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    • Civilization Ending Long Covid Pt. 2 — 320K Long Term Sick In UK Labor Force
      Starting in 2020, an increase of 320K long term sick people. We tend to do percentages off the population, but the UK Labor Force is 34.7 million people. That means, in 2 years, what is probably most Long Covid, caused about a .92% decrease in the labor force just due to long Covid. Another .38% of the population left the UK Labor force for other reasons. Wh […]
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A Plea from a Makeup Guru

As some of you may know, I watch makeup videos on YouTube to relax.  Yeah, yeah, it’s a secret vice.  I can never look like them but I have learned a few things.  Like, use a peach highlighter to counteract dark circles and stay away from eyeshadows with too much shimmer unless you are very young.  And I have also learned that some makeup gurus, like Samantha at pixiwoo, know that it’s not all about them:

{Stay with it til the end.  It’s short but worth it}

I find it really strange that the plight of the Pakistanis is on low burn this week.  The UN says that compared to Haiti earthquake and Indonesian tsunami relief, the flooding in Pakistan, which is affecting so many people, is getting very little attention.

Images of people slogging through water did not generate the same kind of sympathy as a leveled city, even though the dimensions are similar, aid groups noted, especially since, according to the United Nations, more than 15 million people have been affected and are often difficult to reach.

“That should be enough to get anybody’s attention,” said George Rupp, the president of the International Rescue Committee. The organization has raised just $1.18 million of the $5 million it is seeking, with about $700,000 coming from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Online donations are far below the response to past disasters, he noted.

Many aid groups are increasing their efforts as the scope of the disaster unfolds. TheInternational Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies began an appeal for more than $16 million on Aug. 2, of which about 60 percent has been donated, but now expects to double the appeal, said Elyse Mosquini of the federation’s United Nations office.

Given the threat of more rain and the potential spread of disease, time is not an ally. “People are starting to appreciate the scale, but I don’t know that people are appreciating the urgency,” said Rebecca Barber of Oxfam, speaking by telephone from Pakistan.

There were limited signs on Tuesday that change might be in the offing. At the London premiere of the movie “Salt,” Angelina Jolie lent glamour to the cause, saying on the red carpet that donating to Pakistan was an urgent matter. “It is millions and millions of people who will be uprooted for a very long time,” she said.

Unfortunately, this is not a good time for giving to the Pakistanis.  The citizens of this country turn to their churches during natural disasters, looking for answers and relief.  But Pakistan is a Muslim country and our country is busily engaged in a PR political war to determine whether American Muslims in New York City have the right to worship where it is most convenient for them.  When they might be finding comfort in their mosques, organizing relief for their Pakistani friends, they are instead asked to defend their constitutionally guaranteed right to worship.

I’m embarrassed for us on both counts. Not only does it demonstrate how crowds can be swayed to carry praise or blame too far, it makes fundamentalist extremism towards our country more likely.  We make a mockery of the principles upon which this country was built and in the process end up looking like craven, irrational hypocrites.

This week, I will be devoting the Friday Fast to Pakistani Flood Relief.  In the meantime, I have a little public service announcement to my friends on Facebook.  I haven’t really used Facebook much until recently when DandyTiger turned me on to Flipboard.  So, I just started accepting my friend invitations.  But I have been really disturbed by a small number of these so-called friends who have been sending me columns opposed to the proposed mosque in Lower Manhattan.  Let me make my view on this perfectly clear: I believe in the freedom of worship.  I am an American and that’s what Americans believe in.  Some of you may have forgotten that principle but it’s in the bill of rights.  I don’t have the right to hold my beliefs as being better or more worthy of respect than anyone else’s.  I DO have a problem with fundamentalism and extremism in any religion.  But it you keep your beliefs to yourself and behave as a good citizen, then your Christian fundamentalism is of no interest to me.

So, verily I say unto you, do not send me messages of intolerance regarding this mosque.  I have no fear of Muslims.  I want to live in peace with them.  And I will unfriend you. I have already had to unfriend several people over this.  If that means I have fewer friends, well, at least I can sleep at night with a clear conscience.

If you are insulted or offended by this post, then please, don’t feel obligated to read anything else I write.  I don’t speak for the other frontpagers on this matter but I have no reason to believe they disagree with me.

217 Responses

  1. Honk, honk

  2. I consider this mosque thing the latest round of media “gotcha.”

    I’m not a Barack Obama fan but does anyone else not believe that if he’d said they shouldn’t build the mosque the media would have reported that the President opposed 1st Amendment rights.

    The whole entire thing strikes me as immature and reading comments in news sections is starting to get me pessimistic about the fate of my country.

    I just finished reading about an Ensign who filed a lawsuit because of the call name the squadron gave him. The number of people who felt it was acceptable and an “initiation”(as if this weresome frat club instead of a profession). was disgusting.

    • the media is going to play gotcha on him, that’s why the media darling thing was a nonstarter for me. If you derive strength from the media, the media can taketh away what it gave.

      I just would have respected him a lot more if he had spoken up sooner but further if he had stuck by it instead of backing away. He’s not using the bully pulpit of the president to lead on issues of our day.

  3. Some suggestions from the State Dept. about relief:


  4. So pleased to see you standing up for religious tolerance RD!

  5. I’m not sure the hesitation in caring about Pakistan’s plight is about religion. My take is it might have more to do with ambivilent feelings about Pakistan because Pakistan seems to have been playing the US for years, taking billions from us in “aid” while supporting al Qaeda and Taliban. Pakistan just seems like bad news, like someone we pretend is our friend but is actually causing us all kinds of trouble.

    Speaking of that mosque in lower Manhattan, Glenzilla posted this revealing tidbit yesterday:

    A CNN anchor expresses the crux of “mosque” opposition


    • the Pakistani government is a difficult issue, and I think it’s a factor probably in the kind of coverage the floods are getting… that said, the people there deserve humanitarian attention just like the people in Haiti do.

      • Exactly!

        While I may believe the Pakistani government plays us(and lets face it, at this point I’d be hardpressed to name governments that haven’t played us at some point in time) the idea that I should hold innocent children responsible fortheir actions is abhorrent to me.

        • I’m half-Kashmiri, half-Punjabi … and Pakistan’s government is very corrupt from my very personal/slanted POV, though I really admired Benazir Bhutto (RIP) and as a rule I do not hold the actions of a corrupt government against the swath of people living there. There are children who have no say and people just trying to get by while bad actors keep conflicts going.

    • that too. but people are people everywhere we don’t endear ourselves t them by ignoring them when they’re suffering. quite the opposite.

      • Absolutey agree.

        But I still think the widespread hesitation by Americans to care about what’s happening in Pakistan has less to do with religion than the other factors I mentioned.

        Could be wrong but I haven’t noticed most Americans know or care much about Muslims or their religion – I think it’s more the way they *look* and American confusion over who are the enemy vis a vis terrorism and whether or not the person one is looking at is trustworthy or even empathy-worthy.

        I’m not religious so maybe the whole religion thing flies over my head, but I hear other excuses – like Don Lemon in that CNN clip talking about “context.”

        • Could be wrong but I haven’t noticed most Americans know or care much about Muslims or their religion – I think it’s more the way they *look* and American confusion over who are the enemy vis a vis terrorism and whether or not the person one is looking at is trustworthy or even empathy-worthy.

          the confusion comes from conflating bad actors with the peoples of a country. imho. It’s similar to the problem of conflating all Muslims with the terrorists. It’s xenophobia at the end of the day.

    • I think part of it is that most of us are so hunkered down now because of the economy that it’s hard to unbend the emotional armor unless it’s something unusual.

      There were just images of midwest flooding on the news before the Pakistan flood … and so although we know intellectually the scope is different, the images are similar and the emotional response is similar. Sort of like “that’s really sad but they’ll recover when the waters recede and in the meantime I better figure out how to make next month’s rent.”

      I think Americans are mostly at the point of simply being wrung dry, financially and emotionally.

      • There have been so many world-wide catastrophes in the past year. There have also been horrible disasters here in the US that have gotten almost no media attention. The flooding in Tennessee, the million-barrel oil spill in Michigan that could affect the entire country because of the poorly maintained pipline.

        The BP oil gusher has gotten more media attention, but almost nothing has been done to help the people of the Gulf states who are suffering. Many of these people also went through Katrina and still hadn’t recovered from that.

        I think if our government showed some concern for people in the U.S. who don’t have jobs instead of cutting billions from the food stamp program, Americans would have more energy to pay attention to catastrophes around the world.

