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City of Brass

City of Brass

Purple Politics Archives

the NFL, concussions, and domestic abuse #WhyIStayed #WhyILeft

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A lot of my friends who aren’t into football have remarked upon my newfound interest in football as being somewhat out-of-character (true, at first glance, but i’ll address that later) and also critiqued the sport for all its attendant social […]

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13 years after 9-11

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I honestly don’t have much left to say that I have not said already. But it is worth at least remarking on this, the anniversary of the attacks, that the global challenges facing the world today have almost nothing to […]

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Merry Christmas, Isa Nabi milad mubarak!

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It is Christmas Eve, and it is time to put the Christ back in Christmas. The title “Christ” is derived from a greek word, Khristos, which means “to anoint” – anointing being the process of pouring perfume, oil or water […]

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The muslim world sends love to Boston

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Just wanted to share these two moving images – the first, from two women in Kabul: and the second, two boys in Iraq: Next time you hear or read the Islamophobes’ claim that muslims “dance in the streets” when there […]

extrajudicial killing, Batman and the Joker

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Should Batman kill the Joker? There is actually an ethical debate about this, which is quite relevant to our own national security debate over the question of extrajudicial killing. I was in favor of the targeting of radical cleric Anwar […]

A Muslim for Obama

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I have long argued that as muslims, we must avoid allowing ourselves to declare an allegiance in politics. The Democrats have never seen Muslims as anything other than yet another swing vote to be courted when convenient, and in the […]

Letter from a Birmingham Jail – Martin Luther King, Jr.

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. wrote this letter while incarcerated on a charge of parading without a permit. It was in response to prominent white religious leaders of the Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist and Roman Catholic churches, and Reform Judaism, […]

Gordon Hirabayashi and the legacy of (indefensible) internment

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Gordon Hirabayashi died a few days ago. Mr. Hirabayashi was one of just a handful of Japanese-Americans who refused to comply with the detention order during World War II, and served time in prison for his principled stand. There are […]

Congratulations to David Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

David Ramadan has won the Republican primary for the 87th District in Virginia. David is a conservative Republican and I probably disagree with him on most issues, but he deserves kudos for his victory especially in the light of a […]

Mission Accomplished: Obama got Osama

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

“Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid […]

a Valentine Milad

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This year sees a happy convergence – it is Valentine’s Day and also the birthday of the Prophet SAW*. Sadly, both occasions are burdened by controversy in the muslim world. Valentine’s Day is seen by some as a Western plot […]

State of the Union word cloud – 2010 compared to 2011 (and analysis)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

2010 State of the Union speech (transcript): 2011 State of the Union speech (transcript): Looking at the cloud from last year, we see that they are someone similar. Both speeches show an emphasis on “people” and “jobs”, but there’s more […]

I voted early (and you should too)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I voted this morning. Wisconsin is an early voting state, which means you can cast your vote (using the absentee ballot) in person anytime until election day itself. As it happens, I actually will be absent on election day, but […]

The politics of mosques

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’ve been visiting my parents this weekend in Chicago and immersing myself in Ramadan at our masjid – there’s a serenity and a rigour to arriving at the masjid two hours prior to sunset, reading the Qur’an, engaging in communal […]

Federal government sues State over immigration

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Yes, it happened at last. The Justice Department is filing suit against a State in the union, because that state (which did not vote for the sitting President) passed an immigration law that directly undermines the authority of the federal […]

SCOTUS confirmation kabuki reform: a simple suggestion

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The SCOTUS drama is playing out as usual and completely as expected – which is all the more ironic given that the nominee is the one who best made the argument about SCOTUS confirmations being more about drama than substance. […]

accountability: Elizabeth Birnbaum fired from MMS (updated with video)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The official estimates of the Gulf oil spill have been revised upwards to 4x greater than previously stated, making this disaster far larger than the Exxon Valdez. It was partly pressure from liberals that forced BP to permit independent scientists […]

Is Elena Kagan qualified for the Supreme Court?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I had a twitter debate with Pejman Yousefzadeh about Elena Kagan’s qualifications for Supreme Court Justice. I honestly don’t really have any strong preference, but found the question of qualifications to be highly subjective. <!– Here's our debate in chronological […]

I am beginning to notice a disturbing pattern

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There’s something strange going on… Recall that at the height of the health reform fight, after Senator Brown was elected in MA and the Democrats looked like they were on the verge of total failure. It looked like Obama’s signature […]

Conservatism’s shari’a, liberalism’s ijtihad

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

An interesting meta-debate by intellectual conservatives over conservatism’s future is playing out. It started with David Frum’s Waterloo essay, which led to his political excommunication. Julian Sanchez observed that this represented an epistemic closing of the conservative mind, a thesis […]

freedom of religion and national prayer

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

From the perspective of separation of church and state, this is fantastic news: A federal district judge in Wisconsin has ruled that the 1988 law creating the annual observance is unconstitutional. According to the Associated Press story, the order does […]

Tea party? I’m proud to pay my taxes

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This year, I won’t be getting a refund – in fact I had to cut two sizable checks to the Department of Revenue and the Wisconsin Treasury. Yes, it was indeed painful. Fundamentally, the idea of sending your money to […]

