Monday, August 30, 2010

Gadi Taub: Settlements Threaten Israel's Status As Jewish Democratic State

Israeli and American officials express doubt over whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will extend Israel's 10-month moratorium on settlement building, due to expire on September 26. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to withdraw from Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that begin Wednesday if the moratorium ends.

Gadi Taub (above), assistant professor of communications and public policy at Hebrew University and author of "The Settlers," writes that due to demographics, West Bank settlers threaten Israel's status as both a Jewish and democratic state. They also block the only viable resolution to the conflict: the two-state solution:

Even if Israel annexed only the West Bank, it would more than double its Arab population. With birthrates in the territories far exceeding those of Arabs and Jews within Israel, Jews would soon enough be a minority. This would void the very idea of a Jewish democratic state.

Israel would have to choose between remaining democratic but not Jewish, or remaining Jewish by becoming non-democratic. Israel’s enemies have long maintained that Zionism is racism and that Israel is an apartheid state. If the settlers succeed, they will turn this lie into truth.

...If the road to partition is blocked, Israel will be forced to choose between two terrible options: Jewish-dominated apartheid or non-Jewish democracy. If Israel opts for apartheid, as the settlers wish, Israel will betray the beliefs it was founded on, become a pariah state and provoke the Arab population to an understandable rebellion. If a non-Jewish democracy is formally established, it is sure to be dysfunctional. Fatah and Hamas haven’t been able to reconcile their differences peacefully and rule the territories — throwing a large Jewish population into the mix is surely not going to produce a healthy liberal democracy. Think Lebanon, not Switzerland.

In truth, both options — and indeed all “one-state solutions” — lead to the same end: civil war. That is why the settlement problem should be at the top of everyone’s agenda, beginning with Israel’s. The religious settlement movement is not just secular Zionism’s ideological adversary, it is a danger to its very existence. Terrorism is a hazard, but it cannot destroy Herzl’s Zionist vision. More settlements and continued occupation can.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Saturday Night At The Liberal Curmudgeon: Richard Thompson Shoots Out The Lights



After leaving the British folk-rock group Fairport Convention in 1971, Richard Thompson launched his solo career as a singer-songwriter. In this 2009 performance of "Shoot Out The Lights," Thompson is accompanied by Elvis Costello and the Impostors. The lyrics are characteristically dark and the jangling, rapid-fire, aggressive solos demonstrate why Thompson is one of the greatest rock guitarists alive.

Anti-Muslim Atmosphere Results In Attacks And Threats

Two incidents in New York this past week involved violence or threats against Muslims. Michael Enright (left), riding in a cab in Manhattan, asked the driver if he were a Muslim. When the cabbie said he was, Enright stabbed him in his face and on his arms and thumbs. Omar Rivera entered a Queens mosque, urinated on prayer rugs and cursed at worshippers.

While intoxication and mental instability have been considered in these cases, the anti-Muslim atmosphere in the country gives license to these attacks. Evangelical pastor Terry Jones plans to memorialize the September 11 attacks by burning Korans. In addition to opposition to the Islamic Center near ground zero, there have been protests across the country against the establishment of mosques. There have also been reports of the desecration of a California mosque and incidents of arson and vandalism against Florida mosques. Anti-Muslim rhetoric has become more acceptable through the pronouncements of Republican candidates in Florida and Tennessee.

The bitter irony is that such attacks disregard the positive role played by many mosques in America, according to a recent study:

A two-year study by a group of academics on American Muslims and terrorism concluded that contemporary mosques are actually a deterrent to the spread of militant Islam and terrorism. The study was conducted by professors with Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and the University of North Carolina. It disclosed that many mosque leaders had put significant effort into countering extremism by building youth programs, sponsoring antiviolence forums and scrutinizing teachers and texts. (PDF of study)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Glenn Beck Is NOT Martin Luther King Jr.

Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally will take place tomorrow at the Lincoln Memorial. The event occurs on the same date and site associated with Martin Luther King Jr.'s “I Have a Dream” speech. Beck expects people to believe this is a coincidence, mockingly stating, “I’m sorry, oh so important media, that I forgot the date. It’s not the date. It’s the message.”

What, then, is Beck’s message? Brave New Films has produced a video comparing Beck and King. True, it’s absurd to compare the small-minded, inflammatory Beck with the great civil rights leader and visionary who sought to bring out the best in this nation; nevertheless, it is instructive to watch the video since Beck has the effrontery, despite his denials, to evoke comparisons with King. Watch (and sign Brave New Film's petition afterwards):


Beck will be joined at the rally by Sarah Palin, who demonstrated her stance on civil rights by defending Dr. Laura Schlesinger’s use of the N-word on the radio. Recall that Palin criticized Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s use of the word “retarded.”

Rally organizers cautioned supporters not to bring signs; small wonder, since those who follow Beck and the Tea Party have been known to carry signs comparing Obama to Hitler and containing racist messages. Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP president, stated, "Dr. King never had to caution anyone to leave their signs and guns at home. To say to your followers, 'Don't bring your signs'–it's like saying, 'Don't open your mouth.' "

At the end of the video, after Dr. King’s inspirational words have been compared to the hateful rhetoric of Beck, the latter states, “When I first stood on those stairs after I had announced that we were doing this, I stood on those stairs at the Lincoln Memorial, I went down to Washington, D.C., and I thought to myself, ‘Who do you think you are?’ ”

That’s an excellent question.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Martin Luther King III Contrasts His Father's Vision WIth Glenn Beck's Before Weekend Rally

Martin Luther King III (left) notes in an essay that his father, the great civil rights leader, delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech 47 years ago this weekend at the Lincoln Memorial–and that this weekend, Glenn Beck is hosting his "Restoring Honor" rally at the same monument. King III makes it clear that Beck does not follow his father's vision:

My father...would be the first to say that those participating in Beck's rally have the right to express their views. But his dream rejected hateful rhetoric and all forms of bigotry or discrimination, whether directed at race, faith, nationality, sexual orientation or political beliefs. ...Throughout his life he advocated compassion for the poor, nonviolence, respect for the dignity of all people and peace for humanity.

