NOV / HAJJ 2008 ISSUE | www.myCrescent.com
P. 03 The Lone Star Crescent, Nov / Dec 2008 Islamic finance has not felt the full brunt of the global credit crisis that has rocked conventional banks, thanks to its profit-sharing requirements and insistence that assets underpin transactions. “The global credit crisis presents the $1 trillion Islamic finance industry with an opportunity to expand its appeal beyond Muslim investors, as a haven from speculative excess. The message may have particular resonance in the West after the crumbling of the U.S. mortgage market left banks holding hundreds of billions of dollars of nearly worthless credit instruments tied to home loans by a web of complex structures. While conventional banks worldwide are nursing losses of more than $400 billion from the credit crisis, Islamic banks are virtually unscathed. And they are playing up the contrast to scalded shareholders, bondholders and borrowers and fearful depositors”, writes the International Herald Tribune. Islamic finance is the process through which the financial conglomerates in the Muslim world inclusive of their banks and further loan giving financial organizations raise their capital in agreement to the Islamic rules and regulations that are called as the “Sharia”. The various categories of investments that are permissible under the sharia are included in this field.
Profit banking is permissible that involves the sharing of both profit and loss between the financial organization and the respective enterprise that has been endorsed by it. This industry is showing an impressive and a steady growth rate of above fifteen percent with global worth of almost $320bn to $530bn. Its history dates back to the inception of Islam whereas it was formalized. In the beginning of the early sixties when the concept of Islamic banking was made official, owing to the demand for the sharia practices. It is basically the acceptance of its attribute of risk sharing that is an important component of elevating the capital and shunning “riba” and “gharar” which are usury and the uncertainty risk respectively. The Islamic system does not allow the creation of debt through direct lending and borrowing. It rather requires the creation of debt through the sale or lease of real assets by means of its sales- and lease-based modes of financing such as murabaha, ijara, salam, istisna and sukuk. “The asset which is being sold or leased must be real, and not imaginary or no-
ISLAMIC FINANCE & CURRENT ECONOMY
tional; the seller must own and possess the goods being sold or leased; the transaction must be genuine with the full intention of giving and taking delivery; and the debt cannot be sold and thus the risk associated with it cannot be transferred to someone else”, according to Umer Chapra, an economist at the Islamic Development Bank.
Excessive and imprudent lending by banks was the main cause of the current global crisis. “In the Islamic system, credit is primarily for the purchase of real goods and services which the seller owns and possesses and the buyer wishes to take delivery. It also requires the creditor to bear the risk of default by prohibiting the sale of debt, thereby ensuring that he evaluates the risk more carefully,” he explained. According to Chapra excessive and imprudent lending by banks was the main cause of the current global crisis. “There are three factors that make this possible: inadequate market discipline in the financial system resulting from the absence of profit and loss sharing (PLS); the mind-boggling expansion in the size of derivatives, particularly CDSs; and too big to fail concept of banks who believe that the central bank would come for their rescue.” Mohammed Mahmud Awan, a leading scholar and Dean at Malaysia-based International Center for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF), told the participants of a conference in Manama that the current global economic crisis has opened many windows of opportunities for Islamic finance. “This crisis is seen as a big opportunity for Islamic finance as it has the capacity and capability to bring stability to the market.” The current global crisis which caused colossal financial loses running in billions of dollars, he said, would have not occurred if the Islamic principles regarding collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) were in vogue in the international financial market. “Islamic bonds, carrying unique structure features, cannot fall foul of a crisis such as subprime mortgage crisis. Subprime mortgages are backed by dubiously rated collateralized debt packages which subsequently precipitated a global credit crunch.” The Islamic economic system is embedded with protections and guidelines that prevent massive failures like Wall Street firms. “The beauty of Islamic banking and the reason it can be used as a replacement for the current market is that you only promise what you own. Islamic banks are not protected if the economy goes down, they suffer,
but you don’t lose your shirt,” said Majed alRefaie, who heads Bahrain-based Unicorn Investment Bank.
There is a very simple rule in Islamic trade which clearly says that you can’t sell unless you posses. During an international economic conference, Awan said that “subprime mortgages are backed by dubiously rated collateralized debt packages which subsequently precipitated a global credit crunch” “A crisis such as the mortgage one would technically be unthinkable in the Islamic capital markets sector because it would be against Sharia principles to sell a debt against a debt”, he added. There is a very simple rule in Islamic trade, he said, which clearly says that you can’t sell unless you posses. He said: “In the present crisis we have seen trillions of dollars trading without backing of assets. If such transactions followed the Islamic finance model it would have easily prevented the current economic crisis.” Ahmad Baqer, Kuwait’s commerce minister, said that the global crisis will
prompt more countries to use Islamic principles in running their economies. U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert M. Kimmet said experts at his agency have been learning the features of Islamic banking. The trillion-dollar Islamic banking industry faces challenges with the slump in real estate and stock prices, however the proponents believe that the system has built-in protection from the kind of runaway collapse that has challenged and caused collapse of so many financial institutions. The use of financial instruments such as derivatives, blamed for the downfall of banking, insurance and investment giants and excessive risk taking is banned. In Islamic banking the depositors are like partners who invest their money share in the profits or, theoretically, the losses that result. Therefore, bankers are extremely careful while making investments. According to Standard and Poor’s rating agency, the Islamic Finance industry controls a massive $ 4 trillion in assets and continues to grow at the recession beating rate of around 15 percent annually. ....................................................................... Comments or suggestions? Email to info@myCrescent.com
The Lone Star Crescent, October 2008
The Lone Star Crescent, Nov / Dec 2008
DPS Scraps Plans For Checkpoints (AUSTIN, TX) Plans to create driver’s license checkpoints around the state have been cancelled due to strong public and lawmaker opposition. The chairman of TX Department of Public Safety Commission, Allan Polunksy announced that he is withdrawing his request for AG’s opinion on the legality of checkpoints. There were suspicions that the stop-and-check stations would be used to look for illegal immigrants - a charge which DPS officials deny.
Teachers’ Retirement Fund Sees Significant Drop
According to reports, since September 1, 2008, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas has seen about a $25 billion market value drop thanks to the national financial meltdown. Officials have told the media that the 275,000 retired teachers and beneficiaries covered by the fund shouldn’t fear a change in current benefits.
