Turkey's trend toward Islamic law threatens not only religious freedom, but the artistic heritage of Europe.
From the Art Newspaper:
One of the most important monuments of late Byzantium, the 13th-century Church of Hagia Sophia in the Black Sea city of Trabzon, which is now a museum, will be converted into a mosque, after a legal battle that has dramatic implications for other major historical sites in Turkey.
Many in Turkey believe that the Church of Hagia Sophia is a stalking horse for the possible re-conversion of its more famous namesake in Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia Museum (Ayasofya Müzesi).
On immigration, liberal and conservative elites are united—and wrong.
TWENTY YEARS ago the leaders of Europe agreed on a bold step: a new currency called the euro. They promised that the euro would improve life for everybody—and denounced all opposition as ignorant, xenophobic, and backward. Their words gained extra plausibility because many of the opponents of the euro really were ignorant, xenophobic, and backward.
The great unspoken question in the immigration debate is whether this “living in America” wage premium is a benefit to be cherished or a problem to be overcome. To a startling extent, political leaders agree: the wage premium is the problem—and immigration is the answer. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty)
Yet the backward critics were right, and the enlightened proponents were wrong. And so it is with the immigration debate in the United States.
Nothing unifies the American elite like immigration. From Barack Obama to Paul Ryan, from the editorial board of The New York Times to that of The Wall Street Journal, from the offices of Facebook to those of Goldman Sachs, everybody who counts more or less agrees.
To read WEB DuBois' The Souls of Black Folk in near proximity to Booker T. Washington's Up From Slavery is a disorienting experience. Up From Slavery is a book written in a direct style, using a simple vocabulary and homely humor. Yet on every page, an alert reader is conscious of the author's artifice: of the careful self-presentation, of the tight control of every word, of the "oh the story I could tell" omissions, of the steely self-disciplined smile. If Booker T. Washington was not literally the inspiration for Paul Dunbar's great line, "We wear the mask that smiles and lies," his memory certainly lurks there.
DuBois on the other hand writes in a style as self-consciously literary as that of Marcel Proust. Classical allusions, poetical turns of phrase, antique diction, recondite words. Yet there is no doubt that when you read him, you are meeting the man himself. Not for him the false compliments paid by Washington to the "pleasantness" of race relations in the South of 1900. He has no false compliments for anyone, including the Southern "black folks" that this highly educated Northern man - whose ancestors had lived in freedom for more than 130 years - first met when he voyaged more than 1,000 miles to attend Tennessee's Fisk University.
Washington and DuBois are remembered as opponents in a great debate, fulfilling dialectical roles for later generations much like those filled by Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. Dudley Randall formalized the stereotype in a 1954 poem:
Imagine a game where opponents identify immigrant groups, earn political favors from them by helping them to settle in their new county, and then translate that political capital into votes on election day.
A description of modern day immigration reform? Nope. This is the premise of the board game Tammany Hall (recently re-published by Pandasaurus Games.)
Tammany Hall casts you in the role of a 19th century New York politician who seeks to use the city’s growing immigrant population to achieve political supremacy. (The game is focused on the city from around 1850 till 1870). The game captures the aesthetics of the era effectively with the game board being a wonderful S.A. Mitchell map of New York City and by using classic Thomas Nast cartoons to illustrate the various city offices.
My National Post column: how anti-Israel wishful thinking masquerades as dispassionate analysis.
The gas-rich state of Qatar is supposedly making a bid to host the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), now based in Montreal.
As nothing-burger stories go, this one is a Whopper.
Let’s remember, please, that two years ago Singapore made a bid to host the ICAO. Singapore is a true aviation hub, unlike Qatar. Yet Singapore’s bid went nowhere. The ICAO Council — its functional board of directors — is heavily tilted to major aviation nations, almost all of which want to leave the ICAO where it is.
Massachusetts Republicans might have found their next Scott Brown.
While the thought of a Republican winning the seat seemed like nothing more than a GOP pipe dream four months ago, Gabriel Gomez might just have what it takes to beat out Democratic nominee Ed Markey.
The people of Massachusetts are taking notice of this up-and-comer: in an Emerson College Poll that was released yesterday, Markey is up by only 6 points, which is certainly a manageable deficit for Gomez. A Public Policy Polling survey released today puts that margin even smaller, at about 4 points. Even better, Gomez is leading Markey among independents by a margin of around 20 percentage points.
