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Archive for July, 2009|Monthly archive page

“Natural Born” Presidents

In Culture, International, Opinion, Politics on July 28, 2009 at 3:41 pm

Michael Lind asks on Salon.com why an immigrant couldn’t be President of the United States. It’s an interesting article, and one that the so-called “Birthers” should read. He lists the three ways you can become a citizen of the United States and explains the probable reason why the “natural born” qualification was was included in the Constitution. (If, as the Birthers would have it, “natural born” means being born on American soil, then even John McCain wasn’t eligible: he was born in the Panama Canal Zone.)

Why are the Birthers so upset about this issue? What would be so bad about having a president who was foreign born? Read the article. It will make you think.

Book Review: Reading Lolita in Tehran

In Book Reviews, Culture, International, Reading on July 8, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi


My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
A wonderful mix of literary criticism and political history, this is the author’s recounting of the years she spent in her native country, Iran. She lived there during the Revolution and her description of what happened then is harrowing, but oddly fatalistic. She writes about friends being executed, of the morality police making surprise home inspections (looking for satellite dishes), of the oppression of women with as much (or less) passion than she writes about Nabakov, Jane Austen and others. A great look into one person’s everyday life while her world is falling apart around her.

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Book Review: Who Speaks for Islam?

In Book Reviews on July 5, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Who Speaks For Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think Who Speaks For Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think by John L. Esposito


My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is basically a summary of the findings of Gallup polls about Islamic attitudes and concerns around the world. Perhaps the most interesting was that Muslims’ greatest grievance about the United States is that Americans do not respect them and their religion. It seems to me that if we want to make peace with Islam we have to learn as much as we can about it, while keeping an open mind. That’s a good way to read this book as well.

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