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  • Archive for December, 2006

    “…Oath or Affirmation…”

    Posted by Lexington Green on 3rd December 2006 (All posts by )

    I have to disagree with my friend Verity on this one. She objects vociferously to newly elected Congressman Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, taking his oath of office on the Koran.

    Ellison’s website shows him as an unremarkable Democrat from the African American Left wing of his party. As most people here in the USA know, the African American community has generated all kinds of Muslims over the years, many of them far from orthodox, to say nothing of not being Wahhabi or Jihadi or anything else. As a matter of fact, his views on the gay marriage amendment would probably get him beheaded in Saudi Arabia. I am way to the right of him on religious grounds on that one, anyway.

    The U.S. Constitution provides maximal latitude on the question of being sworn in. The pertinent article, Article VI provides, inter alia, as follows:

    The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

    Our Founders were wise and practical men, and this provision, like every one in the Constitution, reflects that wisdom and practicality. They made provision for a religiously diverse country, as it was even at the time of the Founding. So, there is no requirement that a member �swear� at all, let alone on a Bible. The House is free to make any requirements it wants for the swearing in of its members, within the scope of the foregoing. Furthermore, there is the express statement that no �religious test� be imposed as a qualification for office. Hence, requiring a Catholic to swear on the King James Bible would not be acceptable. Mr. Ellison is free to swear or to affirm on any book, or no book, as he wishes, when he takes his oath. If using the Koran is a gesture on his part, whatever he or others may take that gesture to mean, it is a gesture Mr. Ellison is free to make.

    What matters, and what the public should judge him by, is Ellison�s performance in office. If the people in his district like him, they will do so mostly for reasons unrelated to his religion. If they like him, he could probably switch to the worship of Satan and he�d be reelected. If his Islamic faith makes him in some way a poor congressman, he will be voted out. Or, if he is a poor congressman for some other reason, or if a stronger opponent runs against him, or if a rotten year for the Democrats rolls around, or any of a bunch of other possible things were to happen, he’ll be voted out. That’s politics.

    Does Mr. Ellison’s religion make him a security risk since we are in a �war on terror� and our enemies are self-professed Muslims? I doubt it. But my doubt, or not, is irrelevant. There are rules, which Mr. Ellison is bound by. We should presume he is honest and plans to comply with them until we have some concrete reason to think otherwise. If he betrays secrets or otherwise betrays the trust placed in him, the Department of Justice will come after him. Or, he could be removed by the other member of the House.

    As to whether Muslims generally think it is OK to lie to nom-Muslims, I have read this, and I have also read outraged opposition to the idea. I think you take people as you find them. Ellison�s honesty, or not, will be subject to scrutiny. In that he is no different from any public official. If he makes a habit of dishonesty, for any reason, there are plenty of people who would like that congressional seat, and they will be taking notice, and will run against him. That is how the process is supposed to work.

    It is up to Ellison to make the most of his historic �first�. Congratulations to him, good luck to him, and I hope that the GOP takes his seat away from him in 2008 (unlikely though that is — a subject for another time).

    Bottom line, I see no cause for alarm here. The system is working.

    Discuss this topic at the Chicago Boyz Forum.

    Posted in Political Philosophy, Politics | Comments Off on “…Oath or Affirmation…”

    Why this pinprick in the dyke must be plugged stat

    Posted by Verity on 3rd December 2006 (All posts by )

    Newly elected Congressman Keith Ellison, a Muslim, must not be allowed to take his oath of office on the Koran.

    First, as Town Hall columnist Dennis Prager wrote, Mr Ellison does not get to decide how he takes his oath. America does. Second, it has not bothered America�s many Jewish Congresspeople down through the decades to take their oath on the Bible, although the New Testament has no religious significance to them. Similarly, atheists/securalists have voiced no objections. This is the way you get sworn into the Congress of The United States of America.

    But most important of all, Mr Ellison�s stated intention is yet one more Islamic attempt to breach the dyke to allow Islamic habits, customs and laws to seep in slowly at first, and then gain in volume until the dyke is breached. The aggression of this religion cannot be overestimated and those who surrender one-quarter of an inch to people like Mr Ellison, thinking it really doesn�t matter and �we all worship the same God�, are mistaken.

    But most critically, what most people are unaware of is, an oath taken on the Koran means absolutely nothing. Muslims are instructed from childhood that they may take such an oath and lie � if it is to advance the cause of Islam. In other words, they cannot swear in a court of law, on their Koran, �No. I swear I did not rob that bank� if they really did. That�s a sin. But if it is to advance the islamic cause, then it�s not only OK, but is to be desired.

    That is why such reasonable sounding requests must be resisted. A Muslim can swear on the Koran that he does not know a suspected terrorist, has never even heard of him and has no idea if he is stockpiling chemical weapons in his basement. Because the lies are to advance the cause of Dar-es-Salam � the house of islam � they are seen as a righteous grabbing of an advantage in the 1500 year war with Christianity and Western civilization.

    This new Congressman must not be indulged. Mr Ellison is not big enough to defy America, and neither is his belief system.

    Discuss this post at the Chicago Boyz Forum.

    Posted in Islam, Political Philosophy, Politics | 1 Comment »

    “How to Define EU Failure for Betting Purposes?”