Although he was a profoundly religious man, my father did not claim to have an exclusionary "plan" that laid out God's word for only one group or ideology. He marched side by side with members of every religious faith. Like Abraham Lincoln, my father did not claim that God was on his side; he prayed humbly that he was on God's side.

He did, however, wholeheartedly embrace the "social gospel." ...He said that any religion that is not concerned about the poor and disadvantaged, "the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them[,] is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial."...

...I pray that all Americans will embrace the challenge of social justice and the unifying spirit that my father shared with his compatriots. 

King III emphasized his father's belief in social justice, a concept that Beck defined as "Forced redistribution of wealth with a hostility toward individual property rights, under the guise of charity and/or justice." Listen to Beck's advice to those attending churches dedicated to social justice:



Beck: "I'm begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them . . . are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long it will be the next year. I beg you, look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!"

Rachel Maddow: Islamic Center Latest In "Scare White People" Series

Rachel Maddow places the controversy over the proposed Islamic center near ground zero within the context of other examples of scaring white people, the most recent being the Shirley Sherrod affair. Maddow points out how Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham and former Bush administration official Karen Hughes reversed former positive statements about, and associations with, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, leader of the center. She also cites Pamela Geller of the Stop Islamicization of America group, who refers to statistics from the Islamophobic, racist and sexist Society of Americans for National Existence group (no, I didn’t invent the names of these two groups). The video ends with insightful comments from former Bush administration official Suhail Khan, chairman of the Conservative Inclusion Coalition, on the extreme right wingers promoting religious intolerance in America. Watch:



Maddow points out that Fox News pushes real news organizations into carrying "scare white people" stories: What's worth noting about all of these different 'scare white people' stories is that they're not really actual news stories. No real news organizations started running with this story as actual news. The best 'scare white people' stories are invented out of whole cloth, from inside the conservative media world so they can be the just right kind of scary, in just the right kind of way, in order to drive the just right political consequences. So ultimately if the conservative media drives this to make it big enough then normal news organizations pick it up too, sometimes because they're guilted into it by conservatives. But no non-Fox News, non-conservative media outlet ever starts these things. (h/t Talking Points Memo)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Matthews Confronts Lazio On Demagogic Campaign For NY Governor

Kudos to Chris Matthews for confronting former Long Island congressman Rick Lazio, currently running a shameless campaign for New York governor. Lazio is focusing not on the needs of the state, but on delivering demagogic messages related to the proposed Islamic center Park 51 near ground zero.

Regarding Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the leader of the center, Matthews referred to his speaking at the synagogue memorial service for Daniel Pearl, murdered by Islamic terrorists in Pakistan, as well as Rauf's stated support for Israel and identification with Judaism. Lazio responded with unsubstantiated allegations regarding the center's funding. To Lazio's contention that he just wants to "get to the bottom of this," Matthews stated, "The bottom of it is you're running for governor." Watch:

Krugman: Calls To Extend Bush Tax Cuts For Wealthy Reflect Corrupt Political Culture

In "Now That's Rich," Paul Krugman strikes at the corruption and injustice surrounding calls to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Of course, those calling for the extension also consider themselves deficit hawks:

We need to pinch pennies these days. Don’t you know we have a budget deficit? For months that has been the word from Republicans and conservative Democrats, who have rejected every suggestion that we do more to avoid deep cuts in public services and help the ailing economy.

But these same politicians are eager to cut checks averaging $3 million each to the richest 120,000 people in the country.

Krugman outlines the tremendous cost of these cuts (despite Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) bafflement at the fact that they're "paid for") and the minuscule number of tremendously wealthy individuals they will benefit:

What’s at stake here? According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, making all of the Bush tax cuts permanent, as opposed to following the Obama proposal, would cost the federal government $680 billion in revenue over the next 10 years. For the sake of comparison, it took months of hard negotiations to get Congressional approval for a mere $26 billion in desperately needed aid to state and local governments.

And where would this $680 billion go? Nearly all of it would go to the richest 1 percent of Americans, people with incomes of more than $500,000 a year. But that’s the least of it: the policy center’s estimates say that the majority of the tax cuts would go to the richest one-tenth of 1 percent...

The justifications for this extension do not exist; instead, they reflect the corruption and misplaced priorities of our political culture:

...we’re told that it’s all about helping small business; but only a tiny fraction of small-business owners would receive any tax break at all. And how many small-business owners do you know making several million a year?

Or we’re told that it’s about helping the economy recover. But it’s hard to think of a less cost-effective way to help the economy than giving money to people who already have plenty, and aren’t likely to spend a windfall.

No, this has nothing to do with sound economic policy. Instead, as I said, it’s about a dysfunctional and corrupt political culture, in which Congress won’t take action to revive the economy, pleads poverty when it comes to protecting the jobs of schoolteachers and firefighters, but declares cost no object when it comes to sparing the already wealthy even the slightest financial inconvenience.

GOP's Morally Bankrupt Plan: Cut Social Security, Shovel Cash At Millionaires

Consider a few facets of the Republican economic plan should they return to power. We have House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) calling for raising the Social Security retirement age to 70 and cutting benefits. Couple that with the effects of GOP calls to extend the Bush tax cuts for millionaires:

A Republican plan to extend tax cuts for the rich would add more than $36 billion to the federal deficit next year -- and transfer the bulk of that cash into the pockets of the nation's millionaires, according to a congressional analysis...

New data from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation show that households earning more than $1 million a year would reap nearly $31 billion in tax breaks under the GOP plan in 2011, for an average tax cut per household of about $100,000.

Such plans even draw objections from some conservative economists:

Even some Republicans, including Reagan administration budget chief David Stockman and former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, have urged lawmakers to let them expire and allow income tax rates to pop back up to their levels during the Clinton administration.

