Adam Serwer

Douthat On Prop. 8.

Ross Douthat's column this morning reads like a column from someone whose religious and cultural views lead them to oppose marriage equality but can't think of a very good reason for the state to prevent recognition of same-sex marriages. Douthat focuses more on relationships as a whole and not just marriage, noting that marriage as we understand it is hardly an evolutionary imperative, human relationships have evolved with society, and there's something unique and special about two people deciding to love each other for the rest of their lives.

Park 51 Opponents Ally With Islamophobic Dutch MP*.

It may seem absurd that a former half-term governor of Alaska and a former representative from Georgia have emerged as the most prominent voices on whether or not the people of Manhattan should allow American Muslims to exercise their First Amendment freedoms.


Everything the Bush administration did was legal, which is why they tried so hard to hide it.

Apparently it's hard to prosecute people on information you've gotten through torture.

Happy birthday to the Voting Rights Act.

Outlaw lemonade stands and only outlaws will have them.

One Final Point About Sharia-Compliant Finance.

Following up on my post yesterday, I just want to excerpt this section of my interview with Islamic legal scholar Frank Vogel:

What is Islamic/Sharia-compliant finance?

Islamic finance is conducting finance in compliance with the rulings of the traditional Islamic law as to commerce and investment and property.

Where does Islamic finance come from?

Why There Are So Few Black Republicans.

Dave Weigel's reporting on a gathering of black conservatives pretty much explains it:

This, though, is the limitation of the professional black conservative. The issue he or she talks about the most is not so much race as it is political correctness. And when he or she is asked to talk, it's in response to something the NAACP or a civil rights spokesman has said or done.

Marriage In Less Than 100 Pages.

I think David Boies and Ted Olson might want to think of appointing Grover co-counsel on Perry v. Schwartzenegger.

This Ain't Black vs. White, We Off That.

I think it's about time we bury the idea that black people are somehow uniquely vulnerable to race-based political appeals, don't you?

In a historic landslide, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen won the 9th Congressional District's Democratic primary Thursday, signaling the end of Memphis political dominance for his challenger, former Mayor Willie Herenton.

In unofficial results, Cohen received 79 percent of the vote to Herenton's 21 percent.

ACLJ Admits Religion Of Ground Zero Builders Driving Landmark Lawsuit.

A legal group founded by Pat Robertson, the American Center for Law and Justice, has filed a suit under Article 78 of the of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules, alleging that the Landmark Preservation Commission failed to properly consider whether the Park 51 building that is slated to become an Islamic community center was worth landmarking due to the fact that it was hit by debris on the day of the September 11 attacks. The commission instead considered whether the building was worth landmarking because of its style of architecture.


This can't be real.

Rand Paul doesn't have a bachelor's degree.

Will the DoD ban itself from Gitmo?

The administration's position on marriage equality looks increasingly absurd.

Elena Kagan becomes a Supreme Court justice.

"Decent Muslims."

As the debate over the proposed Islamic community center near Ground Zero wears on, those who supported government intervention to prevent the building from being built have started to employ this rhetorical device that the Weekly Standard's William Kristol used two days ago on Fox News (via Nexis):

[Obama] should say the truth, which is decent Muslims are appalled by this. This isn't helping Muslim relations in the United States. It's terribly damaging to them. He should say to his imam if you care all about comedy[sic] and decency in the U.S., build this mosque elsewhere.

Paterson's Legacy.

Jonathan Bernstein makes a very fair and Bernsteinesque point about Gov. David Paterson and the role of the New York state Legislature in New York's recent criminal-justice reforms:

Focused Deterrence In Afghanistan?

Gretchen Peters looks at how innovative enforcement strategies like those pioneered by John Jay's David Kennedy might work in Afghanistan:

With some adaptations, focused deterrence could help engage communities and work toward reducing violence in Afghanistan as well. Ordinary Afghans in remote parts of the country will be unlikely to stand up to the Taliban on their own, but NATO forces could provide the security they need to feel safe delivering such messages. Such a program could enhance counterinsurgency tactics that seem to be succeeding in some districts of Afghanistan, while struggling in others.


He's Got The Whole Spin Thing Down.

Former Fugee Wyclef Jean is planning to run for president of Haiti (full disclosure, I donated to Yele after the earthquake):

He will also have to field questions about his Yele Haiti charity, which raised more than $9 million after the quake. The organization was widely criticized for alleged financial irregularities after quake, when scrutiny revealed that it had paid Jean to perform at fundraising events and bought advertising air time from a television station he co-owns, among other suspected improprieties.

Yele hired a new accounting firm after the allegations surfaced.

Walker, The Anti-Bork.


David Boaz preempts the "activist judge" line that has and will continue to be leveled at Judge Vaughn Walker, who ruled that Prop. 8 was unconstitutional yesterday.