The Way in which God works are not THAT mysterious

Part 1

The thrilling conclusion

Previously covered here

Advertisements

Link Dump….

Working…can’t write…dumping link…

This is why they should. (I got sick of this nontroversy a couple days ago)

When Pat Buchanan calls your Nazi analogy over the edge, it is.

Read the comments to see why I call them nutjobs.  (note the comment and reactions to the comment that explains this away rationally.  Rationality is like the rage virus to these people, turns them crazy).’

Thanks, Rupert, for making this so obvious.  Fox News is *directly* funding the Republicans now, and not just donating 20 hours a day to free advocacy and attack ads.

Top 10 Right Wing Conspiracy theories. With the news that 40% of Republicans and 20% of Americans think Obama is a muslim, these fit right in.

Media companies stealing customer data. More definitive proof of their hypocrisy.

The Making of a Nontroversy.

Roger Ebert continues to do good stuff.

Franklin Graham makes up stuff about the President’s Dad to explain American’s ignorance re: Obama’s religion.   For some reason I think he’s doing it wrong.

We recently gave Israel $3,000,000,000 to buy $2,7500,000,000 worth of F-35s. This would be more of an actual issue if this story (and those like it) got more play.  That’s how the Military Industrial Complex works, BTW.  We borrow from China to give to Israel to buy from Us.   And a few people make out like bandits selling stuff to kill, well, bandits.  It does keep us at #1, I guess.

RIAA wants to force electronic manufacturers to include FM radios in all phones, ipods, etc.  Yes, it is that stupid, and yes, they actually are saying this is good for you.  I side with the concept of the free market on this one.

How Crazy Have We Become When…

George W. Bush comes across as a voice of reason (or when viewed through the skewed prism of Election 2010, a terrorist sympathizer).

Thank you all very much for your hospitality. We’ve just had a wide-ranging discussion on the matter at hand. Like the good folks standing with me, the American people were appalled and outraged at last Tuesday’s attacks, and so were Muslims all across the world.

Both Americans, our Muslim friends and citizens, tax-paying citizens, and Muslim in nations were just appalled and could not believe what we saw on our TV screens. These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith, and it’s important for my fellow Americans to understand that.

The English translation is not as eloquent as the original Arabic, but let me quote from the Quran itself: “In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the end of those who do evil, for that they rejected the signs of Allah and held them up to ridicule.”

The face of terrorist is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace, they represent evil and war.

When we think of Islam, we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. Billions of people find comfort and solace and peace. And that’s made brothers and sisters out of every race, out of every race.

America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country.

The Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads, and they need to be treated with respect.

In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect. Women who cover their heads in this country must feel comfortable going outside their homes. Moms who wear covering must not be intimidated in America. That’s not the America I know; that’s not the America I value.

I’ve been told that some fear to leave; some don’t want to go shopping for their families; some don’t want to go about their ordinary daily routines because, by wearing cover, they’re afraid they’ll be intimidated. That should not and that will not stand in America.

Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don’t represent the best of America. They represent the worst of humankind. And they should be ashamed of that kind of behavior.

And it’s a great country; it’s a great country because (we) share the same values of respect and dignity and human worth. And it is my honor to be meeting with leaders who feel just the same way I do. They are outraged; they’re sad. They love America just as much as I do.

And I want to thank you all for giving me a chance to come by, and may God bless us all. Thank you.

“The worst of humankind”, indeed.

How quickly so many forget the lessons of 9/11.

UPDATE: Here’s a few of them…

The harsh Republican response to President Barack Obama’s defense of a mosque near ground zero marks a dramatic shift in the party’s posture toward Islam — from a once active courtship of Muslim voters to a very public tolerance after Sept. 11 to an openly aired sense of mistrust.

Republican leaders have largely abandoned former President George W. Bush’s post-Sept. 11 rhetorical embrace of American Muslims and his insistence — always controversial inside the party — that Islam is a religion of peace. This weekend, former Bush aides were among the very few Republicans siding with Obama, as many of the party’s leaders have moved toward more vocal denunciations of Islam’s role in violence abroad and suspicion of its place at home.

Desktop clearing link dump re: Ground Zero Mosque

Well I’ve got some bad new for y’all.  Looks like I’m backing to selling my skills on the open market, which means *much* less posting (if history is any indication).  That being said, here’s the stuff that I found interesting lately and some quick blurbs and all that.  You know the drill.

First up is some more reading on the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” (first mentioned here, here).  It’s the latest in a long line of  “scare the base about the brown people” tactics that seems to work wonders at the polls.   As the best antidote for bigotry and ignorance is exposure and information, here’s some interesting reading in that direction.