The incoherence of the Republican position is displayed by the fact that many of them pose as deficit hawks. Sure, they want to cut spending on programs like Social Security–but only in order to continue shoveling cash at the millionaires and billionaires who are crucial to their campaigns. Such contributions are easier to make than ever, thanks to the Supreme Court's conservative judicial activism in terms of rejecting corporate campaign spending limits.

Of course, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wonders what all the fuss is about, asking of the tax cuts, "Why did it all of a sudden become something that we, quote, ‘pay for’?" The Joint Committee on Taxation also refutes McConnell's assertion that ending the cuts will "affect 50 percent of small business income"; according to the committee, it will affect less than 3 percent.

Sam Seder asked several New Yorkers what they thought of Republican plans to cut Social Security and extend Bush tax cuts for millionaires. One presented a succinct summary: "They value wealth over everything and they just want the rich to get richer... To cut social security and at the same time give massive tax cuts to the wealthy while complaining about a deficit is immoral, disgusting and stupid." Watch:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rick Lazio's Shameless Campaign

Former Long Island congressman Rick Lazio is running the most shameless campaign ever for New York governor. His main issues? Jobs, schools, taxes, infrastructure? Fuhgettaboutit, as we New Yorkers say. He's running against the proposed Islamic center at ground zero:

As the Republican primary for the governor’s race approaches, Mr. Lazio is making his vigorous opposition to the project a centerpiece of his candidacy, assailing it on the campaign trail, testifying against it at public hearings, denouncing it in television commercials and even creating an online petition demanding an investigation into the center and its organizers. “Defend New York,” says the giant headline above the petition on his Web site.

Lazio has sunk so low as to use the September 11 crimes against humanity for campaign commercials:

Mr. Lazio is...even breaking what has been, until now, something of an unwritten rule of politics in New York: never to use images of Sept. 11 in campaign advertisements.

Last week, Mr. Lazio released a Web advertisement critical of the mosque featuring rescue workers on Sept. 11 and a television commercial in which he appears before photos of a still-smoldering World Trade Center...

While Lazio's ad features rescue workers, those representing them are not pleased with his appeal:

Unions representing the city’s firefighters and police officers immediately demanded that Mr. Lazio pull his most recent ad, calling it an affront. Ed Mullins, the head of the city’s police sergeants’ union, called the ads “as irresponsible as they are reprehensible.”

Lazio has accused his opponent, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, of failing to investigate the center's financing. It's clear, however, that Lazio is not serious about this matter:

[Cuomo] aides [stated] that if Mr. Lazio was serious about uncovering terrorism-related financing, he would make similar requests to the New York Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

...Muslim leaders question Mr. Lazio’s sincerity: Several wondered why, if he had questions about the center’s financing, or the religious leader who is to oversee it, he had not spoken with either the developer or the imam.

Bigotry On Display At Islamic Center Protest

At the protest yesterday near ground zero, many were motivated by more than opposition to an Islamic center. One African-American man was the object of venom. Why? He was mistaken for a Muslim:



As reported in the WSJ:

A man wearing a white athletic skull cap at a weekend rally against the planned mosque and Islamic community center near Ground Zero this weekend prompted a tense confrontation with some of the protesters, until he was finally led away from the rally by police.

...At one point, a woman appears to confront the man, an African-American man in a white shirt and white skull cap.

The man curses at the protester, and then another protester, wearing a hard hat, gets into a heated discussion with him, prompting others to intercede and step between the two men.

“Yo, we’re against Muslims, not each other man,’’ someone in the crowd yells.

“Run away, coward!’’ yells one person in the crowd.

At one point, the man can be heard saying he is not Muslim, but has opinions about the mosque.

As he is escorted away from the center of the protest, someone yells “Mohammed is a pig,’’ prompting criticism from others in the crowd.

In the video, another protester complains that the man is “trying to make us look like a bunch of racists. It ain’t happening.’’

The YouTuber, lefthandedart, wrote, "Later I caught up with the man who's [sic] name is Kenny. He is a Union carpenter who works at Ground Zero. We discussed what a scary moment that was for him. I told him that I hoped it did not ruin his day."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

McConnell: "Why Did Tax Cuts Suddenly Become Something We Pay For?"

Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) could not give a straightforward answer to the simple question from David Gregory of Meet the Press: how are we going to pay for continued Bush tax cuts for the wealthy? McConnell could not conceive of the fact that tax cuts are paid for and add to the deficit:



McConnell: What are you talking about, paid for? This is existing tax policy. It’s been in place for ten years. [...]

Gregory: For a final time, I’ll go back to my question which is, the extension of the tax cuts would cost $3.2 trillion. That’s borrowed money, that adds to the deficit. Do you have a plan to pay for that extension?

McConnell: You’re talking about current tax policy. Why did it all of a sudden become something that we, quote, ‘pay for’? (h/t Think Progress)

Note that Gregory shows a video in which Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, states that tax cuts are unjustifiable if paid for with borrowed money. Of course, McConnell is so disconnected from basic economics that he can not acknowledge that the money is borrowed. In addition, McConnell's contention that raising taxes on the top two brackets will "affect 50 percent of small business income" is simply false. According to the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation, McConnell is overestimating the impact by at least 47 percent:

Analyses from the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan research organization, show that less than 3 percent of filers with small-business income pay at the top two income tax rates, and many of those are doctors and lawyers in partnerships.

Franklin Graham: "The President's Problem Is That He Was Born A Muslim"

In an indication of how poorly informed the public is, a growing number of Americans believe that President Obama is a Muslim, according to a Pew Research Center poll:

A new national survey by the Pew Research Center finds that nearly one-in-five Americans (18%) now say Obama is a Muslim, up from 11% in March 2009. Only about one-third of adults (34%) say Obama is a Christian, down sharply from 48% in 2009. Fully 43% say they do not know what Obama’s religion is.

