Daily archives: August 15th, 2010

G.O.P. Denounces Ground Zero Community Center, Silent on Strip Club

Ground Zero is sacred ground.

You better believe it is.

So where is the voice of the G.O.P. shouting a unanimous and bombasitic, “NO!!!!!!” regarding the Ground Zero Strip Club?

The G.O.P. wants us to believe that it is wrong for a religious group to openen a community center close to Ground Zero. The religious group should locate elsewhere, not so close to Sacred Ground.

Did the G.O.P. happen to miss the Cordoba House complex at 45-51 Park Place, a mere two blocks away from the World Trade Center site?

A bit more from Forbes.com:

As yet, I haven’t heard anyone wonder why our political class is silent as the sex industry operates on sacred ground. It would be a bizarre complaint: It’s Manhattan, where you can find anything mere blocks from a given location. The closest strip club to Ground Zero happens to be two blocks away, a fact that has nothing to do with our reverence for the place where so many Americans were killed by terrorists. As you’ve probably noticed, it doesn’t even make sense to call it The Ground Zero Strip Club.

But it makes no less sense than naming an Islamic community center “The Ground Zero Mosque”–as much of the media have done–because it’s going to be located a couple blocks away. Even worse, opponents of the project are opportunistically invoking the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, even going so far as to appropriate their imagery. “Join the fight to kill The Ground Zero Mosque,” intones a video advertisement released by a group called National Republican Trust PAC. “A mosque at Ground Zero must not stand. The political class says nothing. The politicians are doing nothing to stop it. But we Americans will be heard. ”

As an American in good standing, I’d like to be heard–and to make sure that James Madison, a colleague of mine in citizenship, is heard too. The fourth president of the U.S. once wrote, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It’s a line that National Republican Trust neglects to remember. Perhaps “the political class” isn’t doing anything to stop the construction of an Islamic community center because the Constitution forbids it. Even worse, the advertisement I’ve mentioned engages in just the sort of religious bigotry that the First Amendment is meant to guard against. “On Sept. 11 they declared war against us,” the narrator says. “And to celebrate that murder of 3,000 Americans they want to build a monstrous 13-story mosque at ground zero.”

“They” declared war against us? Who is this ambiguous “they?”

A radical group of al Qaeda radicals led by Osama bin Laden attacked the United States on September 11, 2001.

Who are “they” who wish to open the community center?

“They” are an Islamic group that has long run a mosque in the area for New York City Muslims. On 9/11, “they” found their community under attack, too. It is slander to assert that they’ve declared war against us, or that their motive in building a community center is celebrating the murder of Americans.

“They” who wish to open this community center are peace-loving Americans. That’s it.

This is a non-issue, and the G.O.P. should be ashamed.

Cutler and Martz Awake; Chicago Bears Still in Hibernation

The Chicago Bears slumber still, and it’s time to wake up.

Jay Cutler did well enough. Mike Martz looks promising. The final score, however, still went the other way, after Cutler was benched.

From the Sun-Times:

Do you have a second? That’s about how long Jay Cutler played Saturday. If you made the unfortunate decision to blink during the Bears’ first offensive series in their 25-10 loss to the San Diego Chargers, you missed two nice Cutler passes that netted 47 yards.

If you had to go to the bathroom, the beginning of the Cutler-Mike Martz era is a rumor to you.

Those two Cutler passes? Things of beauty. And if you were lucky enough to see them, you have no choice but to conclude that Martz, the new offensive coordinator, is indeed the genius the Bears say he is. Johnny Knox was so alone on the first one, a 33-yard reception, he might as well have been in the middle of Wyoming.

If the Bears go on to have a big season, the record will have to be changed to show that, rather than being woefully out of position on the play, Chargers defenders simply were Martzed in the preseason opener.

But if the Cutler-Martz start-up was magical Saturday, it was only because the starting quarterback disappeared into thin air. He took part in eight plays, threw those two passes to Knox, was sacked once, avoided another sack and oversaw a drive that ended in a field goal.

After that, Cutler stood on the sideline with a towel draped over his shoulder and a cup in his hand and chilled. It was a laid-back, California kind of evening for him.

I Want My Next Car To Be A Chevy Volt

Chevy Volt

I want a Chevy Volt. For my next car.

The Economist took the Volt for a spin, and the review sounds promising:

So how does the Volt/Ampera drive? Overall, pretty impressively. As a well-used pre-production car, the one we road-tested still had a few rough edges. The basic architecture of the surprisingly spacious cabin was in place, but the high-quality soft mouldings that will grace the car when it goes on sale had not yet been fitted. There was also a slightly disconcerting whistle from the exhaust when the range extender engine was working hard, though this can be easily fixed. The suspension settings need a bit of fine-tuning, particularly for ragged British blacktop. But otherwise, the car was extraordinarily refined. It is whisper silent in most conditions—it is mostly hard to tell when the range extender engine is running—and unfussed even at high motorway speeds. Acceleration is strong (0-60mph takes about nine seconds) thanks to the instant torque served up by the electric motor, while the car’s handling is neat and precise thanks partly to the low centre of gravity that is created by installing the T-shaped battery pack along what would be the transmission tunnel in a conventional car.

The Ampera has a range of 350 miles before it needs refuelling and a notional thirst of 175mpg on a long journey which translates to carbon dioxide emissions of about 40g/km. Most of the time, however, the car will run without any need for the petrol engine, the batteries needing only three hours’ charging from a domestic socket to deliver 40 miles of electric-only running. GM reckons that the cost of an electrically driven Ampera mile is a fifth of a petrol-driven mile in an ordinary car. Used daily for a 40-mile commute, the Ampera could save its owner more than £2,000 a year given European petrol prices. As for reliability, the battery is guaranteed against any failure for 10 years. Some of the strain is taken off it by software that stops it being depleted to less that 30% of its capacity before the generator starts working, and prevents it ever being charged to more than 80%. Apart from the battery, there’s nothing much to go wrong, and servicing will be at intervals of around 20,000 miles.