September 8th, 2010

MISC - moustache

Thoughts from Glenn Beck on church plan to burn Koran

I’m on vacation and trying to unplug but the news can make that hard. I just read the story about the Florida church planning to burn copies of the Koran.

What is wrong with us? It’s just like the Ground Zero mosque plan. Does this church have the right? Yes. Should they? No. And not because of the potential backlash or violence. Simply because it is wrong. The more I reflect on what happened on 8/28 the more I realize the amazing power of GOOD.

We must be the better person. We must be bigger than our problems. Bigger than the times in which we live. Burning the Koran is like burning the flag or the Bible. You can do it, but whose heart will you change by doing it? You will only harden the hearts of those who could be moved. None of those who are thinking about killing us will be affected, but our good Muslim friends and neighbors will be saddened. It makes the battle that they face inside their own communities even harder.

Let us rise above the current levels and elevate ourselves and our country. The only thing this act would prove is that you CAN burn a Koran. I didn’t know America was in doubt on that fact. Let’s prove to each other that while there are many things we can do, there are maybe many more things that we choose not to do.


Glenn Beck? Talking words? That make sense? And don't make me want to set my face on fire? We're through the looking glass here, people.
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Free Exercise of Religion? No, Thanks.

Free Exercise of Religion? No, Thanks.
The taming and domestication of religious faith is one of the unceasing chores of civilization.
By Christopher Hitchens

A recent blizzard of liberal columns has framed the debate over American Islam as if it were no more than the most recent stage in the glorious history of our religious tolerance. This phrasing of the question has the (presumably intentional) effect of marginalizing doubts and of lumping any doubters with the anti-Catholic Know-Nothings, the anti-Semites, and other bigots and shellbacks. So I pause to take part in a thought experiment, and to ask myself: Am I in favor of the untrammeled "free exercise of religion"?

No, I am not. Take an example close at hand, the absurdly named Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. More usually known as the Mormon church, it can boast Glenn Beck as one of its recruits. He has recently won much cheap publicity for scheduling a rally on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington. But on the day on which the original rally occurred in 1963, the Mormon church had not yet gotten around to recognizing black people as fully human or as eligible for full membership. (Its leadership subsequently underwent a "revelation" allowing a change on this point, but not until after the passage of the Civil Rights Act.) This opportunism closely shadowed an earlier adjustment of Mormon dogma, abandoning its historic and violent attachment to polygamy. Without that doctrinal change, the state of Utah was firmly told that it could not be part of the Union. More recently, Gov. Mitt Romney had to assure voters that he did not regard the prophet, or head of the Mormon church, as having ultimate moral and spiritual authority on all matters. Nothing, he swore, could override the U.S. Constitution. Thus, to the extent that we view latter-day saints as acceptable, and agree to overlook their other quaint and weird beliefs, it is to the extent that we have decidedly limited them in the free exercise of their religion.

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So....complain about moderates decrying the increasing discrimination and violence they are facing in America because people are lumping them in with extremists by....throwing out examples of things extremists do in other countries. OK, then, no.

And he started out so well, too, with really interesting points, on how religions have modified themselves for political reasons. It's just that once he got to Islam, he like he started dribbling "terrorists!" out the sides of his mouth or something.
  • luomo

Castro Has a Message for Ahmadinejad About the Jews

Imagine your typical Atlantic reader — new model neocons like Ross Douthat or tender-hearted brownstoners like Jonathan Safran Foer, right? You probably didn't picture Fidel Castro. Well, okay, maybe you saw the headline. But Castro does read it. In fact, after Mr. Ex-Jefe caught Jeffrey Goldberg's article "Point of No Return" about Iran and Israel, Goldberg got a personal invite to Havana for a little tête-à-tête. There, after some self-deprecating humor and a few anecdotes ("This was how my face looked when I was angry with Khrushchev"), Castro got down to business. For the "grandfather of global anti-Americanism," and a vocal critic of Israel, his message to Netanyahu was unsurprising: Security will only come once you and everybody else gives up their nukes. His message to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, however, was much more stern.

