PARSING THE MOSQUE
Is the political hubbub over the “ground zero mosque” just a White House ruse to distract Americans from bad news about the economy? Partisan posturings have conveniently thrown the press into predatory mode; shrill coverage is now front-page fare, replacing serious examination of unemployment, skittish voters and old campaign promises. The proposed project site is a “tourist mecca” while the mainstream media has drummed up “mosque madness,” say some press accounts, even as President Obama settles in for a 10-day vacation and deputy White House press secretary Bill Burton vouches for the president’s Christianity.
“This is not mosque madness, but mosque sadness that a radical imam and a militant Arab developer would attempt to trample on America’s raw nerve about 9/11. This is more than a media phenomenon. The ground zero mosque has touched all thinking Americans who now see more clearly the ongoing battle between militant Islam and the West,” talk radio host Michael Savage tells Inside the Beltway.
“With over 100 mosques in New York City, why do these agitators want to provoke America? Why did Obama take their side instead of being a diplomatic leader like Gov. David Paterson, who offered them another location? This is another ‘victory’ mosque that will be viewed throughout the Muslim world as insult to the liberal, weak West,” Mr. Savage continues.
“Contrary to Mr. Obama and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, this is not about freedom of religion but the site itself. Even the head of Al Arabiya television calls ground zero a ‘cemetery’ of 9/11 victims and stated the mosque project will be a ‘victory’ for Islamists. Sure, this incident is obscuring Obama’s failures on the economy and so many other fronts - but not for long. He’s gone on yet another vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, where the grapes of economic wrath are stored. The people see it all,” he concludes.
PARSING THE VINEYARD
Ed Destito, manager of Sharky’s Cantina on the aforementioned island, tells Beltway that his establishment still offers the “Obamarita” - a margarita fancied up with fresh pineapple and mandarin oranges. But wait. The eatery will also serve “Barackoguac,” a variation on classic guacamole that includes pineapple and mango.
“Maybe it will inspire the Obamas to come dine with us,” Mr. Destito observes.
Meanwhile, Mr. Obama and family are staying “up-island” at Blue Heron Farm, overlooking Tisbury Pond. But alas, some beaches have been closed to swimming in Oak Bluffs and West Tisbury due to “bacterial contamination,” says community health agent Shirley Fauteux, including Inkwell Beach, Pay Beach, Eastville Beach and Madeiras Cove.
“Wonderful. I bet tar balls and a couple teleprompters will wash up next. Any bets that ‘Bush’ had something to do with this?” quipped one reader of Martha’s Vineyard Gazette, the local paper that will be very, very busy in the next week.
Meanwhile, who defends - or condemns - the “ground zero mosque”? Here’s a smidgeon of the motley tally:
For: President Obama; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; New York state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo; Sen. Russ Feingold, Wisconsin Democrat; Ted Olson, former U.S. solicitor general; Alexi Giannoulias, Democratic hopeful for the U.S. Senate seat in Illinois; music mogul Russell Simmons; Harold Attridge, dean of Yale Divinity School; the Council for American-Islamic Relations and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Against: Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean; former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; Rep. Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican; Reps. Michael Arcuri and Steve Israel, New York Democrats; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; former Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin; Mark Steven Kirk, Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat in Illinois; evangelist Franklin Graham; the American Islamic Forum and the Anti-Defamation League.
Where is he now? Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, has already signed on with a top speaker’s bureau following his recent … uh … retirement from the Army. He’ll work with Leading Authorities, a D.C.-based lecture and events company
“I’m looking forward to speaking about no-nonsense, practical leadership that combines the ability to leverage the reality and opportunity of constant change with a willingness to build relationships and trust that inspires people,” Gen. McChrystal says.
JUST SO YOU KNOW
Pollster John Zogby reports that 56 percent of Americans say the federal government has been “untruthful” about the BP oil spill, while 67 percent say the oil company itself has not been truthful. Oh, and 55 percent still approve of off-shore drilling. The survey of 2,500 adults was conducted August 8 to 11.
POLL DU JOUR
- 67 percent of Americans say religion in “losing influence on American life.”
- 82 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of Democrats agree.
- 62 percent of Americans overall say religion is “losing influence on government leaders.”
- 72 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats agree.
- 61 percent overall say it is “important” for members of Congress to have strong religious beliefs.
- 77 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Pew Research Center survey of 3,003 adults conducted July 21 to Aug. 5.
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