Open Thread

From Obama’s speech in Cairo, June 2009:

We meet at a time of great tension between the United States and Muslims around the world, tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of coexistence and cooperation but also conflict and religious wars.

More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims and a Cold War in which Muslim majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.

UPDATE: What’s going on in Egypt today is incredible. You can watch the Al-Jazeera English live feed or follow the #jan25 hashtag on Twitter to stay up to date.


  1. 1

    Liberal Scientist spews:

    How timely the topic of this open thread…

    I was reading Salon this morning, and came across this, about a grad student fired from Brooklyn College, apparently over his sympathetic-to-Palestinian views.

    It was amazing to me how many centers of power were very swiftly brought down on this guy’s head – a NY state assemblyman, a BC alum with a right-wing blog to name two – and BAMMO! he was fired.

    Raises all sorts of implications about academic freedom and freedom of speech, and highlights the very very narrow range of acceptable viewpoints in this country when it come to Israel.

  2. 3

    KiddingRight? spews:

    Yeah, expressing pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel views on American college campuses is just sooo taboo. Give me a break.

  3. 4

    Liberal Scientist spews:

    Go away. Come back when you have something pithy to say. Go ahead and disagree, but at least be interesting or provocative – eye-rolling and sarcasm do nothing for a conversation.

  4. 5

    Deathfrogg spews:

    Since when does one have to be anti-Israel to be pro-Palestine?

    Israel is in dire need of a basic lesson on the subject of displaced persons, on the concept of Pogrom.

    Ghettos didn’t work in Poland, they don’t work in the United States, and they don’t work in Israel.

    They create more problems than they cure. Part of the Israeli situation is, the politicians need that to maintain their hold on office. The whole country is run by tail gunner Joes. There is no room for debate whatsoever. No incentive to change things. The Palestinians have no real voice in their own governance, what they get on their side is more tail gunner Joe types, or Huey Long types, or Bernie Madoff types. All they need to do is talk the talk, and thats all they need to gain “authority”. The rest is mostly about looting the system, and screwing people over for more.

  5. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Tunisia was a sideshow but Egypt’s turmoil could have very deep implications for the Middle East if Mubarek’s government falls and is replaced by a faction hostile to Israel.

  6. 7

    Deathfrogg spews:

    @ 6

    Thats a fact. Many Egyptians have relatives in Gaza. Many would like to do business there.

    The whole thing is a mess. One frustrating thing for me, not being well educated on the direct, underlying issues, is the fact that nobody really seems to want a solution. There is too much to be gained by a lot of folks, including Americans, by just maintaining the problems.

  7. 8

    Liberal Scientist spews:

    I was thinking – likely too optimistically – about what if just the opposite happens. What if a government emerged that didn’t need an external enemy like Israel to maintain order and control of the populace?

    Wouldn’t it be interesting if actual democracy emerged, not from our adventure in Iraq, but from grassroots political street protests against dictators that we have spent years and billions propping up?

    It also makes me think, when oh when are we going to be on the right side? When are we going to be backing freedom and democracy and egalitarianism and not convenient despots?

  8. 9

    Liberal Scientist spews:

    Been flipping back and forth on TV this morning between CNN and Fox (!) to see how they’re covering the stuff in Egypt.

    Fox just went on with an expert commentator…John Bolton! Second and third words out of his mouth?

    “Muslim Brotherhood”

    Be afraid, be very afraid…radical Islamists…

  9. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @8 Any government that replaces Mubarek will be less conciliatory toward Israel, but it’s hard to say what a new government would look like, because the opposition is fragmented. The only opposition party of any size is the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood. Mubarek is a dictator whose hold on power is maintained by election-rigging and army support. The protests appear to be largely spontaneous and motivated by frustration with government corruption, high unemployment, and official indifference to widespread poverty. The uprising against Mubarek is also a youthful movement; two-thirds of Egypt’s population is under the age of 30.

  10. 13

    Liberal Scientist spews:

    Got it – didn’t see it the first time.

    Funny, he called me a liar within 1 or 2 posts. Also asked why I hated science (!?).

    He seems to fancy himself quite the master of logic, and has a COMPLETELY tedious and annoying style. And has a very tenuous grip on actual facts. And whatever you respond, he complains that you haven’t actually responded to his points. Total fucking asshole.

    I was having a bit of fun over there, but it very quickly grew tiresome. And that site was totally lame – the method of leaving comments, the lack of helpful boxes like Goldy has here (“bold”, “italic” etc), and the lack of much community – most of their posts over there have a handful of comments. Even little Timmeh Eyman, who seems to post regularly there (usually manipulating the rubes to “WRITE YOU LEGISLATOR NOW!!!!11!), his last post got 3 (!) comments.


