[snip] There is no clash of civilizations, writes Sajjad Khan at http://peacepalestine.blogspot.com, because it takes two to clash. “The Muslims have collectively stood up for their beliefs, yet the western response has been anaemic to say the least. . . . The US and British governments who claim to be bringing western values to Iraq couldn’t even defend their civilisational cousins in Denmark, for fear of losing even more popularity in the Muslim world. . . . Nestle showed their ‘solidarity’ with their corporate colleagues in Scandinavia, by taking out advertisements in Saudi newspapers stating they weren’t Danish. Lastly there were no widespread demonstrations by the western public.”

[snip] When is a think tank not a think tank? Mark Kleiman at samefacts.com offers a fair and balanced standard: “If you have to read the report to know the conclusion, it’s a real think tank. If you know the conclusion as soon as you know the topic and where it was written, you’re dealing with a phony.”

[snip] Bad cops are reverse role models, explains Jamie Kalven in his “Kicking the Pigeon” series at http://viewfromtheground.com. “A natural response to seeing your friends and neighbors beaten and humiliated–I have experienced it myself–is to think, ‘If this is the face of authority, then I’m going to stand with my guys.’ If I feel this as a middle-aged white from outside the neighborhood, imagine what a fourteen-year-old boy trying to find his legs as a man feels. This dynamic produces outlaws not because people are ignorant of the wider world or somehow stunted in their development. It is a fundamentally healthy response: not necessarily healthy in where it leads . . . healthy in that it is animated by a sense of justice.”

[snip] Kids, don’t try this at home. Speaking at a recent conference, economist J. Fred Giertz of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign gave the Blagojevich administration “high marks for creativity” but little credit for long-term thinking. “What they did was to temporize,” finding ways to make no major cuts and raise no major taxes. In other words, each year the governor has found a way to “finance our continuing activities out of noncontinuing funds.”