        As far as media coverage goes, most of us can’t influence that much at all.

        • You’re so right, BB. One of my friends said to me just the other day that she wished she could do more to help people suffering from the many disasters around the world but her family is relying on her unemployment as she searches for a job after being layed off. Then added, “we should be taking care of our own first.”

          I believe that’s typical of the many Americans who feel beaten, discouraged and as if others have taken advantage of them.

          • I believe that’s typical of the many Americans who feel beaten, discouraged and as if others have taken advantage of them.

            We have been taken advantage of.

          • I have barely enough income right now to pay my bills and eat beans and rice. I wish I could send money, but I don’t have any. The only thing I can do is care about the human beings who are suffering all around this world. And I do care.

        • thank you, BB. As usual, your level-headed viewpoint always comes through.

  6. Sorry, that link didn’t post right.


  7. I also think Americans are massively hung up on the way people look.

    Haitians are black and right now black is cool. But, as with Pakistan, the plight of the people following earthquakes in Chili didn’t seen to get the sympathy or attention that Haitians got.

    • Chile deserves our attention and our empathy too for such a catastrophic event, but wasn’t Haiti’s devastation on a wider scale than Chile’s?

      • There were differences between Haiti’s and Chili’s damage but in both cases, as in Pakistan, people were in distress as a result of a natural disaster. But the news coverage and, it seems, level of American sympathy were very much greater for Haiti than either Chili or Pakistan.

      • IIRC, Chile specifically asked the US to back off and not make a public spectacle of their earthquake relief efforts.

        • Maybe I misunderstood but I read your post to be more about individuals than governments, how Americans are reacting and responding.

          As for government response, I thought eventually Chili said yes we need help. No?

          But governments like Chili’s and Pakistan’s want their people to believe they (the government) can handle a crisis, so they don’t want relief efforts with Made in USA stamped all over it, while the US wants credit for helping with the hope it’ll build goodwill towards us.

          And through all this, there are people dealing with devastation who just need some clean water.

      • I actually think it’s much more simple than that: Some stories seem to captivate the public much more than others, worse of all, some don’t even move the public at all.

        Some catastrophies provoke outpoor and sympathies and donations, others don’t: It’s never about the magnitude.

        I don’t know how to explain it, I think it’s just the madness of the crowd.

      • March 2, 2010:

        SANTIAGO, Chile — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made a small dent in Chile’s growing needs following a massive earthquake, handing over 25 satellite phones while promising more Tuesday in the country’s capital.

        “We stand ready to help in any way that the government of Chile asks us to. We want to help Chile who has done so much to help others,” Clinton said during a brief visit to Chile that took her nowhere near areas with heavy damage. She spent most of her time at the airport, which appeared unscathed.

        Clinton toured an area of the airport where tea, flour and other supplies were being loaded into boxes for shipment to parts of the country where supplies are short.

        Meeting with the country’s president-elect, Clinton said she is sure Chile is handling the disaster well. She said there has been no discussion of sending U.S. troops to help distribute aid or keep order, as was done in Haiti following the far more deadly earthquake there in January.

        Clinton gave one of the donated phones directly to current President Michelle Bachelet, who had said shortly after last week’s earthquake in Chile that her country did not need much help from other nations. That changed as the magnitude of the disaster became clear — power, water, food and medical care are urgent needs in the country’s second-largest city Concepcion, and along a coast hit by both the quake and a resulting tsunami.

        The United States has pledged additional help, including a field hospital with surgical facilities that Clinton said is “ready to go.”

  8. I believe in the freedom of worship. I am an American and that’s what Americans believe in. Some of you may have forgotten that principle but it’s in the bill of rights. I don’t have the right to hold my beliefs as being better or more worthy of respect than anyone else’s. I DO have a problem with fundamentalism and extremism in any religion. But it you keep your beliefs to yourself and behave as a good citizen, then your Christian fundamentalism is of no interest to me

    You speak for me on this one, with every single word. It has been quite depressing to see how some people treat their fellow Americans, just because they are from another religious denomination. They’re being treated as some foreigners who would like to do something atrocious to us. How shameful!

  9. Can’t get this out of my head:

  10. Inside Story – Barack Obama and US Muslims

    AlJazeeraEnglish | August 18, 2010
    Last week, Barack Obama, the US president, communicated his support for the building of a mosque two blocks away from Ground Zero in New York, saying: “Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country.” This seemed harmless enough until he found out that over two-thirds of the US disagreed with him. Chastened, Obama went off-message to control the political damage, saying: “I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque.” On this episode of Inside Story we ask: How much of an impact are upcoming elections having on Obama and are Muslims in the US being treated fairly?

    • And Obama’s own comments further the meme that the community center is a Mosque. When you bring up freedom of religion, one automatically assumes the other person is referring to a religious institution NOT a communal/societal one.

      Again, Obama’s (and Bloomberg’s) involvement with the issue have flubbed it!

  11. I’m not a fan of any religion that holds females in the same esteem as their goats, sorry.
    But, like Westboro Baptist, the Klu-Klux-Klan, and the American Nazi Party the have a right to exist.

  12. Does anyone know where the video clip is of Hillary asking for phone text donations for the Pakistan Flood? I can’t find it for the life of me.

  13. Being firmly in the camp that is against the construction of this mosque, does not make me a bigot, a racist, nor a non-believer in the constitutional right they have to build a mosque in this country.

    But just like the people that want to protest the military funerals, that is the ultimate in bad taste. I did not lose anyone to the 911 tragedy; nor have I lost anyone to the current wars. I can certainly respect one’s “rights”; doesn’t mean I have to respect the actions that result from that right.

    • why is a Muslim community center two blocks from Ground Zero the ultimate in bad taste?

      Muslim Americans were the victims of 9-11 too. Their families and friends lost loved ones too. The Muslim American community was traumatized with the rest of America on 9-11. Middle Eastern Americans and Pakistani Americans have been the targets of suspicion, stigmatization, and hate crimes since 9-11. Indian Americans have also been targets because all of us furreigners (even if we’re American born or naturalized) are lumped together. There was a recent “raghead” slur on Nikki Haley (and on our current president).

      I think it weakens the argument used to recruit terrorists if we live our ideals and let a Muslim community center be built two blocks away from Ground Zero. We are a pluralistic society. I understand the strong feelings of people who personally lost someone on 9-11 about this issue. I think those feelings deserve to be aired out. But, in the end constitutional rights must be respected and we must live our ideals. The mobilized attacks coming from the right wing hate machine are not compelling and feed a xenophobic attitude and should they prevail, that will be a sad commentary on the state of pluralism in the US.

      • That’s exactly what a lot of military people are saying. We’re making our international relations a lot more tricky, because no one outside the US understands why this is controversial. It’s not like this group is bulldozing the Lincoln Memorial to build their facility. It’s not like the entire area is some sort of shrine, there’s a strip club here, an off-track betting parlor there, a proposal to build a giant shopping mall on the actual WTC site. And yet the area that is open to everyone for a variety of purposes including development is closed to Muslims and they have to maintain a distance of x number of blocks? In addition, this is happening across the country, people don’t want mosques built. Singling out the Islamic Cultural Center really doesn’t help with that, as the arguments across the country are pretty much exactly the same–it’s an insult, it’s a slap in the face, it’s poor taste, 9/11.

      • I recall my eldest deeply saddened by the death of an Indian (elderly) man that was killed for being muslim (they didn’t even know) and no one has been charged with his murder. Rush in the video connects Hindus to Pearl Harbor on his show. Also, the religious leader of the proposed mosque was tapped by Bush II and sent around the world on building peaceful relations but that part is left out.

        Ed Show: Cenk Slams Rush Limbaugh

      • To me, ‘Ultimate in Bad taste’ is not the description of choice for me (although I always allow others the respect of their own opinion).

        For me, it simply comes down to the obvious probability that the Mosques location will be seen by many in the Islamic World as a ‘Victory Marker’ if you will. The reality of this should be insulting enough to moderate Muslims (as it would be to the victims families and to most/some Americans) to want to NOT build the Mosque so close to Ground Zero… however, I am interested in just exactly ‘how close to Ground Zero’ is OK – that argument does intrigue me, and I’m open to the possibility of changing my mind in the future based on this.

        … but that’s just me.

