City

We need to support good journalists. The next 2-4 years couldn’t be more important. In this election cycle when so many stood by and enabled Donald Trump there were a bunch that stood out for their great work. David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post was absolutely brilliant for the Washington Post. Katy Tur & Hallie Jackson of NBC, Chris Hayes & Rachel Maddowc of MSNBC, Sopan Deb of CBS & Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star. I know I am missing others but this group was a must follow for me daily and I’m sure they’ll remain the same in the days ahead. 

A lot of people are going to continue to tell us that we are a conservative country. Don’t let them lie to you. Hillary Clinton got more votes. You may see all that red in that middle of the country but relatively speaking not as many people  live there. 

Greg Popovich, Steve Kerr & Stan Van Gundy all spoke eloquently in the aftermath of the election. We need more people in prominent positions to do the same. Harry Reid was great too

There are 1,450 days left until Election Day 2020. The work needs to be under way already to fix this. That election couldn’t be more important. I am onboard for Cory Booker 2020. We all need to be more involved. Barack Obama’s decision to tackle gerrymandering post presidency became that much more important thisweek. 

Follow me on twitter @sahyder1 

Election 2016

Have you voted yet?    

I just had to put together some random thoughts on this election. This was the first US general election I have voted in having been a Canadian citizen during both of the Obama elections. 

The phrase “voting for the lesser of two evils” has never been more applicable then it has in this election. These two candidates are absolutely hated by most of the country yet the choice in this election couldn’t be more obvious. For all her faults (yes, there are many) Hillary Clinton has to and will be the next President. 

Those of you who follow me on twitter know that I’m not her biggest fan. She is an extremely flawed candidate but when the other choice is Donald Trump the decision for next President couldn’t be more obvious. 

I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton because she will win in New Jersey comfortably. I couldn’t bring myself to vote her but there really wasn’t another choice. Jill Stein just doesn’t excite me. Gary Johnson is an absolute joke. I wrote in Cory Booker’s name. Sign me up for Cory Booker 2024. 

I have been fairly confident in the outcome of this election for a very long time. So much so that my brother mentioned the classic West Wing scene

This campaign has been enlightening in its own ways. It has opened our eyes to the racist and clueless people around us. We’ve all found one Co-worker, neighbor, etc. who is voting for Donald Trump for one stupid reason or another. The Republican Party has made being uninformed racists part of their pitch to voters for a while now. Donald Trump just brought it more to the mainstream. Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star said it best in this tweet last month. 

It’s become clearer and clearer and clearer: If you support Donald Trump, you are a sort of monster. Which kind, it doesn’t much matter.

Could not agree more with Bruce there. 

Unless you are a billionaire male racist Caucasian why would you vote Trump? He literally stands for everything that is wrong with this country. He’s been leading a cult and fortunately too many have blindly followed. You ask many Trump  supporters about their reasons to vote Trump and most of them don’t know why. Heck, Donald Trump himself has no idea why you should vote for him. He’s offered no real solutions to any problem. I have long said that he got into this for publicity. He didn’t think he’d win. He has no interest in governing. He thought it’d be great for his brand and he could make some money. It turned out to be quiet the opposite. GOP primary voters turned out to be crazier than we all thought (I’m guilty here too. I didn’t factor the craziness of the primary voters when making predictions during primary process) and put out him in a bind. His brand has taken a major hit. Whether it is his hotel business, Macy’s deal,a new golf course in Dubai, an old golf course in Scotland his businesses continue to take a hit. They aren’t even putting his name on new hotels

Donald Trump is a terrible person. By now everyone is aware of his attitude towards women, Muslims , Mexicans and African Americans but his despicable lies towards charity work are just as bad. If you haven’t been following the work of David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post you have missed out on some great journalism. Follow @fahrenthold on Twitter.

I am legitimately surprised that a journalist didn’t get seriously hurt this year at a Trump rally given how much he was inciting his cult. 

With all this being said I don’t think the Donald Trump problem goes away. I don’t think he concedes with grace today. Unfortunately Donald Trump is not going away. Sarah Palin lived out in Alaska and even she stuck around for a little bit. Donald Trump lives minutes from multiple TV studios. A lot of shows are going to continue to give him airtime. The racism and extermism that the GOP has let creep in for a while will continue to be a problem. Trump’s cult is so blindly devoted to him that many of them won’t accept the results of this election. Heck, so many of them still don’t believe Barack Obama was born in the US. It has been comical watching the GOP try to distance itself from Donald Trump when they’ve been doing the same things he has been doing for much longer. 

