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August 16, 2010

Comments

Unfortunately, if the subject is American Politics as it is, the moral of the story is the astounding fact that there is something worse than a (spineless) Democrat (trying to hold onto his seat in a conservative state): that something is called 'a Republican'. Not very satisfying. Americans don't like to choose between 'awful' and 'much worse'. We like choices between 'good' and 'bad', 'right' and 'wrong', etc. It's a stupid human trick to not understand the much more typical (especially nowadays) choice between 'awful' and 'worse'.

I wonder though, Eric, how you appeal to the shame of people who have no shame?

Yes, you are right all around. And the answer to the latter is, keep trying I suppose. At the very least, I can create some latent, nagging unpleasantness deep in the psyche of the subject, even if the person is unable to identify the source or cares enough to rectify the situation.

Hey, I go to war with the consciences I have to appeal to, not the...

Well, Barack and Harry said the same thing that, oh wait, Marty said. Of course they have the right to build the cultural center right where they plan. People have died, and I would defend to the death, their right to build it.

That doesn't make it a good idea.

Why that concept is such a struggle I am not sure.

Very sad to see mothers bury their young sons yet others have time to hit the airwaves over religion. No wonder I do not ascribe to any of them.

What makes it a bad idea, Marty?

Why that concept is such a struggle I am not sure

Maybe it's an unfortunate deficiency in the recommended levels of shamelessness, arrogance, and cruelty.

Marty, you and Reid think it's a bad idea. Obama did not say that.

Yes, thank Allah that Harry Reid has stepped up to protect this Hallowed Ground from besmirchment.

Everyone involved indeed, and that includes some of those ostensibly well-meaning people (ie who claim to be on the side of tolerance) with national megaphones who decided "engaging" the bigots rather than marginalizing them via ignoring them (no one ever had the power to threaten the freedom to worship on that site) was the better course, if only for their own ratings (I'm talking to you, Keith Olbermann, Chris Mttews). There are controversies that are necessarily going to be national in scope, and there there are ones that go national only because the national forces on one side choose to engage the national forces on the other who are seeking to nationalize a local matter. I guess people can decide for themselves which this case is an example of.

Yes, Mike D., I'm sure if Olbermann and Matthews had just ignored Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich the media wouldn't have covered their comments at all. Both sides are to blame. Naturally.

If some small-town racist posts a sign in his yard, then don't give it attention by denouncing it nationally. But when people whose every word is lapped up by the media are spreading hatred, then I don't see ignoring it as a valid alternative to responding.

"That doesn't make it a good idea.

Why that concept is such a struggle I am not sure."


In my case, it's because I hate to encourage bigotry in any way.

Yes, there are people who lost family on 9/11 who don't want the center built there. I read a piece by a Muslim woman who opposes it--she lost her mother to the 9/11 attackers and her family fled from the Iranian revolution. And her arguments are completely irrational. link She actually fears that the center might become a bastion of Muslim fundamentalism.

You can sympathize with someone who has suffered like she has, but draw the line at giving any support to the incoherent bigoted feelings she expresses.

BTW, anyone who thinks you can't be bigoted against your own religion hasn't met me. Or a bunch of other people with a rather complex relationship to one's faith. Which I mention in case someone thinks it's odd for me to refer to a Muslim as bigoted against Islam.

KCinDC, that would be the only way to avoid or mitigate what we're now experiencing. I don't mean to spread the blame equally - I clearly said there are those who are stirring this up purposely. But faced with that, the media and the tolerant have choices, and they chose to engage. Taking the demagoguery as a given (which if we don't there is nothing to discuss), then your position is that you want this thing to blow up to the size it has and not stay at whatever is the maximal size it could have reached if those who disagree with the bigots had simply denied them oxygen. I feel differently.

Marty,

I would note that Obama did not say what Reid said about it being a bad idea. Not at all.

Further, I asked you weeks ago, and repeatedly since, to formulate an argument against expanding the community center a few blocks from the WTC that wasn't based on either: (a) ignorance; or (b) bigotry.

Thus far, you have refused. Which is your right, of course.

However, if you wonder why people are struggling with the concept that it is a bad idea, the fact that you (who presumably aren't so struggling) have as of yet to formulate an argument not rooted in either ignorance or bigotry should offer a clue.

If you can't do it, why would you suggest that it is self-evident?

It is clearly historically precedented that "America" does not trust descendents of those we are at war with. I don't see this as a step away from American attitudes. That we are looking at an entire religion/ethnicity/funny name and or hat gear might be new, but I don't have a lot of data to support that. I suspect in WWII there was little trust of anyone who was not clearly "white" regardless whether we were bombing their ancestral home.

It is a step away from our ideal, which Jacob has provided yeoman's work to focus on, but it is not a step away from the past.

That CPL Khan is exactly the soldier we need to be most effective is only the least sad part.

But faced with that, the media and the tolerant have choices, and they chose to engage. Taking the demagoguery as a given (which if we don't there is nothing to discuss), then your position is that you want this thing to blow up to the size it has and not stay at whatever is the maximal size it could have reached if those who disagree with the bigots had simply denied them oxygen. I feel differently.

Mike, the problem is that the media itself was busy stirring the controversey, not "engaging" it as mere reporters or even tolerant supporters.

This whole thing was ginned up by right wing media, namely Fox News, the NY Post and the WSJ - the Rupert Murdoch family.

So to argue that if the media had just backed off it would have gone away misses the point that the media was not a neutral party here - the media was guilty of the crime itself, not inadvertant abetting.

What's the right thing to do with bigots who shout and holler that they're offended about something? Ignore them? Or shout them down?

Marty appals me with his distinction between a right and a "good idea". Sure, sure, you don't have to exercise your right to free speech all the time; it may not be a "good idea" to speak of rope in the house of a hanged man and all that. But Lower Manhattan is NOT HIS HOUSE. He would not even KNOW about the "Ground Zero Mosque" unless the Professional Right had decided to make him aware of it. (Or, to forestall accusations of mind-reading, let me say that someone like ME would not have heard of it but for the shouting and hollering of the Palins and the Gingriches; and I don't think Marty has any more personal ties to Lower Manhattan than I do.) Given that the Professional Right HAS chosen to shout and holler, at both me and Marty; and given that they are pushing the "but c'mon" line with some apparent success; and given that we have the RIGHT to shout back at them; is it a "good idea" to do so?

