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The Morning Plum

* Would Obama veto temporary extention of tax cuts for rich? There's a great deal to chew over in President Obama's new interview with ABC News, but one nugget worth highlighting is his refusal to vow a veto if Congress temporarily extends the Bush tax cuts for the rich.

While the President has strongly opposed the extension, his unwillingness to promise a veto signals that the White House may be leaving open the possibility of a temporary extension as part of a deal making the middle class tax cuts permanent. This doesn't diminish the rhetorical force of Obama's opposition, or his apparent determination to make this a campaign issue, both of which were fully on display in the ABC interview. But it's worth keeping in mind as a sign that Congressional Dems may still not be willing to fight this battle.

* Burning religious texts not exactly in step with American values: Also don't miss Obama's denunciation of the whackjob Koran-burning pastor.

"Whe's proposing to do is completely contrary to our values of Americans," Obama said. "This stunt that he is talking about pulling could greatly endanger our young men and women in uniform."

* Media mainlining the fringe: Relatedly, Howard Kurtz spanks the media for building up that pastor, a fringe figure with only a handful of followers, into a major international story, with potentially dangerous repercussions.

* One speech, two very different interpretations: E. J. Dionne sees Obama's speech yeserday as a powerful sign of resurgent populism. Meanwhile, David Broder sees it as a sign that Obama will turn to the right after the midterms.

* Media loves polls showing imminent GOP takeover: Also in the above E.J. Dionne link: He marvels vast amount of coverage lavished on the Gallup poll showing a big GOP lead, even as the ones showing a tie or a Dem lead are greeted by crickets.

* Politico peers into the abyss: The self-proclaimed non-ideological online publication hires its two first "ideological" writers, Michael Kinsley and Joe Scarborough.

Politico editors John Harris and Jim VandeHei, however, promise that the new ideological writers will be forced to wear a big "I" scarlet letter: "Both Mike and Joe will write from an ideological perspective -- something our current reporters and columnists do not do -- and their work will be labeled accordingly."

* The Republicans now have a 50-state strategy: In another sign of how much Dems are on defense, the GOP is running more House candidates this year than Dems did under DNC chair Howard Dean in 2006.

* But are the White House and Dems finally kicking into high gear? Jed Lewison thinks so:

When you combine the administration's new policy initiatives (including President Obama's continued opposition to Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy) with Axelrod's messaging and Plouffe's organizing strategy, you're starting to see the Democratic campaign fire on all cylinders for the first time this cycle.

* Obama gets higher marks on military than on economy: One of the surprises of this presidency has been that Obama, whose main liability during the 2008 campaign was that he was untested on foreign affairs, has steadily polled far better on that front than on domestic issues.

Quinnipiac today finds more evidence of this: Fifty-three percent approve of his performance as commender in chief of the military, while 56 percent disapprove of his handling of the economy. It's another mark that the economy is totally consuming the public's attention, moving international affairs off the radar.

* And here's the head-spinner of the day: Sarah Palin takes to Facebook to inform us that burning Korans is insensitive -- much like "building a mosque at Ground Zero."

Palin, of course, will be relieved to hear that no one has proposed any such thing!

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  September 9, 2010; 8:35 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security , Senate Dems , economy  
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Next: Opposition to 'mosque' directly linked to anti-Islam sentiment, poll shows

Comments

"There's a great deal to chew over in President Obama's new interview with ABC News, but one nugget worth highlighting is his refusal to vow a veto if Congress temporarily extends the Bush tax cuts for the rich."

Yet another big mistake. It's as if Obama doesn't want to be in charge. Speeches won't do a thing at this point, in my opinion.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 9, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

The Glorious Christian Koran Burning is the most recent manifestation of the nativist and anti-intellectual rot in the Know-Nothing Conservative movement. A natural culmination of the Bush Dark Age, book burning, just like in the Middle Ages. Perhaps another Enlightenment is around the corner but meanwhile you better learn to duck.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 9, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

@Greg or anyone with the anwer...

Last night on both K.O. and T.R.M.S. they posted the infamous Gallop polls you referenced this morning. Their graphic made it appear that the 10% gap last week was among REGISTERED voters as was this week's tie. The trolls led me to believe that the 10% gap was in a poll of LIKELY votes and the tie was REGISTERED voters. That would certainly account for the swing...if it's true.

So my question...were the 10% R lead and the dead heat polls BOTH of REGISTERED voters?

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 9, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

"Media loves polls showing imminent GOP takeover"

Those in the media who wish for a GOP takeover should be careful; the backlash could leave them with a few eggs on their face.

Posted by: grosmec | September 9, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

From the annals of Really Stupid Questions...

"Controversies over calls to burn the Koran and over a proposed mosque in New York are sparking questions about how Sept. 11 became so politicized"

WP frontpage subhead
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/front.htm

Posted by: bernielatham | September 9, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Where was Obama's exquisite concern when George Soros orchestrated his pro-jihad rent-a-gutter-riots to "endanger our young men and women in uniform"?

Leftist Quislings for sharia law are encouraged to Enter the “Leftist-fascist Hall of Shame” and recall what Kristalnaght-style gutter “arson” looks like.
http://www.zombietime.com/hall_of_shame/

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | September 9, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Andrew McCarthy writes;

"Remember the classified prisoner-abuse photos that the Obama administration was hot to disclose last year, until a groundswell of protest from the military and the public finally impelled Congress to act responsibly when the president wouldn’t? That, too, was a gratuitous provocation that would have served no purpose other than to pull the hair-trigger of Muslim rage. Yet the Left — including the Justice Department — was indifferent to the threat posed to our troops by that action. The pictures simply had to be disclosed because they may have made the United States and the Bush administration look bad, and anything that can make the United States and the Bush administration look bad is worth doing, no matter the cost.

