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Bloggingheads
01-17-2008, 08:13 PM

David
01-17-2008, 08:43 PM
Wondering why this diavlog ends abruptly? It's because we've separated it into two parts. Part II will run next week, so stay tuned. UPDATE: See here (http://www.bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/8261) for Part II.

Sgt Schultz
01-17-2008, 09:43 PM
Grown-ups. Thinking. And talking. And listening. And thinking. And talking.
Pleasantly, engagingly, informative for me in the peanut gallery.

piscivorous
01-17-2008, 11:18 PM
I have a serious question for those who have greater knowledge of Islam than myself. It is my understanding that a child born to a Muslim father is considered a Muslim by the Islamic faith. Since Senator Obama falls into this category and now is a practicing Christen does that not make him an apostate by the tenets of Islam? If this is true; how will it benefit the US, in the eyes of the Islamic world, to have a President that is viewed as an apostate?

ari k
01-17-2008, 11:29 PM
totally awesome. I love everything with glenn loury (josh cohen and john mcwhorter are of course a big part of that). I can't wait for part II!

TwinSwords
01-18-2008, 12:27 AM
Glenn expresses what a lot of us felt (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/8136?in=00:47:59&out=00:48:13).

Wonderment
01-18-2008, 02:01 AM
I have a serious question for those who have greater knowledge of Islam than myself. It is my understanding that a child born to a Muslim father is considered a Muslim by the Islamic faith. Since Senator Obama falls into this category and now is a practicing Christen does that not make him an apostate by the tenets of Islam? If this is true; how will it benefit the US, in the eyes of the Islamic world, to have a President that is viewed as an apostate?

It would greatly benefit the Muslim world in the same way it would benefit us to have a black president, or in the way it would benefit us to have an atheist president. Such breaks with tradition add to diversity, challenge stereotypes and enrich us all. We would engage in new forms of tolerance and learn that our superstitious fears can be overcome.

I thought John made a persuasive case for getting people like me to support Obama. I have been disappointed that Obama has moved ever closer to the center and is now barely distinguishable in policy from Clinton. But the idea of a black family in the White House and what that will mean for this country is inspiring.

Obama is a child of the Martin Luther King generation, and I don't think he will forget it. Those core values bode well for an administration based on human rights, peace and justice. No guarantees, of course, but I think he's a better bet for the future than Hillary.

piscivorous
01-18-2008, 02:24 AM
I thank you for your response but I relay not interested in how the left sees the issue. I am looking for some insight into how Muslims will see it. How for instance will the leaders of Saudi Arabia or Iran handle dealing with an apostate if some Imam(s) declare Obama as such.

bjkeefe
01-18-2008, 09:04 AM
I have a serious question for those who have greater knowledge of Islam than myself. It is my understanding that a child born to a Muslim father is considered a Muslim by the Islamic faith. Since Senator Obama falls into this category and now is a practicing Christen does that not make him an apostate by the tenets of Islam? If this is true; how will it benefit the US, in the eyes of the Islamic world, to have a President that is viewed as an apostate?

I think you're probably right that some fundamentalist Muslims will see it this way, but I'd give long adds that most (moderate) Muslims will not. They may acknowledge the existence of the issue, but I'd bet they'll be happy just to have someone in the White House who is more likely to have sympathy for their faith and point of view than does the Current Occupant.

I grant this is all extrapolation from my upbringing as a Christian and my limited experience in talking to Muslim friends, but that's my two cents, anyway.

bjkeefe
01-18-2008, 09:20 AM
I'll add another shout-out for this diavlog. I found John and Glenn in their usual good form as far as manners and depth of thought go, and I was intrigued by the way they looked at some of the issues related to Obama.

bkjazfan
01-18-2008, 11:05 AM
Informative and engaging diavlog. These two are a good pairing. I enjoyed it immensely.

Tim_G
01-18-2008, 11:35 AM
Dick Cheney had lots of experience, but his judgment hasn't been very good, has it?
I want to see not just years of experience, but examples of good judgment. Sen. Clinton's experience edge didn't translate into a good judgment on Iraq. Sen. Obama's lack of experience didn't translate into making the wrong judgment on it.

ohcomeon
01-18-2008, 11:39 AM
There are so many wonderful moments in this conversation. The discussion about the relative importance of LBJ and MLK to the civil rights and voting rights acts helped restore my faith. I was there and remember well my admiration for both MLK with his amazing ability to move people with his words and LBJ's willingness as a Southern white man to take the political risk of supporting this legislation. Senator Clinton was obviously saying it takes both inspiration and political skill to make lasting and momentous change. She was, of course implying that Senator Obama does not have the political experience necessary.

To me, and I may be alone here in this, one of the best moments was when both gentlemen agreed to refer to her as Senator Clinton rather than Hillary. The subtle sexism in how people of every political viewpoint refer to her by her first name only has been frustrating. It is Senator Obama or Obama. It is John Edwards. It is even Mrs. Edwards. But it is alway Hillary.

When I shop at my local grocery store the teenager at the check out will invariably look at my card and call me by my first name. As for my husband, (who is a number of years younger than I) he is Mr.______.

I wonder if this is part of the training or if that is just the way our culture is.

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
01-18-2008, 12:09 PM
piscivorous,

Barack Obama could probably be technically considered an apostate, but I think it is important to how he is perceived that he never presents himself as one. In fact, although Mr. Obama or his supporters do sometimes claim his "familiarity" with Islam, because his father's family is Muslim and his stepfather was Muslim and he lived in a Muslim country as a child, as an asset Mr. Obama never says, "I used to be a Muslim," or "I grew up as a Muslim," and in fact states the following on his website:

"OBAMA IS NOT AND HAS NEVER BEEN A MUSLIM
Barack Obama Is Not and Has Never Been a Muslim. Obama never prayed in a mosque. He has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ. "

I don't think Mr. Obama does this out of fear of Muslim reaction, but his much bigger fear is that right wing or just bigoted groups in this country are trying to associate him with Islam as a way of making people fear him.

You'd think such people would be happy to have a "Muslim" who decided to embrace Christianity, but the problem for them, as I have stated above is that he does not present himself as an apostate.