  11. 14

    John425 spews:

    Fifty-fifty chance that if Mubarak falls there will be a new “Islamic” state born and the Doomsday clock will be 2 minutes ’til midnight.

  12. 15

    Liberal Scientist spews:


    Given that a country with a cosmopolitan and educated middle class like Iran fell under repressive theocracy, I despair (but hope against hope) that a similar large and complex culture like Egypt might fall down the same pit. How beautiful would it be if they could pull off a peaceful revolution that actually brought about a democratic and egalitarian country?

  13. 16


    13 – Yeah. Pudge himself actually contributed some code to the site. Something to filter comments for spam or “moonbat trolls” or somesuch.

    Last time I left a comment there (and it’s been a LONG while), it took forever to post. I think that as much as anything else has contributed to the withering of that site.

  14. 18

    Xar spews:

    @10: As opposed to burning, drowning, torturing, stoning, and otherwise executing “witches?” How about the American “traditions” that led to the outcry against the community center in Manhattan? An outcry that CANNOT be based on anything other than racial or religious bigotry? Or the objections to other Islamic centers around the U.S.?

    Every religion/social group has fanatics who commit atrocities. We don’t blame all Christians for the actions of the wicked few, and we similarly should not blame all Muslims for their fringe nutcases. Are all Christians responsible for Fred Phelps’ abhorrent actions and attitudes? Or Scott Roeder’s decision to shoot an elderly usher at church?

  15. 20


    Heh. This is fun. Puddybud is fond of quoting Michael Savage Weiner:

    mylaptop:~$ b hacols -f c -c handle:matches~’*puddybud’,body:phrase~’liberalism is a mental disorder’ -C
    | count |
    | 28 |
    1 row in set

    And that doesn’t include January 2011. Anyway Savage is suing Talk Radio Network using that old right wing bugaboo – trial lawyers. One firm Savage is using is Glaser Weil whose attorneys are on the record giving generously to Democrats.

    Thank you Puddybud for revering yet another raging right wing hypocrite and entertaining us in the process!

  16. 21

    inflation spews:

    so xar, apparently watch a woman get stoned to nearly to death and then shot in the head with an AK-47 in 2011 is no problem for you.
    most reasonable people are appalled.
    this is the enemy you want to negotiate with and pander to. good luck.

  17. 22


    21 – How many muslims do you believe our military should kill to satify your outrage for these atrocities?

    Would electing Mitt Romney in 2012 calm your anxieties?

  18. 23


    There are what? Over one billion muslims in the world?

    Do right wingers really believe that they should all be “taken out”?

    Or just the “uppity” ones?

  19. 25

    Xar spews:

    @21: Of course it’s a problem for me. I am appalled. But that was committed by discrete individuals, not an entire culture or people.

    By your logic, I assume it’s no problem for you to see an elderly usher get blown away by a Christian fanatic in 2011 for daring to go to a church frequented by an abortion provider?

  20. 27

    Steve spews:

    @13 “Funny, he called me a liar within 1 or 2 posts. Also asked why I hated science (!?).”

    Calling someone a liar – that’s his knee-jerk response to anybody who refutes his nonsense. When he shows up here I make a game of counting how many times he plays the liar card. Science? If he has any real interest in science he would donate that extraordinary thick skull of his to research.

  21. 28

    Steve spews:

    “Wow, we have an edit function now? Sweet.”

    Not on my machine. I haven’t seen the edit function show up for about a year or so.

  22. 29

    Blue John spews:

    What domain are coming into the site through? Are you posting from
    I seem to remember there are other domains that point to horsesass, and the edit function doesn’t appear, if you use the directed urls.
    You have to have Javascript turned on.

  23. 30

    Xar spews:

    @28/29: I’m going to, and after I post I get a little window telling me that I have X minutes and Y seconds to edit my post.

  24. 31

    rhp6033 spews:

    Deathfrog @ # 7:

    “…nobody really seems to want a solution. There is too much to be gained by a lot of folks, including Americans, by just maintaining the problems.”

    Boy, that line of thought could apply to just so many things, both here and abroad.

    Maybe that’s why the Republican elite had such cow when it became clear that a black man who advocated “change” was going to be elected.

  25. 32

    rhp6033 spews:

    I am worried about how this will all turn out in Egypt. This reminds me too much of 1978-79 and the mounting pressures being put on the Shah. And let’s not forget Nicaraugua. In both cases the U.S. wasn’t going to be able to prop up the dictators indefinately, and the longer the lid was kept clamped down on the pot, the larger the explosing was going to be. Despite hopes that Iran would turn into a Democratic, western-oriented country, it is still under the thumbs of the anti-western fundamentalist clerics. And Nicaragua pretty much had to go through another twenty years of turmoil, including attempts by the Reagan administration to overthrow the Sandinistas, before it settled down into a reasonably stable democracy (at least, by Central American standards).

