Amitabh Pal

Over the past weekend, I undertook a pilgrimage of sorts: I visited the birthplace of the Republican Party. It's in Ripon, Wisconsin, about 90 minutes northeast of Madison.

The rightwing's obsession about President Obama's religion is turning into a bad joke.

Late last month, conservative bloggers let loose on the web that Obama had declared November National Muslim Appreciation Month.

It's hard to believe, but Rick Perry is likely throwing in his hat for the next presidential run.


The derailment of a documentary on Hillary Clinton represents a lost opportunity to discuss some important aspects of the financial crisis.

CNN had assigned Charles Ferguson for a project on the former secretary of state and first lady. Ferguson has become one of the preeminent documentarians in the United States after his Oscar-nominated Iraq War expose "No End in Sight" and his must-see dissection of the financial crisis, the Oscar-winning "Inside Job."


There's further confirmation that we're all being slowly cooked.

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just issued a report stating that global warming and its effects are "unequivocal."

"Our assessment of the science finds that the atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amount of snow and ice has diminished, the global mean sea level has risen and that concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased," said Qin Dahe, co-chair of a working group that produced the report.


It's hard to resist being initially charmed with President Obama's speeches, such as the one he delivered to the United Nations. It's only when you start parsing them that the doubts begin.

An oration that began with a tribute to the United Nations and ended with an invocation of Martin Luther King can't be all bad, and it wasn't. But there was enough dodging and weaving and a defense of the indefensible to make your teeth grind.

Imagine that the Navy Yard killer had been a Muslim. We would be awash in religious bigotry right now.

The fact that Aaron Alexis was a Buddhist who wore a religious charm and frequently attended prayer services has been treated with bemusement rather than bias. CNN's Ashleigh Banfield and Chris Cuomo actually mused that Alexis couldn't be a Buddhist because his deeds were so contrary to the teachings of the religion.

The Miss America pageant may seem beneath comment to many of us, but tell that to those on social media who spewed bigotry when Indian-American Nina Davuluri won the competition on Sunday.

Beauty contests are not often on my radar. I agree with activist Sonny Singh when he asks on Twitter: "Is it really that exciting that such an inherently sexist, archaic institution has now embraced a Indian-American woman?"

The invective tossed at Davuluri on the same social platform is hard to ignore, however.

A nonviolent movement survives in Syria. Overshadowed by violence on both sides and ignored by the media, activists are still peacefully defying the Syrian regime.

The know nothings in the anti-Shariah law campaign in this country recently got their comeuppance in Oklahoma.

U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange issued on August 15 an injunction against a voter-approved 2010 constitutional amendment forbidding the consideration of Shariah law in the legal system of the state.

"While the public has an interest in the will of the voters being carried out, the court finds that the public has a more profound and long-term interest in upholding an individual's constitutional rights," the judge wrote.


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Real leaders need to lead a push back against the firestorm of fear about Muslims—not fan the flames.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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