Mr. Obama does not criticize Islam as a religion as do celebrity apostates like Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Although there is a disturbing (for Muslims) dynamic in this campaign where Mr. Obama has to refute "smears" that he is a Muslim.
It is this dynamic that is somewhat concerning about a potential President Obama's relationship to Muslims or Muslim issues, in that he will feel some pressure to be "tough" on Muslims so that such questions are not raised. This is similar to concerns that a potential President Clinton would feel pressure to be unduly "tough" on everybody to show that a woman can be tough. (Although few seem to question whether Ms. Clinton can be tough).

Piscivorous, I am a little confused by your clarification of your question since you ask about Muslim rulers in that question. Muslim rulers would be the last Muslims to care about such questions as whether Mr. Obama is an apostate. The Saudi King is unabashed in his love for Bush, despite the fact that Bush is universally loathed and despised among Muslims worldwide (I guess with the exception of Iraqi Kurds). I think Brendan is right that Mr. Obama's appeal to Muslims has to be judged in the context of contrasting Mr. Obama with Mr. Bush. And yes I think almost all Muslims would find Mr. Obama preferable to Mr. Bush and the apostasy issue would not really come up since Mr. Obama as I showed above seems to be careful not to present himself as such. And to be fair, the "Muslim father" who would supposedly be the reason Mr. Obama was considered Muslim, was, as far as we can tell, an atheist who didn't play any role in riasing Mr. Obama.

It's also interesting to note, although I don't think you were asking about American Muslims, piscivorous, that Imam WD Muhammad one of the most prominent American Muslim leaders and the only Muslim congressman Keith Ellison, have both endorsed Mr. Obama for president.

MightyRick
01-18-2008, 12:27 PM
Love these guys, but a point of correction. The Bradley Effect does not address why people vote the way they vote, but only why people say one thing to pollsters, yet vote differently once behind the curtains. It does not mean that voters were racists or not, only that they lied to pollsters. For example, someone may feel, "I'll never vote for that damn conservative George Bush," and say that to a pollster and vote that way. Another person may think, "I'll never vote for that damn liberal Bradley," and vote that way, however, that person may be uncomfortable saying that to a pollster because it may seem like they are racists. So, they say, "Yes, I like Bradley and will vote for him." Then, they vote against the liberal Bradley, not the black Bradley. Of course, there is a non-zero group of people who vote against the black Bradley, but that is not the Bradley Effect.

Again, the Bradley Effect does not say anything about racism except to the point that people don't want to look racist (even when they are perhaps not).

bkjazfan
01-18-2008, 12:28 PM
In a way I see how religion can muddy up the waters when mixed with politics. We have the Romney being as Mormon and the fallout that comes from that. Now, there is Obama connection, apparently a close one, with this church in Chicago which has some controversial stances.

From this was Romney's speech to clarifies things in Texas. I have read where Obama has had to distance himself from what his pastor says. I'm sure if he is the nominee we will hear more about his church.

It appears to me that their religions are a drawback to them in their aspirations to seeking higher office.

Surcam
01-18-2008, 01:16 PM
I love these guys! Quickly becoming my favorite BH.TV pairing. Loved the discussion of Obama/Clinton. I've been an Obama guy from the very start, so I'm quite biased, but I felt Mr. Loury made some compelling arguments. That said, I'm of the firm belief that Clinton's negatives are far, far, far too high to ever win a general election. Perhaps my view is heavily colored by the very red state I live in, but there is such a universal dislike for Sen. Clinton, she would be exactly what the Republicans need to fire up their side. Something they're extremely desperate for.

uncle ebeneezer
01-18-2008, 02:56 PM
OhComeon, this is an interesting point about the name thing. It seems to me that I usually hear politicians referred to by their names: John Kerry, Dick Cheney, Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama etc., without their govt title. I'd say it's maybe a 2-1 ratio that I hear Hillary Clinton vs Sen. Clinton, respectively and that seems to be the case for all officials whether they are Nanci Pelosi or Orin Hatch etc. However, in print you see "Sen. Clinton" much more often and my guess is that that is because of the old-school nature of print editors. One of the other reasons that "Hillary" is more commonly heard referrence than say "John" for John Edwards, is possibly three factors.

1.) Hillary is not the only "Clinton" frequently in the press. While she was in the White House people like Chris Matthews would have to say things like "is it possible that Clinton, HILLARY that is, is really..." in order to differentiate her from the other "Clinton". Obama has no such problem because there's no other "Obama."

2.) The first name "Hillary" is not terribly common in the population or especially in politics. Referring to Kerry as "John" would be troublesome because there are several other "John's" in politics (insert hooker joke here.)

3.) Hillary has become somewhat larger than life and has attained first-name status in the way that Oprah, OJ, Rosie, or W has.

So I don't doubt that gender-roles in our culture affect how we address people, but I'm not sure that the Hillary phenomenon could be explained completely by that dimension.

It's an interesting question though. Steven Pinker does some excellent work on that sort of thing in his recent book "The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window Into the Human Mind" where he talks about how our conversation (including how we commonly address people) is all basically a power/status game. A bit of a tangent to what we're talking about but there could be some connection, or application of his theory.

Wow, this was a great diavlog. this might have been the first time that I sided more with John than Glenn (probably because I like Obama and am VERY turned off by the Clintons caimpaigning tactics.) These two are becoming all-stars of the BH stable. Mad props!

And John's admitting to his verbal style being a handicap in the Black community was hillarious!

piscivorous
01-18-2008, 03:26 PM
I take it that his is confirmation Barack Obama could probably be technically considered an apostate … that by the definition of apostate, as given in the Qur’an and as stipulated in the Sunna and Hadith. I am also encouraged that you as a Muslim are wiling to see a degree of flexibility in interpreting the “Sacred Word of God” as handed down to the Muslims through the profit Muhammad.

This flexibility of interpretation though is what I see as the crux of the problem facing the West and to a large extent the Muslim nations of the world. It is the rigidity of interpretation that a small percentage of Muslims rally to and exploit to justify their acts of inhumanity. While I currently see trends disavowing this rigid interpretation and the longing for rule by Theocracy it does have its adherents. When these adherents begin to make the case that Senator Obama is an apostate, as I believe that they eventually will; the propaganda aspect will seem to delicious not to take a bite of that apple, what will the result of this rhetoric be? Will it be retreat from the “Sacred Word of God” with a redefinition of apostate or to further radicalization?

