July 16th, 2010

Muslim apostate found hanged after admitting he was an atheist

A YOUNG Muslim, who had been investigated by his employers at Male International Airport in the Maldives for apostasy, was found hanged from the airport’s control tower yesterday.

The death of Ismail Mohamed Didi, a 25 year-old air traffic controller, prompted deep concern on the Islamic website Raajjeislam which reported that Ismail “was a person inclined to atheism” and had:
Declared his atheism to his friends.
The website alleged that Ismail had refused to follow religious sermons.
This is an issue that a Muslim government should consider. Because when these types of people die, they are buried in the same [cemetery] where Muslims are buried. Their funeral prayers and body washing are also conducted as for Muslims. It is questionable as to whether this is allowed according to Islam.
In two emails sent to an international humanitarian organisation on June 23 and 25, Ismail admitted he was an atheist and desperately requested assistance for a UK asylum application. He claimed to have received several anonymous threats on June 22. One of his emails is reproduced in this report.
In the emails, he said he “foolishly admitted my stance on religion” to work colleagues, word of which had “spread like wildfire.”
A lot of my close friends and girlfriend have been prohibited from seeing me by their parents. I have even received a couple of anonymous phone calls threatening violence if I do not repent and start practising Islam …

I cannot bring myself to pretend to be I am something I am not, as I am a staunch believer in human rights. I am afraid for my life here and know no one inside the country who can help me.
Mohamed Ibrahim, Managing Director of the Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL), confirmed that Ismail had been the subject of an internal investigation last month regarding his professed apostasy.
I believe his family were also concerned, and tried to give him counselling through religious leaders.

Management decided it was outside our mandate and referred the matter to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs – we haven’t got a reply. Professionally we took no action – he was a good worker.
A colleague of Ismail’s told Minivan News on condition of anonymity that his colleagues had learned he was an atheist “more than a year ago”, and while they did not care whether or not he believed in God, “some became irritated at the way he openly insulted God.”
A complaint was made to the airport company’s human resources department. Based on their report – I saw a copy of the final version a month ago – they found that although he was an atheist, he was not propagating his belief in the workplace and so no action would be taken.

Source: The Freethinker
movies | Impish Fräulein2

ONTD_Political's PotD: July 15, 2010.

LOSS OF A BROTHER: Salim Walid, 20, grieved for his younger brother Ali Walid, 15, who was killed in a car bomb attack in Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, Iraq, Thursday. The attacks took place on the day U.S. forces were to transfer control of the last prison they run to Iraqi authorities.

Bassem Daham | Associated Press
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(no subject)

"You shall not oppress a stranger, since you yourselves know the feelings of a stranger, for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt."
-- Exodus 23:9

"Unless The Stranger is a Brown Person from the Heathen Land of Mexico and does not speak the Sacred Language of Amurika. Thou shall seize The Mexicans, separate them from their families, destroy their livelihood, harass other Brown People that they mingle with (citizen and illegal), and deport them all back to the pits of Hell that is Guatemala. Because That is The Law and This is Amurika!"
-- The New American Bible (Tea Bagger Version)

GOP Reps. Cite The Bible To Support Harsh Crackdowns Against Undocumented Immigrants

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law held a hearing titled “The Ethical Imperative for Reform of our Immigration System,” which made the case that reforming the country’s broken immigration system is a moral duty.

Several religious leaders testified before the committee, citing the Bible’s moral invocations for caring for the least among us and treating each other humanely. “Immigration is ultimately a humanitarian issue since it impacts the basic rights and dignity of millions of persons and their families,” said Bishop Gerald Kicanas, the vice president of the U.S. Conference of Bishops. “As such, it has moral implications, especially how it impacts the basic survival and decency of life experienced by human beings like us. … Our current immigration system fails to meet the moral test of protecting the basic rights and dignity of the human person.”

Yet several of the Republican members of the committee did not take kindly to the religious leaders’ words.
Reps. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Steve King (R-IA) both cited the Bible to attack the idea that it is a moral responsibility to treat undocumented immigrants humanely and give them the chance for a decent life. King even went as far as to cite the human rights-violating Israeli separation wall it has built deep into Palestinian territory as an example of how “the land of the Bible” deals with immigration:
Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, the Judiciary Committee’s top Republican, repeatedly cited passages from the Bible in support of a stronger crackdown on illegal immigration. “The Bible contains numerous passages that support the rule of law,” he asserted. “The scriptures clearly indicate that God charges civil authorities with preserving order, protecting citizens and punishing wrongdoers.” Smith cited, among other things, Romans 13: “Let every person be subject to governing authorities.” [...] “Americans need not repent for wanting to uphold the rule of law and provide jobs for legal workers,” he said. “A truly Christian moral approach would be not to acquiesce to illegal immigration, but to work to end it.” [...]