Confessions of an Obama-bot

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama has been riding high the past few weeks, moving forward on his agenda from health care to nuclear arms reduction to the prospect of appointing another judge to the Supreme Court. However, there’s a dark lining to this […]

health reform illustrates why we need a VAT

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The simple truth (and increasing consensus) about health reform is that we needed it, badly. An economist at Kiplinger.com calls the just-passed health reform “no more and no less than a modest, credible start” to reforming our health care system. […]

Is health care reform unconstitutional?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today, the President signed health reform into law. This is an incredible, historic achievement. And it was done entirely without the help of the obstructionists of the GOP, who decided that it was more important to humiliate President Obama than […]

Signing health reform into law

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

And there it is – officially the law of the land: Television networks actually broke their daytime coverage to show the historic signing. Vice President Biden is reputed to have added, “This is a big f$%king deal” – seriously! (no […]

PHOTO: Barack and Hillary – Victory Hug

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

P032210PS-0292 Originally uploaded by The White House President Obama is congratulated by an ecstatic Hillary Clinton for finally achieving the goal of health reform. Hillary was the chief architect of President Clinton’s own failed bid to reform health care back […]

Do doctors oppose health care reform?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Conservative opponents to health reform have been pushing a recent poll ostenibly conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine which claims that doctors are indeed opposed to health reform. This even got play on Fox News by Bill O’Reilly […]

Obama donates Nobel Peace prize money to charities

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As promised, President Obama has donated the money he was awarded from his Nobel Peace Prize to charity. The White House released a list of the charities chosen by the President to receive funds from the $1.4 million award money. […]

forget the public option – I want Medicare

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The public option is almost assuredly not going to be in the final package for health reform, and that’s a good thing because it’s existence imperils passage of this historic and incredibly progressive legislation. It represents a huge – and […]

VIDEO – White House health-care summit

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The health care summit at the White House has begun – here’s the live video feed from Whitehouse.gov: JOIN THE LIVE CHAT VISIT WHITEHOUSE.GOV mcjoan at dkos had a preview of the summit earlier which takes a pretty pessimistic view […]

reconciliation and healthcare – the R in COBRA

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Have you ever had COBRA health insurance coverage? It’s the stopgap insurance coverage you get after you leave a job, intended to fill the gap in your coverage until you find a new job (and doesn’t last forever, which is […]

the public demands an up or down vote on health care

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Back in 2005, the then-majority Republicans were the ones who insisted that filibusters were obstructing the will of the people and that the Senate had a democratic obligation to do an “up or down vote”. Today, the Republicans are the […]

using reconciliation to pass health care; Republican hypocrisy redux

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

“Budget reconciliation” is a technique that lets important bills in Congress pass the Senate with immunity from the filibuster. The bill must have direct relevance to budget issues, not policy, and the Senate Parliamentarian (not an elected official) is the […]

political stimulus: Is Obama out of touch?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today is the one-year anniversary of the landmark stimulus bill which most economists agree has staved off a second Great Depression. The evidence that the stimulus has worked is overwhelming – the New York Times has an in-depth article looking […]

Obama promotes new nuclear power plants

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is really good news – for the first time in decades, new nuclear power plants will be built: On Tuesday, President Obama will announce plans to break ground on two new nuclear reactors at a Southern Company plant in […]

Andre Carson for Indiana Senate?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The bombshell announcement by Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) that he won’t be running for re-election this year has shaken up the politicos. Many on the left are furious with Bayh because he dropped out only days before the filing deadline, […]

Republicans: It’s a trap!

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

All along, the Republicans have insisted that they are not merely obstructionists seeking to derail health care for purely political purposes (“It’s Obama’s Waterloo”, etc), but rather that they have genuine ideas on reform to contribute, but have been excluded […]

State of the Union preview

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The White House has released some excerpts of the State of the Union speech and I am posting them below. My (brief) comments follow. THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary _______________________________________________________________________________________ FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 27, 2010 EXCERPTS […]

is there a “right” to health care?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In the debate over health care, and the associated debate over illegal immigration, I’ve often heard the argument that “health care isn’t one of the rights defined in the Constitution.” This argument seems to me to deny the very concept […]

Charles Johnson’s jihad

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

For those who wisely stay out of the blogsphere’s sea of meta-storms, Charles Johnson and his website Little Green Footballs (“LGF”) are probably unknown to you. This is why the fact that Johnson was the subject of three simultaneous profiles […]

Massachusetts Senate Race post-mortem: a progressive failure

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Congratulations to Senator-elect Brown – in the end, he was a better candidate and ran a better campaign against the hapless Martha Coakley, who thought she could coast on Kennedy-Obama coat-tails into office. A single statistic explains all – @marcambinder […]

Is the Massachusetts Senate race a referendum on Obama’s first year?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today, Massachusetts votes for a Senator to replace Ted Kennedy in a special election scheduled on the eve of President Obama’s first anniversary in office. The expectation is, to put it bluntly, that Republican challenger Scott Brown will probably defeat […]

Democracy or Else: voting compulsory in Gujarat state

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There’s some irony in the recent news that in Gujarat state, that democracy will now be mandatory: All registered voters in Gujarat will be required to vote. Those absent will be asked to submit a valid reason with proof within […]