Here we have a nice dissection of Newt Gingrich’s (and other commentators) understanding of history regarding the name of the group building the mosque.

This is the important fact that Newt hopes those who read his polemic will be ignorant of: for a ruler to be legitimate in Muslim eyes in the tenth century, during the time when the Great Mosque was being expanded into its present-day dimensions, it was important to emphasize the peaceful succession of Islam from the other religions in the area.  A caliph was expected to have arrived at an accord with the Christians and Jews over which he ruled.****** Far from “symboliz[ing] their victory” the Mosque was held up by Muslim historians a symbol of peaceful coexistence with the Christians–however messier the actual relations of Christians and Muslims were at the time.*******

So what should modern Christians think when they hear a Muslim use the word “Cordoba”?  Well, I know that Newt hasn’t been a Catholic for very long now, but maybe his priest ought to direct him to read a little thing called “The Catholic Encyclopedia“.  Allow me to quote from the 1917 edition (which has the virtue of being in the public domain and easily searchable) and its entry on Cordoba:

In 786 the Arab caliph, Abd-er Rahman I, began the construction of the great mosque of Cordova, now the cathedral, and compelled many Christians to take part in the preparation of the site and foundations. Though they suffered many vexations, the Christians continued to enjoy freedom of worship, and this tolerant attitude of the ameers seduced not a few Christians from their original allegiance. Both Christians and Arabs co-operated at this time to make Cordova a flourishing city, the elegant refinement of which was unequalled in Europe.

Yes, yes, I know, history can be a bit boring and dauting at times, but my what it does for context.

Along that same line of thinking, here’s a long and detailed history of the curiously named city of Elkader, Iowa.

Elkader, Iowa was founded in 1846. It remains today as the seat of Clayton County, with a population of around 1500. It is the only city in America named after an Arab.

There’s a long and detailed history of the intereactions between Muslims and Christians, and it’s five times longer than the history of the U.S.   When someone wants to use a reference that calls to mind the positive and peaceful interactions between the popular Abrahamic faiths, and is instead smeared with the very broad brush of “terrorism”, it’s time to break out the history books.

Unfortunately this type of informed, measured response goes against the tide of the time.  That tide, to my mind, is very much along the lines of this piece, entitled:  “The state of America?  Hysteria“.

If you reengage the American media after a month out of the country, as I’ve done this week, it’s hard not to conclude that hysteria is now the dominant characteristic of our politics and civic conversation.

How else to explain the fact that questions like secession and nullification — issues that were resolved in blood by the Civil War more than a century ago — have come alive again and are routinely tossed around, not just by fringe figures but by Republican officeholders and candidates?

For example, Zach Wamp, a Tennessee congressman who opposes the recently enacted healthcare reforms and is running for governor, told an interviewer that he hopes “the American people will go to the ballot box in 2010 and 2012 so that states are not forced to consider separation from this government.”

The most popular such movement involves abolishing or gutting the 10th Amendment as a way to deny American citizenship to the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants. Even the ostensibly moderate Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has signed on to that one, while Rep. Louie Gohmert (R- Texas) speculates that such children actually are terrorist moles planted here to grow up as U.S. citizens as part of a long-range plot.

Nothing quite tops the anti-Muslim hysteria, which has led people to organize opposition to the construction of new mosques in places from Lower Manhattan to Temecula. One candidate for statewide office in Tennessee — somebody should examine their water supply — argues that the 1st Amendment does not cover Muslims.

The piece ends with what I think is probably the single best description of the modern politics landscape.

In the midst of moral panic, inchoate indignation stands in for reason; accusation and denunciation supplant dialogue and argument; history and facts are rendered malleable, merely adjuncts of the moral entrepreneur’s — or should we say provocateur’s — rhetorical will. As we now also see, a self-interested mass media with an economic stake in the theatricality of raised and angry voices can transmit moral panic like a pathogen.

I think that sums it up nicely.  It takes cooler and wiser heads to prevail in such a situation, and given the volume and reach of the provocateur’s mouthpiece (my local Fox news affiliate ran a hit piece of the First Lady tonight, something they usually reserve for their cable outlet), it’s dang hard to get a wise word in edgewise.

Humor works as well, occasionally, although sometimes the subtlety can be a bit much for the morally outraged.

Why is this an insult to the victims of 9/11? The answer, I think, is obvious. Among the titles published by Conde Nast is the fashion magazine Vogue. Vogue publishes an Italian edition. Italy, of course, was the incubator of fascism. The terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center were Islamofascists. I think the connection is clear.