Yes, it is. Ignoring troublemakers like Palin and Gingrich, much less yielding to them, is appeasement -- if I may borrow an oft-used right-wing meme. We must fight them on the beaches, and so forth. When they try to claim Lower Manhattan as a Sudetenland that belongs to their burgeoning Reich, we can stand up to them at the risk of war, or we can be polite. Fnck politeness, say I. Letting them conquer defenseless minds by unilateral shouting and hollering is too polite for me.

Bring on the holy war, I say. Let's settle this thing once and for all. The Gingrich-Palin axis may have executed a succesful blitzkrieg so far, but it has been successful mainly due to lack of effective resistance from the wimpy armies of the mush-minded. Their conquests must not stand.

I don't know whether to count people who take the "but c'mon" line as dupes or as allies of the Professional Right. But I know for damn sure that THEY are the reason an atheist like me is in this fight. No imam ever made me pick a side on the "Ground Zero Mosque" question. It was Mullah Gingrich and Ayatollah Palin that forced me to take up arms -- by shouting and hollering either to, or for, people like Marty. I would love to make common cause with Marty against demagogic troublemakers. But we need to agree, first, who the demagocic troublemakers ARE.

--TP

if we governed according to mob rule, we’d still have slaves and women wouldn’t be able to vote.

Fnck the Democrats. If the country elects Republicans in the fall, they run the country further into the ground and America responds by electing more Democrats, then we deserve watching our country disintegrate around us.

Given the status quo: Let it all fncking burn.

[Edited to conform to posting rules]

Why the fnck did I move back here?

There isn't any way to rationalize that it is a bad idea to build that community center that doesn't involve pandering to bigotry or outright bigotry.

It's a good idea to build the mosque there because we are one nation and should stand together. Nine Eleven was a tragedy for all of us including the Islamic citizens of New York. There is no way in hell that it is an affront to other Americans for some of our fellow citizens to build a community center near ground zero. People who feel affronted need to get over themselves.

@ Tony P

Bravo!

Or: Wish I'd said that.

And her arguments are completely irrational.

Indeed. She deplores the politicization her mother's death, so she does logical thing and pleads with the Gingriches, Palins and Reids to cease their demagoguery the Cordoba House to find a new location "far away" from the WTC site. Because, you know, they should have foreseen that proposing to provide a pool and gym for the kids of lower Manhattan would have brought out the hyenas.

Nine Eleven was a tragedy for all of us including the Islamic citizens of New York.

Some of the congregation that had regularly prayed at the prayer space at the community center were killed on 9/11.

But, according to the bigots and the ignorant, expanding that community center (and overcrowded prayer space) is an insult to those that died on 9/11. Including those that prayed there while alive.

Morans.

"Further, I asked you weeks ago, and repeatedly since, to formulate an argument against expanding the community center a few blocks from the WTC that wasn't based on either: (a) ignorance; or (b) bigotry."

No you didn't. You asked me to formulate an argument that didn't involve the feelings of those who still have an emotional reaction to their families and friends (and perhaps just fellow Americans) being killed two blocks away by Muslim extremists.

Yet you ask me to take into account the feelings of Muslim Americans who aren't Muslim extremists and understand how all of this bad publicity must feel to them, which I do.

When I expressed empathy for both sides you categorically said that only one side was worthy of empathy.

So no, you disappeared everyone who had a friend, relative, loved one or acquaintance who died that day who is still trying to deal with it.

The statement was that there was nothing to get over, to you.

If it is a bad idea it is because it causes pain to some people unnecessarily. If it overcomes or helps heal that pain then that will be great. But that probably only happens if the discussion is actually had over a period of time where those people can deal with it.

So calling them bigots or ignorant is pretty much against the whole concept of healing espoused by the people who want to build it in the first place.

And, of course, Obama did try to have it both ways. "I won't comment on whether it is a good idea, just that they have a right to build there" is pretty weak tea, hoping everyone would just assume he was agreeing with them.

The great campaigner at, not quite, his best.

It may be weak tea, Marty, but it wasn't agreeing with you and Reid.

You asked me to formulate an argument that didn't involve the feelings of those who still have an emotional reaction to their families and friends (and perhaps just fellow Americans) being killed two blocks away by Muslim extremists.

No, I did not. I believe you are mistaken, as I don't really think you would be lying. I asked you to formulate an argument that is not based on either ignorance or bigotry. I ask again.

You mentioned that some people had emotional reactions. I acknowledged this, but pointed out that their emotional reactions in opposition to the mosque were based on either ignorance or bigotry.

Merely stating that something is an "emotional reaction" does not excuse the underlying gesture. People that wanted to imprison Japanese Americans indiscriminately might have been emotional about their reaction to Pearl Harbor. That does not mean we should defer to their emotionalism.

So no, you disappeared everyone who had a friend, relative, loved one or acquaintance who died that day who is still trying to deal with it.

Again, I'm hoping your are just mistaken here, but find it harder to extend you that credit.

Marty, I've told you this before. I know I have, and I can't imagine why you choose to dismiss it: I lost 5 friends that day. I attended multiple funerals that September. Another pair of brothers (both friends of mine) lost their father.

I "am" those people, and I did not disappear them. However, again, emotional reactions based on either ignorance or bigotry should not be deferred to.

The statement was that there was nothing to get over, to you.

Again, this is either a mistake or a lie, and I request that you retract.

Yet you ask me to take into account the feelings of Muslim Americans who aren't Muslim extremists and understand how all of this bad publicity must feel to them, which I do.

Huh? Yeah, I ask you to take into account the feelings of people that are being discriminated unjustly rather than...defend the right of people to unjustly discriminate against other Americans.

You think that's wrong?

If it is a bad idea it is because it causes pain to some people unnecessarily. If it overcomes or helps heal that pain then that will be great. But that probably only happens if the discussion is actually had over a period of time where those people can deal with it.

So calling them bigots or ignorant is pretty much against the whole concept of healing espoused by the people who want to build it in the first place.

Again, formulate an argument that is not either based on ignorance or bigotry. The "pain" or anger comes from either bigotry against all Muslims or treating all Muslims as al-Qaeda clones.

My point, all along, is that we should not give in to emotional arguments based on either ignorance or bigotry that result in dscrimination against innocent people.

Unless you disagree.

What wonkie said.

Some day we will have a President who is not a wimp. This Great Leader will not timidly confine himself to forthright support of the 1st Amendment. He will boldly announce whether or not he considers this or that proposed church, synagogue, mosque, abortion clinic or shooting range a "good idea". That will please Marty, no doubt.

