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City of Brass

City of Brass

City of Brass Archives

a humble suggestion for balancing the budget and eliminating the national debt

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

What if we simply abolished our entire active duty military? Well, not entirely of course. In a nutshell, we abolish the active duty standing Army and Air Force, fold the JSOC (SEALs and Marines) back into the Navy proper, and […]

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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 […]

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Obama hosts muslim business summit

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Everyone knew about President Obama’s nuclear summit a couple of weeks ago – arguably the most important, if characteristically boring, contribution to world peace in the past 30 years. But there was another summit this week that didn’t get anywhere […]

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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 […]

a brief guide to federal income taxes

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Here’s a very handy, succinct, and clear overview of how to pay federal income taxes, explaining the key concepts. The author explains the difference between the various definitions of income: The first step in calculating your income tax liability is […]

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. […]

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 […]

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. […]

Obama on Letterman: Remarkable.

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I rarely catch late night television, so it was a bit of a surprise to me that President Obama was on Dave Letterman’s show last night. I much prefer the Letterman format of keeping a guest around instead of shooing […]

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 […]

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 […]

Islamic finance and magical money

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a great article in the London Review of Books about Islamic finance, in the context of the global banking crisis. I found this excerpt particularly insightful:  One of the central differences between the Islamic and conventional approaches to […]

Dubai, city of the Pharoah, will fall

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Johann Hari has a landmark essay in The Independent “The Dark Side of Dubai” that lays bare the facade of the glittering city of Dubai, peeling away the illusion of modernity and freedom to reveal a shocking substrate of slavery […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

fiscal crisis explained by stick figures

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This powerpoint of unknown authorship has been making the rounds of Wall Street brokers, so Barry Ritholz embedded it online in Google Docs for all to share (click it to begin slide show): One thing worth noting, and emphasized in […]

Previous Posts

Ramadan Pearls 04 - angels
He who has fasted for Allah, the Glorious and Mighty, and is in the discomfort of heat and struck by thirst, will have his face wiped and be given the good news by a thousand angels whom Allah has entrusted to him until he breaks his fast; at ...

posted 8:16:29am Jul. 03, 2015 | read full post »

ibadat in Ramadan - process as piety
There are a lot of articles written during Ramadan about what Ramadan means, about what we as Muslims should be "getting out" of Ramadan, what the benefits of Ramadan should be. But I think that these sorts of articles miss the point of ibadat. ...

posted 10:20:36am Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls 03 - mystery
Know that the goal in fasting is for the veil of appetite and anger to be lifted from the heart's eye so that the heart may see the mystery of the dominion of heaven and earth. (The Easy Roads of Sayf al-Din, as translated by William Chittick ...

posted 8:57:01am Jul. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls 02 - non-existence
Fasting leads to non-existence, for, after all, the joys are there. God is with those who patiently persevere (2:249) (Jalaluddin Rumi, compilation The Essential Rumi) ...

posted 8:47:33am Jun. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls 01 - criterion
It was the month of Ramadan in which the Qur'an was first bestowed from on High as a guidance unto Man and a self-evident proof of that guidance, and as a ...

posted 3:36:22pm Jun. 28, 2015 | read full post »

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