        • For me, it simply comes down to the obvious probability that the Mosques location will be seen by many in the Islamic World as a ‘Victory Marker’ if you will.

          well I don’t know what “many in the Islamic world” is supposed to mean…. if you mean terrorists, I think the terrorists would actually see this as a bad thing, it would make it that much harder for them to indoctrinate the new generation that would be seeing Americans letting a Muslim community center go up 2 blocks away from Ground Zero. It is the new generation that is the bridge to modernity, and you show them the best of America and American ideals in practice, you give the terrorists less and less arguments to make. What will they say when a young person asks, how can Americans be so bad if they let a Muslim community center go up 2 blocks from where Muslim extremists attacked them? They’ll have lost the members of the Muslim youth who do have an ability to see themselves included in a pluralist society if you show them that it is possible. just my very humble opinion.

          • Seems to me, if the Muslim youth is so progressive, then they will certainly understand that so many families are just hurt from losing their loved ones to a radical Islamic attack and felt sensitive to giving radicals a victory marker to come visit and celebrate their triumph.

          • Do you honestly think we’re in any danger of becoming the #1 party destination of radical Muslims? Winter in NY, summer in Cuba or wherever we’re holding the “detained indefinitely without trial” crowd these days, if they’re lucky enough to avoid the “Obama maintains the right to order the extrajudicial killing of anyone he wants” crowd.

          • You keep calling it a victory marker… but building a Muslim community center 2 blocks from Ground Zero, along with a McDonalds and a strip club among other things, is a victory marke for the Muslims who want to reconcile with the West. That is not a victory marker for the extremists.

          • Yes, I do think many radicals will come to the center and be thrilled at their victory…. Attacking us on 9/11, killing 3,000 of our citizens, wiping away the Twin Towers in that harrowing spectacle was a great day in their history – to some.

            While they clearly have a right to build it…. it doe seem in poor taste.

        • They’re proposing a multistory facility. Even in NY, finding a site that fits their design and can accomodate all their needs within a certain area is going to be limited, most likely. And most decisions are based on convenience. They don’t know and can’t be held responsible for what strangers elsewhere may or may not think, but they may know how moving it x distance in this direction or x distance in that direction is going to make it more difficult or expensive for kids or the elderly to get there. The Muslim population in the area is growing, which is why they’re thinking of building in the first place, and it doesn’t look good to the rest of the world to treat them differently. The message that’s getting out is that we don’t really consider American Muslims to be American, we associate them with terrorism, and we want to prevent them from practicing their faith, IMO. The other day some Army officer said something along the lines of, we’re trying to convince people we’re not at war with Islam, we’re against terrorism, and things like this really don’t help with that perception.

          • It’s my understanding there are dozens of Mosques in the New York metro area.

            Seems to me quite provocative to suggest that we should build a Mosque that radicals will consider a victory marker. Whatever good intentions those proposing the Mosque might have had, there certainly are radicals that will view it that way.

            … seems like leaving a big turd on someone’s living room floor…. just not really the hospitable thing to do to make friends.

          • it’s not a mosque, it’s like the Muslim equivalent of a YMCA

          • Nearest mosque is in Tribeca, and they’re already running three services to accomodate the demand. They’re too overstretched to do anymore.

            They’re not trying to provoke anyone. They’re a bunch of Americans trying to build a community center to accomodate people in their neighborhood. They’re not responsible for how strangers thousands of miles away may or not
            perceive something that has nothing to do with
            them (and they wouldn’t be thinking about it at
            all if the right wing hadn’t made this fuss).

            Yeah, a turd on the floor. There’s something so despicable about Americans building a community center right in the middle of their
            growing community. When they saw the strip
            club, the OTB, and the McD’s, they should have realized they were on sacred ground. The
            library and the peace memorial are a direct provocation to anyone who hates books and peace. And I wouldn’t put it past them to have the Constitution in the library, like a giant slap in our faces.

          • When Strippers get in a plane piloted by Ronald McDonald and slam into buildings killing 3,00 people, it will seem equivalent…

      • It isn’t in bad taste. I don’t know if you saw it, but I posted something the other day with photos of all the things that are going on in that two block radius. It’s extremely varied. Is having a McDonalds next to the site any better than a mosque? The mosque would probably be aesthetically pleasing. Maybe all the people who are so concerned about this should try to get something built on the ground zero spot.

    • dm, why I don’t believe it’s in bad taste, I do believe that just because you have the “right” to do something, doesn’t mean you should. The other religious crazies (the anti-Muslims) are gonna do something to the mosque in the name of whatever crazy 9/11 reasoning they can use. Also, the thing that gets me … is if it is a Muslim community center, then why not say it’s that instead of bringing up the religion part?

      just my 2 cents

      Having said that, I support RD’s stance on the issue. She certainly has a right to refuse friends who are bludgeoning over the head with info she doesn’t want.

      • The Muslim community DO keep saying it’s a communnity center. It’s the bigots that insist on identifying the project solely as a mosque.

        • I used the M-word and Spammy got me. Please fish me out.

        • But Bloomberg and Obama have furthered the meme that it IS a mosque by using the freedom of religion arguments off the bat. BTW, that’s where I learned that it was a type of mosque, not a community center. Why didn’t they use the “freedom to assemble” argument instead?

          • Because they were addressing religious bigotry, not “freedom to assemble” bigotry–whatever that might be.

          • A point I’m trying to make is that Obama himself made it a bigger issue by refuting the bigotry (before a Ramadan dinner), then flip-flopping a day later.

            Now this issue has wings for all Dems races across the nation since they will be forced to come out with an opinion. It will touch any Dem who has a mosque in his state.

            My understanding is that the proposed community center’s site is close enough that it had a large piece of one of the 9/11 airplanes collide into it. I’m wondering how long those blocks are.

        • Why would it be Religious Bigotry to be against a Mosque/Center that would be viewed by radicals in the Islamic world as a Victory Marker?

          Sounds a lot like being a r*cist because you didn’t support the first Black President.

    • Rights are pretty fricking meaningless if you can never use them.
      BTW, the reason we put freedom of religion in the bill of rights was to prevent accusations of “bad taste” from impinging on one group’s religion by the majority. I happen to think Christian mega churches featuring coffee bars, bowling alleys and rock concert performances and presentations are in bad taste but I can’t stop anyone from building those monstrosities or attending the reactionary, anti woman, sometimes homophobic, pro death penalty sermons that go on in them. It’s not my business. I have the right to avoid such bad taste. So, if people don’t like the mosque in Manhattan, I advise the
      To not go into it. You can’t if you’re not a Muslim anyway so right there, they are sparing their more sensitive and less tolerant Christian neighbors from bad taste. See how easy that wad?

      • Apparently, “bad taste” is not an apt description. As Jeffhas said, just because you have a “right” doesn’t mean you should exercise it.

        I find many things in bad taste…I generally try to avoid them. But I can easily acknowledge how New Yorkers and the victims of 9/11 – and yes, there were muslim victims too – would be outraged. I guess I sympathize more with them than I do the supporters of the mosque.

        I respect RD’s position…I try to respect everyone’s position…but, I don’t always agree.

        On a personal note, I have a question for you Riverdaughter…I was doing a search on Sea Shepherd and your name with The Confluence came up with some other links. Are you involved with them? Another prickly issue for me; very much anti-whaling. What is the point of a sanctuary if you allow hunting? And what “researcher” kills off thousands of a species to research it?

        • This wasn’t the least bit controversial in NYC until a group of right wing bloggers and media screamers made it so …

          • I think I first became aware from a headline off of RCP, a site I check regularly primarily because they do have stories from both points of view.

        • Never heard of sea shepherd. As to the mosque, I’ll consider protesting the next negachurch that gets built in my town. I don’t really like fundy Christians or what they stand for. They have the right to build one but it’s really offensive to the non fundamentalists and agnostics, universalists and atheists.
          Personally, if I were American Muslims, I wouldn’t defer to any other religious group or a weak president who stupidly landers to those who would undermine anyone’s right to worship or not worship as they see fit. But maybe Christians need a taste of their own medicos before they get it. So, thanks for the great idea. I will protest the next Christian church that doesn’t strictly adhere to the nonviolent and anti rich teachings of Jesus.

          • I find EVERYTHING evangelical christians do to be in bad taste. Maybe I’ll join you in the protest.

          • come to think of it, do you want to protest TMZ? They are in bad taste too, and then there’s Perez Hilton, he’s in bad taste … hmmm, almost every one at FOX news is in bad taste …

            Rush Limbaugh, definitely bad taste … why he even said that it was like building a Hindu temple in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese aren’t Hindu (which is what you get when you listen to some one who flunked out his first semester in higher ed).