As for "If it is a bad idea it is because it causes pain to some people unnecessarily", I can only quote Eric Cantor again: "But c'mon!" The vast majority of people who are pained unnecessarily are people who would never have experienced a bit of "pain", "unnecessary" or otherwise, but for the mouth-frothing, spittle-flecked outrage of the Professional Right.

--TP

People have died, and I would defend to the death, their right to build it.

That doesn't make it a good idea.

That *does* make it a good idea, Marty. It's a *perfect* idea. It's absolutely not like 'putting up nazi signs at the holocaust museum', or whatever it is that that pig Gingrich said.

Tony P. is right about everything he wrote, and specifically, right about the fact that had wild radioactive boar in and around the GOP not ginned this up, none of us would even know there was to be an Islamic center in lower Manhattan (as if any of these people could care less about NYC anyway). Even conservatives (like Laura Ingraham) who did hear about it (probably because of the W. Bush connection) didn't have a problem with it until she was told to.

If this sort of thing didn't have really bad consequences, it would be merely pathetic.

"You mentioned that some people had emotional reactions. I acknowledged this, but pointed out that their emotional reactions in opposition to the mosque were based on either ignorance or bigotry."

This is the point that we disagree on. People can object to the simplest of things that remind them of a painful experience. I haven't played golf since my father died in May, I just can't make myself do it. When I drive by our favorite course it is still pretty bad, so I avoid that route. It strikes me that avoiding that reminder doesn't make me a golf bigot.

As for this:

"Again, this is either a mistake or a lie, and I request that you retract."

From your Southern Strategy 2.0 comment:

People have the right to harbor animus against al-Qaeda for what was done. They don't need to "get over" that However, blaming all Muslims didn't make any more sense then than it does now, so that part is not "to be over" so much as "should never have been."

Again, simply says that there is nothing valid to get over, as I said.


"My point, all along, is that we should not give in to emotional arguments based on either ignorance or bigotry that result in dscrimination against innocent people."

Giving in is different than empathizing. If the people building this center decide to move it because it seems to be causing pain, then they are being empathetic, if they build it to create healing then they recognize there is something to heal.

You seem to deny the very essence of what they say they are hoping to accomplish.

And no, I am certain that I can't create an argument that will satisfy you, you can't seperate a particular instance, a forever reminder very near the site that creates a particular emotional reaction, from a general feeling against all Muslims.

go Angle, go!

Muslims have apparently been worshiping at that site for nearly a year now. Have these 9/11 families been in pain from it all that time, or was it only when Geller/Palin/Gingrich/etc. started shrieking that they discovered they should feel bad about it?

The local planning board voted for it, after holding public hearings. If you don't live in NYC you have no right to object to it, it's not in your backyard.

"was it only when Geller/Palin/Gingrich/etc. started shrieking that they discovered they should feel bad about it?"

I am sure this is a fair question, although I would add NYT, Fox, etc.

I haven't played golf since my father died in May, I just can't make myself do it. When I drive by our favorite course it is still pretty bad, so I avoid that route. It strikes me that avoiding that reminder doesn't make me a golf bigot.


Now I see it. I just needed a good analogy!

Attempting to block the construction, on private property, for a place of worship is certainly legal.

But shouldn't we consider all the families of 9/11 victims golf games?

People can object to the simplest of things that remind them of a painful experience. I haven't played golf since my father died in May, I just can't make myself do it.

That's a poor analogy, Marty. The absurdity of your 'Am I a golf bigot?' proves not that your argument is strong, but that it's weak - absurd. You are managing your own grief, which is pretty different from pissing on a basic American value, not to mention telling other people what *they* must do (or not do).

If the people building this center decide to move it because it seems to be causing pain, then they are being empathetic, if they build it to create healing then they recognize there is something to heal.

Who has said there's nothing to heal? Eric - who lives with his family in Manhattan? Don't think so. Who, Marty? If you ignore everything else, just answer that one, please.

That you recognize the possibility that they would do the latter of the two things explodes the 'argument' against building the center.

Yes, I understand that scapegoating can be effective politics, that whispering poison into people's ears like Screwtape can make an emotional connection, and create an emotional reaction. So?

"You asked me to formulate an argument that didn't involve the feelings of those who still have an emotional reaction to their families and friends (and perhaps just fellow Americans) being killed two blocks away by Muslim extremists."

The key words here are "Muslim extremists". There is no indication that the Muslims who wish to build a community center have any connection to, affinity with, or sympathy toward Muslim extremists. Therefore there is no basis for anyone to get into a snit about their center.

The Muslims of New York aren't causing annyone any pain. The pain felt by some individuals is self inflicted and based on their inablity to tell one Muslim from another. Hey, bigotry hurts!

I'm kind of confused about why we're talking about building anything. If the Cordoba folk turn around and say "ok, ok, we're not going to build anything...instead, we're going to rent a room in the building next door and use it to hold services every week", would any of the furor really die down? Marty, would you still have a problem with that?

If we've gotten to the point where a group of Americans must be shamed out of renting a room for prayer, I'd like to know....Then we could reconfigure the discussion so that instead of talking about buildings we could talk about the real issue: Muslims are not allowed to pray near Ground Zero because that hurts Sarah Palin's feelings or something.

Why that concept is such a struggle I am not sure.

Because the people who want to build the community center had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11.

Nothing.

They happen to share the same religion, in the same way that your local Quaker congregation shares the same religion with dominionist fundamentalist Christians.

It's not like nobody's feelings aren't going to be hurt if the Cordoba Institute doesn't build the center. The couple million Muslims who live, work, and raise their families here are going to be hurt.

And it's not like nobody's going to be offended. I'm going to be offended.

It strikes me that avoiding that reminder doesn't make me a golf bigot.

That's all well and good, and I'm sorry for your loss, but if you insisted that *no golf course be built* within ten miles of your father's house, to save your tender feelings, you'd be a d*ck.

"The design we have developed with the Port Authority calls for not only rebuilding the retail space that was lost on 9/11, but going above and beyond what was there before. We want to create a real destination for visitors and shoppers, a center that will share many of the attributes of the city’s great retail hubs." - Larry Silverstein, Towers 2, 3, and 4 Developer
http://www.wtc.com/about/retail

So, there you have your sacred space that must be kept free of any whiff of Muslim taint. Sweet Lord, the depths of cynicism required by this controversy boggle the mind.

And no, I am certain that I can't create an argument that will satisfy you, you can't seperate a particular instance, a forever reminder very near the site that creates a particular emotional reaction, from a general feeling against all Muslims.

