Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Favorite Quote: The Attorney-General in Charles Dickens's "A Tale of Two Cities"

The full text of Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities is available online. I listened to an unabridged performance. The book should also be in your local library.

Imagine Sam Waterston of Law & Order, who as Manhattan's District Attorney wanted perps to do hard time for jaywalking, playing the role of Attorney-General prosecuting Charles Darnay for treason against the "serene, illustrious, excellent and so forth, prince, our Lord the King!"

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Review: Christian Nation by Frederic C Rich

Frederic C. Rich retired from one of the United States's largest law firms. He also found time to write a speculative fiction (by now, nearly alternative history) novel set in our time about the takeover, via election, of the United States by Christian dominionists and reconstructionists.

The author maintains a website with more information about the book and a list of questions for discussion. You can search for the book at your local independent book store or at a library near you.

Monday, November 16, 2015

To Read - "The Gulf - High Culture/Hard Labor" edited by Andrew Ross

The Gulf Labor Artists Coalition maintains a website and a Twitter account. Sign a petition to the Guggenheim Foundation.

Andrew Ross, the editor, is a Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University in New York City.

I have not read the book.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Ask NBC to Hire Iman Zawahry to Direct an Episode of "Master of None"


Hey guys! My friend Lexi Alexander (first female director of a Marvelfilm) helped start a Twitter campaign to have me...
Posted by Iman Zawahry on Thursday, November 12, 2015
Master of None is a Netflix original series.

Check out my interview with Iman from November 30, 2012.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Review: From Makka to Las Vegas: Critical Theories in Architecture and Sanctity by Ali Abd al-Ra`uf

Yomna al-Saeed wrote a review in English of an Arabic book. The review was published at onislam.net on September 21, 2015. The book's title is

 من مكة إلى لاس ڤيجاس
أطروحات نقدية في العمارة و القداسة

which I've translated to From Makka to Las Vegas: Critical Theories in Architecture and Sanctity. Its author is علي عبد الرؤوف Ali Abd al-Ra'uf. It was published in 2014.

To Read: "What Is Islam? The Importance of Being Islamic" by Shahab Ahmed

BloombergView.com on September 20, 2015 published an article by Noah Feldman about Shahab Ahmad and his book What is Islam? The Importance of Being Islamic, scheduled for publication in December 2015. Shahab Ahmed died in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States on September 17, 2015.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Book Review: "The Heroine Next Door" by Zeena Nackerdien

Sheri Hoyte reviewed The Heroine Next Door by Zeena Nackerdien for BlogCritics.com on September 8, 2015.

The book has an official website. You can buy the book from the publisher.

In her day job, Zeena Nakerdien is a real-life scientist, and she's got a non-fiction book published on Type II diabetes.
I have not read the book.

Review: Being German, Becoming Muslim: Race, Religion, and Conversion in the New Europe by Esra Özyürek

Aysegul Kayaoglu reviewed Being German, Becoming Muslim: Race, Religion, and Conversion in the New Europe by Esra Özyürek. It was published in the London School of Economics Review of Books blog on June 5, 2015.

Panelists, including author Esra Özyürek, discussed the book on January 21, 2015.
Search for the book in a library near you using Worldcat.org.

I have not read the book.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Review: Ummakkuttiyude Kunjikinaavukal by B. M. Suhara

Do you read Malayalam (Kairali) or know someone who does? Meena T. Pillai reviewed Ummakkuttiyude Kunjikinaavukal by B. M. Suhara. The review was published in The Hindu of September 17, 2015.
The Hindu has many columns tagged Malayalam literature.

I have not read the book.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Review: Islam in Liberalism by Joseph Massad

Anna Provitola and Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins reviewed Joseph Massad's book Islam in Liberalism.

I have not read the book. There is more information at the publisher's site, and you can search for a copy at your local library on worldcat.org.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Review: God Sent Me: A Textbook Case on Evolution vs. Creation by Jeffrey Selman

Jeffrey Selman (website) was the lead plaintiff in a suit against the Cobb County, Georgia Board of Education which resulted in an order for it to remove a disclaimer from its public high school biology textbooks.

I've met Jeffrey twice in my activities for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the first time to lobby against Georgia's Religious Freedom Restoration Act legislation in March 2015 and the second time to hear him speak at our Augusta, Georgia chapter meeting about his book in August 2015.



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review: The Right vs The Right to Die: Lessons from the Terri Schiavo Case and How to Stop It from Happening Again by Jon B. Eisenberg

I attended a presentation by Robert Rivas of Final Exit Network, a group which, after a screening process to confirm a terminal condition and informed consent, provides information to people who want to kill themselves. He recommended to me The Right vs The Right to Die: Lessons from the Terri Schiavo Case and How to Stop It from Happening Again by Jon B. Eisenberg.

Eisenberg did pro bono legal work on behalf of Michael Schiavo, who had requested the State of Florida to order the withdrawal of a feeding tube from his wife Terri Schiavo, who had been in persistent vegetative state for several years. Terri’s parents objected, and lawyers representing the parents littered the Florida and Federal court systems with motions and appeals to delay the withdrawal of the tube. Eventually, the original Florida county court judgment was upheld, after years of litigation, Terri’s feeding tube was withdrawn, and she died of dehydration.


Review: One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America by Kevin M Kruse

I reviewed this book through a series of Twitter status updates using the hashtag #1NationUnder. I've also Storify'd it, adding some additional comments, which you can see after the jump.

