Worth Repeating

“Millions of American evangelicals are absolutely shocked by not just the presidential election, but by the entire avalanche of results that came in. It’s not that our message — we think abortion is wrong, we think same-sex marriage is wrong — didn’t get out. It did get out. It’s that the entire moral landscape has changed. An increasingly secularized America understands our positions, and has rejected them.”

—R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Louisville, Ky., said in an interview published in the New York Time on November 10, 2012.

Who’s Helping The Terrorists?

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Our friends on the right fringe, of course. In their desperation to turn the Islamic center in Lower Manhattan into this year’s wedge issue, Palin, Gingrich and the rest of the irresponsibles might be delivering big for Al Qaeda.

Some counterterrorism experts say the anti-Muslim sentiment that has saturated the airwaves and blogs in the debate over plans for an Islamic center near ground zero in Lower Manhattan is playing into the hands of extremists by bolstering their claims that the United States is hostile to Islam.Opposition to the center by prominent politicians and other public figures in the United States has been covered extensively by the news media in Muslim countries. At a time of concern about radicalization of young Muslims in the West, it risks adding new fuel to Al Qaeda’s claim that Islam is under attack by the West and must be defended with violence, some specialists on Islamic militancy say.

“I know people in this debate don’t intend it, but there are consequences for these kinds of remarks,” said Brian Fishman, who studies terrorism for the New America Foundation here.

There’s more from the New York Times…

When a Close Relative Dies in Cuba

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You can’t grieve with the rest of the family, you can’t call and sometimes you don’t find out for days. If you live here, you can’t really travel there overnight.

Last week my uncle on my mother’s side died in Cuba. Last night it was my aunt on my father’s. The older generation is dying off.

Justo and Maria Teresa. I had not seen either one of them in over thirty years. I remember their sweetness and their apolitical nature. These two belonged to the family faction that continued talking to us, even after my parents announced their plans to apply for an exit visa to go North. On my Dad’s side, Maria Teresa was the exception. Even though she was married to a military man, my aunt kept coming around and we continued visiting her.

My Mom’s side of the family was less involved in the Castro government. They were less “political,” so not much changed between us, even after our status was degraded from typical citizens to counter-revolutionary worms on account of our political preferences and our travel plans.

Whenever I hear that someone in my family has died, I always picture the reunion on the other side with those that left before. These must be happy reunions, I imagine, because before the Castro brothers decided to impose their brand of paradise on our little paradise, our family got along just fine. The split in the family started showing in the early Sixties, right around the time that the Cuban Revolution was hijacked by a bunch of hoodlums.

Right around that time, the effects of the new socio-political order tore up the work that previous generations had done to keep us together.

Each time a relative dies over there, I’m reminded of the first time it happened after we had settled here in 1970. I was when my grandfather died.  It was in 1976. We heard about it from a cousin in Florida. It was a very painful experience for my father who adored Grandpa Baldomero. Somehow he managed to find out the name of the funeral home in Havana where the service was being held. He called, desperate to connect to his mother, older brother and three sisters. He asked for his older brother by name, when the funeral director answered the phone. He waited for any member of the family to come to the phone.

A few minutes the director was back on the phone. There was no one there by that name, he informed my father — even after he agreed originally to go get one of his relatives.

I remember Dad’s cries filling our railroad apartment in Union City after he hung up the phone. The sight of a crying father really impresses a teenager. I never forgot it.

We didn’t talk about it afterward but we all knew what had happened. My uncle was the national director of some Communist ministry. He didn’t want to appear to have a relationship with anyone who had renounced the Revolution that he so valued. A call from the United States, even if from a grieving brother, could compromise your revolutionary standing. My Dad eventually, if not instantly, forgave my uncle. He understood his blind, political fanaticism. Me, I’m not so sure.

Families members on different sides of a political — and physical — gulf. The reality of life in exile.

Monday Blues?

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This will certainly pick up anybody who’s been following the Health care debate. Except, of course, Rep Jim DeMint of South Carolina.

Have a great week!!!

Oh, and one last thing:

A huge part of the blame for today’s disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves.

At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994.

Only, the hardliners overlooked a few key facts: Obama was elected with 53% of the vote, not Clinton’s 42%. The liberal block within the Democratic congressional caucus is bigger and stronger than it was in 1993-94. And of course the Democrats also remember their history, and also remember the consequences of their 1994 failure.

This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.

—David Frum, Former George W. Bush speech writer, on his blog. The title of the post? Waterloo.

Worth Repeating

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In a sensible country, people would see Obama as a president trying to define a modern brand of moderate progressivism. In a sensible country, Obama would be able to clearly define this project without fear of offending the people he needs to get legislation passed. But we don’t live in that country. We live in a country in which many people live in information cocoons in which they only talk to members of their own party and read blogs of their own sect. They come away with perceptions fundamentally at odds with reality, fundamentally misunderstanding the man in the Oval Office.

David Brooks, NY Times 3/12/2010