No, Marty--the problem is that you can't separate a specific incident perpetrated by specific muslim extremists from a general feeling against all Muslims.

The problem is not with this community center. The problem is not with the people running it. The problem is 100% generated by you and all the other people who are transferring the animus against al Qaeda--remember them?--onto people who have done nothing whatsoever to deserve it, simply because they share a religion.

That is bigotry. It is indefensible.

Marty

Do you ever consider how much "hallowed ground" America has created in Muslim countries? How many Iraqis or Afghans have been killed, displaced, imprisoned, tortured, or orphaned? How many Pakistanis or Yemenis?

That doesn't make it a good idea.

Why that concept is such a struggle I am not sure."

Let me make myslef clear, on this, Marty: I hate bullies and I hate bigots. Opposing the Cordoba House empowers bigots. To even consider or take seriously the demands of bigotted Republican (and Democratic) crazies only empowers the forces of hate and violence in this country and defies our values of religious tolerance. If you staand with New Gingrich and Sarah Palin, you stand with the forces of hatred and are spitting on American values.

I hate bigots and bullies. You makes defenses of them. You side with Gingrich over Bloomberg, and thus commit a serious moral error. The funny thing is that the moral high ground is so, so clear, just as it was clear for those who opposed Jim Crow, but you, trying to be the "white moderate," can only seek to empower the unhinged hatred of the right that is lashing out at American citizens because of their religion.

Me? I see the outlandish statements of Gingrich and Palin trying to whip up hatred with repspect to the Cordoba House and think, "those are a pair of bullies and bigots. I hate bullies and bigots. I'd better make sure they get smacked down." You do the opposite and engage in public apologetics for them. Why is that?

This is fairly consistent with your unabashed support of torture, as well. In short: you tend to take a rather submissive posture towards the hate of the Republican right because you obviously have a servile nature towards the party of wealth and bigotry. Or perhaps it's part and an overall shortcoming in your moral understanding. I mean, Marty, if you can't oppose hatred and bigotry, what can you stand against? Tell me, Marty? When can we expect you ever to be helpful or act morally when it's required of you? And if the answer is never, the, really, what good are you to the rest of our society? Could we have expected you to simply say, "well, gee, they shouldn't have been walking across that bridge," when Bull Conner turned the hoses on the civil rights marchers? You're not helping anyone, Marty. You're harming them.

Well said, Fats. We're over in Baghdad throwing up fncking Burger Kings and Pizza Huts and calling it good. We're the same people who said "Sh*t happens" when 5,000 years of Iraqi cultural history was destroyed during our invasion, tanks rolling over ancient temple grounds and the National Library on fire because we didn't think it was as important as the Oil Ministry. Oh, we care so much! We're as bad as the fncking Turks who blew up the Parthenon.

[Edited to improve posting rules compliance]

And it's not like nobody's going to be offended. I'm going to be offended.

"A hard choice lies before you, Elizabeth. From this day, you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will not see you again if you do not accept Mr. Collins, and I shall never see you again if you do."
--Mr. Bennett, speaking to his daughter Elizabeth, in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
Sometimes, you have to offend somebody. Young Elizabeth Bennett chose wisely. Old Harry Reid, not so much.

--TP

Apart from all that, the rabid right has made pretty clear that any Muslim presence in the US is to be considered defilement of hallowed ground*. Those that oppose just new places of Muslim worship and don't demand blowing up all existing mosques are now the moderates. There are unfortunately far too many that would vote without hesitation for going 1290 or 1492 on all Muslims, expelling them from the land under confiscation of their property.

*not to forget that the same often consider NYC as an equal abomination in itself. Some, or so I hear, even applauded 9/11 at first because they saw it as God's revenge on the godless coatal liberals.

Marty,

This is what I said:

People have the right to harbor animus against al-Qaeda for what was done. They don't need to "get over" that.

This is what you said:

Again, simply says that there is nothing valid to get over, as I said.

No, that is the OPPOSITE of what I said.

It very clearly, in plain English, says that they can and still could and even should still harbor animus against al-Qaeda. It says, in plain English, that they don't need to get over that.

Then I added:

However, blaming all Muslims didn't make any more sense then than it does now, so that part is not "to be over" so much as "should never have been."

Which is the point.

I haven't played golf since my father died in May, I just can't make myself do it. When I drive by our favorite course it is still pretty bad, so I avoid that route. It strikes me that avoiding that reminder doesn't make me a golf bigot.

Well, golfers are not a religion or a group being discriminated against, but if you demanded that no golf courses be built within a certain radius of your house or hometown, and then demanded that everyone defer to your emotions on this, you would be unreasonable. Not a bigot, because it would not be based in bigotry. But if you said that the reason you think this is beacuse "all golfers are terrorists" and that's why you oppose the golf course, then you would be a bigot. Albeit a quirky one.

if they build it to create healing then they recognize there is something to heal.

You seem to deny the very essence of what they say they are hoping to accomplish.

First of all, there are many reasons to build it, including the actual need for Muslims that live and work in the area.

Regardless, I don't deny the existence of bigotry and ignorance in need of healing. I am in fact emphasizing that. And that needs to heal. But the way to heal it is to show that Muslims are normal, law abiding, patriotic Americans and an integrated part of the City I live in. In the neighborhood I live in.

And you do that by going forward and building the site as an exemplar, and allowing Muslims to live their everyday lives without being harrassed. Bigots and ignorant people be damned.

The thing is, I can actually understand why some folks would be bothered by the Cordoba folks building their center on Park Place.

And it might not be due specifically to bigotry, in the sense of their believing that "all Muslims are bad".

The problem is that the effect is exactly the same as explicit, blatant bigotry.

The folks in the Cordoba Institute had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11. They have, consistently, condemned the attacks in the strongest language.

The folks who attacked us were Muslims, and the Cordoba folks are Muslims. That's the only connection. And there are something like a billion to a billion and a half Muslims on the planet.

During WWI, German Americans were harassed. That was wrong.

During WWII, we indiscriminately rounded up Japanese Americans and moved them to internment camps. That was wrong.

And now, in the face of terror attacks and threats, we're harassing Muslims. It was wrong then, it's wrong now.

The only reason this is an issue at all is because it has been taken up by the screaming flying monkey circus on the right wing blogs. Pam Geller, then Palin and Gingrich, and their pals. Without their helpful input, it's highly likely that nobody outside of lower Manhattan would have ever known or cared that the Cordoba center was being considered.

