Adam Serwer

Good For Herman Cain

Herman Cain apparently met with "Muslim leaders" yesterday to discuss his statements about blocking mosques and banning Muslims from his cabinet: “I would be flabbergasted if he ever repeated those statements and said that communities should be allowed to ban mosques,” He said. “I think that the meeting today has changed his mind 100 percent. From the tenor of the conversation, I can’t see him repeating such things.” In a statement sent to reporters following the meeting, Cain apologized for causing offense to Muslims, but didn’t renounce his earlier comments. “While I stand by my opposition to the interference of shariah law into the American legal system, I remain humble and contrite for any statements I have made that might have caused offense to Muslim Americans and their friends,” Cain said. “I am truly sorry for any comments that may have betrayed my commitment to the U.S. Constitution and the freedom of religion guaranteed by it. Muslims, like all Americans, have the right to...

Fallout

Muslims in Norway reflect on the fallout of the Oslo attacks. Bachmann sexism watch , hair and makeup edition. Republicans will like anything Democrats don't. GOP Governor Chris Christie is tired of dealing with "the crazies."

Local Media Me

I was on the 70 bus when it crashed Saturday afternoon on Georgia Avenue, and I took a few photos used by local ABC affiliate WJLA. I was sitting in the front of the bus, the seats reserved for the elderly and disabled when buses get crowded, and I was thrown several feet to the floor of the bus when it crashed. So if you have any elderly or disabled relatives who use the bus regularly, I would recommend telling them not to actually sit in those seats unless they're strapped in.

The FBI's 2009 Reading List Looks A Lot Like Breivik's

Alleged Oslo terrorist Anders Breivik's 1,500-page manifesto contained a number of recommendations to readers for where to go to get the truth about those barbaric Muslims. The scary part is that the FBI's 2009 Islam 101 briefing recommends some of the same books, Spencer Ackerman reports : Among the most provocative aspects of the presentation is its recommended reading list. One book offered is The Truth About Mohammed: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion, by Robert Spencer. Spencer is one of the ringleaders of the protest against the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” and the co-founder of Stop the Islamicization of America, which “promotes a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda,” in the view of the Anti-Defamation League. A manifesto written by the Norwegian terror suspect Anders Behring Breivik cited Spencer 64 times. Another book cited is The Arab Mind, by Raphael Patai. The volume was briefly infamous in 2004, after Seymour Hersh reported its influence among certain Iraq...

Captain America's Faux Integration, Ctd

Alyssa Rosenberg says that Captain America: The First Avenger 's portrayal of institutional sexism wasn't all that: My assumption was those doors were British ones — Peggy is, after all, a U.K. transplant to an American unit. And it’s true that Col. Chester Phillips can be skeptical of Peggy’s judgement out in the field as part of a larger skepticism of what Cap, who up until his arrival in Europe has been a war bond-shilling show pony, can actually accomplish that’s of military value. But she’s entirely accepted as a partner by Howard Stark and Dr. Abraham Erskine, and she gets to shuck that pencil skirt and put on some pants to fight Hydra on the ground. (Erskine’s top secret lab is guarded by a lady with a shotgun, too.) In a sense, that fact that Peggy gets to hit the front lines and defend her man is just as cheery and dismissive of actual history as the suggestion that World War II units were racially integrated. Women in both the WACS and the WAVES were kept out of combat (...

King's Al Shabaab Hearings

Representative Peter King's hearings on al Shabaab's Minnesota recruitment efforts was largely uneventful. Despite King hyping the supposed lack of cooperation with law enforcement from Minnesota's Somali American community, when asked whether he faced any opposition the St. Paul* chief of police, Tom Smith, said that he hadn't. One issue I would take with the hearing, though, is that the conversation about extremist ideology has taken on a kind of Reefer Madness quality, where lawmakers talk as though all it takes is the right jihadist sweet talk to instantly turn a misguided young man into a terrorist. I think that approach avoids some key issues. What we know is that an unusually large (but still miniscule relative to the size of the community itself) number of young Somali Americans have gone abroad to fight with al Shabaab. Otherwise, with some notable and tragic exceptions, extremists have been relatively unsuccessful at radicalizing Muslim Americans. There are some key...

Imagine If We Had Leaders Like This

Contrast the reaction of Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg to the Olso attacks... “It’s absolutely possible to have an open, democratic, inclusive society, and at the same time have security measures and not be naive,” he said. Stoltenberg underlined his commitment to openness, defending freedom of thought even if includes extremist views such as those held by the 32-year-old Norwegian who confessed to Friday’s bomb blast at government headquarters and to the shooting massacre at a Labor Party youth camp hours later. At least 76 people were killed. “We have to be very clear to distinguish between extreme views, opinions — that’s completely legal, legitimate to have. What is not legitimate is to try to implement those extreme views by using violence,” he said. ...With the reaction of American conservatives to President Barack Obama's conviction that Americans would be resilient in the face of another large-scale terror attack, people who said Obama was "stunningly complacent"...