During a five-hour conversation stretched over three days, Goldberg says Castro repeatedly returned to his "excoriation of anti-Semitism" and asked that his message — that Ahmadinejad needed to stop his anti-Semitic rhetoric if he wanted peace for his country — be communicated to the president of Iran, who is exactly the person people picture when they imagine the typical Daily Intel reader:

He said the Iranian government should understand the consequences of theological anti-Semitism. "This went on for maybe two thousand years," he said. "I don't think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews. I would say much more than the Muslims. They have been slandered much more than the Muslims because they are blamed and slandered for everything. No one blames the Muslims for anything." The Iranian government should understand that the Jews "were expelled from their land, persecuted and mistreated all over the world, as the ones who killed God. In my judgment here's what happened to them: Reverse selection. What's reverse selection? Over 2,000 years they were subjected to terrible persecution and then to the pogroms. One might have assumed that they would have disappeared; I think their culture and religion kept them together as a nation." He continued: "The Jews have lived an existence that is much harder than ours. There is nothing that compares to the Holocaust." I asked him if he would tell Ahmadinejad what he was telling me. "I am saying this so you can communicate it," he answered.


Detroit burning from CNN and WXYZ

First, last night's footage from CNN.

Now the latest from WXYZ (TV 7 in Detroit).

Detroit's Fire Commissioner told Action News fires were burning at 80 locations between 4:00pm and 8:00pm Tuesday. No word on how many homes and buildings were destroyed. Many of the destroyed homes were abandoned.

Wednesday morning police told Action News they released a person of interest in connection with the fires. They say it appears the blazes across the city were not deliberately set. Still, several investigations remain ongoing.

Some of the worst damage is on the city's east side. At least 20 homes burned in the area of Robinwood and Van Dyke. The fire spread across the city block to Robinwood Street. Firefighters say it’s possible the blazes in this neighborhood were ignited by a faulty transformer spraying sparks. Those sparks were carried by strong winds and started fires at a number of other houses.

Folks on the block say they alerted DTE to the problem last week and nothing was done. Action News contacted DTE and they tell us they are investigating those claims.

Meanwhile, on Moenart Street and Luce Avenue near Mound and McNichols 7 homes caught fire.

An abandoned commercial building also burned near Chene and Hendrie on the city's east side.

On Detroit's west side four homes burned on Stoepel near Livernois and Margareta Avenue.

The Fire Commissioner told Action News during the height of the fires 236 firefighters were working. One firefighter was injured during the afternoon.

Strong winds are to blame for fueling many of the fires. The winds may also have prompted the flames. The Detroit Fire Department took calls on 140 wires down across the city from 8:00am to 5:00pm Tuesday.

DTE says 26,000 customers are without power in Wayne County.
More to come. Detroit Mayor David Bing is holding a press conference about the blazes as I type.

Personal note: I'd heard about these fires on the radio on the way home, but had no idea of the size of the blaze until I watched this clip. Also, I'm OK, but one of my students lost power and had to go home early tonight.

I was surprised.  These winds aren't any worse than the average Santa Ana back in southern California.  Those don't knock out power back in L.A.  Of course, they do spread brushfires, but not urban house fires.  I guess Detroit isn't used to winds like this when there is no thunderstorm or blizzard.
  • luomo

Does This Dirt Field Look Muslim to You?

Does This Dirt Field Look Muslim to You?

The Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Pa., supposedly honors the brave folks who sacrificed themselves during an in-flight power struggle on 9/11. So why
does its design include a huge Muslim crescent pointing at Mecca? Here we go again.

A group led by the father of a Flight 93 victim will be running full-page ads this Friday and Saturday in a Shanksville-area newspaper, criticizing the perceived Islamic symbol it sees in the memorial's Field of Honor — the dirt circle in the top picture that resembles a topographical map.

At the center of the dispute is the Field of Honor, a circular, tree-lined landmass that will serve as the "heart" of the memorial, as well as a 93-foot Tower of Voices that will contain 40 wind chimes, one for each victim of the crash. Forty groves of red and sugar maple trees also will commemorate the victims, and ponds will be installed to serve as a natural barrier to the nearby Sacred Ground, the final resting place for the passengers and crew of Flight 93.

Basically, it's a level from the Legend of Zelda, but with lots of terrorism.

This design "controversy" was raised five years ago, has popped up occasionally ever since, and is finding new life during the 2010 War on Mosques. A few seconds of googling takes us to a 2005 Michelle Malkin post with an informative animated .gif, for those of you who cannot see the evil Muslim symbol within this secret terrorist beachhead.