This is a party that welcomed the racism of the 2008 campaign. 

This is a party that unleashed Sarah Palin on this country in 2008. 

This is a party that questioned the patriotism of people who had literally given their limbs for their country like Max Cleland while supporting candidates who did their best to dodge military service. 

This is the party whose hypocritical leaders led investigations into Bill Clinton while being extremely flawed men themselves. 

This is a party that hasn’t been doing its job
This is a party that plans on continuing to not do its job

I also found the location of both campaign parties tonight pretty funny. Hillary Clinton is at a venue with a literal glass ceiling while Trump is across the street from one of the most successful Muslim owned businesses in America. Speaking of glass ceilings, did you see what is happening in Rochester? People are showing up at the cemetery where Susan B. Anthony is buried. 

I think Hillary Clinton wins easily tonight. Her getting close to 340 electoral college votes wouldn’t surprise me. Wonder if she can drive a big enough margin in popular vote so the Democrats can take congress. 

Kevin Durant to the Warriors

I had thought recently that Kevin Durant leaving the Okahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors or the San Antonio Spurs was a very real possibility so it didn’t surprise me when I saw on Twitter that this happened

I absolutely love this move. Kevin Durant absolutely made the right move here. It was too big g of a risk for him to stay and watch Russell Westbrook leave next year and break up the team. Of course there is a possibility that Westbrook has already told him that he has thought about leaving at the end of next year. 

So many people make a lot of stupid points about athletes in team sports needing championships to solidify their place in history. Why is it that so many of those same people get mad at athletes doing whatever they can to increase their chances of getting that championship? I don’t want to see anyone in Oklahoma City question his loyalty. Need I remind you that the city took a franchise from another fan base? The team has been smart in its response. No Dan Gilbert style silly letters. 

It is so hypocritical to knock someone who leaves for a better opportunity. The great Richard Deitsch rightly took Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith to task for their stupidity and hypocrisy on this subject. 

Saw this interesting tidbit from Erik Koreen . Perhaps the extra year and more money doesn’t appeal as much when they are already making ridiculous money. 

Would love it if ESPN/TNT forced NBA to schedule Warriors games earlier

Muhammad Ali

As a fanatical sports fan I have long said that if I could go back to any era in sports it would be to go back in time and watch Muhammad Ali in his prime. 

Muhammad Ali passed away Friday at the age of 74. New York Times currently has a great tribute to him up on their main page. 

Titan of Boxing and the 20th century. Hard to argue with that. He was a larger than life figure. We live in an era when so many with the power to change things for the better don’t say anything because they don’t want to piss someone off and lose endorsement dollars but he was literally willing to give it all away to stand up for what he believed in. He lost over three years in the prime of his career while going head to head against the government.  A few hours ago I came across this online and it is transcribed below too. 

Pablo Torre correctly labeled him as the “Patron Saint of not sticking to sports.” I’ve thought about this a lot over the years but can you imagine how much bigger of a star he would’ve been in the ESPN era or even in this social media era? Muhammad Ali in his prime with Twitter & YouTube at his disposal to promote his fights? He’s already the most recognizable face on the planet. His endorsement potential would’ve put Michael Jordan to shame. 

The word gets thrown around a lot these days but Muhammad Ali simply was the greatest. He was retired before I was ever born but I have grown up being a fan. Through DVDs, documentaries & the internet I have watched a ton of footage from in and out of the ring. My dad always talks about what a big deal Ali’s fights were in Pakistan and how they would be broadcasted live in an era when live sports on television just didn’t happen all that often. 
One of my favorite sports memories is him showing up in Atlanta to light the cauldron at the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics. It is still incredible to watch all these years later. At those same Olympics he received a replacement for his medal from 1960

Over the next few days and weeks we’ll see a lot of great writing on the remarkable life Muhammad Ali lived. Tim Dahlberg wrote the obituary for AP and it really was incredibly well done. The story included this great nugget on the “Rumble in the Jungle” that I had never heard before. 

Ali won over a country before he won the fight, mingling with people as he trained and displaying the kind of playful charm the rest of the world had already seen. On the plane into the former Congo he asked what the citizens of Zaire disliked most. He was told it was Belgians because they had once colonized the country.
“George Foreman is a Belgian,” Ali cried out to the huge crowd that greeted him at the airport. By the time the fight finally went off in the early morning hours of Oct. 30, 1974, Zaire was his.
“Ali booma-ya (Ali kill him),” many of the 60,000 fans screamed as the fight began in Kinshasa.

