The poor aren’t to blame for the subprime mortgage crisis


Max Ehrenfreund, an old classmate of mine, has been writing some fantastic policy-related material at The Washington Post's "Wonkblog." I woke up to a very cool piece in my inbox: Irresponsible lending might have been one of the many causes of the financial crisis -- but not just irresponsible lending to poor people, according to a new study."The large majority of mortgage dollars originated between 2002 and 2006 are obtained by middle- and high-income borrowers (not the poor)," the authors … [Read more...]

French Muslims have faced more violence since Charlie Hebdo than they did in all of 2014

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Tracy McNicol at The Daily Beast reports:The National Observatory Against Islamophobia says there were 128 anti-Muslim incidents reported in France between the Charlie Hebdo killings and Jan. 20, compared to 133 last year. The Islamophobia monitoring group, linked to the French Council of the Muslim Faith, notes the figure only takes into account incidents reported to law enforcement. It leaves aside victims who haven’t bothered out of fear or resignation. It also leaves out numbers not yet a … [Read more...]

Defending racist speech isn’t moral or productive


The following is a guest post by Aaron Underwood. At its core, I believe the rallying phrase "Je Suis Charlie" was meant to show that free speech cannot be strong-armed. The office of Charlie Hebdo has a long-standing history of legal and physical attacks, and France doesn't have the same robust legal protections on free speech that the US has. This is all an understandable and important response, and that can’t be understated.With some respectful distance, though, I think it’s worth … [Read more...]

When dialogue works (and when it doesn’t)


The following is a guest post by Trav Mamone from Bi Any Means.In the Emergent Christian scene, there’s a focus on dialogue between liberals and conservatives. The underlining philosophy is that all Christians are members of the same Body of Christ, and as such, our petty differences shouldn’t cause schisms.I was a Christian for twelve years, and I dabbled in every theological persuasion I could find: tongue-talking holy-rollers, suburban megachurches, old-school Lutherans, and Emergent h … [Read more...]

Richard Dawkins still doesn’t really get the whole “race” thing

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Happy new years from the NPS crew. I've had a lot going on (updates to come), but I couldn't resist a quick update in response to the latest Dawkins twitter scandal. me try to pull a Daniel Dennett on this one:I take it the point of the tweet was to respond to a common criticism of new atheist writers---that they're Islamophobic and racist. Yet Muslims aren't a coherent racial identity and neither is Islam. To Dawkins, it … [Read more...]

KKK Imperial Wizard describes a kind of kinship with the Taliban

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VICE News recently posted a feature on the KKK's recruitment of armed forces veterans. This documentary focuses primarily on veteran members of a particular Mississippi chapter. (I would have liked to see more emphasis on broader trends, but that just isn't VICE's thing.)Early on in the reportage, Imperial Wizard Steven Howard admits a kind of kinship to the Taliban: People have called us the Taliban. In some way we can relate to Islamic extremists, just like we are Christian … [Read more...]

#illridewithyou: a reminder that the little things do matter

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In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 on the comedy news quiz Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Moz Jobrani said: As a Middle Eastern male, I know that the whole Middle Eastern community was watching going, ‘Please don’t be Middle Eastern. Please don’t be Middle Eastern.’ And then it came out that they were Chechen and we were like ‘yes’ and the next day they said but they’re Muslim and I was like ‘Damn it!’ His tone is light-hearted and he is saying it for laughs, but he is also making a s … [Read more...]

Interfaith literacy: A chat with Omar Sarwar on Islam & atheism, pt 1

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Back in November, Omar Sarwar, who is a doctoral candidate at Columbia University, wrote a piece for Huffington Post that thoroughly debunked some of Bill Maher and Sam Harris' go-to talking points about Islam. After he showed up to engage our readers in discussion about his piece, we figured that Sarwar had a lot more to contribute to this conversation.We asked him a few questions about himself, about his academic work, and about his views on the relationship between Muslims and … [Read more...]

Police violence [continued]

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At The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates urges us to take responsibility for our role in police violence: For activists and protesters radicalized by the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, this weekend's killing may seem to pose a great obstacle. In fact, it merely points to the monumental task in front of them. The response to Garner's death, particularly, seemed to offer some hope. But the very fact that this opening originated in the most extreme case—the on-camera choking of a man for a min … [Read more...]

Double standards for anti-police violence

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Over at Slate, Jamelle Bouie discusses the recent death of two police officers in New York City. On Saturday, Ismaaiyl Brinsley shot a former girlfriend in Baltimore. Hours later, in Brooklyn, New York, he ambushed and killed two police officers in their car and then killed himself. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio described the murders as “execution-style.” Police don’t have a motive for the shootings, but Brinsley had a long criminal record—he was arrested for robbery charges in Ohio in 2009 and … [Read more...]