Incidentally, for whatever it's worth (not much, I think) a White House intern working in the Intergovernmental Affairs branch where they're working on the logistics of the Homeland Security Department reorganization says that Tom Ridge will not be the new secretary -- allegedly of his own free will.
Saturday, June 22, 2002
Friday, June 21, 2002
Thursday, June 20, 2002
Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64 of the Sahih Bukhari edition of the Hadith says, "The Prophet married [Aisha] when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old." But Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said many Islamic scholars interpret that passage to mean Aisha was 16 when she was betrothed to Muhammad and 19 when they wed.What exactly is that interpretation based on? Pardon me if I don't find it very convincing. Plus, even if she was 16 when she was betrothed, I'm not really comfortable with that either. As for the charges of demon-possession, well, I don't believe in demons (or angels, god, etc.) so I guessVines was wrong about that.
On this other hand, this is pretty clearly a red-herring. Anyone ought to be able to see that what matters is what Muslim religious leaders are actually teaching about conduct in the world and not what the Koran "really" says. What I'm really interested in, though, is this:
The controversy has also embroiled the White House. President Bush, who has repeatedly declared that the U.S. war on terrorism is not a war on Islam, apparently was unaware of Vines's statement when he praised the Southern Baptist Convention last week for its tradition of tolerance.Now what tradition of tolerance would that be? The tradition of tolerance for slavery? The tradition of vicious anti-gay slurs? The tradition of narrow-minded sexual morality. Puh-leeze.
This is possibly the most hopeful news for the secular west that I've heard in a while. Why? Well, because Iran is the example of Shari'a in action, and this move away from the clerics and towards secular democracy (with the inevitable influence of Islamic law, but likely with a growing tolerance of non-Islamic peoples within the country as the zeal to convert by the sword fades) points out what would happen were the "Islamists" to take over other states in the area- sooner or later, the religious leaders would lose control and moderation would begin in earnest. Which is, oddly enough, pretty much what has happened with Christianity in much of the West.I think that this analysis provides two strong reasons for believing that our policy toward the Middle East should be centered on a vigorous advocacy of democracy. The first reason is that it can't but discourage reformers in Iran and elsewhere when they see that the leaders of Western countries don't seem to think that they deserve democracy and good government. The second reason is that we don't need to live in such abject terror of the idea that if Mubarak or whomever democratized that their countries would just be taken over by theocrats. If the actual experience of theocracy takes some of the luster off the idea that everything would be okay if only the Mullahs were in charge, then maybe it'd be a good thing for some more places to at least be given the opportunity to try it.
(To be sung to "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off" by George & Ira Gershwin)I'll just come right out and admite that I crave hits. Lots of bloggers out there say they don't care if anyone reads their sites, they're just having fun. I always suspect that people who say that either (a) are lying or (b) have so many hits that they just can't imagine life without them but maybe they're telling the truth and I'm just different. Anyways, I do do this for fun, and it is fun, but it's only fun because I think someone besides me reads it and likes it, so I guess what I'm saying is that everyone should link to me and e-mail all their friends and tell them to read me and stuff. Yeah. More hits = good times.
You praise my weblog
And I'll mention your blog.
You link my weblog
And I'll link to your blog
Let's call the whole thing off.
Wednesday, June 19, 2002
UPDATE: Nick Denton too.
Is the hypocrisy of today's cultural elites limitless? Is the Pope Catholic? After years of haranguing the Boy Scouts of America for refusing to place young boys in danger of sexual abuse, the liberal intelligentsia is now condemning the Catholic Church leadership for doing exactly that.Pardon. I thought we were criticizing the BSA for refusing to let gay men be scoutmasters and that we were criticizing the Catholic Church for not refusing to let child abusers by priests. That seemed like two different things to me, but apparently not because:
While not all homosexuals are child molesters and not all child molesters are homosexual, there is a strong enough correlation to mean that the BSA's policy is prudent and responsible. Although homosexuals constitute only about two percent of the population, they represent one third of child molesters.These stats sound a bit dubious to me (two percent, in particular, seems low), but also note that they don't actually include the one piece of information that would actually be relevent to deciding whether or not some kind of sexual orientation profiling is warranted -- the percentage of homosexuals who are child molesters. Almost all serial killers, for example, are white men, but very very very few white men are serial killers (because very few people are serial killers) so no one thinks that banning white men from some area would be a reasonable public safety measure.
