Friday, January 05, 2007

A Call for Interfaith Reconciliation

A Call for Interfaith Reconciliation
Sign the petition

Let Rep. Virgill Goode know that his attacks on Muslims are not acceptable. Please add your name to this petition, which will be hand-delivered to Rep. Goode's office.

A Call for Interfaith Reconciliation

As religious people from diverse traditions, we call upon Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode to re-examine his opposition to newly-elected Representative Keith Ellison, a Muslim, taking his unofficial oath of office using the Qur'an, and to apologize for his statement that, without punitive immigration reform, "there will be many more Muslims elected to office demanding the use of the Quran."

Mr. Goode insinuates that having more Muslims in the United States would be a danger to our country. As people of faith, we reject such ill-considered words.

An attack against one religion is an attack against them all. Next week, it could be Jews. Next month, it could be Christian fundamentalists or evangelicals. Right now, it is Muslims. It is they who feel targeted by repression and abuse, and they who live among us in a growing climate of fear.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel once implored us: "No religion is an island! We are all involved with one another. Spiritual betrayal on the part of one of us affects the faith of all of us."

We hold it to be self-evident that all Americans have the right to practice their faith, whatever it may be, and that any Americans - regardless of race, color or creed - may be elected and sworn into office holding whatever book they consider sacred.

We would point out that there are some five million Muslims in the US. Many have been here for generations. They are every bit as American as Rep. Goode. Some Americans have also converted to Islam, including Rep. Ellison. We call for a renewed unity among people of conscience and of faith.

We would further point out that just as it was appropriate for the late President Ford to be honored by a profoundly Christian memorial service, so it is equally appropriate for Rep. Ellison to be sworn into office, in a private ceremony, holding the book representing his deepest religious convictions.

Above all, we urge all Americans to stand up for religious freedom and to deplore the hurtful words of any public figure who would disparage a particular religion.

In a spirit of reconciliation and peace, we invite Rep. Goode to join with us in an inter-religious delegation to visit a mosque in his district, in order that the healing may begin.


George Hunsinger
Princeton Theological Seminary

David A. Robinson, Executive Director
Pax Christi USA: National Catholic Peace Movement

Rev. Robert Edgar
National Council of Churches

Stephen Rockwell, Director
Institute for Progressive Christianity

Jeffrey Boldt
Wisconsin Christian Alliance for Progress

Katie Barge, Director of Communications
Faith in Public Life

Rev. Debra Hafner
Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing

Rev. Peter Laarman, Executive Director
Progressive Christians Uniting

Rev. Dr. Rick Schlosser, Executive Director
California Council of Churches

Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs
The Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs Progressive Faith Foundation

Elizabeth Sholes, Director of Public Policy
California Council of Churches

Rev. Rita Nakashima Brock, Ph.D.
Co-Director, Faith Voices for the Common Good

Jesse Lava, Co-founder and Executive Director

Rev. Dr. Larry L. Greenfield, Executive Minister
American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago

Rev. Cedric A. Harmon
Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Rev. Chuck Currie
Parkrose Community United Church of Christ, Portland, OR

Joseph C. Hough, Jr., President
Union Theological Seminary, New York

Mary E. Hunt, Ph.D., Co-director
Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual

Rev. Harry Knox, Director of Religion and Faith Program
Human Rights Campaign Foundation

Rabbi Rebecca Alpert, Chair
Department of Religion, Temple University

Vincent Isner, Executive Director
Faithful America

Rev. Timothy F. Simpson
Christian Alliance for Progress

Sign the petition

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Breaking Snooze: Bush Doesn't Like Earmarks

Bush gave a statement today in D.C. All ears were open -was he going to talk about whar the heck he's going to do about Iraq? No chance. He's worried about the need to reform federal entitlement programs that he says are bankrupting our nation. He doesn't mention how many billions of our dollars have been poured into the unnecessary and failing war he and his administration lied us into and are trying to score another $100 billion for. He doesn't like earmarks. Wow. What a charismatic leader.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Tom Brokaw: Saddam Hanging Fuels Sectarian Violence

Retired NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw did a beautiful job with his eulogy of former President Gerald Ford at his funeral at the National Cathedral this morning. Mr. Brokaw had this to say to radio show host Don Imus earlier in the day, speaking about the United States' role in this week's hanging of Saddam Hussein:

.... we portray ourselves around the world as the champions of democracy and the rule of law — -

- - First of all, that began to unravel in the eyes of a lot of people in that part of world with Abu Ghraib and the great cruelties and indignities that were imposed on people there. The debate goes on here about Guantanamo and about access to people’s private records - -

And then to say that we are going to install in Iraq a judicial system and a democratic form of government and have something that resembled the worst kind of nightmare out of the old American West. Not much dignity. He was, he was a god awful man and he did have a trial, but not have control of the execution, and to have it really just fuel more sectarian violence at a time when we are trying to dampen that is not helpful, which is an understatement.