Iowa GOP Rep. Steve King, however, complained that for many reform advocates the only “biblically acceptable option … seems to be open borders.” “I didn’t realize that the Bible barred the enforcement of immigration laws and neither did I realize that it erased borders, demanded pathways to citizenship for illegal immigrants, or … forbid the leaders of a nation from caring most about the well-being of its own citizens.”

King noted approvingly that “in the land of the Bible the leaders of today’s Israel (have) built border fences to protect their citizens from terrorists or illegal job seekers alike.” There is a “greater and more immediate” moral obligation to take care of U.S. citizens first, he said.
Of course, comprehensive immigration reform does not mean that we have to “acquiesce” to undocumented immigration, as Smith says, but instead that we secure our borders, give hard-working immigrants who are already here a fair path to citizenship, and overhaul our legal immigration system.

And while King claimed that the Bible would have us care most “about the well-being of [our] citizens,” the advocacy group Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CCIR) disagrees. Citing Genesis, CCIR writes, “We believe all people, regardless of national origin or citizenship status, are made in the ‘image of God’ and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.”
oldboy box

Broken Social Scene G20 Protest Mash Up

Meet Me In The Basement
This video was made as a response to the G20 Summit in Toronto June, 2010.
The rest speaks for itself.
It was sent to us by a lover of our music who wants to remain anonymous.
We are very proud to share this mash-up with you.

or for youtube fanatics

-Broken Social Scene

SOURCE Broken Social Scene Website

SOURCE Tracer Magazine

what happened in toronto during the G20 summit was horrifying and has spawned tons of videos, pictures, and a two week long protest by the citizens, a lot of whom were detained without counsel in the old toronto film studios.

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because of me- because of me

Mixed reactions to video of Holocaust survivor's dance routine

Auschwitz "Survivor" Family Stirs Controversy in Poland

Mixed reactions to video of Holocaust survivor's dance routine

Adolek Kohn, an 89-year-old survivor of the Holocaust, has stirred up quite a controversy by dancing on what could have been his grave. In a video (see below) that had become quite popular on YouTube, the Australian grandfather is shown dancing to Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" with his daughter and grandchildren in several former Nazi concentration camps in Poland and Germany, including Auschwitz.

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LOLitics | Make-out City

Shenanigans Friday: July 16, 2010.

"Politics is almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times."--Winston ChurchLOL

Please exploit these resources:
  • macro blanks: browse by ALBUMS
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  • ROFLBOT (for your caption needs)

MOAR Picture Sources:

Beth: Angry

Utah identifies two state workers in illegal immigration info breach

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah officials have identified at least two state workers who apparently breached a state database to create a list of 1,300 purported illegal immigrants.

Gov. Gary Herbert's office said Friday that the employees work for the Department of Workforce Services, which administers food stamp programs and other public benefits.

News media, law enforcement and other government officials started receiving the list of names and personal information this week, creating widespread fear in the Hispanic community. The anonymous mailing demands that those on the list be deported, although some named have said they are in the country legally.

The list contains Social Security numbers, birth dates, workplaces, addresses and phone numbers. Names of children are included, along with due dates of pregnant women.

Rest of the article here. Just don't read the comments

Good News Everyone! Oil Spill Will Create More Jubs for Cash Strapped Integrity Free Scientists!

We Have Corporate Free Market Science in Our Side! Where is your Pelican, You Tree-hugging Hippies?

Oil Spill Lawsuits: BP Spending Big To Acquire An Army Of Expert Witnesses

In the latest salvo of BP's War On Everything, the company is deploying its deep pockets in an attempt to buy up every single scientist it can get its hands on, in order to create an army of expert witnesses to take up its side in court. I guess the legacy of George Steinbrenner lives on!

Ben Raines of Mobile, Alabama's Press-Register captures it, in gobsmacking fashion:
BP PLC attempted to hire the entire marine sciences department at one Alabama university, according to scientists involved in discussions with the company's lawyers. The university declined because of confidentiality restrictions that the company sought on any research.
Emphasis mine, because: wow! Fortunately, for a wide variety of reasons, some of the scientists BP is approaching are balking at the overtures. For example, the contracts that BP is offering place substantial restrictions on what research scientists under their employ can publish, share, or even discuss. Also: some of the scientists approached apparently have that thing you often hear people talk about... what is that called again? Oh, yeah! A moral compass.
"We told them there was no way we would agree to any kind of restrictions on the data we collect. It was pretty clear we wouldn't be hearing from them again after that," said Bob Shipp, head of marine sciences at the University of South Alabama. "We didn't like the perception of the university representing BP in any fashion."
Still, Raines reports that "[s]cientists from Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University and Texas A&M have reportedly accepted," wooed by the prospect of earning up to $2,000 a week for consulting typically allowed by academic institutions.

