Morning Report: April 20, 2007

Dreams Into Lightning celebrates three years of publishing with this morning's roundup of positive events.

Jane Novak: "The winds of change may be sweeping across Yemen." Jane's blog Armies of Liberation should be your first stop for all Yemen-related news; following the September 11 terrorist attacks, Jane made a vow to fight Osama bin Laden on his native soil. She still continues the fight against islamist extremism and dictatorship in Yemen, and she's not alone. Here's an excerpt from her latest article on political tribalism in al-Ja'ashen:
The winds of change may be sweeping across Yemen. President Ali Abdullah Saleh recently appointed Dr. Ali Mohammed Mujawar as Prime Minister. Formerly the Minister of Electricity, Mujawar comes to the post with a strong reputation as an academic and a technocrat. This change in leadership was followed by a cabinet shuffle in April that brought eleven new ministers on board. The enthusiasm of the new government is palpable. However, the Cabinet’s ability to act decisively is limited by countervailing authority seated outside governmental institutions.

The elite among President Saleh’s northern tribesmen have supplanted the jurisdiction of the state. Since Yemen’s 1994 civil war, power has become consolidated in a network of influential individuals who largely operate above the law. ...

Read the rest at the link, and don't forget to blogroll Armies of Liberation. (AofL)

Irshad Manji: Don't call her a "moderate". Tom the Redhunter posts on Irshad Manji:
Last weekend I heard Irshad Manji interviewed by Monika Crowley on her radio show. I'd heard of Manji before, but didn't know much about her.

Irshad Manji is a Muslim woman who has decided that her religion needs serious reform. The title of her book says it all: The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith . The title of her website is also revealing: "Muslim Refusenik"

What impressed me most about Manji during the interview was when she said that moderates were part of the problem with Islam. Wow, I thought, you won't find that said out loud at any Washington DC dinner parties. But it's true. And we're at the point where the truth needs to be spoken about Islam, and spoken with all the PC restrictions gone. ...

Tom goes on to draw the important distinction between "moderates" (who say the right things but do nothing) and reformers (who stick their necks out - often literally - and work for change). (Irshad Manji, The Redhunter)

La décision française. Neo-neocon looks at the changing political climate in Fance: 'The field is unusual for France. As Jane Kramer points out in the New Yorker, all three leading candidates are relative outsiders, and all are in agreement that France is broken and needs fixing, quick. This in and of itself is somewhat unusual; the French are not especially known for self-criticism. The candidate who interests me the most is Nicholas Sarkozy, the leader in the polls. But the situation is very fluid, because the large undecided group—in some polls, half of the electorate, a truly formidable figure—makes predictions impossible. According to Kramer, Sarkozy makes many French people uneasy, for reasons they can’t articulate very well. I think it’s because he isn’t quintessentially French–his father was Hungarian, his maternal grandfather a Greek Jew. He is a blunt speaker in a world exquisitely sensitive to PC circumlocations, an action-oriented candidate focused on results, an extoller of the value of work in a welfare state, and an Americaphile in a country steeped in anti-Americanism.' (Neo-neocon)

Michael J. Totten, The Week's blogger of the year. Michael Totten has won the "Blogger of the Year" award from The Week. To find out why, read his latest, highly informative post on Kirkuk. (Michael Totten)

Oregon passes historic equality bills. Log Cabin Republicans, via news release: 'Yesterday [April 17, 2007] the Oregon House passed two historic bills for equality. AB 2, which provides non discrimination protection for gays, lesbians and transgendered people passed 35-25 with four Republican members voting yes. HB 2007, which passed 34-26 will provide over 500 benefits, rights and responsibilities under a new domestic partnership arrangement for same sex couples. AB 2 has passed both chambers, but will go back to the Senate to reconcile some minor changes that were made. The Senate is expected to also vote on the domestic partnership bill within the next two weeks.' LCR notes that Republicans Vicki Berger, Chuck Burley, and Bob Jenson were among the Oregon House representatives who voted for both bills. Also with an Oregon connection, Bruce at Gay Patriot applauds Log Cabin for for its "pragmatism and seriousness". From the Log Cabin website:
Log Cabin Republicans praise the bi-partisan introduction of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (LLEHCPA) in the U.S. Senate. The legislation would allow local law enforcement agencies to access federal assistance in the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes. Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) is the lead Republican co-sponsor. The House version was introduced last month. Similar legislation previously passed both the U.S. House and Senate by wide, bi-partisan margins.

“Our strong support for local law enforcement officials and our shared commitment to fighting crime unites us as Republicans,” said Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon. “We all understand the importance of combating violent crime in every community—from the largest cities to the smallest towns. That’s why every Republican lawmaker should support this legislation.”

I have criticized Senator Smith elsewhere for his positions on national security issues and the war on terrorism, so I'm happy to give him credit where it's due here. It remains to be seen whether Senator Smith will take the strong stand on defense that I expect from a Republican US senator. (Gay Patriot, LCR)

Briefly noted. Tammy Bruce unmasks a conspiracy, and Jeremayakovka has the scoop on some great music.

Notes. My first posts at Dreams Into Lightning were published on the 21st of April, 2004; I began writing the Morning Report feature on May 4, 2004. I began publishinng on TypePad a year ago; my first Morning Report on TypePad appeared on April 24, 2006.