    Like most revolutions, the issue is going to be resolved not by the citizens in the streets, but among the army officers. If the Army soldiers and officers refuse to enforce the government’s orders, it’s pretty much all over for Mubarak. (USSR about 1992, East Germany 1989, etc.). If the military is split, then you will have a civil war, but probably a short one (Rumania). But if the Army ultimately decides to enforce the government orders, the protests will fail (Tianamen Square, China, 1989).

  26. 33


    28 – Steve, try using firefox maybe? I know the edit function won’t work on Chrome. I don’t care about (gag) IE..

  27. 34

    roncharles spews:

    Did you see what Rep Moron (D-Va) said–

    Virginia Democratic Rep. Jim Moran is blaming his party’s losses last November in large part on voters who “don’t want to be governed by an African-American.”

    “It happened … for the same reason the Civil War happened in the United States,” Moran said. “Southern states, particularly the slaveholding states, didn’t want to see a president who was opposed to slavery.
    “In this case a lot of people in this country, it’s my belief, don’t want to be governed by an African-American, particularly one who is inclusive, who is liberal, who wants to spend money on everyone and who wants to reach out to include everyone in our society. And that’s a basic philosophical clash,” Moran said.
    Moran attributed his party’s opposition to an “uneasiness” with President Obama, saying the criticism comes from a “selfish and close-minded perspective.

    How is this going to help the Progressive Movement? I’m a Democrat, but someone needs to put a sock in this guys mouth. President Obama made some great strides in polls the past 2 weeks. I’m convinced this will hurt. He gave the Republicans a stinkin’ campaign ad.
    Every time we get some momentum, some dumbass like this opens his yap.

  28. 35

    rhp6033 spews:

    I just received this alert:

    Notice to Airline Operators, Freight Forwarders, Logistics Supply Chain Managers:

    Delta Airlines has indefinately suspended flights from JFK to Cairo, effective immediately. The regular Delta flight currently at the airport in Cairo will depart tomorrow as scheduled, but there will be no further inbound flights to Egypt. The service interruption is due to widespread and ongoing civil disturbances throughout the capital.

    (Note: This leaves only one Egyptian airline providing direct passenger and freight service between the U.S. and Egypt, although other inbound flights can presumably made through other airlines in Europe or the Middle East).

  29. 36

    Puddybud identifying rujax liberal scientist deathfrog and zotz as fools! Proud The FatASS as a moron spews:

    Ya know if HA liberals actually read something they’d see why Bolton brought up Muslim Brotherhood.

    CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt rounded up members of the Muslim Brotherhood including at least eight senior leaders of the group ahead of planned countrywide protests on Friday, a lawyer representing the detained men said.

    Moronic abject stupidity abounds here on the left.

    Asking a liberal to read is like asking ylb to leave his house and find a job. Neither will happen in anyone’s lifetime.

  30. 37

    Puddybud identifying rujax liberal scientist deathfrog and zotz as fools! Proud The FatASS as a moron spews:

    Now back to ylb, where did any conservative not say some lawyers are good? It’s the ambulance chasing type who seem to be elected by progressives and occupy prominent positions in the House and Senate.

    Another one of your pfffffffft…. moments. Seems you have quite a few each day!

  31. 38

    Puddybud identifying rujax liberal scientist deathfrog and zotz as fools! Proud The FatASS as a moron spews:

    All those Tea Party signs signifying “Moran” for “Moron” were pretty damn prescient! Whodathunkit?

    God is Good. – ALL THE TIME!

    Every time we get some momentum, some dumbass like this opens his yap.

    Talk to Xar. With this post he really needs your help now!

  32. 40

    Liberal Scientist spews:


    It’s like watching a slo-mo car crash – it’s utterly fascinating, in a cotton-candy my-teeth-are-going-to-hurt-later kind of way.

    Over at Sound Politics, Pudge has posted this – a googlemap with gun-sight targets (ooh, how edgy). If you look closely, they each have a link:

    Seattle – Joni Balter
    Tucson – Rep. Raul Grijalva and Sheriff Dupnik
    Springfield, IL – Sen. Dick Durbin
    Ottawa, Canada – Andrew Cohen
    Pittsburgh – Kathleen Hall Jamieson
    NY, NY – Matt Bai
    Philadelphia – Rep. Robert Brady
    Washington, DC – Mark Shields

    Each link is to a media account of each of them criticizing overheated rhetoric, Sarah Palin, gunsight imagery, etc, in the wake of the Giffords assassination attempt.

    Pudge says:

    I won’t bother saying what the point of this is

    because, you know, it’s beneath him, and all that, and besides, all the liberals will start screaming about violent rhetoric. That Pudge, he’s so post-modern, or something.