It is not only the presence of Vogue at Ground Zero that is such an awful affront and insult. The Fairchild division of Conde Nast is the publisher of Women’s Wear Daily. The initials of Women’s Wear Daily are WWD. WWD sounds almost exactly like WMD. The Islamofascists who attacked our country on 9/11 are part of an Islamofascist movement that seeks to use WMD against Americans. Also, they want to use IEDs. IED also sounds like WWD, though not as much. Also, IED sounds like IUD, and many of the women-oriented magazines published by Conde Nast advocate the use of IUDs as a method of birth control. Those who advocate the use of IUDs cannot be allowed to sully the memories of the dead by building their headquarters on the site of Ground Zero.

I wanted to finish this up with a link to an act I found surprising and refreshing.  Quick background, the Anti-Defamation Leage (ADL) who claim to be “the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency, ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all“, came out *against* the building of an Islamic community center in New York City.
I listened to their director, Abraham H. Foxman (I’m guessing the “H” ain’t for Hussein), on NPR defending their decision to side with the ignorant and I just couldn’t wrap my head around his point.  He kept saying how people need to be more aware of those around them and give into the bigots and fools, or something.  It really was a twist, listening to someone who, by all their own statements, should have been out in front of this thing, being that cooler, wiser head.    Instead they joined with the small-minded political opportunists, and lost the support of a powerful voice in the opinion-maker’s bracket, Fareed Zakaria.   While I find Fareed a bit too corporate for my tastes, I do think he’s, by far, one of the best international commentators you’ll find on the tubes.  Well-spoken, well-read, and now very well connected, his insights are worth paying attention to.
In regards to this topic, he can explain it much better than I, so I’ll let him have at it. (really, watch that video, he covers all the bases, including pointing out the hypocrisy involved with a primarily jewish organization telling *others* to be wary about building things in places you aren’t very welcome and causing more pain…).
Fareed then put the money where his mouth was, and returned his reward.   That’s what they call integrity ’round these parts, and it *is* rare enough to find in a media personality in this day and age to be notable.  It’s good to know there’s at least one rational voice, speaking only after taking it all in and thinking about what it all means.
I think there might be only one, to be honest.
UPDATE: Here’s a solid refutation of those who continue to try and paint the imam in question as a radical…

And, of course, an interview with Foreign Policy in 2007 explored both the depths of [Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s] ongoing contact with the Administration and his so-called radical views.

I have had meetings with Karen Hughes. However, I would welcome the opportunity to have further, deeper, and more nuanced discussions with other members of the Bush administration on how they need to understand religion and how it intersects with political affairs. To not understand the role of Islam and faith as a motivator is to be incapacitated in shaping a foreign policy that achieves the objectives of the United States.The perception in the Muslim world is that the West wants to impose a secularism upon it, which to them is equivalent to the erasure of religion in society. As an American, I know that is not the intent of the United States at all. But thats the perception. The perception in America is that when people say they want an Islamic state, they want something like the Taliban. And that is not true at all.

Rauf added that, during Ramadan, it was important to remember the love that Jews, Muslims and Christians agree that their gods preach, adding, “It also means do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you.” Guess that’s one thing Rauf’s critics forgot.

This whole issue is, largely, one based on those perceptions and on clarifying the reality of the situation.  Asshats like this ain’t helping.

“Permits should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States of America, let alone the monstrosity planned for Ground Zero,” Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association wrote this week on the AFA website. “This is for one simple reason: each Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the American government.”

That’s a bit too Palin-American for even the most xenophobic folks, one would hope.

That said, ADL’s misguided excess of feeling in a case in which clear thinking was requisite is not part of a pattern, which is why it stands out so clearly as a mistake. In fact, since 9/11 the organization has spoken out frequently and clearly against discrimination toward Muslims.

As Amanda Susskind, who directs ADL’s Pacific Southwest Region, told me this week, “ADL is not in the business of promoting an anti-Muslim agenda. Our original statement focused on the issues of location and sensitivity of the Islamic Community Center. The debate on those issues was hijacked by bigots, Islamophobes and those who wanted to promote their own political agendas.”

Sacred Strip Clubs? Yes! Sacred Buildings? No!

Nice piece on this subject, covers most of the arguments I’ve made about the thing.


There are actually a couple of adult entertainment venues that show up on Google ( GOOGnews people ) Maps if you search around the former site of the World Trade Center. Internet reviewers seem to like New York Dolls best, due to its sexy, disproportionately Russian staff, mirrored stage and purportedly high-quality lap dances.