            Let’s just make a list of things in bad taste to protest about …

          • Having been raised with a father who was a Southern Baptist minister, I can readily understand. Although, both of my parents were fairly open minded, considering. I have virtually no use for organized religion. However, I did convert to Lutheran for my husband and to provide some basic religious teachings to my kids. Not sure how well that turned out…my son, who is 22, currently believes there is no God. My daughter was very enthusiastic until the Lutherans recently took a vote about gays in the ministry. Her enthusiasm has waned considerably. Everyone who knows me gets my anti religious bent. Do I believe in God…yes. Am I a spiritual person…yes. Do I believe everyone is free to believe what they will…yes.

            As the old saying goes, you’re preaching to the choir when it comes to views on some of our established ‘Christian” faiths.

          • Then you should know better. At The Confluence, we try to make it safe to do the right thing, not the popular thing. Right now, it is popular to piss on American Muslims but that doesn’t mean it’s right. We are giving you a place where you cam think out of the box and reject the narrowinded, xenophobic tendency of mobs to go along with the crowd and beat up on innocent but unpopular people.
            Bad taste is no excuse for ditching a sacred principle in our bill of rights. You know this.

          • Let me start by saying I do truly value this site and all the contributors. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I don’t. I do appreciate that there are people out there spending their time and money to bring topics for discussion to anyone who can access them. And I firmly believe that it’s your house, you run it however you see fit.

            But I wasn’t trying to piss on anyone. Just expressing a view, which for the life of me I cannot figure out why that doesn’t seem to fly here. I read such rich, intelligent postings and yet whenever I come here I feel you get off on trying to talk down to me. Maybe your passion is stronger than your sense of civility; perhaps the passion is needed more…

            Once again, peace to you all.

          • Dm, you’re wrong if you think your view doesn’t fly here. You are free to express it and we are free to disagree with you. If you were looking for people to agree with you, you need to check out a more sympathetic blog. We are not the kind of people who go along with the crowd, even when that crowd is big and noisy. We’ve heard your point of view. We don’t particularly think it’s very principled. I will not let you off the hook and make allowances for intolerance. Other people might but they don’t blog here.

          • The next time the fundies load up planes and fly them into buildings and kill 3,000 people, you can bet I’ll be right by your side protesting their bad taste at wanting to build a fundy center on top of the rubble.

      • So, if people don’t like the mosque in Manhattan, I advise the
        To not go into it. You can’t if you’re not a Muslim anyway

        Huh, that’s a bit offensive. My mother took me on a lot of shopping trips to Manhattan when I was little. To sit down and rest in a quiet atmosphere, she generally schlepped me into some church. I remember sitting in St. Patrick’s and St. Bartholomew’s in particular. These churches were always open to anyone who cared to stop in, no matter what their religion or lack of one. I’m used to Manhattan places of worship being open. But this community center/mosque wouldn’t let us in. Huh.

        • it’s not a mosque, it is a community center (that would have a prayer area in it) that is being spearheaded by a group trying to better relations between Muslims and the West, so I think others would be able to enter.

          besides, non-Muslims can go into a lot of mosques in the US, but there are some rules and guidelines about that.

          • Yes, their website states that even the mosque part will be open and accessible to “all members, visitors, and our New York community.”

          • Seriously, good. I am glad it will be open as most such places are in Manhattan. RD must have been wrong about that.

          • OK, Wonk, a community center with a prayer area in it.

        • The Cordoba Initiative is all about interfaith dialogue. I don’t see any indication anywhere that these facilities won’t be open to everyone, except you’ll probably have to get into teh fitness center and restaurant, of course. Of course, if they ever get this place built, they’re going to need a hell of a lot of security, so it probably won’t be quite as open as was originally intended, sadly.

        • Sorry, my mistake. As I understand it, consecrated mosques are traditionally off limits to non Muslims. This center is different.

  14. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

    George Washington in his letter “To the Hebrew Congregation in Newport” (via)

  15. If Americans do not donate to and support the down trodden in Pakistan the Taliban surely will. They gain prestige and the victims of the flood see the Taliban as their helpers.

    This can not be good for us.
    We need to send help if only to help ourselves.

  16. I do question the wisdom of the location but I believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    The argument I’ve heard from those against it several times in the last few days, is that Islamic “conquerers” build Mosques on the land of those who they conguered.

    But I do remember that a Greek Orthodox church was proposed for that area and was denied because supposedly the church as to be too tall. The proposed mosque will be much taller.

    • I just saw that Nancy Pelosi now wants to investigate the opponents of the mosque! Can’t we just allow people to express their opinions? This country is turning into the old Soviet Union.

      Sam Harris, the professional athiest, also thinks the location is in poor taste. I don’t think it should be an issue myself, but I’m willing to allow other people to have opinions.


      The Mosque isn’t being built on ground zero. It will be some distance away in the neighborhood that has strip clubs and fast food restaurants as well as plenty of varied businessees and people.

      IMHO, this is all a huge distraction from the out-of-control unemployment, the children who are homeless all around the country, and frankly the imminant collapse of the American empire.

      • I agree – this is just another – “oh, look over there…” in the O repertoire.

      • This whole controversy would have crested by now if Obama had stood firm in his convictions, copied Bloomberg and told the wingers to take a flying leap. Yeah, they would have gone purple with rage but so what? They aren’t going to vote for him anyway.
        Hillary would have moved on by now and people would have adjusted. That’s what they did during the primaries. And why is that? It’s because she stood for something and didn’t back down when her principles were challenged. Obama learned nothing from 2008. He needs to be replaced. And maybe this controversy us necessary and not a distraction because it shows how cowardly and ineffectual he is.

    • And Christians built churches in the lands that they conquered. So?

      They bigots have seized on the name “Cordoba” as representing conquest. What none of them seem to know–and wouldn’t care about if they did–was that Cordoba at its height was the largest (400,000 people) and arguably the most civilized and beautiful city in the world. Christians, Jews and followers of the M-faith managed to live together in peace and mutual toleration, producing signifcant advances in art and learning. Moorish Spain, and to a lesser extent, Egypt, were the destinations of choice for thousands of Jews hounded out of Christian Europe by persecution. Christian scholars went there to study medicine and other sciences, and to bring back translated Arabic texts. I suspect that it’s that kind of cooperation and mutual tolerance that the builders of the community center meant to evoke with the name, not some notion of conquest.

      • wow, we should protest against Chrysler …. they named a car for a symbol of ‘Muslim domination’. It’s a secret plot!!!

        • I think I’m going to start an internet rumor that the founders of Texas were all witches/wiccans. After all, we’ve got that pentagram on our flag.

    • That entire thing with the Greek Orthodox Church has me sick…
      http://www.stnicholasnyc.com/ this is the link to the site.

    • They are not planning on building a mosque.

      They are building a community center with a pray room.

      Its not a mosque.

  17. RD — I love Samantha at pixiwoo too! She and her mom also have the videos on dressing stylishly yet appropriately for your age. Love it!

    I adore make-up artistry. And, Yes, it is wonderful to see that seemingly-superficial people are affected and concerned about issues like the Pakistan flooding.

    And, a comment about another devastated area …

    Milwaukee, WI experienced serious flooding that left many in uninhabitable homes, and in some cases, homes had to be demolished due to missing foundations. These people lost EVERYTHING, but the clothes on their backs. These people were/are working-class Black Milwaukeeans.

    Despite Obama’s loud visit here, FEMA did not grant funds to Milwaukee. Obama doesn’t seem to care either, although he did declare some counties as disaster areas, there wasn’t much uproar about it from him. Appeals are underway, but it doesn’t look good for the Dems in WI.

    • 😦 I was born in Milwaukee.

      I do not get why FEMA is denying individual residents funds on account of basement damage rather than first floor? wtf? Every house has a basement there and basement damage can cause a lot of problems.

      • Cool Wonk!

        Right … And most houses in the South who get FEMA help don’t have basements, so again WTF?

  18. How much has Saudi Arabia helped Pakistan?

    • I have to say the Saudi Arabia and Kuwait sent a lot of relief down here to New Orleans when we were devastated. Every fema trailer came with set of brand new dishes, housewares, and sheets and blankets from the Saudis. There’s a brand new huge building and funds for a pharmacy school for Xavier because of Qatar.


      I don’t think people are aware of how much money the Gulf States donated to our region to help. They spend a lot of monies doing good actually. They taking the tithing portion of sharia law very seriously.

      • Now wouldn’t it be nice if they let “their” own women out of the house without a male guardian, get educations and drive cars? Oh, and not have to go around in portable shrouds in 100+ degree heat too.