Phil Carter resigns

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Woah. Phil Carter has resigned. Phillip Carter, who was appointed deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee policy in April, said in a brief telephone interview that he was leaving for “personal and family reasons” and not because of any […]

the muslim vote

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There’s a great ongoing series at Open Left which makes a data-driven analysis of voting patterns for all sorts of demographic groups to argue that overall, the GOP is in serious trouble over the long term. The ethnic demographic trends […]

American Muslims Raise Funds for Fort Hood Victims

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a wonderful initiative and I encourage everyone, muslims and non-muslims alike, to donate to this fund to help out the victims at Fort Hood. American Muslims Launch Special Fund for the Benefit of Ft Hood Attack Victims FOR […]

Did the GOP win or lose in NY-23?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

IN yesterday’s election in New York’s 23rd district, the Republican Party lost a seat it has owned for 120 years. This was because the GOP candidate, Dede Scozzafava, was excommunicated by the Tea Party conservatives and forced out of the […]

poll: the public wants the public option

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Aside from the August recess of Congress, there has been strong support for the so-called public option all along: A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that support for a government-run health-care plan to compete with private insurers has rebounded […]

Deserve this! The Nobel Peace Prize Agenda for Obama

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama is now a Laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize. There’s enough in that statement alone to drive rightwing conservatives insane. And insane they certainly are, as others are ably and gleefully documenting. The general gist of the response […]

Copenhagen dreaming II: global warming as opportunity

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is the second part of my series in anticipation of the upcoming Copenhagen conference. The previous post in this series was a defense of the scientific method. So, what do I think about global warming? The consensus is a […]

the economic Stimulus: behind the curtain

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ryan Lizza has a superb profile of Larry Summers, President Obama’s brilliant economic adviser, in The New Yorker. Lizza is one of my favorite political writers and he uses the profile on Summers as a backdrop for the larger story […]

Copenhagen dreaming: In defense of the scientific method

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As the Copenhagen conference on the successor to the Kyoto Protocol draws near, I want to lay some meta-thoughts out about the scientific method which I think are important, as a context for my general support of the theory of […]

nuevo-conservatism

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The topic of conservatism’s intellectual decline is one I’ve been talking about a lot recently; I’ve been remiss in not mentioning the recent piece on that topic in the WaPo by Steven Hayward. He makes a number of points, but […]

Sarah Palin on Islam and China

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’ve been bluntly critical of Sarah Palin before when I felt it warranted, but I’ve never had anything but respect for her formidable intellect and political saavy. I think she’s easily the most credible challenger to President Obama in 2012 […]

word cloud and transcript: Sarah Palin on common-sense conservatism

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is the text and word cloud of the speech by Sarah Palin while in Hong Kong on September 23rd, for the CLSA Pacific Markets Conference. Note the dominant topic (in the cloud) in her speech is obvious, and hardly […]

Should conservatives embrace Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story” ?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I admit to not having ever seen a Michael Moore movie, though from what I understand his film Roger and Me was probably his defining film, one that predated the Bush era and thus was more balanced in its critiques. […]

The CIA whines to Obama about being subject to rule of law

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is expected, but pathetic nevertheless: Seven former directors of the Central Intelligence Agency asked President Obama on Friday to shut down the new Justice Department inquiry into past abuses during interrogations of terrorism suspects, arguing that it “will seriously […]

Baucus bill follies: the public option is anti-progressive

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’ve been reading Tyler Cowen, Ezra Klein, and the League on the matter of the Baucus bill and am frankly bothered by the way in which progressives seem to be losing sight of the main goal of health care: to […]

Do doctors support health care reform? IBD says no, NEJM says yes

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

UPDATE 031810: Fox News falsely claimed that NEJM has a new poll indicating that doctors no longer support health reform; this is false. See here for details. There’s an alarmist poll out from Investors Business Daily that makes the shocking […]

transcript and word cloud: President Obama’s remarks on health care reform

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is the full text and word cloud of Obama’s remarks to the joint session of Congress about health care reform on September 9, 2009. It’s kind of funny that the official transcript from the White House actually includes the […]

transcript and word cloud: President’s remarks to the nation’s school children

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

These are the prepared remarks for President Obama to deliver to the nation’s school kids tomorrow. The real controversy, in my opinion, is why it has been almost 20 years since a President spoke directly to kids in school. As […]

Michael Jackson’s death panel – self-homicide?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I am trying to avoid Michael Jackson-related news as much as possible, but this was too astonishing to ignore: The affidavit, in its “statement of probable cause,” quotes Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office officials as saying the pop star’s body […]

the public option: some liberal skepticism on health insurance reform

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Over the weekend, the liberal blogsphere had a bit of a freak-out with news that Obama seemed to be dialing back his support for the “public option” – a non-profit insurance provider which would compete with the private insurers. The […]

Governor Palin proclaimed April 16, 2008 as Healthcare Decisions Day in Alaska

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I called Sarah Palin a flat-out liar in my previous post because I believe she is too intelligent to believe that Obama’s reform agenda really includes “death panels” which would coerce euthanasia on senior citizens. The purpose of Palin’s deliberate […]