The White House decided to go so far as to assure the public that Obama is a Christian. Franklin Graham, Christian evangelist and son of Billy Graham, pinpointed the president's "problem" on CNN:



So according to Graham, "...the president's problem is that he was born a Muslim, his father was a Muslim." (Note, too, his vague answer as to whether the president is a Christian. Similarly, Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stated that he'll take Obama "at his word" that he's a Christian.) This profoundly anti-American statement reflects not only the opposition to the mosque near ground zero, but opposition to mosques throughout the country. Ironically, it is the intolerant who are delivering to Muslim citizens a message of alienation from, not assimilation into, American culture.

Ultimately, the question is not whether Obama is a Muslim. The question is why it would be a problem if he were one.

Sarah Palin Doesn't Speak For These Mama Grizzlies

Emily's List, dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women, has countered Sarah Palin's "mama grizzlies" with opposition mama grizzlies who object to the former governor's positions. The appeal is part of the group's Sarah Doesn't Speak For Me campaign. Watch:



In response to this video, Palin stated, “Really, lying about a sister while wearing an Ewok outfit is no way to honor our foremothers on the eve of the 90th anniversary of their victory.”

Does the ad dishonor the suffragettes and lie about sister Palin? Do Palin and those she supports back the right to choose, healthcare reform and extended unemployment benefits, among other issues?

Regarding Palin's grizzlies, the AP informs us that "Primary losses blunt Palin's 'mama grizzly' claws":

It's been a summer of setbacks for Sarah Palin. Candidate "cubs" endorsed by the Mama Grizzly in Chief have been suffering a recent string of primary election losses.

The Republicans' 2008 vice presidential nominee promised a pack of "mama grizzly" candidates would rise up and defeat Democrats in this November's elections. But office-seekers she supported in Kansas, Wyoming and Washington state lost their primaries despite her high-profile endorsements. And Karen Handel lost her runoff contest for Georgia governor a day after sharing an Atlanta stage with Palin.

Now, Alaska's Senate primary on Tuesday is shaping up as an embarrassing defeat in her own backyard. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is expected to dispatch the challenger Palin has endorsed in the Republican contest.

Palin is viewing these losses with an equanimity quite surprising for a mama grizzly:

Palin says it isn't about picking winners.

"Regardless of whether the many candidates I've had the honor of endorsing win or lose this time around, I support them because they boldly shake things up in their primary races," she said in a Facebook message.

Saturday Night At The Liberal Curmudgeon: Sonny Boy Williamson, Blues Harpist Extraordinaire



Sonny Boy Williamson was the blues harpist extraordinaire, one who played with everyone from Robert Johnson to Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Robbie Robertson–and who was active in the Delta and Chicago blues scenes. Watch his hands in this performance of "Your Funeral and My Trial" for a hint as to how he managed to wring every sound out of the harmonica possible. As I watch, I'm thinking of my friend and blues brother Hal Goldman, whom I visited in California at this time last year during the last summer of his life. I enjoyed sending Hal blues CDs, and I meant to send him one by Williamson. But my dear friend's life was too short to receive it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Jon Stewart: "The Republicans Should Pay Fox Millions, Not The Other Way Around"

Reports that Fox News's corporate parent, News Corp., contributed $1 million to the Republican Governors Association remove all doubt that Fox, far from being a news organization, is the propaganda arm of the Republican party. Yet Fox commentators have repeatedly criticized liberal groups–"left-wing Internet extremists" in the Fox lexicon–for their contributions to Democrats. After viewing Glenn Beck's characteristically convoluted blackboard diagrams, Jon Stewart channels Beck but with a much simpler outline. Watch:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
News Corp. Gives Money to Republicans
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

The Colbert Report: "Don't Shoot The Schlessinger"

Steven Colbert satirized Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who recently used the N-word repeatedly on the air, quit her radio show following criticism and confused that criticism with a loss of First Amendment rights. In the midst of the piece, Colbert plays Schlessinger's meltdown tape. One hears the relish with which she gratuitously repeats the N-word. She also makes an outrageous comment that hasn't received enough attention: "Don't NAACP me!" So according to Schlessinger, the NAACP is not a venerable civil rights organization; instead, it's a synonym for "playing the race card." Watch:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Don't Shoot the Schlessinger
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

Attorney Ted Olson, Husband Of 9/11 Victim, Backs Mosque Near Ground Zero

Ted Olson is one of the attorneys who successfully argued against Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage in California. He was also George W. Bush's solicitor general and the husband of conservative commentator and lawyer Barbara Olson, who died on 9/11 in the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. Olson backed President Obama's statement that Muslims have the right to practice their religion, including building a mosque near Ground Zero. Watch:



Olson: "Well it may not make me hap-- popular with some people, but I think, probably, the president was right about this. I do believe that people of all religions have a right to build edifices, or structures, or places of religious worship or study where the community allows them to do it under zoning laws and that sort of thing, and that we don't want to turn an act of hate against us by extremists into an act of intolerance for people of religious faith. And I don't think it should be a political issue. It shouldn't be a Republican or Democratic issue, either. I believe Gov. Christie from New Jersey said it well, that this should not be in that political, partisan marketplace."

Schlessinger And Palin Confuse Criticism With Loss Of First Amendment Rights

Dr. Laura Schlessinger has gone through several twists and turns since since using the N-word on the radio. She has apparently nursed a grievance: “Black guys talking to each other seem to think it’s O.K. I don’t get it. If anybody without enough melanin says it, it’s a horrible thing. But when black people say it, it’s affectionate.” Perhaps to protest this double standard, she used the word 11 times in 5 minutes to a black woman married to a white man. When the woman protested, Schlessinger advised, "If you're that hypersensitive about color and don't have a sense of humor, don't marry out of your race."

