Friday, April 29, 2011

Best in CLASS

While we're on the subject of trailers, check out the final international reel for X-Men: First Class before its mid-June bow. As you know, my enthusiasm for this film has been steadily increasing with every new promo, and I think this may be the best one yet. Very excited for this.


For as much as I liked the first Transformers flick in '07, I disliked the second one in '09, so the pressure is inordinately high on the upcoming trilogy-capper Transformers: Dark of the Moon to make me give a crap. Based on the teaser trailer that was released last December, my interest was mildly piqued, and based on the full trailer that just hit yesterday, my interest is juuuuuust slightly more piqued. Not in a "Wow, can't wait to see this! Need my ticket now! Now! Now!" but more like, "Well, I'm gonna see it anyway, so..." It doesn't look terrible (but then, neither did Revenge of the Fallen) but based on what we see here, it sure seems like the stuff that bugged me about the earlier films is still in effect: too much of a focus on the uninteresting human characters instead of the titular robots, and designs for said robots that are so busy that they're virtually impossible to get a read on visually.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Birther Breakdown

Yesterday should have been Christmas morning for dedicated stalwarts of the increasingly embarrassing "Birther" movement (as if further embarrassment was even possible for that bunch). The White House's release of President Obama's longform birth certificate, long heralded as a Rosetta Stone by the Birther crowd, should have put to rest any notions that Obama's ascension to high office wasn't legitimate. But of course, we all knew even before the document was released that it wouldn't change the Birther calculus one iota. Conspiracy theories have a funny way of circling back, forth, and sideways on themselves, creating such an impenetrable knot of fear and suspicion that anything debunking said conspiracy merely becomes more proof of said conspiracy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


'nuff said.
Trump Unable To Produce Certificate Proving He's Not A Festering Pile Of S***

Impaired Judgment (Day)

Here we go again.

Two years ago, the Terminator franchise saw both its big and small screen appendages consigned to the twin scrapheaps of box office ignominy and audience apathy, and at the time I assumed that was that for the House that Cameron built. But this is Hollywood, where ideas don't die, they just get rebooted. And with the property swooped up early last year by consortium Pacificor at fire sale prices after previous owners Halcyon went under, a new attempt to reprogram the series is in the offing and being shopped to studios, this time with sexagenarian star Arnold Schwarzenegger -- newly freed-up from his tenure inflicting Judgment Day on California's finances -- attached (somewhat inexplicably) to reprise the titular cyborg he first originated in 1984.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

O'Donnell on Limbaugh: WWJD

Following on from my musings last Sunday on the inherently contradictory commingling of the far Right's Objectivist and religious fundamentalist wings comes the following segment from last night's episode of Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell. In it, the MSNBC host lays into ever-bloated, ever-bloviating Right Wing shill Rush Limbaugh in response to comments from El Rushbo earlier in the day attempting to divine Jesus's views on our tax code (and make himself feel better, no doubt, for wanting to step all over the downtrodden).

This is one of the reasons I've come to really enjoy O'Donnell's commentaries of late. He doesn't have the bombast that characterized his timeslot's former occupant Keith Olbermann (whose return to Countdown -- now on Current TV -- has just been announced, by the way), but I think ultimately that's a good thing. He has no less passion, and is no less eloquent, and in some ways is even more effective at getting his point across than Olbermann had been. Vids like this are why:

New Interview With Yours Truly

A few weeks ago I was contacted by author and lecturer Laurence B. Brown for an interview about this blog and its impact (if any) over the years. Here's what I had to say.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tea Party of Doom

One thing I've come to believe about the Tea Party phenomenon that's currently in vogue is that while it may initially have been propelled on traditional small "c" conservative notions of limited government and fiscal discipline -- sort of a mutated strain of Randian Objectivism -- the "Tea Party" tag has since become more like an ideological catch-all -- the political equivalent of that filter you throw on top of your sink drain to catch the debris and schmutz so it doesn't screw up your garbage disposal. Just this past week, we saw a glaring example of how the movement encompasses idiotic so-racist-they-don't-even-realize-they're-racist racists, and how Donald Trump, marginalizing himself further from the mainstream with his every utterance, has built up a loyal Tea Party constituency with his Birther nonsense.