If the former perhaps this will lead to the much hoped for “reformation” of the Islamic religion; if the latter to more repression and forceful subjugation of Muslims by their so called leaders. Perhaps it will be a neutral wash as you seem to suggest but it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the body politic of Muslim nations and the Ummah in general.

AS to why I introduced the governmental aspect, Iran and Saudi Arabia, they are the two most significant players in the rigid interpretation advocates and while they are currently able to suppress any and all opposition, through physical force, coercion and intimidation, if Senator Obama is seen by a proportion of their populace as an apostate it will have some influence on the bilateral relationships.

Bloggin' Noggin
01-18-2008, 03:36 PM
I think you make a number of good points, Uncle, regarding the use of "Hillary" alone for HRC -- especially point 3.
I just want to add an appeal to authority to back you up -- the authority of Oscar Fingal O'Flaherty Wills Wilde:

My name has two Os, two Fs and two Ws. A name that is destined to be in everybody’s mouth must not be too long. It comes so expensive in advertisements. When one is unknown, a number of Christian names are useful, perhaps even needful. As one becomes famous, one sheds some of them, just as a balloonist, ...rising higher, sheds unnecessary ballast... All but two of my five names have been thrown overboard. Soon I shall discard another and be known simply as ‘The Wilde’ or ‘The Oscar’.

Way back in the 19th Century, Oscar Wilde aspired to be a one-name phenomenon like Oprah or Hillary or Britney. Sadly, despite his eventual infamy, I don't think he ever quite made it to one name.

ohcomeon
01-18-2008, 03:48 PM
Uncle - Your points are well taken and I have thought about all of them often. I do think that part of this is because there are two Clintons.

I never thought I would be the type of old person (not THAT old) who feels we should be so very careful in our choice of words. My career path has now taken me to places where I deal with a variety of cultures and I have grown sensitive to the fact that using culturally sensitive language can help me accomplish much more. I have had arguments with posters here about how they refer to female body parts. I really don't mind the use of slang when people are speaking in general but it bothers me in reference to a particular person. Thus when a poster refers to a US Senator's breasts as her tits I am offended. I am less offended when a person uses the the word ho to refer to women (although it doesn't engender warm feelings in me) than when an old, white man points out particular young, black college students and calls them that.

At any rate, it was great to hear two men state my feelings. It made me feel not so very out of touch with reality.

Wonderment
01-18-2008, 04:10 PM
Hillary's comment pissed me off a great deal. Her point may have been valid -- that it takes both activists and career politicians to make significant changes in society, but it DID come across as diminishing the importance of MLK's work in order to score a point on Obama. I could, however, give her the benefit of the doubt on that one. What's worse is how any praise of LBJ plays to many members of my generation because of Vietnam -- a war I might add in which blacks died at a rate quite disproportional to whites.

Edwards was right in my view to criticize LBJ. LBJ was not to civil rights what Al Gore is to global warming -- a committed impassioned voice.

LBJ was a guy who routinely used the "N" word and was dragged kicking and screaming into a movement he never embraced or understood.

piscivorous
01-18-2008, 04:28 PM
One of the things that goes unmentioned in the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act is just how much support came from the Republicans.

The original House version:

* Democratic Party: 164-96 (64%-39%)
* Republican Party: 138-34 (80%-20%)

The Senate version:

* Democratic Party: 46-22 (68%-32%)
* Republican Party: 27-6 (82%-18%)

The Senate version, voted on by the House:

* Democratic Party: 153-91 (63%-37%)
* Republican Party: 186-35 (80%-20%)


I guess that if you repeat the mantra "the republicans are racist" long and loud enough it becomes accepted knowledge.

bjkeefe
01-18-2008, 05:06 PM
pisc:

I'm not sure what 40-year old statistics prove, other than the Congressional Republicans maybe used to be less racist, and the Congressional Dems used to be more racist. I don't think anyone would deny that bit of history.

However, you've neglected to acknowledge that as a consequence of Johnson's signing the Civil Rights Act, many southern Democrats moved over to the Republican Party. You also omitted the facts about Richard Nixon's "southern strategy," failed to recognize that many Republicans candidates since then have aped this approach, and didn't admit the realities of current affairs: Republicans tend to be against programs that would benefit non-whites a lot more so than do Democrats.

bjkeefe
01-18-2008, 05:13 PM
ohc:

I agree with your point as it applies to women in general. I do think, however, that there is a lot to the point made by others that the true mark of celebrity is being referred to by one's first name. While this seems to be more common for female celebrities than male, Michael, Fiddy, Rudy, Fred, and Mitt all seem to be bandied about with regularity, the latter two less so lately. admittedly.

I also agree with the point made about the convenience of verbal shorthand, given her husband's frequent appearances in the news.

Finally, I'll point out that her campaign often uses her first name, exclusively, in various promotional materials.

However, out of respect and consideration for you, I will try to say "Sen. Clinton" in the future, in these forums.

Wonderment
01-18-2008, 05:14 PM
I guess that if you repeat the mantra "the republicans are racist" long and loud enough it becomes accepted knowledge.

Good point. The breakdown by states would be very interesting. It was basically the left wing of the Dem. party that supported and marched with Dr. King -- the ones who today are ridiculed for supporting candidates like Dennis Kucinich.

The Clintons can make a claim to being staunch advocates for the African American community, but they are ill-advised to do so by lionizing the man who lied us into a massive escalation of murder and mayhem in Vietnam and the consequent destruction of a generation of veteran families.

piscivorous
01-18-2008, 05:51 PM
Oh I guess you mean Senators like Robert Byrd I guess. Oh wait this ex clansman didn't switch parties he was ad remains a Democrat. Can you supply the list of of the 22 Democrat Senators that voted against the bill and which of the 91 Democrat Representatives actually switched parties or is your rhetoric just more restatement of the "conventional wisdom."

Republican in general tend to not support government programs that expand the power of government over the people.

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
01-18-2008, 06:01 PM
Piscivorous,

This whole post is full of misconceptions and inaccurate assumptions as well as what seems like a complete misunderstanding of Islamic legal theory and history as well as current and recent events in the Muslim world.


