Wednesday, November 29, 2006

More News Briefs And Commentary

I don't like to promote an upcoming post, because there's always the chance that it will not live up to the hype. But in this case I will; I have one coming up, right now I am calling it: The European Mystique.

But for now, I feel little inspiration and have even less time to find some, so I will do what I always do. And that is, inject my opinionated rhetoric into some of today's news stories.

Pelosi Nixes Hastings For Committee Chair

Smart move. Hastings would have been a tremendous mistake. I cannot for the life of me figure out why she would even consider a man that was impeached as a judge, for the Intelligence Committee. Question is, will she still bypass Harman?

PYY will take a more wait and see attitude, before singing her praises, just yet.

Pope In Turkey (So Far So Good)

So far, the Pope's trip is uneventful. After the usual tense exchange of superficial pleasantries, the Pope called for the standard "we need to have a better dialogue" response. Then, as if that wasn't enough for one day, he really hit the political issues, confirming his stance that Turkey should be admitted to the EU.

(For a Turkish news editorial in English read this.)

Jackson Calls For Boycott Of Seinfeld DVD

I guess there are people that just do not want this to die.

Look. What Richards did was wrong and I condemn it. He is the one that needs to apologize and he has. Whether the black community wants to forgive him or not, that's up to them, not me. But I fail to see the fairness in calling for a boycott of something that Seinfeld is doing. Jerry is not responsible for Richards' actions, why should people punish him?

Well, that's all we have time for today. Join us next time and we will teach you all how to train a hippopotamus.


Greg said...

Am I the only one struck by the irony of Jesse "Hymie" Jackson lecturing us on racial sensitivity? Perhaps we should should boycott Democrats b/c Jackson hates Jews? He's such a clown.

I was also struck yesterday by the comment made by some Turkish religious leader at his joint news conference w/ the Pope. He said that "insulting Islam leads to violence." So say the wrong thing about the "religion of peace" and we will kill you.

Anyway, I hear the Pope is big on the idea of "reciprocity" - that non-Muslims be given the same freedoms in Muslim countries as Muslims are given in non-Muslim countries. One of his goals is the extremely controversial idea of allowing christians and jews to freely worship in places like Saudi Arabia. The Pope should be more vocal with this simple demand. I'm sick and tired of the religion of peace threatening violence over cartoons, while being a christian or a jew in their country is essentially illegal. Who's with me?

A.C. McCloud said...

As to Hastings, Bob Beckel was on H&C last night and said that Pelosi was never going to pick Hastings, but to get that done she had to make deals with the Congressional Black Caucus, which included having people like Hoyer and others make comments about what a capable candidate Hastings was, etc.

They let that slip right by w/o commenting much, but if true, talk about the party of deception and backroom deals. Geez.

Anonim said...

Re: Richards/Seinfeld

It really is non-sense to suggest a boycott of Seinfeld DVD. What's the association? They are friends? Seinfeld facilitated Richard's public apology on Letterman? That's what friends are for, one would think. I read somewhere somebody jabbing at Seinfeld for shushing the Letterman audience laughing while Richards was trying to apologize. What? The guy is not allowed to remind the I-am-here-to-laugh crowd of the seriousness of the situation? Sh*t! Some people want blood; they revel in any opportunity that presents itself, and the won't relent.

Re: Pope in Turkey

LASunsett, the Pope's offering his blessings for Turkey's admission to the EU is not really "confirming his stance." It's a change of heart, and a step back from his previous statements against such admission. Specifically, he had said (in 2004, I think, when he was a cardinal) Turkey was of a different religion and culture, and had always been Christian Europe's Moslem foe. This alone would have guaranteed him a cold reception in Turkey had he not complicated the situation further by his Regensburg speech in September.

Greg, apparently somethings are bound to be lost in translation, but aren't you pushing it too far by reading "insulting Islam leads to violence" as "say the wrong thing [...] and we will kill you"? Insults are in general liable to lead to violence, aren't they? So what's the big deal here? I think, you would have a point if you said/meant Moslems today have a noticeable tendency to feel insulted. In the particular case of Bardakoglu's speech, there was no such insinuation of a threat. What to me was particularly interesting in his speech was, he openly complained of widespread Islamophobia in the West, and he almost accused his guest, the Pope, of ignorance in reference to his Regensburg speech. Both points bear merit for further discussion in my opinion, but I am not up for a lengthy academic debate here.

I am with you in rejecting threats of violence over cartoons and the like. However, you are terribly wrong to suggest that being a Christian or a Jew in Muslim countries is essentially illegal. It is a terrible oversimplification. At least so in the context of Turkey. (FYI, I am Turkish, nominally Moslem, otherwise agnostic if not atheist, and I don't feel comfortable to speak for Moslems at large.)

Always On Watch said...

I'm worn out with the Kramer story.

