So in the end, President Obama gave President Bush a sort of half-hearted shout-out in his speech on Iraq tonight. It wasn’t enthusiastic or graceful, and it lacked the class of a truly mature and distinguished character. It more or less amounted to: “Yo, Bush: Wassup?”
So, less than 50 percent of the country think you’re Christian. Growing numbers think, in fact, that you’re Muslim (not that there’s anything wrong with that). And who’s stepping up to “defend” your actual religious blackground, uh, background?
Sooner or later, your favorite local radio music format will be gone. One day, perhaps without warning, it will be replaced by talk, news, or some “contemporary” format. Popular songs you once enjoyed, or maybe loved to hate, first become oldies and suddenly one day a program director somewhere decides the demographic skews too old and those songs just vanish from the radio.
Over the past two weeks, some conservative dimwits — pundits and politicians alike — have said that building the Mosque de Triomphe at Ground Zero would be like…like…well it would be like — OH WAIT, I’ve got it — like building a Serbian Orthodox church at Serba…Srebre…Sebranka…Srebawho?…Serbawhatchamacallit — WHATEVER — YOU KNOW, THAT PLACE WHERE “8,000 Muslims blah blah blah…”
Catch, for example, the September issue of Wired–the lustrous eye-blasting pink one with the Chris Anderson-Michael Wolff graffiti declaring “The Web is Dead.” Nearby on the newsstand you can see Scientific American trumpet “the end” in the same shockingly hot infrared tones, canceling time itself (gasp!) by “crunch”, “whimper”,” rip”, “freeze” or “lurch” and incinerating earth by runaway global warming, all presumably in at least one of the innumerable multiple parallel universes trumpeted in recent issues as a substitute for Gd.
Ken Burns has always had good timing. One month before the filmmaker’s 18Â½-hour love letter to America’s national pastime was to begin being broadcast in 1994, Major League Baseball conveniently went on strike, so its fans had a choice: Either tune in to PBS to savor classic moments of the sport artfully arranged, or nothing.
In these lean times for President Barack Obama’s fan base, it has surely been a fun few days, filled with pointing and laughing at those silly people who have told pollsters they believe he is a Muslim.
The Pentagon’s just-released report to Congress on Chinese military power is alarming for two reasons: First, Beijing’s military buildup continues; second, the modernization of our armed forces may come up short of what’s needed to meet the China challenge.
President Obama and family left today for a 10 day vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. The Vineyard is a slice of summer heaven: lovely, charming, sweet. And very, very liberal.In many instances, it’s even more liberal than the rest of Massachusetts, which is not easy to do.
Raymond Ibrahim surveys commentary from Arab countries on the Mega-Mosque proposal and finds prominent spokesmen, including from the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, who think it’s a really bad idea. Indeed, so bad that they assume it’s a Zionist conspiracy to link Islam to 9/11. (Hint: dubbing anything a ‘Zionist conspiracy’ is not/not a compliment!)
For 17 years Israelis and Palestinians negotiated directly. In the end of 2008, in preparation for Barack Hussein Obama’s presidency, the Palestinians walked out on those talks. It took them two years but they have finally sold that used car again. I am not sure they will benefit much from the sale. But the drowning (not Muslim!) American president may. This morning everybody is talking about a major Clinton/Obama “achievement:” the renewal of direct Israeli/Palestinian talks. And reading about the imminent firing up of Iran’s first nuclear facility led you thought nuclearizing Iran is the real problem? No way! The US has just assured Israel that nuclear Iran is not imminent.
Some of the things I’ve read in the last week have been among the most disheartening of my career. If people wish to be in favor of the mosque at Ground Zero, that’s fine. Make your argument. But the viciousness and arrogance of the attacks on those who oppose the structure are reminiscent of the tactics that we used to call McCarthyism. Our friends on the left have discovered the Constitution, a document they often prefer that their favorite judges ignore. They now cite our “core values as expressed in the Constitution,” they wave the flag that they’ve insulted a good part of their lives, and they denounce anyone who disagrees as a racist and a bigot, or, remarkably, as “un-American.” It is perfectly plain that they regard themselves as our betters, lecturing to the unruly masses.