"We were able to stop that, and let’s hope someone is able to talk some sense into the Rev. Jones. But as we reflect on what a moron he is, it is worth examining this episode through the prism of moronic rationalizations offered by Ground Zero mosque proponents to justify their enterprise — and, in Imam Feisal Rauf’s case, to excuse terrorism..."

Read it all here...
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/print/246033

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | September 9, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin Imagine...just a day after you gave me the rundown on TN politics and what was happening in Memphis...Keith Olberman makes Memphis one of his top Countdown stories.

Apparently an Islamic group in Memphis broke ground on a new Mosque right across the street from a Christian Church. What did the Christian Church do...the pastor and his flock went out of their way to welcome the Muslims and accept their brothers with love.
OMG Christians that actually practice what Jesus taught!!! And in Memphis! Whodda thunk it.
It was actually a very uplifting segment and so Memphis gets to shine in this one.

Now we know Kevin why you are so warm and welcome, even handed and post hyperbole free, snark free posts. OK forget the part about hyperbole free and snark free. LOL

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 9, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

@Bernie. Following up on your WaPo link. Ask a stupid question give a stupid answer:

"This year's controversies may be different in tone and content from those of the past, but the idea that 9/11 has always been a unifying moment is overdrawn. For a time, the attacks sparked a change in the national mood, a coming together across party lines. That quickly gave way to a return to partisan politics - with terrorism at the center of a harsh and sometimes raw debate.

That debate changed American politics, throwing Democrats on the defensive. Republicans under Bush effectively used terrorism to their advantage in the midterm election of 2002. In 2004, Republicans staged their national convention in New York as a way to highlight Bush's actions immediately after the attacks. That convention came at a time when divisions over the Iraq war were less stark than they became a year later."

I don't think that's how history will recount Bush and the Republicans wrecking the post 9-11 national unity.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 9, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

@rukidding7: That was a moving story. Here's another one. A few months back, a Christian monthly, the Herald, decided it would use “Allah” to refer to God-- as Imam Rauf is fond of saying, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all Abrahamic faiths whose adherents worship the same deity, right? So why not use the same name?

It turns out that tolerant, moderate Malaysian Muslims didn’t see things quite that way. They took the Christians’ ecumenical gesture as an affront — an effort to proselytize for Christianity or, as Imam Rauf himself put it, “to manipulate the word [“Allah”] to win converts.” So the tolerant, moderate Muslims did their usual Terry-Jackass-Jones-on-steroids routine: They didn’t just burn Bibles, they fire-bombed churches. Non-Islamic proselytism is prohibited by sharia, as Imam Rauf, who wants the United States to be more sharia-compliant, could tell you.

And what did Rauf do? Did he condemn this blatant Christianophobia? Did he lecture Malaysians that the Herald was perfectly within its legal rights to invoke “Allah” in the service of Christianity, and that living in a tolerant, pluralistic society that ensures free expression means accepting the Herald’s actions even if they make Muslims uncomfortable?

Are you kidding?

Instead, Imam Rauf took to the newspapers to admonish Christians on the need to show more sensitivity to Muslims’ feelings. “My message to the Christian community in Malaysia,” he proclaimed, “is that using the word Allah to mean the Christian God may be theologically and legally correct, but in the context of Malaysia, it is socially provocative. If you want to have influence with people in Malaysia, you must find a way to convey your message without provoking this kind of response.”

You know what else might be “socially provocative”? A giant mosque at Ground Zero.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | September 9, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Appropriately rewriting Lincoln's arrogant address at Gettysburg, Sharron Angle gives us "Government of my God, by my God and for my God"...

"In an interview with ABC News, Angle was asked about her past comment that the agenda of Harry Reid and President Obama violated the First Commandment. (Not the First Amendment -- the First Commandment. As in, their liberal big government is a sin because it takes people's attention and dependence away from God.)

"I said that? No I didn't say that," Angle told Jonathan Karl -- then possibly remembering it. "Actually, that was a discussion I was having with CBN. We were talking in very Christian terms. That's what Christian broadcast is -- that's their focus -- so you speak the language of the folks that you're communicating with. And I was speaking in their language. And the language that I used was that in our country, we have become a country that has put our faith, not 'in God we trust,' which is on our money -- as you know.

"Not 'in God we trust,' but in government we trust, and that is what I was referring to -- that we have allowed government in many ways to take the place of God," Angle said." http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/09/angle-i-was-speaking-christian-audiences-language-on-first-commandment-line.php?ref=fpb

My god.

Posted by: bernielatham | September 9, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

@Greg

Re: Veto Threat (or lack thereof)

"But it's worth keeping in mind as a sign that Congressional Dems may still not be willing to fight this battle."

Or is could be that a President shouldn't throw around veto threats like paper airplanes...

Re: Politico

Again it must be noted that Politico is a hack organization, designed to be nothing more than Drudge 2.0.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | September 9, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

@wb - Actually, I agree with the reporters on that passage. Hatred towards Muslims was and is being promoted for purposes of Republican political victories (and as a consequence of US militarism with the huge profits from war and also as a consequence of neoconservative aims to "protect" Israel).

Posted by: bernielatham | September 9, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

@BBQ "Again it must be noted that Politico is a hack organization, designed to be nothing more than Drudge 2.0."

WORD!