CIO Vivek Kundra – did Obama get scammed? (UPDATE: No.)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

(NOTE – Om Malik spoke to Kundra personally and it is clear that Dvorak’s piece was badly sourced and flat-out wrong. scroll down to the updates) This is pretty disturbing – John Dvorak has done some digging into the background […]

Paula Abdul named to Obamacare death panel

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Mike Licht breaks the news – it’s time to start singing “Cold Hearted“: Entertainer Paula Abdul has been named to the Death Panel mandated under the new U.S. Healthcare Reform bill. We have been unable to confirm either of the […]

Sarah Palin, queen of the Deathers

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’ve gone on enough about the nuttery (and yes, racism) of the Birthers who are besieging the last remnants of sanity in the Republican Party. It’s only fitting, therefore, that the wackiness continue with the rise of Deathers, who insist […]

transcript – Pastor Rick Warren’s address at ISNA 2009

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is an exclusive transcript of Pastor Rick Warren’s remarks at the 2009 Islamic Society of North America conference that concluded a few weeks ago, kindly provided to me by his staff and reprinted with their permission. I think it’s […]

VIDEO: Obama at NAACP, “the pain of discrimination is still felt in America.”

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama’s speech to the NAACP was equal parts encouragement and tough love. I found this passage to be refreshing, in that it broadens the reality of discrimination and thus implies common cause: “I understand there may be a temptation […]

Tricky Dick Cheney and the Shadow Government

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

For years, critics of the Bush Administration have noted that Vice-President Cheney wielded enormous power that was essentially beyond any oversihgt by Congress or the Judiciary. His infamous declaration that he was a “fourth branch of Government” was an attempt […]

Republican Town Hall on health care reform in Houston

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Taha Raja, who recently attended a “town hall” meeting on July 30th, 2009 about health care reform hosted by Republican Senators John Cornyn of Texas, Senator John McCain of Arizona, and Senator Mitch McConnell […]

The Sarah Palin Chronicles 2012: quitting is winning

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Republican primary for the Presidential nomination in 2012 has begun in earnest this week. While Newt Gingrich has been the most active until now in laying the groundwork for his run, mostly by knee-kerk opposition to everything Obama does, […]

moving beyond pro-life and pro-choice in the abortion debate

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Lets get my personal opinion out of the way: I am generally in suppoort of Roe vs Wade because I think it does a good job of providing a simple, algorithmic solution to the messy lack of moral and ethical […]

abortion and moral ambiguity

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The abortion debate is utterly irreconcilable because the basic disagreement – whether a fetus is as “valuable” as an already-born and breathing human being – amounts to an arbitrary line drawn in the sand. For pro-lifers, it is at conception, […]

The case for a VAT

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Megan McArdle lays out the grim outlook for the future, pointing out that tax revenues are plummeting, spending is up, and our national credit rating is in danger. Looking at the landscape ahead, especially the challenges that we as a […]

Tiller, terror, and apologetics

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A couple of weeks ago, President Obama tried to turn the page on the abortion debate during his speech at Notre Dame. This weekend, the page was turned firmly back to the status quo, with the murder of Dr. George […]

muslim holidays in prison versus school

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

One thing missing from the arguments of most poliitical opponents of Judge Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court is actual data – such as her legal written opinions from decades of serving on the bench. The SCOTUS Blog has done […]

Sonia Sotomayor and empathy

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

One of the key traits that President Obama said he was looking for in a Supreme Court Justice was “empathy” – an ability to weigh the outcomes of decisions on the average man and woman, a pragmatic assessment of the […]

About those photos… (part 2)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Thomas Nephew. This is the concluding part of a two-part series.. In the previous post, I took up some of Aziz Poonawalla’s defense of Obama’s decision to resist the release of photos showing past […]

Memorial Day: those left behind, and those who return

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Memorial Day is one of tose holidays in which sometimes the real significance gets lost in the formality. It’s important to honor the sacrifices made by our armed services personnel for our sakes, though not just one day out of […]

About those photos… (part 1)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Thomas Nephew. A few days ago, my friend Aziz Poonawalla published a couple of posts — “Obama is right not to release the prisoner abuse photos” and “release the prisoner abuse photos — but […]

TRANSCRIPT: Obama’s speech on security and values

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Here is the complete transcript of Obama’s speech at the National Archives about the need to balance security and values. The word cloud shows the word “People” as most prominent, followed by Guantanamo and Security. This fits with the president’s […]

Phil Carter appointed as Assistant Secretary for Detainee Affairs

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a great step forward for civil rights and detainee policy – as well as a well-deserved achievement by a fantastic blogger: The Obama administration has chosen a lawyer and Iraq War veteran who has denounced U.S. detention policy […]

the conservative, secular case for gay marriage

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Over at The Secular Right (one of the intellectual niches that the non-ideological Right has fractured into after the implosion of the conservative movement over the past few years), John Derbyshire makes what he calls a “secular case against gay […]

The Specter of Souter’s retirement

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The news just broke¬†last night that Supreme Court Justice David Souter will retire. Souter was appointed by George HW Bush and proceeded to drive conservatives insane by refusing to bend to the right-wing agenda. Instead he has been what I […]