One can debate why some "black guys" may use the word; however, there are associations with white people using the word within the historic context of racism in America–a context in which "affectionate" cannot possibly apply. This context accounts for the fuss that greeted Schlessinger's use of the word. So she apologized on her blog–and then, on Larry King Live, announced that she's quitting her show and complained, "I want my First Amendment rights back, which I can't have on radio without the threat of attack on my advertisers and stations ...I want to be able to say what’s on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry, some special-interest group deciding this is the time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates, attack sponsors. I’m sort of done with that."

In a commentary, Linda Holmes of NPR correctly stated that Schlessinger's First Amendment rights were never withdrawn; what she can't stand is others exercising their own freedom to dissent, verbally attack and economically boycott.

Sarah Palin, who similarly confused newspaper criticism of her attacks on Obama with threats to her own First Amendment rights, came out with two Twitter comments in support of Schlessinger. The first:

Dr.Laura:don't retreat...reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence"isn't American,not fair")

The second, in which Palin demonstrated her "expertise" on the Constitution:

Dr.Laura=even more powerful & effective w/out the shackles, so watch out Constitutional obstructionists. And b thankful 4 her voice,America!

Interesting that Palin should protest Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's use of the word "retarded," but call Schlessinger's use of the N-word an exercise of Constitutional rights and something to be thankful for. Also interesting that Schlessinger, who was disappointed in McCain's choice of Palin as a running mate, should imitate the former governor on two counts: first by quitting and second by completely misunderstanding what First Amendment rights mean. Crooks and Liars proposed a third possible parallel between the two:

Shall we take bets on how long it takes before [Schlesinger] becomes a contributor on Fox News, or gets her own show?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What Your Opposition To Gay Marriage Means


After you read the one cartoon panel above (h/t Pam's House Blend), pay a visit to Madatoms to view the remaining four from "Politically Erect: What Your Opposition To Gay Marriage Means." Writer Rick Paulas and artist Josh House explain why such opposition is legally, morally and logically indefensible.

Fox News Corporate Parent Donates $1 Million To Republican Governors

That Fox News is the propaganda arm of the Republican party became clearer than ever with reports that its corporate parent has generously contributed to GOP gubernatorial candidates:

Bloomberg News reports today (h/t Daily Kos' KingOneEye) that News Corp. -- the media giant which owns Fox News and The Wall Street Journal -- has donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, the GOP organization that helps coordinate Republican gubernatorial campaigns and pays for independent ads in support of their candidates.

Media Matters has confirmed Bloomberg's report using publicly available IRS filings. We also found no evidence of corresponding donations to the Democratic Governors Association in the current political cycle. News Corp. wants Republicans elected to office, and they're willing to spend money to make it happen.

...now we have Fox's parent company donating $1 million to elect Republican gubernatorial candidates. Are there still people who doubt that Fox is just an arm of the GOP?

Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks, substituting as host on the Ed Schultz Show, makes a similar point: "Fox News has a purpose: to help the Republican party... Now they're doing it with their money. How much clearer does it have to be?" Watch:


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Conservatives Mount Xenophobic Campaign To Change 14th Amendment

The citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment states, "all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States." That's the problem, according to conservatives mounting a campaign to deny automatic citizenship to the children of immigrants. Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce (above), author of Senate Bill 1070, is among those who back this move. In the article "Baby Baiting," which appeared in The Nation, Robin Templeton dispels the xenophobic myths behind the right-wing term "anchor baby":

Pearce and his ilk are capitalizing on a concept with old nativist roots that is lending new potency to the assault on Latino immigrants. Fueled by bogus conspiratorial depictions of newborns delivered moments after their parents cross the border; "emergency alien deliveries" overrunning US hospitals and endangering American lives; and undocumented mothers having children in order to collect public benefits on taxpayers' backs, the anti-immigrant right is demonizing babies as the weapon of choice for armies of "illegals."

The idea that illegal immigrants can conceive and be granted automatic citizenship is false, especially following restrictive laws adopted over the past few years:

Today, a citizen must be 21 in order to sponsor the green card application of a parent or an immediate relative. The applicant must then show documentation proving that he or she has not been in the United States unlawfully for more than one year. Barring such proof—the primary obstacle most immigrants face—the parent must return to the country of origin for ten years before being allowed to lawfully re-enter the United States and resume the application process.

...Immigration reform also curtailed due process and blunted judicial discretion in criminal cases involving immigrant defendants, greasing the wheels of deportation proceedings. Many nonviolent misdemeanors were reclassified as aggravated felonies for this purpose...

...The notion that "anchor babies" are a means of reaping government benefits for undocumented parents can also be easily debunked. Federal welfare reform passed in 1996 disqualified most immigrants, including most legal permanent residents, from receiving almost all forms of public assistance and imposed a five-year waiting period on applications for assistance on all future immigrants.

..the fearmongering right...warns that undocumented immigrants are endangering the healthcare system. ...In fact, Silvia Henriquez, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, says the opposite is true. "Given the limited access that immigrant families already have to healthcare, this xenophobic climate toward immigrants makes women afraid to seek prenatal and pediatric care."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Republicans Increasingly A Southern Party

According to a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, the Republicans are basically becoming a Southern party–and in other sections of the country, they appeal to the same constituency that favors them in the South:

The poll contains this interesting finding: The GOP has a HUGE generic-ballot edge in the South (52%-31%), but it doesn’t lead anywhere else. In the Northeast, Dems have a 55%-30% edge; in the Midwest, they lead 49%-38%; and in the West, it’s 44%-43%. Yet do keep this caveat in mind: Many of the congressional districts Republicans are targeting outside of the South resemble some of those Southern districts they’re hoping to win back in November -- where you have whiter and older voters. Think Stephanie Herseth's seat in South Dakota; Tim Walz' seat in Minnesota; Leonard Boswell's seat in Iowa; and Ike Skelton's in Missouri.