From Tom Gross's Mideast dispatch, news from Iran of an important new breakthrough in our understanding of seismic phenomena.
WOMEN TO BLAME FOR EARTHQUAKES, SAYS TOP IRANIAN CLERIC
A senior Iranian cleric says women who wear revealing clothing and behave promiscuously are to blame for earthquakes.
Iran is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries, and the cleric's unusual explanation for why the earth shakes follows a prediction by the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that a quake is certain to hit Tehran and that many of its 12 million inhabitants should relocate.
Bad things happen to people who investigate former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.
Gunmen on Friday killed a Pakistani prosecutor who had been investigating the murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Assailants opened fire on the prosecutor, Chaudhry Zulfikar Ali, as he drove to work from his home in a suburb of the capital, Islamabad, for a court hearing in which the former military leader, Pervez Musharraf, faces charges in relation to Ms. Bhutto’s death in 2007.
It’s been quite the week for Greece’s neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn. On Thursday, Golden Dawn MP Giorgos Germenis snuck into an event with the intention of harming Athens mayor, Giogos Kaminis. At one point, Germenis tried to punch Kaminis, but instead ended up punching a 12-year old girl in the forehead. The party has denied that Germenis touched the young girl.
This attack comes after Mayor Kaminis shut down a soup kitchen that Golden Dawn had set up in order to hand out traditional Orthodox Easter food to ethnic Greek Citizens.
Kaminis had banned any such events in the city's main square, and vowed Wednesday not to allow the "soup kitchen of hate" to take place.
Ted Cruz is brilliantly positioning himself to run in 2016 as the true leader of the party's conservative wing: a Spanish-surnamed Princeton grad and Harvard lawyer who checks all the ideological boxes, who stood apart from the Gang of Eight immigration deal and by the general weirdness of the Paul family's conspiracy-mongering.
Yet … there is something about him that even the hardest-liners just cannot accept. First Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post and now today Kimberley Strassel in the Wall Street Journal have each thrown their full weight at the Texas senator.
The dishonest part is the way in which today's self-anointed arbiters of "conservatism" cast these disputes over strategy in ideological terms. The vast majority of today's Republicans are in fact ardent defenders of the Second Amendment, passionate about repealing ObamaCare, in favor of lower taxes. The big disagreements are over how best to accomplish these aims.
Noam Sheiber takes up the age-old Beltway question:
Pundits and wishful-thinking Democrats have been predicting Norquist’s obsolescence for the better part of a decade. But the idea of Norquist losing influence misses the point. Norquist has never been powerful, at least not in the sense of commanding divisions or cracking heads on close votes. His talent has always been for creating the illusion of influence. For the 25 years in which anti-tax orthodoxy has reigned supreme in the Republican ranks, Norquist has distinguished himself mainly through his savvy at associating himself with the trend. Not surprisingly, now that some in the GOP periodically question the party’s anti-tax catechism (though they stop well short of abandoning it), Norquist’s chief preoccupation isn’t defending the faith. It’s protecting his image as a leader of the faithful.
But really, power is just:
That's the end of the serialization. You must buy the book to read the rest.
I am always bitterly amused when I hear people say that homosexuality is a choice. Even many otherwise thoughtful people maintain that the homosexual is a heterosexual who perversely ignores, or at least somehow represses, his natural cravings. I say "otherwise thoughtful" because I know of no position which collapses more quickly, under even a moment's examination, than this one.
Never mind the obvious question of why anyone would choose homosexuality, with all the inconveniences and confusions and difficulties it poses.
Margaret Trudeau, the former wife of Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, has a message for Canada's political meanies: stop bullying my son.
NORTH BAY – Margaret Trudeau, speaking on mental health awareness in North Bay earlier this week said one of the strategies for her continued wellness is not getting angry.
“But someone is bullying my Justin and that makes me mad,” she said to rousing applause from the packed audience at the Capitol Centre.
Though Trudeau said she steers away from making political appearances for fear of saying the wrong thing, she couldn’t resist commenting on the recent ads on her son, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. She called attack ads an American practice that “unfortunately works,” and said she would like to see all parties get back to debating policy not personality. “We have to get rid of bullying in politics,” Trudeau said, “ and focus on what we can do for each other.”