        • Wouldn’t it be nice if you had some actual facts and didn’t conflate all of the Muslim world with Saudi Arabia and Taliban-occupied territories?

          Women not only drive, wear western clothes if they wish, go to university and vote in most Muslim countries but have been elected heads of state in several. Is there room for improvement? Emphatically there is. Unfortunately, your stereotypes belittle the Muslim feminists who are actually addressing their societies’ patriarchy and actually improving the position of women

          • M-word again. Please make Spammy let me go.

          • a lot of comments going into spam on this thread, given the topic. We’ll get everybody out, thanks for your patience

          • You are right. There are MUSLIM FEMINISTS. Even Pakistan had a female leader– Bennazir Bhutto. I’m not sure if she was a feminist, but being a female leader in that part of the world in the late 80’s means something. Seems like from Wikipedia, she’d be considered one according to our definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benazir_Bhutto#Policies_for_women

            It’s the reemergence of radical Islamic beliefs and applications to laws that are the real problem. It’s like the difference btw. the head scarf and the burqa.

            So some of these extreme reactions (i.e., the Taleban) could be a backlash to the emergence of feminists. According to Wikipedia:

            Policy on Taliban
            The Taliban took power in Kabul in September 1996. It was during Bhutto’s rule that the Taliban gained prominence in Afghanistan.[25] She, like many leaders at the time, viewed the Taliban as a group that could stabilize Afghanistan and enable trade access to the Central Asian republics, according to author Stephen Coll.[26] He claims that like the United States, her government provided military and financial support for the Taliban, even sending a small unit of the Pakistani army into Afghanistan.

            More recently, she took an anti-Taliban stance, and condemned terrorist acts allegedly committed by the Taliban and their supporters.[27]

          • How do you know I was talking about the entire Muslim world? I was referring specifically to the Saudis in reply to Kat’s comment about their aid to the Gulf following Hurricane Katrina. I know very well that women in many Muslim countries wear western clothes, go to university, have been elected heads of state, etc. Wouldn’t it be nice if you wouldn’t jump to conclusions before posting?

          • Wouldn’t it be nice if you clarified your comments before rather than after the fact? The last “they” in Dakini’s post referred to the Gulf States. You began with a “they” without indicating you were referring to anything but the Gulf States in general. Expect misinterpretation if you don’t express yourself clearly.

          • Okasha, yes, it might have been nice if I was clearer, but I didn’t expect to get jumped all over. Next time please think if maybe what you are assuming is not the only way what was said can be interpreted and ask questions if it’s not clear.

  19. We werent atttacked in the name of strip clubs and McDonalds. nOt trolling just a different view.

    • Well with the freedom fries farce and all that “they hate us for our freedom” claptrap that the rightwing espoused… conservatives should be the first ones to want to protect that freedom… if they were consistent.

      • I just re-read this bit from the morning and realized I didn’t explain myself well.

        when I saw “we weren’t attacked in the name of strip clubs and McDs” , that kind of jogged my memory back to how that’s what the right sorta did try to say we were attacked for. For our freedom… our American way of life (including McDs and strip clubs). I never bought this oversimplistic rationale to begin with, but if conservatives really believe that, then why isn’t that “freedom” worth protecting?

        • Actually, with radical Islamists doing the attacking we *were* attacked for our freedom. We women, that is. Radical Islamists don’t have anything against freedom for men, but freedom for women is heinous in their view.

    • Why blame all Islam for the acts of a few?

  20. For all the suffering in the world…

    Brett Farve is BAAAAAAAAACK!

    *sheds tears of unbridled joy*


  21. I suppose from reading various “liberal” comments around the web…

    all the liberal shrieking about how nasty and stupid conservatives are is going to come back and smack us ALL in the face like a giant boomerang.

    We have liberals actually spending time playing amateur Islam experts “explaining” how different it really is from Christianity and Judaism.

    This cannot end well.

    • Roland Martin said yesterday that when people are out of work, have lost their jobs, teachers are being laid off, and something else, people would be nuts to vote on this issue. So if we don’t see Roland again for a few months, it’s because he got a call thanking him for his “help” and asking him to take an extended vacation. Lol

    • I don’t think people are stupid or ignorant about these issues. I think they are misled and are allowing themselves to have their anger directed at an innocent group of people.
      I also believe that many Americans aren’t sure any more just what they believe. They’ve forgotten what our American values are. We grew as a nation by eventually overcoming our prejudices and moving forward. But with constant manipulation of language by politicians and our media, people don’t know how to respond in a principled fashion. Well, it’s time we relearned this. If you’re here arguing about it, it’s probably because there’s a little voice in the back of your head telling you there’s a problem. Listen to that voice. It is wrong to interfere with the cordoba center’s plans. It deprives Americans of their freedom to worship. That’s just wrong. Period.

  22. Please, just have some compassion for the victims, their families, and the survivors of the September 11th attack on WTC. I think that they are the ones that are being left out of this discussion…it has turned into a Political Party Battlefield…with each party, Dem and GOP, using it to their own agenda.

    The Park51/Cordoba folks have a right to build the center anywhere they want to. I do not have any issues with that. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion…I get that.

    But, this place called Ground Zero…remember those towers stood so tall, they were beautiful and awe inspiring. Building this Islamic Community Center here is just so painful to those whose lives were affected by the terrorist attack. And by my saying this, it does not mean I am blaming all of of Islam for the acts of a few. I am not saying they do not have a right to build it, I just am asking…as a family member of a Survivor of 9/11, to just move it further away from here. A few blocks? Is that too much to ask?

    • The rights of the victims of 9/11 are in no way violated by the mosque. And ‘di not forget that there were American Muslims who died on 9/11 as well. They too were innocent victims. Don’t let them become victims twice.
      This is a slippery slope but as unpopular as it might be, the mosque should go on as planned or the voices of intolerance and reactionary politics win. Is that really what you want?

      • Something else to consider. Forcing the community center to move elsewhere because someone, somehow is offended offers a precedent of forcing not only mosques but houses of worship/community centers of any minority religion to relocate to places more pleasing to the bigots. That’s a direct attack on the First Amendment and the Consitution itself with potentially far-ranging consequences.

        • Exactly.

          My neighbors know I am a lesbian. Currently no one has a problem with me. It helps that my yard and house is so well kept.

          However, I am currently having trouble with crabgrass. If I can’t get a handle on it the neighbors that are also experiencing problems could blame me.

          What if the new couple on the block (three kids and Evangelical) use that as an excuse to organize with the neighbors and try and force me to sell my house and move away?

          Should I listen to them?

          • What scares me is that the Muslim population in the area is growing, hence the need for the mosque. What happens if, now that this is all stirred up, people decide that it’s grossly insensitive and insulting to have Muslims living too close to Ground Zero and try to force them out? What happens if it becomes insulting to see people who “look Muslim” walking around and decide to forcibly try to “relocate” them? Jeebus, this degree of Othering is such a slippery slope and don’t we have an Equal Protection Clause anymore?

          • Wonk, can you unmod me if you get a chance, please? Thanks.

          • Jeebus, this degree of Othering is such a slippery slope and don’t we have an Equal Protection Clause anymore?

            There is a lot of othering going on in our politics and social mood right now that I find deeply upsetting.

            Seriously, I don’t know if you saw this– it’s not related to the Cordoba Initiative — Joel Stein’s “My Own Private India” published *right* before the Fourth of July, on top of it—


            This was allowed to be published in Time magazine — as major a mainstream NEWS publication as it gets — in the year 2010. Some others might think this is funny or Indian Americans should just lighten up, but being thought of as an other in one’s own country is nothing to lighten up about imho.

            In a way all of this stuff — the controversy over the Muslim community center, the firestorm over AZ immigration , Webb’s anti-affirmative action/anti-immigrant pandering, the xenophobic undercurrent that often comes up when discussing immigrant workers and outsourced workers (I realize these are complex issues and not all the arguments have a xenophobic undercurrent, but the backdrop of this conversation the way it plays in the media *does*), etc…. the race-baiting that’s gone on going after people who really aren’t racist, diluting the charge of racism against REAL racism..

            Combine all of the above with the current casting of responsibility on the collective “we” of Main Street for the irresponsibility of Wall Street….Agghghhh!!

            A lot of this stuff just feels sooo frustrating right now. It is the strategy of Divide and Conquer. Grr. The elites are pitting so many groups against each other and totally distracting from the fact that our government is failing to do what it is supposed to do, which is help people. Corporations are not people!! People are people —and we people stand stronger in all the ways we are connected and can help, nurture, lean on, and support each other than in all the ways we can tear down, hurt, destroy, and ignore each other.


