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September 08, 2010 03:49 PM UTC

Wednesday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

When I go forwards you go backwards

and somewhere we will meet

Ha ha ha

–Radiohead, from Electioneering


79 thoughts on “Wednesday Open Thread

  1. A week or two ago, Ali Hasan and many others, equated people that recognized the right of people to build a Mosque wherever they felt like it, but suggested it made sense to move it a few more blocks away from the pit that is now where once was the world trade center, were labeled bigots. After all freedom of religion trumps consideration of the feelings of others.

    Now a minister in Florida plans on burning the Muslim holy book, the Quaran, as a way of remembering 9-11. Doing so is protected speach.  Are those that suggest that he not burn the Quaran bigots?  Clinton? Petreus?

    Personally, I think both groups would be better served by being more moderate, but I do not think it consistent to treat them differently.

    1. How about we just say all book burning is wrong – by definition book burning screams intolerance, cruelty, narrow-minded beliefs, and teaches children that it is okay to destroy any belief that isn’t yours.  Moderation is the wrong response to that!

        1. They have the right to burn whatever they want. We have the right to speak out against it just as those who speak out against the building of the Mosque blocks away from ground zero have that right. But your abject bigotry is showing when you equate a call for a world wide day devoted to burning a religion’s holy writings with building a Muslim cultural center. I won’t bother to explain why because if it isn’t apparent there is no use.  You won’t respond to any points I make. You  don’t discuss. You don’t respond to specifics.  We all know that.

          Lets just remember, no matter how many times Sarah Palin says it, criticizing what people say or do to express their opinion isn’t a violation of the first amendment. Stating that you believe burning Korans or flags is stupid or offensive is not a violation of anybody’s first amendment rights. Saying that you think those who call a mosque an insult in and of itself are morons is not a violation of the first amendment. A network dropping a personality for costing them advertisers and viewers by insulting large segments of the public with hate speech or racial and ethnic slurs is not a violation of the first amendment. If you insult me and I say “shut up” your rights are still fully intact.

          The first amendment bars the government from punishing free speech. Getting thrown in jail by the government for expressing an opinion would be a violation of the first amendment. Palin doesn’t understand anything about it because she’s an ignorant nitwit.  What’s your excuse? What’s the excuse of rightie pols and TV/radio personalities who keep blathering about free speech when others exercise their right to free speech by calling them idiots and bigots?

          Those are rhetorical questions since the last thing anyone should ever expect from H-man is a direct or relevant response.  

          1. It is made applicable to state government and actors by virtue of the 14th amendment.  But I wouldn’t expect you to know that.

            I equate the treatment of both as protected.  I leave the quality of speech to others.

            1. I just said government  in a discussion of a constitutional (federal) amendment’s import so, as usual, your criticism isn’t relevant.  Perhaps you assumed I was referring to the ordinances against burning that are being discussed even though I never mentioned anything of the kind? You just wanted an excuse to tell me you wouldn’t expect me to know whatever it is you think my post proves I don’t know?  

              My whole point was that Republican Pols, posters and talking heads are completely wrong in their repeated claims that criticism of their free speech choices is somehow interfering with their first amendment rights and makes those of us on the left who defend the first amendment while criticizing their speech and opinion expressing actions hypocrites.  

              Congrats. Your record of not replying to anything I actually say in my posts, either ignoring my actual words or constructing a straw man by putting words in my mouth or thoughts in my head is still 100%. Old reliable.

    2. As one of the people who led the charge to remind all of the Rightie posters about the Constitution, it’s expected that you would now pull a bait and switch and try and equate the collection of God’s madmen in Florida with the Mosque issue.

      BULLSHIT on you, H-Man. Here’s the difference.

      There’s not a large group of frothing mouth bigots camped outside of this tiny church screaming and threaten everyone inside over their Constitutional Right to display the depth of their ignorance.

      There is not a parade of special Conservative Nutbags on Faux News repeating the same insipid talking points about the “REAL” intent of what these people are trying to do. None of the usual NeoCon dipshits are on talk radio talking about how we don’t know who is secretly funding this book burning, but we need to investigate it immediately.

