Posted by: quiscus | August 22, 2010

August 22, 2010

1.  No kidding:

“Poll: Majority say history will deem Iraq war a failure”

2.  “Dear Rev. Graham: Obama was not born a Muslim and neither is anyone else

Evangelist (and hateful bigot) Franklin Graham said this weekend that President Obama was ‘born a Muslim’ because, he said, Islam is transmitted through the father just as Judaism is transmitted through the mother.

Presumably it is this sort of thinking that has led an increasing number of Americans to believe, incorrectly, that Obama is a Muslim.

Graham as usual is not only hateful but also plain wrong. The Talmudic rule that one is a Jew by virtue of having a Jewish mother has been responsible for imagining the Jewish people as a race as well as a religion. (They are not actually a race, of course, and most Jewish women are descended from a Gentile ancestor).

But Muslims are not a race even in the imagining, but rather a world-religion to which belong people of virtually every ethnic group in the world. Thus, unlike in Judaism, one is not born a Muslim. Rather, children of Muslim parents who embrace Islam typically recite the confession of faith around puberty and undertake to fulfill the obligations of Islamic law at that time. Until that time, they are not mukallaf or obliged to perform the rituals of the religion. Franklin’s allegation would imply that children are Muslim by birth and have to fast the month of Ramadan when they are 5. It is ridiculous.”

3.   “Gulf Oil May Not Degrade for DECADES

Dr. MacDonald told Congress that the oil has already degraded, emulsified and evaporated about as much as its going to, and it is going to very resistant for further biodegradation. The oil will be in the environment for a long-time, he said, and the imprint of the BP discharge will be detectable “for the rest of my life” (he’s 58, and the average lifespan for American men is about 76; so that’s some 18 years).

Dr. Suatoni told Congress that oil which goes into low-oxygen zones will remain in a full toxic form for decades.”

4.  “Blood Money.

TonyBlair, former Prime Minister, alleged potential war criminal

A certain furore has greeted the book signing, for which he reportedly received a £4.6 million advance, on top of the now estimated up to £46 million, since he left office, including from interests in oil exploration in Iraq, over which he is reported to have fought a two year battle with the (UK) parliamentary independent scrutiny committee, to be anything but scrutinised. Details he said, were “commercially sensitive.” You bet. His networks of companies through which his money gushes are, says Mike Warburton, senior partner at tax accountants Grant Thornton : “… opaque. We do not know where the money comes from or where it goes to, but at the end of the chain, you have a company that does not file accounts, so one can only presume it is to keep secret.”

As this was being written, Britain commemorated the 70th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s speech of 20th August, 1940, which includes the lines: “Never has so much been owed by so many to so few.” Perhaps it should be re-fashioned for our times: “Never have so many died, for being ripped off by so few.”

5.  Really good article.

Beyond City Limits
The Age of Nations is Over. The New Urban Age has Begun.”

6.  “The Erosion of America’s Middle Class”


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