Violence, Truth, and the Perfection of Allah -- Pope Benedict's Dilemma

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. -- 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' -- Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.
--(Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance)

Which brings us, naturally, to the Pope and his remarks on Islam.

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Racial Politics This Week -- A Roundup

Brought to you by Jill Tubman of Jack and Jill Politics

This week, a controversial photo snapped at a blogger lunch in Harlem with Bill Clinton is under much discussion in the progressive blackosphere. You can follow the conversation here, here, here, and here And responses here and here. I know many of the bloggers in the photo -- including Chris Bowers and Matt Stoller of MyDD -- to be tireless workers against racism in America. I agree with Jeralyn Merritt at TalkLeft that:

There should have been a greater attempt made to include minority bloggers. But I think it was unintentional. I will bet that when there's another such event, and there will be, whether it's by President Clinton or another Democrat, there will be a greater effort to include a more diverse group of bloggers.

There's a problem with this photo and what it implies about how the power structure is changing -- and who might get left behind. Let's not deny that and make excuses. Instead, let's talk about how to fix it. The Republic of T has a great post on Blogging While Brown that offers a thoughtful commentary on the big picture here (pun intended).

What do you think? Jack and Jill Politics asks you to help us think about how to include more diverse voices from the blogs and beyond to the table of progressive politics so that pictures like this look different from now on.

More news in minorities and politics after the jump.

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Steve Centani's Case Give's Us All Pause

The case of the kidnapped journalists forced to convert to Islam    has caused many people to rethink their priorities.  President Ahmadinijad of Iran had promised to "...carry Islam to the tops of the mountains and the bottom of the sea until the whole world speaks the name 'Allah'."

Forced conversions to Islam are a fact of life in much of the world.  ( 19.htm) And yet the American people seem to believe that he somehow does not really believe what he says.

As Democrats we must take the lead in condemning these acts of barbarism and lead the fight against this return to medieval mores.  Dems have always stood four-square against mythologies and superstition and in favor of rationality and freedom of conscience, and its time we did it again.

A perfect storm is brewing with a nuclear Iran practically guaranteed and underground nuke tests in the offing in North Korea.  The Bushies are not going to do anything about it and we need to point that out early and often.  Democrats who love action over rhetoric nee to come to the forefront now and make themselves heard and seen.

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Wanted: A Twenty First Century George Kennan

The diary below was originally posted earlier today on my blog the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

In July 1947, George F. Kennan published an article in the quarterly edition of Foreign Affairs entitled "Sources of Soviet Conduct." Kennan originally drafted the article as a paper for Defense Secretary James Forrestal. When he submitted it to Foreign Affairs, Kennan used the moniker "Mr. X." The piece was known as "containment" and is credited with guiding American foreign policy under presidents of both parties during the cold war.

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Whatever happened to Johnny Walker Lindh?

Remember the kid who was captured along with Taliban fighters on the tail end of the invasion of Afganistan?  Few really sympathized with the kid at the time - 911 being a fresh wound.  Right wingers railed on him, and his hometown county of Marin, making him a symbol of the ravages of permissive liberal parenting.

While in military custody he was apparently tortured into some kind of confession and brought back to the US to face 11 charges involving several death penalties.  I don't remember that we were ever really given the details of those charges.  Because of the coerced confession the case started to go south for the prosecution very quickly, and the government offered him a plea bargain of two counts (fighting with the Taliban and carrying weapons) with a 20 year sentence.  

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