      And there’s no GOP office holders or candidates whoring for the camera & repeating select nuggets of hate from about how this is a threat to America, and it’s Obama, Pelosi and Reid’s fault for letting it happen.

      Again, this is just further proof that Evangelical Christians hate the troops….

        1. That I reserve for Beej when he deserves it, and even that was only once.

          But, again, I posted this yesterday:

          “While I fully support these dumbasses Constitutional rights to display the depth of their ignorance, I have to ask why Evangelical Christians hate the troops?”

          These “people” have a right to demonstrate their bigoted, blind hate any way they want to. That’s the beauty of the Constitution of the United States.

          But it’s absolutely NOT the same thing as the Cordoba Community Center issue. PERIOD. Reasons listed above.

          ‘Nuff said.

        2. yes burning a book and a flag and protesting are all free speech. yet burning ANY book is akin to Nazis burning books. (lest we forget) the fundies will be horrified to see a bible burned. thus feeling the very same as a Muslim seeing a Koran burned.

          NO one has a right NOT to be offended.

          what that fundie church is intent upon doing will undermine not just the mission in the middle east but also place undo danger upon our troops.

          if this religious nutcase pisses off other religious nutcases… the deaths of our personnel lays squarely at his feet.

          Intolerant bigotry is all that it is.

          truly sad that WE AS A NATION ARE BEING DRAGGED DOWN to the level of other intolerant nations. MAKING US NO BETTER THAN THEY ARE. see where that intolerant RIGHTeous BS gets us?

            1. The Liberty and Freedom Our Flag represents. is the very same as Freely Burning one in protest.

              Can’t handle real Freedom and Liberty can ya?



    3. the protests against the cultural center/mosque are also protected speech. Those are really the 2 that are most similar. Building the cultural center/mosque is a positive step where the other 2 are folks exercising their First Amenment rights to say stupid shit.

    4. I continue to be amazed at the courage and foresight of the Founding Fathers at constructing the First Amendment.  Religion causes such passion and becomes its own justification for violence against the “other.” It is very difficult for me to be tolerant of religion, but tolerance is essential to the survival of the nation.

      Europe was decimated  by religious wars over the centuries.

      Africa and Asia are racked by religious attacks.  

      IMHO, what the fanatics in Florida are doing with the book burning would be comparable, not to burning the bible, but destroying the consecrated hosts of the catholics or the Talmud of the jews.  

    5. You got one point correct: “freedom of religion trumps consideration of the feelings of others.” But, from that you jump to: freedom of religion trumps consideration of the lives of others. While book burning is protected speech, it’s getting perilously close to yelling FIRE in a crowded theater.

      And what motivates both the anti-mosque crowd and the book-burners is essentially the same: a vision of all Muslims as terrorists. That’s bigotry. Contrary to your argument above, opposing bigotry doesn’t make you a bigot.  

    6. does not mean people aren’t free to call it idiocy.  

      Its an argument conservatives love to make–take Dr. Laura, for instance, of late–that sensitivity to some odious behavior constitutes an assault of free speech.  No. The ‘Rev.’ Terry “I am a shameless publicity whore” Fringe-Baptist Whatever is free to chase after the false god of cable infamy with his odious display.  And people are free to criticize it.

      Interestingly enough, analysis I have read suggests both right-winger inspired phenomena (the anti-community-center-OMG-a-Muslim-in-NYC!!!! and the Burn-a-Koran-to-appeal-to-Muslim-moderates FLA nutcase) are harmful to our efforts abroad with what all the conservatives love to call GWOT…etc.  

      But hey!  If it help wins a few votes, why not?  I hear John Boehner really wants a new office, and THAT is what matters.        

    7. Which book is next? Although no Republican of any note or codpiece is speaking up to ask this idiot to not burn a book that is important to billions of people. His grandstanding hate message will proceed at a pace equal to the hate messages sent by those in attacking a community center in NYC or a mosque in Tennessee.

      Which book is next? Will it be Morman or Scientology?  How about which version of the Christian bible should be burned because it is the wrong one?  Should the Talmud go up in smoke? That is a very common one and well abused by those who preach about three crosses.

      Stupidity is protected by our Constitution and Bill of Rights, except if it is to be a cause of damage to human life.

      In this case the idiot is placing his life and his 50 following cultists in jeopardy along with anyone near them for his actions.

