Anthony Wiener has - to my knowledge and despite the insinuations by FOX News about "contact" with underage girls - broken no laws but he's proven himself to have next to zero judgement for a high-profile politician, in emulating the behavior of an adolescent obsessed with his own privates on Twitter.
The narcissism and hubris he displayed is as disturbing as the parallel public obsession with his pathetic and embarrassing activities in some absurdly assumed "private" domain. I think, given that he's opened up a Pandora's Box of publicity about his personal habits, he needs to resign and let the rest of us get on with our lives, as should he.
But my distaste for Wiener's behavior is out-distanced by my disgust at his letting his private demons destroy some valuable political contributions he has made. And I wonder whether the timing of Weinergate has anything to do with the fact that Memorial Day weekend he was using the same social media he abused as a...uh...horny jerk to push for an investigation of Clarence Thomas' ethics violations - violations that actually impact the integrity of the nation's highest court:
What is already in the public record is shocking, to say the least, in that it involves potentially 20 years of violations of disclosure rules by Thomas, whose wife was bringing nearly $800,000 of income into their family home, unbeknownst to the public, while conducting very public advocacy on issues that are sure to come before the court, namely, healthcare reform.
So Weiner goes down for being an asshole while Thomas skates over the thin ice of overt corruption and coverup? More HERE.
You could probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of things I would agree with Orrin Hatch about, but here he's on the side of the angels:
HATCH: Let’s be honest about it, in the First Amendment, religious freedom, religious expression, that really express matters to the Constitution. So, if the Muslims own that property, that private property, and they want to build a mosque there, they should have the right to do so. The only question is are they being insensitive to those who suffered the loss of loved ones? We know there are Muslims killed on 9/11 too and we know it’s a great religion. … But as far as their right to build that mosque, they have that right.
I just think what’s made this country great is we have religious freedom. That’s not the only thing, but it’s one of the most important things in the Constitution. [...]
There’s a question of whether it’s too close to the 9/11 area, but it’s a few blocks away, it isn’t right there. … And there’s a huge, I think, lack of support throughout the country for Islam to build that mosque there, but that should not make a difference if they decide to do it. I’d be the first to stand up for their rights.
That's the very definition of a profile in courage.
I borrowed Mercia's still camera, which can also shoot video and walked from the northeast edge of the World Trade Center site to the proposed Park51 location.
While I'm a pretty good photographer/videographer, I am not Max Ophuls and was in a bit of a hurry and apologize for the shakiness of the video.
Nevertheless, I think it shows to anyone who doesn't know the area, that calling it the "Ground Zero Mosque" is demonstrably false. I pass by the oldest Roman Catholic Church in New York, a strip joint a couple of bars and a construction site.
I want to call special attention to the first few seconds of the video. After the start of the video, you'll note a position establishing the WTC location and then a short about 90 degree pan. At the end of the pan before I start walking, you'll see two men, one in a dark shirt and another in a light shirt. They are there every day along with others trying to sell picture books about the attacks of September 11, 2001. No one speaks of denying them their first amendment right to sell the books, thus making a buck off of a tragedy. Now there's a direction for someone's outrage, but there's no political upside to it, is there Newt, Sarah, Rick, Rudy, Harry, and Carl?
Some good discussion at Marc Cooper's site. Here's the video:
After passage of a law requiring suspicious types to prove their citizenship to local police and another putting an end to ethnic studies programs, Arizona goes into the "you can't make this stuff up" zone. From the Arizona Republic:
A group of artists has been asked to lighten the faces of children depicted in a giant public mural at a Prescott school.
The project's leader says he was ordered to lighten the skin tone after complaints about the children's ethnicity. But the school's principal says the request was only to fix shading and had nothing to do with political pressure.
The "Go on Green" mural, which covers two walls outside Miller Valley Elementary School, was designed to advertise a campaign for environmentally friendly transportation. It features portraits of four children, with a Hispanic boy as the dominant figure.
R.E. Wall, director of Prescott's Downtown Mural Project, said he and other artists were subjected to slurs from motorists as they worked on the painting at one of the town's most prominent intersections.
"We consistently, for two months, had people shouting racial slander from their cars," Wall said. "We had children painting with us, and here come these yells of (epithet for Blacks) and (epithet for Hispanics)."
Wall said school Principal Jeff Lane pressed him to make the children's faces appear happier and brighter.
"It is being lightened because of the controversy," Wall said, adding that "they want it to look like the children are coming into light."
Lane said that he received only three complaints about the mural and that his request for a touch-up had nothing to do with political pressure. "We asked them to fix the shading on the children's faces," he said. "We were looking at it from an artistic view. Nothing at all to do with race."
City Councilman Steve Blair spearheaded a public campaign on his talk show at Prescott radio station KYCA-AM (1490) to remove the mural.