  33. 41

    Liberal Scientist spews:

    On the topic of Egypt, excellent letter at TPM that begins thusly:

    I wrote earlier but I can’t help but write again given David’s latest post. As a longtime reader, I’m embarrassed that a website I love so much and recommend to so many people is peddling the idea that we need to be cautious about supporting an extraordinary uprising from all quarters of Egyptian society that is calling for the end to a 30-year dictatorship.

  34. 42

    Liberal Scientist spews:

    Sarah Palin – gotta give her credit, doncha know, the gal just doesn’t know how to back down – is standing by her “Sputnik” comments – and doubling down:

    Sarah Palin is standing by her statements opposing President Obama’s call for a “Sputnik moment” — referring to America’s rapid development of technology in the 1950s, after the Soviets were the first to put a satellite in orbit — following ridicule of her statement that the USSR won the space race but “incurred so much debt at the time that it resulted in the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union.”

  35. 43

    ArtFart spews:

    @9 Bolton and his neocon pals must be wetting their pants with glee at the prospect of an Iran-style government in Egypt providing another justification for endless war.

    Last week Bolton was on something televised by C-SPAN gushing about how important he thinks it is to decide when, (as opposed to if) the United States should spearhead an invasion of North Korea.

  36. 44

    Puddybud identifying rujax liberal scientist deathfrog and zotz as fools! Proud The FatASS as a moron spews:

    Gotta love this well written article

    Jimmy Carter will go down in American history as “the president who lost Iran,” which during his term went from being a major strategic ally of the United States to being the revolutionary Islamic Republic. Barack Obama will be remembered as the president who “lost” Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt, and during whose tenure America’s alliances in the Middle East crumbled.

    Haaretz always tells it like it is.

  37. 45

    roncharles spews:

    Was listening to this guys comments about the lack of a coherent debt strategy. “We have no coherent strategy to be able to improve our competitive posture, to be able to generate job growth [or] to be able to deal with our structural deficit,” says Walker, Founder and CEO of the Comeback America Initiative and also the former U.S. Comptroller General.
    This guy says we need to increase the debt ceiling but we’ve gotta have a plan. Instead, all we get from both sides is rhetoric. Time for President Obama to lead on something. Perhaps he is just not capable.

  38. 47

    roncharles spews:

    omigosh. Health Act ruled Unconstitutional.
    Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional, the whole thing is getting tossed because there is no severability clause.
    That hurts. There were some good things in the Act. It’ll obviously end up in the Supreme Court but I suspect it will come down to fixing this thing legislatively or watching it go away.
    That means r’s need to get on board.
    Don’t know why there was no severability clause in all the pages that comprised it.

  39. 48

    Puddybud identifying rujax liberal scientist deathfrog and zotz as fools! Proud The FatASS as a moron spews:

    Don’t know why there was no severability clause in all the pages that comprised it.

    Maybe the authors didn’t want it?

  40. 49

    roncharles spews:

    Actually, I read that they removed the severability clause to allow for all the special deal-making they needed to do to pass it.
    When you practice to deceive, sometimes the roots of deception can come back to bite you dick off.

  41. 50

    correctnotright spews:

    @47: YAWN – the score is now 2-2 in the handpicked districts – not a particularly good result after they are picking the judges.

    The chances of this getting tossed are small – becuase the Supreme Court (even with the “strict constructionists”) still votes for federal perogatives. Also, now that Justice Thomas has been exposed as a total liar and crook – hew may be forced to resign/be impeached before this even gets to the Supreme court.

  42. 51

    correctnotright spews:

    @44: As if we (the US) ever “had” those governments to begin with…when you start an argument with a logical fallacy – you end up with a stupid argument.

    So supporting dictators who lost control of their countries was a “good” thing? Opposing dmocracy is a “good” thing?

    Wow, Puddy, such shallow thinking is typical of republican blowhards who can’t think straight. Right up your sycophantic, low-intelligence alley!

  43. 52

    Puddybud identifying rujax liberal scientist deathfrog and zotz as fools! Proud The FatASS as a moron spews:

    So it seems correctnotright is another anti-Israel guy.


    Opposing dmocracy is a “good” thing?

    So you only oppose “democracy” when GW Bush pushed for it?


    Thanks for playing!

  44. 53


    Time for President Obama to lead on something.

    A leader’s got to have followers. The Congress was lousy with sellouts and cowards even when his party was in the “majority”.

  45. 54

    roncharles spews:

    so YLB, who’s fault is that??
    sounds like progressives need a tea party or something like it to hold your own party representatives accountable. it’s easy to complain like you are doing, but what are you doing about it? nothing?

  46. 55


    so YLB, who’s fault is that??

    The enemy is us.. We who elect the sellouts and cowards or choose not to be engaged.

    You vilify the progressives – it’s your purpose of your resentment driven agenda here. You’re part of the problem.