Alana Goodman


Latest from Alana Goodman

Craigslist.com has finally nixed its controversial Adult Services section, but it looks like the popular website may still be giving the green light to hundreds of prostitution ads - with dozens more popping up on the site each day.

The go-to portal for online classified ads and local discussion boards, Craigslist has been criticized for years for selling ad space to sex-peddlers and prostitution rings. Law enforcement officials and watchdog groups say that the site is frequently used by human sex traffickers and pimps to find clients for women and children who have been coerced into the sex industry.

On Sept. 4, Craigslist removed its Adult Services section in response to a letter from attorneys general in 17 states urging the website to crack down on prostitution ads.

But it doesn't look like the sex traffickers had to move far. Other sections of the Craigslist site are still overrun with ads for "sensual massage parlors" - many of which have been identified as brothels by law enforcement officials or sex industry websites.



The director of the popular Arab-language TV station Al Arabiya says that the Muslim world is not angry over increasing American opposition to a proposed mosque at Ground Zero, and that any claims to the contrary are attempts to "fabricate a conflict."

"The lack of a unified stance throughout the Islamic world should be seen as response to the current attempt by some to 'fabricate' a conflict, claiming that Muslims are angry with the refusal to build a mosque in such a controversial setting," wrote director Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashid in an Aug. 29 column in a London daily. The column was translated and posted on the website for the Middle East Media Research Institute.

Some news outlets have claimed that opposition to the Ground Zero mosque may "fuel Islamic extremism" in the Muslim world.



He may be playing hide-and-seek from drone missiles in the caves of Yemen, but Al Qaeda cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki is still attempting to poison the minds of young Muslim Americans through the use of YouTube and other social media.

The extent of Al-Awlaki's reach on the internet is outlined in a new report released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) on Aug. 28. The report describes the millions of views garnered by Al-Awlaki's YouTube video clips and the online networking of his rabid fan base.

A former imam at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Virginia, the American-born Al-Awlaki has increasingly been using social media as a recruiting method for would-be jihadists, leading terrorist watchers to dub him the "[Osama] bin Laden of the internet" and the "sheikh of YouTube." Al-Awlaki has been tied to the Sept. 11 hijackers, the Christmas Day bomber and the Fort Hood shooter. This past spring, President Obama ordered that the cleric be killed on sight, but the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on Aug. 30 to prevent the military from targeting the U.S. citizen without a trial.

According to MEMRI, after Al-Awlaki's personal website was shuttered in 2009, YouTube became the "largest clearinghouse of his online videos."



Media claims that controversy is fomenting 'Muslim extremism' are not based in fact.


Sermons calling for jihad can be found on social networking sites.


Come on, John Mayer -- Jennifer Aniston isn't that bad.

Mayer, a popular singer-songwriter, slammed the Huffington Post, after the website reported that he and Aniston were possibly rekindling their old relationship.

In a frenzied blog post titled "Huffington Post FULL OF SH*T? (Yes!)," Mayer called the liberal-leaning news website "the internet Death Star" and "dangerous."

"The reason I'm calling you out instead of all the other magazines that make stories up out of thin air is that In Touch and Star Magazine aren't concurrently writing pieces about Pat Tillman or WikiLeaks," ranted Mayer. "Those other rags know who they are, and even if they're obnoxious, I'd rather have to live with them because they (and the rest of the world) know where they stand, which doesn't make them one tenth as dangerous as you are."



Wonders whether liberal news site pays reporters in 'Silly Bandz.'


Daisy Khan's position today conflicts with her words from past.


In a passionate and politically-charged post on his blog, Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert wrote that Glenn Beck is a "zealot" who makes "daily insinuations" that President Obama is a secret Muslim and that Sarah Palin uses "Mein Kampf" tactics and "coded words" on Twitter.

"One buried motive for the attacks on Park51 is exploitation of the insane belief of 20% of Americans that President Obama is a Muslim," wrote Ebert in the Aug. 19 blog post. "Zealots like Glenn Beck, with his almost daily insinuations about the Muslim grandfather Obama never knew and the father he met only once, are encouraging this mistaken belief."

Ebert also slammed Sarah Palin, writing that "her tweets are mine fields of coded words; for her, 'patriot' is defined as, 'those who agree with me.' When she says 'Americans,' it is not inclusive."