Civil Rights Division Suing Wells Fargo

It was two years ago that the NAACP and Baltimore city officials went after Wells Fargo over revelations that the bank had marketed subprime "ghetto loans" to blacks, referred to in internal memos as "mud people." The Justice Department has finally decided to act, suing Wells Fargo for discriminatory lending practices. The probe isn't coming from the section of the Justice Department focused on financial crimes, which has developed a disturbingly cozy relationship with the banks. Instead it's coming from Thomas Perez and the Civil Rights Division: The previously-undisclosed Justice probe, which is being led by the Civil Rights division's Fair Lending Unit, lends credence to the city's lawsuit, sources told The Huffington Post. The official overseeing the office, Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez, previously served as secretary of Maryland's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, a consumer protection agency that regulates mortgage and foreclosure terms and houses the...

Just Stop Digging, Dude

Robert Spencer is mad at me: The hapless Adam Serwer in the Washington Post lies outright when he says that "most of Geller and Spencer’s blogging consists of attempts to tar all Muslims with the responsibility for terrorism....assigning collective blame for an act of terror through guilt-by-association." In ten books, hundreds of articles, and over 25,000 blog posts, I have never "attempted to tar all Muslims with the responsibility for terrorism," and challenge Serwer to prove his claim. In reality, I have stated on this site since it began in 2003 that "any Muslim who renounces violent jihad and dhimmitude is welcome to join in our anti-jihadist efforts." That's right. Spencer's not holding Muslims collectively responsible for terrorism. He's just saying that if you're a Muslim, you just have to prove you're not a terrorist first and then Spencer will be your friend. Not that Spencer should be required to renounce his devoted fan Anders Breivik as the price of admission to polite...

The Growing Racial Wealth Gap

Yesterday, the Pew Research Center released its report on the racial wealth gap in American society, with some really depressing results. The economic crisis essentially wiped out the wealth gains made by people of color over the past 20 years, resulting in "lopsided wealth ratios," that "are the largest since the government began publishing such data a quarter-century ago and roughly twice the size of the ratios that had prevailed between these three groups for the two decades prior to the Great Recession that ended in 2009." Take a look: And again: Asians aren't included in the chart, but they saw their wealth decline by 54 percent as well. I want to look at this in the context of our political discourse on race for the past three years or so, during which many conservatives have put forth a narrative of white victimhood in which the Obama policy agenda consists entirely of " reparations " and the sluggish recovery is Obama's racial " payback " for past grievances. As silly as the...

Fallout

Obama sucks at negotiating . But Yglesias is right that Congress is a bigger issue. Turns out late-term abortions aren't as fun as Republicans think they are. Seven tropes we should retire.

Supply-Side Jesus Strikes Again

Obama's favorite anti-gay pastor Rick Warren apparently has a twitter feed where he says things like: HALF of America pays no taxes. ZERO. So they're happy for tax rates to be raised on the other half that DOES pay taxes. Kevin Drum has a chart that says otherwise: I must have missed the part of the Bible where it says "blessed are the top 1 percent," but hey, I'm more of an Old Testament guy anyway.

Terrorism And "True" Belief

Alex Pareene makes an important point about alleged Oslo shooter Anders Breivik identifying as a Christian: He's a sick perversion of Christianity, sure. But if he "doesn't count" as a Christian solely because no one this evil should "count" as a Christian (which is [Bill] O'Reilly's other argument -- "no one believing in Jesus commits mass murder," he said) then no terrorist should "count" as a representative of his faith. O'Reilly's argument is that Christianity as a faith shouldn't be tarred by the actions of a terrorist. But by that logic, neither should Muslims be held accountable for the actions of a tiny minority that mostly kills other Muslims. But barring some sort of Dave Chappelle-like ethnic/religious draft process , Breivik is properly identified as a Christian. All the more reason not to engage in guilt by association when other religions are involved. I would also add that the irony of O'Reilly's protest is that the anti-Muslim bloggers whom Breivik admired are...

The "Blank Check" Lie

I'm obviously not an expert on the debate occurring over the debt ceiling, but I know enough to know that raising the debt ceiling has nothing to do with cutting spending. During last night's speech, House Speaker John Boehner repeated a whopper that is becoming a standard part of Republican talking points on the issue: But the far more dishonest statement is Boehner’s line that the debt ceiling amounts to a “blank check.” This is a straight-up lie. Not the everyday, casual fudging that politicians do, but a straight up lie. As the Government Accountability Office explains: “The debt limit does not control or limit the ability of the federal government to run deficits or incur obligations. Rather, it is a limit on the ability to pay obligations already incurred.” This isn’t a perfect metaphor, but not raising the debt ceiling is more like refusing to pay your credit card bill than it is akin to asking for a blank check. Congress appropriates funds; if they don’t want Obama to spend...

Captain America's Faux Integration, Ctd

Alyssa Rosenberg argues that Captain America: The First Avenger lacks any acknowledgement of Armed Forces segregation because The Avengers is about "institutional optimism." I'm not buying it. Not just because these kinds of issues have been ably handled in the comics, but the most recent Avengers storylines have been conflicts about institutional corruption, from Civil War to villain Norman Osborne's brief takeover of the Marvel Universe's superpowered national security institutions. And this is in keeping with a general trend in comic books during and in the aftermath of the Bush administration, reflecting growing American distrust in government. Nor is the film completely ignorant of its historical context with regards to prejudice. Peggy Carter, Cap's love interest, alludes to institutional sexism briefly in one of her first conversations with Steve Rogers, saying that she knows what it's like to have "doors slammed in her face." It's easy to see how a similar scene could be...

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