Clearing my spindle

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I’ve been saving a number of items to write about that I want to present for your information without further comment. In one way or another, they are interesting and informative.
Yesterday Paul presented Ray Hartwell’s impressions of the crisis in Greece. Michael Lewis’s Vanity Fair article “Beware of Greeks bearing bonds” explores the subject at some length. As is his custom, Lewis looks at the story from unfamiliar angles.
Adam Gopnik’s New Yorker review/essay “Finest hours” touches on several new books on Winston Churchill. Gopnik has observations of his own on Churchill that warrant consideration, including his conclusion: “A romantic visionary in constitutional spectacles can often see things as they are.”
In his Cairo speech last year, President Obama presented himself as “a student of history.” I took a look at his extraordinarily poor grasp of history in “The Kennedy-Khrushchev conference for dummies” and in “Anti-terror oops.”
In his Cairo speech Obama alluded to America’s ordeal with the Muslim pirates of Barbary: “I also know that Islam has always been a part of America’s story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President, John Adams, wrote, ‘The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims.'”
One senses that Obama doesn’t quite know the whole story. Michael Oren devotes chapters 1 and 3 of Power, Faith and Fantasy to telling the story. In “Jefferson versus the Muslim pirates,” Chrsistopher Hitchens cites the excellent books on the subject published in recent years (including Oren’s). Obama might benefit from acquainting himself with them.
Oren recounts the March 1786 meeting of Jefferson and Adams with the pirate warlord of Tripoli in London. The Tripoli warlord “voiced a credo that would someday sound familiar to Americans, but left these founding fathers aghast.” Oren quotes the unamused report of Jefferson and Adams summarizing the “credo” that they sent back home to John Jay: “It was…written in the Koran, that all Nations who should not have acknowledged their [the Musims’] authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon whoever they could find and to make Slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.” Laura Rubenfeld has more in “No, Professor Ahmed, the Founders were not so fond of Islam.”
Tablet is the new online magazine devoted to Jewish life. Lee Smith’s weekly column is must reading. In “First blood,” investigative reporter and former ABC correspondent Peter Lance asks whether the murder of Meir Kahane was al Qaeda’s first attack on United States soil.
Three years ago Koua Fong Lee killed three Minnesotans when he drove his 1996 Toyota Camry into the rear of another car at the Snelling Avenue exit of Interstate Highway 94 in St. Paul. Lee barreled into the other car at 90 miles per hour and was, not unreasonably, convicted of criminal vehicular homicide.
The trial judge granted Lee a new trial after the Toyota controversy seemed to lend credibility to Lee’s account of how the accident happened. The Ramsey County Attorney gave up on the case. Lee is now a free man.
St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist Ruben Rosario celebrated Lee’s vindication in “Justice gets help from reporter, not lawyers entrusted with it.” To understand the miscarriage of justice that occurred here, however, one must go to Michael Fumento in the New York Post. I don’t think Fumento’s column has seen the light of day in the Twin Cities press.
John Hinderaker wrote recently about the friendly reception of Muslim visitors to the Minnesota State Fair. Now CNN reports “2 Muslims travel 13,000 miles across America, find an embracing nation.” The two Muslims post their own account on 30 Mosques. One leg of their journey brought them to Minneapolis, a stop they cover in the day 23 post on their blog. In Minneapolis they met up with members of the the immigrant Somali community and visited one of their mosques.
Federal authorities in Minneapolis have conducted an intense investigation of terror connections in the Twin Cities Somali community. Last month a Minneapolis grand jury handed up indictments of 14 people on charges of providing money, services and personnel to the terrorist organization al-Shabaab. The Investigative Project on Terrorism covered the indictments in “Minneapolis Somalis played key role in al-Shabaab investigation.”
Last week the Bipartisan Policy Center’s National Security Preparedness Group released the report Assessing the Terrorist Threat by Peter Bergen and Bruce Hoffman. The Minneapolis connection features prominently in it. The Star Tribune covered the report yesterday in “Twin Cities: Front lines of homegrown terror fight.” Does anyone think it might make sense to adjust immigration policy while we sort this thing out?

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