Has there ever been a trash taker like Muhammad Ali? 

Jeremy Schaap narrated a great piece on  him for ESPN late Friday night. Part of it was written by the late great Dick Schaap

MSNBC did a great job with their coverage Friday night into Saturday morning with Brian Williams anchoring. Same with ESPN who actually went commercial free for at least five hours. 

Even at this age he kept an incredibly active schedule. We’ve seen him periodically show up at sporting events in addition to all the charity work he’s done. 

He chimed in on Donald Trump’s blatant racism and ignorant comments about Muslims this election cycle. 

What Am I reading and watching today?


Inna Lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’un (“We surely belong to God and to Him we shall return.”)
Earlier today my maternal grandfather passed away. He was affectionately known as Papa to his kids, grandkids, great grandkids and by pretty much everyone else including neighbors, family friends and others in the extended family. The love and respect everyone had for him was always evident but especially so over the last three weeks. 

Please remember him and our extended family in your prayers today. 

He grew to love watching basketball because his grandkids used to watch it. All of his grandkids grew to love watching Jeopardy because Papa watched it. 

I’ve been thinking about this for the past month or so. The company I work for has been in the news recently. Before he was diagnosed with dementia he would’ve called to check up on me long before I had even had a chance to tell him myself. 

He lived an incredible life. He migrated twice and established great roots in his new country each time. He traveled the world. He was a man of faith. His countless hours of volunteer work will be remembered by all who knew him and benefited from it. It resonates even more for us in the current political climate. He devoted a good chunk of his life making sure those in America who were curious about Islam knew where to reach out and get the proper learning tools. 

I would urge myself and others to donate to Why Islam and other worthy causes and to help carry on this work. 

Manti Te’o story is crazy…..not sad.

Manti Te’o’s Dead Girlfriend, The Most Heartbreaking And Inspirational Story Of The College Football Season, Is A Hoax

This is among the craziest sports related stories I have ever heard. His statement to ESPN only creates more questions in the aftermath of past stories. ESPN played a video of him talking about “her beauty” in a prior interview. Manti Te’o’s father was quoted in this story in October saying “she” visited him in Hawaii.

They are already people out there questioning whether this relationship wasn’t about a “her” but a “him”.

While this story has been crazy so far, lets not call it a sad one. This is what a sad Notre Dame football story looks like and it is very much real.

As always you can leave a comment here, reach me by e-mail or Follow sahyder1 on Twitter.

“Hello World?”

It has been reported for a while but Rory McIlroy was officially introduced as a “Nike Athlete” earlier today. This puts the two biggest names in golf under the Nike umbrella and predictably Nike already has a great commercial with them.

When Tiger Woods first signed with Nike this was the commercial Nike released.

As always you can leave a comment here, reach me by e-mail or Follow sahyder1 on Twitter.

2013 BBWAA Hall of Fame voters should be ashamed of themselves

The Baseball Writers Association of America is a joke.

This Hall of Fame vote was a joke. The five people who sent in a blank ballot should have their votes taken away. The one idiot who voted for Aaron Sele should have their vote taken away. How does Mike Piazza get under 60% of the votes? What evidence is there against him? Will the reporters who kept votes from Piazza do the same with Jeter because he played on a team with so many known PED guys?  All writers should have to make their votes public. Here is a list of people who did make it public this year. Who are the eight writers who voted for Clemens but not Bonds? How do you explain that?

Hardball Talk has a good piece on Mike Piazza.

What happens in the next few years? The ballot is about to get really crowded. Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Jeff Kent, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux all get on the ballot in the next two years.

I’ve been mentioning on twitter how so many of these guys need to lose their privilege to vote. Journalists should be reporting the news, not making it. If you don’t vote for someone because they aren’t a “first ballot” Hall of Famer, you should lose your vote. A player is either a Hall of Famer or he is not. There is no in between. Worthy guys are going to get taken off the ballot because these writers want to be the story. Just look at next year’s ballot. Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, Biggio, Sosa McGriff, Maddux, Glavine, Kent, Schilling, Bagwell, Mussina, Frank Thomas. Only ten can be voted for.

Here is a full list of who is eligible in 2014.

At this point BBWAA is the biggest joke this side of congress and the NRA.

As always you can leave a comment here, reach me by e-mail or Follow sahyder1 on Twitter.