And as the recent congressional budget battle nearly stalling out over the less-than-1% of the budget allotted to Planned Parenthood (Abortion! Oh nos!) should make clear, the Religious Right's particular, peculiar brand of social conservatism has now found itself a seat at the Tea Party table right alongside fiscal conservatism, Birtherism, racism, and plain ol' batshit crazy-ism. Now, looking at this group -- banded together from far-flung ideologies and aligned (almost) solely by their singular hatred for President Obama -- they're sort of like the Legion of Doom from the old Super Friends show, where Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Riddler, et al, would team up to defeat their common foes, but whose differences of ego, agenda, and yep, sanity would inevitably lead to their latest scheme imploding.

The situation with the Tea Party is pretty much the same (even though they're wearing the wrong costumes). I just don't see how so many fundamentally different views of the world can hang together in anything resembling a cohesive fashion without falling in on themselves. The Tea Party's initial argument about excessive government spending, however wrongheaded it may be, is still by and large one the general public can go along with, but once you toss the Molotov cocktails of abortion and gay marriage and other social agenda stuff into that mix, folks start to peel off fast. Garrett FitzGerald at makes much the same point, breaking down how the renewed Religious Right's attempt to rebrand Biblical teachings as Randian dogma may prove the Tea Party movement's eventual undoing, Legion of Doom-style.

Friday, April 22, 2011

More Mufreesboro Mosque Maneuvers

The shenanigans surrounding the mosque project in Murfreesboro, TN have continued unabated even in the face of its opponents receiving a pretty severe national shellacking via CNN's "Unwelcome" TV special a few weeks back. Far from sounding like the reasonable, concerned citizens they perceive themselves as, the special instead laid bare the passive, ingrained bigotry at the root of their actions. In their latest doomed-to-failure stratagem, the anti-mosque cohort is doing their best to show that common notions of shame and decency bounce off them like bullets off Superman's chest. In hopes of stopping the mosque's construction, the motley assortment of antis who gave such a proud face to Murfreesboro have now come up with a new argument, summed up thusly by Murfreesboro's Daily News Journal:
The case began with plaintiffs Kevin Fisher, Lisa Moore and Henry Golczynski seeking an injunction to stop the county from issuing more building permits. Their attorneys' Joe Brandon Jr. of Murfreesboro and Tom Smith of Franklin argued the future ICM building would be a Shariah training center for jihad rather than a place of worship, but Corlew by November ruled against their request and stated that "Islam is in fact a religion." 
Brandon and Smith filed new motions Tuesday arguing that all 17 plaintiffs have standing when it comes to the proposed ICM building. They contend that Fisher has standing because he's an African American Christian who'd be discriminated against and subjugated as a second-class citizen under Shariah law and be denied his civil rights; Moore has standing because she's a Jewish female who's targeted in a Muslim call to kill Jews in "jihad" in support of Palestine and as a woman whose rights would be subordinate to those of men in Shariah law; and Golczynski, who lost a son killed while serving in the U.S. Marines in a combat in Fallujah, Iraq, by insurgents pursuing jihad as dictated by Shariah law.
So, just so we're clear on this, they're preemptively suing the Murfreesboro Muslim community for the indignities they think they'll suffer (but won't) under the Sharia law they think is coming (but isn't) based on events thousands of miles away involving people they think are connected (but aren't) to the people they're suing. Well played, antis. Well played. I especially like Kevin Fisher's complaint that he'll be discriminated against in Islam because he's African-American. Apart from this just being flat-out wrong, I'm also curious to know what he'd call his actions against the Muslims in his community if not discrimination. There's Quixotic, and then there's idiotic, and it sure seems to me that this bunch is a few windmills shy of a tilt. I'm actually on pins-and-needles waiting to see what goofy argument they trot out next.

Nostalgia Theater: Captain Power Edition

Here's a show that meant a lot to me as a wee one but went mostly ignored by the rest of the world at large. Back in the '80s, the practice of creating kids' programming specifically engineered by toy companies to sell their wares was alarmingly widespread, due mainly to the loosening of restrictions in the early part of the decade that prevented such commercialization (thank you, President Reagan!). While I agree in principle (especially now that I'm a parent) that toymakers shouldn't ply their trade on unsuspecting children, I also have to admit -- however grudgingly -- that huge swaths of happy childhood memories can be owed to those loosened restrictions, as they allowed for such toy-based fare as He-Man, G.I. JoeTransformers, and of course, Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Islamophobic One-upmanship

