Monday, October 13, 2008

Just When You Thought You'd Heard It All ...

... regarding America's racist white voters and how they'll never elect a black president, here comes Penn Prof. John L. Jackson, Jr., the Chronicle of Higher Education's anthroblogogist (as an anthropologist he "spends a lot of time, "he modestly tells us, "listening to people talk about their hopes and dreams, their complicated pasts, and uncharted futures") to report that the increasing likelihood Obama will be elected is making some blacks "more - not less - cynical about how race operates in contemporary America." Really. I promise, I'm not making this up. Jackson continues:
Some black folks are describing the potential inauguration of this country's first black president (no offense, Bill) as the epitome of America's traditional version of racial prejudice and scapegoating, not its ultimate repudiation. In other words, they see it as another reason to be skeptical of America's newfound capacity to elect a person of color to the highest office in the land
His, or "some black folks'," argument, comes down to this:
As people follow roller-coastering stock prices and feeble attempts at an adequate governmental response, it seems ironic, at least to some, that America appears most likely to pass the executive baton to its first black presidential candidate just as the country teeters on the edge of economic collapse, which (the argument goes) will allow many Americans to blame "the black guy" for all of it, especially if things continue to get worse in 2009. "See what happens when you give a black person a country to run. They turn it into a version of Africa and its failed states."
So, America is racist if it fails to elect Obama ... and racist if it does.

You'll have to read Jackson's article to decide for yourself whether Jackson is nuts, the "some black folks" to whom he attentively listens are nuts, or both. In his defense (and in defense of the Chronicle's otherwise odd decision to award him a regular platform), I suppose it could be said that the views he expresses tarnish the reputation of anthropological insight only marginally more than those expressed in his other columns that we've encountered here, here, here, and here.

Source (See the original for links)

Counting Islamists

by Daniel Pipes

The recent distribution of some 28 million copies in the United States of the 2005 documentary Obsession has stirred heated debate about its contents. One lightening rod for criticism concerns my on-screen statement that "10 to 15 percent of Muslims worldwide support militant Islam."

The Muslim Public Affairs Council declared this estimate both "utterly unsubstantiated" and "completely without evidence." Masoud Kheirabadi, a professor at Portland State University and author of children's books about Islam, informed the Oregonian newspaper that there's no basis for my estimate. Daniel Ruth, writing in the Tampa Tribune, asked dubiously how I arrived at this number. "Did he take a poll? That would be enlightening! What does `support' for radical Islam mean? Pipes provides no answers." Actually, Pipes did provide answers. He collected and published many numbers at "How Many Islamists?" a weblog entry initiated in May 2005.

First, though, an explanation of what I meant by Muslims who "support militant Islam": these are Islamists, individuals who seek a totalistic, worldwide application of Islamic law, the Shari`a. In particular, they seek to build an Islamic state in Turkey, replace Israel with an Islamic state and the U.S. constitution with the Koran. As with any attitudinal estimate, however, several factors impede approximating the percentage of Islamists.
How much fervor: Gallup polled over 50,000 Muslims across 10 countries and found that, if one defines radicals as those who deemed the 9/11 attacks "completely justified," their number constitutes about 7 percent of the total population. But if one includes Muslims who considered the attacks "largely justified," their ranks jump to 13.5 percent. Adding those who deemed the attacks "somewhat justified" boosts the number of radicals to 36.6 percent. Which figure should one adopt?

Gauge voter intentions: Elections measure Islamist sentiment untidily, for Islamist parties erratically win support from non-Islamists. Thus, Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) won 47 percent in 2007 elections, 34 percent of the vote in 2002 elections, and its precursor, the Virtue Party, won just 15 percent in 1999. The Islamic Movement's northern faction won 75 percent of the vote in the Israeli Arab city of Umm el-Fahm in 2003 elections while Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization, won 44 percent of the vote in the Palestinian Authority in 2006. Which number does one select?

What to measure: Many polls measure attitudes other than the application of Islamic law. Gallup looks at support for 9/11. The Pew Global Attitudes Project assesses support for suicide bombing. Nawaf Obaid, a Saudi security specialist, focuses on pro-Osama bin Laden views. Germany's domestic security agency, the Verfassungsschutz, counts membership in Islamist organizations. Margaret Nydell of Georgetown University calculates "Islamists who resort to violence."

