Saturday, August 21, 2010

Quote of the Week

So virulent is the Islamophobic hysteria of the neocon and Fox News right — abetted by the useful idiocy of the Anti-Defamation League, Harry Reid and other cowed Democrats — that it has also rendered Gen. David Petraeus’s last-ditch counterinsurgency strategy for fighting the war inoperative. How do you win Muslim hearts and minds in Kandahar when you are calling Muslims every filthy name in the book in New York?

~ Frank Rich

Must Reads

Bob Cesca: Ground Zero Mosque Opponents Have a Lot of Work to Do

Eugene Robinson: Republicans pander over 'Ground Zero mosque'

Todd Purdum: Washington, We Have a Problem

David Weigel: Today In Journalism

BooMan: Your Daily Dose of Right Wing Stupid

Rude Pundit: You Hate America If You Are Against Park 51

Dick Cavett: Real Americans, Please Stand Up

Maureen Dowd: No Love From the Lefties

Gladstone: 3 Reasons the “Ground Zero Mosque” Debate Makes No Sense

The Ecomonist: What the Arab papers say

And so may other good editorial cartoons today...
John Sherffius, Stuart Carlson, and Mike Luckovich.

President Obama's Weekly Address - August 21, 2010

No Corporate Takeover of Our Democracy

Friday, August 20, 2010

More Tabloid Rag Ranting

I know I've been a little obsessed with the inanity that are the local papers, specifically the Daily News here in New York City, first with sports columnist Mike Lupica's op-ed piece, because we all want to know what a sports writer thinks about the Not-At-Ground-Zero-Not-A-Mosque, and then raging over the ridiculous editorial that takes credit for forcing President Obama to make a statement regarding HR847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, as if somehow the president was secretly against it because he hadn't commented on it.

Usually I don't bother with their crappy coverage, but I stopped by to see if my letter had been published (...heh...) and caught a couple of letters written by others in the Daily News' "Voice of the People" section. I suppose the editors don't bother fact checking anything written by their readers before publishing because what I read was pretty appalling.

Here are a few goodies:

Move the mosque
Fairfield, N.J.: Mayor Bloomberg has it wrong. Today's soldiers are not fighting for our country's religious freedoms but to keep Islamic terrorists out. Respect is a two-way street. The mosque builders should build somewhere else.
Beth Evans

Really, Beth? So I suppose the soldiers don't mean it when they say, "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..." in the first line of their oath?
Sickened by health plan
Brooklyn: Besides President Obama's support for the Islamic center and not giving seniors the $250 raise promised, there might be an even worse controversy awaiting him. Although promising that his health care reform wouldn't impose any new middle-class taxes, buried in the law it states that workers' health care premiums paid for by employers must be declared on W-2 forms starting in 2011 and be taxed. This would put many middle-class workers and retirees into higher tax brackets. Our taxes would rise by thousands a year. Nice going, Mr. Obama!
Myron Shulman
Oh, Myron. You really must stop believing everything Rush tells you, or what you see on Fox News.

If Myron had just taken 30 seconds to fact check his claims (like I did), he'd know he was dead wrong. 750,000 checks have already been sent out to alleviate the Medicare donut hole written into the law back in 2003 (what party was in Congressional majority at that time? Please remind me, Myron) with another 3 million checks estimated to go out over the next fiscal year.

And while it is true that employer health care premiums will be added as an informational line on your W-2s, it will not be considered taxable income. By the way, as notes...
Those who followed the 2008 presidential campaign may recall that it was Republican candidate John McCain who proposed to make the value of employer-sponsored health insurance taxable. Democrats hated that idea; Barack Obama ran an ad claiming, falsely, that it would be the "largest middle-class tax increase in history."
So it is ironic that some of President Obama’s critics now claim that the bill he signed would do what his opponent proposed and he denounced. Ironic, but false.
It took 30 seconds, Myron. Check your facts before assuming the smear e-mails you're receiving are true.
An open wound
Sunnyside: We are not saying they can't build their mosque. We are saying they can't build it there. We will never fully heal from 9/11. I still cry.
Lynn Ward
We know what you're saying, Lynn, and it's still wrong. As long as they are abiding by zoning laws and city ordinances, it's perfectly legal. As I've said before, would you prevent the Roman Catholic church from building near the Oklahoma City bombing site because Timothy McVeigh was raised Catholic?

