Monthly Archives: November 2007

Religious Tolerance, Teddy Bears, And The Insanity Of Sharia Law

Today, an English teacher who went to Sudan to teach was sentenced to jail and deportation for letting her students name a teddy bear Muhammed:

KHARTOUM, Sudan (CNN) — A Sudanese court found a British teacher guilty of inciting religious hatred and sentenced her to 15 days imprisonment Thursday for allowing a teddy bear to be named “Mohammed,” British authorities and her lawyer reported.

Gillian Gibbons also faces deportation from Sudan after her prison term, her lawyer told CNN. He said he was “very disappointed” with the verdict and that Gibbons planned to appeal.

Gibbons, 54, was arrested Sunday after she asked her class of 7-year-olds in Khartoum to name the stuffed animal as part of a school project, the British Foreign Office said. She had faced charges under Article 125 of Sudan’s constitution, the law relating to insulting religion and inciting hatred.

Although there is no ban in the Quran on images of Allah or the Prophet Mohammed, Islam’s founder, likenesses are considered highly offensive by Muslims.

And, of course, the fact that its offensive gives them the right to punish people, right ?

Wait a minute, isn’t that the same thing the FCC said about Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction ?

Open Thread: How Do We Stop Mike Huckabee?

Today’s open thread is about how those of who support limited government can stop Mike Huckabee.

To spur the creative juices, here’s Mike at his finest:

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at The and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

War On Drugs Update: Afghanistan Edition

Afghan leaders, prompted by the United States discourage farmers from growing opium, so they switch to alternative plants:

KABUL, Afghanistan — The fields of Balkh province in northern Afghanistan were free of opium poppies this year, a success touted often by Afghan and international officials. But one look at Mohammad Alam’s fields uncovers an emerging drug problem.

Ten-foot-tall cannabis plants flourish in Alam’s fields. The crop — the source of both marijuana and hashish — can be just as profitable as opium but draws none of the scrutiny from Afghan officials bent on eradicating poppies.

Cannabis cultivation rose 40 percent in Afghanistan this year, to 173,000 acres from 123,550 in 2006, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime estimated in its 2007 opium survey. The crop is being grown in at least 18 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, according to the survey released last month.

“The government cannot provide a good market for other crops like cotton, watermelon and vegetables, so I have to grow marijuana instead of poppy,” said Alam, a farmer in Balkh province, which the U.N. singles out as a “leading example” of an opium-free area.

Gen. Khodaidad, Afghanistan’s acting counter-narcotics minister, said the government doesn’t yet have a good handle on marijuana.

In unrelated news, an incredibly large number of people from San Francisco have volunteered to go to Afghanistan.

H/T: Hit & Run

The Marathon Is Becoming A Sprint

Thirty Five days from today, Iowa voters will caucus and the 2008 Presidential primary season will start. Five days later, New Hampshire will hold it’s primary earlier in the year than ever before. And, then, four weeks later, 20 states will hold primaries on what some pundits are referring to as Super Duper Tuesday. By the time Super Tuesday is over, more than 50% of the delegates needed to win the Republican nomination will have been chosen and it’s likely that the race will have narrowed to two, maybe three, candidates who have a realistic chance of winning the nomination.

So where does the race stand today ?

If you look at the national polls, Giuliani still leads but Romney is moving up in his rearview mirror:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows Rudy Giuliani with 24% support in the race for the Republican Presidential Nomination. Four candidates are closely bunched in a battle for second place nationally–Mitt Romney is supported by 15% John McCain by 14%, Mike Huckabee at 12% and Fred Thompson at 11%. Ron Paul’s attracts 5% of Likely Republican Primary voters nationwide and no other Republican candidate reaches 2%

Granted, Rasmussen is only one poll, but it’s the most recent one released and it appears to be consistent with other polls released to date.