Review: One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America by Kevin M Kruse

Review: One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America by Kevin M Kruse

Collection of thoughts on the book One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America by Kevin M Kruse. I tweeted using the hashtag #1NationUnder.

  1. Web page for the book by the publisher.
  2. Use worldcat.org to find a library near you which carries the book.
  3. You can follow the author on Twitter.
  4. Our Augusta, Georgia chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State discussed this book as part of the Establishment Clause Book Club. We were divided on the question ofwhether the author proved the hypothesis of the book’s subtitle. Did corporate America “invent” Christian America? And even if USA oligarchs conspired to promote “Christian America,” wasn’t America already leaning that way to the extent it adopted this idea?

    My position was that we should not get too hung up on the subtitle’s claim, since the main object of a book title is to sell the book. My opinion is that USA oligarchs did seek to promote Christian Libertarianism, and what Kruse demonstrates is that many people in the United States adopted the Christian part without the Libertarianism part. Thus, the USA inserted “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance, but it hasn’t (yet) rolled back all aspects of the New Deal, like Social Security.

    The most serious impact the marriage of oligarch and religion on our polity is a dumbing down of the population and the substitution of wishful religious proclamations for pursuit of policies demanding national sacrifice based on considerations of fairness and quality science. So when a school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut claims the lives of 26 children and employees in an elementary school, some people decided it was because God didn’t protect them after we “kicked God out of public schools.” We don’t want to deal with greenhouse gas emissions because it would require to us to turn the temperature on our air conditioner units from 72° to 78°. Quelle horreur!

    As you review the passages I’ve excerpted from this book,consider how religious proclamations among various religious communities promote specific policies. If religion matters to you, are those policies supportive of the poor and marginalized, or are they in service to the wealthy and powerful?
  5. #1NationUnder Surah 5, ayat 62-3 condemns clergy who concern themselves with pleasing the powerful & acquiring wealth http://t.co/MSDFHrUfCg
    #1NationUnder Surah 5, ayat 62-3 condemns clergy who concern themselves with pleasing the powerful & acquiring wealth pic.twitter.com/MSDFHrUfCg
  6. #USA post-WW2 religious revival: nearly 50% increase in religion institution affiliation #1NationUnder #history http://t.co/G81mQATcbN
    #USA post-WW2 religious revival: nearly 50% increase in religion institution affiliation #1NationUnder #history pic.twitter.com/G81mQATcbN
  7. #1NationUnder Industrialists' PR efforts against labor & New Deal ineffective through 1930s&40s #propaganda #USA http://t.co/QHv5gceXdE
    #1NationUnder Industrialists' PR efforts against labor & New Deal ineffective through 1930s&40s #propaganda #USA pic.twitter.com/QHv5gceXdE
  8. #1NationUnder James Fifield was theologically liberal & politically conservative. He also maintained wealth & virtue were compatible p10
  9. #1NationUnder Oil man & theological conservative J Howard Pew supported Fifield despite doctrinal differences  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Howard_Pew â€¦
  10. #1NationUnder p72 After Eisenhower, religion would no longer be used to tear down the central state but instead to prop it up. (1/2)
  11. #1NationUnder Piety and patriotism became one and the same, love of God and love of country conflated to the core. (2/2)
  12. #1NationUnder Hotel magnate Conrad Hilton commissioned painting emphasizing #USA relationship to religion #Eisenhower http://t.co/ChW0O14ki8
    #1NationUnder Hotel magnate Conrad Hilton commissioned painting emphasizing #USA relationship to religion #Eisenhower pic.twitter.com/ChW0O14ki8
  13. #1NationUnder @MadMen_AMC not show this "advertising industry discovered religion as a means of professional salvation" post-Depression p130
  14. #1NationUnder p132 1949 Advertising Council launchd "Religion in American Life" campaign 1) religion basis of American life 2) attend church
  15. #1NationUnder p138 "Churches r beginning 2 advertise their product & t result is that they r selling it." #MadMen @MadMen_AMC #religion #USA
  16. #1NationUnder Merle Haggard performed Silent Majority anthem at Billy Graham's 1970 Honor America Day  https://youtu.be/ZHAFmFsb9XM 
  17. #1NationUnder legendary director Cecil B DeMille followed a familiar path to religious nationalism in the postwar era http://t.co/oOc4rCdn3z
    #1NationUnder legendary director Cecil B DeMille followed a familiar path to religious nationalism in the postwar era pic.twitter.com/oOc4rCdn3z
  18. #1NationUnder Rev William Morrison: state-ordained prayer "a theological caricature at best or a theological monstrosity at worst." p219
  19. #1NationUnder Bishop John Wesley Lord of Methodist Church #schoolprayer --> "Biblical illiterates" & profaned worship http://t.co/tEoWUPQpIL
    #1NationUnder Bishop John Wesley Lord of Methodist Church #schoolprayer --> "Biblical illiterates" & profaned worship pic.twitter.com/tEoWUPQpIL
  20. #1NationUnder Illinois Sen Dirksen foresaw religious mobilization along political rather than denominational lines http://t.co/0uet1ICgMP
    #1NationUnder Illinois Sen Dirksen foresaw religious mobilization along political rather than denominational lines pic.twitter.com/0uet1ICgMP
  21. #1NationUnder p252 President Nixon cultivated relationships with clergy who were sympathetic politically #USA #History
  22. #1NationUnder President Reagan avg 3 trips to church/yr but faithfully attended public religiosity such as the National Prayer Breakfast