Although the National Park Service changed the title of the ring surrounding the Field of Honor from the Crescent of Embrace to the Circle of Embrace and moved some trees and stuff around, just to be polite, critics aren't satisfied with this obvious 9/11 Victory Crescent:

"A more obvious tribute to the terrorists is hard to imagine," reads the ad, which will be published in the Somerset Daily American and was provided in advance to "It is not surprising, then, that the giant crescent would turn out to point to Mecca, and be the centerpiece for the world's largest mosque."


mus | like a bird in a cage

'Youngest' female double murderer jailed

A girl thought to be Britain's youngest female double murderer has been jailed for life.

Lorraine Thorpe, now 16, of Clapgate Lane in Ipswich, was found guilty in August of murdering her father Desmond Thorpe and a woman called Rosalyn Hunt.

Thorpe, 15 when the murders took place in 2009, was told at the Old Bailey she would serve at least 14 years.Collapse )

Will Poland’s former leaders face war crimes charges for hosting secret CIA prison?

Andy Worthington asks: Could war crimes charges in Poland trigger full exposure of the CIA's secret prison programme?

The mainstream media in the United States (and in the UK) has ignored the release last week of documents in Poland confirming that planes chartered by the CIA flew to the site of a secret CIA prison in north eastern Poland in 2002 and 2003. The documents, released by the Polish Border Guard Office, confirm previously released flight information disclosed by the Polish Air Navigation Service Agency, and also confirm that three “high-value detainees” -- Abu Zubaydah, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Ramzi bin al-Shibh -- were flown from Thailand to Poland on December 5, 2002, as I reported exclusively here.
The documents also provide the date for a flight into Poland -- March 7, 2003 -- that corresponds with the date cited for the arrival of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in an article in Der Spiegel last year, and also reveal the number of prisoners on seven separate flights between December 2002 and September 2003. In addition, they provide some tantalizing information about the exchange of prisoners between the Polish prison and another secret CIA facility in Romania.
Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal took up the story. Although reporter Marcin Sobczyk also ignored the recent release of documents, he ran through the story of the prison’s existence, as disclosed in various documents between 2005 and 2009, and explained that the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza had just reported that former Prime Minister Leszek Miller and former President Aleksander Kwasniewski “may face war crime charges for agreeing to host the facility.”
As Sobczyk stated, “Kwasniewski and Miller may stand trial before the State Tribunal, a rarely-used special court designed to try Poland’s top officials.” He added, “The prosecutor on the case wants to ask the Speaker of Parliament to start the criminal procedure against the former leaders, according to the report. The case would first go to a parliamentary committee and then to the lower house of parliament, which has the power to decide whether or not to press charges.”
Adam Bodnar of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, who filed the Freedom of Information requests that secured the release of last week’s documents, provided me with further information, through an English translation of the article in Gazeta Wyborcza, in which it was explained that Jerzy Mierzejewski, the prosecutor responsible for the “top secret” investigation, which opened in 2008, began by “conduct[ing] an investigation about the government officials’ abuse of powers,” but now, according to the newspaper’s sources, “wants to charge them for participation in war crimes.”
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MISC - moustache

In other holy-texts-on-fire news...

Orthodox Jews set fire to hundreds of copies of the New Testament in the latest act of violence against Christian missionaries in the Holy Land.

Or Yehuda Deputy Mayor Uzi Aharon said missionaries recently entered a neighborhood in the predominantly religious town of 34,000 in central Israel, distributing hundreds of New Testaments and missionary material.

After receiving complaints, Aharon said, he got into a loudspeaker car last Thursday and drove through the neighborhood, urging people to turn over the material to Jewish religious students who went door to door to collect it.

"The books were dumped into a pile and set afire in a lot near a synagogue," he said.

The newspaper Maariv reported Tuesday that hundreds of yeshiva students took part in the book-burning. But Aharon told The Associated Press that only a few students were present, and that he was not there when the books were torched.

"Not all of the New Testaments that were collected were burned, but hundreds were," he said.

He said he regretted the burning of the books, but called it a commandment to burn materials that urge Jews to convert.

"I certainly don't denounce the burning of the booklets, he said. I denounce those who distributed the booklets."

Jews worship from the Old Testament, including the Five Books of Moses and the writings of the ancient prophets. Christians revere the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, which contains the ministry of Jesus.

Calev Myers, an attorney who represents Messianic Jews, or Jews who accept Jesus as their savior, demanded in an interview with Army Radio that all those involved be put on trial. He estimated there were 10,000 Messianic Jews, who are also known as Jews for Jesus, in Israel.