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 9, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"Media mainlining the fringe: Relatedly, Howard Kurtz spanks the media for building up that pastor, a fringe figure with only a handful of followers, into a major international story"

I agree with Kurtz. This guy would be nothing without an obliging media, and now he has the president of the US talking about him. What an ego-boosting reward that is for this ultra-fringe whackjob. Why did the media comply so eagerly? This guy is clearly off his nut--what is the excuse of all the folks in the media collectively promoting him into an international story? Petraeus was asking the wrong people did consider the consequences of their actions, if you ask me.

@ruk: "@Kevin Imagine...just a day after you gave me the rundown on TN politics and what was happening in Memphis...Keith Olberman makes Memphis one of his top Countdown stories."

And it was something positive. Yay for us! We are a very religious town--we've got literally hundreds of churches, including Bellevue Baptist, which is the size of Disney World--so I'm sure we've got some Murfreesboro-style fruitcakes, too, but it's nice to see the good side prevails most of the time (and kudos to Keith Olberman, who I don't care much for, for doing something that the few in the news do--focusing on a positive story. Oddly, other folks that I can think of that have focused on positive stories are Beck and O'Rielly--there's something about bombast that must make them occasionally say to themselves, "I've been filling up the chalkboards and going on about the Worst Person in the World, I need to do something upbeat today".

Sorry, I just can't do the snark free. I try to be hyperbole free (except when snarkily characterizing liberals criticisms of conservatives, when I do, admittedly, exaggerate for effect).

BTW, I had a dream last night where I was part of some sort of Ocean's 11 style spy movie type thing, and it involved president Obama and a twin Obama, but it was also a movie so I knew it was actually the real Barack Obama playing both Obama's. Not sure why the twin Obama was infiltrating the Whitehouse. It also featured Jason Schwarzman (who was going everywhere carrying an Emmy award) and Meg Ryan (who became Gwynneth Paltrow). And Keanu Reeves, and a car chase where I spent half the chase with the drivers side door open, hanging out of the car.

I would never have had that awesome dream without a president Obama. I try to give credit where credit is due. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 9, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

@ru - I watched that interview with the pastor as well. I grew up in a community of christians much like that fellow rather than the 3 Minute Hate variety rather prevalent in the present.

Posted by: bernielatham | September 9, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

"Hatred towards Muslims was and is being promoted for purposes of Republican political victories (and as a consequence of US militarism with the huge profits from war and also as a consequence of neoconservative aims to "protect" Israel)."

Agreed, Bernie. It was the Post's understatement that I object to.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 9, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin...what a dream! Might be worth a visit to the shrink to get that one analyzed! :-)

Although IMHO..I'm not a psychiatric professional..I just play one on this blog...any dream that starts with Meg Ryan and morphs to Gwyneth Paltrow has to be OK.
Too bad Obama was there to spoil your fun.
If it had been the previous Dem president then you might have had some REAL fun!!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 9, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Of Empty Talking Heads, And Book Burners:


I am spending most of my time, for the next few weeks, working to turn out the vote;

But I just wanted to challenge the conventional wisdom, that this Unholy Florida man, Jones; is just exercising Free Speech, by burning Korans.

No he is not. He is doing exactly the opposite of that. Books contain words. When someone burns them, they are actually trying to take away free speech.

Be ever vigilant; for there will always be some would be Book Burners in our midst. Burning Books is always carried out by those who hate the exercise of Free Speech.


Terry Jones hates our Freedoms, just as much Bin Laden does.

Tell it like it is. What Terry Jones says he is going to do is the antithesis of free speech. Call it by it's real name:

FahrenHate 451


Posted by: Liam-still | September 9, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Gail Collins (NYTimes)writes:
"My memories of Sept. 11, 2001, are still intense, and they are mainly about the outpouring of concern from the rest of the country. The piles of donated clothes and food piled up, unused but not necessarily unwanted since each bit was a token of someone’s good will toward the city. Helping us achieve that state of public grace is the highest possible duty of every elected official."

The column is Collins' take on the Koran-burning and the non-mosque. Most of it is her usual funny take on things, which I always enjoy, but I found the above paragraph especially appealing.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/09/opinion/09collins.html?ref=gailcollins

Posted by: carolanne528 | September 9, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

from Andrew Bacevich’s new book, Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War

"George W. Bush’s decision to launch Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 pushed me fully into opposition. Claims that once seemed elementary -- above all, claims relating to the essentially benign purposes of American power -- now appeared preposterous. The contradictions that found an ostensibly peace-loving nation committing itself to a doctrine of preventive war became too great to ignore. The folly and hubris of the policy makers who heedlessly thrust the nation into an ill-defined and open-ended “global war on terror” without the foggiest notion of what victory would look like, how it would be won, and what it might cost approached standards hitherto achieved only by slightly mad German warlords. During the era of containment, the United States had at least maintained the pretense of a principled strategy; now, the last vestiges of principle gave way to fantasy and opportunism. With that, the worldview to which I had adhered as a young adult and carried into middle age dissolved completely."
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175290/tomgram:_andrew_bacevich,_how_washington_rules__/

Posted by: bernielatham | September 9, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

@Bernie "I grew up in a community of christians much like that fellow rather than the 3 Minute Hate variety rather prevalent in the present."

I know quite a few "genuine" Christians and by that I mean people who actually try to observe the teachings of JESUS.

I truly wonder whether the wack jobs like the moronic Southern Baptist Pastor in Dallas or the wingnut in Gainesville are truly prevalent...or whether it's more of the squeaky wheel getting the grease.