      He is just accelerating the hate generated by the Bush administration actions towards the U.S.  But, one can only guess as to why no Republicans are speaking out asking this idiot to moderate his action. It is because they created a world in which hating those who are different or have different beliefs are inherently bad and evil is acceptable.

      Where is Boener? Where is Palin? Where is Bush, any Bush? Where are they hiding. Are they afraid of speaking up to protect American lives from hated generated by hate? I think so.

      Would it be OK if the local police went and took over the place before the idiot can act?  Yes is probably the better answer. He was already turned down for permits. His is not action of a man of God. His is action of a cult leader and maniac deserving of restraint by the public. He stepped over his Constitutional protection by telling the world he will be a terrorist ready to cause harm to Americans here and abroad.

        1. Everyone also has to bear the consequences of free speech, especially the reply to a person’s free speech.  I have the right to call a friend any sort of name I want.  I could dance a tarantella upon a Bible.  But people are going to reply to what I have done and it will almost inevitably include disapprobation.  But mere disapproval, even if from on high, is not the same thing as taking away a person’s free speech rights.  

          From what I’ve seen everyone has ASKED the minister to not do it.  No one has threatened to shut him down or to not protect him from nutters.  They’ve just asked him not to burn the Koran since it is likely to put Americans in harm’s way.  

        2. burning/banning ANY book is Un-American.

          endangering our service members by exorcising ones “Free speech”… is treason.

          “Lose lips, sink ships.” <–easily forgotten by the right.  

          1. I said there were no exceptions in the Constitution.

            The exceeptions are judge made and largely from the British common law where their is no first ammendment protection of speech.

            Thanks for the lesson plan.

    8. The mosque was not intended to tork off a bunch of Christians and Jews.  They ran headlong into a manufactured controversy because they made the, not unreasonable, assumption that another mosque (did you know that there is already two little mosques quietly practicing down in lower manhattant?  I didn’t.… ) in a diverse commercial district that includes everything from porn stores to gay clubs would not be a controversial thing.  It took me a little time to hear more about it, but the more I hear the less I think they should move.

      On the other hand the fellow in south Florida is doing his thing to piss off as many Muslims as he can and get every camera in the world focused on him and (most importantly) raise money.  Totally different intent.  He, rather like the Westboro Baptists, intends to hurt America for his own enrichment and self-aggrandizement.  

      1. What I am suggesting is that the rights we enjoy cut both ways and that while the rights might be absolute, reasonable people only exercise them in a more limited way which include a sensitivity to the feelings and well being of others.

        btw There are about 100 Mosques in NYC and, what may be counterintuitive to some in Brooklyn, with a significant Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish community, the Muslim and Jewish population historically get along very well together.

        1. Are you vocally protesting what this “church” is going to do?

          To paraphrase: the intolerance you enjoy cuts both ways. Just sayin’

          (Because, yes, the doofus in Gainesville can do what he wants. But he is more similar to the protestors in NYC than to the people who are trying to construct something positive.)

          1. I think the burning of the Quran is stupid.  I think the insistence of building the Mosque where they suggest is unwise.  Both are permitted under applicable law.

            1. Those who oppose the islamic Center and those that want to burn Korans share a vision of Muslims as terrorists. That’s bigotry. There’s nothing hypocritical with pointing this out and denouncing it.  

              1. are largely New Yorkers who look at a pit in the gound that formerly had two 100-story office buildings on them and are struck by the building of a 17 story mosque a couple blocks away before the twin towers are errected.  With 100 mosques in NY and the most diverse city in America it is not to them about Freedom of Religion.  Calling the majority of the 67% of New Yorkers who oppose the Mosque on that site bigots shows an amazing misunderstanding of what makes them tick.

                1. Maybe more.  

                  That makes it right?

                  If your right wing opportunists hadn’t made this an international media circus, it just would have been built, no problem.

                  The went through all of the legal concerns.  No where in the zoning code does it say, “Check in with all New Yawkers to see how they feel.”  I’m sure there were hearings and if there were any protests, they did not have legal standing.  

                2. Most people don’t like controversy. That’s normal. New Yorkers don’t want to relive 9-11 all the time (though conservatives love photo ops and scary ads featuring 9-11).