Arlen Specter’s statement regarding switching parties

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The news first broke on twitter, by @marcambinder, and was later confirmed by Chris Cillizza and Redstate: formerly Republican Senator Arlen Specter will switch parties and become a Democrat, giving the Dems a 60-seat majority in the Senate. Here’s the […]

swine flu conspiracy theories and politics as usual

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In my last post I made the mistake of asserting that swine flu was not yet contagious between humans – that’s not true and it’s why the disease is being taken seriously by the health community. I think it is […]

who killed Culture11?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Daniel Larison implies that RedState may have killed Culture11. Reading the piece on C11’s founding to which he refers, I can’t help but think that the conservative movement as a whole is imploding, and C11 simply got caught in the […]

What would McCain have done?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Larison makes a great point that bears repeating: let us recall that McCain supported cap-and-trade (even if he didn’t necessarily understand what he was talking about when he said so), proposed an insane mortgage bailout plan that pretty much everyone […]

Bill Richardson’s fall from grace

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’ve been following Bill Richardson for years and he was among my favorite contenders for the Democratic nomination for President. Ultimately I signed onto the Obama camp but I initially thought Richardson has the gravitas and experience to be a […]

Ross Douthat replaces Kristol at the New York Times

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I had hoped that the New York Times would pick Joshua Trevino to replace Bill Kristol‘s sordid run as opinion columnist, but their pick of Ross Douthat is definitely a solid choice (though also a far more cautious one). Douthat […]

VIDEO: President Obama’s non-SOTU and Gov Jindal’s response

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Presidential Address was covered on Twitter of course, via hashtag #nsotu, whereas Jindal’s response was tagged #jindalwarmupact. What struck me was how much emphasis Jindal put on his own biography at the outset – yes, he’s clearly running for […]

word cloud and text of the Gettysburg Address

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

On November 19th, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, at the dedication of the Gettysburg Cemetery where 51,000 soldiers (both Union and Confederate) were killed, wounded, or missing just a few months earlier. In honor pf President Lincoln’s […]

CBO says stimulus will work

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has analyzed President Obama’s economic stimulus plan and concluded that it will have a definite positive impact in the short term, though with diminishing returns: In an analysis of the $900 billion version of the […]

the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

At the National Prayer Breakfast this morning, President Obama took the opportunity announce the creation of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. From the transcript of his remarks: Instead of driving us apart, our varied beliefscan […]

Obama: “I screwed up.”

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Indeed, change has come to the White House. Our President is able to admit to mistakes: Barack Obama, the US president, has admited he made a “mistake” following the withdrawal of his nominee for US health secretary amid a controversy over […]

breaking: Tom Daschle withdraws from consideration

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

UPDATE: Tom Daschle has officially withdrawn his name from consideration. I heard it on Twitter first, actually. It turns out that Tom Daschle has even more explaining to do: Daschle’s tax problems were even more substantial than earlier reported. The […]

Dump Daschle – Howard Dean for Health and Human Services

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Tom Daschle, President Obama’s pick to run the sprawling Department of Health and Human Services, also has some tax issues: Daschle filed amended tax returns for 2005, 2006 and 2007 to reflect additional income for consulting work, the use of […]

PREDICTION: Michael Steele will win RNC Chair

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Twitter is THE source for following the RNC Chair vote right now. And in a shocking upset, Mike Duncan and Michael Steele are tied in the second round of voting. You can follow the debate in real time via twitter […]

What the GOP voted against

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

via Clammyc at Daily Kos, here is a partial list of what the House Republicans voted unanimously against in refusing to support the stimulus package that passed without them. An increase in the maximum benefit under the former food stamp […]

Blago gone: impeachment is “bleeping golden”

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It is official – by unanimous vote, Rod Blagojevich is no longer the Governor of Illinois. In fact he has been barred from seeking public office in the State of Illinois forever. The Chicago Tribune has a fantastic live-blog of […]

conservatism v2.0: replacing Kristol at the New York Times

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Bill Kristol’s year-long stint as columnist at the New York Times has ended. His last column, entitled “Will Obama Save Liberalism?“, begins with the line: All good things must come to an end. Jan. 20, 2009, marked the end of […]

Princess Palin wants $11 million

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I don’t begrudge Sarah Palin this at all: Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin wants to write a book and is looking to Robert Barnett, the same high-powered DC attorney who represented Barack Obama and both of the Clintons while they were […]

high expectations and healthy skepticism

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Obama’s inauguration speech certainly set a high bar. Can his Administration live up to it? Or the expectations of Obama’s supporters? President Obama himself has been careful not to promise the moon, but rather emphasized that the job ahead is […]

Obama and oversight

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’m not a big fan of the “100 day honeymoon” period for new presidencies – if anything, the tone on day one is probably predictive of the entire term. In that regard, I don’t have a lot to complain about […]

transcript: President Obama inauguration speech (with word cloud)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

(click to enlarge)This is the transcript of President Obama’s inauguration speech. I have edited out the applause lines and made other cosmetic changes for clarity. My fellow citizens: I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for […]

video: President Obama’s inauguration speech

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Part 1 of 2: Part 2 of 2:

Obama and MLK: from Founders to Freedom Riders

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Barack Obama strove to avoid race as a defining issue for his campaign. Part of this was pragmatic; running as an explicitly “Black” candidate would have hurt his electability beyond the racial silo, not because of racism per se but […]

Islam and the Environment: A Conversation

posted by G. Willow Wilson

Recently at Talk Islam, we’ve been having a discussion about the Islamic attitude toward environmental conservation. It started when blogger Umar Lee, an anti-conservationist, posted this entry at his blog. When Talk Islam blogger Thabet called Lee’s attitude “ignorance dressed […]

Rick Warren makes freeper heads explode

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Steven Waldman points out that despite the lashing Obama is getting from the left about Rick Warren, there’s a lot of angst about it on the right as well. These reactions from Free Republic are illuminating: Pray for them, yes! […]

Bush bails out the auto industry

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Republicans are furious with President Bush for agreeing to use TARP funds to bail out the auto industry: Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), one of the architects of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, thinks Bush may be skirting the […]

Rick Warren Invocation: a slap in the face of the mullahs

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Rick Warren is not your typical Christian evangelist pastor. Still, according to progressive left standards, he’s persona non grata for his views on homosexuality (identical to Obama’s himself). Obama’s decision to invite Warren to give the invocation at the Inauguration […]

did muslims vote for proposition 8?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In response to this angry blogger’s accusation that muslims voted in favor of California’s Proposition 8 (which outlawed gay marriage), I’ve put up a post at Progressive Revival, Beliefnet’s group politics blog, which asks where the evidence is. It should […]

The Secular Right?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The historic victory of Barack Obama has left the various factions within the Republican Party scrambling to lay claim to conservatism’s mantle. I for one am rooting for the technocrats at The Next Right, the pragmatists at The American Conservative, […]

Defense Gates – Secretary Robert redux

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Obama will renominate currently-serving Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to the same position within his Administration. This is a pretty high-profile move that I think speaks volumes about Obama’s willingness to put policy and experience first and ideology second. Gates […]

Attorney General Eric Holder

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Obama has announced another top-level appointment, Eric Holder, who served as deputy Attorney-General under Clinton and now will be (pending Senate confirmation) the nation’s lead lawman. The relevant and important information about Holder is his record and reputation: A New […]

Hillary Clinton’s Foggy Bottom

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Hillary Clinton will be Secretary of State in the Obama Administration. This is significant for many reasons, not least of which because Hillary is perfect for the job and is supremely qualified for it. Arguably, the more important reason will […]

From 52 to 48 with love

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is simply beautiful – a collection of photos between “52 blue” and “48 red”. There’s no better example of purple politics than this – and it’s exactly in line with what Obama has been talking about, about there being […]

Obama’s private photos from Election Night

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Obama’s private election night photos are up on Flickr – I really love this sequence in particular.

The Obama mandate: executive order

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I argued earlier that the evidence for an Obama mandate is compelling, especially in comparison to President Bush, who claimed a mandate and political capital after the 2004 election. Some may ask why a mandate matters, or that the margin […]

playing with fire

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Newsweek is doing a seven-part story on the 2008 campaign which provides all manner of fascinating behind-the-scenes perspectives. The installment on the period of time spanning the debates is notable for the discussion of how the Otherization of Obama proceeded […]

Mandate – Obama takes North Carolina

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Incredible. North Carolina is now officially for Obama, bringing his EV total to 364 and total number of states flipped from red to blue to nine. Missouri is the sole remaining state to be counted, with a margin of mere […]

The first urban president

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Christof at Intermodality blog points out that Obama is the first Urban president in modern times, whose home is within walking distance of public transport: Obama lives only four miles from the center of the third largest city of the […]

BREAKING: Rahm accepts Chief of Staff job

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Emannuel Rahm has accepted Obama’s offer to be Chief of Staff: “The chief” is sometimes known as the second most powerful person in Washington. The job has vast authority, as the boss of the hundreds of aides who work directly […]

Post-election musings

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

First, let’s see how I fared – my Electoral College prediction of 310 EVs for Obama was obviously on the pessimistic side. Still, I called this election for Obama last Friday, so for me it was never a question of […]

Yes We Did: word cloud of Obama’s victory speech

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Word cloud from Wordle.net of President-elect Barack Obama’s victory speech at Grant Park, Chicago, on November 4th 2008. This is history.