As yet, I haven’t heard anyone wonder why our political class is silent as the sex industry operates on sacred ground. It would be a bizarre complaint: It’s Manhattan, where you can find anything mere blocks from a given location. The closest strip club to Ground Zero happens to be two blocks away, a fact that has nothing to do with our reverence for the place where so many Americans were killed by terrorists. As you’ve probably noticed, it doesn’t even make sense to call it The Ground Zero Strip Club.

http://www.forbes.com/2010/07/22/ground-zero-mosque-religion-terrorism-opinions-columnists-conor-friedersdorf.html

UPDATE: Best quote from the piece…

Moreover, the writer Jeffrey Goldberg, as staunch an opponent of radical Islamists as you’ll find, posted recently on the controversy over this cultural center, having interacted with the folks who are attempting to build it, and reported that they are peace-loving people intent on marginalizing extremists inside their religion. “One of the ways to prevent future Ground Zeroes is to encourage moderation within Islam, and to treat Muslim moderates differently than we treat Muslim extremists,” he writes. “The campaign against this mosque treats all Muslims as perpetrators. This is a terrible mistake, for moral and strategic reasons.”

Opponents of this project are judging people they’ve never met on the basis of their religion, treating all Muslims as enemies of America, and allowing emotional prejudice to dictate their opinion when prudent reflection would serve everyone better. Forbidding houses of worship from being built is something done in foreign autocracies, not a country founded by people fleeing religious prejudice.

I can’t stand most of Goldberg’s stuff, but even he can see how the Palin’s [1] (and Gingrich’s [2]) of the world are dead wrong on this one.

—-

As to [1], the quitter wrote, “”to build a mosque at Ground Zero is a stab in the heart of the families of the innocent victims of those horrific attacks.”  This is insane.  So insane, in fact, it got enough people to flag it as offensive it got deleted by Facebook.  This “blame *them* all” attitude of Palin’s is just wrong.  And then, of course, she doubled down on the crazy, “Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate.”    Hey, jackass, the peaceful muslims ARE THE ONES BUILDING THE MOSQUE.  Not only that, but the “heartland” wasn’t even attacked by Muslims.  Ever.  New York was.  You know that place, right?  Why not leave the decisions on how to heal to them, rather than an unemployed politician from 4,000 miles away.  The only thing that makes her looks slightly rational is when compared to [2]. 

[2] “But Gingrich was not content to have the Mama Grizzly conducting the conservative Crazy Train. He wants to forbid the location of a mosque at Ground Zero until there are churches and temples allowed in Saudi Arabia.” [full article]   I mean, really?  Gingrich wants to take religious tolerance cues from Saudi Arabia?  And here I was thinking the U.S. was slightly better than that.  It’s very similar to a number of conservatives who defended Arizona’s crazy laws by pointing out Mexico’s even worse laws.   And these are the same people who constantly bray about the U.S. being the best thing since Jesus.  And yet…they want to take cues on how to govern from some of the worst offenders in the world.  The mind, sometimes it boggles.

Stay Classy, GOP

The level of absurdity on this one just went to 110 (out of 10).

Here’s the backstory (a bit of it anyway).  And here’s the ad from a political group that invaded and destroyed a country because it had the same religion as “them”.   You really can see “their” thought process on Iraq in this video.  The hatred just seeeps…

I guarantee you the Tea Party nutjobs (with their own “class” displayed here) probably got a stiffy and a nice herp, derp, guffaw out of “the audacity of jihad.”  

The amount of hate and death spread by a group of whom 90% allegedly follow a guy who said to love your neighbor and turn your other cheek when attacked (and wasn’t so high on the rich) is astounding.  It’s almost like they are a bunch of hypocrites (yet another religio-politico contradiction).  Scratch that, it’s not almost, it’s exactly like that.  I guess it’s easier to shoot people when sitting on a high horse.

I mean, can you find a better real-world example of hypocrisy?

At one point, a portion of the crowd menacingly surrounded two Egyptian men who were speaking Arabic and were thought to be Muslims.

“Go home,” several shouted from the crowd.

“Get out,” others shouted.

In fact, the two men – Joseph Nassralla and Karam El Masry — were not Muslims at all. They turned out to be Egyptian Coptic Christians who work for a California-based Christian satellite TV station called “The Way.” Both said they had come to protest the mosque.

“I’m a Christian,” Nassralla shouted to the crowd, his eyes bulging and beads of sweat rolling down his face.

But it was no use. The protesters had become so angry at what they thought were Muslims that New York City police officers had to rush in and pull Nassralla and El Masry to safety.

“I flew nine hours in an airplane to come here,” a frustrated Nassralla said afterward.