My wife watches the Today show. Their format is "real" news for the first :30 and then the switch to what I call non news. If a mother murders her children..is that really news? It's certainly sensational and appeals to our prurient interests. My idea of it actually ascending to news however would be in the context of a large wave of mothers killing their children.

To me a priest molesting a young boy is not important news...a PATTERN of priest molestation combined with the cover ups is news. I guess I'm from the old school of journalism..or should I say journOlism to thrill and titillate our conspiratorialists who post here...I like news I can use.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 9, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

@Carolanne528 - Yes, I did too.

Posted by: bernielatham | September 9, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

@wbgonne: "The Glorious Christian Koran Burning is the most recent manifestation of the nativist and anti-intellectual rot in the Know-Nothing Conservative movement. A natural culmination of the Bush Dark Age, book burning, just like in the Middle Ages."

Well, can't argue with that. Because, you know, George Bush went out of his way to endorse the burning of Korans after 9/11. In fact, Republicans are talking about how we looooove to burn books all the time.

Sheesh.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 9, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

@Bernie...and excerpt of Bacevich's book appeared in the Sunday edition of the St. Pete Times. I immediately went to Amazon and ordered the book. It has shipped and I can't wait to read it.

BTW before the trolls start blasting Bacevich he was a TWENTY YEAR VETERAN OF OUR MILITARY. He is hardly a typical liberal as he points out in the intro to his book.

It truly saddens me Bernie at how locked and rigid people are in their positions. Unlike Bacevich who candidly admits his change of mind and heart...it's almost considered a horrible weakness to admit mistakes.

I can think of at least 3 occasions on this blog where I accepted correction and admitted my mistake. I'm still waiting for another poster to do the same.

I believe it was one of the thinkers I most admire..Edmund Burke who said...

"There are none so blind as those who will not see."

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 9, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

@bernielatham: "rather than the 3 Minute Hate variety rather prevalent in the present."

"3 Minutes Hate" pastors are prevalent in the present? Really?

Because there are over 450,000 churches in the U.S. And, as far as I know, right now, there is precisely one so-called churched being vaulted into fame by the press by proposing the burning of Korans.

Or have I missed something? Have churches in New York been organizing their congregations to go protest Park51?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 9, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I disagree. A priest molesting a young boy is important news, and should receive headline coverage, because the public must be informed about any such pedophile in their midst. Especially, someone in a position of trust, such as a priest.

We now know that, from the Vatican down to the local Bishops, they will always try to cover up, instead of putting the welfare of children first. So; it is of vital importance that the media let the people know about any pedophile, and especially the ones who are being protected by A College Of Scoundrels.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 9, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

"Koch-Funded Oil Rally Calls Global Warming A ‘Hoax,’ Dismisses Oil Spill, And Attacks Democrats
Beginning last week, the oil industry launched a national astroturfing effort called “Rally for Jobs.” The events, which are being held across the nation, are backed by right-wing billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. They launched a nearly identical campaign last summer that was widely mocked for its obvious astroturfing after it was revealed that 15 of the 21 Energy Citizens events were actually planned by oil industry lobbyists.

ThinkProgress attended one of the rallies yesterday in Canton, Ohio. What was billed as an organic grassroots jobs rally quickly descended into attacks on three things the Kochs most oppose: global warming science, oil safety regulations, and Democrats. One of the speakers, Sgt. Dennis Bartow, called global warming a “hoax.” He was joined by Karen Wright, CEO of the gas company Ariel Corporation, who ridiculed climate change as “questionable science” and referred to pollutants as “so-called carbon dioxide emissions.” Wright went on to rail against “so-called green jobs” that were “dubious” and “phony.”
http://thinkprogress.org/2010/09/08/koch-oil-rally/

Posted by: bernielatham | September 9, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I just finished Bacevich's prior book, The Limits of Power. And the new one is in my shopping cart. Bacevich is must-read, just like Taibbi in Rolling Stone.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 9, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

@Liam...point taken..it would certainly be news in the community where it occurred! My point is however if it was the ONLY time it occurred(which we now know wasn't the case) it wouldn't rise to the level of national news. But certainly the pattern and the coverup that actually DID OCCUR were indeed important national news.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 9, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin - You're correction of my sentence is appropriate. Sorry. In rather a lousy mood this morning. What I ought to have written is the variety of Christian theology which has made itself prominent in the media and in conservative politics.

Posted by: bernielatham | September 9, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

@rukidding: "BTW before the trolls start blasting Bacevich he was a TWENTY YEAR VETERAN OF OUR MILITARY."

Based on the excerpt Bernie quoted, I wouldn't blast him--I'd be prone to agree. As that's the fundamental problem with the Bush administration's Iraq war--it's based on a flawed premise, that of pre-emptive war.

When folks start talking about American "imperialism" (especially in regards to any recent military conflict) or denigrating our troops, that's where they lose me.

Speaking of changes of heart, I was tentatively supportive of the war it's outset, and even the premise of freeing populations from the yoke of tyrants, if not pre-emptive war, per se. I now pretty much opposed to the idea of the Iraq war, and would oppose any future pre-emptive war, per se. I actually think the Obama administration has it right--disrupt terrorists (and, potentially, tin-pot dictators) ability to make war and do damage with surgical strikes that put as few as possible American troops in harm's way.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 9, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I am waiting for Op-Eds from Newt Gingrich, and Karen Hughes, explaining to us, that while American Muslims have every right to own Korans, they should show sensitivity toward, Terry Jones, and maintain a Koran free zone, through out all of North America.

