Virtual Front Page, Tuesday, September 14, 2010

OK, really fast now:

  1. Gates Announces Pentagon Cost-Saving Guidelines (WSJ) — A fairly soft lede, but it’s what I have today.
  2. Freed US hiker Sarah Shourd flies out of Iran (BBC) — So now that she’s out, what do ya think? Spy, or not?
  3. French Senate Approves Ban on Burqas (WSJ) — First, the cheese-eating fashion monkeys came for the women in the burqas. And I didn’t care because I wasn’t a woman and didn’t wear a burqa, or want to. Then they came for the guys in the bow ties, and I said WAIT A FRICKIN’ MINUTE! Looks like we all need to double-check our wardrobes before going to Paris.
  4. EU may take legal action against France over Roma (BBC) — Meanwhile, the EU sticks up for the pikeys. (Is it OK to say “pikeys?”)
  5. Ethics panel reprimands Knotts, orders contributions be repaid ( — No, not about the “raghead” thing. About campaign finance. He’ll be out $24,000 — which, while I don’t have time to look it up right now, I think is even more than Nikki Haley has paid in penalties for back taxes.
  6. States Struggle To Share Cost Of High-Speed Rail (NPR) — This makes my front because I dig rail. Especially light rail. But high-speed is cool. Although the train in that picture is a little weird. Whaddya call that, Ah-nold?

11 thoughts on “Virtual Front Page, Tuesday, September 14, 2010

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    Well, Wikipedia says “pikey” is pejorative, with good support. Furthermore, “piker” traditionally refers to non-Romani Gypsies–Irish Travelers in particular–and the BBC story is about the Roma/Romani Gypsies. Kinda like calling illegal immigrants from our southern neighbor Wops. If you’re gonna be Archie Bunker, get your ethnic slurs straight!

  2. Kathryn Fenner

    and I love high speed rail, too ( as well as all other forms of rail travel that do not belch smoke –took some of those retro tourist coal-fired trains when I was traveling with the rents as a kid–the fumes are pretty nasty.

    So yes to rail! Better for the planet and so much fun!

  3. Karen McLeod

    i’m not sure, but I suspect that France’s real problem is over Sharia law. The people who are very conservative Muslims insist that their people follow it, even if the country that they live in doesn’t. That, understandably I think, creates a problem. The trouble is that France is dealing with the easily visible artifacts, instead of addressing the root difficulty.

  4. bud

    On what is a very slow news day I can’t even find mention of this very significant news story anywhere but on the Bloomberg site:

    Budget Deficit in U.S. Narrows 13% to $90.5 Billion on Rising Tax Receipts

    Now let’s see how important budget deficits really are to the GOP. With a declining budget deficit and a slow growth in the economy I really don’t understand all the over-the-top gloom and doom from the press. No this is not a boom economy but very well could be with just a bit more of a push from the federal government. TARP, the stimulus bill, cash for clunkers and the home mortgage incentive program have all helped to steady the economic boat. (Stable fuel prices have probably also helped some.)

    Yet does Obama get any credit? Are the facts even mentioned? The GOP sure won’t but I’d at least expect a tiny mention in The USA Today or the Wall Street Journal.

    Sadly the American people are being duped by extremists like Christine O’Donnell who campaigned largely on an anti-masturbation campaign. But did the people of Delaware pay any attention? Apparently not.

  5. Bart

    The USA Today and WSJ are not the only two newspapers in print. Is this news heralded in the NYT, LAT, or any of the other news outlets? If not, why not?

    If you read the article in its entirety a little closer than just the headline, the facts belie the claims of the banner.

  6. Brad

    Yeah, I know “Pikey” means Irish Travelers (although I did NOT know it couldn’t be used to refer to Roma). I was just trying to have an excuse to link to the “Snatch” clip.

  7. Phillip

    Well, if France is dealing sternly with the issue of Sharia law in this case, then perhaps we may see the remarkable image of millions of Republicans emigrating to France (One can hope, anyway). Why do I say this?

    Well, because in answer to this question in the recent Newsweek poll: “Some people have alleged that Barack Obama sympathizes with the goals of Islamic fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world. From what you know about Obama, what is your opinion of these allegations?”…

    …52% of Republicans polled think that statement is either “certainly true” or “probably true.” 52%. Let that sink in. Only 7% said “certainly not true.”

    So, Republicans, I guess Sharia law will soon be the law of the land here in the US, according your “interesting” view of reality. So, better start brushing up on your French!

  8. Phillip

    @ Bart: let’s say for the sake of argument that the poll IS inaccurate or tilted. By what percentage would you think? Are they off by 10%? 20%? Surely they can’t “lean on the scales” much farther than that. Let’s say the poll is wildly off, that “only” 1 out 3 Republicans nationally thinks Barack Obama is sympatico with Islamic fundamentalists (somehow squaring that view with his doubling down on the whole Afghanistan war).

    Wouldn’t that still be a pretty clear statement of a national political party’s rhetoric becoming completely untethered from rationality, from reality? Sure, economic tough times bring out a lot of anger. But the special nature of the odious comments thrown around out there (Gingrich’s being the most recent example) bespeak a special kind of anger, which is clearly irrational, and must be triggered by something deep within the psyche. What could that be about?

