Karen Armstrong on the Islamic Center in Lower Manhattan

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Other than getting the issue of the pre-existence of the Islamic center at it’s present location wrong, Karen Armstrong offers a deeply spiritual and enlightened view of this faux-controversy that has been fanned by Gingrich, Palin and the Fox crowd in this video.

I wonder if Sarah Palin would want to debate the pros and cons of the project with Ms. Armstrong. Or Newt. Or maybe both. I’m sure Karen Armstrong could take both of them on at the same time. I would pay a premium to see that debate on Pay-Per-View.

There’s more Via Open Culture

Presumed Guilty: The Injustices of Mexico’s Justice System

Via The Activist Writer:

Presumed Guilty: The Injustices of Mexico’s Justice System

IN DECEMBER 2005 Antonio “Toño” Zúñiga, a young man who worked as a street vendor in Mexico City, was abducted by police and accused of a murder he didn’t commit. He was held without charge, and there was no physical evidence connecting him to the crime. He had no link to the victim, and no motive. Witnesses could testify he was working at the market and provide an airtight alibi for the time

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With Friends Like These…

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President Obama and the Unhappy (impossible to satisfy?) Left. From Jonathan Cohn, a senior editor at The New Republic via NPR:

Not surprisingly, conservatives are unhappy with President Obama. Somewhat surprisingly, liberals are too — or, at least, a lot of liberal commentators.

On July 4, Robert Kuttner spoke for many of them when he wrote, on the Huffington Post, that “we voted our hopes that events could compel Obama to govern as a progressive. We are still waiting.” Bob was primarily upset about Obama’s failure to push through a new stimulus package. But he also criticized Obama over health care (for not getting passionate about it until the last minute) and the Gulf oil disaster (for not taking a harder line on British Petroleum).

Bob is my old boss and mentor, not to mention a good friend. I share his frustrations over the policies that have (and haven’t) come out of Washington lately. But to suggest that Obama hasn’t governed as a progressive seems pretty wrong to me.

There’s more…

Recruiting for the Health Insurance Industry

Here’s a fool-proof business model in case you’re thinking of going into business. It has minimal risks and no (as in zero) competition plus lax oversight and look-the-other-way type regulations.

I’m talking about health insurance. It’s been such a good racket opportunity for such a long time that I do not understand why even more people aren’t choosing this fine line of business.

What other business do you know that offers these wonderful built-in safeguards?

— No need to insure the elderly. The government will take care of that high-risk sector of the population.

— Other high-risk groups, like those with pre-existing conditions, do not have to be taken on. Let the government take care of those problem-riddled customers, or hospital emergency rooms, or charity organizations or whatever…

— We only insure those that do not need insurance: the healthy! And if any of those folks stops being healthy, then we’ll just cut them loose or make it so difficult for them to get a dime out of us that they will wish they were dead (or they’ll stop fighting us and will then go to the above-mentioned government, hospital emergency room or charity provider). In any event, not a loss to us!

And how do we get away ensure that no one messes with our business model? Easy. We out-spend everyone, use the best lobbyists out there — preferably those that used to work for the government and know all of the ins and outs and the loopholes — and we buy legislators on both sides of the isle. It does appear that when it comes to accepting money from the insurance mafia lobby, there’s only one isle: the Isle of Greed Need in the Sea of Re-election.

There’s only one thing that could affect (even kill, God forbid!) our wonderful industry: This health insurance reform that everyone is talking about.

We’ve gone into high-alert/code-red to drag it out and then kill it. Just like in ’93. We have a lot of money invested and our crazy supporters — we use the word crazy in a loving way — are joining the good fight. Watch Fox News for details.

It’s important to keep muddying the water. Keep shouting at those town hall meetings. We’ll keep the money flowing to those responsible for making decisions in Washington. Our esteemed associates — Rush, Sarah, Dobbs, Beck — will continue the fear-mongering and race-baiting that has been so effective before.

If we succeed at killing this threat to our hegemony and bottom line, we can look forward to our beloved status-quo for at least another generation. Ah, what a nice feeling. Wealthy. Powerful. Invincible.

What a country!

(Do not forward or link to this Editorial about the Massachusetts Model. It might give some people ideas. And ideas can be dangerous things).

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