                  The poll questions were asked after the right wing politicized the issue with incendiary language and made this into a controversy (all for your entertainment). So I think it’s normal for folks to think, “Gosh, we don’t need this to be a painful reminder of 9-11. Can’t they put it somewhere where nobody will make a fuss?”

                  This whole issue never would have been controversial without the Fox cheerleaders on your side of the aisle (whose job is to entertain you, never mind whose rights they’re stepping on).  

                  Had this poll been asked before Fox and friends had their merry way entertaining you, I think that New Yorkers would have favored the mosque.

    9. This asshole has a flock of 80, of whom 50 were expected to show for his campfire.

      The best solution is to ignore him for his odious though protected speech.  Without the attention, he might just go away.  

      H-Man’s job is to make sure the controversy stays in the news, as its message is magnified:  USA to Muslims “Fuck You!”  And the Thumper’s toxic thoughts are spread orders of magnitude further.

      But I’m not a bigot or a bible thumper, H protests.  I just help them out.

    10. …that said all acts equate to exercising free speech. Denouncing the contents of books? Sure. Picketing a mosque? Probably, so long as it doesn’t speak a riot.

      But what if the books to be burned were inside an Islamic community library? OK to burn down the building? OK to buy the building and burn it down in order to destroy the contents? OK to encourage others to do so?

      Anyway, would love to be reminded of, or learn, the precedent that says burning books is a form of “free speech.” BTW, I’m aware of precedents equating some acts with free speech — but none that equate all acts with “speech.”

        1. Good distinction between your own flag and someone else’s. I take it that you meant in the sense of property rights.

          There are, though, plenty of exceptions to “free speech,”  “yelling fire” being the most famous one included in a Court decision that comes readily to everyone’s mind. Personally, I think the current Koran burning could well be another, especially in a time of war, to be filed under the heading “incitement to riot.” Denounce away; burn, no.

          Would appear that no one in the administration feels like testing the theory, but there is an argument to be made.

          1. Incitement can be prosecuted only if intended to, and likely to, incite imminent serious harm. I don’t think a prosecutor could seriously argue, much less prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that this right-wing preacher is actually intending to get Americans killed. Basically, this is the liberal caselaw from the 60s and earlier: conservatives can’t get speech prosecuted on the theory that it strengthens our enemies’ hand. Trust me, it’s a good thing, not a bad thing, that liberals spent decades fighting and winning this 1st Amendment battle that the gov’t can’t prosecute fringe speech on the theory that it will strengthen our enemies. Such prosecutions, historically, target liberals vastly more often than they target conservatives.

    11. …from the Daily Prophet (no link, but yo all know where to look):

      “Colorado U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, a Marine Corps veteran and the only member of Congress to serve in the first Gulf war and the Iraq war, also condemned Jones.”

      “Mr. Jones will have the blood on his hands of those who may die as a result of his actions,” said Coffman, a Republican who sits on the House Armed Services Committee. “Having served in the Iraq War, I know firsthand that Mr. Jones’ actions will lead to higher casualties and increased threat of attack for U.S. servicemen and women.”

  2. Following one day after Obama announced major employer and investor tax holiday on new capital purchases – 1st proposed in Colorado by GOP Senator Mark Scheffel – Obama is now out proposing to extend the Bush tax equity policies for everyone except those making $250,000 or more. Talk about some class warfare.

    President Obama is prepared to announce his opposition to extending tax cuts for the wealthy during an economic speech in Cleveland Wednesday, but White House officials told Fox News not to expect the president to draw a line in the sand.

    The New York Times reported Wednesday that during his speech, Obama will affirm that he is against any type of deal extending high-income tax cuts beyond this year. But White House officials told Fox News that the Times article is overwritten.


    The Washington Post also reported Wednesday that Obama would not extend the tax cuts for incomes over $250,000 — a tax bracket that fits many small business owners.

    White House senior adviser David Axelrod told Fox News that the president isn’t supporting tax cuts for high-income earners because they “aren’t asking for them, don’t need them and have the money to spend. We have to focus on the priority, which is getting the middle class moving again.”

    A senior administration official said the president will endorse extending expiring tax cuts only for the middle class.