But if you are considering selling your academic soul to the destroyers of the Gulf Region, there are still reasons to think twice:
Robert Wiygul, an Ocean Springs lawyer who specializes in environmental law, said that he sees ethical questions regarding the use of publicly owned laboratories and research vessels to conduct confidential work on behalf of a private company.

Also, university officials who spoke with the newspaper expressed concern about the potential loss of federal research money tied to professors working for BP.

With its payments, BP buys more than the scientists' services, according to Wiygul. It also buys silence, he said, thanks to confidentiality clauses in the contracts.
Wiygul goes on to note that the contracts are "exceptionally one-sided," tantamount to an agreement to "an agreement to join BP's legal team," and could potentially limit career options down the road:
The contracts have the added impact of limiting the number of scientists who're able to work with federal agencies. "Let's say BP hired you because of your work with fish. The contract says you can't do any work for the government or anyone else that involves your work with BP. Now you are a fish scientist who can't study fish," Wiygul said.
Of course, maybe there won't be any fish left to study after the oil spill crisis is over? So this could all work out perfectly.

Raines has more, so click on over and read the whole thing.

RELATED: BP buys up Gulf scientists for legal defense, roiling academic community [Press-Register]

Parents of Fat Kids May Face Neglect Charges

The weight of an obese child is not the most important factor in determining neglect, but rather whether or not a parent has made a conscious effort to change the family's lifestyle, Dr. Russell Viner and his colleagues argue in a new article published by the British Medical Journal on Friday. Viner and other experts from London's UCL Institute of Child Health "suggest that it may be appropriate to consider the child protection register if the parents consistently fail to change the family's lifestyle and will not engage with outside help," the Guardian reported.

Just as failure to provide a child with proper treatment for epilepsy or another chronic illness is accepted as a reason to involve child protection services, the article's authors note, so too should be failure to help a child who is at risk of the dangers associated with obesity. "Viner said it was difficult to establish when obesity shaded into neflect and became an issue for child protection, because the pressure on everyone to eat too much and exercise too little were so powerful," the Guardian reported.

Nevertheless, he and his colleagues found evidence linking sexual abuse, violence, and neglect against children with adolescent and adult obesity. Unfortunately, separating children from the parents is not likely to help the situation. Another recent study found that more than one-third of children put into care programs were obese or overweight. In the article, Viner and his colleagues "say a multidisciplinary assessment will be needed—including psychological well-being—to decide whether intervention is needed, and what sort." But "as in all areas of child health, we have a duty to be open to the possibility of child neglect or abuse in any form," they caution.


Tea Bag Hero Uses Time Machine to Meet Uppity Slaves. Brings Back Evidence that NAACP is Racist!

Tea Party to Abolish The Emancipation Proclamation: "No More Entitlement Programs and Bailouts for Black Folks! Someone Needs to Shoot Abraham Lincoln and Stop his Big Government Agenda!!"

Mark Williams Removes Racist Blog Post, Calls for Racial Harmony...Kind Of

A day after he posted a screed to his personal website calling the NAACP "racist" for using the word "colored" in its name, the Tea Party Express' Mark Williams has taken the post down and called upon tea partiers and NAACP activists alike "to fight those who seek to divide us by race, no matter the color of the racist."
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Bigoted Tea Party Leader Mark Williams: ‘It’s Impossible For There To Be A Racist Element In The Tea Party’

Mark Williams, the former chairman and current spokesperson of Tea Party Express, went on MSNBC today to again deny that there is any racism in the tea party, and to bash the NAACP for daring to point out the obvious examples of bigotry within the movement. When host Tamron Hall asked why not “move forward” by condemning extremism in both camps, Williams instead pointed fingers, blaming all cases of racism on agent provocateurs Crash the Tea Party. Even more absurd, Williams said it is “impossible” for the tea party movement to contain racist elements:

HALL: Do we move forward by either side calling out extremism in their party? [...]

WILLIAMS: It’s impossible — it’s impossible for there to be a racist element in the tea party, you don’t get it! The tea party is about human rights, it’s about the United States constitution. The United States constitution mankind’s foremost human rights document.

HALL: What about the signs of the president as an African with a bone in his nose? What is that? Is that about the constitution?

WILLIAMS: Those signs were brought by Crash the Tea party, the coalition of anti-tea party groups, google crashed the tea party. You will find it all there. … Buy my book!
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thelma - 2

Court Orders Safety for Woman Facing Torture

U.S. Court Orders Safety, Not Deportation, for Woman Facing Torture

Saying that government lawyers let their zeal for victory in a deportation case outweigh their responsibility to be fair, a federal appeals court last week ordered the United States to provide a haven for a woman facing the likelihood of torture in China.

