Andrew Bacevich in the Washington Post: "... Syria has become at least the 14th country in the Islamic world that U.S. forces have invaded or occupied or bombed, and in which American soldiers have killed or been killed. And that's just since 1980.... Even if we win, we lose. Defeating the Islamic State would only commit the United States more deeply to a decades-old enterprise that has proved costly and counterproductive.... By inadvertently sowing instability, the United States has played directly into the hands of anti-Western radical Islamists intent on supplanting the European-imposed post-Ottoman order...." ...
... Don't worry, Andrew. The "war against ISIS" will be over in a month. Igor Volsky of Think Progress: "New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) argued on Sunday that President Obama has declared war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria in order to help Democrats win the midterm elections in November and expressed concern that he would abandon the fight in the new year."
Matthew Dallek, in the Washington Post, on the history of high security at the White House. "It was after Dec. 7, 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor, that the White House truly ceased to be the 'people's house.'" ...
... Maureen Dowd: Julia Pierson "earned her abrupt exit fair and square. It's no blot on the copybook of women. She withheld crucial information and helped paper over fiascos at an agency where mismanagement and denial put the president's life (and his family's lives) in jeopardy."
Shadee Ashtari of the Huffington Post: "The separation of church and state doesn't mean 'the government cannot favor religion over non-religion,' Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia argued during a speech at Colorado Christian University on Wednesday.... Defending his strict adherence to the plain text of the Constitution, Scalia knocked secular qualms over the role of religion in the public sphere as 'utterly absurd,' arguing that the Constitution is only obligated to protect freedom of religion -- not freedom from it." ...
... Steve Benen: "If U.S. policymakers passed a law that deliberately treated American atheists as second-class citizens, Scalia seems to believe that's perfectly permissible under the Constitution. Of course, there is nothing in the Constitution that empowers the state to favor religion over irreligion, but Scalia has apparently morphed the document to comport with his preferred vision of a government that blurs the church-state line.... The strict constructionist just made up his own rules, based on what he wishes the Constitution says, but doesn't. It's what happens when someone starts with an answer, then works backwards in the hopes of reaching an agreed upon conclusion." ...
... ** Rob Boston, in the American Constitution Society: "... for all this bluster, Scalia isn't really harkening back to the founding document of the Constitution. Nothing there provides comfort for his view of a religion-tinged government. In fact, Scalia is endorsing a much more modern theory of church-state relations: It's what scholars call 'ceremonial deism.' The idea behind ceremonial deism seems to be that government can endorse religion as long as it's not terribly serious about it and no one faith is endorsed over others." Via Benen.
Here's the big argument between Bill Maher & Sam Harris on the one side & Ben Affleck on the other, re: radical Islam:
... Esther Lee of Think Progress provides some context. ...
... Here's some more context, extracted from an extensive Pew Research study. ...
... There are more Pew findings here. ...
... digby backs Affleck.
Jack Jenkins of Think Progress: "Pope Francis had some harsh words for religious extremists this weekend, voicing his strongest condemnation yet for those who use religion to justify violence. Speaking on Sunday to an audience that included the President, governmental authorities, and diplomatic corps of Albania, where he is spending a one-day apostolic visit, the first Argentinean pope directly addressed the growing issue of religious violence. Francis first praised the 'climate of respect' in Albania -- which is a Muslim-majority country -- between Muslims, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians, saying the culture of tolerance was a 'precious gift.' He then expressed firm criticism for those who cite faith as grounds for killing others."
AP: "An American nun credited with curing a boy's eye disease moved a step closer to sainthood Saturday in what church officials said was the first beatification Mass held in the United States. A beatification Mass for Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, who died in 1927, was led by Cardinal Angelo Amato at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark. Beatification is the third in a four-step process toward sainthood."
Carrie Dann of NBC News: "Independent candidate Greg Orman is leading incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts in Kansas by 10 points, while Democrats have a slim lead in North Carolina's contest and both candidates are in a dead heat in Iowa's Senate race, new NBC News/Marist polls find."
Don't you ever touch me. Don't ever touch me. The last guy who touched me ended up on the ground dead. -- Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), to Democratic challenger Forrest Dunbar, when, just prior to a debate, Dunbar lightly touched Young on the arm during a conversation
Jason Salzman of the Huffington Post (October 2): "During a debate Tuesday against Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez said he thinks intrauterine devices (IUDs) cause abortions, and he would not use public funds on them.... 'These comments illustrate how little Bob Beauprez really understands about women's health,' said Cathy Alderman of Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado, in a news release issued after the debate." CW: Sorry I missed this earlier. Beauprez's view isn't about opposition to abortion; it's about opposition to women, especially poor women -- women who would benefit from receiving "public funds" to obtain IUDs. ...
... Today's Rant. Pardon my paranoia, but I have long thought that a fundamental reason for opposition to abortion is to maintain income & "class" inequality. Higher-income women can afford to practice family planning. If they accidentally get pregnant at an inconvenient time in their lives or under other undesirable circumstances, they can obtain abortions even if they live in Texas 150 miles from the nearest abortion provider. Not so for poorer women & families, who may find themselves saddled with child-rearing responsibilities when they are financially &/or otherwise ill-equipped to do so. Unplanned children may prove to be joys to their parents, but the expense & time it takes to rear them necessarily limit the mothers' or families' opportunities for upward mobility. I think there are many abortion opponents who are right pleased with that disparity. They probably see family planning as one of the perks of wealth -- another way to distinguish themselves from "those people," & to make sure "those people" remain in the underclass. -- Constant Weader
Dana Milbank: The GOP presidential primary lineup is beginning to look like a police lineup, so many of the potential candidates are under investigation for criminal activities.
When "Madame President" Was Unthinkable
A man must be protected while he is the President of the United States. -- Eleanor Roosevelt, in her autobiography, published 1961
If all of us except Frances were killed we would have a woman president. -- Franklin Roosevelt, ca. 1942, on how a White House dinner with his Cabinet could have an absurd result (Both citations from Matthew Dallek's article, linked above)
Guardian: "The parents of Peter Kassig, an American aid worker held hostage by Islamic State (Isis) militants, have appealed for his release in a statement and video message that highlighted his aid work and mentioned his conversion to Islam."
Guardian: "Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong have vowed to keep up their occupation as a Monday deadline fast approaches, but are seeking compromise by offering to open access lanes."
Guardian: "The condition of Thomas Duncan, the first patient ever to be diagnosed with Ebola outside Africa, was reported to have worsened on Saturday as health officials in Texas said they were closely monitoring nine people who had close contact with him before he was admitted to hospital."
New York Times: "Jerrie Mock, who as a relatively untested pilot accomplished in 1964 what Amelia Earhart could not -- becoming the first woman to fly solo around the world -- died on Tuesday at her home in Quincy, Fla., near Tallahassee. She was 88."