City of Carrollton Launches “Through Your Eyes” Photo Contest The City of Carrollton is in the process of redesigning the City website and in an effort to feature your photos online, the “Through Your Eyes” photo contest will launch Wednesday, November 5. Citizens are asked to submit their favorite photos via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, mail to 1945 E. Jackson Road (attn: Marketing Services), or just stop by City Hall before January 5, 2009. All ages are welcome to participate, entering one of three divisions: student, amateur or professional. Prizes will be given for the first, second and third winners in each division.
City Moves Forward with Plans to Redevelop Texas Stadium Site As the Dallas Cowboys’ Dec. 20 farewell event approaches, the City of Irving continues to work on the transition plan to redevelop the 77-acre property. Once the city assumes control of the stadium, asbestos testing and development of demolition specifications will begin. Filming opportunities of the demolition are being explored. It is expected that a demolition contractor will be hired by April, with demolition set to be completed by early 2010. In May 2006, Irving voters authorized collection of parking and ticket taxes on events held at Texas Stadium. To date, more than $11 million has been collected. These funds will be used to pay for infrastructure improvements to the stadium site, including utility relocations and frontage road reconstruction. The first phase of redevelopment will include the State Highway 114 and Loop 12 interchange, which the Texas Department of Transportation broke ground on in October. This project will facilitate the construction of the DART Orange Rail Line scheduled for completion to the Urban Center in December 2011. Although new development will not be seen for several years, the city is working with Forest City Enterprises on a mixed-use development plan for the area.
Garland Animal Shelter in Need of Pet Food Donations Citizens wishing to help the Animal Shelter care for animals held there can donate cash, dry dog or cat food, or any other pet care items by dropping them off at the Garland Animal Shelter at 600 Tower Drive. All donations, both money and supplies, are used exclusively for the care of animals. The Shelter is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Lone Star Crescent, August 2008
The Lone Star Crescent, Nov / Dec 2008
TX Muslim Women To Host Thanksgiving Bazaar
By Shaheen Salam
(Dallas, TX) Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation announces that its 1st annual Season of Thanksgiving Bazaar will be held on No-
vember 22, 2008 at Richardson Civic Center in partnership with various business sponsors. Dr. Hind Jarrah, Texas Muslim women’s Foundation’s (TMWF) President and Salma Husayni The Season of Thanksgiving Bazaar Chair, invites the public to the Foundation’s 1st annual bazaar to be held on Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 10 a.m.- 8 p.m. at the Richardson Civic Center, on Arapaho and Central Expressway, Richardson, TX 75080.Phone 972.744.4090. “The Season of Thanksgiving Bazaar will be the single largest fundraising event benefiting the many projects supported by the Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, including the establishment of a shelter for women who are victims of domestic vio-
College Tuition Planning Seminar
(PLANO, TX) As time for college admissions and financial aid submission approaches MAS Youth Center organized a program to introduce college funding options.
The cost of tuition has gone up 8% per year while after adjusting to inflation, averages wages have declined. It is crucial to properly plan for college to avoid interruption in studies or incur massive debt. “It is a myth that people with higher incomes are not qualified for financial assistance programs,” Mushtaq Ahmed of EZ
College Funding said talking to the parents and high school seniors. “There are legal ways to get tuition assistance for any income level,” he added. Ahmed told the audience that is extremely important to do research when applying. In many cases schools with a higher tuition offer better grants and assistance and could cost less in out of pocket expenses. The United States has become one of the most expensive places to get university education in the western world. “It means the
most educated individuals in our society, who would go out and do the best financially, are also the ones entering their careers with the heaviest debt we’ve ever asked our graduates to carry,” said Douglas Breithaupt, president of the College Planning Network, a Seattle nonprofit.
lence”, shares Dr. Jarrah. “We are thrilled to announce the generosity of our sponsors Subway, Fun Asia Radio and Islamic Relief.” The Season of Thanksgiving Bazaar promises a whole day of fun and great food and great buys during the busiest shopping season of the year. The festivities include fashion shows, vendors selling a variety of arts and crafts, gift items, boutiques, henna tattooing, at a very accessible and central location. The cost for this fun filled evening is free and the opportunity to participate and have fun is unlimited. “All proceeds from the event will fund the establishment of the domestic violence shelter for women and other local, national and international community projects that TMWF sponsors each year,” states Dr. Jarrah. The TMWF also supports a variety of local and regional projects including: •Provides social and charitable help to families in need
•Counseling services and support to victims of domestic violence •Education and Outreach work, and networking with organizations •Empowering women and girls through education and lecture seriesProviding grants and scholarships to those in need •Provided disaster relief work in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina •Provided wheelchairs for those in need Corporate or business partners interested in supporting this event are welcome. Sponsorship opportunities still exist from $250 to $1,500. The club will also gladly accept a variety of items for the silent and live auction, which is always a highlight of the evening. For more information please visit www.tmwf.org. Or call 214-682-8628.
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The Lone Star Crescent, Nov / Dec 2008
ESTABLISHING A CENTER FOR ISLAMIC LEARNING
By Asif Effendi (PLANO, TX) A multicultural community gathering organized by the Shia Muslims of the metroplex unveiled plans for a vibrant learning and community center in Plano. The center is being built by The Institute of Islamic Learning in Metroplex (IILM). IILM has served the Dallas community as a center for Islamic occasions and celebrations, community programs, and as a resource for learning, obtaining and promoting knowledge about Islam. The Muslim population in United States and specifically in Plano, TX; comprises of immigrants from a large number of countries as well as a large number of locally born and raised Muslim children. Thus the population represents a large variety of ancestry some of whom believe in traditional architecture of the mosque, while other like very modern and practical building and yet there a consensus that the design should be expressive and understandable to all. IILM is looking for a creative design which should reflect the religious affiliation but modern to welcome visitors and not close or forbidding to prevent people from visiting. The design should be energy efficient and utilize materials as well as incorporate energy efficient technology such as geo-thermal heating and cooling.
This Center being a â€œLife Style Centerâ€? will address larger community needs. In addition to offering traditional services like daily prayers and Ramadan services, IILM is expected to boast a multi-purpose education and resource center. IILM plans to provide for several functionsIILM plans to provide for several functions including religious - daily and Friday prayers, Majlis (congregation) facilities, education and Sunday school, community health clinic, provide space for weddings and other social activities, inter-faith programs, senior services, racquet ball courts and gymnasium.