Don't forget to remember the victims of 9/11 by paying over two hundred dollars admission price to hear Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin remind us, of why we should hold the date of 9/11 sacred, hallowed, and solemn.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 9, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

And speaking of Bacevich, the National Security State has just achieved another victory over the American People:

Suit dismissed against firm in CIA rendition case

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/08/AR2010090807334.html

Posted by: wbgonne | September 9, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

@ru and wb...Gratifying to see some other fans of Bacevich here. And I'll take another opportunity now to note TomDispatch...incredibly valuable site.

And on matters of militarism, the need for some terrifying enemy permanently out there, here's the right now going after Petraeus for not being adequately anti-Muslim...
http://thinkprogress.org/2010/09/08/koch-oil-rally/

My mood is not improving.

Posted by: bernielatham | September 9, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Pastor Jones isn't the first performance artist to express himself through an Inferno. A thought experiment: How long before Salvador Dali’s “blasphemous” caricature of Mohammed burning in hell is expunged from art history classes? How about Auguste Rodin? or Gustave Dore?

Each of these artists caricatured Mohammed’s roasting in Hell— as related in Dante’s trilogy “The Divine Comedy” [Inferno XXVIII, 19-42]. http://zombietime.com/mohammed_image_archive/dantes_inferno/

The same forces that repeatedly plot to destroy the fresco of Dante’s Inferno in Bologna’s Church of San Petronio remain at work today.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2205263.stm

And if Western media elites are unwilling to stand in solidarity with Terry Jones, what’s to stop the global Taliban from silencing any and every expression Muslims deem “offensive”? Archived depictions of Mohammed serve as a poignant reminder that such imagery has been part of Western AND ISLAMIC culture since the Middle Ages— and serve as a resource for those interested in defending free expression.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | September 9, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

"Koch-Funded Oil Rally Calls Global Warming A ‘Hoax,’ Dismisses Oil Spill, And Attacks Democrats"

The GOP's War On Reality trundles on. Book burning. Science denying. I think we've seen this movie before. And it doesn't end well.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 9, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I will leave Kevin to moon over Shakespeare In Love, while I spend the rest of the day, rallying the vote for our White House Othello.

Have a good day all.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 9, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Terry Jones' big mistake?

He didn't get a grant from the NEA first.

Free expression cultists will NEVER forgive that heresy.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | September 9, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

@Liam-still: "But I just wanted to challenge the conventional wisdom, that this Unholy Florida man, Jones; is just exercising Free Speech, by burning Korans."

While "just" is an unnecessary modifier, technically, he is exercising his free speech rights by burning Korans. It's protected political speech in our country. It's stupid and bigoted and counter-productive and immature and fame-seeking and everything else, but it is also protected political speech. And, until someone proposes an Anti-Koran Burning Amendment, it remains protected political speech, whether we like it or not.

I believe it has been determined it's against local zoning, so he's gonna get fined. He also seems to be engaged pretty deeply in political activity, here, so perhaps they could lose traditional tax exemption?

"When someone burns them, they are actually trying to take away free speech."

Well, technically, they're burning a tiny fraction of the Korans available in just their region, so it's symbolic, rather than an actual oppression of the speech contained within the Koran. More to the point, would it be more acceptable if they were burning prayer rugs or effigies of the prophet Mohammed?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 9, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

New HCR Study:

Total national health care spending to increase only slightly despite the fact that more and more people will get access to coverage. The increase is only slight due to cost-cutting measures in the bill.

"""The report found that the new law will provide some notable savings. For example, annual spending growth for Medicare will be an average of 1.4 percent slower each year through 2019, the report found. This is due mainly to more than 150 cost-cutting measures that the law implements, such as cuts in payments to Medicare managed-care plans. These plans long have been overpaid for their services by an average of 14 percent."""

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/09/09/100281/overhaul-law-may-boost-health.html

Oh no! More people are covered! Total national spending to increase only slightly! Deficit to be reduced! Oh noeezzzz!!!11111!!1ONE!1!!1!!

GOP gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair to commence in 3... 2... 1...

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 9, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Kevin said: "When folks start talking about American "imperialism" (especially in regards to any recent military conflict)...that's where they lose me."

Yet, I expect you'd be willing to study or consider or discuss the historical cases of Brit or Dutch or Spanish imperial endeavors, behaviors and policies.

Posted by: bernielatham | September 9, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin...If we're baring our souls this morning I would have to confess that I was not a supporter of the Iraq war but I was not a rabid dissenter either. And if I'm gut busting honest with myself I have to admit it's because like everyone else after 9/11 I was sooo angry that I wanted vengeance...and of course if you're a Christian you realize who is the possessor of vengeance...and it ain't me. :-) I was for getting some revenge and kicking arse.

I think that is why I am most upset with Bush/Cheney/Rummy...our leaders are NOT supposed to play on our fears or our desire for revenge..or any of the other base human emotions that lead to bad decisions. It's one of the reasons I admire Obama so much. While I'm wanting to hurl shoes at the R's...he pretty much laughs it off and retains his cool and a level head. Regardless of policy I believe a level head is perhaps one of the most critical traits a leader can possess.
I'm not talking about being emotion free like Scott...I'm talking about being able to discern when the emotions (fear/hatred/revenge) lead us to bad outcomes..and when emotions (kindness, caring, and compassion) should play a role in our decision making.

BTW...I voted for Bush the first time..remember I am a registered I...I did so for two reasons...Al Gore simply didn't inspire me...and Bush campaigned on a platform with a plank of NO NATION BUILDING!!!! Again I admit my HUGE mistake. Don't know that I'll ever be able to vote for an R again in my lifetime.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 9, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Waiting for this headline:

American Taliban Burns Koran

Posted by: BGinCHI | September 9, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

It Is Not Exercising Free Speech. It is Anti-Free Speech. Burning any book is Anti-Free Speech.

