The Ottoman Tales VI: Not Much for Victory, but the Eats Were Good

This continues a series inspired (somewhat) by Noel Barber’s The Sultans.  The previous instalment is here. As Sultan Abdul Hamid raised the Banner Named Barack, his armies had one distinguishing feature: In one, and only one thing, the Turkish soldier is not cheated. He is well fed, and gets his full allowance of the rations …

Bullying is About Social Hierarchy

The things we find out when we investigate... “Humans tend to try to establish a rank hierarchy,” Jennifer Wong, a criminology professor who led the study, told the Post. “When you’re in high school, it’s a very limited arena in which you can establish your rank, and climbing the social ladder to be on top …

Trump Opens the Club to Blacks and Jews? Not Quite

Ronald Kessler makes an interesting statement about Donald Trump and Palm Beach: "When Donald opened his club in Palm Beach called Mar-a-Lago, he insisted on accepting Jews and blacks even though other clubs in Palm Beach to this day discriminate against blacks and Jews," Kessler says. "The old guard in Palm Beach was outraged that …

Those Undiverse Episcopalians, and Others

They talk a good game, but as a recent Pew report notes, those purveyors of same-sex marriage bomb in the racial diversity department.   Even with the choice of Presiding Bishop Curry, the Episcopal Church is whiter than--horrors--the Southern Baptist Convention! It's hard to blame non-white people from avoiding the Episcopal Church; in fact, it's …

Jihadi John, Your Services Are No Longer Required

The infamous ISIS video star is on the run: British terrorist Mohammed Emwazi – known as Jihadi John – has fled the IS terror network and gone on the run in Syria, according to sources... Emwazi is also believed to fear his unmasking had diminished his value as an IS killer and also that jealous …

What Discrimination Gets Punished Depends Upon Who's Doing the Punishing

This post is inspired by a friend of ours who told a very interesting story from her growing up in a neighbouring Southern state.  (And when you live in Tennessee, that doesn't mean much, because most of the Southern states and some of the border ones too are neighbours.)  She grew up in the 1980's, …

The Ottoman Tales V: Facing Reality on the Armenians

This continues a series inspired (somewhat) by Noel Barber’s The Sultans.  The previous instalment is here. The question of the massacres of the Armenians during the Ottoman Empire is one of those poisonous issues that never seems to go away.  But what can we learn from it? To find that out, we need to go …

The Ottoman Tales IV: Islamic States, Then and Now

This continues a series inspired (somewhat) by Noel Barber’s The Sultans.  The previous instalment is here. It should be obvious from this post that the Ottoman Empire was an Islamic state.  In fact, in its day it was the Islamic state in the Middle East and anywhere else.  Yet it's different in many ways from …

It Really Does Matter What You Believe

I mulled long and hard what I'd put up as a reflection of the terrorist shootings here in Chattanooga last Thursday.  Given that the shooter was an electrical engineer and graduate of the same institution where I teach, I think it proper to repost--with a few updates--my piece Coming Home from Heathrow, which I first …

The Ottoman Tales III: The Banner Named Barack

This continues a series inspired (somewhat) by Noel Barber’s The Sultans.  The previous instalment is here. When Benito Mussolini broke with the Socialists and began his journey towards Fascism and taking over Italy, his newspaper, The People of Italy, screamed with this headline for its first issue in 1914: The Banner of the Prophet in …

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