In Iowa, it’s a slightly different story. Romney has been in the lead for the past several months, but a guy named Mike Huckabee has been sneaking up and may have passed him:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of the Iowa caucus finds former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee with 28% of the vote, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney with 25% support, and everyone else far behind. National frontrunner Rudy Giuliani gets just 12% of the vote in Iowa at this time while former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson is the only other candidate in double digits at 11%

Polling in Iowa has traditionally been difficult, but this Rasmussen poll is consistent with other Iowa polls and consistent with something we’ve seen since August —- for better or worse, Mike Huckabee is poised to do well in Iowa.

In New Hampshire the results look like this

  1. Romney — 34%
  2. Giuliani — 20%
  3. McCain — 13%
  4. Paul — 8%
  5. Huckabee — 7%
  6. Thompson — 2%

Giuliani is apparently planning to make a push in New Hampshire, but its unclear that it would be enough to make up for a lead that Romney has consistently maintained for months. The more interesting question will be — what happens to Romney if Huckabee beats him in Iowa ? My guess is that some number of Romney voters will look elsewhere.

Finally, there’s the Super Tuesday states:

In states holding Primaries or Caucuses on February 5, the races for the Republican and Democratic Presidential nominations look broadly similar to the competition on a national level.

In the race for the Republican Presidential nomination, Rudy Giuliani attracts 27% in the February 5 states and holds a double digit lead. Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thomson and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee are tied for second with 14% support. Arizona Senator John McCain is close behind at 11% while former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney earns the vote from 10% of Likely Primary Voters in these states. Texas Congressman Ron Paul is supported by 4%

Obviously, this is an average of results from 20 states and each state holds its own primary but it shows something very interesting. While Giuliani remains in the lead, the principal challenge in these primarily southern and western states comes not from  Mitt Romney, but from Mike Huckabee, the guy who nobody thought would amount to anything. As much as it pains me to admit it, his campaign isn’t going away anytime soon.

Based on the above, here’s my entirely unscientific prediction of where things will stand on February 6, 2008 in terms of the race for delegates:

  • In first place, though perhaps not by a large margin —- Rudy Giuliani.
  • In second place —- Mike Huckabee
  • Close behind in third —- Mitt Romney
  • Paul, McCain, and Thompson (if he’s still in the race) will make up the rest of the pack

Feel free to link to this article on February 7th if I’m proven to be wrong.

Right-wing Progressivism

Jonah Goldberg wraps on Mike Huckabee on NRO TV.

Here is part of the transcript:

I think people are focusing way too much on Ron Paul when the real threat is Mike Huckabee.
He believes that the government, the federal government, the government in Washington is there to be used to do any and all good things wherever, whenever he can. And it is essentially, in terms of it’s methodology and means, it is very, very similar to what conservatives see in liberalism. This use of big government to create the ideal society. I think the best example of that would be his support for a nationwide, federal smoking ban…enforced by the federal government, which I think is an outrageous sort of sacreligious affront to traditional conservatism’s understand about the role of the federal government.
When it comes to economic issues, he is hard to distinguish from all sort of different brands of liberals. He is hostile to free trade. He is very friendly to raising taxes. He believes in regulation wherever necessary. He thinks abortion must remain a federal national issue, can’t send it back to the states. And that’s what I mean by “right-wing progressive.” He wants to use government towards conservative ends. He says it’s a biblical duty to fight global warming. The problem with someone like Huckabee is that he much like, in my mind, a liberal sees no dogmatic constitutional limits on the “do-goodery” of the federal government. Whatever he thinks is the right thing for the federal government to do, if he thinks there’s a good thing that can be done by the federal government, he wants the federal government to do it whether it’s constitutional or in accordance with principles of limited government. And maybe what he wants to isn’t what a cultural liberal would want to do but he still wants to use the government the same way. It’s big government conservatism. And that, I think, is the real threat these days to conservatism.

Two things this brings to mind. The first is that I had a conversation several months ago with a State Senator from here in Georgia where he said that Giuliani was the real threat to the Republican Party, mainly due to his stance on abortion, and that Huckabee was never going to have any impact on the race so there was no real need to worry about his liberal record on fiscal issues. Fast forward to today…I was right.

The second is that Goldberg’s point about what “right-wing progressivism” and Mike Huckabee is right on target. The idea that government should shape and mold the type of society that we should live in pretty much defines the progressive era.

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