This morning, I awoke to the always insightful Krista Tippet—whose "On Being" is one of the only shows on faith and religion that I can listen to routinely—having a remarkable discussion with anthropologist Scott Atran, discussing how in the decade since 9/11, the Muslim world, and its youth, have changed dramatically… but our world view of them has not. 

With anthropologist Scott Atran, we make deeper sense of the human dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa. Atran offers bracing context on the promise of this moment and the response it asks from the watching world.

Being old enough to have worked with Margaret Mead, the bulk of Atran's career has been spent studying the root causes of religious and social conflict, and has followed the track of evolution behind globalism, Islam, and terrorism all over the world.  Among the many fascinating threads of insight that he unravels, intentionally, or not,  are how our perceptions and understanding of these things are completely distorted by our culture biases in general, but especially by the political and economic propaganda that are designed to block any hope of understanding them. 

"And now they are foisting this view of the Muslim Brotherhood on everyone…. these guys are keystone cops…"

In this interview, you will hear things about Islam you have never heard before. Not just that Al-Qaeda barely exists anymore (it's about 100 people, now), but also that Jihadists come from a youth culture that never studied religion as children (in Madrasahs or anywhere else), and that Barack Obama (had been) a bigger hero to much of Islam than Bin Laden ever was (but not because he was purportedly a Muslim).

But those are just a few teasers I picked at random. I have more notes on this interview than any I have heard in many years.

Anyone, but especially those rare thinking conservatives who have been fed such a steady diet of utter bullshit about Islam for years, must listen to this interview end-to-end. The final points are some of the most important. It may be one of the most important educations that any global citizen can hear.

Note:  It is programs like this that make me tremble with rage at the thought of the right wing ever actually being able to shut down NPR. As flawed and corporatist as it can be so often, it remains one of our few mass media links to the kinds of operational scholarly intelligence that built the world that so many of us now take for granted (at great peril to our future).

On Being: The show promo page (listen at upper right)


Doug Terry is veteran television and radio reporter in Washington, DC who publishes the Terry Report. I read him fairly often, and for some reason, I am only now introducing him to you. I suppose the reason is simply that his often brilliantly concise essays just failed to hit any marks I was obsessing about that particular week. 

No matter, you can meet him now. Never mind the ugly website. He'll fix that someday (I hope). Here is some great content to get you started on this very gifted explainer of political memes, moments and mayhems:

*MUST READ* Why The Right Hates Washington, DC

Have you ever wondered? What is the great “evil” that the  Republicans, the right and the far right see in the Federal government? Why does the Tea Party crowd say “centralized government” as if the phrase were a code word for socialism or communism, those twin forces that once united our nation in opposition?

Explaining this phenomenon is certainly a subject worth longer treatment, but, for anyone wondering, a few points can be laid out in short order that might help to clear up the situation.

The Palin Problem

What Palin is doing is amazing. She is raising Reagan into something he was not, she is slamming the entire developmental history of the Federal government going back to, say, Hoover in the 1920s and she, if she were to be believed, she suggests that her own party was asleep at the wheel, because they were making no such exaggerated charges at the time Reagan came into office. Reagan’s famous statement that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem”  was preceded by the words “In the present crisis” (whatever that means). It was not a blanket, cover all statement, it was limited to that particular moment and era, even if not clearly defined.

You can follow Doug on Twitter at @terryreport


Rarely has Stewart, or anyone else, taken this woman's bullshit and so thoroughly gutted it. This farce of a "politician" is an embarrassment to all Americans, past, present and future. 

Please retweet this widely by using the Tweet button below so that this video might get seen by millions. It doesn't just shred her credibility, but also that of Hannity, Fox, Republicans, and most every other conservative slop merchant continually trying to sell us ridiculous lies instead of anything resembling responsible policy that can deal with our many complex issues of the day.