September 1, 2010

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Toby Harnden comments on the Ground Zero mosque controversy and interviews a Muslim man who is against the building location. Ahmed Sharif is an amazing example, though, for the positive attitude he has of America despite having been the victim of an anti-Muslim attack. 

It took a Manhattan taxi driver called Ahmed Sharif to speak out for America, which is being vilified as bigoted and Islamophobic because of the controversy generated by opposition to the so-called “Ground Zero mosque”.

The United States was his dream country, he enthused, and he loved New York City. “I feel like I belong here. This is the city actually [for] all colours, races, religion, everyone. We live here side by side peacefully.” …

…Ahmed Sharif, a victim of real anti-Muslim bigotry, stated that the attack on him was an aberration and that America is a land of tolerance and opportunity. What a shame that Obama, despite his much-vaunted gift with words, appears unable to speak about such things with similar eloquence.


Roger Simon responds with logic to the name-calling from the Left.

…With very minor exceptions, I have seen little irrational fear of Islam in our society. What I have seen is a lot of serious and justifiable dislike of the religion for its ideology — notably its heinous treatment of women and homosexuals and its opposition to the separation of church and state, all codified by its all-encompassing Sharia law that seeks to legislate all facets of existence while instituting a global caliphate.

Nevertheless, soi-disant liberals and progressives or whatever they want to call themselves accuse those who dislike Islam for those reasons of irrational fear.  …

… Today there are 1.5 billion adherents of Islam, 21% of the world’s population. Achieving a global caliphate is not entirely unlikely. Irrational fear or ideological battle?


Mark Helprin writes an eloquent explanation why the mosque should not be built near Ground Zero.

…Building close to Ground Zero disregards the passions, grief and preferences not only of most of the families of September 11th but, because we are all the families of September 11th, those of the American people as well, even if not the whole of the American people. If the project is to promote moderate Islam, why have its sponsors so relentlessly, without the slightest compromise, insisted upon such a sensitive and inflammatory setting? That is not moderate. It is aggressively militant.

Disregarding pleas to build it at a sufficient remove so as not to be linked to an abomination committed, widely praised, and throughout the world seldom condemned in the name of Islam, the militant proponents of the World Trade Center mosque are guilty of a poorly concealed provocation. They dare Americans to appear anti-Islamic and intolerant or just to roll over.

But the opposition to what they propose is no more anti-Islamic or intolerant than to protest a Shinto shrine at Pearl Harbor or Nanjing would be anti-Shinto or even anti-Japanese. How about a statue of Wagner at Auschwitz, a Russian war memorial in the Katyn Forest, or a monument to British and American air power at Dresden? The indecency of such things would be neither camouflaged nor burned away by the freedoms of expression and religion. And that is what the controversy is about, decency and indecency, not the freedom to worship, which no one denies. …


David Warren theorizes about some of the pressures that Islamist radicals are placing, directly and indirectly, on moderate Muslim communities.

…Reasonable Muslims and their children — trying to get on with their lives… — are the targets of a very sick propaganda, designed to persuade the psychologically unstable that Allah loves to kill infidels gratuitously. And over the world at large, Muslims are by far the most numerous victims of Islamist acts of carnage: quite literally tens of thousands killed and maimed in the time we’ve been counting since 9/11.

But when they look outside the community, they feel themselves being held responsible for a murderer’s creed. …

…Moreover, the very strategy of the Islamists is to isolate Muslim emigrant communities; to prevent their assimilation into the West and its (truly corrupted) values. In other words, to put every Muslim in a position where he is either with the Islamists, or against every aspect of his own identity. …

…The mosque insistence on distinctive Islamic dress contributes more to this separation, day by day, than isolated acts of terrorism.

Our media insistence on publicizing the more radical Islamic spokesmen, at the expense of the more reasonable, also contributes mightily to this by enhancing and promoting the radicals’ prestige. …


The president walked into this one. Peter Wehner comments with polling numbers on Obama’s response to the oil spill.

In his interview from New Orleans yesterday with NBC’s Brian Williams, commemorating the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, President Obama assured the world that his handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was not his administration’s Hurricane Katrina.

The president is right, if the people of Louisiana are to be believed. Mr. Obama’s handling of the BP oil spill is judged by them to be considerably worse than how Bush reacted to Katrina.