I hesitate to even mention this, because I'm afraid it will bring the shrieking harpies down on their heads as well, but there is a masjid on Warren St, exactly two blocks up from Park Pl, making it precisely four blocks from the WTC site.

It is, by all appearances, a tiny little storefront joint. It's been there for something like 30 years.

Should they be forced to close down? If not, why not? Is two blocks too close, but four blocks not too close? Is a crappy little storefront masjid OK, but a Muslim Y a step too far? Is something that's been there for a while OK, but something new no good?

The fact of the matter is that there are no good answers to these questions, because the questions are absurd.

The people who don't want the Cordoba center to be built hold that opinion because the Cordoba folks are Muslim, and Muslims attacked us on 9/11. The *only connection* between the two groups is the fact that they are Muslim. There is *no other connection*.

The folks who feel this way may not think of themselves as bigots, because they may retain, in some part of their brain, an understanding that not all Muslims are bloodthirsty murderous fanatics, but they are behaving as bigots. And if they continue to do so, they will end up as bigots, because their position is utterly unreasonable outside of the blinkered logic of bigotry.

There's nothing new about this crap, our history is full of it, and it's always wrong.

9/11 was almost ten years ago. Muslims live here, in peace and in good faith, and have done so in large numbers for over a hundred years.

Folks who lost loved ones on 9/11 will never "get over it", because it's a permanent loss. It's part of you, because your love for the folks you've lost is part of you.

But it sure as hell is time for us, as a nation, to get over our fear and distrust of Muslims. They're just people, like anybody else. They're not all murderers, they aren't all trying to kill us, or make us wear funny headgear, and they're not all trying to establish the United States of Sharia.

They're just people, like you and me.

I feel a little bad for Marty. He's offered himself up as the sacrificial lamb, holding a very unpopular opinion (on this blog, anyway). I'm sure he's a good guy, and he didn't instigate this controversy. But he's not a very good arguer, since he simply ignores points he has no answer for. When your position is indefensible, you have to do that.

I notice that he's joined by Professional Atheist and evident humorless fool Sam Harris (via Sullivan), who makes idiotic arguments against:

The claim that the events of September 11, 2001, had “nothing to do with Islam” is an abject and destabilizing lie.

You'd think that so subtle a thinker as Sam would understand the difference between proximate and actual causes.


This murder of 3,000 innocents was viewed as a victory for the One True Faith by millions of Muslims throughout the world (even, idiotically, by those who think it was perpetrated by the Mossad). And the erection of a mosque upon the ashes of this atrocity will also be viewed by many millions of Muslims as a victory—and as a sign that the liberal values of the West are synonymous with decadence and cowardice.

Thank god we have you to alert us to these carefully researched facts, Sam. Oh, and thanks for recommending passivity - great idea.

....this leads me to a somewhat paradoxical conclusion: American Muslims should be absolutely free to build a mosque two blocks from ground zero; but the ones who should do it probably wouldn’t want to.

You shouldn't smoke weed before writing, Sam.

I fear religion - very much so. I'm vehemently against suppressing it (not fair and it doesn't work anyway), but I fear it. The greatest summing up of 9/11, IMO, was by (I believe) a Muslim, who immediately said, 'Religion did this'. He was right. Not 'Islam', or 'Christianity', but 'religion'. Only immoderate and zealous Idealism can rationalize atrocities like 9/11, or the Crusades, or the Holocaust (secular religion), or the countless others. You'd think Harris would have figured that out, being a Professional Atheist and all. I'd suspected it before, but now I'm sure that he's a Professional Jackass, too.

So, we have a real community center, consisting of real people, being quite carelessly used by several as an excuse to beat their hobbyhorses. We have Christianists tacitly militating against Islam because it's the 'wrong team', and fools like Harris deciding that singling out Islam is a great way to further their arguments against religion as a whole. Either way, it's Holy War, which is about as tragically stupid as it gets.

Echoing what was said above: what about *my* feelings? I'm deeply hurt. Really. Offended and hurt and ashamed. At times like this I wonder not whether our species will survive, but whether we deserve to do.

Just before checking out the latest here moments ago, I heard a radio spot on NPR featuring Mayor Bloomberg reiterating his support for the mosque, after which they mentioned Harry Reid's statements. I muttered a few obscenities toward the spineless political coward and found this post seconds later. I would spit on Harry Reid right now if I could. I expect this crap from the prominent members of the right-wing cabal in this country, but not the Democratic Senate leader. F**k him. (I haven't read any comments yet.)

At times like this I wonder not whether our species will survive, but whether we deserve to do.

humans just aren't very smart, in general, consistently. but we're smart enough to know that. so we set up systems of rules and laws and morals to help guide us through times when our own intellects will likely be overwhelmed by circumstance. but we're too stupid to follow those rules when the time comes.

heh

Can we all cool it with the f-bombs, please? Or dispense with that posting rule; one or the other.

Well, I guess an election year is enough to make anyone weak in the knees.

What really needs to happen is for Gingrich, Palin and company to be called out and denounced for their cynical political opportunism, and for anyone else -Dem, Rep - who pitches their voice in on all this just to be seen to be having a stand on this, when they don't have the backbones necessary to even stand.

Without trying to add fuel to the fire over religion, I'm trying calmly right now to bear in mind that Gingrich is a recent convert to Catholicism, and that some of this is religious opportunism - he needs to be seen by the religious sector of his base as stalwart on this. The fact as well that Obama supported the construction of it (though he seems to be trying to backpedal on that, unconvincingly IMO) just eggs them on.

Throughout the hysteria over the Cordoba Initiative, my understanding is that this is less a mosque as it is a cultural and study center, of which the mosque itself is only one component. It's on that basis that I can't think of a better place to build it. That would honor the victims and their families, not dishonor them, and strangle at birth the shame that political charlatans and cowards are making out of all this just for the elections.

Our politics has never been terribly pretty, but as of late it's really descended to a new low. I expected the controversy to have emerged over this place; I was still naive enough not to have expected the viciousness and insensitivity from people who piously wrap themselves in what only looks like better.

I am beyond sadness right now. We really have made ourselves into a pack of slinking hyenas.

Marty, you and Reid think it's a bad idea. Obama did not say that.

Posted by: KCinDC | August 16, 2010 at 06:58 PM

Actually he did, or kinda did, or kinda didn't - doing his best Governor imitation:

Ooh, I love to dance the little sidestep / Now they see me, now they don't / I've come and gone / And ooh, I love to sweep around a wide step / Cut a little swath / And lead the people on!