Over the last year-and-change I've been following the various ways -- sometimes-hilarious, always-hateful -- that Republican politicos, cowed by the Nativist nutbars that now seem to constitute the entirety of their rank-and-file, are speaking out with increasing vehemence against Islam and Muslims while inching their toes ever closer to the line between incitement of violence and plausible deniability. Between old standbys like Newt Gingrich (the "Patient Zero," if you will, of political Islamophobia), or rising stars like Herman "no Muslims in my cabinet" Cain and newly-anointed Birther Baron/Qur'anic Scholar Donald Trump, if you're wondering how anti-Muslim hate became an acceptable part of our discourse, it's not hard to see where that noxious whiff is emanating from. With the GOP presidential nomination contest promising its most WWE-esque yet, I have a feeling we're locked even tighter into what Salon's Justin Elliott calls a game of "Islamophobic one-upmanship," and to help keep tabs on the greatest hits -- creeping sharia, stealth jihad, you name it -- emanating from the now-mainstream Right, Elliott has come up with the "Muslim-baiting Tracker" to catalogue the latest anti-Muslim bon mots from various Republican luminaries in handy-dandy list form. Bookmark the page and check back often, because I have a feeling there are going to be plenty of updates.


Too funny. And such a microcosm for the current state of the GOP.

Mitt Romney Haunted By Past Of Trying To Help Uninsured Sick People

From the article:
"Every day I am haunted by the fact that I gave impoverished Massachusetts citizens a chance to receive health care," Romney told reporters Wednesday, adding that he feels ashamed whenever he looks back at how he forged bipartisan support to help uninsured Americans afford medicine to cure their illnesses. "I'm only human, and I've made mistakes. None bigger, of course, than helping cancer patients receive chemotherapy treatments and making sure that those suffering from pediatric AIDS could obtain medications, but that's my cross to bear." 
"My hope is that Republican voters will one day forgive me for making it easier for sick people—especially low-income sick people—to go to the hospital and see a doctor," Romney added. "It was wrong, and I'm sorry."
More at the link.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Recommended Reading

Mark Ames and Mike Elk over at The Nation provide us with a window into the bully pulpit electioneering tactics of the billionaire Koch Brothers, the Daddy Warbucks duo who've provided the astroturf for the Tea Party movement, engineered much of the anti-healthcare reform sturm und drang of two summers ago, and just generally play the role of "Stereotypical Rich Guys" to perfection. Now we learn that they spent much of the lead-up to last year's midterms actively strong-arming their employees to tell them which direction to vote (hint: it wasn't for Democrats). This is yet another example of how the "Citizens United v. FEC" Supreme Court ruling from last year, far from setting the table for a fairer and freer political climate, basically kneecaps any notion of a level playing field. The Supremes sure did a number on this country with that one.

(Thanks to Amanda Quraishi for the heads-up on this one.)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Superman Roundup

Having locked in Henry Cavill and Amy Adams as Superman and Lois Lane, respectively, the other big news to break last weekend about Zack Snyder's Superman reboot, now titled (The?) Man of Steel, was the signing of Oscar-nominated Michael Shannon, most recently wowing critics on HBO's Boardwalk Empire, as the film's villain. Yep, it's General Zod. The "Zod as villain" rumor has been floating around since Snyder signed on, and I said back then that I hoped it wasn't true, so while I'm less-than-thrilled that they're not mining one of the half-dozen other Superman foes worth a damn, I sure can't complain about their choice to play him. Shannon is a great actor, and extremely different from Terence Stamp, whose Zod in the Reeve Superman flicks left a pretty indelible mark, so we can be confident this will mark a total reinvention of that role (check out an amusing vid of Shannon discussing his Zod audition here).

Friday, April 15, 2011

Scorpio, Wherefore Art Thou?

It's been awhile since I've talked about The Simpsons in these parts, mainly because there really hasn't been much to talk about, but Chris Morgan has a very interesting piece up about tracking the role that guest stars have played on the show over the course of its twenty-two seasons on the air. From the high point of Albert Brooks' brilliant Hank Scorpio in season eight's "You Only Move Twice" to the low, low point of darn near any guest the show trots out now (usually playing themselves...badly), it provides us with yet another opportunity to get depressed as we realize just how precipitous the show's decline in quality has been over the past decade-and-change (and yet I still watch, so you tell me who the idiot is).