Police had no immediate comment.

Israeli authorities and Orthodox Jews frown on missionary activity aimed at Jews, though in most cases it is not illegal. Still, the concept of a Jew burning books is abhorrent to many in Israel because of the association with Nazis torching piles of Jewish books during the Holocaust of World War II.

Earlier this year, the teenage son of a prominent Christian missionary was seriously wounded when a package bomb delivered to the family's West Bank home went off in his hands.

Last year, arsonists burst into a Jerusalem church used by Messianic Jews and set the building on fire, raising suspicions that Jewish extremists were behind the attack. No one claimed responsibility, but the same church was burned down 25 years ago by ultra-Orthodox Jewish extremists.



I want to thank sgrio for bringing this to my attention. This isn't something that's usually allowed, but I think it's ok to bend the rules once in a while.:

liminalia's daughter ran away from home. She's asking as many LJers as possible to spread the word. I copy-pasted the info and uploaded the pics to my Photobucket Pro account for your convenience.:

This is my daughter Morgan. She's 16 and she ran away from home yesterday. Friends say she hopped a Megabus to the Carbondale, IL area to attend the upcoming Rainbow Gathering Oct. 1.


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She may change her destination if she knows she is being looked for. She's supposedly traveling with 2 guys named Tim and Josh, both Caucasian, early 20s or late teens, one with a "cholo tear" tattoo near his eye. She's 5'5", 120#, reddish-blonde hair, long bangs and sidelocks, short in back, always wears her jean vest with studs and patches on it. She may be begging for spare change. If you see her, *please* contact me ( ) and the police! 16 is too young to be running around the country on her own. I'm very worried for her safety. Thanks in advance. Her dad says she left her pack with him, so all she has is what she was wearing: the vest in the pic, a Cannibal Corpse hoodie, a black lace-trimmed cami, jeans and ankle-length black leather boots.


Even if you're not in Illinois, please repost this to your LJ's, other LJ communities, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Tumblr! Tell family and friends in the area to look out! The more this goes around, the better! Thanks in advance ONTD_P!

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ETA 3: SOMEONE FOUND HER!!!</b></big></i></b>

(no subject)

The smart Dutch take on teen sex
Despite parents' allowing romantic sleepovers, the Netherlands has one of the lowest youth pregnancy rates

The Dutch have teen sex figured out

The Dutch could teach American parents a thing or two about the birds and the bees -- namely, the virtues of respect and acceptance of teenage sexuality. I just stumbled across a fascinating study (via Sociological Images) that compares these divergent cultural attitudes toward doing the nasty (which, by the way, is much less likely to be cast as "nasty" or "dirty" in the Netherlands). The report, "Sex, Love, and Autonomy in the Teenage Sleepover" by sociologist Amy Schalet, spills plenty of ink describing the forbidding and fearful American view of premarital teen sex that is all too familiar to most of us stateside. It's her description of parental attitudes in the Netherlands that really surprises, though.

A 2003 survey "found that two thirds of Dutch fifteen to seventeen-year-olds with steady boy- or girlfriends are allowed to spend the night with them in their bedrooms, and that boys and girls are equally likely to get permission for a sleepover." Schalet writes:
Dutch parents, by contrast, downplay the dangerous and difficult sides of teenage sexuality, tending to normalize it. They speak of readiness (er aan toe zijn), a process of becoming physically and emotionally ready for sex that they believe young people can self-regulate, provided they've been encouraged to pace themselves and prepare adequately. Rather than emphasizing gender battles, Dutch parents talk about sexuality as emerging from relationships and are strikingly silent about gender conflicts. And unlike Americans who are often skeptical about teenagers' capacities to fall in love, they assume that even those in their early teens fall in love. They permit sleepovers, even if that requires an "adjustment" period to overcome their feelings of discomfort, because they feel obliged to stay connected and accepting as sex becomes part of their children's lives.

More generally, the country's "moral rules cast sexuality as a part of life that should be governed by self-determination, mutual respect, frank conversation, and the prevention of unintended consequence." It's no coincidence that the country has also secured easy access (for both teens and adults) to contraceptives and other sexual healthcare.