    “No economist has argued” that extending tax cuts for wealthier earners “has a great ‘bang for the buck’ for the economy,” the official said.

    Further, increasing tax revenues from the wealthier taxpayers to reduce deficits “is a much better use of that money. That is a ‘values’ statement,” the official said, arguing that 97 percent of small businesses “aren’t touched by this, and the 3 percent of them that are are largely lawyers and lobbyists and financiers … the Republicans want to masquerade them as small businesses.”

    1. I mean, you’re one of the biggest supporters of cutting the deficit. So why would you support a special interest tax cut to an small, elite segment of society with special access to our lawmakers?

      Oh, I forgot who I’m talking to. Here’s a PICTURE ‘tad, and it shows that President Obama’s tax cut plan is fair to all taxpayers:


      So, explain to me why you want to expand the deficit to new unsustainable levels?

      1. Hey I get your point, you favor participation ribbons too.

        What I really love was Obama’s copy cat capital investment tax holiday – ala Mark Scheffel.  

        1. I just wonder if you have a text generator ready at your side to generate these nonsensical comments.

          Do you have one for when you play WoW, so you can hurl insults in Elvish AND Orcish?

    2. are NOT small business owners.

      This is NOT class warfare, it is insistig that those with much, much more shall pay a very small percentage more than those making far, far less. If the uber-wealthy feel that put upon by such a move then we might as well go back to a progressive tax system that has them paying much, much more. If they’re going to whine they may as well squeal.

          1. jobs and investment are only created by government overlords …. must remember … big government best for people … wealthy people must pay more …. government man will create jobs …. must remember

            1. but of course, your uber-rich master will deign to employ you as long as you’re willing to compete on wages with an impoverished, underdeveloped, third-world worker making 10% of what you would have to make to survive in this country.

              But don’t worry. They’ll remember you at Christmas time- which is when they usually give their annual lay-off notices. Wouldn’t want them to miss their performance targets and not get their bonus now, would we.

              Keep telling yourself these lies ‘tad. Maybe it will hurt less when you’re on the unemployment line or bread line knowing you gave your all for the owner class in America.

        1. Small Business creates more jobs than Big Business.

          trickle down (voodoo) economics has proven (since Reagan) to NOT work.

          so go ahead there Libertard believe in your deluded fantasy. The rest of us look out for our fellow countrymen. (regardless of their economic status.)  

  3. but this is an excellent OPED by Feisal Abdul Rauf in the New York Times.

    In it he says:

    Above all, the project will amplify the multifaith approach that the Cordoba Initiative has deployed in concrete ways for years. Our name, Cordoba, was inspired by the city in Spain where Muslims, Christians and Jews co-existed in the Middle Ages during a period of great cultural enrichment created by Muslims. Our initiative is intended to cultivate understanding among all religions and cultures.

    As we hear in the Christian faith: “Let us say Amen..”  Amen.

      1. … who’s told gay jokes about multiple politicians — I believe Patrick Kennedy and Hickenlooper, for example. So on behalf of those who actually favor gay rights: please go fuck yourself; we don’t need you to cite our cause dishonestly to help your muslim-bashing.

        1. some GLBT community members support them and some don’t.

          I even did a search for: Hickenlooper, gay and looked for my posts

          This is all I could find:

          It’s about Hickenlooper calling Van Jones a Rockstar for his efforts to crack down on American Energy. No where within did I refer to the Mayor or VJ as a cockstar or other bad name.

          1. … based on zero info on their orientation- just to be a jackass. By the same logic, I could imply that you, Libertad, are gay – but then gay folks everywhere would be offended by insinuating an association that would drop the average IQ of the gay community by several points.

  4. ….I’ve blogged about it before, and I’m glad that today’s meeting with Sen Bennet’s staff included some discussion on this.

    Please take a moment to look at the images in this story…I can’t imagine a job like this that’s one of the worst and one of the best things I could ever do….

    “According to a recent estimate by the C.D.C. an average of eighteen American veterans kill themselves every day. That number accounts for 1/5th of all of suicides in the United States.”

    “These images are of call responders working for the Department of Veteran Affairs in Canandaigua, New York talking vets back from the edge. It’s the frontline of the government’s attempt to curb the rising suicide rate among active duty service members and veterans. The center is the only one of its type in the country, and was established in 2007 by the VA.”