{QUOTE=piscivorous;68763}
I take it that his is confirmation that by the definition of apostate, as given in the Qur’an and as stipulated in the Sunna and Hadith.

There is no definition of apostate in the Qur'an. The belief that the Qur'an is the literal word of God and cannot be changed or altered in no way means that every issue of Islamic law is cut and dry and there is no room for interpretation, analysis, discussion or debate. In fact there is room for endless amounts of each of these phenomenon and they have all been going on in the Muslim world for 1400 years among Muslims.

When it comes to matters of fiqh, which is practical Islamic legal rulings, there is an entire science of usul fiqh which determines how a Muslim scholar derives legal rulings from the basic sources. (Just as a judge, lawyer, or legal scholar attempts to apply the law to a particular situation based on a methodology which one is trained in). So, for example if one were to actually investigate a particular issue one would find that there have been many different opinions and interpretations of that issue throughout Islamic history. There are four well defined "schools of law" (five if you count the Shi'a) which have been so well accepted throughout history that rulings attributed to that school will be generally accepted as valid if one wishes to follow them, and there are differences in rulings not only between but among the various schools of thought. In addition to these four schools, there have been numerous other scholars throughout history that reached such a high level that they could be considered leader of another "school" of interpretation, but through different historical processes the four major ones have been dominant and considered the most orthodox for hundreds of years.

Both the government of Iran and the Sa'udi regime are actually themselves based on "new interpretations" of many issues in Islamic law. Without commenting on the sincerity of either regime, historically or today, it is true that both present themselves as the true and correct understanding...and on some issues they may be correct...but this does not refute the historical reality that they emerged out of what could be called "new" interpretations. "New" is not actually a good word, because the diversity of scholarly opinions and thought always present amongst Muslims is such that one can find the precedents and roots of these interpretations amongst Muslims throughout history.

Anyways there are too many complex issues to get into as you go down the road of the whole "Islamic reformation" type question. I'm not saying that there aren't good questions in what you are saying Piscivorous, I'm just saying that to address them would require a much deeper understanding of the Islamic legal tradition and obviously much more time and space than a message board. Lacking that understanding, at least as far as I can tell from this exchange, has resulted in you not only misunderstanding completely what I was stating in my post, but making other comments which don't necessarily fit with reality as I understand it.

I am also encouraged that you as a Muslim are wiling to see a degree of flexibility in interpreting the “Sacred Word of God” as handed down to the Muslims through the profit Muhammad.

This flexibility of interpretation though is what I see as the crux of the problem facing the West and to a large extent the Muslim nations of the world. It is the rigidity of interpretation that a small percentage of Muslims rally to and exploit to justify their acts of inhumanity. While I currently see trends disavowing this rigid interpretation and the longing for rule by Theocracy it does have its adherents. When these adherents begin to make the case that Senator Obama is an apostate, as I believe that they eventually will; the propaganda aspect will seem to delicious not to take a bite of that apple, what will the result of this rhetoric be? Will it be retreat from the “Sacred Word of God” with a redefinition of apostate or to further radicalization?

If the former perhaps this will lead to the much hoped for “reformation” of the Islamic religion; if the latter to more repression and forceful subjugation of Muslims by their so called leaders. Perhaps it will be a neutral wash as you seem to suggest but it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the body politic of Muslim nations and the Ummah in general.

AS to why I introduced the governmental aspect, Iran and Saudi Arabia, they are the two most significant players in the rigid interpretation advocates and while they are currently able to suppress any and all opposition, through physical force, coercion and intimidation, if Senator Obama is seen by a proportion of their populace as an apostate it will have some influence on the bilateral relationships.
{/QUOTE}

bjkeefe
01-18-2008, 06:04 PM
Oh I guess you mean Senators like Robert Byrd I guess. Oh wait this ex clansman didn't switch parties he was ad remains a Democrat. Can you supply the list of of the 22 Democrat Senators that voted against the bill and which of the 91 Democrat Representatives actually switched parties or is your rhetoric just more restatement of the "conventional wisdom."

Republican in general tend to not support government programs that expand the power of government over the people.

As usual, you'd rather be obtuse than fairly debate the issue. Re-read my previous comment and even you should be able to see that I made no claims of unanimity.

And no, I won't do your research for you. If you're interested in the particular Senators, that's for you to look up. I was talking about the voters of the south in the years afterwards, not the officeholders at the time.

Your final claim about Republicans not supporting programs that expand government power over the people is just laughable. Republicans love programs that invade people's privacy and boost their power to throw them in jail. They're only against programs that might help the people.

uncle ebeneezer
01-18-2008, 06:48 PM
Yeah I'd be interested to know whether there has been an actual effort made over the years to get the phrase "Hillary" out there, by her own people. It would've made sense from a "humanizing" perspective, back when she was still largely seen (or more accurately, portrayed in the MSM) as cold, and calculating. I still find her cold, and in recent days just downright nasty, but that's just me.

I will continue to call her "Hillary" but I promise to only comment on Bill's tits going forward.

piscivorous
01-18-2008, 07:10 PM
As you are aware, there are many different translations/versions of the Qur’an so to make this blanket statement There is no definition of apostate in the Qur'an might be a little more definitive than a simple Goggle search would reveal but I really don’t want to argue over semantics. The concept of apostasy is addressed in the Qur’an, the Sunna and Hadiths as you surely must acknowledged.

I am aware there are different sects of Islam I am also aware of the different schools of Islamic jurisprudence yet it is my understanding that in all 5 of these schools the recommended punishment for apostasy is death. I know that there are other scholars that believe the Qur’an supports the position that apostasy is a crime but not a capital one or that it is a crime to be punished after death by Allah while others hold there is no support in the Qur’an for the punishment for an act of apostasy.

To assume that I believe that the Muslims are a homogenous group with no differences in the reading of the Qur’an, the Sunna and Hadiths is rather simplistic on your part but given your exposure to the various commentors here I can understand your confusion. It only follows that different Sects further convoluted by different schools within and between those sects means that the “Sacred Word of God” must actually be interpretations of those words implying that the words themselves are not “Sacred” but the interpretation of them is; hence I agree Islam is always going through changes.