Recommended Reading

Journalist Andrew Reinbach dives into the cesspool that is the anti-Sharia (read: anti-Muslim) movement on the Nativist Right and attempts to dismantle the tried-and-true talking points (mostly exaggerated, some outright made up) that are regularly belched up as proof of some overarching (read: non-existent) conspiracy. Now, this is a swim I've already taken several times (most recently here, here, and here) but the "creeping Sharia" meme really is the Highlander of Right Wing scares (well, this and Birtherism, I guess), so I applaud Reinbach for rushing in where angels fear to tread. Well worth a read.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

APES Trailer Rises!

Yes, the day is finally upon us. After months of incessant whining from me for the Fox marketing gurus to get the lead out, the first teaser trailer is here for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the studio's attempted re-reinvention of the classic Apes brand after the failed Tim Burton reboot of ten years ago. Check out the embed below, or the HD version over at Apple. My thoughts after watching it through a couple of times now: though cautious, I'm also optimistic. The motion capture ape effects are pretty darn impressive, and it's easy to see why the digital wizards at WETA get the marquee namecheck as opposed to the director, writers, or stars. Also, though the trope of "Man meddles in things he shouldn't, pays the price" isn't exactly new, it's also what the entire original Planet of the Apes cycle is built on so, it's at least of a piece with its predecessors.

I'm genuinely curious to see how much the film ties in, if at all, with the extant Apes canon, but I think the teaser does do a very nice job of infusing a feeling of foreboding and building dread (not unlike a Romero Dead flick) as it slowly reveals the hordes of super-intelligent simians that'll eventually hunt Charlton Heston in a cornfield two-thousand years hence (and forty-three years ago). I'm down for this, but then I was always going to be down for it. The real question is how effectively it plays with mainstream auds, and that's something over which I still have some concerns. On the eve of an exceptionally busy summer movie season that has would-be blockbusters piled practically end-to-end, Rise doesn't have very much juice going for it, but this is one instance (like my hope for X-Men: First Class) where lowered or non-existent expectations might work in its favor.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Recommended Reading

With rampant budget cuts across the country hitting schools especially hard, not to mention the bruising fights in Wisconsin early this year that specifically targeted teachers' unions, it sure feels like education is taking it on the chin wherever you look. As an educator myself, I tend to take it understandably personally when people talk with absolute authority about a) how ineffectual teachers are and b) how overpaid teachers are. As Chris Hedges argues, the current undermining of our education system is part a process that's been going on for awhile now, and is being driven by a very specific agenda. Some definite food for thought.

LAW & ORDER on Life Support?

Monday's premiere of the newly-retooled (and newly-renamed) Law & Order: LA was meant to signal a triumphant rebirth for the troubled series, but the extensive changes in tone and cast may well have amounted to little more than rearranging the furniture on a certain doomed ocean liner. Far from giving the show a fresh lease on life, it seems like the extended hiatus and "shocking" plot twist (buh-bye, Skeet!) -- breathlessly hyped by NBC for weeks now -- had the exact opposite effect. Ratings for LA's midseason premiere sank even lower than what it had been averaging on Wednesday in the fall and dragged it to a series low. Clearly, this isn't good news, and barring a sudden and pronounced ratings turnaround next week and beyond, the prospects for the latest Law & Order series making it to season two aren't exactly promising.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Lest we forget, Planet of the Apes isn't the only Fox franchise getting a high profile prequel this summer. When X-Men: First Class was announced last summer, I think the big question mark surrounding the big budget, big risk origin tale was whether the X-Men movies had legs without the charismatic presence of star Hugh Jackman, whose Wolverine had become the de facto center of gravity for the series. And while that character's cinematic future is still in doubt after his director bolted, this new international trailer for First Class -- showing us lots of what we've already seen as well as plenty of stuff we haven't -- makes a pretty compelling case that the franchise will be just fine, and already looks like a significant step up from its two ignominious predecessors

Clearly, the friendship and rift between mutant frenemies Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) is a compelling frame on which to build a story, and while McAvoy is always dependable, from this brief glimpse it looks like Fassbender has Jackman-level charisma to spare. And like the original X did for Jackman in '00, I don't doubt that First Class will elevate Fassbender, already a very well-regarded actor in industry circles, straight to the A-list in much the same way. While I was already onboard based on the names involved (director Matthew Vaughn and producer Bryan Singer), the original trailer coupled with this new one seal the deal for me. This may well end up being the biggest surprise of the summer movie season -- one where lowered expectations end up working to its advantage.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Recommended Reading

