There Once Was (At Least One) WTC Mosque

September 15, 2010

And K.O. tells us the story (and please disregard the snickering from the peanut gallery – the day J.D. Mullane is an expert on Islam is the same day that I learn the basics of particle fusion).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

There Once Was A WTC Mosque, posted with vodpod

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Tuesday Mashup Part One (8/17/10)

August 17, 2010

  • 1) This story in yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer tells us the following…

    Peter DeStefano says he’s just an “average Joe,” working voters at Wawas, diners, and beaches to get elected to the House.

    But to Republican nominee Jon Runyan, the former Eagles tackle in a tough race to unseat Democratic Rep. John Adler, DeStefano is an irritant who could prove toxic.

    The little-known DeStefano, a picture framer from Mount Laurel, is running as an independent candidate under the NJ Tea Party moniker in the Third Congressional District, which runs through Burlington and Ocean Counties and includes Cherry Hill in Camden County. The tag alone could draw votes away from Runyan.

    After reviewing the 200-plus signatures on DeStefano’s nominating petitions and finding he had more than enough, Runyan’s campaign has continued to dig, looking for something to knock DeStefano off the ballot.

    The campaign is considering a lawsuit alleging that those who signed may not have known that DeStefano was unaffiliated with a formal tea-party group, according to Runyan’s campaign consultant, Chris Russell.

    Gee, I would call that a rather pointless distraction for a campaign that probably can use all the resources it can muster.

    The Runyan campaign did uncover something a bit interesting, however, as the story tells us…

    Marshall Spevak of Cherry Hill signed one of DeStefano’s petitions. Spevak lives just doors from Adler, and was active in Adler’s freshman House campaign in 2008. His father, Eric, has contributed to Adler campaigns and is an administrative law judge for the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

    Sounds like Runyan is alleging that DeStefano is trying to pull a “Jay Russell” as it turns out, based on this (i.e., a third-party candidate who has the potential to screw up an election…the last noteworthy item I heard about from the NJ-03 contest was this “taxing” matter concerning Runyan).

    And this June Inquirer story tells us the following about the Runyan campaign (which, apparently, is trying to embrace some of Baby Newton Leroy Gingrich’s Contract on America)…

    “It’s back to the future. I’m seeing this all over the country,” said Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia political scientist who keeps an eye on federal races. “Republicans are hoping it’s 1994 all over again for two reasons: They sense a Republican wave and just as in 1994, they have a third force in politics.”

    “Things like term limits (supported by Runyan but not Adler) have a permanent appeal,” Sabato said. “In fact, it has more appeal today than in 1994 because we have 50 additional scandals, maybe 100.”

    Of course, Sabato doesn’t take time to name those “50 additional scandals, maybe 100,” a typical tactic for someone who once said that the “Swift Boat” liars were telling the truth in 2008, along with claiming that it would be “a national disgrace” to continue “the Clinton/Bush dynasty” (in an effort to attack Hillary Clinton…I always thought that was an idiotic construct) and the Democrats are the “mommy” party while the Repugs are the “daddy” party (all here).

    Getting back to DeStefano/Adler/Runyan, yesterday’s Inquirer story also tells us the following…

    In addition to his unhappiness with rising fuel prices and a barely regulated mortgage market, DeStefano said, he opposed the war in Iraq, which he believes was “started on a rumor.” He also is against the war in Afghanistan, which he said was helping a corrupt regime. He supports the military, he said, but believes the United States should be taking care of domestic problems.

    After the 2008 general election, DeStefano switched to the Democratic Party. But “it didn’t take me much longer to find out it was worse,” he said.

    “As far as I’m concerned, they are both full of crap,” he said.

    He doesn’t have kind words for local tea-party organizations, who have made it clear from the start that they did not sponsor his candidacy.

    The groups endorsed Justin Murphy over Runyan in the Republican primary. But last week, the West Jersey Tea Party, which has members in Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester Counties, endorsed the former Eagle.

    They’re “shills” for the Republicans, DeStefano said.

    That statement about DeStefano definitely intrigues me, I should add, though he has no shot at winning the general election, unfortunately (and I wouldn’t mind if he posed enough of a threat to Adler to make him remember that Democrats are supposed to have spines).

  • 2) Also, Joke Line concocted more puffery here today on the Kentucky Senate race…

    Welcome to Campaign 2010. This is going to be a Republican year, perhaps a big one. The question of how big will be resolved in states like Kentucky, where mainstream Republican candidates were defeated in primaries by Tea Party sorts like Rand Paul, and the public will have to decide if the GOP is too loony to rule.