I agree it is a complex issue and individuals spend lives studying and debating the various issues of Islamic Jurisprudence.

piscivorous
01-18-2008, 07:20 PM
You make a claim that southern Democrats migrated to the Republican party over the issue of race yet provide not evidence of this; as if your restatement of a political meme is proof. I have trouble understanding that particular conclusion given that the Republicans voted 82% in the senate 80% in the house while the numbers for the Democrat's were 68% and 63% respectively. You are saying that they migrated to the party that was more supportive, on a percentage basis, than the one they were in. Yea I see the logic in that or perhaps they moved there for reasons quite unrelated to race.

bjkeefe
01-18-2008, 07:24 PM
pisc:

... yet it is my understanding that in all 5 of these schools the recommended punishment for apostasy is death.

Hats off to Abu Noor for his detailed reply. I just want to add one thing: a reminder that the Bible says adultery and working on the Sabbath, among other "horrors," should be punished by death. Obviously, very few Christians or Jews accept this any more, so this fact should at least suggest the strong possibility that there are many Muslims who also won't accept "apostasy => death" as a hard and fast rule.

bjkeefe
01-18-2008, 07:38 PM
You make a claim that southern Democrats migrated to the Republican party over the issue of race yet provide not evidence of this; as if your restatement of a political meme is proof. I have trouble understanding that particular conclusion given that the Republicans voted 82% in the senate 80% in the house while the numbers for the Democrat's were 68% and 63% respectively. You are saying that they migrated to the party that was more supportive, on a percentage basis, than the one they were in. Yea I see the logic in that or perhaps they moved there for reasons quite unrelated to race.

pisc:

Again: I am not going to spoon-feed you. Do some of your own reading, and try to move away from an obvious exclusive diet of web sites that preach to your preconceived notions.

I grant that some assertions should be directly supported by references, but there comes a point where your (perhaps willful) ignorance of history is not my responsibility. Look up voting patterns for the past few decades in the South, as one place to start.

Also, I have learned from experience that there is little to be gained from offering you any links. You rarely read anything I offer honestly. Your "show me some evidence" is an empty mantra. You're not really willing to consider anything that contradicts your worldview, as far as I can tell. Instead, you tend to remain stuck on irrelevant points, while ignoring the larger picture.

As an example, I offer your continued obsession with your pet statistics concerning the Congressional votes on the Civil Rights Act. I did not claim that the 1964 members of Congress were the ones who migrated. I was, and am, speaking of the movement among the voting population since. I'm not sure why I should have to repeat everything three times to you. Come to that, I'm not sure why I bother.

piscivorous
01-18-2008, 08:31 PM
Once again your rhetorical wit has left me astounds me. You use as evidence of your claim that the last two decades of southern voting patters is proof of your point. Lets take 30 years and this brings us up about 20 short of the 1964 CRA. During the time of transition of the Democratic South to the Republican South there are several issues of more salience, the Vietnam War and its aftermath, the world view of the dangers that Communism presented and how to combat its spread as well as perspectives on Social Handouts, just to mention a few.

On the contrary if I am involved in a discussion I will almost always go read the links provided and will often rebut points made in those links as you well know.

Namazu
01-18-2008, 08:40 PM
I think these guys set the gold standard for bloggingheads tv: informed, sincere, engaged. Now if only Bob would encourage some of his other regulars to raise their game (and cull the herd as needed), the New York Times editorial page could simply become a forum for discussing the latest bhtv episode--and the world would be a better place.

bjkeefe
01-18-2008, 08:49 PM
pisc:

Once again your rhetorical wit has left me astounds me.

Thanks! I has left me enjoys this conversation, too!

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
01-18-2008, 09:57 PM
Piscivorous,

I tried to respond as best I could to the issues you raised as quickly as I could because I thought they demanded a response...I didn't have as much time as I would have liked to think about and I wasn't really feeling well earlier. I apologize if my response seemed harsh in any way or mischaracterized what you were saying.

I must correct one thing in your last post...there are not different versions of the Qur'an...there is one Qur'an...it is an Arabic Qur'an. People can come up with what ever translation they wish, they have no ability to define what the Qur'an says, change it or anything with their translation...the Qur'an will still be the Qur'an. A translation of the Qur'an is not the Qur'an.

Peace.

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
01-18-2008, 10:15 PM
I don't want to get involved in a discussion regarding the reasons why whites in the south went from democrat to republican, as one might predict my understanding is similar to that of Brendan's and is based on some reading, but I'm no expert and I've only been in the South once and that was when I was pretty young and I've never felt a desire to go back. (Although I did spend three years in D.C. which I don't count as the South but I guess is in some ways.)

I did want to add to your stats Piscivorous, though, that according to Wikipedia, "Northern" (not from the Confederate States) dems voted 145-9 in favor in the House and 45-1 in favor in the Senate (the one being Byrd of West Virginia). So it really was a Southern dem issue and I don't think the fact that the Southern Democratic party was a racist party is news to anybody. Also, I think it should be noted that the President who worked to get the bill passed and signed it was a southern Democrat, while the 1964 Republican nominee for President voted against the bill. Oh, and the only Southern Republican senator voted against it as did the 10 southern Republican Congressmen. 7 courageous Southern Dem congressmen voted in favor and 1 courageous southern dem senator voted in favor. So, the vote really fell along regional lines rather than party lines.

Just other facts that should be the clear in the discussion..Piscivorous..to give the full picture.

piscivorous
01-18-2008, 10:24 PM
I have no trouble with the concept that the Arabic Qur'an is the one and only definitive source and yes translations are translations. Speaking both German and Russian as second languages I can understand the difficult choices of conveying meaning as opposed to direct literal word for word translation but as I choose not to learn another language I will have to suffer from the imperfection of translated versions. My loss I presume but life is never perfect.

I really had no problem with the style of your comment, I am quit used to being excoriated in this forum and yours was mild to say the least. I just tend to react defensively when the replies tend towards the personal and expect that you like myself have had to deal with your fair share of detractors. Let us not let minutia detract from the substance.