Inexplicably varying results: A University of Jordan survey revealed that large majorities of Jordanians, Palestinians, and Egyptians wish the Shari`a to be the only source of Islamic law - but only one-third of Syrians. Indonesian survey and election results led R. William Liddle and Saiful Mujani in 2003 to conclude that the number of Islamists "is no more than 15 percent of the total Indonesian Muslim population." In contrast, a 2008 survey of 8,000 Indonesian Muslims by Roy Morgan Research found 40 percent of Indonesians favoring hadd criminal punishments (such as cutting off the hands of thieves) and 52 per cent favoring some form of Islamic legal code.
Given these complications, it is not surprising that estimates vary considerably. On the one hand, the Islamic Supreme Council of America's Hisham Kabbani says 5 to 10 percent of American Muslims are extremists and Daniel Yankelovich, a pollster, finds that "the hate-America Islamist fundamentalists . averages about 10 percent of all Muslims." On the other, reviewing ten surveys of British Muslim opinion, I concluded that "more than half of British Muslims want Islamic law and 5 percent endorse violence to achieve that end."

These ambiguous and contradictory percentages lead to no clear, specific count of Islamists. Out of a quantitative mish-mash, I suggested just three days after 9/11 that some 10-15 percent of Muslims are determined Islamists. Subsequent evidence generally confirmed that estimate and suggested, if anything, that the actual numbers might be higher.

Negatively, 10-15 percent suggests that Islamists number about 150 million out of a billion plus Muslims - more than all the fascists and communists who ever lived. Positively, it implies that most Muslims can be swayed against Islamist totalitarianism.


Scoundrel Country

Further evidence campaign-finance 'reformers' muzzle free speech

If you're wondering why business groups tend to stay neutral in elections these days, take a look at the Building Industry Association of Washington. That trade group's liberal opponents continue to harass it with lawsuits because it won't stay mute.

The BIAW recently won a court battle over whether it could continue to use profits from its workers' compensation program to support Republican Dino Rossi for Washington state Governor. Attorneys allied with Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire filed a class action suit that was nakedly aimed at robbing the BIAW of its free-speech rights. State Judge Christine Pomeroy refused to bar the BIAW from spending.

The same lawyers are now back for another go, and this time they aren't even hiding behind the workers' comp fig leaf. The activists have filed suit on behalf of two former state Supreme Court justices who support Mrs. Gregoire and who claim the BIAW illegally coordinated with the Rossi campaign in developing a multimillion-dollar spending effort. What makes the suit more outrageous is that only recently the state's Public Disclosure Commission dismissed these accusations, claiming the evidence was "vague" and that there was no "smoking gun."

The lawyers' aim is, once again, to shut down BIAW political spending in the final weeks of the election. At the very least they hope to turn this suit into a media circus, forcing Mr. Rossi to submit to a deposition and suggesting malfeasance in the heat of a close election. The losers are voters, who are stuck reading about frivolous lawsuits, and, should the Gregoire activists succeed, will lack the information that the BIAW's ads provide. Mark it down as further evidence that the goal of campaign-finance "reformers" is to muzzle political speech.


Australia: Must not dispute claims by homosexuals?

TENS of thousands of taxpayers' dollars are being spent on a legal fight about a 30cm Barbie doll. The State Government has angered gay rights campaigners by disputing a bisexual firefighter's claim he was harassed by co-workers and given a Barbie doll at a Christmas party. Lawyers for the Government argue the controversial doll was given not because of the claimant's sexuality, but because he has the same name as Barbie's boyfriend - Ken. But claimant Ken Campagnolo said none of the other Kens at the party received dolls.

Mr Campagnolo is suing the Department of Sustainability and Environment for workplace sexual harassment. He says co-workers shouted "poofter" at him and put dolls on his locker, as well as presenting him with a Barbie doll.

At a tribunal hearing lawyers for the Government argued there was an innocent explanation. "The presentation of a Barbie doll to the complainant was just a friendly play on his Christian name - a Barbie doll for a 'Ken'," the tribunal heard.

Gay rights campaigner Rob Mitchell, of the RJM Trust, said it was outrageous the Government was fighting Mr Campognolo's complaint. "It makes me shudder to think what amount of taxpayers' money they've spent so far," he said. A DSE spokesman declined an opportunity to disclose how much the Government had spent.

The "Barbie barney" case has been running in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for six months. A formal hearing is due on December 5.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, OBAMA WATCH (2), EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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