An Election In Jerusalem
November 17, 2008

The ultra-orthodox had taken over Jerusalem's City Hall in the person of Uri Lupolianski acting for a cadre of rabbis who gave him permission to do "this" or denied him permission to do "that."  This was 2003.  Formally, it was a democratically elected government.  And it's true that there were lots of matters about which the holy men did not care a fig.  Lupolianski succeeded Ehud Olmert, a man who dealt with the religious as any mayor of a demographically intricate modern city has to deal with a big and dug-in minority.  Most Arabs don't vote in Jerusalem municipal elections because they don

Obama And... Cloning?
November 03, 2008

Weird nugget buried in today's long WashPost story about Ohio: Viars said she and another evangelical Christian have distributed to fellow church members 5,000 copies of a "voter issues guide" that describes Obama as supporting human cloning and opposing "protecting the lives of children who are born alive and survive a botched abortion," both misstatements of his record.  We've heard the infanticide stuff before but the cloning thing is new to me. --Michael Crowley

Das Kapital Is Back
November 01, 2008

Das Kapital is on the best seller list in Germany. Yes, Marx's Das Kapital. Even the cover is like the original. Oh, I almost forgot: the writer is not Karl Marx but Renihard Marx, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Munich.  The story is told by Bertrand Benoit in the weekend FT, with accompanying photo of the bearded cleric with threatening eyes and gesticulating hands. Sales of Das Kapital by the old mole Karl Marx is also rising, likely a result of the world economic crisis.

527 Watch: Ghostbusters Edition
October 29, 2008

In Ghostbusters 2, Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd discover a river of slime coursing through subterranean New York. This sticky, pink bile turns out to be a physical manifestation of New Yorkers' accumulated rage, hatreds, and resentments--a substance potent enough that the film's villain tries to harness its power to take over the city. With GOP mega-donors out of commission, one independent ad group--the National Republican Trust PAC--is tapping a similar source to sustain itself.

Cuban Exiles For Obama
October 23, 2008

"The Castro exiles that brought Bush victory in 2000 are beginning to waiver," reads an article by Daniel Dombey in Thursday's FT. Actually, I believe what brought Bush victory in 2000 was judicial larceny. But certainly the Cuban exilarchs and their followers went overwhelmingly for Bush and for whoever was the Republican nominee beforehand. Still, part of the immigrant journey in the second and third generation is to leave the beliefs and prejudices of the first. This is what has been happening to the Cuban Americans. Their lives are not about Castro any longer.

God (and Man) On Park Avenue
October 17, 2008

I was walking up Park Avenue today and, as I usually do when I'm close to St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, crossed over to the east side of the street to be in its shadows. Situated just north of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, it is a sumptuous church, so also the site of many society weddings. I don't know but I assume that it is on the "correct" side of the theological dispute that is splitting the Anglican communion apart. The correct side being latitudinarian. Laissez-faire, one might say. More liberal on sexual matters and rather left-wing on economic and foreign policy matters.

More Political Wisdom From Bill Kristol
October 15, 2008

 I realize that at this point it's ridiculous to treat Bill Kristol as anything other than an intellectually dishonest apologist for his pal John McCain. Still, he is a prominent pundit who is presumably still taken seriously by someone somewhere, and so I feel compelled to take issue with his remarks in Mo Dowd's column today. Asked about his increasingly lonely cheerleading of Sarah Palin, Kristol snipped: Conservative eggheads are my friends, but politically they're a contrarian indicator.

"convert Or Else"
October 13, 2008

Some people fear for their livelihoods. Other people fear for their lives.Of course, sometimes livelihood is life.The world has a terrible record in salvaging either one if the threat to them is a mass phenomenon.

Postcards From The Edge
October 13, 2008

 I always enjoy the missives I receive from GOPUSA, where the nuttiest of wingnuts go for affirmation. Today's featured piece is a broadside by freelance columnist Doug Patton against Timesman David Brooks' Friday column on how Sarah Palin is but the latest front in Republicians' burgeoning war against ideas.

On Faith, Science And The E-coli Bacteria In Infant Urine
October 06, 2008

If you don't see this yourself you might think I made it up: on faith, science and the e-coli bacteria in infant urine. This was posted by a group called MEMRI, the extraordinary resource for significant translations from the Arab and Islamic world: Hamas TV's Koranic Scientist Dr. Ahmad Al-Muzain: No Scientific Necessity to Wash Off the Urine of Male Infants Following are excerpts from a program featuring Dr. Ahmad Al-Muzain, a Palestinian expert on Koranic science, which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on September 3, 2008: Dr.