The Lone Star Crescent,Nov / Dec 2008
Calling Card Legislation Aims to Bring Fairness (WASHINGTON, DC) On October 06, the US House of Representatives moved to force companies that sell or distribute prepaid calling cards to describe any fees associated with the cards on packaging and in advertising. The legislation declared that the calling card industry is “plagued by fraudulent and deceptive business practices,” and this new legislation is an attempt to combat that. The bill passed with an overwhelming majority. The legislation came after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched an investigation into the industry. The investigation concluded that card companies only deliver an average of 60% of the minutes promised due to charges that are hidden from the consumer. National Consumers League Executive Director Sally Greenberg stated in testimony to the FTC, “(The calling card industry) is a “Wild West” of sellers and merchants who too often prey upon the most vulnerable consumers by promising minutes they don’t deliver and loading up on hidden or undisclosed charges and fees.” Greenberg, however, doesn’t believe the bill will go far enough. She said: “While (the bill) requires that the disclosure text on the calling card itself, packaging, or other promotional material (including online) be in the same language used to advertise the card, we would recommend expanding (the bill) to require that prepaid phone card providers provide toll-free customer service lines staffed by customer service representatives able to converse in the languages that the cards are advertised in.” There are only a handful of companies that charge on a per minute basis.
MI ELECTS FIRST FEMALE MUSLIM STATE REPRESENTATIVE (DETROIT, MI) — Rashida Tlaib, 32, has made history by grabbing a seat in the Michigan legislature, becoming the first Muslim woman ever to serve in the state legislature. “Allah had chosen me for this job which I did not know before,” Tlaib, the eldest daughter of Palestinian immigrant parents, said in an interview. Tlaib, a lawyer and community activist, who had never thought of coming into politics, easily won a seat in Michigan House of representatives on November 4, the day of the historic White House elections. She defeated her Republican opponent by a 9 to 1 margin in her southwest Detroit district, largely populated by blacks and Hispanics. Born in Michigan, she is the eldest of her 13 siblings of Palestinian parents who migrated to the US in the early 1970s. “I had to take care of all of younger brothers and sisters because I was the first in my family to have earned a high school degree,” she recalls. She also feels indebted to outgoing Democratic Rep. Steve Tobocman, the majority floor leader. “I would have never been here today, if my Jewish boss and predecessor Steve Tobocman had not encouraged me to venture into politics,” she said. “I got my inspiration from Tobocman who insisted that I must take part in the elections.” “There was a lot of propaganda against me in some of the local press that she is a Muslim extremist and that her election to the state legislature will send negative signals and that she will work only for the rights
of Muslim community,” she remembers. “But I didn’t care and never attacked any of my seven opponents. I just kept working work. I campaigned door-todoor, and I think it was my aggressive doorknocking campaign of around 8000 families that paid me back a lot.” “Though I don’t wear hijab but I am a practicing Muslim, performing five times prayers daily and will be carrying along my prayer rug to my office in Lansing,” she told IOL referring to the headquarters of the Michigan legislature. “I am sure wearing hijab or following Islam is not an obstacle here in achieving one’s goals, provided there is commitment and persistent efforts,” she said emphatically.
The Lone Star Crescent, Nov / Dec 2008
The Lone Star Crescent, Nov / Dec 2008
Somali Pirates Seize Japanese Ship Pirates have seized a Japanese freighter off the coast of Somalia and are holding its 23member crew captive, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said Sunday. A group of gunmen boarded the 20,000-ton Chemstar Venus on Saturday when it was sailing in waters 155 kilometres east of the port of Aden, the ministry said. Five Koreans were among the crew, the rest were Filipinos. Somalia, which has no effective government, has become notorious for piracy in recent years, prompting the deployment of international naval vessels. Two suspected Somali pirates were shot and killed by the crew of a British navy frigate in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday after the sailors tried to board a dhow that had attempted earlier to seize a Danish vessel. Pirates have hijacked 30 ships this year in the Gulf of Aden in the Arabian Sea between Yemen and Somalia, one of the world’s main shipping routes, demanding high sums of ransom from the vessels’ owners.
Hundreds of Homes Destroyed in CA Fires (LOS ANGELES, CA) Hundreds of homes were destroyed and thousands of residents forced to flee as a series of ferocious wind-driven wildfires raged across Southern California, virtually circling the city of Los Angeles. More than 500 mobile homes were gutted and 10,000 people were evacuated by a blaze that ripped through a Los Angeles suburb in what officials said was one of the worst fires to ravage the city in nearly half a century. The fire, which erupted in the densely populated district of Sylmar, came as firefighters continued to battle a blaze in the celebrity enclave of Montecito, 100 miles to the north. Fires also broke out in the cities of Yorba Linda and Corona, southeast of Los Angeles, reportedly destroying at least 20 homes and forcing the closure of several important transport routes. More than 20,000 people were ordered to evacuate the Orange County burn area, The Los Angeles Times reported. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, blaming the spread of the fire on “absolutely atrocious” winds, said the blaze was one of the worst in the city’s history. “We have never lost in recent times anything close to this number (of homes),” Villaraigosa said. Around 2,000 firefighters, using helicopters, bulldozers and engines, were battling the fire, attempting to halt its advance as a state of emergency was declared across Los Angeles County. Vast plumes of smoke from the Yorba Linda blaze could be seen across the Los Angeles skyline and around 60 residences had been damaged or destroyed. The fire has consumed more than 1,900 acres. California is frequently hit by scorching wildfires due to its dry climate, Santa Ana winds and recent housing booms which have seen housing spread rapidly into rural and densely forested areas.
Karzai Offers Taliban Chief Security For Talks Afghan President Hamid Karzai has offered to provide security for the Taliban’s leader Mullah Omar, if he agrees to enter peace talks. He has long supported drawing the Islamist militia into the political mainstream on the condition that they accept the country’s constitution. “If I say I want protection for Mullah Omar, the international community has two choices, remove me or leave if they disagree,” Karzai said during a press conference. Omar is a leader of the Afghan Taliban and headed the government toppled by the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. Since then, he has been in hiding but is believed to be running the insurgency. Seven years after the invasion, record levels of violence are afflicting Afghanistan, where the number of insurgent attacks are up by 30 percent compared to 2007. The Taliban are present in large parts of Afghanistan’s south and east and are increasingly encroaching on Kabul, the capital. In September, Taliban members met with Afghan and Pakistani officials during a dinner hosted by Saudi Arabia’s king, but there were no concrete results from the meeting. “If I hear from (Mullah Omar) that he is willing to come to Afghanistan or to negotiate for peace and for the well-being of the Afghans so that our children are not killed anymore, I as a president of Afghanistan will go to any length to provide protection,” Karzai said. Omar has not directly responded to these calls, but spokesmen associated with the Taliban have previously said their participation in any talks depends on the withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign troops from the country.Karzai disagrees by saying that foreign troops are necessary for Afghanistan’s security.