          • Yes, I saw that, Wonk. It’s unbelievable that Joel Stein could write that and then use the defense that we need to acknowlege the sense of dislocation he feels as a way to move the immigration debate forward??

            Your rants are awesome. 🙂

          • Seriously, thanks for the response.

            Stein is a VH1 head trying to be ironic and totally missing, but why did Time publish it? That’s what I think is more bothering.

            the Dot head reference ? Didn’t anyone with editorial control think it might be disturbing considering this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dotbusters

          • I’m guessing that they buy into his defense. It’s hip and edgy to “say those things that people think but won’t admit,” to “be unPC.” This kind of cringe-inducing stupidity is what passes for “nuance” and “being honest/telling it like it is.” It’s Charles Murray and Larry Summers’ world, and we just live in it. And you’re supposed to lighten up and try to see things from Joel’s POV, because it’s so funny! Joel doesn’t know or care what people are going through or how it feels, so why worry? Why get all deep and serious?

          • yeah, I get that they were trying to cater to a hipster demo, but I couldn’t see Time publishing a similar kind of stereotype parade about Barack Obama? It’s not that Time didn’t know better than to publish material like that, that crosses a certain line in a “serious” magazine. But in hipster world there are certain lines that are ok to cross and certain ones that aren’t. And, therein lies the problem–this kind of splitting and selective stereotyping fits too much in with the establishment keeping the grassroots pitted against each other. I enjoy humor, but if the target of hipster satire is always aimed at little fish and big fish like O are treated like sacred cows who can’t even be poked legit non-racial fun at without the charge of “raycist!”, then this really isn’t humor.

          • of course you already know that Seriously 🙂 but yeah. Don’t let hipsters snark without an editor! 😉

          • Yeah, like dak was saying earlier, a lot of things that happen against certain groups just gets disappeared. Or it’s worse than invisible, like we sometimes pretend that a minority religious group that gets spit on a lot somehow has the same status in the US as Catholics in Poland, to justify it. We have to find someone to beat up on, so we choose safe targets and then pretend they’re in on the joke. Or if they’re not, they should be–what’s wrong? And it’s totally acceptable, because we pretend everything is hunky dory and if it’s not, we don’t want to know about it. (Hey, ask Webb about Indians! ;)) There has to be some really awful recent history to get on the hipster radar with any kind of sensitivity, and even then it can all go out the window in a second if there’s something in it for them or in a showdown against something they actually care about. 🙂

          • Webb didn’t even mention Native Americans when he said there was no parallel in our history to what blacks endured at the hands of our gov’t. But of course, if you want to otherize people, then it helps to leave out the part of our history about Native Americans.

        • OS…I am not a bigot. Please stop calling me that…it is very hurtful and not at all helpful with this issue. My family was directly affected by these attacks. It ruined our lives…my husband will never be the same person he was before he had to dodge bodies and debris during the attack. There are so many things you will never be able to understand about this event that happened in 2001. So many terrible things that should not have happened. Livelihoods have been lost. It is gut wrenching to think of what I experienced that day, and it was nothing compared to what the families of the almost 3000 people, who were in fact killed that day, have experienced.


          “This is a slippery slope but as unpopular as it might be, the mosque should go on as planned or the voices of intolerance and reactionary politics win. Is that really what you want?”

          RD, I know that it will be built. But the emotional connection to that area downtown is just do great for me and my family. Imagine your own children, thinking that their father is dead…seeing the destruction and the explosions and the towers collapsing on TV. (My kids were 3 and 4 at the time.) The horrible feelings and sadness the attack caused was more then I can say.

          No, intolerance is not what I want…and it is not what I am talking about either. This is an emotional and truly heartfelt plea for all of those who were directly wounded by these attacks. We are still grieving. We are still finding human remains of the victims. Let us voice our concern and heartbreak over this issue…without being labeled as bigots or hatemongers.

          Again, I say we are still grieving…the families of 9/11 attack on WTC deserve some understanding and compassion. That is all I am asking for at least, there is a huge empty pit in Ground Zero. The void. The planned memorial has yet to be built, and when it does it will be below the street level. To have this Community Center standing above the names of those who were killed that day is just sad. It feels dishonorable and disrespectful of the victims. That is how I feel, I have the right to feel this way, just as you have a right to support the building of this center.

          I have said that I understand the constitutional rights Park51/Cordoba has to build this center where ever it wants to. I agree with this and do not think that there should be any legal action taken against building on this spot. But maybe if some of the supporters would voice an understanding of the opponents of the “Ground Zero Mosque,” if they would acknowledge the emotional pain the location this of this center is bringing the victims families, it would help to calm the situation down. For the last 9 years we have been patiently waiting for some sort of closure that a memorial to those who were killed that day would bring. Acknowledge the emotional toll these families have been through. Be compassionate with their loss.

          Thank you, JJ Walts

          • You know the Center is not being build by those who attacked us, right?

            The worst part of this nightmare is that American Muslims are being equated to Al Qaeda, just because of the religion.

            Is every Catholic now a pedophile?

          • The memorial is going below street level? Why on earth? Not like a subway station, I hope.

          • I believe they’re building a big underground shopping mall underneath the new tower, too.

          • Very well, you’re not a bigot. You’re merely someone who wishes to penalize law-abiding New Yorkers–citizens and legal residents of the US who have a right to expect justice under their and our Constitution–for crimes committed by 19 criminals from Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The people you wish to penalize have nothing in common with the criminals except their religion.

            You tell me what the word for that is.

          • The lack of a memorial is very, very sad.

            I have been to the memorial in Oklahoma City several times. It is a very healing place. If OKC can get it together why can’t NY?

          • Wondering about law abiding Muslim New Yorkers – There’s a saying – “Out of the mouths of babes comes the truth” – or something like that. Just after 9/11 I saw some young Muslim American schoolchildren from a Muslim school not far from Ground Zero being interviewed on TV. These kids expressed the opinion that the hijackers would go straight to heaven for their deeds.
            What’s with that?

          • And one is to take these kids’ pronouncement as coming from a senior theologian because? The Phelps spawn are frequently photographed with signs proclaiming that “God Hates Fags.” We should judge all Christians and all of Christianity by that? Truth from the mouths of babes, after all.

          • You know, I’m really not against the community center. I would rather be liberal. I’m mostly playing devil’s advocate with what I do have for reservations about it to see if I can get rid of them.

          • Minx, you know that what is right is not always popular. No one is insensitive to the pain that 9/11 victims and their families suffered. Some of those people were American Muslims.
            Frankly, I think the 9/11 families emotional pain is being exploited in order to target Muslims as an out group. I object to this. The way some wingers are behaving, you’d think the mosque was being built at ground zero.
            I stand by my original position on this. The Americsn Muslim community has a right to build there, owns the property and shouldn’t have to pass through the gauntlet of whipped up public opinion in order to worship as they see fit. It doesn’t matter if anyone thinks it is in bad taste or insensitive.
            You know what the right thing is. I don’t need to tell you.

          • Dee, the WTC. Memorial happens once a year. On 9/11. Two banks of spotlights are turned on where the towers used to stand. The light shoots straight up to heaven in two straight beams. You can see it best from the pier in Jersey City, NJ. I’ve seen the several times. It is incredibly moving and, in my humble opinion, anything else would be superfluous and a cheap imitation of what memorial truly is.

          • There’s actually going to be a 9/11 Memorial at the community center, as well.

          • RD, I think those lights are very fitting, and should be on year round. One night…or week is not enough.

            mablue2, what a disturbing response to my plea of understanding and compassion. It is comments like that which really show the lack of feeling in some people.

            OS, I have stated my situation and my emotional ties to this issue. If you are incapable of having any compassion for those of us who…believe in the constitutional right to build this center on this spot…but also have an unbelievable sadness about how insensitive this is to the families. (Without a memorial to visit or a place to heal.) Then I do not know what to say. This location is too close, it is doing more harm than good. This is the exact location that the landing gear from one of the planes was found. Just move it out a few blocks more.

            I am exhausted by all of this. It is bringing back so many horrible memories for me. The pain is very deep and the loss of all those innocent people…and those 2 towers, is just to raw indeed.

            Thursday’s Child, http://www.national911memorial.org/site/PageServer?pagename=new_Memorial_Page

            Look this is what the memorial will be. The names of the victims will be written underground, out of sight.