Greg said...

anonim: what I find just sickening about Muslim leaders (and perhaps this is just a result of my judeo-christian upbringing) is that they think violence is an acceptable response to any perceived insult. And yes, as you point out, they are so easily insulted. People were actually murdered b/c of the perceived insult in the Pope's speech. Not only is there no admonition from religious authorities that this is wrong, they continually justify the violence, as the imam did yesterday in his speech in front of the Pope.

And then they want to be called the "religion of peace." They aren't.

As far as the "kuffa," I grant you the oversimplification, but you would be hard-pressed to prove to me that a Christian or a Jew in Turkey or Saudi Arabia has the same rights as a Muslim in America or France. I can't even step foot in some parts of the Muslim world by virtue of my "kuffa" status. Never mind build a church or a synagogue. But Muslim leaders don't see the irony in proclaiming the existence of a "war vs. Islam" perpetrated by the west. If anything, it's the opposite. What would they say if we assigned a special legal status to Muslims living in America? Well, I guess they would say some violence is in order!

Anonim said...

Greg, I tend to think it is basically a matter of being tuned in to different channels...

Take the plight of Palestinians on their own territories for example. What kind of coverage does it get in the US? I don't see or hear US leaders admonishing the situation there. Interestingly, Jimmy Carter has just published a book on the matter. I am waiting for the Judeo-Christian campaign to discredit Carter and what he is saying.

Bardakoglu, the imam you are referring to, did not justify violence in his speech. I don't think he thinks violence is an acceptable response to insults, perceived or real. He called religious leaders like his guest, the Pope, to promote better understanding among different religions. In this context, he was critical of the Pope's Regensburg speech as he thought, theologically and historically, it reflected poor understanding of Islam. This was the crux of his speech. Any justification of violence in his speech should stem from omission as you appear to feel: omission of an open rejection of violence some Muslims or Muslim groups seem to resort to. Well, I think it would have been very good if he had issued such a rejection. But, he clearly wasn't particularly well tuned to your sensibilities. What I am saying is, you may not believe in the inter-faith and harmony (as opposed to clash) of civilizations efforts (I feel lukewarm about them myself), but you are taking it too far by claiming Bardakoglu, who spoke along the lines of these efforts, justified violence and threatened "say the wrong thing [...] and we will kill you."

I cannot, and God knows I don't want to, speak for Saudi Arabia, but your putting Turkey in the same basket with this theocratic monarchy is quite discouraging to continue with the discussion. I will nevertheless suggest that any and all problems Christian minorities faced in modern Turkey were due to domestic and international politics, virtually none were religiously inspired. Most such practices are unjustifiable morally (like holding the Greek Orthodox minority as hostage to problems with Greece), and many that can still be reversed should be reversed. That said, your belief that you would be at a serious disadvantage in Turkey by virtue of your "kuffa" status is, well, wrong. I don't know a place in Turkey where you as a Christian cannot set foot but I can.

As for the special legal status of non-Muslim minorities in Turkey, it is not something Turkish Republic assigned to them on a whim. Such was what the European powers wanted and extracted from the new-born republic in Lausanne. Who knows, one day, maybe Turkey will feel confident enough to do away with the idea of minorities with legal status. I wonder, who would jump up and down in disbelief should that happen.

LASunsett said...


//Am I the only one struck by the irony of Jesse "Hymie" Jackson lecturing us on racial sensitivity?//

Not by a longshot. The thing that gets me is, Jesse, Al, and the others need racial controversy to justify their existence.

Don't get me wrong, there are many instances where there is racial bigotry (on both sides). But, these guys will consistently seek the "high profile" events, ones that the media overkills, so they can get their faces on TV and their names in the papers. And many times they will do, long before all of the facts come out.

LASunsett said...


// get that done she had to make deals with the Congressional Black Caucus,//

Not much surprises me any more. But every now and then, when I think I have heard it all, something like this comes along.

LASunsett said...


// the Pope's offering his blessings for Turkey's admission to the EU is not really "confirming his stance." It's a change of heart, and a step back from his previous statements against such admission.//

Thanks for pointing this out. I was under the impression he was for this. In fact I thought i read somewhere recently that he was supporting this. I will try to find it, if I can, when I get time.

LASunsett said...


//I'm worn out with the Kramer story.//

You are not alone.

Instead of keeping hope alive (as Jesse used to say), he is keeping this alive, long after the story would have gone away, on its own.

Anonim said...


Here is where the imam, Bardakoglu, comes closest to saying "Insulting Islam leads to violence" or suggesting that he might be thinking "violence is an acceptable response to any perceived insults."