Obama has already won tonight

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It is now 9PM EST and polls have closed in the critical states IN,VA, GA, FL, OH, NC, PA, MO, and CO (among others). VA is neck and neck, NC is marginally Obama and IN is marginally McCain. GA has been called for […]

Indiana results

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Polls just closed in Indiana. Results will be posted to the Indiana Secretary of State’s website. Manically refresh that page starting now…

NH reporting: Obama ahead 2:1 so far

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Voting began in New Hampshire as early as midnight last night, so it’s not surprising that the earliest results are already in. In Coos County, Barack Obama leads John McCain 15-6, and in Carroll County Obama is ahead 17-10. So, […]

ignore the exit polls

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

With one hour to go before the polls close in Indiana and the first returns start trickling in, the  exit polls are already being leaked. Ignore them. Mark Blumenthal notes that there are numerous problems with exit polls, including overstating […]

Election projection: Obama 305, McCain 233

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Happy election day! (Some crazy towns in New Hampshire started voting at midnight). Courtesy of Nate Silver’s simulations, here’s how McCain might win. The most plausible (but still improbable) scenario: Obama takes all the Gore and Kerry states, and McCain […]

Reihan Salam says it’s gonna be all right

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Reihan Salam, poet-pundit at The American Scene, provides some perspective on today: here’s the thing: America is a strange, diverse, sprawling country, and our elections reflect that fact. There are loyal black Democrats in California who will turn out for […]

Obama will win Nevada

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In my projection, I gave McCain Nevada by default without really thinking about it. However, looking at the poll trends, it looks clear that Nevada is not even going to be close. Nevada has 5 electoral votes so it won’t […]

Obama’s hopes on the Hoosiers

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In my projection, I detailed why I think Obama might pull an upset win in Indiana, a statet hat went for Bush over Kerry by 20 points and hasn’t voted Blue since 1964. It should be noted that after voting […]

Obama casting his vote

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’m watching Obama cast his vote at a school in Chicago live on TV right now. It’s taking him forever – how long does it take to mark the “straight democratic ticket” ? I think it’s wonderful Obama has taken […]

Who did you vote for and why?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Here’s your chance to chime in and share who you voted for (or will vote for tomorrow), and why. What were the issues that mattered most to you? Take Beliefnet’s exit poll and tell the world! And let’s see how […]

the gas price conspiracy

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I paid $2.24 per gallon this morning to fill up my Elantra. It’s bizarre to see a total bill for a fill-up under $25. The truth is that gas prices have decreased remarkably over the past month or two, despite […]

Obama wins the Presidential Election

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Chris Bowers at Open Left does the math, and finds that Obama has already won. His reasoning: In order to win the election, all Barack Obama needs are the Kerry states, plus Colorado, Iowa and New Mexico. That adds up […]

VIDEO – Obama’s 30-minute infomercial

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I missed this as a live broadcast, but fortunately the Obama campaign just put the full video up on YouTube. Here it is:

in which I agree with Sarah Palin

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Hey, this is good stuff from Palin: “In the worst cases, some of the world’s most oil-rich nations are also the most oppressive societies. And whether we like it or not, the money we pay for their oil only makes […]

I Voted

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I cast my vote for Barack Obama in Wisconsin today. I am excited and proud, not just because I support Obama, but because the very act of voting – for McCain, Obama, or anyone else – is a reminder of […]

The GOP war on muslims: Rima Sinclair

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’ve praised president Bush for emphasizing that the war on Terror should not be construed as a war against Islam, but the Republican Party has been enthusiastically waging a war against muslims.Even muslims who are members of the Republican Party […]

Barack Obama is not Hitler

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I don’t subscribe to the view that any invocation of Hitler in a debate is an automatic defeat (the so-called “Godwin’s Law“) but it is definitely true that equating various people to Hitler appears to be a national pastime in election silly […]

Barack Obama is a US citizen

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’ve previously addressed the “non-citizen smear”, but as a public service here is a summary for the benefit of anyone who may still doubt the eligibility of Barack Obama for President according to the Constitution: the Obama campaign has already […]

self-inflicted wound: was Ashley Todd the final nail?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The story was sensational, and suspiciously stereotypical in invoking racial prejudices and conservative dogma about liberals’ irrationality. Sure enough, it was also a hoax: Ashley Todd, of College Station, Texas, confessed to making up the story about an attacker scratching […]

have they no decency?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As many have heard by now, Obama is suspending his campaign for a couple of days to fly out to Hawai’i to visit his ailing grandmother. Normal human beings with compassion and love in their hearts would hear this news […]

pushback on Powell

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Republican pundits have been hating on Colin Powell, saying he endorsed Obama solely because of race, as well as impugning his service and his honor. But the really venomous reaction has been from the rank and file, flooding Powell’s inbox. […]

one million repeat donors: people-powered politics

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Further to my earlier post about how Obama’s $150 million September serves to utterly vindicate the vision of Joe Trippi and Howard Dean, comes this interesting observation by Al Girodano about the donor base: With an average contribution of $86 […]

McCain campaign muzzles muslims?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I lauded the McCain campaign for the incident in Virginia where supporters of McCain and campaign representatives alike vigorously confronted an Islamophobic idiot and his sidekick and forced them to depart the rally. One of the McCain supporters, Daniel Zubairi, […]

McCain supporters defend Islam

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

At a McCain rally in northern Virginia, a man was handing out bumper stickers equating Obama with Communism and radical Islam, and preaching about the dangers of Islam. McCain supporters, including a conservative Christian and several muslims, confront the bigot: […]

$150 million: a Palin September, the Perfect Storm

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is simply beyond adjective and superlative and entering into utterly transcendent territory: Obama raised $150 million in September: Barack Obama raised more than $150 million in September, a stunning and unprecedented eruption of political giving that has given him […]