Excerpt from Mr. Brokaw's comments at the funeral of former President Gerald R. Ford:

Gerald Ford brought to the political arena no demons, no hidden agenda, no hit list or acts of vengeance. He knew who he was and he didn’t require consultants or gurus to change him. Moreover, the country knew who he was and despite occasional differences, large and small, it never lost its affection for this man from Michigan, the football player, the lawyer and the veteran, the Congressman and suburban husband, the champion of Main Street values who brought all of those qualities to the White House.

Once there, he stayed true to form, never believing that he was suddenly wiser and infallible because he drank his morning coffee from a cup with a presidential seal.

He didn’t seek the office. And yet, as he told his friend, the late, great journalist Hugh Sidey, he was not frightened of the task before him.

Full transcript of Mr. Brokaw's eulogy at NYT (subsc req) The wonderfully silly story about the Chickenhead will live forever. ;)

McCain Doctrine Draws U.S. Troops into Civil War

2008 Presidential candidate John Edwards says there are no easy choices on Iraq, but if there's one choice that he belives is wrong, it's what he calls "The McCain Doctrine." A fitting name, it describes Senator John McCain's longstanding view that, since we failed miserably when the Bush administration ignored General Eric Shinseki's recommendation regarding higher troop levels in 2002, we should get the opportunity for a "do-over" in Iraq, escalating the troubles with more troops now. The trouble is, our fighting men and women will now be fighting for completely different reasons than in 2003 (when President Bush gave us at least 21 different rationales for a preemptive attack on Iraq - none of those rationales bearing out as true). Today in Iraq, our troops could, for example, be in a situation where they would wind up killing Sunnis for the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

I don't think so. It's time for us to see that it's time for redeployment.

Andrew Sullivan today:

My own view is that withdrawal might even have some beneficial consequences. It will force Iran and the Sunni powers to intervene either to foment war or to stymie it. It could well unleash turmoil in Iran, and give Tehran a huge headache that will give it an incentive to deal with the world at large. I do not believe that Ahmadinejad will regard al-Sadr as a stable partner. Crucially, withdrawal could change the narrative of this war. So far, the narrative has been the one scripted by bin Laden: Islam versus the West. Thanks to Zarqawi, the narrative could soon become: Islam against itself. That is the real struggle here, masked by Western enmeshment. By getting out of Iraq now - decisively, swiftly, and candidly - we could actually gain in the long war.

John Edwards on
The McCain Doctrine

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Politico Debuts January 27

The trailer for the new Politico website for political news for which A-list political journalists are being cherrypicked from major publications can be seen here. Staff and writers here. If you subscribe to the NYT online, you can see Katharine Seelye's article about The Politico here.

They state their goal here:

The Politico is being launched in January 2007 with the mission of covering politics -- the lifeblood of the nation’s capital -- with enterprise, style, and impact.

We will bring an unblinking focus to three arenas of coverage: the politics of Capitol Hill and of the presidential campaign, and the business of Washington lobbying and advocacy.

This ambitious goal will be matched with the resources to achieve it. The Politico will assemble the most interesting and revelatory journalists—a mix of established names and promising young reporters—and set them to work on bringing to life the most important stories.

As a new venture, we will embrace the way journalism is changing. Our stories will be conversational and engaging, and illuminate the agendas and personalities behind the news. We will always look for the most creative way to tell stories—on the printed page, on the Web, and on television. But this spirit of innovation will be harnessed to old and enduring values—a belief in rigorous reporting, fair presentation, respect for our audience.

Henry James called Washington “the city of conversation.” The Politico’s place is to cover that conversation, and to set it.

See Jay Rosen's interview with John Harris about leaving the WaPo. A teaser from the interview:

Jay Rosen: I agree with you about the way to have the most fun in the profession. But is there an audience you have in mind that's under-served and feels that way, or does it not know (yet) that it needs your thing?