The Republicans stand to pick up seats in November, though a Congressional overhaul is questionable. In the long run, however, the Republicans are threatened by demographic trends projecting that the white population will be a minority in coming decades while the Hispanic population will triple. The growing Hispanic population, alienated by Republican stances on immigration that include Arizona's law SB 1070, is significantly moving toward the Democrats. From an NBC/MSNBC/Telemundo poll in May:

For the Republican Party, politically, there's good news and bad news in our new NBC/MSNBC/Telemundo poll on the subject of immigration. Let's start with the good news: The Arizona anti-illegal immigration law, passed by a GOP-led legislature and signed by a GOP governor, has been a short-term political winner. The poll shows that 61% of the public supports the law, and a Republican congressional candidate who backs the law beats a Democratic candidate who opposes it, 40%-26%. But here's the bad news: Latinos, once a semi-swing group of voters, now have swung overwhelmingly for President Obama and the Democratic Party, and younger Hispanics are moving to the Democrats in even greater numbers.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Friedman: Criticism Of Israeli Policy Is Valid, Delegitimization Is Not

In "Steal This Movie," Thomas Friedman makes an important distinction: while criticism of some Israeli policies, such as the West Bank settlements, is legitimate and in its best interests, delegitimizing the country is not. Delegitimization represents an imbalanced perspective that actually prevents Israelis from engaging in a constructive discussion of policy:

...there is something foul in the air. It is a trend, both deliberate and inadvertent, to delegitimize Israel — to turn it into a pariah state, particularly in the wake of the Gaza war...

...I’m not here to defend Israel’s bad behavior. Just the opposite. I’ve long argued that Israel’s colonial settlements in the West Bank are suicidal for Israel as a Jewish democracy. I don’t think Israel’s friends can make that point often enough or loud enough.

But there are two kinds of criticism. Constructive criticism starts by making clear: “I know what world you are living in.” I know the Middle East is a place where Sunnis massacre Shiites in Iraq, Iran kills its own voters, Syria allegedly kills the prime minister next door, Turkey hammers the Kurds, and Hamas engages in indiscriminate shelling and refuses to recognize Israel. I know all of that. But Israel’s behavior, at times, only makes matters worse — for Palestinians and Israelis. If you convey to Israelis that you understand the world they’re living in, and then criticize, they’ll listen.

Destructive criticism closes Israeli ears. It says to Israelis: There is no context that could explain your behavior, and your wrongs are so uniquely wrong that they overshadow all others. Destructive critics dismiss Gaza as an Israeli prison, without ever mentioning that had Hamas decided — after Israel unilaterally left Gaza — to turn it into Dubai rather than Tehran, Israel would have behaved differently, too. Destructive criticism only empowers the most destructive elements in Israel to argue that nothing Israel does matters, so why change?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Republicans Pose Sham Argument On Tax Cuts For Wealthy


The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation examined the impact on high-income taxpayers of President Obama's plan to let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire. First, there are the projections for extending the cuts in general and on extending them for the wealthy:

Extending them for the next 10 years would add about $3.8 trillion to a growing national debt that is already the largest since World War II. About $700 billion of that reflects the projected costs of tax cuts for those in the top 2 percent of income-earners.

Mind you, those who strongly support extending the Bush tax cuts also claim to be deficit hawks. The president spoke about the GOP's real priorities:

Speaking of Republicans at a fund-raiser in a wealthy community near Dallas on Monday, Mr. Obama told Democratic donors, “What you see is a governing philosophy on their part that basically comes down to ‘We’re going to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest among us’ — folks who don’t need those tax cuts and weren’t even asking for them, which would cost $700 billion.”

The Joint Committee's study exposed the Republicans' sham argument regarding tax cuts for the wealthy:

For their part, Republicans do not emphasize the impact of extending the tax cuts for wealthy individuals. Rather, they say Mr. Obama is about to spring a big tax increase on many small-business owners who file their taxes as individuals. Analyses from the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan research organization, show that less than 3 percent of filers with small-business income pay at the top two income tax rates, and many of those are doctors and lawyers in partnerships.

See What Fast Food Does To You?

It's the first I've heard of McNuggets Rage:

A security video from a McDonald's in Ohio shows a woman punching two restaurant employees and smashing a drive-through window because she couldn't get Chicken McNuggets. ...Police said Melodi Dushane was angry that McNuggets weren't being served because it was breakfast time.

Here's how she expressed her grievance:



Better to eat organic foods if one can afford them. They're healthier and have a better effect on the temperament. Somehow I can't imagine this happening if a health food store ran out of sprouts.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Krugman: Conservative Economic Policy Led To The Crumbling Of America

In "America Goes Dark, Paul Krugman connects conservative economic policy with the decline of essential services, including turning off streetlights, returning paved roads to gravel and cutting back on education. But among certain politicians, tax cuts for the wealthy must remain intact. These cuts are directly connected to the loss of services. They're also championed by those who profess concern for the deficit:

We must place priority on reducing the deficit, say Republicans and “centrist” Democrats. And then, virtually in the next breath, they declare that we must preserve tax cuts for the very affluent, at a budget cost of $700 billion over the next decade.

In effect, a large part of our political class is showing its priorities: given the choice between asking the richest 2 percent or so of Americans to go back to paying the tax rates they paid during the Clinton-era boom, or allowing the nation’s foundations to crumble — literally in the case of roads, figuratively in the case of education — they’re choosing the latter.


Conservatives advocate cutting taxes for the wealthy on the grounds that it will stimulate the economy. The financial crash and the decline of the median household income under the Bush years show how dubious that notion is. Also dubious is the idea that the wealthy use their tax savings to immediately start hiring. Actually, one cannot be wealthy without letting most of one's money, as Krugman puts it, "sit idle" in private accounts. That's one reason extending unemployment benefits actually stimulates the economy: the unemployed, who are in debt, spend money.