Over his head
Monroe, N.J.: President Obama's lack of experience is showing. He has taken a bad economy and made it much worse. Now he's in favor of the "victory mosque" at Ground Zero. America has proven that it's not a racist country by electing him, but he is not meant for this job.
Tom Scott

The economy is bad, but in my opinion, President Obama hasn't made it worse. Although we are technically out of a recession (GDP growth for two consecutive quarters), unemployment continues to hover between 9.5 and 10%. However, had it not been for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we could be currently looking at an unemployment rate of up to 16%.

Red lines: Bush's job "growth" in his last 13 months in office. Blue lines: Obama's first 15 months. Although we're not out of the woods yet, it looks like positive job growth to me. But all you have to do is read the "victory mosque" comment to know where Tom Scott's head is, and no matter how hard he looks, he's not going to find any common sense up his ass.

You see where I'm headed with all this so I'll stop now and there are more than a few common sense letters in this "people's editorial" section. But what's the point of publishing them if they're not fact based? There are not two equal sides to every argument. Sometimes, actually most times, one side is right and one side is wrong. I just wish there were more vetting by the common man before deciding which side they chose to believe.

Parody NY Post Commericial

NSFW - Here's an awesome response to the New York Times "Weekender" commercials brought to you by a very funny group at Funny or Die. It's funny because it's true.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Stupidest Member of Congress

Michele Bachmann? Virginia Foxx? Steve King?... Patrick McHenry?...

...uh... John McCain?...

BEHOLD! Louie Gohmert!

NY Rag Takes Credit For WH 9/11 Responder Bill Comment

I am speechless. Well, almost speechless or I wouldn't be writing with fury right now.

I just came across this headline in the New York Daily News:

Wham! And thanks, Bam: At last, Obama backs health bill for 9/11 responders
It seems that the editors at this bastion of journalistic excellence are taking credit for what they see as putting pressure on President Obama with the headline, "9/11 SLAM ON BAM," to make a statement in favor of a bill providing health care and compensation to sickened Ground Zero rescue and recovery workers. Yes, the same bill that the Republicans in the House voted against on procedural grounds. The same bill Rep. Anthony Weiner freaked about when co-sponsor of the bill, Rep. Peter King, accused the Democrats of playing politics with the bill, while not bothering to whip up votes for his own legislation.

Are the Daily News editors high, stupid or both? Every Democrat save four voted for the bill. We have a Democratic president. 12 out of 178 Republicans voted for it. Logic would dictate that the White House would obviously be in favor of the bill and would sign it into law. But that would mean that logic would have to enter into the minds of these hapless editors.

Oh, they do acknowledge that the Republicans should have the "decency" to stand for what is right and vote in favor of the bill... in the very last line of the piece. Up until then, no comment from the White House meant an assumption by the Daily News that, for some insane reason, President Obama wouldn't be in favor of such a measure. After all, he spoke about the Not-In-Ground-Zero-Not-A-Mosque, why didn't he weigh in on this?

Maybe because legislation passed by a Democratically led Congress on such an issue is a no-brainer and ANY president in Obama's position would be committing political suicide if he vetoed it. But then again, why educate the reader when you can stir up faux controversies to sell your rags?

New Poll: Majority of Americans Are Idiots - UPDATED

18 percent of Americans say that President Obama is a Muslim, an increase of seven points since Pew Research last asked the same question in March 2009. 40% aren't sure. Only 34% know he is Christian. So 58% of Americans are basically morons.  ... Sounds about right.