The fact that last week's extended negotiations to prevent a government shutdown nearly stalled out at the eleventh hour due to Republican concerns over the less than 1% of the budget allotted to Planned Parenthood gives some indication of how ideologically precarious a position the current model GOP has adopted. Not helping matters any was the release of Congressman Paul Ryan's much-ballyhooed proposal to put us on a "Path to Prosperity" by scuttling Medicare and Medicaid while cutting the tax burden for the wealthiest. With Ryan's plan (by-and-large) being hailed as "courageous" in the media, I have no doubt that (if history is any kind of guide) this will only move the deficit conversation even further to the right.

This in turn means (if history is any kind of guide) the Dems are poised to give up even more ground in the impending fight over raising the debt ceiling, not to mention next year's budget battle, rather than taking a stand for what's right. What's most frustrating about this is that a fight for Medicare and Medicaid is one the Dems can handily win, not just on points, but on principle as well. It's the right position to take, and the other side knows it's the right position to take. This is a lesson Bill Clinton learned to his advantage in the déjà vu budget battles of the '90s, and as former Clinton speechwriter Michael Waldman tells Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent, it's a calculus President Obama would do well to familiarize himself with.


Time once again to celebrate another meaningless milestone in the life of "Zaki's Corner," as we did just over a year ago. As you can tell by looking at the "Follow" box to the right, this blog has now hit 900 followers through Networked Blogs. That puts us within spitting distance of another meaningless milestone, the big 1000, so spread the word! You can expect confetti, streamers, and the full works when we get there, but until then, just to mark this occasion in the proverbial cement...

Chimp Happens (Sort of)

I mentioned my hope last week that the promo machine for the newly-retitled Rise of the Planet of the Apes might finally begin to ramp up, and it looks we're starting to see the first inklings of that taking shape. First up, the teaser website just went live today which includes the official logo for the flick, which I like. As you can see above, it nicely uses both the title and typeface to situate the prequel firmly within the lineage of its predecessors. Fox has also released a short synopsis of the project, which doesn't mention star James Franco, but sure goes out of its way to foreground the effects wizards involved:

Leaving LAW & ORDER

The premiere of the retooled Law & Order: LA, now with 100% less Skeet Ulrich, airs in a two-hour block tonight on NBC, and I hope to have some thoughts on that tomorrow. In the meantime, and on the eve of the Ulrich ouster, let's take a walk down memory lane with's list of ten other high-profile Law & Order departures -- some heartbreaking (Jill Hennessy's ADA Claire Kincaid), some head-scratching (Elizabeth Rohm's ADA Serena Southerlyn) -- over the course of the venerable brand's twenty-plus years on the air.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Recommended Reading

On Tuesday, I linked to a piece discussing the anti-Sharia (and, by proxy, anti-Muslim) battle a-brewing in Oklahoma thanks to a ballot measure passed last year, and how it serves as a test case for similar wars in the offing across the country. While many people have looked at the sudden outbreak of such measures making their way through state legislatures with a mixture of alarm and anger, I tend to view them more for what they are: transparent attempts by ignorant politicos to kowtow to their equally ignorant base.

Now, as I've repeatedly said here, there, and everywhere, the establishment clause of the Constitution already addresses any fears of so-called "encroaching Sharia" (which are themselves misplaced -- and a misnomer, to boot). That hasn't stopped the great anti-Sharia Crusade from tromping its way across the country, though, helped along by the same old suspects we've come to expect. Salon's Justin Elliott, who's been a real journeyman in tracking the tendrils of this hysteria, looks at a similar such bill in Nebraska, and in the process unearths the who's-who behind this wave of Sharia paranoia.

Thursday, April 07, 2011


The Planet of the Apes prequel continues to evolve. After hopscotching across several different release dates, the Rupert Wyatt-directed film finally landed on August 5. Then we kinda-sorta got a look at one of the film's titular creatures. Now, as the big push begins in earnest (kicking off with the August 15 debut of the first trailer -- 'bout damn time), market polling has convinced the execs at Fox that as far as titles go, the original Caesar and the revised Rise of the Apes were apparently a little too subtle for audiences, and so, in hopes of sprinkling some franchise dust on the project, they're now calling it Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Click over to Movieline for their take on how the change probably went down (they're probably right, too).

