Welcome to the Terrordome

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Sometimes, it’s a little hard to like Majority Leader Harry Reid. Okay, not sometimes: Often. Sure, once in a while he’ll accomplish the historic passage of a Republican health care bill, but, generally, he’s blasé at best and offensively useless at worst. Or maybe just offensive.

Offensive it is, again. Yesterday, in addressing the recent (cynical) outrage over the planning of an Islamic community center near the World Trade Center site, his spokesman, Jim Manley said, “The First Amendment protects freedom of religion. Senator Reid respects that, but thinks that the mosque should be built someplace else.”

Built somewhere else, you say? Well, I’ll counter with this. No Mormon tabernacles should be built in or near Washington County, Utah. Washington County, see, was the site of the Mountain Meadows massacre, where Mormons, with help from American Indians, slaughtered betwee 120-140 men and women of the Fancher-Baker Party who were traveling from Arkansas to California.

The date of the massacre was September 11, 1857.

Before Americans hated Muslims, they hated Mormons, and before Mormons, they hated Catholics. Hell, even way before that, Presbyterians hated Anglicans, and Anglicans hated the Puritans. We have a long tradition of hating people of different faiths—and, being Mormon, Harry Reid should damned well know that.

Harry Reid had an opportunity and squandered the hell out of it. Rep. Keith Ellison, on the other hand, shows that Democrats could have seized this to show at least an iota of leadership (heretofore unknown to congressional Democrats):

“The truth is that we’re a party of principle. We believe in the idea of religious liberty.”

In 1773, a Baptist minister Isaac Backus wrote: “When church and state are separate, the effects are happy, and they do not at all interfere with each other: but where they have been confounded together, no tongue nor pen can fully describe the mischiefs that have ensued.”

Thomas Jefferson may be out of vogue in Texas educational circles, but in the  pantheon of the Founding Fathers, he cannot be ignored. And, he did famously write:

“Where the Preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word ‘Jesus Christ,’ so that it should read ‘a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.’ The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and Infidel of every denomination.”

Way back in 2008, Colin Powell had quite a response when asked about then-Senator Barack Obama possibly being secretly a Muslim: “Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America.” That should have had the same stab-in-the-gut effect as your dad saying “I’m not mad, son, I’m disappointed.” But, for many—those without shame—it didn’t have any effect at all.

In the same way, folks screaming about the “GROUND ZERO OMG TERRORISM MOSQUE OMG 9/11 MOSLEMS,” need to step back and realize how un-American—how shameful—it is to tell people of any faith that they are banned from practicing wherever they want. That it’s their faith that drove planes into American buildings—good, Christian buildings.

How the fuck dare you.

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Sharron Angle finally talks to reporters, runs away

You can imagine that reporters were delighted to finally get to cover a Sharron Angle press function. As we’ve noted before, she’s been pretty shy about talking to reporters at all (unless she can get some fund-raising coin out of it). Of course, this could be because she tends to say ridiculous things when put in front of anything that could record her. So, when she invited some reporters to a press function,  the last thing you’d picture happening is her avoiding the press, right? Well…

U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle invited local media to attend a press event in Reno Wednesday morning, but when members of the media tried to ask the candidate questions she didn’t answer.

At the event this morning Angle signed a pledge to repeal the estate tax-or “death tax”- if she’s elected, made a few brief statements and walked away with several members of the local media in tow.

News 4 Reporter Karen Griffin was one of the reporters trying to ask Angle questions and she actually ignored the questions, looked straight ahead and kept walking.

News 4 arrived at this morning’s event early to make sure we could talk with Angle. News 4 listened to the press conference and when it ended, Angle simply walked away.

A very interesting campaign strategy. But, I guess you go with what you have.

Sharron Angle attacks Harry Reid for…saving jobs?

Sharron Angle may want to stop talking.

In case you’re not sure who she is: Angle’s a tea party favorite running for Senate against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada. She beat out prohibitive favorite Sue Lowden in the Republican primary, mostly due to Lowden saying some ridiculous things. However, she also tends to say ridiculous things and get in trouble for them. As a result, she doesn’t get out much.

Earlier this week, she got riled up because the Reid campaign dug up her old website and, well, put it back online. I’m not an intellectual property expert—or even any kind if lawyer—but maybe somebody should have told her the first rule of the Internet: Anything you put on the Internet is going to be there forever.

Back in 2009, MGM Resorts was building CityCenter, a massive complex on the Las Vegas strip. The project experienced a number of financial woes and the entire was likely to fall through. Harry Reid, however, stepped in and kept the project alive, and in the process, saved 12,000 jobs.

Angle appeared on conservative host Alan Stock’s talk radio show, and she was asked if she would have done the same as Reid had done. Angle replied that she wouldn’t have. Why?

“It’s kind of like shifting the chairs on the Titanic,” she said. “You only shift jobs from one place to another, when we know that when we put those jobs at City Center, it was jobs that were taken away or business that was taken away from other areas. So, really it actually injured the economy of other businesses.”

In her mind, by saving the jobs, he was (somehow) taking jobs away from somewhere else (THEY TOOK OUR JERBS!). And, in doing so, (somehow) hurt the economy.

I’m not particularly sure why she said this. Maybe there is some part of her personal political philosophy that isn’t comfortable with a government figure saving a business or project, and she has to rationalize it somehow. Basically, all I can think of is that this is some kind of poor-man’s Karl Rove: Make your enemy’s strength his weakness. Really, go ahead and say how your rival saved 12,000 jobs. Say it with a frown, and maybe everybody else will frown too?

Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight, at least as of last week, has Nevada as a toss-up with Angle barely ahead. But that’s mostly because Harry Reid is extraordinarily unpopular. I just can’t imagine her (slight) lead will hold for much longer as long as she keeps talking.