Immediately I'm hearing pundits blaming the White House for its lack of message on the issue. Seriously? Are we expecting the White House to put out a statement saying that presently, President Obama is still a Christian and we'll be updated weekly as to his religious status? It's too bad they didn't have a Bush Denomination of the Week update.  But hey, he was a white guy so he couldn't have been a Muslim, right?

UPDATE (8:20pm): I truly don't know what to say. I think I'm living in BizarroWorld.

Jen Psaki, White House deputy communications director:  
President Obama is a committed Christian, and his faith is an important part of his daily life. He prays every day, he seeks a small circle of Christian pastors to give him spiritual advice and counseling, he even receives a daily devotional that he uses each morning. The President's Christian faith is a part of who he is, but not a part of what the public or the media is focused on everyday.
The poll's findings are not surprising given the scope of the issues we are focused on-a recovering economy, bringing troops home from Iraq, putting healthcare and financial reform implementation in place. The President's strong Christian faith is what guides him through these challenges but he doesn't wear it on his sleeve.
I guess we really will see a weekly faith status update. And I can only shake my head in embarrassment.

(H/T Bob Cesca)

Too Dumb To Tweet

So according to Sarah Palin, Dr. Laura can say anything she wants because it's her right to freedom of speech, but if she is criticized for her comments by others using their right to freedom of speech, they're actually being "Constitutional obstructionists" and are "trying 2silence" her...

Huh... I guess Trig really is her son after all.*

UPDATE (9:23am): Joan Walsh weighs in.

UPDATE (8/20/10, 7pm):

I was approached privately by a friend wanting clarification on the last line of this post regarding Trig.

In no way was my intention to make fun of Trig. I was insulting Sarah's intelligence. When publishing this post I thought I might be treading on thin ice by making that comment and some might misconstrue what I meant. I was saying Sarah Palin is an idiot. But either way you look at it, it was insensitive on my part. So for that, my apologies.

From now on, I'll just come right out and say Sarah Palin is a moron.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

NY Daily News: Letter to the Editor

Dear Editors:

I used to be a Mike Lupica fan, that is until I read his column in your Monday, August 16th, 2010 edition, "Ground Zero mosque debate is about common sense, sensitivity to 9/11 vics, not religious freedom."

In and of itself, the title alone shows that Mr. Lupica could not be more wrong. I would write to him myself but he doesn't have the courtesy to leave leave an e-mail address or provide a comments section for responses as do most other opinion columnists.

Where do I begin?

If we are to make this issue about "common sense" and about "sensitivity" as Mr. Lupica states, then how much more common sense do we need to demonstrate than showing the world, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, that regardless of the tragedy of September 11th and its victims, regardless of the scar that remains a gaping hole in downtown Manhattan after nine long years, that our country and the resolve of its citizens is strong enough to refuse to allow our emotions to cloud our judgement and compromise our principles? How do we stand tall in the eyes of the world and more importantly, how do we look at ourselves in the mirror if we decide to abandon Constitutional rights of our fellow Americans when it is emotionally convenient?

There is no contradiction in President Obama's statements, as Mr. Lupica would lead us to believe. There was no walkback of his stance. President Obama was affirming our First Amendment rights when he said, "I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country." Whether or not it's a good idea is not for him to say, as it ultimately doesn't matter. Not commenting on the "wisdom" of the decision is irrelevant as it is a local decision. I find it interesting how those in favor of limited government and states' rights look for a federal response or intervention when it suits their needs.

If we forego our rights just this one time for sensitivity's sake, what is the next step? Do we forbid the building of a Roman Catholic church near the Oklahoma City bombing site because of Timothy McVeigh's religious upbringing? Should we prevent Muslims from worshipping just two blocks further north than the proposed site, as they've done for the last 40 years? Is that still too close and insensitive? Do we shut down the mosque at the Penatgon? After all, it's not two blocks away but in the very building that was hit on 9/11. Is Mr. Lupica suggesting we base our decisions on mob rule and not the rule of law? Is that how we should conduct trials as well? Should we have the families of rape or murder victims pronounce sentencing for sensitivity's sake?

