08/19/2010 archive

Punting the Pundits

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Robert Reich: Mitt Romney’s Wet-Noodle Economics

Mitt Romney is smart enough not to join Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin in using the proposed mosque at Ground Zero to launch a presidential bid. While Gingrich is busy comparing Muslims to Nazis (“Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the holocaust museum in Washington”), and Palin is calling on New Yorkers to “refudiate” the plan (she subsequently corrected her word choice), Romney is offering an economic plan.

That’s a wise choice. Mitt knows Americans don’t care about mosques in Manhattan. They care about money in their own mitts.

Romney is intent on selling himself to America as the businessman who can turn the country around (sad to say, unemployment is likely to remain high all the way through November, 2012). Unlike Palin and Gingrich, Romney did, after all, run a business (yes, it was a firm that bought and sold companies and laid off lots of people along the way but, hey, that’s business).

Mitt Romney: Grow jobs and shrink government

IT’S NOT happening the way President Obama had planned. Unemployment blew past his 8 percent ceiling and hasn’t looked back. Private sector investment in new jobs and capital has languished. Even the head of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, Christina Romer, has resigned.

Almost every action the president has taken has deepened and lengthened the downturn. The private sector has retreated, frightened by his agenda and paralyzed by the uncertainty, lack of predictability, and outright hostility he has engendered.

His policies are anti-investment, anti-jobs, and anti-growth. Raising taxes – with a 15 percent hike on certain small business corporations, new taxes to pay for ObamaCare, and an increase on the dividend tax from 15 percent to nearly 40 percent – depresses new investment throughout the economy. Promoting an open-ended cap-and-trade tax dissuades expansion by employers in the energy sector. Bowing to the demands of unions to tilt the table in their favor – with proposals for card check and mandatory arbitration as well as the installation of a labor stooge at the National Labor Relations Board – chills new hiring.

Dr. Dean, It’s Not a Mosque.

Dear Dr. Dean, It’s not a mosque, it’s a Cultural Center that will house a culinary school, an auditorium, a swimming pool, a basketball court, and yes, space for prayer. It is intended to be open to ALL, to promote understanding through education. If I remember correctly, that is how we are supposed to fight ignorance and prejudice.

It is not at Ground Zero. It is located two blocks away and not even within sight of the World Trade Center site. It has operating there for a year without any opposition until a hate campaign was started by Pamela Geller, a anti-Muslim right wing blogger and the New York Post using fear, lies and innuendo.

Did you know that Muslims worship at the Pentagon and have a prayer room there, 80 feet from where the plane crashed into the building? Should that be moved, too?

This is more than the rights of people to worship where they live and work or even the private property rights as Mayor Bloomberg so eloquently spoke in his support of the Cultural Center. It is standing up against fear, ignorance and bigotry. Where would the Civil Rights movement be if we had not marched in the streets and died for equality for African Americans? Where would women be if not for the 19th Amendment and the Feminist movement if we hadn’t marched, petitioned, got arrested and, yes, burned our bras in protest?

So big deal the majority of people think the Center should be moved. So what? Since when, especially when we know the majority is dead wrong about an issue, do we cave to their wishes?

Even Republicans understand why it is important to support the building of the center. Ted Olson, former Bush White House Solicitor General, who lost his wife on 9/11, has come out in support. And Peter Beinhart, of all people, is telling Democrats to “grow  pair”. It is hard to believe you don’t have the courage of these two men.

American Muslims died on 9/11, too. Americans Muslims did not attack us on 9/11. Are we to allow fanatics to hijack a religion of 1 billion because we are afraid? The fear mongering about Islam over the last 9 years has addled peoples’ brains. Has it addled yours, too?

Your reasons for opposing this project are lame, to be kind, and go against the grain of every principle that we have fought for over the last 234 years. There are some times we need to be “inflexible” this is one of them.

I expected better of you, Dr. Dean.

Sincerely, TMC

On This Day in History: August 19

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour a cup of your favorite morning beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

August 19 is the 231st day of the year (232nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 134 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1909, the first race is held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, now the home of the world’s most famous motor racing competition, the Indianapolis 500.

The rectangular two-and-a-half-mile track linked four turns, each exactly 440 yards from start to finish, by two long and two short straight sections. In that first five-mile race on August 19, 1909, 12,000 spectators watched Austrian engineer Louis Schwitzer win with an average speed of 57.4 miles per hour. The track’s surface of crushed rock and tar proved a disaster, breaking up in a number of places and causing the deaths of two drivers, two mechanics and two spectators.

