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The Corner

The Corner
“You could have said that yesterday,” a friend wrote on social media, slapping down someone who was inveighing against the alleged racism of an accomplished sports figure who had died a few hours earlier. “You could have said it tomorrow.” Out of respect, we honor the dictum “Speak no ill of the dead” — for a day. Mourning, we might extend the period to months, or even years, but to maintain that attitude in perpetuity would mean that we suspended forever our judgment of precedents: We could never criticize any action if it was taken by someone who, being human, went on to die. Pamela Geller and the participants who were targeted by gunmen at the “Draw Muhammad” event she organized outside Dallas earlier this month are still very much living, thank God. In discussing the aborted atrocity, some of her defenders have insisted, however, that she merited the “Nil nisi bonum” treatment all the same. “Ah, but they are more logical than they know,” he continued; “they are only logical slowly.

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When Jews Were Like ISIS Literary critic Adam Kirsch is reading a page of Talmud a day, along with Jews around the world. Over the last few weeks, Daf Yomi readers have followed the debates in Tractate Ketubot about how to punish a man who rapes or seduces an unmarried young girl. In most circumstances, his penalty involves paying a fine to the girl’s father and offering to marry the girl himself. But what if a girl, while she is betrothed to one man, has sexual relations with another? What is her punishment—a fine, or forced marriage? Instapundit OBAMA SAYS HE DOESN’T WATCH ENOUGH TV, AND THE NEW YORK TIMES TACITLY ADMITS IT CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF THE MEMORY HOLE. I’m not sure which is more damning, the following passage… In his meeting with the columnists, Mr. Obama indicated that he did not see enough cable television to fully appreciate the anxiety after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, and made clear that he plans to step up his public arguments. Republicans were telling Americans that he is not doing anything when he is doing a lot, he said. …Or the fact that at least at the moment, it’s since been expunged from the Times’ article, even though it was quoted last night by blogger Tom Maguire, the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple, the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto, and CNN’s Brian Stelter.

Why Is the Islamist Death Cult So Appealing? Why do people who are not clinically crazy throw themselves into campaigns of murder and suicide? The sociological answer to this question assumes a pettiness in human nature, such that even the slightest of humiliations and misfortunes may be regarded as sufficiently devastating, under certain conditions, as to sweep aside the gravest of moral considerations. I prefer to invoke the history of ideas. People throw themselves into campaigns of murder and suicide because they have come under the influence of malign doctrinal systems, which appear to address the most profound and pressing of human problems—and do so by openly rebelling against the gravest of moral considerations.

the Left's Blatant Double Standard Montpelier, Vt. — “Nice flag!” the woman shouted sarcastically, adding: “F*** you!” The woman was seated on the patio of a restaurant overlooking Main Street in this famously liberal capital of this famously liberal state when a truck sporting the Confederate emblem passed by. I could understand the sentiment (particularly given the fact that her lunch partner was an African-American man).

Black Lives Matter – Except Biram Dah Ould Abeid’s It is a curious study in contrasts. American cities are currently experiencing continuous outbreaks of violence and arson in the wake of disputed police shootings by white officers of African-Americans. The violent protests purport to be inspired by the desire to save black lives, but, in the end, as history has well taught us, these destructive uprisings will take the lives of more blacks than those they allegedly seek to save. ISIS Causes Bafflement: a Reasonable Response to a Barbarian Upsurge Why do American diplomats sign their essays Anonymous whenever they have something large and upsetting to say? Why not Publius? It was Anonymous, anyway, who published a commentary on the Islamic State in the New York Review of Books of August 13—Anonymous, who is said, by the editors, to be “formerly an official of a NATO country,” which could mean Canada, of course, or Estonia. But the United States does seem probable. And Anonymous is said to be someone with “wide experience in the Middle East.” An expert, therefore, accustomed to the sobrieties of power.

How and Why Muhammad Made a Difference Key West, Florida Some of the nation’s leading journalists gathered in Key West, Florida, in May 2006 for the Pew Forum’s biannual Faith Angle conference on religion, politics and public life. Conference speaker Michael Cook, widely considered among the most outstanding scholars on the history of Islam, is the author of several classic works on Muhammad and early Islamic theology, including A Brief History of the Human Race (2005) and Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought (2001) In this presentation, Cook vividly described the merging of politics and religion in the life of Muhammad and how this legacy shapes the Muslim world today. Speaker:Michael Cook, Cleveland Dodge professor of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University Moderator:Michael Cromartie, Vice President, Ethics & Public Policy Center; Senior Adviser, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

How Aviya Kushner Rediscovered the Bible at the University of Iowa In August 2002, Aviya Kushner left Jerusalem, where she had been a correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, returned to her parents’ home in Monsey, New York, and then drove a thousand miles west to Iowa City to begin an MFA program in nonfiction writing. She left with just one name in her pocket: Marilynne Robinson. The essayist and novelist usually taught classes on 19th-century literature, and in her first year Kushner took one.

untitled WikimediaHe has been called the "slum pope" and "a pope for the poor." And indeed, it's true that Pope Francis, leader to 1.3 billion Roman Catholics, speaks often of those in need. He's described the amount of poverty and inequality in the world as "a scandal" and implored the Church to fight what he sees as a "culture of exclusion." Yet even as he calls for greater concern for the marginalized, he broadly and cavalierly condemns the market-driven economic development that has lifted a billion people out of extreme poverty within the lifetime of the typical millennial. Given his vast influence, which extends far beyond practicing Catholics, this type of rhetoric is deeply troubling. It's impossible to know how much of an impact his words are having on concrete policy decisions—but it's implausible to deny that when he calls for regulating and constraining the free markets and economic growth that alleviate truly crushing poverty, the world is listening.

What ISIS Really Wants What is the Islamic State? Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers.

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