Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Mashup (2/11/11)

  • With the joyous news that the crook/despot/dictator Hosni Mubarak is finally no longer in charge of Egypt, leave it to Fix Noise to ratchet up the crazy a notch or two about SCARY MUSLIMS! SCARY MUSLIMS! SCARY MUSLIMS! SCARY MUSLIMS!!!! (and with that in mind, I give you Fix Noise “Democrat” Doug Schoen here)…

    President Obama dramatically understated the level of support the Muslim Brotherhood has garnered in Egypt in his Super Bowl interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, and is most likely wrong to have asserted that the Brothers and their allies do not command majority support in the country.

    Egyptians support Islam, its expanded role in the country's civic life, as well as Shariah.

    A broad based analysis of Egyptian public opinion by Lisa Blaydes and Drew Linzerhow bears this conclusion out. They concluded that 60 percent of Egyptians have fundamentalist views, while just 20 percent are secular in their orientation.

    Egyptians also support a more expansive role for Islam in Egyptian life. In Pew polling conducted last year, almost half (48 percent) say that Islam plays a large role in politics in Egypt, and an overwhelming majority – 85 percent – say Islam’s influence in politics is positive. Only 2 percent say its influence is negative. Not surprisingly, almost two-thirds of Egyptians told Zogby that Egyptian life would improve when clerics play a more central role in the political life of the country.

    Egyptians also support the central elements of Shariah Law. For example, 84 percent say that apostates, or those who forsake Islam, should face the death penalty and 77 percent say thieves should have their hands cut off. A majority (54 percent) says men and women should be segregated in the workplace.

    What does this mean for the United States? Almost certainly the next Egyptian government will be hostile to the United States and will pursue policies that are inimical to our interests. In the Zogby poll, 85 percent called themselves unfavorable to the United States and 92 percent described America as one of the two greatest threats to Egyptian interests in the world. The Pew polling bears this point out.
    God, how pathetic Schoen and his ilk truly are (more here); citing a crap Zogby poll is more that a bit of a giveaway.

    In response, I give you the following from here…

    Mohamed ElBaradei told ABC’s Christiane Amanpour the idea that the Muslim Brotherhood, which birthed the terror organization Hamas, is an extremist organization is “total bogus” and that the group is “in no way extremists.”
    And for more on ElBaradei, I would ask that you read this profile; I believe that we’re fortunate in this country that he has emerged as the voice of the opposition (and here is another response to Fix Noise Islamophobia).

    Schoen also tells us the utter nonsense that “Young people (in Egypt) use (their satellite dishes) to get their news principally from Al Jazeera, whose interest in and deference to Islamic fundamentalist and extremist views cannot be underestimated.” In response, I give you this.

    This, though, is basically consistent with the Repug party line that Muslims are incapable of Democratic governance, as noted here (which makes me wonder what Dubya’s Not-So-Excellent Iraq Adventure was all about, then…and how weird is it that Grover Norquist, of all people, is the voice of reason on this issue, as noted here?).

    Nobody knows exactly how events will play out in Egypt. And call me a filthy, unkempt liberal blogger for saying so, but as far as I'm concerned, the Egyptians have earned the right to decide that outcome for themselves (and Atrios says that this is a good point - for what it's worth, I totally agree).

  • Next, it looks like Darrell Issa is warming up for his festival of pointless “oversight” hearings, as noted here and here, including the following…

    Issa, R-Calif., newly installed as head of the House committee that oversees government regulation, invited nearly 200 industries to send him lists of government rules that "threaten jobs." That's a good place to start. Where it will finish should serve as a test of integrity.

    Issa got back responses extending more than 1,900 pages, which were released to the public for review in advance of a hearing today. Many suggestions, no doubt, will turn out to be useful. But among them are a parade of self-serving pleas wholly at odds with the public interest and many barely connected to jobs.
    Which is particularly devious when considering the following here (and note where reducing the deficit comes on the list, by the way)...

