Day: September 9, 2010

Florida pastor cancels plan to burn Korans

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The Washington Post

The pastor of a small Florida church has canceled plans to burn copies of the Koran, an event that had drawn condemnation from religious leaders worldwide and prompted warnings from U.S. officials who said it might endanger troops stationed in Muslim countries.

In a short statement outside his church, the Rev. Terry Jones announced Thursday that he decided not burn the holy book of Islam to mark the anniversary of Sept. 11. He said he made the decision after organizers agreed to relocate a controversial mosque planned near Ground Zero – a claim they disputed.

New York Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his partner in the project, Manhattan real estate developer Sharif El-Gamal, said they had made no such agreement.

Imam Muhammad Musri, head of the Islamic Society for Central Florida, who stood beside Jones as he announced his decision to call off the Koran burning, said later that Jones had secured not a deal but a meeting with Rauf to discuss moving the planned community center and mosque in Lower Manhattan.       Continue reading…

Obama weighs in on Quran burning, Rahm

MSNBC

President Obama called the proposed Quran burning a “stunt” and a “recruitment bonanza for Al Qaeda” that “could greatly endanger our great young men and women in uniform.”

“I hope he listens to those better Angels and understands that this is a destructive act that he’s engaging in,” Obama said of Florida pastor Terry Jones on ABC’s Good Morning America.

On his White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel potentially running for Chicago mayor, Obama said he thinks Emanuel would be an “excellent” and “terrific” mayor, but that his “expectation is, he’d make a decision after these midterm elections.”

Here’s a transcript of those sections:


TRANSCRIPT:

On Terry Jones:

If he’s listening, I just hope he understands that what he’s proposing to do is completely contrary to our values as Americans, that this country has been built on the notions of religious freedoms and religious tolerance. And as a very practical matter, as commander in chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, I just want him to understand that this stunt that he is talking about pulling, could greatly endanger our great young men and women in uniform who are in Iraq, who are in Afghanistan. We are already seeing protests against Americans just by the mere threat that he’s making.

STEPH: What are you worried about?

OBAMA: Well, look, this is a recruitment bonanza for Al Qaeda. You could have serious violence in places like Pakistan or Afghanistan. This could increase the recruitment of individuals who’d be willing to blow themselves up in American cities or European cities. You know, and so, I just hope that he says he’s someone who is motivated by his faith…

STEPH: He says he’s praying on it.

OBAMA: I hope he listens to those better Angels and understands that this is a destructive act that he’s engaging in.

STEPH: I wonder what this must feel like from behind your desk. You’re President of the United States. You have to deal with the fallout. And here’s a pastor who has 35 followers in his church.

OBAMA: Yeah.

STEPH: Does it make you feel helpless or angry?

OBAMA: It’s frustrating. But on the other hand, we are a government of laws and so we have to abide by those laws and my understanding is that he can be cited for public burning but that’s the extent of the laws we have available to us. You know, part of this country’s history is people doing destructive or offensive, harmful things, and yet, we still have to make sure we’re following the laws, and that’s part of what I love about this country.

On Rahm for Mayor:

I think he would be an excellent mayor. He is an excellent chief of staff. I think right now, as long as he is in the White House, he is critically focused on making sure that we’re creating jobs for families around the country and rebuilding our economy. And you know, the one thing I’ve always been impressed with about Rahm is that when he has a job to do, he focuses on the job in front of him. And so my expectation is, he’d make a decision after these midterm elections. He knows that we’ve got a lot of work to do. But I think he’d be a terrific mayor.

The Sooner Rahm Leaves, the Better for Obama

Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff, form...

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Actually, I couldn’t agree with the columnist more.  From the onset, I was not happy with the POTUS’ choice for his Chief-of-Staff.  Mr. Emanuel seemed a bit far right of President Obama on most legislative issues.

The author of the following article, Ari Berman makes the case for Mr. Emanuel to make a graceful exit:

The Notion – Ari Berman

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s announcement that he will not seek a seventh term has prompted widespread speculation that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will run as Daley’s successor. “I’d be shocked if he doesn’t run,” a senior administration official told the Washington Post.