John Harris: Journalistically, Jim VandeHei and I are placing a bet. We believe that if we assemble a group of reporters and editors--some young people and some in mid-career--with energy and talent, then create a work environment where ideas are nurtured and sharpened, we''ll have the essential elements of a very interesting publication. Robert Allbritton, the publisher of our enterprise, believes in this bet and has made clear he is willing to support it. Again, the key is trying to create a collection of journalists who have distinctive signatures--by virtue of their personalities or source networks or ability to connect the dots in illuminating ways. The reordering of the media universe because of the Web has created opportunities for journalists of this sort that did not exist in an organization-driven age.

Edwards: If We Want Change, Let's Begin Change Now

Thanks to Taegan Goddard at Political Wire, I got to see a segment from MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews interviewing Senator John Edwards on December 29th that I'd missed. In case you didn't see it:

Edwards also criticized Bush’s recent press conference in which the president encouraged Americans to “go shopping more.”

"What planet is he living on?” Edwards asked. “I have absolutely no idea. I mean this is the man that’s in charge of this war in Iraq. You know, after September 11th we had an extraordinary moment of unity and a proud feeling of patriotism. I had it myself. All of us had it. And it was a great opportunity for us to tap into the will of the American people to do great things together, not just for themselves, but for America.”

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Edwards Chapel Hill Rally Draws Thousands

Photo from One America Committee

Photos by "saltman" at One America Committee blog

Bora was at the John Edwards Chapel Hill rally yesterday, as was Kirk and Exile on Jones Street. Kirk provides a clip. [mov version]

Live blogging toook place here.

At the One America Committee blog, Thread Opener writes about the dynamics of a central campaign theme that focuses on the People:

Joe Trippi: It's About Us
True transformational leadership can only come from a candidate who fundmentally gets that it isn't about him/her -- its about us.

Over the Christmas Weekend Matt Stoller started a conversation about John Edwards that got me thinking again about the difference between transactional politics and transformational politics.

I had an epiphany one day in the middle of the Dean campaign about what made us so different...

Its incredibly simple and defines what I now believe is the essential ingredient in any campaign or candidacy that hopes to be transformational.

All modern campaigns and transactional campaogns are built around a candidate who proclaims to the nation "Look at me -- aren't I amazing?".

The Dean campaign (and any transformational campaign successful or not) was built around a candidate who proclaimed "Look at you -- aren't you amazing?"

This strikes me as essential. More than ideology, or any other factor -- true transformational leadership can only come from a candidate who fundmentally gets that it isn't about him/her -- its about us.

So in terms of 2008 is Hillary capable or realizing that she is not the center of the universe -- that the political world and even her own campaign does not revolve around her? Obama? Edwards? Who? Anyone?

The Dean campaign was different not because of ideology or because of opposition to the war -- but because it revolved around its supporters and empowered them. It was the only campaign in a long time that realized that the people were more important than the candidate.

James MacGregor Burns wrote "A transformational leader stands on the shoulders of his followers, expressing coherently those ideas which lie inchoate in the hearts of the followers -- and in the process makes his followers into new leaders."

Al Gore is doing this right now around the issue of Global Warming. Dean did it in 2004 for President. Who in 2008?

As A Dean supporter in 2003/2004, I had similar feelings and comments.
December 21, 2003: How the name of Howard Dean has become synonymous with the investment of our very selves
Along came Howard Dean, promoting joyous citizen participation as avidly as Bush was oppressing it.....

When I hear people attacking Howard Dean (as I have heard so often lately), I am beginning to take each word in each attack in a deeply personal way. I am not saying this because I am partial to Howard Dean (although I admit to being so). I am telling you this because, most simply, it is true.

The name of Howard Dean has become synonymous with the investment of our very selves in the betterment of our nation, our love for healthy and strong American democracy,and our individual interests in preserving our American rights and performing our American duties. This man, Howard Dean, has caused us to believe in ourselves and all we can be for our vision of America. Most important is his reminder of the fact that America is ours...and we need to take her back. The Bush Administration is beginning to see the danger to Dean's candidacy and I don't think they ever really saw it coming. Every attack they will make on Howard Dean will be felt (quite deeply) as an attack on every American who feels they have the right to participate in American government. What a paradox! With every attack on Howard Dean, he is further empowered.
Governor Dean became our DNC chair because the people who came politically alive because of his inspiration wouldn't have it any other way.