The government has no authority or right to tell any religion where they can or cannot build places of worship as long as they adhere to local laws and ordinances. Not a church, not a synagogue and not a mosque. It's been this way since the founding of the country. It should be this way now.

And again, let's call this construction plan what it actually is: this is a community center equivalent to a YMCA, complete with a basketball court and culinary school, with Muslim prayer rooms in its upper two floors. It is not a mosque.

But where Mr. Lupica flies off the rails is in comparing the opinion of Obama's thoughts on LeBron James to defending a religious group's First Amendment rights. You know, because they're so equivalent. Maybe the President should create March Madness pool with all the world's religions and decide who'll be in the Final Four? We can call it  Mecca Madness.

But the topper has to be his last sentence.

Everything Bloomberg and Barack Obama say about this sounds right. But if the only constituency that matters here - the ones left behind by the victims of Sept. 11 - think they're wrong, they are.
So according to Mr. Lupica, two plus two equal four unless a majority disagrees, and because they're the only ones "that matter" (we'll just forget about the hundreds of American Muslims that died on 9/11) they'll just insist the answer is wrong. And Lupica will agree with them.

Stick to the sports pages, Mike. You'll embarrass yourself a little less.

Combat Troops Leaving Iraq NOW

All combat troops are leaving Iraq as I watch MSNBC. Richard Engel is in the back of the last truck in the convoy that will cross into Kuwait any moment. Rachel Maddow is reporting from Baghdad. Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews are in-studio. They are the only network covering this historic moment. It's as awe-inspiring as the invasion was shock-inspiring.

50,000 troops will stay one more year as training and security forces. But all combat troops are coming home RIGHT NOW.

This Is Madness

When even Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan (PAT BUCHANAN!) gang up on Newt Gingrich, you know there's a problem.

Dr. Laura Wants Her Rights "Back"

Why is it when someone is expressing their First Amendment rights in disagreeing with someone else's bigoted, racist, insanely stupid comments, it's mistakenly perceived as an infringement of the latter's First Amendment rights? Nobody stopped "Dr." Laura Schlessinger from shouting "nigger" in a crowded radio station, and no one is stopping others from saying she's an asshole for doing so and complaining to the station and her sponsors. See? She spoke freely. Listeners responded freely. First Amendment rights for all! So where were her rights infringed upon?

"Dr." Laura, Sarah Palin and every other moron who waves Constitutional rights in peoples' faces without knowing what the hell they are should realize that exercising their First Amendment right to freedom of speech does not make them immune to the consequences and repercussions of whatever idiotic thing spews from their mouths.

So Much For The Libertarian

Isn't Rand Paul for limited government? Well, yes, unless it's politically convenient to side with Tea Party know-nothings who pick and choose which Constitutional rights apply to whom.

Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul says that he opposes developing plans for a mosque to be built in close proximity to "Ground Zero" in New York City.
Great job, hypocrite.

Quote of the Day

"Kebabs do not threaten our way of life." 
~ Eugene Robinson on the Republican politicization of the not Mosque not on Ground Zero

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bobby Thomson Dies at 86

NY Times: Bobby Thomson, who hit “the shot heard round the world” — an epic home run for the New York Giants against the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Ralph Branca at the Polo Grounds on Oct. 3, 1951, to climax baseball’s most memorable pennant drive — died Monday at his home in Savannah, Ga. He was 86.

In the Shadow of Columbine


On April 20, 1999 two boys entered their high school loaded up and ready to shoot in a town called Columbine.

On May 1, 1999 the National Rifle Association held it's annual meeting in Denver, CO approximately 20 miles from Columbine.

Victims were still in the hospital. Parents were still looking into bedrooms that were just as their children left them 11 days earlier, never to return. The grief was raw. Time had not yet had a chance to pass for families suffering the shock and despair of violent deaths of their loved ones. Colorado did not want the NRA meeting in the shadows of their grief.