    Conway, the other guy in the race, is almost an afterthought, but a solid test case. He’s wicked handsome, moderate and Kentucky’s attorney general, which is perhaps the best office a Democratic candidate can hold these days. He has spent the past three years doing real-world populist things like suing pharmaceutical companies and cracking down on crime and drug abuse, which is epidemic among eastern Kentucky’s impoverished hill-country youth. Such activities are far more acceptable than voting for bank bailouts and stimulus packages, the burden that most incumbent Democratic members of Congress carry. But Kentucky is a fervent Republican state these days — Barack Obama is about as popular there as Tennessee — and Conway’s staffers admit they wouldn’t have a chance if a standard-issue Republican had won the primary. Paul, by contrast, is a fat target, which became apparent in Conway’s Fancy Farm speech.

    By the way, here is a link to Conway’s speech.

    And at this point, I hope our media just keep repeating over and over that this will be a big Republican electoral year. I honestly do. That way, they’ll look even stupider than they already are when this country realizes that we’re talking about a political party more concerned about mosques in New York City (more on that shortly), “terror babies,” and a nonexistent rise in Arizona immigrant crime than they are about trying to solve our country’s genuine problems and acts accordingly on Election Day.

    I really wish Klein had spent just a few more words describing how, as noted here, Paul is totally out to lunch on the issue of Kentucky’s drug problems, as noted here (marijuana is that state’s number one cash crop, which to me is an even stronger argument for decriminalization at the least).

    And to help Jack Conway, click here.

  • 3) Finally, I regret to return to the mosque issue once more, but based on this, I believe I must…

    Dear American Taxpayer,

    You are paying for the Ground Zero Mosque.

    Chances are you’re in not in the 20% of people who support the blasphemous Ground Zero mega-mosque. But guess what? You are currently paying for the Imam who wants to build it to visit Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Qatar to raise money for it.

    Uh, no – as noted here…

    The right-wing media is attacking Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s upcoming State Department trip to the Middle East to “discuss Muslim life in America and religious tolerance,” by falsely claiming he will use the trip as a “taxpayer-funded fundraising jaunt” to finance construction of his Islamic cultural center in New York City. In fact, the State Department has made clear that fundraising of any kind is prohibited during the trip, and Rauf has previously participated in this program, first under President Bush.

    And when it comes to wingnuttiness on this issue, I think you have to go a long way to find something crazier than this.

  • 8/18/10: You know, just go ahead and call me a filthy, unkempt liberal blogger, but given the trillions spent on Dubya’s idiotic tax cuts and his war of choice in Iraq, I have a hard time getting worked up over “16 large” for this story (here).


    K.O.’s Special Comment On The “Mosque”

    August 17, 2010

    I hope to get back to posting tomorrow, but for now, I give you this (and if there’s any justice anywhere, Olbermann gets an Emmy or a Cable ACE Award someday for it)…


    Tuesday Mashup (8/3/10)

    August 3, 2010

  • 1) Even the animals are feeling the effects of the wars (here)…

    Gina was a playful 2-year-old German shepherd when she went to Iraq as a highly trained bomb-sniffing dog with the military, conducting door-to-door searches and witnessing all sorts of noisy explosions.

    She returned home to Colorado cowering and fearful. When her handlers tried to take her into a building, she would stiffen her legs and resist. Once inside, she would tuck her tail beneath her body and slink along the floor. She would hide under furniture or in a corner to avoid people.

    A military veterinarian diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress disorder _ a condition that some experts say can afflict dogs just like it does humans.

    “She showed all the symptoms and she had all the signs,” said Master Sgt. Eric Haynes, the kennel master at Peterson Air Force Base. “She was terrified of everybody and it was obviously a condition that led her down that road.”

    A year later, Gina is on the mend. Frequent walks among friendly people and a gradual reintroduction to the noises of military life have begun to overcome her fears, Haynes said.

    Haynes describes her progress as “outstanding.”

    I came across this after reading another spot-on column by Bob Herbert today on Iraq and Afghanistan (describing the effects on humans who are serving and those non-serving who are sick of the wars and want to end them, bring our people home, do our best to try and heal their wounds and fix our country as well).

    And by the way, the VA recently finalized regulations on processing PTSD claims as of July 13th; to learn more about the regs and obtain related information, click here.

  • 2) And in news of the California gubernatorial contest, Repug Meg Whitman is outspending Dem Jerry Brown 86-1 (here).

    And she still trails (here).

  • 3) Also, Joke Line is at it again (here, on the matter of the upcoming congressional elections)…

    The total damage assessment will have to wait until election day. As I wrote a few weeks ago, the Democrats’ losses may fall short of the 1994 wipeout–the loss of the Senate is still a prohibitive longshot. But the House is in jeopardy, especially–as always–its most moderate members. It will be interesting to see if a House composed entirely of radical Republicans and safe-seat liberal troglodytes is any more successful than the current disaster. I suspect not.

