Well, I'm back, or at least slightly.
Glad to see there was some continued heated discussion on the semi-colon, Hezbollah and Chomsky (but not, alas, Jane Austen) and glad to see you all finding out if you were liberal airheads or whining rotters. My oddest search term referral while I was away was almost certainly "helen lederer stockings".
I'm trawling through the backlog of stuff in my inbox and my favourite blogs, and I'll be amending this post once or twice more today as I share some of it with you.
To start with, two interesting takes on the on-going Rowan Williams shariah law debate (and its ramifications for other areas of multicultural and faith-related politics), from Andy Newman and from David Aaronovitch. I don't agree 100% with either, but I found them refreshing in the way they grope, in different ways, towards a more intelligent version of secularism than the one which is dominant on the liberal left.
Next, via Arieh, an interesting post on the newish Z-Word blog on the "end" of German guilt over the Holocaust, and the implications of this for relations between Germany and Israel.
Here's an excellent new blog, Socialism of Fools (with, naturally, a high-quality blogroll...).
Two from Daniel, one on the miserable situation in Israel/Palestine and one on not being proud to be British in Gordon Brown's Britain.
Here is a post on Samantha Power, which I will respond to (I know I keep breaking these sorts of promises!) in the next day or so!
A tale of two Finks: Simply Jews takes the Norman Finkelstein story, and runs with it alongside a Deborah Fink story.
Two posts on the contemporary persistence of human slavery, from Second Hand Conjecture and from Another blog is possible.
A good post on poetry and politics from David Semple. It includes a great poem by Brecht, while this post on Rosa Luxembourg at The Durutti Column includes a rather trite Brecht poem.
As it is the anniversary of the Kronstadt uprising this week, watch these videos at Marx and Coca Cola of the Russian revolution in colour (nice title: Suck it Trots).
Staying to the left, this post at Recording Surface criticises the fixation of the Northern (that's as in global North, rather than as in grim up North) left with Hugo Chavez.
Totally unrelated, a bit of South Londonism: Sonic Truth on a night in New Cross.
Finally, here is something that really disgusted me.