The N.R.A., which is fiercely opposed to sensible gun laws, has urged its members to attend as a show of unity, if only for a day. On a purely emotional level, this is an insult to grieving families and to a city still shaken by tragedy. Mayor Wellington Webb bluntly told the group last week, ''We don't want you here.''
The NRA derided the desire that the meeting not be held so close, so soon:
Heston waved to the crowd from the dais with gritty determination and what appeared to be a dead raccoon stapled to his head. He began his opening remarks by addressing Mayor Webb's request that the NRA not "come here. We don't want you here."
The crowd booed at the mention of Webb's name, and one attendee shouted out, "Get out of our country, Wellington Webb!" much to the amusement of the crowd.
Today, almost nine years after the horror of September 11, famous members of the NRA say it's too soon, too close, for Park51/Cordoba House, a community center, to be New York City blocks from where the Twin Towers once stood.

But if 11 days was soon enough for guns, shouldn't nine years be soon enough for community?


"The First Amendment protects freedom of religion," reads a statement from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office (D-Nev.). "Senator Reid respects that but thinks that the mosque should be built someplace else. If the Republicans are being sincere, they would help us pass this long overdue bill to help the first responders whose health and livelihoods have been devastated because of their bravery on 911, rather than continuing to block this much-needed legislation."
This is what's wrong with the Senate Democratic leadership. He has no balls. He can't even stand up for Constitutional protections guaranteed to its American citizens without fear of losing in November to a nutcase Teabagger.

Heckuva job, Harry.

Olbermann: "There is no 'Ground Zero Mosque'"

"...[T]his is America, dammit.
And in America, when somebody comes for your neighbor, or his bible, or his torah, or his Atheists' Manifesto, or his Koran, you and I do what our fathers did, and our grandmothers did, and our founders did. You and I speak up."

Monday, August 16, 2010

This Guy Wants To Be President

Newt Gingrinch: "Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington," Gingrich said on Fox News. "We would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor. There is no reason for us to accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center," he said.
Equating Islam, a religion with 1.5 billion followers... to Nazis.

Code Words and Dog Whistles

I'm late to the party on this one but I really don't remember much being said about this. Please correct me if I'm wrong (I was away that week):

Rallying the GOP to win in November and urging supporters to "get on the bus," [GOP Chairman Michael] Steele capped off his call to action by predicting that "Nancy Pelosi will be in the back of the bus."
Why is it that the AAINO (African-American In Name Only) GOP Chairman is the most insensitive when it comes to racial dog whistles? I know he's mentioning Nancy Pelosi in this little rant, but she's two steps away from the Oval Office... and who's in there now? Oh, yeah.

"Back of the bus," Michael?

Nigga, please!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sarah's Survey

sur·vey –noun
a sampling, or partial collection, of facts, figures, or opinions taken and used to approximate or indicate what a complete collection and analysis might reveal.
Sarah Palin's definition of a survey:
a skewed, biased questionnaire designed to malign, mislead and disinform; if you disagree with the content of the survey, then disregard and throw it away, as you may skew they intended outcome.

From the Palingate website comes a story of an RNC letter with Palin's name on it and an accompanying survey. The second paragraph caught my eye.

"If you think Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid are doing a good job running America, then put this down. This Victory 2010 Survey isn't for you."

That's right. The RNC and Sarah Palin are pushing an anti-Democratic survey, sending it to registered Republicans and telling them not to send it in if they think Obama is doing a good job. I don't know about you, but I think that pretty much defeats the whole purpose of a survey, unless the purpose is to advance ridiculously skewed numbers to shoehorn them into a desired result.

Here are the questions:

Wealth redistribution, future debt, bowing to foreign leaders, border fences and give us money. In other words, nothing new. But if you don't agree with us, for God's sake, DO NOT send back this survey.  Although it doesn't matter because we'll see the answers and throw it in the trash anyway.