Gee. 9 months and they've managed to find 13 suspected terrorists in all of Wahabbi Central -- to make 13 arrests in a country where you can't chuck a fig without hitting a half dozen bad guys busy sipping sweet tea and plotting the destruction of something or other.The madness really must end, but it won't unless the leadership in this country is willing to name the enemy -- would-be Islamic theocrats -- and admit that the government of Saudi Arabia isn't an ally in the struggle against that enemy, or even a potential ally, it is the enemy and the threat is the Saudi Arabiazation of the world.
Who else but the Palestinian people can construct the legitimacy they need to rule themselves and fight the occupation with weapons that don't kill innocents and lose us more support than ever before? A just cause can easily be subverted by evil or inadequate or corrupt means. The sooner this is realised the better the chance we have to lead ourselves out of the present impasse.His primary thinking on this question seems to be tactical, rather than moral, but recognizing the futility of a given course of action can be the first step to recognizing its wrongness. Unfortunately, however, the time when secular nationalists like Said had any real influence over the Palestinian movement is long gone.
Tuesday, June 18, 2002
After all this time, why wouldn't this person come forward to get some of the limelight?I agree that Deep Throat is probably someone who's still operating in Republican circles, but Pat Buchanan's not operating in those circles. He quit the Republican Party to build a purer brand of conservativism. It seems to me that someone hell-bent on exposing the Republican Party as a corrupt betrayal of its old principles would be eager to let the world know about his earlier act of disloyalty to the organization.
It's hard to figure ... unless he was someone still operating in those Republican circles where that sort of disloyalty would be very damning and even career-threatening. That is, unless it was someone like Patrick J. Buchanan.
UPDATE:Stanley Kuttner doesn't give a shit. Well, I think it's interesting, so there. But his book is real good. Go buy it.
Monday, June 17, 2002
The current interim cabinet is dominated by ethnic Tajiks. Other groups, especially the majority Pashtuns, want to ensure that they are not squeezed out from the new government.The Pashtuns, you see, aren't the majority of the Afghan population at all -- they're a plurality, a small but crucial difference. There's also the question of how "dominated" by Tajiks the cabinet really is. The Prime Minister, after all, isn't a Tajik, he's Pashtun. The domination of which they speak are the three Tajiks who hold the most important ministries -- Fahim at Defense, Abdullah at Foreign, and Qanooni at Interior. But Qanooni's already agreed to step down and Abdullah's only half Tajik. Considering that Tajiks are around one quarter of the population is this really such disproportionate representation? I don't think so. The real story here is that the Pashtuns made a bid for total domination of the government in the guise of the Taliban, lost, and now are snatching victory from the jaws of defeat with the connivance of a gullible Western press and an American intelligence and defense establishment that's still busy fighting the Soviet Union.
They’re natural allies in many respects – the belief that women should be subservient to men, that homosexuality is an abomination, and so on. And they have every right to co-operate at the U.N. But why the Bush administration should want to ally itself with Islamist states in this fashion is beyond me, except pandering to their extremist wing. How can the First Lady champion women’s rights in Islamist countries, while her husband blesses those in America who find such repression of women something to admire and aspire to?I agree with Sullivan's sentiments, but am surprised (well, maybe disappointed) by his surprise. There are many people who might be loosely described as being on "the right" of the American political spectrum -- supporters of deregulation, free trade, and the war -- who are strangely unable or unwilling to see that George W. Bush isn't really one of them. He ran for president as a conservative. He describes himself as a conservative. He is a conservative -- not a libertarian. The religious right isn't an "extremist wing" of the American conservative movement -- it's the base of the Republican party. Bush doesn't sometimes pander to religious conservatives he is a religious conservative. John Ashcroft wasn't made Attorney General for his anti-terrorism credentials, it was for his anti-abortion credentials.
Christian fundamentalists like Bush and Islamic fundamentalists have similar visions of the world even if few Christians would go as far as the Taliban or Saudi Arabia in imposing draconian controls on gender, sexuality, and fun, and needless to say Christian fundamentalists have been much better about not killing people in recent years, but they're still very similar worldviews. That, of course, is why the administration is busy talking about terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles, and basically every conceivable enemy other than the one we're actually facing -- militant Islam.