The sooner Rahm leaves Washington, the better for Barack Obama. His White House is desperately in need of a serious shakeup, especially with Democrats facing a tidal wave of losses in the midterms. Replacing Rahm is the best place to start.

I’ll never quite understand why a transformational candidate who ran under the banner of a new style of politics chose the ultimate old-school inside operator to control his administration. Rahm isn’t solely to blame for diluting Obama’s unique outsider brand, but he’s a major reason why. After all, in the Clinton White House and in Congress, Rahm was often at odds with the very grassroots activists who powered Obama’s presidential campaign. As head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in ‘06, he famously clashed with party chair Howard Dean and recruited conservative Blue Dog candidates at the expense of legitimate progressive challengers. Rahm brought his corporate centrism to the White House, pushing for a smaller-than-needed stimulus bill, urging Obama not to pursue healthcare reform, watering down the bill when he did and calling progressive activists who wanted to pressure obstructionist Democrats “fucking retarded.” He later apologized to Sarah Palin but not to the Democratic activists he insulted.

Rahm’s alleged biggest asset—his ties to Capitol Hill and intricate knowledge of Beltway politics—paid few dividends for Obama. The president’s legislative agenda has hit a brick wall in the Senate and the dysfunction of the Democratic Congress, which Emanuel has done little to tame, helps explain why voters are set to punish the party in power this November. “If picking the leading practitioner of the dark arts of the capital was a Faustian bargain for Obama in the name of getting things done, why haven’t things got done?” asked Peter Baker of the New York Times in a profile titled “The Limits of Rahmism.” In other words, if you sell your soul, you better get something good for it in return. Instead, Obama is facing the prospect of a Republican Congress and an uphill re-election bid. No wonder Rahm is so eager to get out of town.  

Continue reading…

The Cost of War

Mario Piperni

The numbers are staggering.  Since 2001, the two wars have cost almost $1.1 trillion dollars.

Iraq:  $745 billion
Afghanistan:  $330 billion

Meanwhile, Republicans are making noise about the President’s jobs plan to spend $50 billion on the country’s infrastructure.  ‘Too much for nothing’ is what they’re saying.  Well, to put things into perspective, the current cost of waging war in Afghanistan is close to $2 billion a week.  A week.  And that’s for a war that cannot be won.  Where’s the yelling about that?

Ancient Nubians added antibiotics to beer

America Blog

So the discoveries in 1928 and 1948 were only a few thousand years after the Nubians were widely using antibiotics to address various illnesses. Let’s see if the history books are correctly updated.

The first of the modern day tetracyclines was discovered in 1948. It was given the name auereomycin, after the Latin word ‘aerous,’ which means containing gold.

‘Streptomyces produce a golden colony of bacteria, and if it was floating on a batch of beer, it must have look pretty impressive to ancient people who revered gold,’ Nelson said.

The ancient Egyptians and Jordanians also used beer to treat gum disease and other ailments.

The team now intends to try and work out exactly when the knowledge of the antibiotic properties of the beer was lost to history.

Alexander Fleming is credited with discovering the first antibiotic, penicillin, in 1928.

Reid campaign: Angle is crazy and a liar

Senator Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader

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The Plum Line – Greg Sargent 

As I’ve noted here before, what’s striking about the Nevada Senate race is that the primary source of ammo Harry Reid has employed against Sharron Angle — really, the only source of ammo — has been nothing other than her own spoken words. 

Now the Reid campaign is out with a new Web vid — to be blasted to the press later this afternoon — that takes this to a new level, splicing multiple Angle quotes to make the case that she lied three times in one interview about previous controversial things she herself had said. 

The hook is Angle’s interview with ABC News that aired today, in which she was asked to clarify her claim that Obama and Dem big government policies are a violation of the First Commandment. Angle denied she ever said it, but the video evidence suggests otherwise: 

 

The above video also shows her seeming to deny she ever used the phrase “Second Amendment remedies,” and it shows her insisting that her agreement that there are “domestic enemies” in Congress was taken out of context — both of which are also contradicted by the video evidence. 