Krugman correctly states that infrastructure and education are essential to a growing economy, and that, unlike emerging nations, we're going backwards. All of this is the result of decades of conservative rhetoric dedicated to shrinking the government:

How did we get to this point? It’s the logical consequence of three decades of antigovernment rhetoric, rhetoric that has convinced many voters that a dollar collected in taxes is always a dollar wasted, that the public sector can’t do anything right.

The antigovernment campaign has always been phrased in terms of opposition to waste and fraud... And now that the campaign has reached fruition, we’re seeing what was actually in the firing line: services that everyone except the very rich need, services that government must provide or nobody will, like lighted streets, drivable roads and decent schooling for the public as a whole.

So the end result of the long campaign against government is that we’ve taken a disastrously wrong turn. America is now on the unlit, unpaved road to nowhere.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

New Bill Would Nullify Loveless Marriages

The Onion News Network reports on Minnesota's controversial new Purity of Marriage Act, which would nullify loveless marriages. Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) stated, "I believe the definition of marriage is a union between two people who love each other. To allow people who are constantly bickering or haven't touched each other in years to wed would undermine the institution of marriage." Loveless couples, who comprise 53% of the state's married population, are conducting protests in the belief that "All couples have a right to be married, not just those who can stand each other's company." Watch:

Saturday Night At The Liberal Curmudgeon: Jerry Garcia At The Playboy Mansion, 1969



Last Sunday, August 1, was the birthday of Grateful Dead lead guitarist Jerry Garcia, who would have been 68 years old. We'll continue the commemoration with the clip above, which takes place at the Playboy Mansion in January 1969. In a strange cultural juxtaposition, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, attired in a tuxedo, starts off conversing with the poncho-clad Garcia about the Haight Ashbury scene. Garcia then performs an acoustic rendition of the fanciful Mountains of the Moon, joined by band mates Tom Constanten, keyboard; Bob Weir, rhythm guitar, and Bill Kreutzman, percussion.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Former WMD Inspector Hans Blix Calls U.S. Arguments For War In Iraq "Absurd"

Appearing before Britain's official inquiry into the war in Iraq, Hans Blix, the Swedish diplomat and international lawyer who searched for WMD in the country, offered scathing testimony regarding the war and President George W. Bush:

Mr. Blix...used the word “absurd” on several occasions to describe American arguments for going to war. He also described Britain, the United States’ main ally in the invasion, as “a prisoner on the American train.”

Mr. Blix concluded...that Iraqis had suffered worse from the “anarchy” that followed the invasion in March 2003 than it had under the Hussein dictatorship. Iraq was already “prostrate” under Mr. Hussein, he said, and the impact of economic sanctions, and the invasion and its aftermath, made things worse.

...He criticized [President Bush and Prime Minister Blair], as he has before, for resting their case for going to war on intelligence about Iraq’s weapons programs that he described as poor.

“I have never questioned the good faith of Mr. Blair, or Mr. Bush,” he said at one point. “What I questioned was the good judgment, particularly of Bush, but also about Mr. Blair to some extent.”

After the invasion, American-led weapons inspection teams found no stockpiles of banned weapons or traces of continuing programs to produce them.

A New York Times analysis finds an ambiguous yet troubling security and political situation in Iraq as American forces exit the nation:

While the overall picture remains that violence is down from last year, hundreds of Iraqis still die every month in attacks, and some recent Iraqi data raise questions about the durability of the narrative of steady improvement.

In July, for instance, many more civilians were killed in Baghdad compared with the previous year: 176 last month compared with 108 last year, according to the Interior Ministry. There were more homemade bombs, called improvised explosive devices in Baghdad in July than in any month last year, according to the ministry.

It is impossible to discern who is correct, and the divergence adds to the murkiness here, especially at a time of political paralysis — there is no new government nearly five months after parliamentary elections — and American withdrawal.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Robertson, Limbaugh Discuss Destruction, Secession, Civil War After Prop. 8 Decision

One day after Judge Vaughn R. Walker of the Federal District Court of San Francisco struck down Proposition 8, finding that it discriminated against the right of gay couples in California by preventing them from marrying, right-wing hysteria has begun. According to Pat Robertson, the gay struggle for marriage equality is a subterfuge for the real agenda: to destroy the church and marriage. Watch:



Turning to Rush Limbaugh, isn't it amazing how some supposedly "patriotic" conservatives are ready to secede from the country whenever a policy or election doesn't go their way? Limbaugh finds that "secession, civil war" are "not the rantings of extreme kookism any more." His fear-mongering over "minority rule" shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of equal protection under the law as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. Listen:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Judge Walker Overturns Proposition 8, Upholds Equality Of Gay Couples

Proposition 8, which outlawed same sex marriage in California, should never have been a ballot measure in the first place. Equal protection under the law is guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. It is not subject to a vote. The Supreme Court overturned laws that prevented interracial marriage (Loving v. Virginia, 1967); voters rightly played no part in that decision. Similarly, gay marriage is a legal issue involving the denied rights of a minority. Such rights should not be subject to the whims of voters; instead, they should be legally upheld.

Judge Vaughn R. Walker (above), who overturned Proposition 8, recognized that voters cannot ban gay men and women from marrying (excerpts from his U.S. District Court Decision: Perry v. Schwarzennegger):

Page 24: "Conjecture, speculation and fears are not enough. Still less will the moral disapprobation of a group or class of citizens suffice, no matter how large the majority that shares that view. The evidence demonstrated beyond serious reckoning that Proposition 8 finds support only in such disapproval. As such, Proposition 8 is beyond the constitutional reach of the voters or their representatives."

Proposition 8 discriminated against gay couples on a prejudicial belief in their inferiority:

Page 135: "Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional."

Proposition 8 violated the principle of equal protection under the law:

Page 136: "Plaintiffs have demonstrated by overwhelming evidence that Proposition 8 violates their due process and equal protection rights and that they will continue to suffer these constitutional violations until state officials cease enforcement of Proposition 8. California is able to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as it has already issued 18,000 marriage licenses to same sex couples and has not suffered any demonstrated harm as a result ...