A Public Policy Polling survey reports this:

The oil spill in the Gulf may be mostly out of the headlines now but Louisiana voters aren’t getting any less mad at Barack Obama about his handling of it. Only 32% give Obama good marks for his actions in the aftermath of the spill, while 61% disapprove.

Louisianans are feeling more and more that George W. Bush’s leadership on Katrina was better than Obama’s on the spill. 54% think Bush did the superior job of helping the state through a crisis to 33% who pick Obama. …


Peter Wehner also blogs on the president’s good work spreading conservative ideas.

Here’s the latest from Gallup:

“Republicans lead by 51% to 41% among registered voters in Gallup weekly tracking of 2010 congressional voting preferences. The 10-percentage-point lead is the GOP’s largest so far this year and is its largest in Gallup’s history of tracking the midterm generic ballot for Congress.”

What Barack Obama is doing for the fortunes of the GOP is nearly unmatched by anyone in modern political history.


Michael Barone looks at the anti-liberal mood in two places minimally affected by the recession.

…In Alaska, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski was expected to be easily renominated over Fairbanks lawyer and political newcomer Joe Miller.
But the voters had other ideas.

In Alaska, Miller’s narrow lead of 1,668 votes may vanish as at least 7,600 absentee and mail ballots are counted.

…Whatever the final outcomes, there are lessons to be learned. One is that the current unpopularity of leftist parties in the Anglosphere (Republicans lead Democrats by a record margin in polls on voting for the U.S. House) are not just a reaction to bad economic times.

…Murkowski was hurt by her assertion in debate that the Constitution put no limits on Congress’s ability to make laws.  She won votes from Alaska insiders and Alaska Natives for supporting spending on local programs, but not as many as local pundits expected. …


In the WSJ, Kelly Evans reports on the reintroduction of the Austrian school of economics, and the man, Peter J. Boettke, who is leading the charge. Evans also pinpoints the challenge for these economists: how to scale back government intervention and allow the needed market corrections to occur.

Peter J. Boettke, shuffling around in a maroon velour track suit or faux-leather rubber shoes he calls “dress Crocs,” hardly seems like the type to lead a revolution.

But the 50-year-old professor of economics at George Mason University in Virginia is emerging as the intellectual standard-bearer for the Austrian school of economics that opposes government intervention in markets and decries federal spending to prop up demand during times of crisis. Mr. Boettke, whose latest research explores people’s ability to self-regulate, also is minting a new generation of disciples who are spreading the Austrian approach throughout academia, where it had long been left for dead. …

…It wasn’t a lack of government oversight that led to the crisis, as some economists argue, but too much of it, Mr. Boettke says. …

…But as much as the Austrian diagnosis may resonate now, it doesn’t provide a playbook for what to do next, which could limit its current resurgence. …


In Forbes, Paul Johnson asks whether a college education is worth the investment.

…The quality of higher education received seems to bear no relation to the success or failure of most Presidents. The two greatest, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, had to learn the hard way. On the other hand, another distinguished President, Woodrow Wilson, first attracted notice as president of Princeton.

It is striking how much or how little great inventors and scientists learned at university. Thomas Edison never attended one, discovering his genius instead while working as a teenage telegraph operator. Charles Darwin went to Cambridge to study for the church but derived the greatest benefit to his career during long rambles with J.S. Henslow, a professor of botany. Darwin was known in his student days as “the man who walks with Henslow.” What Cambridge did give Darwin was the opportunity to reinforce his capacity to work hard and systematically and to expand the range of his enquiring mind.

Indeed, the study of universities and the great men and women who have attended them leads me to think that the best of these schools are characterized not so much by what they teach and how they teach it but by the extent they provide opportunities and encouragement for students to teach themselves. The best also help to instill certain intellectual virtues in young minds, including respect for the indispensable foundation of democracy, the rule of law; the need to back up opinions with clear arguments, empirical evidence and hard work; the varying importance of resolute conviction and friendly compromise, when appropriate; open-mindedness at all times; and the perpetual need for courage in the pursuit of truth. …

0 comments to September 1, 2010

  1. Pickerhead says:

    Jep has much to answer for.

    Use for more reliable communication.

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