          • Minx, I go thru the WTC when I take the Path train into manhattan. The station there is very big and is practically in the pit. It is not an insult to put the names underground. After all, most people who died there commuted to work on the subway. They were no different than you or me. That is what makes their fate so poignant.
            A good memorial should invoke a human connection. I like the idea that these were just average people, going about their work, when this awful thing happened to them. A bigger, more prinent, magnificent memorial would somehow set that connection apart from us. Don’t forget one if the most moving memorials we have, the Vietnam memorial, is mostly below ground. After walking halfway down, the visitor is engulfed in the names. It’s so sudden and yet so profound in it’s simplicity. That’s what the 9/11 memorial should be. My aunt has been to the United 93 memorial in shanksville, pa several tomes. She says the gash in the ground speaks volumes. What more do you need?

          • Minx, I do not think you are a bigot. I have seen you post here many a thoughtful post and I know you have to be coming from a very deep personal place to take a risk speaking up like this.

            The community of people that were directly affected by the 9-11 attacks are understandably going to have a reaction to what goes up in and around that area. You have a right to express that. I understand that you wish to appeal to the Cordoba Initiative to build it somewhere else if they would, acknowledging that at the end they still have the constitutional right to build it there.

            I object to the way the rightwing has irresponsibly demagogued this issue, dividing this country in the most cynical way. None of the campaigns against the Muslim community center coming from the organized right wing make very much sense to me, they are not grounded, they are reactionary and feeding a hostility and a fear of other that is downright ugly and disturbing. They do not seem very concerned about you or your family or your fellow survivors of those 9-11 attacks.

            Over here in Houston, at the end of May, one of our right wing/hate wing radio provocateurs blurted out to a caller something very very disturbing:

            A Houston talk show host this week called for the bombing of a mosque if it’s built near the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City.

            In comments Wednesday on KPRC-950 AM, Michael Berry said, “I’ll tell you this — if you do build a mosque, I hope somebody blows it up.” Berry added: “I hope the mosque isn’t built, and if it is, I hope it’s blown up, and I mean that.”

            This attitude of conflating swaths of people with the bad actors bothers me very much. Isn’t that the same thinking that the terrorists themselves operated under? *Shudders*

          • The kids get it from the adults, obviously. Those senior theologians could be the fathers or grandfathers of any one of those kids.

          • Kids believe all kinds of wacky, bigoted things, and it’s not necessarily coming from adults. It comes from other kids, the Internet, misunderstanding something they overheard of were told. Maybe they were watching Fox News after school and heard some right wing talking head say that’s what Muslims believe, it’s a ubiquitous talking point. And yeah, there are many parents or any of a million other adults the kid’s in contact with with severely messed up world views who say wacky things, either seriously or as a sick joke that the kids take literally.

          • My life will never be the same since Katrina but I’m not going to blame every single member of the Corps of Engineers for the design and building fault of a few.

          • Of course kids get it from adults. But does that make some kid who’s parroting his wackadoo father, uncle, or schizophrenic cousin a spokesman for his entire religion? If your answer is yes, then you must also concede that it’s reasonable to argue that Fred Phelps speaks for every Christian, and that the murderer who ran over Rachel Corrie with a bulldozer speaks for every Jew.

    • No it’s not too much to ask, Minx. For the record, no one is arguing that the rights of the 9/11 victims/families are being violated here either. (That is a specious argument, in my view.) I’m an atheist and believe in the 1st amendment, and I think the location of the community center/mosque displays great insensitivity to all who died there. An interfaith center would be much more appropriate on all accounts. In any case, any faith which systematically practices gender apartheid, medieval capital punishment, death to “infidels” runs contrary to the democratic ideals as espoused in our Constitution. Yeah, it’s not illegal for the Muslim community center/mosque to be built there, but it is grossly insensitive.

      BTW, I also think ALL churches should be taxed. That would certainly help our deficit!

      • Like I mentioned before, the Cordoba Initiative IS pretty damn interfaith. It’s dedicated to forging greater understanding between Islam and the West. It’s women’s division opposes FGM as a barbaric, unIslamic practice.

      • trixta, thank you. Everyone has the right to their views, whether we agree or not. I think TC is an excellent blog and site. Just because I do not agree with TC on this issue does not mean I won’t continue to read it, or post comments. However, I am done commenting on this subject.

        • And I want to thank you Minkoff for bringing a necessary voice to an emotionally laden discussion. Perhaps because my husband’s a retired firefighter, I believe the emergency responders at the site were well aware of what they looking at and what the consequences would be in terms of loss of life.

          As flawed (and subjective) human beings, we continue to strive to meet the ideal of tolerance, but there has to be dialogue and consideration for all views and for the suffering that occurred that day.

    • it IS a few blocks from the WTC site already.

  23. Hi again, most fab RD…

    nice and strong, as you always are — on the page…
    RD friend me through Dak?

    ps: nothin like Christmastime and those fab KITS everyone puts out…at DEPT stores. I can see my whole life flash before my eyes from Clinique at age 20 — forward….

    even though I barely wear any of it, I loves it.


  24. Ted Olson (in an interview on MSNBC) just came out in support of the community center in lower Manhattan.

    • Good grief. Something’s infected him with that dreaded “liberal” bug. First LGBT rights, now first amendment rights for minority religions. Where will it all end?

    • It’s wrong to vote for Ted Olson for President, it’s wrong to want Ted Olson for President–what is going ON? Is he about to do a David Brock?

      • Well I will admit that I have often thought he might be gay.

      • Yes, it’s wrong.
        He may be liberal on social issues but I suspect he’s still batshit crazy on everything else.

  25. Just wanted to show you something. My exhusband is of Japanese descent and so, then, are my children. As such, we used to experience problems with a lot of older americans who still remembered the days that we referred to people of Japanese descent as the yellow menace, etc. He had an older lady that worked with him call him her “little yellow friend” and I had an uncle by marriage with an aunt whose son died in Bataan. When we showed up to a family reunion, the aunt was incensed and went on about it the entire weekend. I also was told by my own mother that she didn’t want any “slanty-eyed grandbabies”.

    One of the things Newt Gingrich implied (after Rush Limbaugh mistakenly said something about a Hindu shrine) is that there was no Shinto (which is the native Japanese religion) in Pearl Harbor.

    There is a shinto shrine in Pearl Harbor.


    How much more can you say about this?

    An American flag flying beside a Shinto shrine on the freeway to Pearl Harbor! An incredible sight one can encounter only in America. And only in Hawaii could it happen at such breathtaking speed.

    • Some of the Japanese people in my neighborhood have been harassed for years. I was shocked when they were telling me about it recently. It’s this sort of hidden prejudice that it never crosses your mind would be going on for years. And presumably it’s mostly kids doing this stuff, so generation after generation and it still goes on.

      • You don’t hear about it because the Japanese don’t make a fuss about it. I got married when I was 20. I couldn’t believe it then and when it still happens now, I’m still as appalled and shocked.

  26. What with all this bleeding compassion for building the Park/51 Mosque. Would anyone have a good word to say for the Greek Orthodox?

    Church destroyed on 9/11 won’t be rebuilt

    Greek Orthodox leaders trying to rebuild the only church destroyed in the Sept. 11 terror attacks expressed shock this week after learning, via Fox News, that government officials had killed a deal to relocate the church.

    The St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, once a tiny, four-story building in the shadows of lower Manhattan, was destroyed in 2001 by one of the falling World Trade Center towers. Nobody from the church was hurt in the attack, but the congregation has, for the past eight years, been trying to rebuild its house of worship.

    Though talks between the church and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey stalled last year, church leaders say they’ve been trying to kick-start discussions ever since. But amid debate over whether a proposed Islamic community center should go forward near Ground Zero, government officials threw cold water on the prospect of any deal with the church — telling Fox News the deal is off the table.

    Or is the vaunted voice of tolerance silent for this religion?

    • I can not imagine that anyone here would think they should not rebuild.

    • This situation is apparently far more complicated than the Cordoba project. The church, obviously, should be rebuilt. They’ve been offered the opportunity to rebuild on the site where the original St. Nicholas stood. Apparently the current design for the new St. Nicholas is far more expansive than the historic church, including a community center and memorial. Also apparently, it is much more difficult to integrate that design with other work going on at the site, all of which is being plagued by do-overs, re-designs and cost overruns. From the article, it appears that there’s been a great deal of haggling, and that there is more haggling yet to come.

      Like Dee, I can’t imagine that anyone here would object to the rebuilding of the church or not support their efforts to get through the regulatory red tape.