The degree to which Angle’s own words have become far and away her most glaring vulnerability really is remarkable. Of course, it’s equally remarkable — and a sign of just how unpopular Harry Reid and Obama/Dem policies are in Reid’s state — that a candidate with Angle’s verbal track record stands a perfectly reasonable chance of becoming the next Senator from Nevada. 

Gallup – Ooops!

 

The Field – Al Giordano

The Gallup polling company, which set off a week’s media cycle of Chicken Little squawking among Democrats – and triumphant drape-measuring by Republicans – in the US with its August 30 declarations about a supposedly “historic” advantage for the latter party in the upcoming Congressional midterm elections, is now walking it back.

The August 30 tracking poll – picked up almost universally by political pundits and bloggers as the supposed narrative for 2010 – showed Republicans with a ten percentage point lead on the generic question of which party voters will vote into Congress. The narrative was: This year we’re gonna party like its 1994! I, and others, tried to explain at the moment that the poll looked and smelled like an “outlier,” divergent with the results of the aggregate of fresh polling data available. But pundits are pundits and chickens are little on any day of the year, and so they had quite the week in the henhouse.

Well, lo’ and behold, some seemed to forget that those numbers were from a tracking poll, which means another one would come out in a week and make the last one yesterday’s news. And guess what? Today’s Gallup tracking poll on the generic Congressional ballot suggests an abrupt turnaround, with party preferences dead even at 46 percent apiece.

[…]

By now the expectations have risen so high among Republicans that if they fall short of taking back control of Congress the heads will be rolling on their side of the aisle, with finger pointing and blame game galore. It doesn’t take a degree in political science to know who will be their scapegoat: GOP chairman Michael Steele. (Kids, can any of you explain to the class why it will be him?)       Continue reading…

Controversy Roils The Crazy – Even The Mosque-Hatingest Of Mosque-Haters Think Koran Burning Is A Bad Idea

“Sorting out the craziest…”

TPM Muckraker

As Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center gets ready to burn copies of the Koran at his Gainesville, Florida church this Saturday (September 11), many national voices are calling for him to change his plans. House Minority Leader John Boehner, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and RGA Chairman Haley Barbour have all criticized the planned Koran burning. And Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander of the Afghanistan War, has gone as far as to say that the plan could put American troops in danger.

But as Jones forges full-speed ahead with his incendiary event, some of the nation’s most prominent Islamophobic voices have expressed their opposition (though usually with caveats), to Jones’ idea….

Pamela Geller is one of the most prominent opponents of Park51, the planned Islamic center near Ground Zero. She’s called the plans akin to “stab[bing] Americans in the eye,” and railed against a plan by the credit company MasterCard to offer a special card for Muslims: “If they don’t want to live under the most advanced humane civilization in the history of man, let them go back to those barbaric countries that live under sharia. I am cutting up my mastercard tonight. Master, my ass. Bloody slaves. Financing jihad and anti-western economics.” She also told TPM last month that “it is very dangerous to want to leave Islam. It’s not all of them, not the majority. The majority are secular Muslims.”   Continue reading…

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Obama’s Boehnerific Cleveland Speech (VIDEO)

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Perhaps it might be a mistake to write this president off, just yet…

TPM DC

President Obama called out House Minority Leader John Boehner by name no less than eight times during his speech in Cleveland this afternoon.

That’s not how Obama usually operates. During last Monday’s Labor Day address, Obama only went so far as to lash out at nameless Republicans in Congress — a pattern that has frustrated his friendly critics for years. In the 2008 campaign, then-candidate Obama was always reluctant to criticize his opponents by name. This was true during both the Democratic primary, and the general election against Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

Things only got worse after he assumed office, where, perhaps in the name of bipartisanship, he seldom identified Republicans — either individual members, or the party writ large — as the source of the obstruction that’s hamstrung his presidency.

With Democrats poised to suffer big losses in November, that’s all changing. The Democrats’ plan to limit losses requires them to distinguish themselves from the Republicans, who remains unpopular. Hence Obama’s the change.

Complicating matters for Democrats is that, well, few Americans know who “Mr. Boehner” is. That might not be the case if Obama had given speeches like this starting a year ago. But there are still several weeks to go until election day.