Powell: So what if Obama were muslim?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I have been saying this as far back as February during the primaries – the correct response to the “Obama muslim” smear was not just to deny it, but also to ask, “so what?” Colin Powell rises to the occasion […]

Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As I predicted yesterday, Colin Powell has endorsed Barack Obama for President. I think that Powell cuts right to the heart of the matter here: “We have two wars. We have economic problems. We have health problems. We have education […]

Powell endorsement imminent?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Colin Powell is going to be on Meet The Press on Sunday morning, and speculation is rife that he will endorse Barack Obama: Retired Gen. Colin Powell, once considered a potential running mate for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), now may […]

Obama tax cut calculator

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is pretty handy, in terms of cutting through the misinformation campaign by the McCain camp in trying to argue that Obama will raise taxes on the middle class: a tax cut calculator. According to our family data, we will […]

Obama’s Rovian strategy?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Is the Obama campaign pursuing a Karl-Rove-inspired campaign strategy? This piece at the Christian Science Monitor argues yes, because Obama has opened campaign offices in Michigan college towns: What does an office in this extremely left-leaning college town – as […]

Obama Derangement Syndrome

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Every presidential candidate comes in for their share of partisan bile from their opponents’ more rabid supporters. The generic term for this is X Derangement Syndrome (example, BDS for Bush, etc) and to some extent it is a manifestation of […]

Why I am supporting Barack Obama

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I am a liberal. That is to say, I believe that in addition to the tyranny of governments, there also the tyrannies of economics, of prejudice, and of religion. I believe that Liberalism is the route by which the indovidual […]

Brian McLaren endorses Obama

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Brian McLaren is a Christian pastor who approaches faith and politics from within the compassionate tradition of Christianity, focusing on the Prophet Jesus’ AS example of charity and taking care of the poor, etc for his inspiration rather than judgment […]

word clouds for Biden and Palin

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I manually extracted Biden’s and Palin’s remarks at the debate from the transcript and fed them into Wordle to create these word clouds. First, Senator Joe Biden:And then, Governor Sarah Palin:It seems the primary topic of the evening was John […]

Biden and Palin

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Overall, I think that Biden and Palin did well. Biden met expdectations, and Palin exceeded them. However, neither one really did much to change the overall narrative, which has been trending in Obama’s favor. Palin’s basic objective was to avoid […]

Obsession

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The movie Obsession is a polemic for the modern age, the digital equivalent of a Jack Chick tract, only directed at muslims rather than Catholics. The movie is somewhat ironically named, because if anything it reflects the obsession that the […]

Sarah Palin on God

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

My Beliefnet colleague Rod Dreher watched the Sarah Palin interview with Charlie Gibson and came away a bit less than impressed. He described her performance as “scripted and overprepared” which doesn’t bode well for assuring the independent vote that McCain […]

The Palin bounce?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A batch of polls over the weekend  show that McCain gained serious ground after the RNC convention and Palin’s speech/martyrdom: USAToday / Gallup 9/5-7/08McCain 54, Obama 44) (8/23: Obama 48, McCain 45) Zogby Interactive 9/5-6/08 McCain 50, Obama 46 (8/30: […]

ou sont les John McCains de l’antan?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In the 2000 election, John McCain was a very different politician. He was truly a maverick, unafraid to confront the radical elements within his own party, and he paid the price. He lambasted the social conservatives’ hold over the GOP […]

Palin vanilla

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

When John McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running mate, I googled her and found her to be a very interesting mold of Republican, who took on her own party in Alaska and fought against the entrenched corruption in her […]

Obama speech word cloud

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I plugged the text of the speech transcript into wordle and got this result: The main theme of the speech is clear from the cloud: the promise of America. It’s worth noting that Obama uses that word to refer to […]

The Obama speech

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Magnificent. I don’t think even the most cynical observer or committed Republican partisan could watch that speech all the way through and not be moved. It was simple, yet soaring; it was idealistic, but gritty; it was about him, but […]

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posted 8:22:26am Mar. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Proof denies faith
On Reddit, someone posted the following question: "What convinces you that the Quran is the literal Word of God?" I think this is precisely the wrong question. The book/movie Life of Pi directly

posted 9:33:46am Mar. 13, 2015 | read full post »

Proud to be American, proud to be Muslim
This is a guest post by Safiya Dahodwala. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS graced the land of America for the first time as the 53rd Dai (spiritual leader) of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community. It has been nearly a decade since his predecessor, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin bestowed his bountiful bl

posted 12:58:00pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »

is ISIS Islamic? Wrong question.
There is an excellent longform essay on ISIS published in The Atlantic, "What does ISIS Really Want?" that lays out an excellent case fore ISIS being genuinely different in ideology, motivation and ethos than Al Qaeda. The real question boils down to, is ISIS "Islamic" or not - and makes an excellen

posted 11:34:08pm Feb. 17, 2015 | read full post »

The Price of Extremism
This is a guest post by Durriya Badani. The execution style murder of three young North Carolina students, two of whom were hijab wearing Muslim women, raises questions regarding the rise of Islamaphobia in the United States in the form of hate crimes. Some will argue that the motive for the inc

posted 11:26:53am Feb. 12, 2015 | read full post »

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