He knew exactly what he was told to say and exactly how to say it. And so did Harry.

Slarti: I though the posting rule about using swear words had to do with work filters. Thus, I put in an asterisk or two to stay clear of those.

Unless there is something I'm missing?

No, blogbudsman, Obama didn't say what Reid said.

He didn't venture an opinion on that aspect directly, though his comments have been overall supportive.

Reid did venture an opinion on that aspect direclty, and came out against it as a bad idea.

Simple.

Try harder.

ditto

ditto regarding the posting rules, I meant.

Harry Reid is a useless coward. This is hardly news. If he'd had the guts to stand up to lies from Republicans, he had plenty of chances to before, and he hasn't before.

He also had plenty of chances to stand up for the fundamental rules of the Constitution during the Bush years, and didn't then either.

Having the largest majority in decades hasn't been enough to break many of these useless Democrats from their reflexive craven crouches when the Republicans start to talk mean. Makes it real hard to get excited about voting for them.

We can has new majority leader now?

That doesn't make it a good idea.

Why that concept is such a struggle I am not sure.

That's not what I struggle with. What I struggle with is the concept that whether or not it's a good idea is any of your or my business.


humans just aren't very smart, in general, consistently.

"People are smart."

"A *person* is smart. *People* are dumb panicky animals and you know it."

Pitch-perfect lulz from Amanda Marcotte:

It’s kind of surreal having the same folks who go down to the WTC to have grinning tourist shots taken in front of it before they scurry away from the natives to go see a Broadway show start lecturing everyone else on how to memorialize 9/11.

Unless there is something I'm missing?

Not anymore.

And, of course, Obama did try to have it both ways. "I won't comment on whether it is a good idea, just that they have a right to build there" is pretty weak tea, hoping everyone would just assume he was agreeing with them.

I agree with this.

I'm not going to defend anything else Marty has said here, because I find it indefensible, but Eric, russell, and many others here are already saying what needs to be said.

But Obama is most emphatically trying to split the difference here, in true Clintonian fashion, and it's maddening.

Somehow Michael Bloomberg and Jerry Nadler have managed to make clear, unequivocal statements that left no one trying to figure out what they "really" meant, but the President is incapable of that.

Can we all cool it with the f-bombs, please?

As an f-bomb frequent-flier (with asterisks of course), I'm happy to drop my use of that particular bit of verbal spice.

Mostly because it just bugs some people, and I can probably find another way to make my point.

"Farging" comes to mind as an alternative, plus it's funny if you've seen the movie.

If you catch me on a jazz gig, however, all bets are off, there are only so many concessions a guy can be asked to make.

And no, "verbal spice" wasn't the one who dressed up like a librarian.

But Obama is most emphatically trying to split the difference here

Couldn't agree more. And I think there isn't a difference here to split, you gotta be on one side or the other.

"I would that you were cold or hot!"

To once again steal a bit from Jon Stewart, Obama now better hope Obama from the campaign doesn't hear about this!

Seriously, his biggest assets in the campaign were 1) Republican economic policies creating a disaster (which Hillary shared), 2) Being able to credibly oppose the war in Iraq without "for it before against it" nonsense, and 3) plenty of times where it seemed like he actually GOT what was going on, and where we needed to go, which he seems to have completely forgotten since taking office.

Still probably the best choice from the ones we were offered, but DAMN it's disappointing.

And I think there isn't a difference here to split, you gotta be on one side or the other.

My own personal take on this is: I'm not happy about any mosque plans near the WTC site, but it's not mine to say whether it gets to happen or not. It's akin to taking offense on behalf of some complete strangers: you just have to let them decide if it's offensive or not, because they're adults. If they're ok with it, and indeed welcome it, who am I to gainsay them?

I really have to wonder exactly which statement of Obama's people are listening to in order to get "tapdancing" or "splitting the difference" out of it.

His original statement completely ignored the "is it a good idea" topic--rightfully, because it's none of the President's business. But then the usual loons and even nominally sane folks who ought to know better started misinterpreting or outright lying about it, claiming he was supporting it--when what he was supporting was their right to build there.

So he issued a clarification--and I can imagine him thinking, "how fscking stupid are these people that I actually have to explain this?"--saying that he was not taking a position on whether or not it was a good idea, only their rights.

You know what? That's not a trivial distinction. It's the difference between "I support the Klan" and "I support the Klan's right to peacefully assemble". As President, it is not his place to take sides in a local zoning dispute--he cannot come out and say whether he thinks Cordoba is a good idea or bad idea. The last time he did something like that, he got kicked around for saying that the stupid actions of some cops were stupid.

So to make his position clear, he simply says that he's not taking a position on whether it's a good or bad idea, only on what their constitutional rights are. Why is this so hard to grasp?

The only tapdancing going on here is by the people who are struggling to explain how their conflation of al Qaeda with the Muslims behind Cordoba is not outright bigotry.

And the only stupidity in Obama's clarification was that he had to make it at all.

russell mentioned the imprisonment of American citizens for the crime of being of Japanese descent during WWII.

That put me in mind of MLK Jr's quote, "Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."

Maybe we're making some kind of progress when we haven't simply rounded up everyone who might be Muslim and stick 'em all in concentration camps. Maybe it's progress when "all" we're talking about is depriving Americans of their 1st Amendment rights in order for the yahoos and bigots of the Right and the GOP to score some political points.

It's infuriating, and nauseating, that we still have such yahoos and bigots at all, and that they have any influence at all in America much less the amount of influence they do have.

But in view of our own history, maybe the fact that the yahoos and bigots aren't actually out murdering Muslims - are only talking about insulting, dispossessing, and demonizing them - is the best we can hope for.

One thing is clear, though: we absolutely need a new national anthem. When yahoos and bigots get to set the agenda and frame the issues, we have no goddamn business going around calling this country home of the free and land of the brave.

My own personal take on this is: I'm not happy about any mosque plans near the WTC site

Can I ask why?

Sure!

Land of the free and the home of the brave.

Slartibartfast, why are you not happy about any mosque plans near the WTC site?

Also, cleaving religiously to the distinction between "can't" and "may" is a bit insulting on a messageboard. Literalism to absurdity makes us all work a little harder than we must to converse with you.

Eric both can and may ask why. Whether I choose to answer is my own affair.

Not being snide, just: my reasons are my own, and not necessarily rational.

Maybe we're making some kind of progress when we haven't simply rounded up everyone who might be Muslim and stick 'em all in concentration camps.