    That year, the line received about 10,000 callers. In 2008, it received almost 70,000, and in 2009, just under 120,000. By June of this year alone, operators had already taken just under 100,000 calls.

    On average, the operators in the center receive over 500 calls every day. After the phone’s hung up, there’s no follow up, and the operators almost never find out what happened to the veteran they spoke to. They go back to their reading, or facebook pages, and wait for the phone to ring again.

  5. What, you’re not sharing the terrible news today.  Gee I wonder why not.  The Republican support has collapsed, in one week.  Remember that “put a fork in the Democrats” generic ballot last week from Gallup that said R’s were up 10%.  Well, guess what, all of us who told you that it was an outlier which wouldn’t hold.  Did you see this week’s numbers.  Oh, dear, oh, dear.  Republicans are cratering.  Ten points down in one week.  The bottom is falling out.  The Republicans are doomed.

    Caution, you should also read ColoradoPols and my statements about how worthless these generic ballots are.  Maybe now you’ll believe us.


  6. Rosh Hashanah starts tonight at sundown marking the Jewish New Year, time for forgiving, repenting and renewal and the start of the Days of Awe culminating in Yom Kippur, the Day of atonement.  Also Happy Eid al-Fitr to Ali.

    Please, everyone, forgive me for causing offense, hurt feelings and/or being such a smart ass. I forgive all as I ask to be forgiven. Will stay away from posting for the duration so as not to be tempted to re-offend during the days of contemplation! Will still stop by just to silently keep up. Best wishes to all for a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year and, as always, we hope and ask for peace.

    I haven’t suddenly become very observant but I do love the traditions of the High  Holy Days. Even if you aren’t Jewish, you might want to consider getting in touch with someone you’ve had a falling out with.  You don’t have to become best of friends again but it feels really good to get out from under active hostility.  Also eating apples dipped in honey for a sweet New Year is nice. It couldn’t hurt.  

    1. But before the sun sets:

      Can you think of any greater source of unhappiness and conflict in the world today–or in any other era–than religion?

      Seems to me that practicing a religious observance — which religion it matters not — and wishing peace to people is wildly contradictory, however sincere you may be.

      1. I’ll just post this one last time.  Jo, I’m not going to argue with you but religions have positive aspects too and I can’t help but be fond of my own favorite religious/cultural traditions, fully aware that ultra orthodox Judaism is just as nuts as any fundamentalist version of any other religion.  

        I just can’t work up that level hostility to aspects of any religion that are really beautiful and humane in themselves or to people who are nice, sensible grown ups but still like to have a connection with a faith tradition.  

        Being a militant atheist takes so much self discipline.  It’s such a serious stance. Hat’s off to those who go in for that level of commitment but it’s not for me.  I admire your consistency and wish you all the best in the coming year.  

      2. Are you trying to make up for the unhappiness and conflict caused by religions, by causing some of your own as an atheist? Quit it, you make the rest of us atheists look like assholes.

        1. God says WE get to go to heaven, no one else.

          Allah says you will do it my way.

          G_d says I chose you as my people, no one else.

          Take away any of those, and what have you got left? Gefilte fish?

          Sorry, they come as packages.

          As for politesse, well, I would hardly know where to begin! Gaza? Tehran? Seville of 1483? Sorry if you feel a bit hungry…  We really do apologize if these stones are a bit hard… Madame, may we please set you afire? Gracias! Throw them Korans on the fire! More the better! Take offense if you choose; you’ve got lots of company.

          Incidentally, don’t think I mentioned anything about atheism. The word I used was religions; there is a difference.

          1. it’s rude to piss on someone’s harmless and positive holiday post. It’s like trashing a politican the day s/he dies.

            And yes, when you say all religions suck, people assume you’re an atheist, and it makes the rest of us look bad.  

  7. From The Guardian: //

    Twelve American soldiers face trial over secret “kill team” that allegedly blew up and shot Afghan civilians at random and collected their fingers as trophies.

    IF this allegation is found to be true–emphasis on IF–is there anyone who believes the American mission in Afghanistan is now, or ever can be, viable?

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