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Wednesday, November 12, 2008


A few miles from where I sit, at Duke Medical Center, at this moment, doctors are scheduled to begin operating on Edward Kennedy's brain. It's a six hour operation. On the bright side he's being operated by the best doctors in the world. Best wishes for a speedy recovery Ted!

Here's a good run-down of what happened at the RBC meeting Sat

I found these bits about Clinton in P.R. amusing...
While the Democratic Party was flirting with civil war, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton spent her weekend in the relative fun and frolic of the Caribbean.
By the time the deal that probably finally sealed Hillary Clinton's political fate was reached in Washington early Saturday evening, she was far from the problems of delegates, superdelegates, half-delegates or anything of the sort. Geographically, of course, she was 1,500 miles away from the Democrats' Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting, but in spirit, she might as well have been on another planet.
And at least one person in the campaign's enormous entourage seemed to enjoy herself. "I was so happy to be standing up in the pickup truck, waving at all of the people on the streets and in the cars who were driving by," Clinton said Saturday night, speaking at a service at CongregaciĆ³n Mita, a massive evangelical church (with a few unconventional beliefs) in Hato Rey, just outside the capital. "It was the most fun I think I've ever had campaigning anywhere."
If polls in South Dakota and Montana are any guide, Puerto Rico may prove to have been the site of Clinton's final victory speech of the campaign. She flew from San Juan to Sioux Falls, S.D., Sunday night, aiming to fight on to the end back on the mainland. But by Tuesday night, Clinton's Puerto Rican holiday may feel more distant, and the cold reality of returning from a vacation may sting even more than usual.

This is a good overview of the electoral map going forward.
The NYT Public Editor responds to complaints about a particularly asinine op-ed they published a few weeks ago:

ON May 12, The Times published an Op-Ed article by Edward N. Luttwak, a military historian, who argued that any hopes that a President Barack Obama might improve relations with the Muslim world were unrealistic because Muslims would be "horrified" once they learned that Obama had abandoned the Islam of his father and embraced Christianity as a young adult.

Under "Muslim law as it is universally understood," Luttwak wrote, Obama was born a Muslim, and his "conversion" to Christianity was an act of apostasy, a capital offense and "the worst of all crimes that a Muslim can commit." While no Muslim country would be likely to prosecute him, Luttwak said, a state visit to such a nation would present serious security challenges "because the very act of protecting him would be sinful for Islamic security guards."

At a time when fears about Obama's security keep bubbling to the surface and an online whispering campaign suggests that he is secretly a Muslim — call him by his full name, Barack Hussein Obama, some Times readers demand — the Luttwak thesis was a double whammy: Obama cannot escape his Muslim history, and a lot of Muslims might want to kill him for trying.

Many Times readers saw the article as irresponsible ("gasoline on the fire," said Paul Trachtman of Tierra Amarilla, N.M.) or false ("Islam is not like our hair or the color of our skin, which we inherited from our parents," said Ali Kamel of Rio de Janeiro). The blogosphere lit up with assertions that Luttwak did not know what he was talking about.

I interviewed five Islamic scholars, at five American universities, recommended by a variety of sources as experts in the field. All of them said that Luttwak's interpretation of Islamic law was wrong.

Interestingly, in defense of his own article, Luttwak sent me an analysis of it by a scholar of Muslim law whom he did not identify. That scholar also did not agree with Luttwak that Obama was an apostate or that Muslim law would prohibit punishment for any Muslim who killed an apostate. He wrote, "You seem to be describing some anarcho-utopian version of Islamic legalism, which has never existed, and after the birth of the modern nation state will never exist."

Luttwak made several sweeping statements that the scholars I interviewed said were incorrect or highly debatable, including assertions that in Islam a father's religion always determines a child's, regardless of the facts of his upbringing; that Obama's "conversion" to Christianity was apostasy; that apostasy is, with few exceptions, a capital crime; and that a Muslim could not be punished for killing an apostate.

All the scholars argued that Luttwak had a rigid, simplistic view of Islam that failed to take into account its many strains and the subtleties of its religious law, which is separate from the secular laws in almost all Islamic nations. The Islamic press and television have reported extensively on the United States presidential election, they said, and Obama's Muslim roots and his Christian religion are well known, yet there have been no suggestions in the Islamic world that he is an apostate.

Luttwak said the scholars with whom I spoke were guilty of "gross misrepresentation" of Islam, which he said they portrayed as "a tolerant religion of peace;" he called it "intolerant." He said he was not out to attack Obama and regretted that, in the editing, a paragraph saying that an Obama presidency could be "beneficial" was cut for space.

What a douche!

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