The woman, Jinyu Kang, an ethnic Korean citizen of China who now lives in New York, had fled a Chinese arrest warrant for giving food and shelter to Korean refugees. Others named in the same warrant and caught by the Chinese police had described beatings, suffocation, electric shocks, sleep deprivation and other forms of torture to get them to disclose details about the human rights group to which they all belonged.

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You can also read the court's decision here (in a PDF).
panda bear

(no subject)

China UFO Sightings, Back-To-Back, Alarm Residents

A second China UFO sighting has residents on edge, just seven days after an unidentified flying object shut down a Chinese airport.

The new UFO sighting took place in Chongqing in eastern China on July 15. Witnesses told Shanghai Daily they saw the same thing: "four lantern-like objects forming a diamond shape that hovered over the city's Shaping Park for over an hour."

Like the one before it, there has been no official explanation to date for this latest incident.

Last week, flights were diverted in Hangzhou -- also in eastern China -- after a mysterious object was seen hovering in the sky, People's Daily reports.

State-run Xinhua News Agency quoted a head of air traffic control as saying, "No conclusion has yet been drawn" about the UFO by the airport.

China Daily reported that a source with knowledge of the matter said there was a military link but made no further comment.

UFO sightings in China are not as common as some places, and there have been only a handful of well-publicized incidents in the last several decades.

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JL: Annoyed J. Law

Conflict Minerals Legislation Passes Congress

It’s been big news across the country this week that the financial reform bill passed. But there’s an exciting part of the legislation that hasn’t been getting as much attention. In a victory for international human rights advocates, Congress approved measures that will help limit conflict minerals used in American products. “Conflict minerals” are precious minerals mined illegally by armed groups that use the revenue to fund ongoing wars — the most glaring example of which is the brutal war in the Democratic Republic of Congo that has claimed millions of lives and continues today.

Activists have been fighting for transparency in the supply chain, so that consumers will be not unknowingly be funding violent conflict — when they purchase gold products or any number of electronics made with conflict minerals.

According the Enough Project, a lead campaigner for the new legislation: The conflict minerals language requires companies that use tin, tungsten, tantalum, or gold in their products to file a disclosure report with the Securities and Exchange Commission detailing whether these materials originated in Congo or its adjoining countries.

Corporations have long refused to accept blame for using conflict minerals, saying that the supply chain that brings the raw materials to them passes through so many hands, that it is impossible to trace the origin of the minerals.

Newsweek reports in their recent article The Genocide Behind Your Smart Phone:

Replying personally on his iPhone to a concerned customer last month, Apple CEO Steve Jobs…[said]: “We require all of our suppliers to certify in writing that they use conflict-[free] materials. But honestly there is no way for them to be sure. Until someone invents a way to chemically trace minerals from the source mine, it’s a very difficult problem.”

While this is an exciting victory that companies will soon be forced to be accountable for the minerals they use, the battle is far from over. It is more important than ever to keep the national (and international) spotlight on the issue of conflict minerals and demand that the government and corporations hold mineral suppliers responsible. Sign the pledge, letting the world’s top electronics companies know that you want conflict-free products.

More at the source
aurora // once upon a time

Pretty aprons -- Reaffirming cooking as women's work?

Stylish aprons make a comeback, strings attached

The modern apron isn't at all like the stiff, butcher-style number Grandma used to wear – and hardly fit for wiping your buttery hands on.

wls peer out from behind neon lime flaps on one. Another is made entirely out of newsprint. A third has handy iPod pockets.
Once a symbol of kitchen drudgery, the apron has not only come back from the dead, but has become a widespread fixation among young, nostalgia-enamoured women. They idolize it in blogs, through Twitter and on Facebook pages. A new annual magazine, apron•ology, serves as a paean.
Commercially, aprons are multiplying online at Etsy and at retailers like Anthropologie, which carries 28 retro styles, including Baker's Delight, a cupcake-patterned apron that the character Charlotte donned during a meltdown with her toddlers in this summer's Sex and the City 2.

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stock | Killer Abs

ONTD_Political's PotD: July 16, 2010.

With the summer solstice now two weeks gone, the northern hemisphere is heating up. High temperatures in some places have made working difficult and have taxed power grids as usage of electricity neared record levels in the U.S. Last weekend, the United States celebrated its 234th birthday on July 4th, with fireworks, parades and many other outdoor activities. Collected here today are a handful of recent photographs of people (and animals) either trying to beat the heat, or just enjoying a sunny summer's day [around the world].
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