I'm of two minds on the new title, honestly. On one hand, it's a nice thematic callback to the series' other entries (Beneath the..., Escape From the..., etc.), and firmly places the new film in that canon. On the other, and maybe I'll get used to it, but Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a bit of a word salad. It just feels a syllable or two too long, sort of like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which was also needlessly wordy, and which I also hoped would grow on me. What does become clear from Fox deploying a new title at this late stage is that awareness is nowhere near where they want it to be (gee, I wonder why?), and squeezing a "Planet of the" in there does a lot of the heavy-lifting for them. Will it work? I guess we'll have some sense when the trailer hits next Friday.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

LAW Moves

With less than a week to go until Law & Order: Los Angeles has its high profile, high stakes relaunch, with Skeet Ulrich leaving, Alana De La Garza joining, and Alfred Molina switching seats, TV Guide's Kate Stanhope explains how the pressure to perform is about more than just the show itself: it's about the viability of the entire brand, which has been in a steady decline for several years now. Also interesting is this reflection from executive producer Rene Balcer, who segued to Los Angeles from the cancelled mothership, on why the new show may have had a tougher time catching on with longtime fans:

Bot Camp

A few months ago I used an installment of "Nostalgia Theater" to reminisce on GoBots, Tonka's action figure line that attempted to challenge the Transformers for changing-toy supremacy in the 1980s, but which is now mostly derided and/or forgotten. Well, in case that didn't scratch your GoBots itch (you might want to have a doctor look at that, by the way), the folks at Topless Robot have done me one better and compiled a list of "8 Things You Probably Didn't Know About GoBots (And Probably Didn't Care)." After reading the list, you'll agree that yeah, you probably didn't care. Bonus points though for their throwing in a shout-out to another forgotten '80s toon, Turbo Teen (itself a recipient of the "Nostalgia Theater" spotlight not too long ago).

Recommended Reading

Despite much of the alarmist rhetoric out there about the big booga-booga of "creeping Sharia," I think most reasonable people understand that MTV's Jersey Shore probably represents more of a threat to our American way of life. But naturally that's not going stop anti-Muslim (and let's be clear, that's ultimately what this is about) activists from doing their thing to sow suspicion, propagate fear, and just generally try to stir up differences between us. As Slate's David Weigel explains, an anti-Sharia ballot measure passed by voters in Oklahoma last October has now become a flashpoint and proxy battleground for similar struggles by conservatives all across the country.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Oa Snap

Call it "The Great Green Lantern Reclamation Project."

When the teaser trailer for this summer's Green Lantern feature made its debut last fall, it was greeted in both general and fanboy circles with a resounding shrug. As I said at the time, while it looked true enough to the Lantern lore as established by decades of DC Comics, there wasn't anything about it that blew my mind either. Not necessarily bad, just...meh. Well, the last thing Warners wants is for "meh" to be the watchword for their big entrée in the summer superhero shuffle, especially when Marvel is poised to dominate with a Thor-X-Men-Captain America onslaught, and especially when this project represents DC's most viable chance to stake out franchise beachhead that doesn't involve the words "Super" or "Bat,"

Friday, April 01, 2011

Sharia Law and the Second Longest Comment Thread of All Time

Last summer, in the midst of the full heat from the "Ground Zero Mosque" controversy, my mocking of a typical misspeak from Sarah Palin regarding the Park51 project inadvertently sparked a fascinating, multi-sided, several days-long discussion breaking out on my Facebook wall, which I then posted here. Not only was it an insightful discussion that gave a hearing to the many points-of-view on the issue, it also went on to become my most-read post of all time. Well, something similar happened in response to the CNN special Unwelcome, about the troubles surrounding a planned mosque in TN.

My initial post, which mused on the special as well as the continued ignorance in mainstream society (and the abuse of that ignorance) about Sharia law and its place in the lives of everyday Muslims, prompted another lengthy dialogue (which included one of the same participants from the Park51 post) that stretched on for several days. Like that other thread, I thought it'd be shame to let the conversation fade into limbo once it drifted off my Facebook page, so I've preserved it below. Like last time, nothing's been changed or redacted by me except for the names of the participants in the interests of privacy.

Again, for some context, read this first, then click past the jump for all the fun and frivolity. Enjoy!