    They are a less-than-gentle reminder of recent scandals caused not by regulatory excess but by regulatory laxity in oversight of food, autos, toys, oil drilling, coal mining and — oh, yes — banks.
    The USA Today editorial also tells us that companies “want relief from a new requirement that they disclose how many times larger a CEO's salary is than the median salary of other workers at the company,” as well as a rule that airlines must enforce “a long-overdue proposal to ensure that pilots get enough sleep before they get into the cockpit,” as well as a proposal that our financial overlords are screaming about that would reduce “swipe fees” for debit or credit card transactions.

    Anybody have the world’s smallest violin handy?

    This tells us that some of the big banks are complying with the regs on promoting ATM fees, while other banks aren’t (you shouldn’t have to get down on your hands and knees to find out what the fee is if you don’t have an account with that institution). And as noted here, Issa will likely use the hearings to go after Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac once more, even though 6 percent of Fannie- and Freddie-sponsored loans made (from 2001 to 2008) were 90 days late at some point in their history, while roughly 27 percent of loans that Wall Street folded into mortgage-backed investments were at least 90 days late at some point, as noted here.

    Dem U.S. House Rep Elijah Cummings is noted in the FDL post for calling for a hearing on mortgage foreclosures, though I’m sure Issa will concoct something wholly other than what Cummings has in mind. And as noted here, Cummings has also called for hearings on last year’s Big Branch Mine disaster, while his fellow Dem Carolyn Maloney has sought to emphasize that consumer protections be maintained for children facing dangers from poorly-made cots and playpens, and Dem Mike Quigley “defied anyone not to think about regulation when flying on a commercial airliner or drinking tap water in Chicago.”

    Silly Dems – don’t they realize that Issa and his fellow Repug playmates are now in charge of the House (once more, heckuva job, all you who voted for this bunch of frauds last November)?

  • Finally, I really try not to pay too much attention to J.D. Mullane of the Bucks County Courier Times, but his wankery is so spectacularly awful that it’s usually impossible to avoid it.

    Here, in a column about parenting where he acts as a moral scold yet again (basically riffing off a theme I’ve encountered from him at least a hundred times already), he says the following…

    In grade school, (kids) are taught that the world is filled with bullies and drugs, which is why they must be subjected to anti-bullying and D.A.R.E. lectures.
    There’s other ripe stuff in this execrable dreck, but I’ll focus on his attack against D.A.R.E. (standing for Drug Abuse Resistance Education) for now.

    To begin, D.A.R.E. is a lot more than a “lecture.” It’s a 10-week program that teaches students not just how to avoid drugs, alcohol, and chemical inhalants, but how to make good choices in their lives and avoid behavior that can be destructive and lead to tragic consequences (the young one recently participated in D.A.R.E. training, so I know something about this). The students participate in exercises to reinforce the concepts taught by the police officer who teaches the class (with occasional assistance from other officers), and this way, the students get the benefit of instruction from law enforcement before they become adults so they are less likely to have a detrimental experience with law enforcement later in their lives (with the cost of D.A.R.E. instruction for kids significantly cheaper than the cost of incarcerating them later as adults).

    Where we reside, the D.A.R.E. program is paid for by Lower Makefield, PA township; no state or federal monies are involved (the program operates within the Pennsbury School District and is conducted at elementary schools throughout Lower Makefield and Falls Townships).

    And yes, I’ve read about some D.A.R.E. programs that were run badly where the kids got the message that they basically should rat out their friends and their parents to the cops. That is very definitely not the case with the Pennsbury program, run by a thoroughly dedicated officer who has conducted the program for 11 years.

    Is there evidence that D.A.R.E. programs have failed? Sure (it was founded by LA police chief Daryl Gates in 1983, though I don’t think that’s a reason to automatically discount it). But when somebody thinks that “well, my son or daughter has gone through D.A.R.E., so when it comes to teaching them about drugs, alcohol and other dangerous stuff, my work is done,” what else can you expect? Like everything else, the lessons need to be reinforced over time.

    As far as I’m concerned, D.A.R.E. is exactly the type of “small government” local program that does a world of good for the kids, and lets them have a little fun in the bargain. It’s a pity that Mullane can’t descend from his editorial ivory tower long enough to observe that simple fact.
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