“No trust” in US-Russia Relations says Medvedev Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that the United States and Russia share “no trust” in relations however; the two countries can begin to heal ties without first resolving the dispute over missile defense. Speaking after the gathering of 20 world economic powers in Washington to address the financial crisis, Medvedev was optimistic that after president-elect Barack Obama takes office January 20, there will be a fresh opportunity to build a positive friendship, while he blamed President George W Bush for the deteriorating relations. “This administration has done a lot to create the basis for the mood in Russia-US relations,” Medvedev said through a translator at a gathering at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank following the summit. Medvedev said rebuilding the relations must not start with the controversy over Bush’s plans to deploy a missile-defence system to Poland and the Czech Republic, the issue that has contributed most to the tension between Washington and Moscow. The Kremlin considers the deployment a threat that would weaken its strategic nuclear deterrent, while the Bush administration insists the system is required to counter Iran’s growing ballistic missile capability. Medvedev was confident that he would be able to find a solution with Obama, who has taken less of a hard-line stance on missile defense than Bush, but has not stated whether he will proceed with the deployment. Moscow is open to cooperating internationally to develop a collective defense against ballistic missiles, but cannot accept it in the form of “fragments” offered by the unilateral agreements pursued by Bush. Medvedev announced on November 5 that Moscow will place missiles in its Eastern European enclave of Kaliningrad if the United States forges ahead on Poland and Czech Republic deployment in “retaliation,” he said. “We really do not want to deploy anything. This was not our idea,” he said, adding progress cannot be made in ending the dispute until Washington understands Russia’s concerns. “We will not do anything until America makes the first step,” he said.
Investigation Focuses on Hindu Terror Conspiracy (NEW DELHI, INDIA) - More arrests are expected in the coming weeks as the frightening dimensions of a Hindu terror plot start to unravel, with investigators indicating that it had the makings of a larger conspiracy and planning of reprisal killings of Muslims for serial bombings in a number of Indian cities. Ten people, including a self-proclaimed Hindu seer and a serving lieutenant colonel, have so far been arrested for the September 29 bombing in a Muslim-dominated neighborhood in the small Maharashtra town of Malegaon that killed five people. Investigators are now examining if a Hindu terror conspiracy was involved in several other blasts — like the one of the Samjhauta Express train in 2007 — that has till date remained unsolved. The Anti-Terrorism Squad’s (ATS) arrest of Mahant Amritanand Dev alias Dayanand Pandey, the self-styled pontiff from Kanpur, which investigators say is a “prize catch”, has already admitted that it was under his instructions that Lt. Colonel Shrikant Purohit procured RDX from an army depot that was used in the Malegaon blast. “Pandey was present in all the pre-blast meetings in Bhopal, Jabalpur and Faridabad, monitored operations meticulously and was also responsible for arranging the finances that came in through illegal channels,” an ATS source told IANS. Investigators are now questioning the suspects on the May 2007 blast at Makkah Masjid in Hyderabad, the attack on the Samjhauta Express train between India and Pakistan in February 2007 and the April 2006 twin blasts at New Delhi’s Jama Masjid. “Not much headway has been made into the investigations in these attacks. We need to examine if a similar radical Hindu fringe could have been behind these bombings and that is under the scanner now,” said a senior intelligence official, who could not be named because of the sensitivity of his position. “We could see more arrests in the coming days but that will depend on whether we can get sufficient evidence.” Police have already established a strong link between Pandey and some of the suspects in the Kanpur blast case through surveillance, two members of the right-wing Bajrang Dal were killed there while assembling bombs. Discovery of this terror network brings a strategy change in law enforcement that usually blames Muslims in such cases.
The Lone Star Crescent, Nov / Dec 2008
PEACE BEGINS WITH ME By Len Ellis I’d like to continue last previous theme of dissolving the walls of separation and truly being instruments of peace. In James Hillman’s groundbreaking book “We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy and The World’s Getting Worse” he gives us a clue as to how to make this happen. He says we have instant communications with anyone in the world, yet we don’t even know our neighbors; and that by not knowing our neighbors, this is a profound form of disrespect, both to our neighbors and to ourselves. When we don’t get to know people, when we don’t reach out to make a connection, it makes it easy to keep building the wall of separation. When we dismiss someone because of their differences by saying “oh, you’re just a ____ “ - you fill in the blank - then we are in effect killing them. We’re saying who you are and what you have to say don’t fit with my beliefs, therefore, you don’t matter. So what is our task here, no, rather, what is our responsibility to be an instrument of peace? It is to reach out to others, to get to know them. Whether it be in our neighborhood, our community, our workplace, our nation, our world, it only takes a small gesture to reach out and say “hi”. By reaching out to another, they can see who we are. This is how we break down stereotypes and walls of separation. We see the other person as a human being, with needs and desires and hopes just as we have. By reaching out, we can connect our heart and mind, and rather than analyzing who this person is, we can see them as another wonderful soul on this planet. By reaching out to those who, on the surface, appear to be different, we can get past the stereotypes. In my article in September, I asked how we prevent another 9-11 event, and as I see it, the way is to get to know and connect with as many people as we can. Go to cultural events and learn about what is important in other people’s lives. Let others know what is important in your life, exchange ideas. I know this seems a daunting task, perhaps too much work. I leave you with the words of Marco Caceres - “Remember, every storm must begin with a single drop of rain. And so it is with every worthwhile movement ... it begins with an idea that is too simple to be taken seriously...and then comes the storm.” And so it is with us . . peace begins with a simple gesture towards another human being. No one can do it for me, I have to make the effort, peace begins with me. The author may be reached at Peace-Center@tx.rr.com
US Military Draft Looms Says Ron Paul By Heather Saarela
In his new bestseller The Revolution: A Manifesto, Ron Paul warns Americans that “Given the overseas ambitions of so much of our political class, a return of the draft may actually be closer than we realize.” Is THIS the last straw that would wake Americans up from their slumber? What if your loved ones (men and women) received their letters for a call of “duty” within the next year? Dr. Paul is right. Somebody is fighting these wars. He claims this is the reason “the military draft is being spoken about more and more,” going on to say that the current military is being stretched to their limits, “...we have something like a de facto draft already, what with all the extensions being imposed on our troops.” We cannot allow our neoconservative government to continue abusing this country and reinstate a draft. Paul Abrams of the Huffington Post wrote on March, 1, 2008 about the probability of a draft should John McCain become the next President, “McCain is not joking when he talks about his war policy. He wants to continue the Iraq War. He pledges to increase the US commitment to fight al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.” Note: There has been no military draft since 1973. In November 2006 Rep. Charles
Rangel, D-N.Y., called for reinstating the draft as a way to end the Iraq war which was shot down adamantly by Pelosi. On December 19, 2006 Scott Campbell announced plans for a “readiness exercise” to test the system’s operations in 2009, for the first time since 1998. On August 10, 2007 Lieutenant General Douglas Lute recommended a draft to relieve stress on the Army’s all-volunteer based force. Selective Service System (SSS) registration information says that “Undocumented (illegal) aliens” and Physically Handicapped individuals who are “Able to function in public with or without assistance” must register with the SSS. If after reading this you are concerned and/or interested how you can help stop the current administration steer our ship right off the cliff, one thing you can do is inform yourself and get active. Start by reading Ron Paul’s New York Times best-seller The Revolution: A Manifesto. This Revolution movement is history in the making. Hopefully it is not too late to get our great country back from those who have stolen in from us. www.nolanchart.com/author380.html, www. nolanchart.com/article4568.html
The Lone Star Crescent, Nov / Dec 2008
Saving capitalism… from the stupid capitalists!
By Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri
I am taken back to the year 2000, when during the then American President Bill Clinton’s historic visit to India, I had started my seminar series called “The Great Indian Dream - India can beat America,” with a front page advertisement in leading dailies welcoming Clinton on the day of his arrival to India. The header of the ad said, “LAST DAYS OF AMERICAN SUPREMACY.” It has been seven years since then, and the time has come for people to realize the unfolding of the same in front of them and grasp the reasons behind the same. The time for the great power shift has come - the time for power to shift from the American hands to the Chinese, Indian and, dare I say, the Middle Eastern hands. As I wrote in my editorial in The Sunday Indian magazine, on account of the cataclysmic losses that each of the US financial behemoths has been suffering, many of them have been incessantly bailed out by Middle Eastern petrodollars. So, while the investments of Kuwait Investment Authority this year have been to the tune of $2 billion in Merrill Lynch, in addition to a bailout package of $3 billion for the beleaguered Citigroup, there are monoliths like Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, whose assets globally are above $800 billion on conservative estimates. Interestingly, this company is now the largest shareholder in Citibank, through its investment of $7.5 billion, and also has a stake in Carlyle Group - one of the largest American PE players - as well as a 28 per cent share in the London Stock Exchange;
no wonder then that for Americans, destroying them physically had assumed so much importance. And, if I were to put it mildly, it has all been a result of America’s stupid belief in fiscal bottom-line oriented shamefully inhuman capitalism. For many, the current crash in the US financial system is comparable to that of the Great Depression of the 30s, while many others are stating it is nothing more than a cyclical trend that would soon get mitigated with time. But what many are not realizing is the fact that this disaster is not an incident in isolation - it would invariably have far reaching repercussions and perhaps is the harbinger of the shape of things to come. Economic disasters are nothing new and since the end of the World War II, history has been littered with instances of economies that apparently seemed very strong suddenly going bust and taking a long time to come out of it. Some actually never came out at all. The most recent, glaring and memorable incident that happened in the last decade was the financial crisis of South East Asia. Before their collapse, they were often called the Asian Tigers that could take on Japan, and would be the centre of development for Asia around which other countries of Asia - including China and India - would have their domestic growth. Most of those Asian Tigers, like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and South Korea, were all lured by the illusion created by the US-backed financial institutions. Most of the Foreign Institutional Investors invariably overestimated the growth, and the extent to which these countries could export to the US
markets. Based on their overestimated estimates, and suffering from a herd mindset, most of the companies (particularly in the manufacturing segment) made the identical mistake of borrowing short-term money for longterm projects. The world has been an audience to how their entire calculations went awry, leading to a major foreign exchange crisis. In fact, the Central Banks of those countries, following the American footsteps of freefloating of currency, suddenly realized how things had gone far beyond their control. The damage was such that most of the South East Asian countries took nearly a decade to come out of that disaster. The same is the case with Japan which, in spite of being one of the largest economies of the world, is yet to recover from the deep recession that it entered into, thanks to the same real estate bubble collapse that happened there. The same story holds true for countries like Mexico and Argentina as well. It is intriguing that all these economies blindly indoctrinated the American lessons. No wonder that the American school of thought manifests from the Wall Street, which, in its quest to be extra bold, led many American companies to eventually compromise with fundamentals and look at only profits at all costs. It is rudimentary that a positive growth rate is not a sufficient condition for companies, and far more so in the case of economies on the whole. But given the guiding principles, it has been observed that American companies, in their quest to keep up the growth rates, have gone for whatever means they can use to increase their sales, even if that meant keeping aside the credit unworthiness of the customers - I had referred about this impending crisis due to this system of endless credit and eating up of the future finances of the population in my book, “The Great Indian Dream”. This went on for a long time, aided by the dubious fairy tales being woven by the investment bankers, which lured the banks and financial institutions to lend as much as possible. For long, everything was fine, and the system of borrowing from one to pay the other made sure that the skeletons remained hidden, until it was all too big to hide. For the uninitiated, the near trillion dollar loss due to subprime lending is just
one of the many issues that are plaguing US. If one takes into account the massive current account deficit that US has, then the situation becomes even grimmer. While many are expecting this present crisis to tide over soon, what they don’t realize is that there is a recession in US in the offing from which it would take not less than a few years for the nation to come out... Just in case they have any chance of recovery. Interestingly, on the flip side, economies that had always been reluctant to be indoctrinated by the American school of thought, have never gone through such recessionary trends, nor do they seem to be getting much affected now. For long, many in the West have criticized China. I’ve been to too many seminars around the globe where pretentious western funded intellectuals with a cigarette in hand made prophecies on how the Chinese bubble would burst, and unread illiterate journalists - drinking Americanfunded wine - nodded in chorus, pretending to be the most knowledgeable forces on capitalism. Some of them also gave their illiterate criticism on my book, which dared to differ to such uninitiated logic - in some of the financial papers they wrote. China was criticized for their ultra conservative financial policy and the strict control that the Central Bank kept on their financial systems. There was also a huge amount of criticism in terms of the kind of NPAs most of the State run banks in China were/are carrying with them. But then, this is also true that when today, America is reeling under the crisis, Chinese are still achieving a super growth with their existing NPAs. And the same holds true for other Latin American economies like Venezuela, which had been at loggerheads with respect to American policies, and now have been performing pretty decently. And thank god for India’s original allegiance to the planned model of development and the democratic set up of opposition parties not allowing sweeping reforms, that today, the cautious pace of reforms has kept us safe. It can thus be safely said that America and American business principles have created the biggest ever crisis for the globe and those who blindly believed in the same. Had this been even 20 years ago, things would have been very different. But today, as the world stands so very integrated, it stands to collectively pay in some way or the other for this gargantuan mistake of the Americans. However, while I might believe that socialism is the ideal form of economic system that we must all believe in, yet, what is also true is that as a socio-economic system, nothing has more appeal to the human mind than capitalism. So, the way ahead for the world is not anything else but capitalism itself. And this is where the question of saving capitalism from the capitalists comes from.
