Monday, August 23, 2010

They Shouldda Tried To Build That Mosque Here

Centuries ago, my professors drummed into my head that the First Amendment isn’t there to protect popular speech; it’s there to protect UNpopular speech. I’ve pointed this out on the air, to news people I’ve trained, and to acquaintances, for decades. Do the Muslims have a right to build a mosque two blocks from the big hole where the World Trade Center towers once rose?

Of course.

What possessed our young president to step so deeply into the quicksand surrounding the mosque controversy still confounds me, and then his “what I meant was” comments a day later were exactly the sort of thing that makes us so annoyed with politicians. Say something ill-advised, get huge pushback, and then back off what you said. At least he didn’t use the old saw “my remarks were taken out of context.”

The whole mosque thing should never have gotten this far. Seems to me somebody in the huge bureaucracy of the Big Apple could have deep-sixed this thing in about fifteen minutes and “permitted it to death”.

Maybe Mayor Mike should send his minions to our fair city for a lesson in how to quickly get rid of projects the ruling political class doesn’t like. As a sidebar seminar, they could also learn how to get stuff that violates building ordinances approved – our guys could show the New Yorkers how the Edgewater project got “approved.”

Imagine that some wacko group wants to build a memorial to the Sterling Hall bombers on private property two blocks away. How long do you think it would take our city plan commission (or the state building commission) to bury that idea in a blizzard of paperwork that would daunt even the most dogged supporter? The idea would be dead and buried long before any of the newshounds got wind of it.

And even if some reporter were tipped, all Mayor Dave would have to say is “this project is going through the same approval process as any other building project in this city”, and the story would advance slowly with items like “too tall/small/wide/narrow/out of proportion/ugly for local ordinance” or “city arts committee nixes plan for bomber memorial” or “campus neighborhood preservation committee craps all over bomber memorial plan” culminated with “bomber memorial group gives up.”

To think that the big boys in New York City could take a lesson in city planning from little ol’ Madison.


  1. You know as well as I do that Bloomberg knows all those tricks.

    It's a question of what he WANTS to do.

    Same with Obama. And more and more it becomes evident that The Regime and its sycophants simply despise America.

  2. Some things to remember about this issue...

    -- Just because you can do something does not mean you should. That goes for supporters of the cultural center and its prayer room (a.k.a. "The Mosque) and for the opponents, who have the luxury of engaging in hyperbole, innuendo and outright lies. An example can be found in the calculated manufacture of paranoia by those - including one of our smarmier politicians - who darkly whispers baseless questions about why his opponent is not investigating where the money for this project is coming from. He conveniently skips over the fact that there is no money. At least not yet. So there is no financial chicanery - yet - to investigate.

    -- Zoning laws cannot be used to restrict the establishment of a house of worship. That is unequivocal. Trying the approach of death by a thousand permits would not withstand the slightest whiff of legal challenge. Opponents of the cultural center must find a better way. They could simply buy the building, which is still on the market, but that would be too much like putting their money where their mouth is.

    -- President Obama is a professor of constitutional law. That has an effect on how he sees the world and it helps shape his policies. Again ... Just because something is constitutional does not mean it is automatically good public policy. The genius of this great country is that the president doesn't run it. Local governments (of which the mayor of New York City is but a component), the Congress and the courts all have a say in matters of governance.

    -- There already is a nearby Islamic house of worship - a masjid - about a block from the proposed site. It has been there for 40 years, and no one has ever complained. The place has to close, though, because the building it is located in was damaged in the 9/11 attacks and is finally being redeveloped. The masjid has lost its lease and the Muslim community hoped to relocate to new quarters in the same area. That does not seem unreasonable.

    For the record, I highly doubt the cultural center will happen, for a variety of reasons having nothing to do with religious zealots who think the First Amendment can be selectively applied. But if it should be located there, the symbolism would favor the foes of the plan because the building would spend much of every sunny day in the shadow of the tower that is finally rising on the site of the World Trade Center.

    This faux drama will eventually play out (or peter out) within, it is hoped, the boundaries of the law and polite society. Anyone is at liberty to object, and reasonable objections should be considered by both sides. But locating the cultural center in that building - which is private property - is legal, and protected by the Constitution.

    Anyone who suggests that affirming the clear constitutional rights of any group or person is somehow tantamount to "despising America" is confused. It leads one to wonder … why do the Dad29s of this world hate freedom?

  3. Colonel,

    >> ...the huge bureaucracy of the Big Apple could have deep-sixed this thing in about fifteen minutes and “permitted it to death”. <<

    You reminded me of my twist on the old adage: "Anything not expressly permitted is forbidden." When it comes to city governments, "Anything can be forbidden: just require a permit." Thank you, thank you, I'm here 'til Thursday. Try the veal.

    I think that Knickerbocker has a point when he says that "This faux drama will eventually play out (or peter out) within, it is hoped, the boundaries of the law and polite society." I'm pretty sure that there'll be many protests at the site, more con than pro.

    I've also heard that there really isn't any money yet for this, shall we say, interesting it may wind up being a tempest in a teapot.

    But Dad29 has a point, too, about Bloomberg and Obama: what do they want to do? Is it simply to be open-minded and fair? Or just to appear to be so? It certainly appears that they're both tone deaf, to the point of being deaf as a post. Though I can't figure what either of them might have said to demur, obfuscate, or divert attention in response to questions from the fourth estate.

    The Town Crank
    Neenah, WI

  4. Kinickerbocker doubts that Obama despises the USA.

    The definitive catalog has not yet been printed, but the adage 'birds of a feather flock together' is useful. Ayers, Dohrn, Wright, Frank Davis, ....and those are the ones we KNOW about.

    We could learn by observing Obama's foreign policy--which apparently is designed to offend allies while mollycoddling enemies.

    We could observe that his fiscal policies are guaranteed to bring the USA to 3rd-world financial status before 2030. A corollary is his determination to prevent ALL US-based energy development except in wind and solar, both of which are totally inadequate for the purposes.

    Or his subversion of Constitutional safeguards in the matter of the IMF--or in matters of regulatory over-reach.

    And, of course, there is the matter of his brutal attacks on various Inspector Generals who cross his agenda, amplified by his willingness to call ANY opposition "racist."

    It is not a matter of speculation any more. It is a highly visible pattern of practice, and it is deleterious in the extreme.