Adam Serwer

Outlawing Speech

The Israeli Knesset is taking an ill-advised path in trying to tamp down domestic dissent:

The Israeli Parliament on Monday passed contentious legislation that effectively bans any public call for a boycott against the state of Israel or its West Bank settlements, making such action a punishable offense.

Critics and civil rights groups denounced the new law as antidemocratic and a flagrant assault on the freedom of expression and protest. The law’s defenders said it was a necessary tool in Israel’s fight against what they called its global delegitimization.


Gitmo In Somalia

Jeremy Scahill has a must-read piece on the CIA's operations in Somalia, which may peripherally shed some light on why and how alleged al Shabab member Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame was captured. According to Scahill, the U.S., through the CIA, has been running a local detention operation there under the auspices of Somali intelligence:

Barry's Plan To "Save" Chocolate City

Yesterday former DC Mayor and current Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry proposed the world's worst solution to poverty in his ward, which is "encouraging homeownership" by banning new apartment buildings:

"The American dream is to own a home. And black people have not gotten the American dream as much as they need to," Barry says. "Somebody can rent for 20 years, and has no equity in their unit at all."

"I've thought about this," Barry finishes. "It's not a kneejerk reaction."

Anti-Sharia Republicans Still Don't Know What Sharia Is

Justin Elliott interviews Bob Vander Plaats, the Iowa social conservative who authored the pledge that suggested black families were better off during slavery:

There's one section in the pledge that says the candidate has to reject -- the phrase used is "Sharia Islam" -- can you describe what you mean by that phrase and what you want the candidates to reject in that?

Guilty Until Proven Guilty

At National Review, Brian J. Pawlowski summarizes the current Republican consensus on counterterrorism:


Good interview with George R. R. Martin.

The rhetoric and reality of "college for all."

Laws named after dead children are a bad idea.

Pretty amusing contrast of Roger Cohen's very different reactions to Rupert Murdoch and Julian Assange.

Nixonland Forever

I'm finally reading Rick Perlstein's Nixonland, and I laughed out loud when I read this passage about the vulnerability of Jerry Voorhis, the California Democrat who was the first victim of Richard Nixon's red-baiting:

Voohris possessed an added vulnerability: He had once been a member of the Socialist Party. Not a Communist, but for the upright burghers of Southern California's suburbs, to whom property was as sacred as anything in the Bible, the distinction was sufficiently arcane to be moot.

Why We Don't Call It Terrorism

Hard to disagree with the spirit of what Amanda Marcotte writes here on the squeamishness in referring to anti-abortion violence as terrorism:

Michelle Obama Eats Something Fattening

We've got a new genre of "hypocrisy journalism," courtesy of the Washington Post:

A Washington Post journalist on the scene confirmed the first lady, who’s made a cause out of child nutrition, ordered a ShackBurger, fries, chocolate shake and a Diet Coke while the street and sidewalk in front of the usually-packed Shake Shack were closed by security during her visit.

According to nutritional information on Shake Shack’s Web site, the meal amounted to 1,556 calories.

Dept. Of Precedent

Rep. Allan West has invited sharia panic organization Citizens for National Security to the Hill for a policy briefing, during which a list of known Communists Mutants members of the Muslim Brotherhood will be produced:

A highlight of the briefing will be an announcement by Dr. Leitner of CFNS’s development of an unprecedented list of individual members of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S., and the people and organizations with which they are associated.

This Mitch McConnell Quote Is Not From The Onion

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has emerged as the GOP's preeminent culture war counterterrorist, ascends to heretofore unreached levels of self-parody by arguing that the not guilty verdict for Casey Anthony proves that terrorists shouldn't be tried in federal court:

The Perils Of "Decapitating" Al Qaeda

Spencer Ackerman analyzes incoming Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's assertion that we're only twenty or so kills away from neutralizing al Qaeda:

Cornel West's Telepathy

Jesse Washington has a new piece exploring the uneven impact of the recession on the black middle class, with some really startling information on just how profoundly black homeowners have been impacted, noting that, “In 2009, for every dollar of wealth the average white household had, black households only had two cents.” That's in part because black people were disproportionately likely to have their wealth tied up in their homes, and so were particularly devastated by the foreclosure crisis.


It's really hard for white people to get arrested for smoking weed.

A political solution to the Afghan war.

Illegal immigration is down in part because life in Mexico is less miserable.

I really didn't know who Casey Anthony was until earlier this week and I'm happy about it.

Some Perspective On "Catch And Release"

Following up on Marc Thiessen's bogus claim that the Obama administration's policy with terrorism suspects is now "catch and release," this is a chart I made of Gitmo detainees released or transferred based on the numbers from McClatchy:

Gitmo detainees.jpg