Besides I think that even in your quick and hurried comments you provide perspective and insight that many here have absolutely no clue about and I hope you continue.

piscivorous
01-18-2008, 10:36 PM
I didn't deny it being a north south issue but to deny the role of Republicans in getting the issue passed is disingenuous as well. If one was to discuss the issue in full than they would also have to look at earlier attempts by the Eisenhower to pass very similar bills in I believe 1957 and 59. Bills that were eviscerated in the Senate, thanks to the southern Democrat Senators failure to move more liberal bills out of committee and to sustain the filibuster. However it was I think the 57 bill that set up the Commission which essentially defined the CRA that finally passed in 64. Just like most issues political and religious simple narratives of cause and effect are shallow at best and often deceptive in there presentation.

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
01-18-2008, 11:25 PM
I think we can all agree there.

Just like most issues political and religious simple narratives of cause and effect are shallow at best and often deceptive in there presentation.

TwinSwords
01-18-2008, 11:51 PM
I have trouble understanding that particular conclusion given that the Republicans voted 82% in the senate 80% in the house while the numbers for the Democrat's were 68% and 63% respectively.

You're having trouble understanding that? Well let me help: The opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a regional phenomenon. You cherry-picked the data to conceal this fact. The opposition to the Civil Rights Act was almost entirely located in the South.

The reason for the vote breakdown you cite above was because:

In 1964, there were a lot more northeastern Republicans. Today, almost all of those Congressional seats go to Democrats.

In 1964, there were a lot more Southern Democrats. Today, that region votes overwhelmingly Republican.

Furthermore, while dismissing out of hand the universally understood explanation for this migration between parties (which even Republicans (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Atwater#Atwater_on_the_Southern_Strategy) admit (http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-07-14-GOP-racial-politics_x.htm)), you have failed to provide any alternative explanation. Maybe if you want to rewrite history you should provide a compelling substitute.

TwinSwords
01-18-2008, 11:56 PM
One of the things that goes unmentioned in the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act is just how much support came from the Republicans.
[Piscivorous's cherry-picked data here]

I guess that if you repeat the mantra "the republicans are racist" long and loud enough it becomes accepted knowledge.

I can't help but notice that you omitted the most important data showing that opposition to civil rights for blacks was a regional affair:

By party and region

The original House version:
— Southern Democrats: 7-87 (7%-93%)
— Southern Republicans: 0-10 (0%-100%)
— Northern Democrats: 145-9 (94%-6%)
— Northern Republicans: 138-24 (85%-15%)

The Senate version:
— Southern Democrats: 1-20 (5%-95%)
— Southern Republicans: 0-1 (0%-100%)
— Northern Democrats: 45-1 (98%-2%)
— Northern Republicans: 27-5 (84%-16%)

Now you can see what Lyndon Johnson meant when he said of the Democratic Party, "We have lost the South for a generation."



Note: "Southern", as used in this section, refers to members of Congress from the eleven states that made up the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War. "Northern" refers to members from the other 39 states, regardless of the geographic location of those states.

TwinSwords
01-19-2008, 12:11 AM
Here are some charts from Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections (http://www.uselectionatlas.org/).

A note on the color code:

RED = Democratic
BLUE = Republican
GREEN = White Supremacist (e.g., Strom Thurmond, George Wallace)

(Unfortunately, BHTV doesn't allow embedded images, so I must link directly to the images outside BHTV.)

— Electoral results, 1948 (http://uselectionatlas.org/USPRESIDENT/GENERAL/pe1948.png)
— Electoral results, 1952 (http://uselectionatlas.org/USPRESIDENT/GENERAL/pe1952.png)
— Electoral results, 1956 (http://uselectionatlas.org/USPRESIDENT/GENERAL/pe1956.png)
— Electoral results, 1960 (http://uselectionatlas.org/USPRESIDENT/GENERAL/pe1960.png)
— Electoral results, 1964 (http://uselectionatlas.org/USPRESIDENT/GENERAL/pe1964.png)
— Electoral results, 1968 (http://uselectionatlas.org/USPRESIDENT/GENERAL/pe1968.png)


Note the dramatic shift in the South from Democrat to Republican starting in 1964.

piscivorous
01-19-2008, 12:41 AM
Of course you didn't "cherry pick" your maps either since in 72 the Democrats only won one state, 76 where the south voted for Carter overwhelmingly, 80 where they won 5 states, 84 where they won one state again, 88 where they won a total of 9 states so given this data it looks like it wasn't just the south that went Republican but essentially the Nation except of course in 76 where the Democrats and the south imparticular gave us President Carter. http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/

P.S it would have been easier to give the direct link and then those interested could go see all the relevant data for themselves.

hans gruber
01-19-2008, 12:42 AM
"OBAMA IS NOT AND HAS NEVER BEEN A MUSLIM
Barack Obama Is Not and Has Never Been a Muslim. Obama never prayed in a mosque. He has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ. "

I have sort of followed this story and tried to glean as much truth from various sources as I could. Obama's campaign's statement here doesn't seem to be accurate, or is at least misleading. I could completely accept that Obama HIMSELF never considered himself a Muslim. But that's not to say he wasn't raised, for a brief time, as a Muslim, if perhaps in not the most serious and devout manner. He was registered as a Muslim at the school he attended, and attended the weekly lectures on Islam because of this designation, as well as occasionally attending religious services. A lot of people would consider that being Muslim, even if Obama's own heart and soul weren't into it.

It's not uncommon for a Catholic to never really be a true believer even though their parents make them attend services and encourage them everyway they know how. A lot of people from a very early age become skeptics. It would be weird, though, for somebody to describe themselves as "never being Catholic" when raised as Catholic, even though they were internally or even openly skeptical and non-believing.

TwinSwords
01-19-2008, 12:44 AM
Of course you didn't "cherry pick" your maps either since in 72 the Democrats only won one state, 76 where the south voted for Carter overwhelmingly, 80 where they won 5 states, 84 where they won one state again, 88 where they won a total of 9 states so given this data it looks like it wasn't just the south that went Republican but essentially the Nation except of course in 76 where the Democrats and the south imparticular gave us President Carter. http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/

P.S it would have been easier to give the direct link and then those interested could go see all the relevant data for themselves.

I did give a direct link. Look again. And if you are now denying that the South became solid Republican, and the Northeast predominantly Democratic, there won't be anything I can say to help you.

Magic Flea
01-19-2008, 01:15 AM
It was interesting to hear these perspectives, but I've got to get in here on one particular topic.

