Tasty Tidbits 10/29/11

  1. Pavlov’s Pundit.
  2. Which “Sharia”?
  3. Social mobility report.
  4. 3rd party sehnsucht.
  5. On the other hand, there’s SCOTUS.
  6. Bucket-Listers vs. Pilgrims.
  7. Just now appearing on my radar.


It occurred to me today that I respond to “American Exceptionalism” as Pavlov’s dogs respond to bells. Only it’s a snarl instead of drool and wagging tail.

One of the best demonstrations of the twisted state of American Exceptionalism is encapsulated in that marvelous scene from Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove” where Slim Pickens kicks the A Bomb loose from its stuck bombay doors and rides it down, waving his cowboy hat and screaming like a bronc buster.

D.W. Sabin, Commenting on Mark Mitchell’s essay.


Saying a country’s legal system will be based on sharia law is about as descriptive as saying it will be based on the Ten Commandants or the teachings of Christ. Like Christianity, Judaism or any other religion, Islam is subject to countless interpretations. Sharia law has meant many different things in many different countries across the ages. Even Islamic fundamentalists are not all alike. Wahhabis rule in both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, yet liquor is readily available in the latter but not the former.

(Mollie at GetReligion.org)


Which of the following countries has the lowest social mobility?

  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Sweden
  • Germany
  • Spain
  • United States

The answer is found in a Daniel Larison blog.


Rod Dreher, after quoting a veteran foreign correspondent who has spent much time in Iraq, on that nation’s likely future as we pull out:

Let’s see: 4,500 American troops killed; 33,000 wounded. About $1 trillion thrown down the rathole. God knows how many Iraqi civilians dead. And for what? For nothing.

And you watch: not a one of those Republican presidential candidates, Ron Paul honorably excepted, will demonstrate, or will be expected by Republican voters to demonstrate, that they have learned a damn thing from this catastrophe. Incredible.

My first Presidential election vote, in 1972, went to George McGovern because I’d decided (correctly, I think) that Nixon was a crook. While I don’t expect superpowers in a candidate, I expect honesty and a little bit of ability of to observe the world and see what works and what doesn’t. I’m not seeing that in the GOP field (except for, as Dreher says, Ron Paul). And that would make it easy to vote for None of The Usual Suspects.


On the other hand, the New York Times inadvertently reminds me of one reason, in a close race, I might end up holding my nose and voting for a Republican.


Of a pilgrimage to St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sanai Desert:

On my recent pilgrimage to Sinai, some of the people I spoke with were like ghosts. They are professional adventurers, having just come in from touring the Arctic Circle or backpacking the Sudan, relating with enthusiasm a recent triumph of visiting a place you’ve never heard of and will probably never hear of again. Sinai was (just?) next on the list …

Because of the bond of pilgrimage, a visiting American Protestant, for example, will likely find more in common in conversation with a Bedouin Muslim or observant Jew than with a casual American tourist who is checking off one more exoticism on their “places to see before you die” list ….


I’ve begun noticing how often the New York Times’ Joe Nocera is powerfully saying sensible things.

* * * * *

Bon appetit!

Having become tedious even to myself, I’m Tweeting more, blogging less. View this in a browser instead of an RSS feeder to see Tweets at upper right.

I also have some succinct standing advice on recurring themes. Maybe if I link to it, I’ll blog less obsessively about it.