The upshot of all this? Dutch teens are giving birth left and right and plagued by STDs! Oh, no, wait -- the truth is actually the opposite of that. "In 2007, births to American teens (ages fifteen to nineteen) were eight times as high as in the Netherlands," reports Schalet, and the Netherlands generally whoops on the states in terms of STD rates, too. What's more, "it also appears that having sex outside of the context of monogamous romantic relationships isn't as common among Dutch adolescents, especially older ones, as among their American counterparts."

None of this surprises me. I grew up in a very atypical American household where my long-term boyfriend was frequently allowed to sleep over. Eventually, he was allowed to move in with us because of serious family issues on his part -- but that's a whole 'nother story, believe me. My point is that I was allowed an unusual degree of autonomy over my own sex life. Instead of sneaking out of the house to have sex in the backseat of a car, I was engaging in playful exploration in my childhood bedroom with my first love -- and my parents were right across the hall the whole time. I had no sense that sex was a naughty or shameful act; it was a fun and meaningful activity to which I felt fully entitled. And you know what? I consistently used condoms, I was on birth control pills and I insisted that both of us were tested for STDs.

I would never claim that sexual freedom is actually the key to safe sex among teens, and my anecdotal experience certainly shouldn't be the basis for public or parental policy. But with regards to teen pregnancy and STD rates, the numbers just don't lie: We need to be paying attention to the Netherlands.

Seymour Pine Dies at 91; Led Raid on Stonewall Inn

Source: New York Times

Seymour Pine, the deputy police inspector who led the raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, on a hot summer night in 1969 — a moment that helped start the gay liberation movement — died Thursday at an assisted-living center in Whippany, N.J. He was 91.

His death was confirmed by his son Daniel.

Inspector Pine, who later apologized for his role in the raid, was commander of the New York Police Department’s vice squad for Lower Manhattan when he led eight officers into the Stonewall Inn, an illegal club frequented by cross-dressers, just after midnight on June 28, 1969.

Although the ostensible reason for the raid was to crack down on prostitution and other organized-crime activities, it was common at the time for the police to raid gay bars and arrest cross-dressers and harass customers.

The club, on Christopher Street near Seventh Avenue South, was owned by members of the Mafia. Inspector Pine later said he conducted the raid on orders from superiors.

About 200 people were inside. When the officers ordered them to line up and show identification, some refused. Several cross-dressers refused to submit to anatomical inspections. Word of the raid filtered into the street, and soon hundreds of protesters gathered outside, shouting “gay power” and calling the police “pigs.”

The turning point came when a lesbian fought with officers as she was pushed into a patrol car. The crowd rushed the officers, who retreated into the club. Several people ripped out a parking meter and used it as a battering ram; others tried to set fire to the club. It took police reinforcements an hour and a half to clear the street.

It was the start of several nights of rioting, during which the police used force to disperse crowds that sometimes numbered in the thousands. Fewer than three dozen protesters were arrested, but hundreds were detained and released.

“The Stonewall uprising is the signal event in American gay and lesbian civil rights history because it transformed a small movement that existed prior to that night into a mass movement,” David Carter, author of “Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution” (2004), said in an interview. “It is to the gay movement what the fall of the Bastille is to the unleashing of the French Revolution.”

In 2004, Inspector Pine spoke during a discussion of the Stonewall uprising at the New-York Historical Society. At the time of the raid, he said, the police “certainly were prejudiced” against gays, “but had no idea about what gay people were about.”

The department regularly raided gay clubs for two reasons, he said. First, he insisted, many clubs were controlled by organized crime; second, arresting gay people was a way for officers to improve their arrest numbers. “They were easy arrests,” he said. “They never gave you any trouble” — at least until that night.

When someone in the audience said Inspector Pine should apologize for the raid, he did.

“There’s been a stereotype that Seymour Pine was a homophobe,” Mr. Carter said. “He had some of the typical hang-ups and preconceived ideas of the time, but I think he was strictly following orders, not personal prejudice against gay people.”

Seymour Pine was born in Manhattan on July 21, 1919, one of four children of Nathan and Anne Pine. Besides his son Daniel, he is survived by another son, Charles; a brother, Arnold; a sister, Connie Katz; and seven grandchildren. His wife of 45 years, the former Judith Handler, died in 1987.

Soon after graduating from Brooklyn College in 1941, he joined the police force, but within months he was serving in the Army, first in Africa and later in Europe. He returned to the department after the war, rising to deputy inspector in the late 1960s. He retired in 1976.

“He once told me,” Mr. Carter said, “ ‘If what I did helped gay people, then I’m glad.’ ”