Category Archives: Ann Coulter

Know Thine Opposition

I often read the views of people whose positions I have a track record of disagreeing with. (Whereas actually WATCHING them on TV sometimes makes me apoplexic and I’m forced to shut them off, lest I scream at the TV; Bill O’Reilly I won’t even try to view.)

So I’m reading the latest from Ann Coulter, Obama Birth Certificate Spotted In Bogus Moon Landing Footage, where she cleverly compares the birthers to a bunch of conspiracy theories from the left, both implausible -“Sarah Palin’s infant child, Trig, was actually the child of her daughter” and possible – “the 2000 election was stolen”. Just because I oppose her views most of the time doesn’t mean I don’t think she’s not clever in constructing straw men to knock down.

Meanwhile, Chuck Norris notes in What Obama and My Wife Have in Common that Obama and Chuck’s wife Gena have a birthday in the same week (Barack – August 4; Gena – August 9.) He then ties Obama’s birthday to the birther movement. (Hey, *I* did that; I think like Chuck Norris!) But of course he took a different tactic: “Refusing to post your original birth certificate is an unwise political and leadership decision that is enabling the “birther” controversy. The nation you are called to lead is experiencing a growing swell of conspirators who are convinced that you are covering up something. So why not just prove them wrong and shut them up?” The particular fun stuff is in the letters of comment.

I was reading somewhere that while their parents grouse that liberals (Barbra Streisand, Sean Penn, Al Franken SENATOR Al Franken) should keep out of politics, it’s OK for Chuck Norris or the late Charlton Heston (or, of course, Ronald Reagan). I never biought into that mindset, BTW. How does being an actor (or singer) somehow negate one’s right to participate in the democratic process?

Anyway, I didn’t get much sleep, so here’s former sportscaster Keith Olbermann’s recent rant on health care, which I agree with.
Peace Through Music Film Trailer
Friend Walter and his wife went to see the Lovin’ Spoonful recently. The group (sans John Sebastian) performed a song, not an orginal, he’d heard before and wanted to know what it was. It has the lyrics:
Ah-ha-ha-ha (ha-ha-ha-ha)
Hey-oh (hey-oh)
Koo-ba, koo-ba, koo-ba, koo-ba
(Koo-ba, koo-ba, koo-ba, koo-ba)
Ah-ha-ha-ha (ah-ha-ha-ha)
Ah-ah-ah-ha (ah-ha-ha-ha)
Hey-oh (hey-oh)

It was Don’t You Just Know It by Huey (Piano) Smith & The Clowns from 1958; went to #9 on the pop charts. (If link doesn’t work, try this.) Here’s a version by C.J. Chenier from 1996.


"The Trouble with Islam Today"

I love librarians. They have such interesting people at their conferences. I was flicking through the channels a couple months ago and hit upon the American Libraries Association conference held in late June airing on one of the C-SPAN networks.

Specifically, I was watching a dynamic woman named Irshad Manji who seems to have created a firestorm with her speeches and books, including The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith. It was interesting to see a strong Muslim woman staying within the faith, yet noting its shortcomings.

Rather than trying to recreate her points, I’ll link to a blog report here from a “conservative” librarian, and this post, to give you a flavor of the talk.

At the end, she gave this five-minute recitation, from memory, of a poem from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Oompah Loompahs declaring the evils of television, a short excerpt of which you can see here and/or here.

One of the things I found on Ms. Manji’s MySpace page is the notion of ijtihad.

What is ijtihad?

Ijtihad (pronounced “ij-tee-had”) is Islam’s lost tradition of independent thinking. In the early centuries of Islam, thanks to the spirit of ijtihad, 135 schools of thought thrived. Inspired by ijtihad, Muslims gave the world inventions from the astrolabe to the university. So much of we consider “western” pop culture came from Muslims: the guitar, mocha coffee, even the ultra-Spanish expression “Ole!” (which has its root in the Arabic word for God, “Allah”).

What happened to ijtihad?

Toward the end of the 11th century, the “gates of ijtihad” were closed for entirely political reasons. During this time, the Muslim empire from Iraq in the east to Spain in the west was going through a series of internal upheavals. Dissident denominations were popping up and declaring their own runaway governments, which posed a threat to the main Muslim leader — the caliph. Based in Baghdad, the caliph cracked down and closed ranks. Remember those 135 schools of thought mentioned above? They were deliberately reduced to four pretty conservative schools of thought. This led to a rigid reading of the Koran as well as to a series of legal opinions — fatwas — that scholars could no longer overturn or even question, but could now only imitate. To this very day, imitation of medieval norms has trumped innovation in Islam. It’s time to revive ijtihad to update Islam for the 21st century. That’s why we’ve created Project Ijtihad.

A couple thoughts came to mind when reading that:
* Yes, Islam is more diverse than some people have been telling us
* There are some forms of Christianity that seems to have been captured by politics that could do with some “ijtihad”

I haven’t read Irshad Manji’s book yet, but if it is as dynamic as she is as a speaker, it should be fascinating.
Conversely, Ann Colter has made me an offer I can refuse:
Here is how to tick off a liberal…just subscribe to Human Events today! (And you’ll receive a FREE copy of The Truth About Muhammad – a $27.95 value.)