"Because Proposition 8 is unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, the court orders entry of judgment permanently ... prohibiting the official defendants [state of California] from applying or enforcing Proposition 8..."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mayor Bloomberg Cites American Values In Defending Mosque Near Ground Zero

The Islamic Center near ground zero cleared the final hurdle for approval when the landmarks commission unanimously denied granting landmark status to the building where the project will be constructed. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (left) spoke at Governor's Island, defending the project by appealing to the American values of religious freedom, the separation of church and state, and tolerance. The following are excerpts from the speech:

...Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question - should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here. This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions, or favor one over another.

The World Trade Center Site will forever hold a special place in our City, in our hearts. But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves - and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans - if we said 'no' to a mosque in Lower Manhattan.

Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11 and that our Muslim neighbors grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans. We would betray our values - and play into our enemies' hands - if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists - and we should not stand for that.

For that reason, I believe that this is an important test of the separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetime - as important a test - and it is critically important that we get it right.

...The attack was an act of war - and our first responders defended not only our City but also our country and our Constitution. We do not honor their lives by denying the very Constitutional rights they died protecting. We honor their lives by defending those rights - and the freedoms that the terrorists attacked.

Of course, it is fair to ask the organizers of the mosque to show some special sensitivity to the situation - and in fact, their plan envisions reaching beyond their walls and building an interfaith community. By doing so, it is my hope that the mosque will help to bring our City even closer together and help repudiate the false and repugnant idea that the attacks of 9/11 were in any way consistent with Islam. Muslims are as much a part of our City and our country as the people of any faith and they are as welcome to worship in Lower Manhattan as any other group. In fact, they have been worshiping at the site for the better part of a year, as is their right.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Israeli Human Rights Group B'Tselem Reports On West Bank Settlement Policy

B'Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, has produced a report, By Hook and By Crook: Israeli Settlement Policy in the West Bank on "the means employed by Israel to gain control of land for building the settlements." In an accompanying video on the group's web site, prominent Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard explains how the legal system enabled the seizure of West Bank land through a law dating from Ottoman Turkish rule, along with the “revolving transaction” method. Watch:



In the introduction to the report on its site, B'Tselem refers to the declaration of "state land," plus the seizure of private Palestinian land (for more on the latter, read articles on findings by the Israeli groups Peace Now and Yesh Din):

The principal means Israel used for [settlement] was declaration of “state land,” a mechanism that resulted in the seizure of more than 900,000 dunams of land (sixteen percent of the West Bank), with most of the declarations being made in 1979-1992. The interpretation that the State Attorney's Office gave to the concept “state land” in the Ottoman Land Law contradicted explicit statutory provisions and judgments of the Mandatory Supreme Court. Without this distorted interpretation, Israel would not have been able to allocate such extensive areas of land for the settlements.

In addition, the settlements seized control of private Palestinian land. By cross-checking data of the Civil Administration, the settlements’ jurisdictional area, and aerial photos of the settlements taken in 2009, B'Tselem found that 21 percent of the built-up area of the settlements is land that Israel recognizes as private property, owned by Palestinians. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mosque Near Ground Zero: "If We're Afraid Of This, What Does That Say About Us?"

The statement by the Anti-Defamation League, under the leadership of national director Abraham Foxman (left), opposing the proposed Islamic Center near ground zero is cause for dismay. The ADL, after all, is an influential Jewish organization that has led the fight for tolerance and equal rights. After stating that all faiths have the right "to build community centers and houses of worship" and condemning "those whose opposition...is a manifestation of...bigotry," the group comes to the crux of its argument:

Proponents of the Islamic Center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam. The bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong. But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right. In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain – unnecessarily – and that is not right.

Isn't associating those Muslims who committed a crime against humanity on 9/11 with the proposed Islamic center an expression of bigotry? Regarding the causing of pain, Paul Krugman asked pointed questions:

So let’s try some comparable cases, OK? It causes some people pain to see Jews operating small businesses in non-Jewish neighborhoods; it causes some people pain to see Jews writing for national publications (as I learn from my mailbox most weeks); it causes some people pain to see Jews on the Supreme Court. So would ADL agree that we should ban Jews from these activities, so as to spare these people pain? No? What’s the difference?

It isn't just the ADL that is opposed; a number of Republicans have made demagogic statements. Sarah Palin has asked "peace-seeking Muslims" to come out against this "unnecessary provocation"; Newt Gingrich said, "It’s not about religion, and is clearly an aggressive act that is offensive.” There are others, though, who see this center as a statement of America's religious freedom and tolerance. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “What is great about America, and particularly New York, is we welcome everybody, and if we are so afraid of something like this, what does that say about us?” Rabbi Irwin Kula, president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, said, “The ADL should be ashamed of itself.” In reference to the imam behind the center, Feisal Abdul Rauf, Kula said, “Here, we ask the moderate leaders of the Muslim community to step forward, and when one of them does, he is treated with suspicion.”

Kula touches on a larger point: What is the effect of this suspicion on the Muslim-American community, particularly its youth? Do we want to send a message of intolerance that results in alienation or a message of tolerance that results in assimilation?

Saturday Night At The Liberal Curmudgeon: Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane & Santana



Devotees of the 1960s San Francisco sound will appreciate this driving jam with the Grateful DeadJefferson Airplane and Santana. Personnel includes lead guitarists Jerry Garcia, Jorma Kaukonen and Carlos Santana, plus bassist Jack Casady. (And is that Janis Joplin dancing from 2:01 to 2: 05 and 5:01 to 5:09?) The performance took place on February 4, 1970, at the Family Dog Ballroom in San Francisco. Though I wasn't at this concert, I experienced two-thirds of this lineup at a free Jefferson Airplane and Santana concert at the Central Park Bandshell on August 10, 1969.