I Hate To See People Still Trying To Justify:

FahrenHate 451.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 9, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Liberal Lexicon --

"fear" -- resolve or courage in facing threats to one's security

"revenge" -- self defense

"level head" -- characterized by any or all of scornful or scathing mockery, accusations of lying and bad faith, and deliberate deception

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 9, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

A good sign on the ECONOMY:

* U.S. Trade Deficit Narrowed in July as Exports Rose *

The United States trade deficit narrowed significantly in July as exports climbed to the highest level in nearly two years, reflecting big gains in sales of American-made airplanes and other goods, while imports declined.

The Commerce Department said the July deficit fell 14 percent to $42.8 billion, much lower than forecast. The lower trade deficit should give a lift to overall economic growth.

Exports rose 1.8 percent to $153.3 billion, the best showing since August 2008, as sales of jetliners, industrial machinery, computers and telecommunications equipment all posted large gains.

Imports, which had been surging, dropped 2.1 percent to $196.1 billion.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/10/business/economy/10econ.html

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 9, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Cognitive dissonance on display, No. 246-
American student watching documentary on wealth disparity in other parts of the Western Hemisphere would be "angry, too, if I lived in a country where 5% of population controlled 40% of the wealth-but I don't". http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2010/09/08/our-banana-republic/

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | September 9, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Ponder this, while I spend the day working to get out the votes:

How would most of America react, if an American Imam, announced that he was going to exercise his "freedom of speech" rights, just like Pastor Jones, and was going to turn thousands of copies of The Bible into a bonfire, outside his Mosque, on 9/11/2010?

Posted by: Liam-still | September 9, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

[Liam whined: "Burning any book is Anti-Free Speech."]

Why? If burning the American flag is mere street theatre, then what's the relevant difference?

Your hypocritical orthodoxy is showing.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | September 9, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

[Liam whined: "turn thousands of copies of The Bible into a bonfire"]

Muslims burn Bibles routinely and often.

Google "Muslims Burning Bibles"

Saudis confiscate Bibles and have mass burnings every year.

Sauce for the goose....

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | September 9, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Free speech is free speech. Toilet paper rolls where each square contains a Star of David... mere free speech. No problem.

Posted by: bernielatham | September 9, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

So, now you are defending the burning of bibles? in other parts of the world.

You must be, because that is your justification for burning Korans.

I knew all along that Quisling Kaddafi was an Al-Qaeda operative, trying to incite Holy War, and he just admitted that he is the real Quisling, who is helping The Terrorists in their efforts to start a Holy War.

Quisling Kaddafi says that we should behave just like The Terrorists. Only a lover and supporter of Bin Laden would take that position.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 9, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

All, check this out, clear evidence that opposition to the "mosque" is rooted in anti-Islam sentiment:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/09/opposition_to_mosque_directly.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | September 9, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

@bernielatham: "Yet, I expect you'd be willing to study or consider or discuss the historical cases of Brit or Dutch or Spanish imperial endeavors, behaviors and policies."

When they actually represented imperialism. Literal American imperialism ended with the 50th state, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the annexing and then surrender of the Philippines. The Iraq war may represent many flawed things, but Imperialism is not one of them.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 9, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: "A good sign on the ECONOMY:"

Just in time for Republicans to take credit for it if they win in November. Yay!

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 9, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

A Flag is a symbol. So is the Star Of David.

A Book Contains Words. It is one of the ways that people speak to each other. Once you justify burning one book, you can justify burning all books.

What you are then justifying is returning to the Dark Ages, all in the name of exercising Free Speech.

Good luck with that one. I think I will alert some Irish Monks to start transcribing manuscripts, and safe keeping them, once more, until this wave of nostalgia for the restoration of the dark ages dissipates.

William Butler Yeats, had our era pegged:

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."

We now have the so called "best" defending the right of this Terry Jones Monster to: "cry fire in a crowded theater".

He has no such right.


Posted by: Liam-still | September 9, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin - Your apparent definition of imperialism is handy for purposes of exempting America's operations in the world but it's indefensible in any realistic appraisal of the uses of American militarism to forward economic and political dominance.

If you like, we could go through this at some point later but for now I have to head into daily duties.

Posted by: bernielatham | September 9, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Q.B. Thanks for the definitions. Where would this blog be without you to define for everybody what THEY are thinking or what THEY mean. Such awesome power and perfection must be a tremendous responsibility. Have you walked on any water lately?

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 9, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

@Liam-still: "It Is Not Exercising Free Speech. It is Anti-Free Speech. Burning any book is Anti-Free Speech."

So burning prayer rugs or effigies of Mohammed would be okay, then, right?

The burning of the Koran is a symbolic act of hatred, not anti-free speech (per se). Indeed, burning or desecrating symbols is a protected form of free speech (within legal limits and zoning laws).

Of course, there's that whole thing about shouting "fire" in a crowded theater, as well.

BTW, defending the correct use of language, and asserting that words mean things, is not attempting to justify the burning of Korans. Some things may be legal, and even constitutionally protected speech, but without moral justification. Still, they are what they are, and the burning of books (or running over CDs with a steamroller) are forms of legally protected free speech (for which there are legal court precedents), and that doesn't change, no matter how repugnant it may be to 99.9% of people.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 9, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

@bernie: "Your apparent definition of imperialism is handy for purposes of exempting America's operations in the world but it's indefensible in any realistic appraisal of the uses of American militarism to forward economic and political dominance."