On August 8, a typically ignorant article concerning Russia/Caucasus/Balkans appeared, by Eli Lake in the Washington Times. Despite emailing three different editors there — all of whom know me — I wasn’t able to get this letter any attention and so presumably it went into the letter editor’s slush pile. But since Lake — and the apparently non-existent copy-desk — need to be embarrassed, I’m printing it here:
Despite the misleading headlines focusing on the fact 24% of Americans believe Barack Obama to be a Muslim, Time magazine’s poll on Americans’ Views on the Campaign, Religion and the Mosque Controversy reveals an involved and well informed public at least as far as the mosque issue is concerned. Consider the following results of the following questions:
First, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg stepped in it over the proposed Ground Zero mosque by sanctimoniously declaring his support for freedom of religion. That was a real profile in courage, since he knew very well the issue had nothing whatsoever to do with freedom of religion. No one was telling the mosque developers that they couldn’t build the mosque. We were asking politely for them not to build it where jihadists incinerated nearly 3000 Americans on September 11—in the name of Islam. That point was clearly lost on the Mayor, who was lost in his own arrogance, ignorance, and foolishness.
As Israelis and Palestinians are getting together for direct talks, a waxing question is: what will be the final form of their relationship? Most observers expect two states (although some outliers hold for one state, in which Jews and Arabs have equal rights–but in effect the Palestinians soon will have the majority). Many observers on both sides agree on what the final outcome will look like: the line that separates the West and East Banks (the future Palestinian state and Israel) will be adjusted a bit, in both directions; different parts of Jerusalem will serve as a capital for both states; and the refugees, who cannot return, will be compensated.
The most apt comparison between the debate surrounding the planned ground zero mosque is with the one which surrounded the planned Nazi marches in Skokie, a Chicago suburb inhabited by a large number of Jewish holocaust survivors. The US constitution guarantees the right of American Muslims to disregard the pain they will cause the victims of the Islamist terrorist attack on 9/11 just as the constitution guaranteed American Nazis the right to disregard the pain of the victims of the Nazi holocaust. Not surprisingly, the supreme court upheld that Nazi right just as it would uphold the Muslim right. In Skokie the issues related to freedom of speech and assembly. The court held:
At the risk of sounding like the child who pointed out that the emperor had no clothes, I wonder whether zoning laws for Ground Zero have changed since a commercial building site turned into a burial and memorial site. The press has reported on various bars and strip clubs that exist in the Tribeca neighborhood but we haven’t been told whether these are post 9/11 additions or grandfathered from a time before 2001. What are the stipulations for what can be built in proximity to national memorials and for what can be built in proximity to mosques? Are they the same? Can our anti-bigotry mayor illuminate the subject so that the rest of us understand the rules of the game?
Barack Obama’s favorite economic narrative goes like this: The Republicans drove us into the ditch and he has been able to pull us out only part of the way. Therefore, though times are bad, reelecting Republicans would mean undoing all his good work. Challenging this narrative is none other than very liberal Colombia University economics professor Jeffrey Sachs. Sachs argues that instead of beginning to pull us out of the ditch, the Obama administration, unlike the Merkel one, drove us deeper into the ditch. Why? Because they panicked and opted for short term solutions. Sachs know. He was there:
We live in a pluralistic society with a guaranteed freedom to worship according to our own beliefs. This in itself is a remarkable right that should never be taken for granted. Somehow, that has become confused with the notion of each religion accommodating itself to other religions as a show of brotherhood. This is both unnecessary and nonsensical as some religions are totally antithetical to each other and should not pretend to compromise their own beliefs iln a misguided semblance of unity. Worshipping together under one roof does not eliminate our differences, nor does it accomplish anything more than window dressing for the naive.