Tales from the Trail

State Dept: church Koran burning plan”un-American”

There have been lots of angry words over plans by an obscure Florida pastor to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

But State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley pulled out the biggest gun of all on Tuesday in his effort to distance the government from the pastor’s incendiary proposal — he called it “un-American.”

“We are conscious that a number of voices have come out and rejected what this pastor and this community have proposed,” Crowley told a news briefing. “We would like to see more Americans stand up and say ‘this is inconsistent with our American values.’ In fact these actions themselves are un-American.”

“Un-American” is not an epithet that trips lightly off the tongue for U.S. government spokespeople, carrying as it does the tang of the 1950′s witchhunt for alleged communist sympathizers  spearheaded by the House Un-American Activities Committee.AFGHANISTAN/

Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center church in Florida presumably doesn’t think his book burning plans are un-American, at least by his definition.

After the big speech, pyramids!

CAIRO – After the pressure of his big speech to the Islamic world had ended on Thursday, President Barack Obama got down to the serious business of all Egyptian travelers — visiting pyramids.
 
OBAMA/EGYPTSwapping his speech suit for beige chinos and a navy blue polo shirt, Obama helicoptered to the hot and dusty site of the Khufu pyramid with advisers David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and body man Reggie Love.
 
“This thing is huge,” he said standing at the base of the pyramid and urging Love to come for a closer look.
 
The pyramid is estimated to weigh 6 million tons and originally stood about 480 feet high.
 
“Hear that guys?” Obama shouted to reporters. “No evidence aliens actually built this.” 
 
The president avoided the temptation of riding a camel but watched as Emanuel, Jarrett and Love mounted the seated beasts and were  then lifted high in the air as the animals stood.
 
“I just want you guys to know,” he told accompanying reporters, “if you weren’t here, I’d get on a camel. I don’t want to give you guys the satisfaction.”
 
Obama toured the nearby sphinx with Dr. Zahi Hawass, secretOBAMA/EGYPTary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, and pronounced it as awe inspiring.
 
And he visited the Solar Boat, a 130-foot vessel found buried near the pyramids.
 
At one point the president entered a subterranean tomb and called attention to one of the hieroglyphs with a round face and big ears.
 
“Hey, that looks like me,” a member of the group quoted him as saying. “Look at those ears.”

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credits: Reuters/Larry Downing (Obama at sphinx; Obama in front of pyramid with Hawass)