The Hillary Clinton quote about LBJ bothered me. There are all these little comments like this that keep coming up, and I think they really just might be crafted to ring a bell about race. She's said something about Obama not having done the "spade work" to become president, and she's said, says often actually, that his health care plan leaves a number of Americans "invisible."

Now, If someone was going to make race an issue in this campaign, it would be in a subltle, under-the-radar sort of way. In general, political campaigns are like this, but her campaign in particular, is run skillfully and deliberately enough that it would not say anything overt. And, of course, if she decidedly did not want to make it an issue, her campaign would likewise make a point to be very careful about what they say. Yet what we have is a series of gaffes (in the most favorable interpretation). As long as she has people, particularly black people, defending her, she has deniability, but after a number of warnings, the topic keeps coming up.

I don't see any particular evidence that Hillary (as her "Hillary 2008," "Team Hillary," and "Hillary for President" hats, T-shirts, jackets, posters, balloons, key chains, watter bottles, coffee mugs, bumper stickers, and lapel pins call her) cares more about playing fair than about winning. I think most people believe the opposite. It's even *a centerpiece of her campaign* that as president she will play tough against political rivals. Furthermore, although you can argue that Bill's Monica lies were basically inconsequential, it's an observation of fact that he lies when he needs to politically. Her campaign has also recently released the on-its-face dishonest statement that they actually meant to slam Obama as a community organizer and not as a drug user (do they really think "that we are so stupid" that we'll believe that). I don't see how the "reasonable" interpretation is that it's all a misunderstanding. Conversely, there are more reasons to think it's not. At best, her campaign might calculate, others will call her on it and she can accuse them of starting it. It's a very plausible interpretation of the events to simply think they will do something that works to their favor.

And then ther's the question: why *did* she bring up LBJ on MLK day? LBJ had to lift a pen. He had almost nothing to do with the civil rights movement. (Well, King may have had something to do with it, but "it takes a president." As a wise man once noted, people really mean what they say after the "but.")

The question is not whether she would *really* say something that disrespects King. It's whether she would really say something that implicitly diminishes King, while still having a way to deny that that's what she was doing. Of course. She can have her cake and eat it too, bringing up the "experience" issue and the race issue in one swift move.

publius
01-19-2008, 01:16 AM
The argument for Hillary is that she can beat McCain easier than Obama? You've got to be kidding me? Please do not tell me this is way older and less educated Democrats are supporting her. This is 2004 all over again.

piscivorous
01-19-2008, 01:25 AM
I don't deny that the south is considered reliable Republican territory on that race is the reason why. Nor was President Johnson correct in hos prediction the "We have lost the South for a generation "unless a generation is 12 years." Of course that was not the only thing LBJ got wrong so it is only to be expected.

Wonderment
01-19-2008, 03:35 AM
"Ich auch bin Muslim." -- John F. Kennedy

chuck
01-23-2008, 04:45 PM
Actually, I have to disagree with most of the positive comments so far about this listing. As an African-American, I found Loury’s and McWhorter’s comments to be racist, demeaning, condescending and hypocritical.. Let’s start with your discourse on Obama’s facility at switching in and out of a black “cadence”. How is that different from Biden’s comment that he thought Obama was usually articulate for a black man.? If Biden, giving that sincere, but clumsy and insensitive complement was being demeaning and racially charged, then how about your comment that calls articulate diction on the part of black politicians as un-natural and negative. Boy, some teacher in a minority neighborhood will have that much more trouble getting black youths to consider college, if they think they will return to a cold shoulder in the ‘hood. Second, I got really queasy when I heard your discourse on Obama’s identity and how he worked at being black. To do this you noted with approval he:

Altered his speech to eliminate, at will, non-black cadences
Stiff-armed or dropped his white friends to curry favor with future black constituents
Reduced his biography that covers the influence of his white mom and grandparents to a passing mention

I don’t find this work to become more “black” reassuring and I don’t find your approval of the same to be anything but dismaying.

Your attitudes speak to a discomforting ambivalence about Obama’s candidacy that has less to do with Bill and Hillary’s bonafides in the black community (those are unimpeachable – no matter how one tries to cynically re-write history) but more to do with how many blacks see themselves. Obama’s mixed-race status and ease outside of the black community made him a non-starter within the community itself. Given the negative and destructive racial hydraulics among African-Americans, we blacks only flocked to him when a white person picked on him. This 60’s-style victim/defense response is a good example of outmoded thought process within us. Ironically, it runs counter to some of the inclusionary language he first invoked and is trying to promulgate.

Finally, there is a continuing discussion within the black community what his election would mean. That is why he found it hard to persuade many black leaders and communities at first. They don’t want a post-racial, inclusive black president, they want a 60’s-style Jessie Jackson-type confrontational victory against a visible foe. The fact that whites are lining up for Obama confounds their view of the enduring, UNCHANGED nature of American racism. It also challenges their “to-do” list for whites before blacks are ready to call the “The Struggle” over. I would suggest that this is indicative of a mindset which indicates that although many whites are ready to accept a black president, many blacks, alas, are not!

bjkeefe
01-24-2008, 12:46 AM
Chuck:

Interesting post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I'm white, so my reactions may not mean much to you in this context, but ...

I didn't have a problem with John and Glenn's discussion of Obama's changing his speech cadence at times. It reminds me of Bill Clinton and Al Gore, for example, both of whom had obviously worked on their accents to sound less regional, but who were also accused of going "all syrup and grits" when they spoke to southern crowds. If a speaker can change tone to be easier on the ears of his or her audience without sounding inauthentic, I think this can be a good thing.

As for Obama's efforts to become "more black," it was my sense that John and Glenn were more making observations than giving approval. For myself, I imagine that being a child of mixed race means making many decisions about how to portray oneself. For anyone going through teen and early adult life, thinking about one's image and consciously constructing it is fairly universal. If later on Obama made choices about what image he wanted to project, specifically to further his political career, all I can say is this seems far more tame than what most politicians do to sell themselves.

To your point about some African-Americans not wanting "a post-racial, inclusive black president:" I can understand, but it still makes me sad to hear. I sure don't believe all racial problems have been fixed or faded away, and I can see why some people would prefer a more confrontational candidate, especially as the first black president. However, it seems unlikely that such a candidate has much of a chance of being elected president for the foreseeable future, given the population demographics. So, wouldn't it be better to vote -- for president -- for the best available option at the moment? Is there some belief that if Obama were to be elected, white America would check off a box, so to speak, and we'd never elect another black president?