Because, um, that's the definition of "imperialism".

Dictionary.com: "Imperialism: 1. the policy of extending the rule or authority of an empire or nation over foreign countries, or of acquiring and holding colonies and dependencies . . . 5. (British) the policy of so uniting the separate parts of an empire with separate governments as to secure for certain purposes a single state"

Apparently the dictionary demonstrates a conservative bias.

It's a stretch to call our contemporary military endeavors "imperialism". Rather, there might be more accurate, equally negative things to call them. At best, it could be called (and that's still a stretch) "temporary imperialism". Even then, our foreign misadventures could be more accurately and meaningful communicated.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 9, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

@Liam-still:" "Once you justify burning one book, you can justify burning all books. What you are then justifying is returning to the Dark Ages"

Well, then, it's a good thing I'm not justifying the burning of books. That'd be crazy!

"We now have the so called 'best' defending the right of this Terry Jones Monster to: 'cry fire in a crowded theater'."

Well, technically, crying fire in a crowded theater isn't political speech, although perhaps it could be considered performance art (and thusly protected). Presumably there is a tacit contract you enter by attending the theater that may relieve you of the right to recklessly shout fire once inside.

In the case of Terry Jones, I think there's a pretty good argument that Koran burning is an incitement to riot, which I'm fairly sure trumps the right to free political speech. Thus he could reasonably be treated as someone attempting to incite rioting and violence, which the local community, if no one else, would have an interest in preventing.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 9, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"Media mainlining the fringe: Relatedly, Howard Kurtz spanks the media for building up that pastor, a fringe figure with only a handful of followers, into a major international story, with potentially dangerous repercussions."
---------------------------------------------

Unlike you guys with your mosque fetish...

Posted by: CalD | September 9, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"Just in time for Republicans to take credit for it if they win in November. Yay!"

WAIT...

Kevin_Willis not being serious and mocking the most important issue in the country?

I'm SHOCKED, SHOCKED I tell you.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 9, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

[Liam whined: So, now you are defending the burning of bibles?"]

My observation-- that Bible burning is common as catshit-- is not defending that practice. It is merely stating the obvious.

Liam asked what would happen if Bibles were burned by Muslims? The answer is... nothing. Christians are generally tolerant and turn the other cheek.

Don't apologize for Islamo-supremacism your whole life, Liam.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | September 9, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Kevin,

I never agree with those who burn anyone's flags, or symbols, I have always considered it to be childish and counter productive. I feel the same about effigy burning.

People are going to do it, but I take a stand when it comes to the absurd claim that burning books, which are one method we human use to communicate with each other, as just the exercise of free speech. It is actually the destruction of free speech, and in this case, it is akin to shouting fire in a crowded theater. That is the only reason that it is being done.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 9, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Jed Lewison": "...you're starting to see the Democratic campaign fire on all cylinders for the first time this cycle."
---------------------------------------------

Might have something to do with the fact that for a good 80-90% of the electorate, the election campaign starts now. It's easy for political junkies to forget that most other people have lives.

Posted by: CalD | September 9, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: "Kevin_Willis not being serious and mocking the most important issue in the country? I'm SHOCKED, SHOCKED I tell you."

I do it just for you, Ethan. :)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 9, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

"I do it just for you, Ethan."

Why?

Just to be a prick?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 9, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Ethan,

You just do not get Kevin.

He is OK in my book. He has a different political philosophy than I do, but he has every right to hold such views. He is a decent main stream conservative, with a wicked sense of snark and satirical flourishes. I love that about him.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 9, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

@Liam and Kevin...

"He is OK in my book. He has a different political philosophy than I do, but he has every right to hold such views. He is a decent main stream conservative, with a wicked sense of snark and satirical flourishes. I love that about him."

Agreed Liam

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 9, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I like both of you guys, Liam and RUK, for sure, but I honestly don't really care what either of you think about Kevin.

I am here to discuss serious issues, like the economy, domestic and foreign policy.

If he can't be serious about a serious post that I made, then he just shouldn't say anything at all.

But no, he had to rub it in my face that he doesn't take these important issues seriously. That is unacceptable in my book.

And it is made all the worse by the fact that he is a Republican voter who has voted repeatedly for George W. Bush rubber stamp Republican extremists.

But go ahead, continue to be buddy-buddy with someone who supports Marsha Blackburn and Lamar Alexander and all of their extremist positions... positions that you basically complain about daily... I don't get how you can do that, but hey, that's on you. Just leave me out of your little "buddy" charade. I'm not even remotely interested.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 9, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Sybil,

I don't mind being called arrogant by someone who habitually calls me uneducated and ignorant and claims moral authority to decide how much income I am allowed.

Too bad you didn't grasp my shorthand stab at skewering you Al Gore talking points. But no great loss.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 9, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: "Why? Just to be a prick?"

Oh, fer the love of Pete. Just funnin', Ethan. Apologies. I'm trying to get your goat in the "Oh-you-prankster-you" way, not in the "okay-you've-got-too-far-and-actually-ticked-me-off" way.

I shouldn't have followed up with the "I do it just for you". Rather, I should have amplified that I think that's actually what's going to happen. I was just presenting it in a light-hearted manner.

"But no, he had to rub it in my face that he doesn't take these important issues seriously. That is unacceptable in my book."

It's not that I don't take them seriously (indeed, I meant to add that I think that's exactly what will happen). A conscious attempt to be light-hearted doesn't mean I don't take them seriously. However, I prefer not to check my playful sense of light-hearted whimsy at the door. But, again, my apologies.

@Liam: "I love that about him."

