Around The ‘Sphere September 23, 2007


Our linkfest offering readers a Hometown Buffet of links to blogposts from websites of many different viewpoints. Linked posts do NOT necessarily reflect the opinion of TMV or its writers.

As the controversy swirls around Iran’s President talking at Columbia University, its Dean makes an argument he apparently thought would explain everything. Why, yes, he’d invite Adolf Hitler to speak, too..VIDEO HERE.

This is a classic example of AM/FM…different frequencies. The argument that a university would invite anyone to defend the principle of intellectual independence and the right to hear all views conflicts with strong emotions and political feelings. A smart person would try to navigate through the rhetorical minefield. But saying you’d invite Hitler, too, is not going to cause those clamoring for the university to ban Iran’s most famous anti-Semite to say: “Ahhh! Now I get it! He really needs to be allowed to speak!”

Advice to the Dean: Hold off talking about booking Osama bin Laden next time he’s in town. OK?

WHY DOES OXBLOG RESPECT BIGOTRY? Actually this wonderful, thoughtful weblog (a role model to reason on the Internet) does NOT but an anonymous reader suggested it did due to an idea expressed by the always provocative David Adesnik. This must be read IN FULL but here is a tiny taste of Adesnik’s rebuttal:

So, then, how should one treat a fellow American who invokes the Biblical as a justification for denouncing homosexuality? The position of my anonymous commenter seems to be that one should deny respect to such opinions or even denounce them as “ridiculous”. But I think that approach is entirely counterproductive. The scorn of the secularists accomplishes little more than postponing the day when equal rights for gays and lesbians are no longer a political issue. The tide is turning in favor of those who consider equality before the law to be self-evident and unthreatening.

But I also reject scorn as a matter of principle. Faith has a tremendously powerful influence over the faithful. As a Conservative Jew, I am not bound so closely to the literal meaning of the biblical text. But many other denominations do emphasize that approach. It is a powerful approach that brings much good and meaning into many lives. Of course, it has its drawbacks as well. Yet on balance, is this kind of commitment to the Bible such a terrible thing that it should be met with scorn?

Read it all.

A Neo-nazi hate group has posted personal information on a hate website threatening Jena 6. Details here. To heil with them..

IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT YET READ IT NOW! Andrew Sullivan’s book The Conservative Soul. Read this comprehensive REVIEW. (A must-read about a must-read). I read the book (but due to family tragedies did not get around to reviewing it) and it is superb. You can order it by clicking the icon on the right side of TMV.

IT IS TRULY THE QUOTE OF THE DAY and it is here at one of TMV’s favorite websites (one of the classiest with the most solid content). Read it several times.

WELL, HEARTFELT PRINCIPLES ARE RELATIVE! It IS true, kiddies. Once upon a time Republicans including President George Bush demanded “up or down votes” on issues and suggested it was vital and the right thing to do. But now? Walter Brasch, writing in The Democratic Daily:

George W. (“I demand an up-or-down-vote”) Bush believes in the majority rule only when it favors his own beliefs. When it doesn’t, he believes in something else.
Something else happened this week when hard-core Republican functionaries twice blocked the Senate from protecting constitutional rights and the welfare of American soldiers.

This is one of the tragedies of 21st American politics: the inexorable, steady decline of principles due to the allure of political expediency. (But you can’t give out jobs, reward your friends, put cronies and in positions etc just operating on principles. And it’s more fun to rant and get outraged about what someone else does or believes and then turn around and do the same thing when you have the chance…and the power..)

A GUEST APPEARANCE ON THE HILARIOUS CARTOON FAMILY GUY via a voice over: Actor and mega-non-political blogger (and great writer) Wil Wheaton. This is MUST READING for cartoons and comedy fans. (If you haven’t read Wheaton’s blog, he does NOT write about politics but has a huge readership).

THIS JUST IN! Some interesting links about THE TRUTH about Neanderthals HERE and even a take on whether they were killed off by climate change. (Why didn’t they just go to Miami like my relatives from Connecticut?)

DAN RATHER’S LAWSUIT could blacken the CBS eye. We’ve done some posts here (and yours truly has not yet weighed in but suffice to say I don’t consider Mr. Rather a martyr but someone who journalistically downsized Walter Cronkite’s anchor chair the second he sat in it, apart from the later controversial scandal) but here is a MUST READ POST by Mary Mapes the fired producer in the Rathergate scandal that eventually led to DR’s premature “retirement.” (Linking to this does not mean I agree with it).

Is The West Afflicted By A Crisis Of Confidence And Self-Loathing? Here’s one view at Wizbang. (Those of us at TMV don’t need self-loathing since we are loathed by so many others that our lives are COMPLETE!)

Via my blogging alma mater Dean’s World (a site I still read every day) this great Indian-Polish Hip Hop number. Will this be modern day The Beatles that will take the U.S. by storm in the 2000s?

The Graying Of Kindergarten: More and more kids are held back as this fascinating post indicates. I was held back. No joke. I flunked “blocks.” But then I went onto first grade and spent the best six years of my life there…


A Lesson Before Dying: Read all of the links.

PERSONAL TMV ITEM: We’ve gotten great emails from TMVers and readers to the original, in depth interviews posted by new TMV co-blogger The Talking Dog. More will follow.