The House was debating a bill last night that would provide up to $7.4 billion in health care aid to rescue and recovery workers who have faced health problems since their work in the wake of the September 11 attacks. The bill ultimately failed to get the needed two-thirds majority, 255-159, and Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) was not happy about it. Not one bit.
“I may introduce a constitutional amendment that changes the rules if you have a child here,” Graham said during an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. “Birthright citizenship I think is a mistake, that we should change our Constitution and say if you come here illegally and you have a child, that child’s automatically not a citizen.”
"Islam is not a religion. It is a worldwide political movement meant [sic] on domination of the world. And it is meant to subjugate all people under Islamic law...."reads an anonymous e-mail tied to a California Tea Party group. Where I live, such a thing is likely to be as sermon to the converted. It's a tenet as firmly adhered to as that "Obamacare" depends on "death panels" to keep costs down and that the US constitution is meant to subjugate all people under Christian law. But there are no Mosques here, no Islamic community centers as there are in other parts of the country. In California, in Tennessee, in New York and elsewhere, the bigoted scum that is America is being called upon to disrupt prayer with loud protest and being encouraged to bring dogs: because Muslims "hate dogs."
The key factor here is that, just as Republicans got to frame the debate in 2001 by combining the tax cuts into an up or down vote, Democrats can frame the debate now by separating the policies Republicans pretend to care about from the ones they actually care about. Republicans want to have a vote on the whole collection of Bush-era tax cuts. Democrats shouldn't give it to them. You hold a separate vote on the middle class portion and dare them to oppose it.
The smearing of Shirley Sherrod ought to be a turning point in American politics. This is not, as the now-trivialized phrase has it, a "teachable moment." It is a time for action.
The mainstream media and the Obama administration must stop cowering before a right wing that has persistently forced its propaganda to be accepted as news by convincing traditional journalists that "fairness" requires treating extremist rants as "one side of the story." And there can be no more shilly-shallying about the fact that racial backlash politics is becoming an important component of the campaign against President Obama and against progressives in this year's election.
The traditional media are so petrified of being called "liberal" that they are prepared to allow the Breitbarts of the world to become their assignment editors. Mainstream journalists regularly criticize themselves for not jumping fast enough or high enough when the Fox crowd demands coverage of one of their attack lines.
The Sherrod case should be the end of the line. If Obama hates the current media climate, he should stop overreacting to it. And the mainstream media should stop being afraid of insisting on the difference between news and propaganda.
Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, currently running third in the state's Republican gubernatorial primary race, says he's not sure if Constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion apply to the followers of the world's second-largest faith, Islam.
At a recent event in Hamilton County, Ramsey was asked by a man in the audience about the "threat that's invading our country from the Muslims." Ramsey proclaimed his support for the Constitution and the whole "Congress shall make no law" thing when it comes to religion. But he also said that Islam, arguably, is less a faith than it is a "cult."
"Now, you could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, cult whatever you want to call it," Ramsey said. "Now certainly we do protect our religions, but at the same time this is something we are going to have to face."
"Now, you know, I'm all about freedom of religion. I value the First Amendment as much as I value the Second Amendment as much as I value the Tenth Amendment and on and on and on," he said. "But you cross the line when they try to start bringing Sharia Law here to the state of Tennessee -- to the United States. We live under our Constitution and they live under our Constitution."
The question, Ramsey mused, was related to the simmering topic of a new Muslim community center scheduled to be built in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Ramsey, like many conservatives weighing in on the debate, mistakenly confused the center with a mosque -- which Murfreesboro already has -- and then proceeded to foment fears that Sharia saw would be practiced by Muslims there.
With a laying on of hands, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on Sunday welcomed into its fold seven openly gay pastors who had until recently been barred from the church’s ministry.
A couple of notes to make here. First, the Lutheran Evangelical Church is essentially the Roman Catholic Church without the Pope and all the trappings therein. As the first Protestant sect, it remains the one most closely tied to the RCC and has even made attempts to reincorporate into the fold. As such, it can be and has been at points a bellwether for the papal congregations. One hopes that is the case here, as well.
Second, about that second word in its name..."Evangelical". While the Lutheran church in America is not the first evangelical church to recognize gay ministers and/or pastors, it is the most conservative church to do so. Indeed, parts of its doctrine makes churches like the Southern Baptists look practically liberal. This development will put enormous pressure on other evangelical sects to follow, and also opens up the question of gay marriage in places like California, where Proposition 8 passed largely on the basis of votes from evangelicals, white and black.
I have long believed that marriage ought to be available to any two consenting adults. It seems silly to try to keep two people from forming a more perfect union, when our own nation is so divided to begin with.
(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)