    I’d like to introduce Joke to a concept called “reporting,” and by that I mean that he should bother to read the information from this link listing the accomplishments of the 110th Congress, which he, being a scion of villager punditry, considers a “disaster.”

    Has this congress had its share of pratfalls? Yes. However, let’s consider them in light of the good that has been done, outpacing the wretched, Repug-run 109th, shall we?

    Do I actually think Klein will bother to take me up on this, though?

    I suspect not.

  • 4) Finally, this tells us the following…

    Angry relatives of 9/11 victims last night clashed with supporters of a planned mosque near Ground Zero at a raucous community-board hearing in Manhattan.

    After four hours of public debate, members of Community Board 1 finally voted 29-1 in support of the project. Nine members abstained, arguing that they wanted to table the issue and vote at a later date.

    The board has no official say over whether the estimated $100 million mosque and community center gets built. But the panel’s support, or lack of it, is considered important in influencing public opinion.

    Holding up photos of loved ones killed in the Twin Towers and carrying signs such as, “Honor 3,000, 9/11 — No mosque!” opponents of the proposed Cordoba House on Park Place called the plan an insult to the terror-attack victims.

    “That is a burial ground,” said retired FDNY Deputy Chief Al Santora, referring to the fact that victims’ remains were scattered for blocks.

    Santora’s 23-year-old son, Christopher, was the youngest firefighter to die that day.

    “I do have a problem with having a mosque on top of the site where [terrorists] can gloat about what they did,” said Santora, with his wife, Maureen, by his side.

    I’m not taking sides on this one way or the other, but I just wanted to note the following in response.

    This tells us about the Second Schweinfurt Memorial Association, Inc. (SSMA); here is how the group came to be formed as a result of a horrific WWII battle…

    At dawn, on October 14, 1943, in foul weather, the 8th Army Air Force, also known as the Mighty 8th, dispatched 291 B-17 bombers to the town of Schweinfurt Germany, a flight of some 800 miles. Since this city was vital to the ball bearing industry, it was at the top of the list of strategic targets for the allied forces and had already received a first attack on August 17, 1943.

    The bombers were initially protected by friendly fighter escort, which were forced to turn back about half way to the targets. Arriving at the target, the bombers were attacked by an estimated 1,100 enemy fighters firing cannon and large caliber rockets manned by the German Lufwaffenhelfer (LWH) or flak-helpers. The vicious attacks were continued and repulsed until the bombers reached the English Channel on the return flight to England.

    The battle brought great loss to both sided. Sixty heavy bombers and 600 airmen perished. Many lost their lives in the burning, badly damaged, crashed planes. Many became prisoners of war. Fifteen additional aircraft were so damaged they could never fly again. On the ground, 276 people died and countless more were injured. Businesses and homes were razed. Valuable and treasured possessions perished. Consequently, October 14, 1943 – Mission 115, became known as “Black Thursday” in American military history and one of the greatest air battles of World War II.

    Thirty years later some of the survivors from the Mighty 8th, including Colonel Budd Peaslee, S/Sgt. Phillip Taylor and 1st Lt. William Allen, decided to form an organization to commemorate their fallen comrades-in-arms. They called it the Second Schweinfurt Memorial Association, Inc. (SSMA), giving it direct connection to the second air raid on Schweinfurt.

    The story also tells us that…

    “(on) the 50th Anniversary, two Germans, Dr. Helmut Katzenberger and Vomar Wilckens came to the reunion in New Orleans to present to the group information they had on that fateful day. Then in 1996, the SSMA members invited more of their former enemies, including Georg Schaefer, whose grandfather founded one of the “targeted” ball bearing factories, to attend their reunion in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mr. Schaefer, now retired from the Board of Directors of FAG Kuglefischer, had served, along with his classmates, in one of the 8.8 cm Flakbatteries around Schweinfurt. He brought many artifacts from “Black Thursday”. Many of these artifacts are permanently included in the Second Schweinfurt display at the Mighty 8th Air Force Museum in Savannah, Georgia.

    It was at this reunion that the Americans suggested erecting a joint memorial remembering this mission. Mr. Schaefer presented this idea to his fellow Luftwafferhelfers, who embraced the idea and June 16, 1998 a German American Memorial was dedicated on a former air raid bunker site in Schweinfurt.”

    It should be noted that, concerning the proposed mosque near the WTC site, a memorial to the victims of the attacks has been proposed, as noted here.

    I’m not saying that the mosque is a good idea at this point. I’m also not saying that the wishes of the friends and families shouldn’t be paramount here (they should).

    All I’m saying is that an earlier generation of combatants was able to put aside its differences to the point where they could construct a memorial honoring the sacrifices made by both sides.

    I’m just saying that it’s possible to do that. That’s all.


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