The Lone Star Crescent, Nov / Dec 2008
SHOPPING & GIFTS
TOP #1 DOWN PILLOWS
THIS MONTH MO
By Peter Gitundu
Down pillows are stuffed with feathers inside and this does not go down well with people who are allergic to feathers. According to research studies that have been conducted over the years, it does not however mean that other pillows are less likely to cause allergies but it is advisable to avoid those things you are allergic to because prevention is better that cure. Scientists say that one can only use such pillows if they are washable in hot water. Down pillows are most definitely hard to clean because they require some special type of cleaning. Human beings are in nature alternative-seeking creatures and for this reason you will find that the original pillow has become less popular and has been replaced by its synthetic counterpart which is more widely available. The synthetic one is also made from a vert soft material that does not store up heat within itself and thus does not become uncomfortable to use during summer. However they are quite comfortable and warm during the cold season. Another advantage of this synthetic pillow is that it is easier to wash than the natural one. To buy this pillow, it will be good for you to look around and see what is on offer. the Internet would be quite a resourceful place for you to find this information. you will also find that most decoration shops will also be selling these pillows. So the next time you need to shop for them, you do not have to go far,look in your local departmental stores. Peter Gitundu Researches and Reports on Pillows. For More Information on Down Pillows, Visit his site at www.MerpetSales.com/pillows/Down-pillows.php
A Muslim’s Guide To Investing By Mavis Morris
A Muslim’s Guide to Investing & Personal Finance: In Accordance with the Shariah by Virginia B. Morris in collaboration with Monem A. Salam is an easy-to-read introduction to personal finance and available Shariah-compliant products. The goal of the book is to promote basic understanding of Shariah-compliant financial alternatives for those who, faced with lexicon of mainstream, conventional finance, would like to make “wise investment decisions” and manage their financial lives in accordance with their religious principles. The Guide appropriately begins with a brief overview of Islamic financial principles like Islamic contracts, riba (interest), and halal and haram investments. It then offers succinct presentations of investment and risk, stocks and mutual funds, as well home finance, halal retirement planning and investing for education. The details are not overwhelming and options and scenarios are laid out for better understanding. The Muslim’s Guide is the 2nd edition of Guide to Islamic Financing (2001), republished to reflect the changes in the industry. The publisher, Lightbulb Press, has produced a series (similar to the popular “Dummies” collection) by taking “perplexing subjects” and from them producing colorful and engaging presentations. And in that, it succeeds. Each glossy page of this slim book is filled with delightful illustrations that are effective in fortifying the understanding of a given concept. Each topic is dully introduced and explained on a two-page spread, with key words bolded and defined. For example, when I open to pages 20-21, under the topic “Understanding Investing,” I find the definition of liquidity (complete with the picture of a water drop imprinted with a dollar sign for visual learning). While the Guide can be read straight through, the index is very accessible, easing reference (I went straight to the index and looked up life insurance for much needed clarification). While the guide clearly defines what constitutes halal and haram in the financial sphere, it is not meant to be a book of fiqh, as is stated within the first few pages. It is designed as a go-to reference that leaves room for differences in school of thought. Conflicting and majority opinions are mentioned without explicit proofs, so those who need added validity may consult a religious scholar who is versed in the modern application of Islamic financial laws. But the guide effectively demarcates the two separate spheres; a religious authority may point you towards avoiding what is not compliant with the religion but, unless adequately trained, they may not be an effective financial advisor (as was evident in the recent affinity fraud in Chicago with Sunrise Equities). I greatly appreciated the productive suggestion in the book: “Pick the scholar or opinion you agree with and stick with it.”
Black and Decker Infrawave Speed Oven By Blake Allen Black and Decker has been a trusted name in appliances for many years, not only kitchen items but also shop tools used in many homes such as drills and circular saws. The new Black and Decker Infrawave Speed Oven is an innovative solution to problems we all have with conventional means of cooking. For instance, in a conventional microwave or gas/electric cook stove, there is the problem with defrosting. Even though a microwave normally has a setting for defrost, this does not always work well. You may find after defrosting in a microwave that portions of the food are partially cooked, not a good thing. With the Black and Decker Infrawave Speed oven, you simply take the food out of the freezer and put it in the oven! You don’t have to thaw your food or preheat the oven! Great for working people that do not have a lot of time. If that is not enough, this oven also cooks your food in half the time as a conventional oven! This oven uses a different technology than microwave or traditional ovens; it uses infrared light to cook the food. It cooks from the outside in, unlike a microwave that cooks from the inside out. This means that your food will be brown and crispy on the outside as if cooked in a regular oven. Clean up is easy with the Black and Decker Infrawave Speed Oven as all the accessories you use when cooking can be easily removed and cleaned. There are many built in menu items to choose from or you can enter in your own options, it’s up to you. They are also offering extra accessories if you purchase this item, such as a grilling or broiling rack, two all purpose baking pans, an easy grip pan holder, and a cooking tips DVD. You will also get a bonus dual speed chopper, a thirty-dollar value with purchase of this product.
