Adam Serwer

Whole Foods: Sorry For Acknowledging Ramadan

The Village Voice obtains a set of internal e-mails from Whole Foods that finds the company backing down on its Ramadan-related promotion because it made some folks mad:

Saffron Road's halal items are still for sale in Whole Foods. Yet partners at the stores are directed to tell customers: "Whole Foods Market is not promoting Ramadan, but rather featuring the great halal offerings our shoppers can find in our stores during this special time."

Bad Arguments Against Interracial Dating

Erin Gloria Ryan responds to a silly op-ed from Ralph Richard Banks suggesting black women date men of different races by rehashing some campus liberal sociology that implicitly embraces certain values I'm guessing she doesn't actually buy into:

Chris Christe Doubles Down on "Shariah Crazies" Remark

Jeffrey Goldberg talks to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who following his appointment of a Muslim judge became a target of anti-Muslim conservatives he dismissed as "sharia crazies," saying "this sharia law business is crap."

Haunted By A Past Of Common Decency

Benjy Sarlin reports on Texas Governor Rick Perry's evolution from an immigration moderate (liberal by today's standards) who signed a state DREAM Act and opposed the E-Verify employment verification system to a border hawk who supported Arizona-style restrictionist legislation in his own state.

Tortured? Want To Sue? That's "Lawfare."

Following last Friday's post on the two separate torture civil cases former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is facing, a third case involving two more American citizens working for an Iraqi contractor who claim they were tortured while detained in Iraq was given the go-ahead by a federal judge. That makes three cases in which Americans -- not foreigners, who conservatives erroneously argue aren't entitled to constitutional protections -- are suing former Bush officials over the torture policies approved by the previous administration.

Bachmann's Views On Slavery Are Worse Than You Thought

Months ago, there was a small controversy over Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann signing a pledge put forth by social conservatives in Iowa that stated "black child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African American baby born after the election of the USA's first African American President."

Westen's Indictment

Drew Westen's piece yesterday highlighting Obama's failure to tell an effective "story" that would have led to Congress laying down and embracing a more progressive agenda is probably a cathartic read for liberals disappointed with Obama. It does, however, have quite a few problems -- namely the notion that "the public was desperate for a leader who would speak with confidence, and they were ready to follow wherever the president led." I mean hardly -- mostly the country was relieved that Bush was no longer in office.  But it doesn't actually matter what the public wanted. What mattered was what Congress was willing to pass.

Programming Note

I'm traveling today, so posting will be a bit sporadic. Things will be back to normal tomorrow.


We probably won't all be killed by apes.

The story of black Mormons.

How to respond to the Somalia famine.

The Jerusalem Post apologizes for its Islamophobic post-Oslo editorial.

The Gotcha Question

Adam Winkler has an interesting post on the legal fight over the Affordable Care Act and the "gotcha" question the conservatives are likely to ask: What are the limits of the commerce clause if the mandate is constitutional?

No Right Not To Be Tortured The Government Is Bound To Respect

Even if you're an American citizen, the government can detain you indefinitely and torture you, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Cutting through the legalese, that's the gist of the argument lawyers for former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are arguing in two cases involving the indefinite detention and alleged abuse of two American citizens. One, Jose Padilla, who was convicted on terrorism charges, is well known. The other is a John Doe, a veteran and defense contractor who was detained in Iraq and subject to so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. Both men are suing Rumsfeld and the government over their treatment. The cases aren't entirely the same, but they share enough of the basic legal issues that they're worth talking about together.

Things That Didn't Happen

This part of Andrew Sullivan's defense of Obama simply isn't true:

What Bush Did For The Conservative Movement

I want to address a separate claim from Kevin Drum's defense of Obama's effectiveness as a politician, specifically Drum's argument that "in two years Obama has done more to enact a liberal agenda than George Bush did for the conservative agenda in eight."


Apologies--I've been running around all day, so no fallout this evening. It'll be back tomorrow.