Dear Guest,
We, Muslims condemn all types of violence and terror, regardless of whoever commits it against whosever, and we regard it as a crime against humanity. We are the members of a religion which reckons that shedding the blood of an innocent person is a heavy crime and sin equal to killing all humanity. However, we all regret to observe that during the recent times Islamophobia has been in escalation promoting such notions that the religion of Islam with its sources and history encourages violence, that Islam has spread by force of sword and that Muslims are potentially violent. I wish to make it known to all that each member of Islam whose name originates from peace, is very much deeply touched and offended by such accusations and claims which are not based on any historical fact and on any scientific research nor do they commensurate with any sense of justice and fairness. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that such accusations and attempts can only serve to encourage those who perform wrong-doings on behalf of religion by way of exploitation.

Full text of the English translation of his speech can be found here.

Anonim said...


I found the following Q&A exchange on the matter:

Q. Before becoming pope, the then Cardinal Ratzinger expressed skepticism about Turkey eventually joining the European Union, suggesting Turkish membership would compromise Europe's cultural identity. How would the Vatican define that identity?

A. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Cardinal Ratzinger argued that, were the EU to admit Turkey, it would be conceding that the EU is not the political expression of a common civilization, but a set of pragmatic economic and political arrangements, period. That was certainly not what the founders of modern "Europe" – Alcide de Gasperi, Robert Schuman, Konrad Adenauer – thought they were doing: they thought they were laying the foundations for the reconstitution of something like a res publica Christiana, at least in broad cultural terms.

Full text of the Pew Forum interview can be found here.

I guess, the good Pope has been too much of an academic throughout his life and focused almost exclusively on Catholic theology and issues. He is adjusting to the wider, worldly political realities and necessities.

G_in_AL said...


I'm just making a quick drop by, I have no time to blog anymore (kinda sucks too!).

But here's my thing with the Pope and his visit there plus his statements.

I'm paraphrasing, but essentially he said that the 'terrorists' are what is keeping Muslims and Christians from living together peacefully.

While that statement in-and-of-itself is true... is he (as the Pope) really supposed to try and 'live peacefully' with Muslims? While I dont (and never would) advocate violence to achieve the means... shouldn't the Pope's primary goal, as leader of the Holy Catholic Church, be to convert as many Muslims as possible?

If it is, then how does he really think that Christians can EVER live in peace with Muslims as their religion is even more fanatical about making converts... even if by the sword?

I'm a bit worried that the most prominent figure of the Christian world seems more concerned with making buddies with Muslims than with doing his duty as described in the Gospel (i.e. convert the lost).

He is not a political figure or a diplomat, he is supposed to be the holiest of all people on earth... God's living emissary to us.

I wont be back any time soon, so you don't need to respond.... just food for thought.

superfrenchie said...

Who cares what the pope thinks about the adhesion of Turkey to the EU? The Vatican is not part of the EU, and he will have no say in the matter.

Besides, as the only remaining absolute monarch in Europe, he certainly has no moral standing to tell us, or Turkey, what to do!

Anonim said...

SF, if you don't care, I don't care, either. It probably is no more than LASunsett and myself picking on a factual point.

Btw, I read elsewhere you suggesting mandatory miniskirts instead of burqas. I second that. That would be a refreshing change from all this gloom and doom atmosphere.

LASunsett said...


//Who cares what the pope thinks about the adhesion of Turkey to the EU?//

Personally, it doesn't matter much to me either. I am not Catholic and I think it should be based on sound politically judgement and reason, based on the merits of the case. Even then, my opinion doesn't count much, because I am neither European, nor am I Turkish. (I can't vote for Pope or on EU membership.)

But make no mistake, the man has influence over many, many people.

It was said how foolish it was to ignore the People's Republic of China by not officially recognizing them for many years(and, righfully so). Here was this huge country, the LARGEST country in the world by population. And we didn't even recognize it.

It would be as equally foolish for people to underestimate this large bloc that the Pope has influence over. It would be even more foolish to do it because we aren't Catholic.

LASunsett said...


//It probably is no more than LASunsett and myself picking on a factual point.//

That's okay, Anonim. Keep me honest, I say. ;)

//I read elsewhere you suggesting mandatory miniskirts instead of burqas. I second that. That would be a refreshing change from all this gloom and doom atmosphere.//

Not so okay. As I told SF when he made this statement, there are some women that do NOT belong in a mini-skirt. I have not changed my position on this one. ;)

Anonim said...

Yeah, I saw your reservation, too. I guess, I am with SF on that: live dangerously. Or, wish dangerously 'cause it's not gonna happen anyways :)

superfrenchie said...

LA: //Even then, my opinion doesn't count much, because I am neither European, nor am I Turkish.//

I would care more about the opinion of an American. After all, you liberated Europe (while the pope of the time was helping Hitler), that entitles you to tell us what you think. That's not to say that you should have the last say...

LASunsett said...


//That's not to say that you should have the last say...//

I am married. I am used to not having the last say.