The surface was soon replaced with 3.2 million paving bricks, laid in a bed of sand and fixed with mortar. Dubbed “The Brickyard,” the speedway reopened in December 1909. In 1911, low attendance led the track’s owners to make a crucial decision: Instead of shorter races, they resolved to focus on a single, longer event each year, for a much larger prize. That May 30 marked the debut of the Indy 500–a grueling 500-mile race that was an immediate hit with audiences and drew press attention from all over the country. Driver Ray Haroun won the purse of $14,250, with an average speed of 74.59 mph and a total time of 6 hours and 42 minutes.

Racism Part 3b: Religion

Mormonism is no more ‘Christian’ than Islam.

Now the things I’m going to tell you about Mormonism may seem unfair, but they are core principles of the faith and I personally don’t think they’re more ridiculous than any other religion.  I’m using Wikipedia as my source where I can because, however much you may despise the depth of its scholarship, its contentious nature means that what is presented is generally agreed on (except for temporary aberrations like Colbert’s Elephant).

First of all, Mormons worship the God of Abraham, just like Jews, Christians, and (gasp) Muslims.

Like Islam, it is a Restorationist religion which believes that priesthood authority was lost and the text of the Bible changed.  This condition of Apostacy was rectified by a special revelation to a new prophet succeeding Jesus of Nazareth.

The story of the Mormons starts about 600 BC when a man named Lehi, his family, and several others are led by God from Jerusalem shortly before the fall of that city to the Babylonians in 586 BC.  After some wandering around the Arabian Peninsula they travel by sea to a new promised land- the Americas.

There’s some serious debate among scholars of Mormonism whether the events described take place in Central or Northern America and there is also a description (the Book of Ether) of an earlier migration by a group of Jews from Babylon called the Jaredites around 2500 B.C.  “The Jaredites grew to become a civilization that exceeded two million people just prior to their destruction.  They finally destroyed themselves about the time Lehi and the other refugees from Jerusalem arrived in America.”

Lehi and his refugees soon divided into two camps, the Nephi and the Lamanites, and they were almost constantly at war.

In the 3rd Book of Nephi there is a description of a miraculous visitation by Jesus of Nazareth after his death, resurrection, and assumption where he personally communicates the ‘Good News’ of the Gospel to the Nephi and for several generations after that there is peace.

The Book of Mormon as a whole is an account of the life of Mormon, the last great warrior king of the Nephi who is said to have written most of it (some transcribed from other records), and his son Moroni who finished it and hid it after the final defeat of the Nephi around 350 AD.

The chronology of Jesus of Nazareth’s visitations to America (North or Central) is somewhat confused as he appeared not only around the generally accepted dates of his life (say 33 BC to 50 AD) but also to the Jaredites some 2500 years previous and to Lehi and his followers shortly after their arrival some 600 years before he was even born.

It’s a miracle.

There is no God but God and Mohammed is his Prophet.

Now I’ll try not to be as harsh on Joe Smith Jr. as Sam Clemens.  If a man tells me he’s hefted something, I’m willing to believe it.


Accepting the story at face value, the last Nephi and Lamanite died 1000 years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue and 1300 years before Joe Jr. dug up those tablets in Palmyra, New York and translated them from ‘reformed Egyptian’ with the aid of the Ghost of Angel Moroni.

It will take someone with much tougher theological chops than I (and as you can see I have some) to explain to me the difference between that and Mohammed’s revelations in a desert cave.

When you listen to Glenn Beck, or Mitt Romney, or Harry Reid, remember that these truths are articles of faith to them that they believe as firmly as you believe in the Miracle of the Menorah, the Resurrection of Christ, that Mohammed ascended to heaven with the angel Gabriel, or that Siddhartha Gautama sat under a lotus tree.

Morning Shinbun Thursday August 19

U.S. jobless claims jump to 9-month high of 500,000.

Unexpected climb is yet another setback for already frail recovery

Thursday’s Headlines:

Civilians to Take U.S. Lead After Military Leaves Iraq

Eat your art out: Artists develop a taste for food


Poll shows more Americans think Obama is a Muslim

Mediator takes reins on gulf oil spill claims


Quelle horreur! Asterix surrenders to McDonald’s

Outspoken French politician presents new statue of Lenin

Middle East

Wikipedia editing courses launched by Zionist groups

In impoverished Gaza, electric company can’t collect its bills


Pakistan floods: Saudi Arabia pledges $100m

Obama wants Burmese rulers to face UN war crimes investigation


South Africa strike: 1.3 million government workers push for wage hike

Latin America

Haiti election: Struggle over Wyclef Jean’s eligibility could spark crisis

New person here

Hello, all!  This is Translator, the newest and most likely the worst editor at The Stars Hollow Gazette.  I am new to editing, so please bear with me.  I also post things, mostly about science, and hope that you like them.

