Morning Links: Koran-Burning Pastor Retracts Cancellation, Then Cancels Again; Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Ruled Unconstitutional


• Why do we pay attention to crackpots like Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones, who “canceled” his 9/11 book-burning ceremony yesterday only to change his mind again later, after leaders of the planned Islamic center near Ground Zero said they had not agreed to move the mosque? This morning, Jones called off the event again (on Good Morning America, no less) but still expects the mosque to be moved. Is all this “fanning of the flames” of an otherwise marginal character the media’s fault? [NYT, ABC]

• U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips has said that the U.S. military’s ban on openly gay service members is unconstitutional and that “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” violates the First Amendment and due process rights of lesbians and gay men. [L.A. Times]

• The New York Civil Liberties Union and the New York Neighbors for American Values coalition are hosting a candlelight vigil at Church Street and Park Place tonight to support religious freedom and the proposed mosque at 51 Park Place. [NYCLU]

• In Belgium, 488 witnesses as to sex abuse by the Catholic clergy have come forward. They say the abuse, which allegedly occurred over decades, led to at least 13 suicides. [AP]

• A natural gas explosion in San Bruno, California, killed at least one person, injured more than 20, and destroyed 53 homes last night. [SFGate]

• A five-alarm fire started at Byblos Lebanese restaurant and Frontier Coffee Shop on 39th and Third Avenue around 12:30 a.m. Firefighters worked nearly five hours to bring it under control. [NY1]

• Will there be a new park at East Houston and Second Avenue? [Bowery Boogie]