The Infrawave Speed Toaster Oven (www. InfraWaveSpeedOvenOnline.com) is a new revolution in cooking appliances and is about to make the microwave obsolete!
Want to advertise here? Lightbulb Press, September, 2008; ISBN: 978-1-933569-99-4. Available for bulk and retail sales directly through Lightbulb Press. Custom- Call 214-306-7920 or email to ized and branded versions are also available. 212-485-8800, email@example.com. www.lightbulbpress.com. ads@myCrescent.com
The Lone Star Crescent, Nov / Dec 2008
Home Sellers - Avoid a Transaction Collapse By Richard Brazil
A home seller’s worst nightmare is selling to a buyer who disappears mysteriously at some point during the transaction. The deal never closes, leaving the seller in the lurch just before moving day. Occasionally a buyer gets cold feet soon after his offer is accepted and backs out of the deal. This can happen if a buyer gets caught up in the frenzy of a multiple offer competition. When he realizes that he’s in over his head, he regrets his decision and asks to be released from the contract. Although disappointing, the damage is usually minimal when a transaction collapses early on. In a multiple offer situation, the seller may have negotiated a back-up contract with another eager buyer. In this case, the seller moves directly from the primary contract to the backup contract without having to market the property again. House hunting tip: Usually when a real estate transaction falls apart it’s for a good reason, and not due to the buyer’s whim. Typical problems involve property inspections and financing. But with a good team of real estate professionals on your side, many of the problematic issues that arise during a transaction can be resolved. What’s the key? Try to anticipate what could go wrong. By anticipating potential problems, you can often safeguard against them. Buyers can avoid most financing problems by getting Pre-Approved by a professional Loan Consultant. That’s where a buyer can find out about the financing they need to complete the purchase before they even make an offer to buy a home. A Pre-Approved buyer has already been approved for a mortgage by the bank. His credit has been checked and his employment and down payment funds have been verified. Sellers who receive an offer they like from a buyer who hasn’t been Pre-Approved should include a provision in the contract for the buyer to be Pre-Approved within a day or two of acceptance of the contract. This way, if the buyer is unable to do so, you haven’t wasted much time. Even with a Pre-Approved buyer, there’s always a chance that the property won’t appraise for the agreed upon purchase price. A low appraisal can put a transaction in jeopardy. If the buyer’s agent does not have a good working relationship with the appraiser, it can be a good idea for that agent to meet the appraiser at the property armed with recent comparable sales. This helps to insure that the property does appraise for the sale price. The most common reason that real estate transactions fall apart is inspections. Buyers should include an inspection contingency in any home purchase contract. A home inspection will reveal material facts and potentially some property defects. Even brand new homes can have issues that may not meet the buyer’s expectations. If defects are discovered that the buyer can’t live with, and that the sellers are unwilling or unable to correct, the transaction can implode if other things cannot be negotiated to compensate. Sellers are wise to disclose any known defects to the buyers before an offer is made. Most states have seller disclosure requirements that require sellers to disclose material facts. A material fact is anything that will effect a buyer’s decision to buy or the price he’d be willing to pay. In addition, home sellers should consider having pre-inspections done before their home goes on the market. For example if the roof leaks, disclose it. Then take the next step and find out what it will cost to repair it, and make the estimate available to the buyers before they make their offer. The closing: The more information the buyers have upfront about the property they’re trying to buy, the better. This minimizes the chances of the deal falling apart due to inspections. Happy House Hunting! Author: Richard H. Brazil, Jr. wears many hats; Broker, Agent, Businessman, Mentor... Inventor. Being a part of the Real Estate Industry for 20 years, Brazil has seen technology evolve and grow exponentially over the years. In April 2007 he filed a patent, and founded the American Agent Online Corporation a breakthrough technology that enables customers locate and chat with real estate agents LIVE in Real Time. www.AmericanAgentOnline. com.
The Lone Star Crescent, Nov / Dec 2008
How to Obtain Competitive Moving Quotes By Nate Rodnay To obtain a competitive moving quote you have to contact as many moving companies as possible and obtain their estimated quotes. This makes you to compare the given quotes to hire the most efficient and cost effective service provider. You have to understand that moving quote is the estimation of your actual moving cost. It may be varied more or less depending on the circumstances.
The initial step in moving your home is to search for a credible and professional moving company that provides good services at an affordable moving quote. They inspect your home and your possessions to find the
suitable moving materials and the estimated cost that will be charged for your move. Usually, moving quotes are based upon the distance of your move and the weight of shipment.
Buying a Home During the Holidays By Cecilia Sherrard The holiday season is approaching rapidly. Times have changed and the economy is in questionable stability. We’re not sure what’s going to happen to the housing numbers over the next couple of months. My team and I are seeing activity picking up right now and getting serious buyers on board for the coming months. It’s hard to tell of this is universal or just localized. Typically during the months between November and January, the real estate market naturally becomes slower and activity lessens. In most of the country, there may be brutal winters and most people don’t want to shop for a home let alone move during these winter months or during their yearly holidays. Some buyers will be forced to look for housing due to relocation, job or family changes or expirations on leases, etc. There are always homes for sale and buyers will always be on the lookout.