For tonight, I just thank the folks that run this site for allowing me to be somewhat more than an observer.  Here are my rules for responding to my, or others’ who post here.  I think these rules are consistent with everyone else.  No bad language, no hurtful comments about others, and good thinking about everything else.

I shall welome everyone by saying that the Mosque is not bad, but the FOX “News” makes it seem very bad.  I shall talk about other things tomorrow, but not this morning.

I appreciate all of you that want to talk, and I will be available for that on the morrow.

Warmest regards,


No Afghanistan Withdrawal in 2011 – Engdahl: “US will Expand War”

“The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan says he is not bound by the July 2011 date set for a troop pull-out. General David Petraeus said he could well advise President Obama not to go ahead if he believes it’s the wrong time. American public support for the war is at an all-time low, with July being the deadliest month for U.S. and NATO troops since 2001. With frustration growing about the occupation of Afghanistan, politicians in Germany have even suggested talking to the Taliban and terrorist organizations to avoid a further escalation of violence.”

RT talks with political economist and author F William Engdahl, author of “A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order” and “Full Spectrum Dominance”, about his thoughts on the Afghanistan occupation and the 30 year war scenario to prevent the independent economic development of Russia, China, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) states. Engdhahl has written on issues of energy, politics and economics for more than 30 years, beginning with the first oil shock in the early 1970s. Based in Germany, Engdahl contributes regularly to a number of publications including Asia Times Online, Asia, Inc, Japan’s Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Foresight magazine; Freitag and ZeitFragen newspapers in Germany and Switzerland respectively.

RussiaToday  |   August 16, 2010  

Last Combat Troops Leave Iraq

The last combat troops are leaving Iraq, crossing the border into Kuwait. It is being carried live on MSNBC. Keith Olbermann broke in to the Ed Show with the announcement

NEAR THE IRAQ-KUWAIT BORDER – The last U.S. combat troops were crossing the border into Kuwait on Thursday morning, bringing to a close the active combat phase of a 7½-year war that overthrew the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein, forever defined the presidency of George W. Bush and left more than 4,400 American service members and tens of thousands of Iraqis dead.

The final convoy of the Army’s 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, based at Fort Lewis, Wash., was about to enter Kuwait shortly after 1:30 a.m. (6:30 p.m. Wednesday ET), carrying the last of the 14,000 U.S. combat forces in Iraq, said NBC’s Richard Engel, who has been traveling with the brigade as it moved out this week.

Peter Daou:


The Iraq war is officially over: http://bit.ly/bVM4JO …question is, how many more lives will be lost there?

Now when do the others come home, out of harms way?

When so we start scaling down Afghanistan?

These are wars we can no longer afford either in expenditures of money or precious lives.

Prime Time

Ugh.  It’s no wonder why a majority of Americans (well, US Americans, but it’s just not as melliflous) no longer watch first run Television live and instead record it on their DVRs for later viewing.  Tonight certainly makes me envy my SciFi friend and her extensive collection of Pit Boss.

Do you want to know what I’ll really be watching?  Probably The Great Food Truck Race and Mets @ Astros now, the new Man v. Wild at 9, and then maybe Kings Row.  Murder, insanity and sadism in a small town at the turn of the century with Ronald Reagan, Ann Sheridan, and Love that Bob.

I mean, Wild Hogs twice in a row?  Not if you paid me.  As far as I’m concerned it’s cruel and unusual punishment of the type that used to be banned by the Constitution and the Geneva Convention before we decided waterboarding and anally raping children with chem sticks in front of their parents was ok.  Even Ronald Wilson Reagan in his best role ever isn’t as eye gougingly bad.


No Alton, no Dave, not even Jay.

Jon has Edward P. Kohn (have your people post a Wiki entry, idiot), Stephen Thomas French.  Jon has Back in Black which is usually so nice you want to see it twice.

Now You Museum, Now You Don’t.  For those of you who worry about our Boys, Dr. Richard “Dick” Impossible is voiced by Christopher McCulloch in this episode.  No Colberts attemped suicide by swallowing a bomb during the animation.

Yahoo TV Listings

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Aid begins to flow to flood-ravaged Pakistan

by Marwan Naamani, AFP

1 hr 15 mins ago

MULTAN, Pakistan (AFP) – Foreign aid has begun flowing to the 20 million victims of floods in Pakistan, but thousands remain without food or shelter as weather forecasts signalled there may be some let-up.

Monsoon systems were weakening after three weeks of torrential rains brought devastating floods that have left at least 1,400 people dead in the country’s worst natural disaster, with survivors hitting out at the government’s slow response.

The floods wiped out villages, farmland and infrastructure, and OCHA, the United Nations’ aid coordination body, said that more than 650,000 homeless families were still without basic shelter.