  27. Just a couple points to add to the discussion.
    Freedom of speech is not an absolute right, it has many exceptions under the law: no yelling “fire” in a movie theater, no insider trading, no child pornography, no fighting words, no words exciting imminent and lawless behavior. In particular religious freedom is also not an absolute: subject to zoning laws, no peyote for native American religious events, no one on my porch droning on without my consent.
    There are competing social goods that are weighed out against the absolute: protecting public safety, protecting children, protecting the “free market” etc.
    The ACLU argued that the neo Nazis should be allowed to march in predominantly Jewish Skokie Illinois. They won on a strict interpretation of first amendment free speech. Later the ACLU said they had made wrong choice to back the marchers. Why? Because there were other social goods that should have been factored in. Just sayin.

    • The deal is this is basically a Muslim equivalent of the YMCA. Would they deny the YMCA a permit there?

      • I don’t know – I can’t remember the last time the YMCA flew planes into a building and killed 3,000 people.

        • Well, let’s take Timothy McVeigh … or the guy that flew a plane into the IRS … Wanna start looking at right wing fundie militias?

        • and why are you assuming ALL muslims are like that?

          We invaded the country where the radicals were … you don’t seem folks taking similar actions from Bangladesh for example or Malaysia. Should we just do “crusade” and take them all out? You’re focused on the actions of a few and extrapolating it to the entire population.

          It’s like saying TImothy McVeigh is typical of all Veterans.

        • Can you remember the last time American Muslims did that? How about anyone associated with this project? No? This is the problem. You’re acting like the members of the community center are foreign agents who take marching orders from the Islamic equivalent of the Vatican instead of Americans by birth or choice or who live here and who mourned 9/11 with all of us. And who don’t understand how crossing some invisible line they’re not supposed to cross is provoking to the “real” Anericans, like the strip club owner.

        • I’m in moderation

    • But what are these social goods? That’s what we’re asking. What social goods are advanced by treating a group of Americans who want to build a community center with a library, theatre, fitness center, peace memorial etc as if they’re somehow promoting some sinister agenda that’s anathma to real Americans for wanting to share the same block as McDonald’s and the strip club and the OTB and relocating them to a free speech zone some undefined distance away?

    • Please explain what possible social good could come out of having the mosque move. I mean other than getting the wingers to shut up and the right wing media to put another notch in its gun. Or the social good that comes from the loud mouth christian right making every believer of every other religion feel like second class citizens. Or feeling like some of the 9/11 families are incapable of discriminating between terrorist extremists and their muslim American brethren. And for what purpose, exactly? Does it change the way we feel about what happened that day to be constantly reminded by some of these families that their grief knows no boundaries but is able to transcend other people’s rights? Are some victims more equal than others?
      You know and I know that the reason there is a fuss about this center is because some Americans hate muslims and that hatred has been driven to an extreme that is out of control. Other people will not stand up for the center’s rights because they feel that these bigots need to be heard. Well, we are hearing them. They’re smoking everyone out for their cowardly behavior and inconsistencies. No one is spared, except for people like Mayor Bloomberg who actually has taken the principled stance here. No one has the right to threaten these people for building their center. And if I were Bloomberg, I’d throw the book at the first person who interfered with or threatened or harrassed the Cordoba center. There needs to be accountability. Everyone needs to back off and behave like good citizens.

      • separate but equal

      • They have a right. No Doubt…. but don’t expect everyone to be happy about that right given the provocative nature of what that site will mean to some radical supporters of the people who flew planes into the building of that site and killed 3,000 people…. of course, that just makes non-supporters bigots.

        • I’m not calling you a bigot, I’m calling you to rise to a higher level of understanding and compassion. No one says you have to be happy about it or like it.

          • I’m fine with the ‘Center’ being built if that is what the city of NY deems suitable… but I do understand the other side’s reluctance to want it… I mean there will be some radicals that will be thrilled to have what they think will be some sort of Victory Marker near Ground Zero – and they will travel there with the sole purpose to celebrate how many people their radical ‘brothers’ killed… I think that’s a valid enough reason to have reservations about it, and I’m for free speech as well as freedom of religion, so I think they should be allowed to voice their opinion – part of which I share…. but I don’t live there, I didn’t lose anyone to the attacks, so I don’t have the same emotional stake that others do…. but I’m not calling people bigots or lefties or radicals just because I’m not completely sold on the idea.

            As for the higher calling… you’d think there ‘might’ also be a higher sensitivity to those who did lose people in 9/11 to NOT build what will clearly be seen by those that DID attack us as a Victory Marker…. I suppose only one side should turn the other cheek.

        • given the provocative nature of what that site will mean to some radical supporters of the people who flew planes into the building of that site and killed 3,000 people

          But that’s not what’s actually given here.

          A victory for Muslims that want to reconcile Muslims and the West is not a victory for the people you speak of in the excerpt above. It is quite the opposite. The radical supporters would like to see Cordoba Initiative’s efforts fail. They do not want any reconciliation.

        • You know, that’s why we have the bill of rights. Not everyone is going to be happy about not being able to violate other people’s consciences or personal property or free speech.
          Happiness follows when we don’t insist that everyone thinks, believes, talks the same way.
          This is a simple concept. What would happen if everyone went back to minding their own business? I’ll tell you. Nothing would happen. The mosque would get built and we’d all go back to work.

  28. http://www.state.gov/p/sca/ci/pk/flood/index.htm

    The state department just tweeted this site as a place to go to help the Pakistani flood relief. Let’s show them Americans are a generous and charitable lot!!!

  29. If I may be frank for a moment, I’m afraid this has all degenerated into something which has little to do with the Park/51 Mosque. The developers of the mosque have the right according to the US Constitution to build a mosque. The city and planning and zoning for Lower Manhattan has given their permission for the mosque to be built. That’s pretty much end of story. The debate should stop about there.

    The Right is using this as a way to gen up audience, outrage, hits, whatever it is they gen up by upsetting people. Liberal politicians have largely fallen for it. Harry Reed, Howard Dean, and who knows how many others have joined the throng saying it should be moved. Why I don’t really know since they are not required to have an opinion on it and could have kept out of it.

    At the same time, the Left seems to have went on auto-pilot with the diversity and tolerance schtick which, since the mosque requires no defense, looks a lot like an opportunity to show how much better they are than the great unwashed. It’s not only rather unbecoming it also is getting to be counterproductive for those they defend. It takes two sided to make an argument and this one is getting louder all the time, when it should be easing.

    Could be completely wrong, just my 2 cents.

    • It may be expedient to cave in to this right wing pressure, but it’s not the right thing to do. There are a lot of false voices on the left. We established this beyond doubt during the last few years. There are many inauthentic conservatives too.

      The only right thing to do is to side with The Constitution. There are so many rights involved here, it’s a no brainer. Right to peacefully Assemble, Right to Free Speech, No right of the government to establish a preferred religion … this is bigger than all the petty voices.

      Our country’s stated values are at stake and THOSE values of individual liberty are what caused a bunch of whackos to crash planes into iconic US buildings to begin with … this has nothing to do with who the speaker is of truth is or what their motive … it has to do with a greater good.

    • I don’t give the right wing a pass just because the left isn’t the greatest messenger right now either.

      How can the tea partiers on the one hand say “Don’t lump us together with the racists” and then on the other hand expect any credibility when they go into overdrive trying to connect mosques in general to the terrorists?

      This kind of vague uncritical lumping together of “others” is the kind of thinking that got us into unnecessary wars imho.

      Maybe it all seems a distraction and a diversity/tolerance schtick. But, I don’t think it’s that simple. There are clueless “progressive” voices who make a mockery of everything. But, I don’t think the pushback against the right wing coming from the left can be reduced to the left just reflexively wanting to prove they are better than the great unwashed–because I don’t think the right wing smear machine speaks as the singular authority on the viewpoints of ordinary people or the great unwashed in the first place.

      I think more ordinary Americans would want to live up to their ideals right now if they had a president right now who was a real leader appealing to their belief in fairness and equality. Instead we have had back-to-back empty suits who are more worried about their own bottom line than anything else.

  30. “Pakistan floods: As international aid lags, US announces increase”


    There are two related articles. It’s good to see more coverage in U.S. sources. Most of what I had been seeing was from the BBC.

  31. Things must be going poorly with contributions to Pakistan flood relief. The Dept. of State has set up its own fund to encourage donations. I have never seen this happen.

    I follow the State Dept., and I received this tweet:


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