Sunday, August 22, 2010

What is this over here?

A Civil War prison camp.

I know exactly where this is at because when I lived in Augusta I would drive down to Millen for work and Millen was on the way to Florida. Unlike other places in Georgia, Augusta emerged from the Civil War relatively unscathed and unlike Savannah or Atlanta I never got the sense that Augusta was defined, in part, by a connection the war.

When I heard this story reported on the radio, I almost froze. It's always a weird feeling when you here about some obscure corner of the world that you think only you know about being talked about world wide. It makes the world seem a little smaller.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Muslims in Lower Manhattan

The most disheartening aspect of the debate on the Islamic cultural center in lower Manhattan is that much of the debate is focused on turning American Muslims into a scary other who are undeserving of the full rights granted under the Constitution.

Muslim Americans are part of the fabric of New York and the U.S, and they have been a part for a long time. Muslim Americans have also been apart of the American story that began on 9/11. Approximately, 50 Muslims were murdered in the 9/11 attacks and the majority of people murdered by Al Qaeda and it's associates are Muslims. American Muslims volunteered to serve in our government's response to 9/11 and some died. Muslims in other countries have made the decision to side with the U.S. and many of those who allied themselves died as a result of that decision.

Muslim victims are part of the story of 9/11, they are part of the story of the response to those attacks, and Muslims Americans will continue to be a part of the story of this nation's recovery from that day.

Not only do Muslims have the Constitutional right to have space in Lower Manhattan but they are every bit as deserving as any other group.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Book Review

This summer I decided to see if reality really does match the hype and so I read all three volume of the Steig Larsson trilogy. In a period of about 10 days(that often included staying up late) I read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire, and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. After finishing all three, I can definitely say that the all three books are worthy of the hype.

Lisbeth Salander is the main character and most interestingly she is also the moral fulcrum of the trilogy. If a charcter is good then they will, directly or indirectly be on Salander's side and like wise if they are bad then the person is antagonistic to Salander. Making such a complex character the focal point and moral focal point gives the books their drive. There should be a couple of warnings attached: there is some sex and violence and a combination of the two that make you uncomfortable. The other warning is that you should be prepared for a few late nights and a few late nights is a small price to pay for three great reads.

Dear Robert Gibbs:

As the press secretary for a Democratic President, you are by definition a member of "the professional left."

Many of us who push President Obama from the left do so not because we are paid to do so but because we are passionate; often times more passionate about the President's agenda then many of his professional supporters.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Marriage and Smokies for All

As evidenced by the presence of little smokies, the marriage of my moms-in-law was, is, and will be eternally valid because the presence of little smokies at a wedding is what makes the marriage valid and legitimate.

However it is good to know that with today's court ruling in California, legal recognition for all marriages is a little closer to being a reality in the U.S.

It's What is on the Inside that Matters

George Packer wrote a great article detailing how the internal rules of the Senate allow a minority to obstruct everything in that body. In his analysis, Packer overlooks one major issue that causes the Senate to behave the way it does.

The external political world that sends senators to Washington has changed. The greater political world is more polarized then it was a few decades ago and the two parties are now aligned based on their ideologies. The problem with the Senate is not that senators are a mediocre bunch or that they are more partisan then in the past. The problem with the Senate is the world outside has changed and the Senate has not adjusted it's internal rules and norms to reflect that change.