    After all, as David Frum (one of the few conservatives with a conscience these days) pointed out re the Gingrich venom, the kind of Keynesian or politically-liberal prescriptions Obama has embraced have been touted for years by the likes of Walter Mondale or Ted Kennedy, neither of whom were either Islamic fundamentalists nor Luo tribesmen. Nobody ever talked about Walter Mondale’s worldview being shaped by his Norwegian heritage.

  9. Bart

    @ Phillip,for the sake of argument.

    POINT: According to a recent Newsweek poll, “Some people have alleged that Barack Obama sympathizes with the goals of Islamic fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world. From what you know about Obama, what is your opinion of these allegations?”……52% of Republicans polled think that statement is either “certainly true” or “probably true.”

    COUNTERPOINT: According to a Rasmussen poll taken in May 2007, …”Democrats in America are evenly divided on the question of whether George W. Bush knew about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in advance. Thirty-five percent (35%) of Democrats believe he did know, 39% say he did not know, and 26% are not sure.”

    Let’s put this in perspective for a moment and forget the obvious bias of the pollsters.

    Now, does Obama have a strong affinity for Muslims and the Islamic religion? Absolutely. One would have to deny reality to think or believe otherwise. His father and stepfather were Muslim and for the first years of his young life, his first introduction to religion was through the Koran and Islamic faith. Based on his book, “Dreams of my Father”, he had a close relationship with his stepfather and wanted to have one with his real father.

    In an interview with Kristof of the NYT, Obama said the Muslim call to prayer is “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.” He went on to recite the prayer in an almost perfect Arabic accent. His now famous photograph of bowing to the Saudi king was a first for an American president. His first formal interview on television was with Al-Arabiya, a devoted anti-American, anti-Israel network. Not ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN or FOX, but an Islamic television network. The list goes on and on of actions that can be and obviously are, interpreted by some as one who is a sympathizer with Muslim ambitions to spread Sharia law across the globe.

    George W. Bush. Did he know about the impending terrorist attack on the Twin Towers and allow 2,700 civilians to be killed in one of the worst attacks on American soil in our history? Was George W. Bush a cold-blooded monster who was willing to allow this to happen to his own people for some political/oil/revenge oriented reason or motive that only he understood? Was there a history or background we knew nothing about that would lead one to reach a conclusion that he knew the attacks were coming? Yet, 35% of Democrats believe he knew and did nothing about it.

    Question – which lie is the most believable? Obama and his Islamic leanings or George W. Bush knowing about the 9/11 attacks. Which one is the most ridiculous?

    This is where the entire argument from either side gets off track and loses any credibility or sense of reality. In the haste to find something negative about an ideological enemy, any wild accusation is spread and unfortunately, believed. The outliers on either side wearing the tin foil hats have become useful idiots for ideologues who are looking for something to lay at the doorstep of the other side.

    I don’t for one moment believe Obama wants Sharia Law for America. Hopefully, you are not one of the ones who believe Bush knew about 9/11.

  10. Phillip

    Bart, I agree that detaching oneself from reality is something that partisans on both ends of the political spectrum are fullycapable of. However, there’s a difference when a political party’s leadership encourages this “disconnect,” and when it takes the form of casting vague (and not so vague) hints about the “otherness” and “non-American” or even “anti-American”-ness of the President of the United States. This began of course in the 2008 campaign…Kristof wrote eloquently here about what has only gotten worse since then…and incidentally warned off those who would use his 2007 Obama interview as some kind of subsequent fodder:

    Meanwhile, the implication of the two polls (if we accept their approximate accuracy) is not exactly the same. The Rasmussen poll’s question is worded vaguely enough to trigger “yes” answers from those who may have simply thought Bush had SOME advance intelligence of the attacks (remember the “Bin Laden Determined to Attack US” briefing paper in August 2001).
    But, no, I certainly would not say Bush really knew of the attacks in advance, I never really blamed him for their occurring (only how he chose to respond to them) and I of course would disagree with those who thought he knew.

    Again, the difference here is that Democratic leadership did not tout this line of reasoning (they were busy criticizing post-9/11 Bush primarily) whereas the GOP, conservative, and Tea Party leadership is aggressively promoting the garbage implied by the answers to the Newsweek poll. So the “outliers” to whom you refer, at least on the right, are not “outlying” anymore: they’re being nominated for the Senate in Nevada, in Delaware. One of them may well be nominated for President in 2012, you betcha.

    I’m glad, though, that you and I can agree that people of all ends of the political spectrum should keep themselves rooted in reality. I reject irrational arguments of any political stripe. It just seems that we’re in a moment now where mainstream conservatives are too timid to call out the more extreme elements within their party, that it’s more of a problem now within the GOP than within the Democratic party, especially given the nature of the “out-there-ness” on the right, which is about identity. That’s why I was so impressed with Frum’s argument the other night in utterly rejecting Gingrich, and Frum certainly is someone who rejects Obama’s philosophy completely: but on the basis of policy, not vague racial/religious/identity aspersions.

    Bart, I must also point out one small error in your post: Al-Arabiya is by NO means a devoted “anti-American network”. In fact, its balanced reporting and opinion makes it the target of criticism—and worse—by extremists in the region. Just recently its offices in Baghdad were bombed by Al-Qaeda-in-Mesopotamia. It was established specifically to provide a more moderate, balanced view to audiences in the Middle East than Al-Jazeera, which is the network I think you are confusing it with:

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