    Posted by Jonathan on 3rd December 2006 (All posts by )

    I have a blog post on this topic up at Midas Oracle. There are also some excellent comments there from readers.

    The EU’s survival prospects should be a rich topic for betting and trading, and hence for predictive purposes. However, the design of prediction-market contracts to maximize the attractiveness of the trading proposition in this area requires some thought. Since I want to design, or at least to encourage other people to design, such contracts, I am soliciting ideas. Please feel free to use the forum to share yours.

    Discuss this post at the Chicago Boyz Forum.

    Posted in Markets and Trading | Comments Off on “How to Define EU Failure for Betting Purposes?”

    Seriousness, Indeed

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 2nd December 2006 (All posts by )

    Regarding Ginny’s timely post just below: it doesn’t get more serious than this.
    And it keeps going and going and going
    So on this 64th anniversary — precisely at 3:36 PM CST (9:36 PM UT), if possible — raise a glass to the first pile, to the Italian navigator, to the world he helped save, and to the Coalition to Preserve Civilization.

    (Related posts: 61 Years Ago Today; Chicago Anniversary.)

    Discuss this post at the Chicago Boyz Forum.

    Posted in Chicagoania | Comments Off on Seriousness, Indeed

    The Seriousness of Hyde Park

    Posted by Ginny on 1st December 2006 (All posts by )

    There�s a case to be made that the single most intellectually and politically influential neighborhood in the United States is Chicago�s Hyde Park. Integrated, affluent and quiet, the 1.6 square-mile enclave on the city�s south side is like a tiny company town, where the company happens to be the august, gothic, eminently serious University of Chicago. Students at the U. of C. sell T-shirts that read �Where Fun Goes To Die,� and the same could be said of the neighborhood, which until very recently had a bookstore-to-bar ratio of 5:2.

    What We Learn When We Learn Economics by Christopher Hayes, linked by A&L.

    Discuss this post at the Chicago Boyz Forum.

    Posted in Chicagoania | Comments Off on The Seriousness of Hyde Park

    A fascinating, colorful tale of religious bigotry and its defeat

    Posted by Verity on 1st December 2006 (All posts by )

    When British Airways told London check-in worker Nadia Eweida that she would either have to remove her necklace with its tiny thumbnail-sized cross or hide it under her livery, she refused. Ms Eweida noted that BA allows Sikhs to wear their turbans, although it isn�t required by their faith, and Muslims to wear hijabs, although neither is that a religious requirement. She claims that as a Coptic Christian, wearing her tiny cross to show she is a Christian is part of her religion.

    BA, a bullying adherent, despite its name, of multi-culti tolerance for anything as long as it is not British, suspended her without pay. Ms Eweida had a fight on her hands.

    To everyone’s amazement, the incident has taken off with a strong tailwind and an amazing cast of characters. Led by the Archbishop of York, who is a black immigrant from Uganda and an articulate, devout and reasoned man, there’s been an unexpected storm of Anglican fury among the supposedly non-religious Brits. A few days later, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who everyone had thought was a Muslim in mufti, announced that the Church of England would sell its �6.6m ($12.7m) shares in BA unless they allow employees to wear a visible cross in keeping with adherents of other religions being allowed to advertise their own faiths. At the same time, Episcopalian churches worldwide rallied as one in support of Nadia Eweida and her right to wear her tiny cross, and threatened to advise hundreds of millions of parishioners not to fly BA.

    And for the record, around 100 British MPs, including a Hindu, Conservative Shailesh Vara, and a Muslim, Labour MP Khalid Mahmood, censured BA in the House of Commons.

    Faced with this colorful cast of characters, a cowed BA chief curled up and backed down, hoist
    by his own petard. In a dazzling display of unintended consequences, he demonstrated that, in the long run, Ms Eweida�s tiny cross proved more powerful than BA�s multi-million pound massive tailfin logo and designer livery.

    Discuss this post at the Chicago Boyz Forum.

    Posted in Religion | Comments Off on A fascinating, colorful tale of religious bigotry and its defeat

    Comments Problems Again — And a Workaround

    Posted by Jonathan on 1st December 2006 (All posts by )

    Our blog commenting system is again out of service. I’m still working on solving the problem by upgrading the blog to WordPress, but this is a lot of work and will take a while longer.

    In the meantime I suggest that Chicagoboyz contributors create a discussion thread on the Chicagoboyz Forum for each new blog post, copy the blog post into your forum post, and insert a link to your forum post into the blog post.

    For example.

    (Contributors or readers who have questions about what to do should email me or reply to the forum post linked above.)

    UPDATE: Or just post as usual and I will create the comment thread.

    Posted in Announcements | Comments Off on Comments Problems Again — And a Workaround

    Political Trading

    Posted by Ginny on 1st December 2006 (All posts by )

    Defense of forecasting ability of intrade, etc. Right now it doesn’t seem to be accounting for the charisma deficit of HRC or the charisma plus of Obama, but charisma – especially celebrated so early – can be vulnerable. And those news magazines that praise & polish it are also quite ready to throw the mud that tarnishes it.

    Discuss this post at the Chicago Boyz Forum.

    Posted in Politics | Comments Off on Political Trading