Liam, I'm blushing. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 9, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Sybil,

I don't mind being called arrogant by someone who habitually calls me uneducated and ignorant and claims moral authority to decide how much income I am allowed.

Too bad you didn't grasp my shorthand stab at skewering you Al Gore talking points. But no great loss.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 9, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that Obama's are all old ones? Raise taxes on the rich, spend more, and some targeted tax cuts he previously condemned.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 9, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Kevin,

I don't find anything at all "fun" about the fact that the party you support is certainly going to try to take credit for the Recovery, just like they screamed that Obama is "Commie Fascist" for passing the stimulus, then proceeded to take credit for bringing funding at the local level.

That is not even remotely "funny".

It is downright disgusting, cynical, and yes evil.

The fact that you mock such behavior -- as if America is just a big joke to you -- while supporting such behavior at the ballot box is utterly abhorrent and despicable.

I accept your apology on a personal level, but I still think that your conduct -- and that of your party -- should be considered abhorrent and embarrassing for anyone with the slightest bit of intellectual honesty.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 9, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Ethan Ethan Ethan,

Please don't go all Left Wing Church Lady.

Even the most serious debates can be leavened, and elevated with some sharp jabs of humor.

Would you not have John Stewart or Steven Colbert doing what they do.

Kevin takes issues very seriously, as do I, but both of us often make serious points, in a semi-humorous way.

Recall when I seized on the news, that two Oil Billionaire Brothers were behind much of the funding of The Tea Party movement, and I framed it, with a play on words, by calling Tea Party Members; A Bunch Of Stupid Koch Suckers.

You applauded that. I had thought that you enjoyed the jest, but it is now starting to appear as if you only enjoy partisan jabs. That makes me feel very sad. The Church Lady. Ethan; don't be that person, please.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 9, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Liam, read my reply to Kevin at 1:32pm.

That is my final word on this.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 9, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan:

"I don't find anything at all "fun" about the fact that the party you support is certainly going to try to take credit for the Recovery, just like they screamed that Obama is "Commie Fascist" for passing the stimulus, then proceeded to take credit for bringing funding at the local level."

Well, when you say it that way, it doesn't sound very fun at all. You must be a blast at parties.

"The fact that you mock such behavior -- as if America is just a big joke to you -- "

There's a big difference between injecting a little levity into a news story and mocking, or believing that America is a big joke to me . . . although I'd prefer that to having America be nothing but a dank pit of despair and, yes, evil.

"It is downright disgusting, cynical, and yes evil."

Making jokes about politics. Is disgusting and evil? Um. Okay.

"but I still think that your conduct -- and that of your party -- should be considered abhorrent and embarrassing for anyone with the slightest bit of intellectual honesty."

Ah, well. Some days, self-awareness dictates that it must. Of course, my first party is . . . the Human Party. :)

Just sayin'.

However, if I see a good joke (or, a bad joke that I think is good), I gotta take it. It's in the DNA.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 9, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"You must be a blast at parties."

Honestly, you're not funny.

I find your paltry attempts at humor while I am trying to be serious about an issue that is important to me, to be condescending and rude.

It's like:

HAHAHA! The GOP wants to "BREAK" Obama! HAHAHA! They call him the anti-Christ, a Muslim Kenyan usurper commie socialist and we're going to take credit for his hard work! HAHAHA! SO FUNNY.

Again, honestly Kevin, up yours.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 9, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: "Honestly, you're not funny."

Okay, but you're not very funny, either. :)

"HAHAHA! The GOP wants to 'BREAK' Obama! HAHAHA! They call him the anti-Christ, a Muslim Kenyan usurper commie socialist and we're going to take credit for his hard work! HAHAHA! SO FUNNY."

Um, not only am I pretty sure I've never said anything remotely like that (I certainly hope not!), it's also, like, really, really not funny.

"Again, honestly Kevin, up yours."

Now, you may not think much of my pithy wit, but, really, has anything I've said (er, recently) merited that?

Hugs and kisses.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 9, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

"has anything I've said (er, recently) merited that? "

Absolutely.

I called you out for mocking the good news on the most important issue of our time -- the economy stupid -- and you turned around and mocked ME to my face after I made clear that I found your mockery to be insulting AND after I accepted your apology.

"Up yours" is the least of my feelings toward someone who treats me with such indignity and disrespect.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 9, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I told you people a while ago that Ethan's complete -- and I mean complete -- lack of a sense of humor is the most telling evidence of his mental disorder, which I take to be sociopathy, although like rusybil I am not a psychologist and only play one on the internet.

Serisously, as I've repeatedly warned, Ethan is a different kind of animal. He has consistently for more than a year I've been here exhibited traits that are red flags for danger. He is a threat to others and his frequent resort to demonizing and eliminationist rhetoric is not to be ignored. He means every word of it. A person who lacks even a shard of humor within his soul is a disturbed and disturbing character.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 9, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

QB, hahaha, that's the funniest thing I've read in quite some time!

"lacks even a shard of humor within his soul"

HAHAHA! Now *THAT* is funny.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 9, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: "I called you out for mocking the good news on the most important issue of our time -- the economy stupid -- and you turned around and mocked ME to my face after I made clear that I found your mockery to be insulting AND after I accepted your apology."

Re: mocking. I don't think that word means what you think it means. I'm not mocking you. Trust me, if I was mocking you, you'd know.

Apologies again for my role in our miscommunication. At least we agree that duly elected representatives in a representative democracy can't be called tyrants, right? :)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 9, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for your apology.

Yes, we can certainly agree that duly elected representatives in a representative democracy can't be called tyrants.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 9, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

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