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When Jesus met Buddha

Sunrise over Mt.

“Knowing other faiths firsthand grants believers an enviable sophistication, founded on humility. We could do a lot worse than to learn from what we sometimes call the Dark Ages.” — Philip Jenkins, professor of the humanities at Penn State University.

via Boston Globe.

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Appointments Comment

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at a book signing.

What if Governor Paterson, prompted by the squalor of his Illinois colleague’s maneuverings, were to put aside mundane calculations and take full advantage of his theoretically unfettered freedom of choice? The Senate was originally conceived as a sort of chamber of notables, but most of its members, over the years, have been notable mainly for their mediocrity. New York is full of interesting people. Want some suggestions? Try these, collected from an informal canvass—a baker’s dozen, in alphabetical order:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, thoughtful and scholarly, would give the new President someone to shoot hoops with. Christiane Amanpour would be a slam dunk for the Foreign Relations Committee. The impossibly distinguished Vartan Gregorian is a one-man academy of arts, letters, and the humanities. Bill T. Jones, who doesn’t need words to make a speech, would make C-SPAN 2 worth watching. A non-dynastic Kennedy, the novelist William, would give upstate New York representation of the first order. Paul Krugman would provide ornery economic smarts. Arthur Laurents, conveniently, is already in Washington, directing the National Theatre revival of his “West Side Story.” If you doubt that Lou Reed knows politics, listen to his album “New York.” Felix Rohatyn is as senatorial as you can get without wearing a toga. Ed Sanders—poet, Pentagon levitator, classics scholar, founding member of the Fugs—is a political force in Woodstock, New York. Toni Morrison’s majestic voice would warm the Senate chamber. No one who ever spent the equivalent of two Senate terms in a complex, ceaselessly scrutinized job in New York has ever done it better than Joe Torre did as manager of the Yankees. Harold Varmus, the head of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and, like Morrison, a Nobel laureate, got lots of money from Congress for the National Institutes of Health when he ran them, during the nineteen-nineties. Perhaps he could do the same for New York—not that such petty considerations are worthy of this exercise.

All fantasy, of course. But not so fantastical as Rod Blagojevich’s notion that a seat in the United States Senate was his for the selling.”

via The New Yorker.

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Will Obama Press For End Of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’?

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‘Mr. President-elect, you rarely spoke out as a candidate against the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that excludes openly gay people from the military. But when the group Human Rights Campaign asked you about it a year ago, you said this: “America is ready to get rid of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. All that is required is leadership.”

Then in July, when The Military Times asked you about ending that policy, you sounded a bit more conciliatory. “This is not something that I’m looking to shove down the military’s throats,” you said…’

via NPR.