I assume that the improvement is in the not-every-Muslim part?

Not being snide, just: my reasons are my own, and not necessarily rational.

Slarti, just FYI, I'm sure you didn't mean it, but your comments come across as really snide or maybe passive aggressive. It is totally fine to have reasons that you don't want to discuss. But when someone asks "can I ask you why", the correct answer in such situations is generally "I'd rather not talk about it" or "I'd prefer you didn't". This is true even though technically speaking they weren't asking you about your reasons but were asking if they could ask you about their reasons.

My own personal take on this is: I'm not happy about any mosque plans near the WTC site

Then I have good news and bad news for you, Slart.

The good news is that Cordoba House isn't a mosque, although it contains one as simply one part of the larger community center.

The bad news is that there has already been a mosque only a few blocks away from the WTC for around 40 years, the Masjid Manhattan. It's still there.

The phrase "Ground Zero Mosque" has, as I heard it put today, "not one true syllable". We need to stop perpetuating the lie that that's what it is. The fact that the YMCA is a Christian organization and many contain worship spaces does not make your local Y a church.

Maybe we're making some kind of progress when we haven't simply rounded up everyone who might be Muslim and stick 'em all in concentration camps.

I worry that the difference might be more distributional. Japanese folks in the 1940s seem to have been largely confined to ghettos that made them easier targets. Muslims today seem to be more broadly distributed and less concentrated. I could be wrong but I could the sense that there are some places in the US with a Muslim presence where people are OK with them and many many places with virtually no Muslims where people are much more angry and hateful towards Muslims.

Plus, one motivation in the 40s was that non-Japanese folk got to take all their stuff once they were interned; the legal climate today makes such profitable internment less likely it seems to me.

I really hope you're right that we're making progress, but I fear you might not be.

We had that anthem discussion several times but it was usually about the tune or that it is the only anthem about a failed rocket attack. I usually propose to chose Battle Cry of Freedom with several 'approved' text versions. Btw, in the past the US was proud to provide the anthem in all the languages spoken by immigrants, so that even those that had not yet learned English could join. I somewhere even read the text of the Hawaian version. Now the right even proposes to make it a crime to sing it in any other language but English (with extra penalties for "José can you see?").

The fact that the YMCA is a Christian organization and many contain worship spaces does not make your local Y a church.

You know what I hate? When my flight from Boston's Logan International Church to San Francisco International Church gets delayed. But I am glad that all facilities that contain a room dedicated to prayer are now considered to be places of worship and nothing more. Do they still offer tours of the Pentagon Church/Mosque complex? It is supposed to be the largest Church and largest Mosque in the world, right?

your comments come across as really snide or maybe passive aggressive

Sorry that my lame attempt at humor has confused so many people.

Then I have good news and bad news for you, Slart.

I'm neither elated nor despondent. I said I didn't like it, not that I was horribly bent out of shape by it. I am neither hot nor cold.

"That's not what I struggle with. What I struggle with is the concept that whether or not it's a good idea is any of your or my business."

I concede this point and stipulate that I have been carrying on this discussion because I think it is part of a larger discussion. I find the first reaction to almost any disagreement, especially where it concerns issues that have emotion tied to them, has become the other side are bigots or ignorant.

I disgree that those are the only alternatives to what Eric says.

However, it is an incredibly powerful argument in the vein of "when did you stop beating your dog". Any answer can be designated as having a basis in bigotry, so discussion is completely useless unless the other side, in this case Eric et al, actually try to see the other side from an empathetic standpoint. Which they don't.

So, back to your comment Hogan, you are absolutely correct. I am unlikely to ever BE in lower Manhattan, much less live there. They have approved it as far as I can tell and this particular activity is none of my business.

For the record....

I have *no problem* with people who are uncomfortable with the Cordoba center being built. I'm not one of those people, but I can understand why some folks might have, at an emotional level, some greater or lesser degree of discomfort.

The issue to me is extrapolating from there to saying that they should not build it.

It's a big country, everyone is not going to agree or feel the same way about everything.

The problems arise when we insist that other people do, or not do, things based on *our* preferences.

The thing I find most hateful in the case at hand is how folks who oppose the Cordoba center, or Park51, or whatever it's being called today, have decided that the way to go about getting their way is to smear the Cordoba institute folks.

Every public statement they've ever made, every financial detail of their organization, every wink, blink, or nod they've ever committed in public, are now in the process of being examined in gory detail, to find any hint of impropriety or any connection, no matter how insubstantial, to anything resembling terrorism anywhere in the world.

The public discussion is now well, well past the point of what they have actually said or done, and is now at the "it would be foolish not to speculate" point.

Driving home last night, I heard some guy going on at length about how little money they had, and that therefore the Saudis were going to pay for it, and we all know what other things *they* pay for, and even if the facts aren't there to substantiate that claim, it would be foolish not to speculate.

That's the state of the public argument about the place now.

It's a freaking witch hunt, and if the Cordoba folks decide to pack it in and go on vacation for a year or two, I would find it hard to blame them.

"I don't like it", no problem.

"I don't like it and I wish they wouldn't do it", well, we all have our druthers.

"I don't like it, so they shouldn't be allowed to do it", is a problem.

"I don't like it, so I'm going to crucify these folks publicly in order to get my way", is reprehensible.

"I don't really care, but I can mobilize my base by demonizing these people", even more so.

To those who stand with Gingrich's comment comparing the Cordoba effort to 'putting up nazi signs at the holocaust museum', I have a question. However obnoxious a Nazi sign at the Holocaust Museum would be, would you also object to some Germans putting up a sign, in German, saying "Never again"? Just because of who put it up? Or because it was in the same language used by the Nazis?

Because that is what we are talking about here. Some people who, while they share something (Islam, broadly defined, not the way the perpetrators defined it) with the perpetrators, are opposed to what was done and want to try to keep it from happening again. In short, you are saying that, if some member of a large group does something evil, nobody else from that group can ever again be seen as virtuous. Which is pretty obvious nonsense -- as you can see if you look at the entire history of all of the groups that you belong to.

The problems arise when we insist that other people do, or not do, things based on *our* preferences.

That's kind of what I was getting at, russell: I would not embark on a jihad of sorts to expel the infidels from our holy land, or some such.

"Sure!"

Now I understand the request to cool it with the f-bombs. ;)

It was a set-up!


Brave enough to be free of the homeland.