In a broadcast last month, according to the Daily Courier in Prescott, Blair mistakenly complained that the most prominent child in the painting is African-American, saying: "To depict the biggest picture on the building as a Black person, I would have to ask the question: Why?"...
Faces in the mural were drawn from photographs of children enrolled at Miller Valley, a K-5 school with 380 students and the highest ethnic mix of any school in Prescott. Wall said thousands of town residents volunteered or donated to the project, the fourth in a series of community murals painted by a group of artists known as the "Mural Mice."
The public art, funded by a $5,000 state grant through the Prescott Alternative Transportation Center, was selected by school students and faculty.
"The parents and children love it," Lane said.
The next time someone on the right decides to bash Jimmy Carter, they should read this column in Thursday's New York Times by Nick Kristof:
Guinea worms grow up to a yard long inside the body and finally poke out through the skin. They cause excruciating pain and must be pulled out slowly, an inch or two a day. In endemic areas like this district in Lakes State of southern Sudan, people can have a dozen Guinea worms dangling from their bodies.
For the last 24 years, former President Jimmy Carter has led the global struggle against the disease. When he started, there were 3.5 million cases annually in 20 countries. Last year, there were fewer than 3,200 cases in four countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali and Sudan. The great majority of the remaining cases are here in southern Sudan.
How horrible is this parasite? See for yourself (warning: photos require a strong stomach). This is in addition to the Carter Center's efforts on River Blindness, which have resulted in the eradication of the disease from Ecuador and the expectation that the disease will be gone from the Americas in two years.
Inspiring work that will no doubt have little impact on the pathological naysayers on the right, but means everything to those at risk.
I'm thrilled to see Bishop Oscar Romero receiving the attention and respect he deserves on the thirtieth anniversary of his death. I'm especially gratified to see at long last, the government of El Salvador sharing in that recognition.
Unfortunately, the likes of Bishop Romero are getting harder to find in the Roman Catholic Church. I write this as a regular mass-attending Roman Catholic and am simply disgusted by the Vatican's response to the continually unfolding scandals that are spreading across Europe, to the point where the official response is to smear the media reporting on the matter or this bit of tu quoque nonsense:
Earlier in the week, New York's archbishop, Timothy Dolan, used his blog to dismiss the New York Times' reports and defend the pontiff's record by arguing that authorities outside the church also are culpable. Stories about sexual abuse by priests were "fair" if "unending," he wrote. But he condemned the media for portraying child sexual abuse "as a tragedy unique to the church alone. That, of course, is malarkey."
Sadly, this latest everybody-is-responsible-so-nobody-is-to-blame defense is of a piece with a little-noticed section of Benedict's letter to the Irish church in which he seemed to blame the crisis, in part, on "new and serious challenges to the faith arising from the rapid transformation and secularization of Irish society."
Let me dumb this down for the hierarchy at the Vatican: you are hemorrhaging members of your flock. You are desperate to recruit new priests. Without parishioners, you have no church. You're men first and right now, you appear to be a bunch of weak man busily covering your glutei to protect yourselves. Shame on you.
Thank God Hiram Monserrate is no longer representing my community in the New York State Senate. This is a man who still believes that the rules don't exist for him:
Mr. Monserrate, meanwhile, stopped at a senior citizens’ center in Corona that served as a polling site. Apparently ignoring election rules that prohibit candidates from campaigning within 100 feet of polling stations, he walked in, shook hands with the men, hugged the women and danced salsa with students taking a class until the center’s director persuaded him to leave.
He also refuses to take responsibility for his behavior:
Hiram Monserrate is fully aware that there are a lot of people who wished that his failure to regain his old State Senate seat in a special election in Queens on Tuesday would seal his political career. And he really doesn’t care.“A lot of this reaction is based on just ignorance, on not knowing the facts, not dealing really with the issues,” he said. “There’s a lot of emotional hysteria out there.”
How very patronizing of him. He also has some delusions:
“Clearly, I will continue to serve the community and the public in one capacity or the other,” he said.
But what capacity? Might his future be outside of politics?
“That requires some reflection,” he said. “I’m not ruling anything out. Everything is on the table. What I know is that I’ll continue to be a voice for the little guy.”
Might I be so bold as to offer a suggestion? Why not volunteer at a battered women's shelter? Perhaps then he can learn why so many of us found his behavior so repellent.
Oh my God. He's worse than I thought! He has the woman whose face he slashed and who he dragged by the hair to make a thirty minute drive to a hospital to avoid being recognized at the hospital three blocks away make a
hostage video show of support for him!
For the Castellano impaired, she's saying "Hi! My name is Karla Giraldo and I'm here supporting my fiancé, Hiram Monserrate with your help in having him elected as state senator from Queens again. Yes we can!"
Doesn't the enthusiasm just ooze from her?