Mosque critics Miss USA, Zhudi Jasser and Al-Arabiya director disregarded by networks.


In an unusual move, the Associated Press has publicly released an advisory memo to its reporters on how to cover the Ground Zero mosque story - and the first rule is that journalists must immediately stop calling it the "Ground Zero mosque" story.

"We should continue to avoid the phrase ‘Ground zero mosque' or ‘mosque at ground zero' on all platforms," reads the advisory, which was issued by the AP's Standards Center.

Instead of the "Ground Zero mosque," AP recommends that reporters use the terms "mosque 2 blocks from WTC site," "Muslim (or Islamic) center near WTC site," "mosque near ground zero," or "mosque near WTC site."

The AP suggests that it might "useful in some stories to note that Muslim prayer services have been held since 2009 in the building that the new project will replace." In addition, the news service offers a "succinct summary of President Obama's position" on the mosque, but doesn't include the positions of any other politicians.



News service issues memo to 'fact-check' Republicans who are 'demonizing' Islamic Center.


Actress freaks out after reporter asks question about racy episode.


Pop-singer Sheryl Crow has always been outspoken about her own political views, but now she's telling former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin to zip it.

"I saw you ranting on TV today, I heard you tell me to reload. You got a lot of nerve to talk that way, someone unplug the microphone," sings Crow in her new anthem, "Say What You Want," which was released in late July.

The angsty, politically-charged song makes plenty of references to "kool-aid drinking," "talking heads" and, of course, "ignorance."

"I'm tired of all the fighting, cynicism and back biting. Can't even hear myself think, you pour the kool-aid and then we drink," sings Crow of Palin.

The Grammy Award-winning songstress makes it clear what she thinks of conservative views, crooning sarcastically that "Ignorance is patriotic, reasons are so idiotic."



Eco-nut/singer worries over America's 'kool-aid' drinking and 'ignorance.'


The director of Al-Arabiya TV, a popular Arab-language news station, wrote that "Muslims never asked for" the proposed mosque at Ground Zero, and "do not care about its construction," in a column for London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat on Aug. 16.


“I can't imagine that Muslims [actually] want a mosque at this particular location, because it will become an arena for the promoters of hatred, and a monument to those who committed the crime,” wrote Al-Arabiya director Abd Al-Rahman al-Rashid in the column, which was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute. “Moreover, there are no practicing Muslims in the area who need a place to worship, because it is a commercial district. Is there anyone who is [really] eager [to build] this mosque?”


Al-Rashid said that President Barack Obama’s support of the mosque was similar to the administration’s previous decision to close Guantanamo Bay and try suspected terrorists as civilians. “"Muslims do not [really] yearn [to build] a mosque near the 9/11 cemetery, nor do they care whether bin Laden's cook is tried in a civilian court [or a military one],” said al-Rashid, noting that “tens of thousands of Muslims, likewise accused of extremism, are imprisoned in [even] worse conditions in the Muslim countries.”



How's this for "creating dialogue"?

Yesterday, organizers of the Ground Zero mosque project took to Twitter to slam Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, after the paper incorrectly reported that plans for the controversial Islamic prayer center were being abandoned.

But some say the mosque's organizers went too far by mocking Ha'aretz with references to Jewish culture.

"On a side note, if Haaretz likes publishing fables, perhaps they could go back to the Yiddish ones with parables #welikethosebetter," Tweeted Park51, which calls itself the "official Twitter account" of the Ground Zero mosque project. Yiddish is a language that originated with and was used primarily by the Ashkenazi Jewish community in Eastern Europe.



Says most Muslims don't care about mosque, closing Guantanamo Bay


In wake of Obama's mosque support, networks say opposition stems from 'Islamophobia' and disrespect for Constitution


The New York Times continued its defense of the proposed mosque near Ground Zero on Friday, when it published a fawning, 1,600-word cover story on how Mayor Michael Bloomberg's support of the Ground Zero mosque stems from his “passion” for Constitutional rights and his own personal brush with anti-Jewish prejudice.


And while Bloomberg was quoted in the story saying he's “not winning a lot of friends” by supporting the mosque, The Times seemed to differ.