Here is the video of Obama’s interview on al-Arabiya:

A pretty smart move if you ask me.

Andrew Sullivan’s take:

It popped up on television last night and I had two reactions. The first was a sense of met expectation. Part of the rationale for Obama’s presidency from a foreign policy perspective was always his unique capacity to rebrand America in the eyes of the Muslim world. Since even the hardest core neocons agree that wooing the Muslim center is critical to winning the long war against Jihadism, Obama’s outreach is unremarkable and should be utterly uncontroversial. Bush tried for a while to do the same. But Karen Hughes is not exactly Barack Obama. And the simple gesture of choosing an Arab media outlet for his first televised interview as president is extremely powerful. It has the elegance of a minimalist move with maximalist aims. It is about the same thing as inviting Rick Warren or supping with George Will: it’s about R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Obama has a long way to go, not just in appealing to the better sentiments of Muslims around the globe, but also to the redneck Muslim-fearing racists in this country that FOX News is so good at scaring shitless (earlier: FOX Reporters Scaring People With Images of Muslims)

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I was just reading an article that discussed how X percentage of Americans identified themselves as "pro-choice" and Y percentage identified themselves as "pro-life". It made me think about how much I hate politically crafted euphemisms.

Think about what each term implies. To be "pro-life" must mean that the other side is somehow not in favor of life. The "pro-choice" label is more accurate, as the main issue for most supporters of Roe v. Wade is a woman's right to choose, not a cheering support of killing fetuses.

I think the most appropriate labels for the camps would be "pro-choice" vs. either "anti-abortion" or "anti-choice". But of course the anti-abortion camp wouldn't like that because it comes off as being too negative even though a negative position is the crux of their argument – opposition to abortion and opposition to a woman's right to choose.

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There are a lot of reasons to hate Faux FOX News, but chief among them is their incessant attempt to scare Americans into believing in Republican rule by painting Mexicans, Muslims and pretty much anyone else with a non-pink hue as terribly scary.

Well, they’re at it again:

Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA) said last week that the U.S. could hold the detainees in federal prisons, just like we hold thousands of other dangerous inmates. This morning, Fox and Friends responded by sending a reporter to Murtha’s district to flash photos of suspected terrorists — their only identification being Muslim headgear — and ask residents, “Would you want a guy like this living in your backyard?”

FEAR! Dirty scary Muslims! In your backyard! Fondling your children and burning the American flag! F E A R!
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Photographic evidence appears to show that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas fell asleep at Obama’s inauguration:

How fitting…
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From Bill Kristol’s column in today’s New York Times:

This is William Kristol’s last column.

What wonderful news to greet my Monday!

As Steve Benen puts it:

Not only was Kristol’s writing pedestrian and predictable, but he had an unfortunate habit of making obvious factual mistakes, which necessitated frequent corrections. Indeed, at last count, Kristol prompted four corrections in one year — though, if you want to get picky about it, one of the four included two separate factual errors in the same column, which would bring the total to five.

And that’s just counting the demonstrable errors of fact. Errors of judgment were found in practically every piece.

Back in May, Glenn Greenwald had an item on the “sloppy, error-plagued and incomparably hackish columns” Kristol has produced. Regrettably, the next seven months worth of content was no better.

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No matter how many times they’re struck down, the rabid Creationists — intent on inculcating magic thinking into our impressionable public school children — just won’t stop:

The latest round in a long-running battle over how evolution should be taught in Texas schools began in earnest Wednesday as the State Board of Education heard impassioned testimony from scientists and social conservatives on revising the science curriculum. […]

In the past, the conservatives on the education board have lacked the votes to change textbooks. This year, both sides say, the final vote, in March, is likely to be close.

Even as federal courts have banned the teaching of creationism and intelligent design in biology courses, social conservatives have gained 7 of 15 seats on the Texas board in recent years, and they enjoy the strong support of Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican.

The chairman of the board, Dr. Don McLeroy, a dentist, pushed in 2003 for a more skeptical version of evolution to be presented in the state’s textbooks, but could not get a majority to vote with him. Dr. McLeroy has said he does not believe in Darwin’s theory and thinks that Earth’s appearance is a recent geologic event, thousands of years old, not 4.5 billion as scientists contend.

Look, I respect the right of religious people to have crazy views. For all I care, you can run around thinking that the Earth and everyone on it was coughed up as a hairball by some supreme celestial kitty.

And in certain circumstances, I can at least understand why they would expend enormous amounts of time and energy blaring their message into the public sphere. For example, as regards abortion, at least religious people genuinely believe that there is some enormous evil being perpetrated that they are trying to fight.

But when it comes to the lunacy of forcing the teaching of creationism in public schools, my tolerance drys up real fast.

First, as to the merits, a public school is a neutral venue where our children go to learn in a non-threatening environment that should respect the rights of children of people of all religions (including those with no religion at all). Creationism is a purely religious construct and, as such, has no place in a public school. Evolution, on the other hand, is a scientific and imminently secular construct and, as such, deserves its place in public school science classes.

Aside from the underlying merits of Creationism, the biggest thing that angers me about this never-ending controversy is the enormous waste of time and resources that it entails.

I mean, you can disagree with the pro-lifers all you want but at least there is some arguable legitimacy to clogging the nation’s courts and legislatures with countless abortion laws and challenges. They believe a wrong is being committed and want to do something about it.

When it comes to Creationism, there is simply no justification for the millions of dollars, man-hours and aggravation these people require. If religious nutters have a child, they are perfectly capable of raising that child on the belief that God snapped his fingers and created everything in existence in a matter of minutes, hours, days — who gives a damn? Moreover, they can teach their children about the theory of Evolution in the same way they teach them about all the other evil secular plots that lie in wait for them when they enter the secular world every day (e.g. the “gay agenda”, logic, liberal pinko commies, rational thought, etc.)

But noooo; on this one tiny fucking issue, Christianists scream, cry and INSIST that our secular public school curriculum “teach the controversy” by pitting Evolution against the equivalent of “the Tooth Fairy farted and her gas congealed into the Universe.” I say keep your goddamn Tooth Fairy Farts theory confined to your family and your church and stop wasting millions of dollars in taxpayer resources constantly fighting and re-fighting this stupid battle in whatever redneck cousin-lovin’ part of the Bible Belt feels like entertaining your bullshit at the moment.

I’ll leave the final (less intemperate) word to Steve Benen:

[T]his nonsense really needs to stop as a national phenomenon. Fundamentalists are entitled to their personal beliefs, but these efforts to undermine science education have gone on long enough. The country just can’t afford to tolerate this nonsense anymore — the competitive advantage the United States used to enjoy is vanishing, and conservatives’ anti-science push comes with too high a burden for the country.

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Gleen Greenwald makes a great point:

If it were really the goal of Terrorists to attack American prisons where their members are incarcerated and if they were actually capable of doing that, they already have a long list of “targets” and have had such a list for two decades. If U.S. civilian courts were inadequate forums for obtaining convictions of Terrorism suspects, then the above-listed individuals would not be imprisoned — most of them for life — while the Guantanamo military commission system still has nothing to show for it other than a series of humiliating setbacks for the Government. As is true for virtually every fear-mongering claim made over the last eight years to frighten Americans into believing that they must vest the Government with vast and un-American powers lest they be slaughtered by the Terrorists, none of these claims is remotely rational and all of them are empirically disproven.

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The National Republican Congressional Committee displays on their website the idiocy and tone-deafness that caused them such catastrophic losses in the last election: “Thanks to Republican economic policies, the U.S. economy is robust and job creation is strong.”

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