Regardless of which season we’re in or what’s going on with the surroundings outside, there’s one simple fact that; people will always need a place to call home. This will never change. It’s been said in real estate that serious buyers come out when the weather is bad or the market is slow due to a holiday or national happening. This is true. If you’re trying to sell a home this holiday season, remember that buyers that are out are more likely to make faster purchases and are ready to seriously negotiate. Many homebuyers at Christmas don’t have time to continue shopping or time to waste. They may come in, make an offer and be ready to go. If you’re not willing to work with them, they will move on. The best thing you can do during this season is set your price competitively and make your home very appealing. Make sure it’s clean, clean, clean and clutter-free. I know you have to life your life too, and you may want to go all out on
Online Moving Quotes Most of the professional movers are available online and they can give you the moving quote just by providing some required information. Online moving quotes are the instant responding service that provides your moving quotes in just few minutes. You need to fill the form with some essential information like, your moving date, type of moving, distance and location. You will be provided a list of possible moving companies and their comprehensive moving quotes. So that you can choose the affordable moving company that quotes the least price. The significant facet of online moving quotes is that it is offered for free of cost. It does not have any strings and obligations attached to it. You will be assured that the given information is secured and it will not be misused in any circumstances. It helps in decorating. I wouldn’t. Keep most of your decorations in your Christmas box this year. Keep your outside and inside holiday decorations to a minimum. Basic lighting, classy decor and a minimalistic approach is key. If you have to rearrange your furniture in order to accommodate your tree or other decorations, and it ruins the appeal of the room, don’t do it. You want a home shopper to look at your home and not just see Christmas, but a home throughout the year. If you’re shopping for a home this Christmas, try to be patient with homeowners. Remember that many will be having parties, dealing with the holidays and possibly weather issues. We can’t always makes homes accessible at the last minute and it’s best to give notice as much as possible when scheduling showings. When you’re pulling up to properties, look past the holiday decorations or snow. Try to look at the big items of the home; windows, exterior, foundations and existing landscaping. Pay attention to the roof also. Look for patches of missing snow on the roof if the rest is covered. Match the roof with the neighbors. If all the neighbors have six inches of snow and this home doesn’t, you’ll want to tell your home
saving your time and obtaining your moving quotes. Interpretation of Moving Quotes Different moving companies may provide different quotes. As a result it is necessary to analyze all the available quotes and choose a suitable mover. You have to analyze the following information, which is contained in every moving quote. • Any specifications you need to follow before they move your stuff. • Any fine print that could lead to extra charges. • A comprehensive list of moving materials and supplies used for moving. • Information about the charges on the mileage, volume, weight, and other allied services. • Any items that are not moved, or haven’t covered in the price quote. • Information regarding the costs of insurance and its coverage. • The terms of payment such as advance payments, installment payments and or any other payment methods. About the Author: ApartmentReviews.net helps you in finding apartments in various locations. Most likely other users have already rated apartments in your target area like Atlanta apartments. If you are looking for an Orlando apartments or apartments in Houston then apartment reviews will help you in choosing the one that best suits your needs. inspector about it. Make fair but aggressive offers. Try to find out as much as you can about the seller’s motivation level. The holiday season or winter months doesn’t always mean sellers and buyers are desperate. Some of these homes may have been on the market a while and the seller isn’t budging. Some sellers have less motivating factors when it comes to selling and moving. The same applies to homebuyers. Don’t assume all when you’re thinking of the market. The tips and suggestions above are a possibility to consider. I wish you the best in your holiday shopping as well as your home shopping. Try to make it a fun experience and keep the joy alive. Cecilia Sherrard is a full time Cleveland Real Estate Agent (YouShouldOwn.com/CeciliaSherrard.asp). Her website and Ohio real estate blog (YouShouldOwn.com/blog.asp) offer useful tips, information and articles pertaining to all things home. From buying, selling, investing or financing, the Cleveland Real Estate team is ready to assist.
The Lone Star Crescent, Nov / Dec 2008
6 Tips For Jump Starting a Car By Everette Jamison
When your car’s battery dies or loses its ability to crank the engine, you may need someone to give it a jump start. Doing so can provide your battery with the current it needs to turn the engine over and start your car. But, jump starting a car can be dangerous because of the hydrogen gas and acid contained within the battery. If it explodes, it can cause serious injury. Unfortunately, many car owners approach jump starting haphazardly and take it for granted. Below, I’ll give you 6 tips and precautions that you should use to protect you and your car. Tip #1: Line ‘Em Up Align your cars in a way that places each car’s battery as close to the other as possible. Then, place both cars in “Park” and turn them off. Also, make sure that the cars are not touching each other. The current can travel through the hull, potentially causing damage and injury. Tip #2: Know Your Signs Car batteries have a positive post and a negative post. How those posts are connected to the cables is important. Before connecting anything, familiarize yourself with which post is which. Tip #3: Know Your Connections Jumper cables are typically colored red and black. Those colors indicate which cable connects to which post. The red cable will be connected to the positive posts on the dead battery and the charged battery. The black cable will be connected to the negative post on the charged battery. The other end of the black cable will clamp down on the hull of the dead battery’s car. Tip #4: Clear The Cable Path Do not allow the clamps at the end of the cables to touch each other. Also, make sure that the cables are free of any moving parts. They can easily become caught in the fan, ripping the clamps off the posts. Tip #5: Good Battery First Once the cables have been connected to the battery posts, start the engine of the car with the charged battery first. Let the engine idle for a few minutes so its charging system can take some of the load off the battery. Tip #6: Disconnect, Then Drive After starting the car with the dead battery, disconnect the jumper cables after the engine turns over. In order for the battery to keep its charge, you’ll need to drive it continuously for approximately 30 minutes. Jump starting a car isn’t complicated. You need to memorize which posts are positive and negative, and which cables are connected to which posts. Then, take a few minutes to follow the tips above, ensuring your safety and preventing damage to both vehicles. When looking for quality used auto parts and affordable used engines consider, http://www. everdrive.com.
TOYOTA CAMRY 09 “The 2009 Toyota Camry is pleasant to drive and spacious enough to keep a family of four content on a long road trip. But newer competition has managed to better this segment titan in overall performance and cabin refinement.” -Edmunds.com ......................................................................................................... It is “as exciting as a ham and cheese sandwich made on white bread: bland but it does the job... It rides nicely, has refined powertrains, is spacious, has lots of available features, and is relatively economical, with an EPA rating for four-cylinder models of 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. However, it isn’t much fun to drive, and it’s not that fast in four-cylinder form. The styling manages somehow to be both unpleasant and inoffensive.” -CarAndDriver.com
HONDA PILOT 09 “The new Pilot doesn’t change the game the way the original did. There’s not a single area in which it excels, in a field crowded with excellent products. Of course, the same could be said of the old Pilot, of which Honda sold quite a few. Much like the previous model, the new Pilot is a vehicle for those who will only consider a Toyota or Honda, and want something roomier than the Highlander.” -TheTruthAboutCars.com ......................................................................................................... “We’re not sure that consumers will continue to favor boxy SUV styling in the face of ever-increasing fuel prices. However, for families who are too self-conscious to be seen in an Odyssey, the Pilot does a good job of looking tough on the outside while coddling its passengers in comfort.” -AutomobileMag.com
The Lone Star Crescent, August 2008