As usual, Jon Stewart examines the issue and lays it to rest. I particularly enjoyed two parts

1. The Catholic church near a playground comparison (in part because I thought of that one myself)

2. The fact that Glenn Beck is pretending to be horrified by a statement identical to one he made himself.

link

I'm neither elated nor despondent. I said I didn't like it, not that I was horribly bent out of shape by it. I am neither hot nor cold.

Well, that's nice. Now that you've unnecessarily clarified a point that wasn't in dispute, try responding to some part of my reply that's topical and relevant.

Like, you know, the fact that whether your feelings towards a mosque near the WTC site are positive or negative are completely irrelevant to this debate because it's not a goddamn mosque, and because one already exists.

You know, those two points. They were pretty explicit in my reply. They're at the center of this entire debate. You might try acknowledging that they were made instead of indulging in your usual pattern of passive-aggressive deflection by ignoring anything that weakens your argument in favor of derailing the discussion with irrelevant pedantry.

Someone, Eric perhaps, commented that the proposed construction is an expansion of an existing facility. Is this right? Or is this new construction? Does anyone have a good description of what is currently at the proposed site?

I'll make my point in a bit. This piece of info is germane, although my follow on comment may not be.

McK: AFAIK, the site is currently occupied by this unused building:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100815/pl_afp/uspoliticsreligionattacks

which used to be a Burlington Coat Factory. The plan is to tear that down and replace it with this:
http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2010/08/01/adl-says-no-to-park51-ground-zero-muslim-cultural-center-claims-survivors-entitled-to-be-racist/

which is a rather higher building (13 stories, not 6).

Someone, Eric perhaps, commented that the proposed construction is an expansion of an existing facility. Is this right? Or is this new construction? Does anyone have a good description of what is currently at the proposed site?

The same religious community has a small mosque a few blocks away. They are proposing building a community center: think of a YMCA but replacing the C with an I. It would have a gym, libraries, meeting space, and a room for prayer. Most of the community center is intended to serve everyone, Muslim or not. The prayer space is obviously of interest mostly to Muslims. You can find drawings on the Cordoba Institute's web site if you look.

the fact that whether your feelings towards a mosque near the WTC site are positive or negative are completely irrelevant to this debate because it's not a goddamn mosque, and because one already exists

I didn't say they were relevant. It doesn't matter whether it's a mosque or not, because (as I most clearly stated) I have no intentions whatsoever of doing anything about them. I'm not sure how I can make that any more clear.

But in the interest of closing out the urgent Q&A: I don't think an Islamic cultural center that close to GZ is that hot of an idea, either. The mosque was, as you pointed out, already there, so: even more OBE than the cultural center. I don't think the mosque was a bad idea, at the time. ANd as I've already stated, I'm not at all interested in cleansing the holy land of infidels.

Please let me know if I've left any of your other points unaddressed.

Note, Catsy, that the comment that I responded to (and you can tell I was responding to that comment, and not the larger debate, because I helpfully blockquoted it) was:

And I think there isn't a difference here to split, you gotta be on one side or the other.

So: I said (in so many words) that I'm on one side or another, but not in a way that's going to affect the outcome.

Full stop.

Slarti, you say:

"I didn't say they were relevant. It doesn't matter whether it's a mosque or not, because (as I most clearly stated) I have no intentions whatsoever of doing anything about them. I'm not sure how I can make that any more clear."
[original emphasis not added because I don't know how]

and then later you say

"So: I said (in so many words) that I'm on one side or another, but not in a way that's going to affect the outcome."

You protest that you won't do anything about Park51, and that your opinions won't affect the outcome of the construction of Park51. However, you're protesting against strawmen, because Catsy never said (and to my knowledge, no one did) that you would do anything or affect any outcome. We are all well aware that this is, in the context of ObWi, an academic discussion (unless John Thullen is, as I have long suspected, Mike Bloomberg).

It matters whether it's a mosque or not because you called it a mosque, which was a mistake regardless of how influential your opinion is.

Also, you responded to a fraction of Catsy's comment - "Then I have good news and bad news for you, Slart"- and chose to ignore the rest. That is what Catsy was presumably referring to when he said:

"ignoring anything that weakens your argument"


It matters whether it's a mosque or not because you called it a mosque

If I'm not mistaken, when Slarti referred to a "mosque" he was referring to Manhattan Masjid, a pre-existing mosque a couple of blocks further uptown. Rather than to Park51 or whatever other names the Cordoba proposal has gone by.

Not looking to speak for Slarti, just (hopefully) offering a clarification.

It matters whether it's a mosque or not because you called it a mosque

Consider me corrected, on the record. I've heard the mosque/not a mosque discussion enough to have been aware of the reality, so I have no excuse.

and chose to ignore the rest

That's because the rest wasn't really that important to me. That it was so important to Catsy is, well, Catsy's burden to carry, not mine.

"ignoring anything that weakens your argument"

I don't have an argument to weaken, here, so I'm not sure where you're going with this. russell said something, I said something else, and there isn't really much more to it than that.

Come to think of it, I'm so completely in alignment with russell's comment of 12:11 that I'm going to let y'all argue with him, instead, about why he feels that way.

Not looking to speak for Slarti, just (hopefully) offering a clarification.

Thanks, russell, but: no. Just a mistake.

Also, regarding this comment of mine, which Slarti was responding to:

And I think there isn't a difference here to split, you gotta be on one side or the other.

My issue here was with Obama. I'd have liked him to make a more affirmative statement about the center, something more like what Bloomberg said.

Obama, however, has bigger things to worry about than my opinion, and has to represent and work with a broader range of folks than Bloomberg does.

So, it looks to me like he just wants to confine his comments to the strict facts of the legal issues, and stay the hell out of the culture wars.

That disappoints me, but I'm not wearing his shoes.

Sorry Slarti, I did attribute more to you than you'd actually said. You said you're not happy, which isn't an argument, and you declined to give your reasons (which rich I respect). I was raring for an argument is all.

I do understand why many people are uncomfortable with Park51, but I am not sympathetic to their discomfort, nor do I think it should dictate the Cordoba House's location. I am looking forward to MckT's take on it.

Which right*

Also, Slarti, your earlier statements do not seem congruous with russell's 12:11, because you've expressed discomfort both with the idea of a newly constructed nearby mosque (not proposed, as you noted) or a religious community center. Russell didn't say he was uncomfortable:

"I have *no problem* with people who are uncomfortable with the Cordoba center being built. I'm not one of those people, but I can understand why some folks might have, at an emotional level, some greater or lesser degree of discomfort."

So I'm not clear on which parts precisely you agreed with.

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