It's hard not to think of Jackie Robinson, and also hard not to feel like I'm resorting to a cliché, but one of the things that I took away from his story is that getting one foot in the door was the first step to opening it a whole lot wider.

There's another, related issue here. A lot of whites, particularly younger ones, honestly see themselves as free of prejudice towards blacks. You can argue that no one is without taint, and further, that there still are a lot of out-and-out bigots, and I wouldn't dispute either of those. Still, it seems to me that this new sort of white voter views racial divides largely as a thing of the past, and/or would like them to be, and has little patience for casting the debate in terms more familiar to previous generations.

Personally, I've given up hope that we're ever going to achieve a quantum shift; i.e., that we're ever going to experience a day where racial animosities vanish in a flash. I also tend to think we're running out of government prescriptions that can address these issues. We need better enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, better distribution of resources, and an ongoing attitude of vigilance to prevent new stealth racist policies from being implemented, to be sure. However, all of these, it seems to me, are part of an ongoing process, the effort to make things better in an incremental manner. It's a slow and painful process, but it does seem to be working. With respect to changing the attitudes of suspicious whites, it also seems to me that just getting non-whites into the game and letting them prove their worth works a lot better than refusing to participate until every last precondition has been met.

Am I being naive about the incremental gains and slowly shifting attitudes of the general populace? Am I missing something big that could or should be worked for, in my view that the most effective strategy is the ongoing approach?

chuck
01-24-2008, 02:47 PM
Brendan

I appreciate your well-thought out reply. I think you are right in many respects. I too depair that many people have to go through many intermediate steps towards creating a new concensus with the country at large. I guess being so emtionally involved in the day-today slights and so emotinally invested in solutions proposed in the 60's blacks don't find it easy to nimbly change course and perspective just because...Changes in global outlooks, global markets, changing demographics in the US aren't taken into account by many of us black who were taught from the beginning to "keep the eyes on the prize". Heck, we haven't even internalized wha it means to have Hispanics be the biggest minority group now, or the change in racial landscape inherent in the decision by the most conservative president on record chooses a black woman as Secretary of State. That can't be considered "business as usual" and probably contributes, at least in part to the fact that many whites will seriously consider Obama as President.

Secondly, there are a lot of intramural cultural tensions within the black community that are bubbling in the background and which color (oops!) some outbursts from black communtary. These can include among blacks: middle-class vs working class vs poor; college educated vs working class; urban vs suburban; American vs Carribean; biracial individuals vs non-mixed race minority blacks; liberal vs conservative; woman vs men; for black woman (mainstream beauty standards vs black standards - some blacks were angered that his mom was white). You name it! I'm sure that some of thiese issues swirl in many ethnic groups and nationalities as the become assimilated into mainstream America, but in many ways blacks are just now dealing with these issue BECAUSE we have many more oppportunities available now, despite continuing challenges. All these cross-currents are swirling around Obama before he even gets to white consideration of his candidacy. That is what I meant by my remark.

Lastly, I like your quote: "it also seems to me that just getting non-whites into the game and letting them prove their worth works a lot better than refusing to participate until every last precondition has been met."

Sounds like a good solution to me!

Peace

bjkeefe
01-24-2008, 11:48 PM
Chuck:

Thanks for checking back.

I certainly appreciate the human factors that you listed, especially the one about having to deal with day-to-day slights. Obviously, I've never had to deal with anything like that, especially not for prolonged periods, but I have been in enough short-term situations where I was slighted for whatever group membership I possessed compared to the majority, so I can at least imagine how that wears on a body. I also had a lot of relatives in my grandparent's generation who dealt with non-trivial amounts of anti-Irish sentiment in their younger days, and who never really grew out of the resentment provoked. Therefore, I do realize that in the argument I make -- to try a new approach out of enlightened self-interest -- is asking a lot.

Is it your sense that there's a divide, by age, among blacks as far as preferring 60s-style solutions? In other words, do you think the older folk are more likely to stick with what they grew up with, while the younger folk might be more receptive to going about things in a different way? Or is it more the case that the lessons have been passed from one generation to the next, or, possibly, that the younger people are even more pissed off about continuing issues of inequality, and therefore even more likely to prefer a confrontational approach?

I also appreciate the intramural tensions that you note. The split on the basis of education is the saddest one. I think this is a problem for America overall, as well -- there is a noxious strain of anti-intellectualism running all through society. I understand that "the best and the brightest" can sometimes be arrogant, and indeed, have shown on plenty of occasions in recent history a capacity for screwing things up royally, but still, nothing makes me more crazy than the smugness of ignorance.

A minor point that I'm curious about:

Heck, we haven't even internalized ... the change in racial landscape inherent in the decision by the most conservative president on record chooses a black woman as Secretary of State.

And a black man before that, to boot. Do you think these appointments, of Rice and Powell, were seen by blacks as genuine on-the-merits appointments, or was there a sense among a significant fraction that these were "token" appointments? I remember a fair amount of criticism being directed at President Clinton for having people of color appointed to Cabinet-level positions, while the rest of the respective departments remained lily-white.

Your closing thought in the intramural section:

... but in many ways blacks are just now dealing with these issue BECAUSE we have many more oppportunities available now, despite continuing challenges.

is something I hadn't thought about. It makes perfect sense, though -- it's a common human tendency to find more things to complain about whenever things get marginally better, isn't it? Over the long run, it's probably a good characteristic, on balance, since few improvements are ever made by those satisfied with their lots in life.

harkin
01-28-2008, 12:33 PM
Is Loury hard of hearing?? Fer goshsakes Glenn, turn it down!

Regarding Hillary's 'MLK was no LBJ' blast, was I the only one wishing Obama had replied:

"Well, I certainly think both men made significant contributions to the civil rights movement but if Mrs Clinton is suggesting that the coming holiday be changed from MLK Day to LBJ Day, then I would have to say she needs to re-read the history books"


If Clinton was correct that LBJ did more for civil rights than MLK....then maybe Glenn and John can work to actually switch the holiday.