Archive for October 31st, 2009

Everyone, it seems, has a party line about who the good Muslims and bad Muslims are. Sadly, many of the dichotomies distort as much as they reveal, and use simple labels based on superficial preconceptions and over-simplifications, says Meena Sharify-Funk.

Middle East Online, Oct 30, 2009

Waterloo, Canada – Ever since the tragic events of 9/11, the diverse voices claiming to speak with authority about Islam have become increasingly cacophonous. Few contemporary topics are more controversial than that of how to interpret Islamic practices and beliefs.

In the West as well as in the Muslim world, interpreting Islam has become a virtual cottage industry. The ranks of interpreters are incredibly diverse, including counter-terrorism experts, policymakers and journalists, as well as religious studies academics, political scientists, Muslim ulama (Islamic legal scholars), Muslim feminists in the West, and people speaking on behalf of various religious groups. Interest in how Islam is understood and practiced has expanded dramatically in recent years, and it’s not always clear whom to listen to amongst the din.

Continues >>

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Bill O’Reilly is “fascinated” with Sarah Palin, and has been featuring segments on her a lot of late. He had Glenn Beck on The O’Reilly Factor on Thursday night to talk about her prospects.

They agreed that her upcoming book tour is a “make or break” situation regarding her political future — but that if she fares well with the media, she’ll be well positioned for 2012. They also agree that resigning as governor before had even completed her first term was a “smart move.”

Which gave Beck a launching pad for his prophesying mode:

Beck: Smart move. And I think she’s also positioning herself for a third party. By the time this election runs around for the president, I’m sorry, but unless the Republicans and the Democrats wake up, a third party will win.

Presumably, by “wake up” Beck means “embrace the tea party philosophy of small government and big wingnuttery”. The Democrats won’t, but most likely the Republicans will. But I don’t think it’s going to be the recipe for victory Glenn Beck thinks it will be.


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Video compliments of The Onion

The Best Entourage $263.4 Million of Lobbying Money Can Buy


by Tim Foley

Published August 14, 2009 @ 11:01PM PT

An optimist sees the glass as half-full. A pessimist sees the glass, sees the water, and begins to wonder how it got there, who paid for the service, and what favor they’re going to expect in return. According to Bloomberg, the amount of money and staff supplied by the health care industries over the past six months is an order of magnitude larger than either those industries’ campaign contributions to politicians or their advertising budgets. The most colorful statistic is that there are six industry lobbyists for every member of Congress. If you’re a legislator working on health care reform, your life might have begun to resemble a Washington DC version of Entourage.

President Obama rode into town declaring that the era of special interests and lobbyists standing in the way of progress is over. Apparently, Congress didn’t get the memo, and the health care industry flat-out ignored it. The numbers are gaudy. $263.4 million in lobbying alone in the past six months. $20.5 million in political contributions to, yes, both political parties, including over $382,000 for Majority Leader Harry Reid. $320,000 for a Ferrari for Turtle, and an extra $100,000 so Kanye West’s entourage could all be wearing designer outfits. OK, I made that last sentence up. But there’s no doubt that in a year of reform, the industry that makes money off the system is livin’ large down by the Potomac.

More of the same

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