Aug 6: Brian Henchey on the Samantha Clemens Show
Aug 5th, 2011 by Sam


Well, the original idea for the show is below, but the conversation went like this…

Part 1: Samantha monologuing (is that a word?)

Part 2: Guest Brian Henchey

  • What is the difference between a moderate conservative, a conservative, and an arch conservative (it’s all about the compromise)
  • Reaction to Chris Christie’s response to “…fearmongering over Sharia law” in response to nominating a Muslim judge to the state Superior Court
  • Discussion of building mosques and Muslims in America

After the show, Executive Producer Aaron Donchen chastised Samantha for talking over the guest and regretted our ‘piling on’ in response to him graciously sharing his time with us.  Well, he was right and we think we can do better.

In the meantime, Brian noted that Samantha dodged the question: “WHY would they have the opening day of the Ground Zero mosque ON 9/11 ?!?”  Fair enough.  The reason was because Samantha had not heard that this had happened and therefore could not speculate.  She wishes she had said so on the air.

In any case, it turns out that this is unfounded according to the nonpartisan

Is the center scheduled to open on Sept. 11, 2011?

Organizers say no. As best we can determine, the idea that the cultural center and mosque would open that day is unfounded speculation. [emphasis mine].  Project organizers say that no official date has been set for the opening of the proposed center. Imam Rauf told Newsday back in May that it could take anywhere from 18 months to three years to raise the money to complete the project, and added that the center wouldn’t open on the anniversary of Sept. 11. Project organizers took to the social networking site Twitter as recently as Aug. 20 to knock down the claim, saying: “Reports that we will open on 9/11 or begin construction on 9/11 are false and inflammatory. Our timeline to build is 18 – 38 months.”

The idea that the center and mosque would open on Sept. 11, 2011 — the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks in 2001 — has been bandied about on blogs and discussion boards. The American Freedom Defense Initiative sponsored advertisements that may have also contributed to that thought. The initiative’s ads appeared on New York City buses and asked, “Why There?,” with an image of a plane flying into a burning World Trade Center, next to a rendering of the proposed building with the words “September 11, 2011, WTC Mega Mosque.”

So there you go.

See below for the original synopsis…

Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 11: 9/11, books burning, and the primaries
Sep 11th, 2010 by Sam


9/11: how does the memory of 9/11 compare to other tragic moments in history? pearl harbor, JFK, Martin Luther King… do any other moments have the same resonance?

Book burning: is burning the Koran the same as cartoons of Mohammed? Why not? Why didn’t we have the same outcry for the cartoons? In fact, there were Facebook groups and movements for people to make more cartoons. What’s the difference?

Democracy in action: Tony Schinella, editor of, moderated the debate between Barney Frank and Rachel Scott. Amazing he agreed to it. Amazing to listen to it. Tony tells us how it went.

Video: Barney Frank debates Rachel Brown

Texas evangelist says ‘100 percent’ that Quran-burning is off Saturday

Press freedom threatened

Aug 21: 1/5 think Obama is Muslim?
Aug 20th, 2010 by Sam

2010-08-21-samantha-clemens.Mp31 in 5 Americans believe Obama is a Muslim?? What is wrong with this country? If you oppose his policies, then fine. Oppose them. But this made-up stuff?

The Rev. Franklin Graham Says President Obama was ‘Born a Muslim’

“I think the president’s problem is that he was born a Muslim, his father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim, his father gave him an Islamic name,” Graham told CNN’s John King in a televised interview that aired Thursday night.

Doesn’t seem to matter WHAT anyone says… The truth about Obama’s birth certificate

In June, the Obama campaign released a digitally scanned image of his birth certificate to quell speculative charges that he might not be a natural-born citizen. But the image prompted more blog-based skepticism about the document’s authenticity. And recently, author Jerome Corsi, whose book attacks Obama, said in a TV interview that the birth certificate the campaign has is “fake.”

Obama a Muslim? Rumors gain steam, defying facts

NEW YORK — “President Obama is a Muslim.” “He’s not an American citizen.” “He wasn’t even born here.”

Blame it on the media, or on human nature. All presidents deal with image problems – that they’re too weak or too belligerent, too far left or far right. But Obama also faces questions over documented facts, in part because some people identify more with the rumormongers than the debunkers.

Are Americans total numbskulls?

God help us. Could so many Americans really be that dumb, ill-informed, paranoid, gullible and goofy? It must be tricky being Barack Obama, winding down the U.S. presence in volatile Iraq, trying to keep Afghanistan from degenerating, pondering war with Iran, even as, according to the latest bulletin, one in five Americans thinks he is a Muslim.

Why not just believe he’s an alien from outer space? Or a Manchurian Candidate, programmed by, say, the Chinese to bring America to ruin?

Crazy times.

It’s also dismaying that so many Americans are opposed to the mosque near Ground Zero. In America you can worship wherever you want, regardless of religious belief. We protect religious minorities here. This isn’t merely the law: It’s a core value. This goes back to the Pilgrims, I seem to recall. The backers of the mosques are the good guys, the ones who preach tolerance. There should be no hedging on this at all from American leaders: If we can’t allow a mosque in lower Manhattan we might as well close shop for good and turn out the lights.

Aug 14: Sally Steenland: The Mosque, Islamophobia, and Christianity
Aug 12th, 2010 by Sam


We have separation of church and state in the constitution, right?  We have churches and synagogues everywhere.  There already IS a mosque near the World Trade Center site, so what’s with the conservative noise machine?

Sarah Palin demanded that “peaceful Muslims” step and “refudiate” the plan; Newt Gingrich denounced the building of such a “mosque” as long as Saudi Arabia bars construction of churches and synagogues; Rick Lazio, a Republican campaigning for the governorship of New York state, asserted that the plan somehow subverted the right of New Yorkers “to feel safe and be safe.”  “Mosque controversy is just the beginning,” Stephan Salisbury,, Aug 10, 2020

So, Americans are scared of Islamic terrorists.  Newt, at least, calls it “radical Islam,” making a distinction (if you can call it that) between Islam and “radical” Islam.  Sarah doesn’t make such distinctions.  And people are getting all fired up, protesting the proposed mosque in lower Manhattan as well as those in Tennessee, California, Georgia, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Illinois.

So, is our perception of the religion of Islam correct?  And how would Christianity stand up if it was scrutinized with the same lens that we use for Islam?

Sally Steenland is Senior Policy Advisor for Faith and Progressive Policy at the Center for American Progress.  She authored The Distorted Lens of Islamophibia: We Need to Assess Islam Based on Reality, Not Rants, and  joins us to talk about the American perception of Islam and what Christianity would look like through the same distorted lens we use for Islam.

SOURCE: AP/Mark Lennihan This building near Ground Zero in Manhattan is the proposed site of a future 13-story mosque and Islamic cultural center.

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