September 27th, 2010

I think because I am

Why black church culture rejects homosexuality?

Why black church culture rejects homosexuality
By Shayne Lee

As a sociologist who studies black churches, my research allows for compelling conversations with some of our nation's most powerful religious leaders. But my most memorable interview to date was not with a celebrity preacher, but a lesser known young gay Christian I'll call David.

Like many black Christians, David grew up in a theologically conservative church culture that views the Bible as the authoritative word of God. This supplied David with a healthy dose of guilt and regret for succumbing to same-sex cravings, eventually leading to his despondent spiritual state. In gripping detail, David recalled spending many days and nights fasting and praying for God to "deliver" him from his homosexuality.

The recent allegations of four young men against Atlanta, Georgia, megachurch pastor Bishop Eddie Long have curious onlookers marveling at the irony of how a prominent preacher could find himself staring at the barrel of the same gun he aimed against homosexuality for years.

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This actually a good article. And, as always, DON'T READ THE COMMENTS.
milo v.

Because helping people is obviously a crime

Water Drops for Migrants. Kindness, or Offense?

BUENOS AIRES NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, Ariz. — In this remote, semidesert landscape along the United States-Mexico border, water is a precious commodity — and a contentious one, too.

Two years ago, Daniel J. Millis was ticketed for littering after he was caught by a federal Fish and Wildlife officer placing gallon jugs of water for passing immigrants in the brush of this 118,000-acre preserve.

“I do extreme sports, and I know I couldn’t walk as far as they do,” said Mr. Millis, driving through the refuge recently. “It’s no surprise people are dying.”

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Leaked document leaves Langbroek red-faced over tasers for teachers idea

QUEENSLAND teachers would be given Taser stun guns to control unruly students under a leaked State Opposition draft policy.

In a move labelled "ridiculous" by parents, Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek's office proposed handing teachers the 50,000 volt electro-shock weapons for protection against rising school violence.

A spokesman for Mr Langbroek yesterday admitted the stun gun idea - presented the same as other Opposition policy formulation documents - was created in the Liberal National Party's parliamentary offices.

Amid conflicting allegations over which of Mr Langbroek's policy advisers created the document, the spokesman yesterday claimed the plan was a joke among several staff.

"Only a handful of staff had shared the joke without the knowledge of any MP," the spokesman said.

"The chief-of-staff made it clear that these types of jokes were unacceptable."

But the Bligh Government insisted the document promoted child abuse and showed that the LNP had no respectable policies to be fit to govern.

The damaging leak follows a horror week for Mr Langbroek, whose leadership was under threat after he dumped an outspoken shadow minister.

The document, which was shared among policy advisers, said giving teachers Tasers would provide a valuable discipline tool, allow control of the entire class without physical contact and ensure class concentration.

It also noted that the cost of a roll-out could be offset by financial and social benefits including decreased expenditure on stress leave for teachers and decreased rates of anti-social behaviour.

"The most common complaint from teachers is that there are no alternatives for discipline," the document said.

"In previous years, they had a choice - limited to wooden products but a choice none the less."

Acting Premier Paul Lucas yesterday said the leak was "right from the top".

"If any parent put a Taser on a child, they would be in the District Court staring down the barrel of a jail sentence - and they are suggesting they have staff who think child abuse is a joke," he said.

"It is a further illustration, as we have seen over the last few days, of their lack of unity and their disintegration."

Queensland Council of Parents and Citizens' Associations state president Margaret Leary condemned the plan.

"It's absolutely ridiculous," she said. "We want some positive real policies that are workable. If it is a practical joke, then it is a very distasteful one."

Queensland Teachers Union president Steve Ryan agreed.

Mr Langbroek had "terminated the contract of one of the staffers involved", his spokesman said yesterday, but there are conflicting claims over who created the document.

LNP economic policy adviser Pete Coulson was sacked after he was caught sleeping in his office at the end of a parliament week. He was woken by a colleague after the hour-long snooze on September 3 and was dismissed soon after.

But the Taser document appears to have been created on August 13.

Mr Coulson yesterday said he did not create the document and his dismissal was related to other issues. "This was not my policy area and I did not write that document."


franklin sherman

New MPAA Internet Censorship Bill

Analysis by the EFF:

Censorship of the Internet Takes Center Stage in "Online Infringement" Bill
Legislative Analysis by Richard Esguerra

Senator Patrick Leahy yesterday introduced the "Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act" (COICA). This flawed bill would allow the Attorney General and the Department of Justice to break the Internet one domain at a time — by requiring domain registrars/registries, ISPs, DNS providers, and others to block Internet users from reaching certain websites. The bill would also create two Internet blacklists. The first is a list of all the websites hit with a censorship court order from the Attorney General. The second, more worrying, blacklist is a list of domain names that the Department of Justice determines — without judicial review — are "dedicated to infringing activities." The bill only requires blocking for domains in the first list, but strongly suggests that domains on the second list should be blocked as well by providing legal immunity for Internet intermediaries and DNS operators who decide to block domains on the second blacklist as well. (It's easy to predict that there will be tremendous pressure for Internet intermediaries of all stripes to block these "deemed infringing" sites on the second blacklist.)

COICA is a fairly short bill, but it could have a longstanding and dangerous impact on freedom of speech, current Internet architecture, copyright doctrine, foreign policy, and beyond. In 2010, if there's anything we've learned about efforts to re-write copyright law to target "piracy" online, it's that they are likely to have unintended consequences.

This is a censorship bill that runs roughshod over freedom of speech on the Internet. Free speech is vitally important to democracy, which is why the government is restricted from suppressing speech except in very specific, narrowly-tailored situations. But this bill is the polar opposite of narrow — not only in the broad way that it tries to define a site "dedicated to infringing activities," but also in the solution that it tries to impose — a block on a whole domain, and not just the infringing part of the site.

We note that the DMCA already gives copyright owners legal tools to remove infringing material piece-by-piece, and to obtain injunctions requiring ISPs to block certain offshore infringing websites. The misuse of the existing DMCA provisions have had a tremendously damaging impact on fair use and free expression. By comparison, COICA streamlines and vastly expands this; it would allow the AG to shoot down a whole domain including all the blog posts, images, backups, and files underneath it. In other words, it's not just possible but probable that a great deal of legitimate, protected speech will be taken down in the name of copyright enforcement.

Text of the bill:
Act against this:

This could pass as early as Friday, they are trying to cram it through.
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Japan asks China to cover damage to patrol boats

Japan asks China to cover damage to patrol boats

Japan asked China to pay for damage to Japanese patrol boats hit by a Chinese fishing vessel near disputed islands, as simmering tension between the two Asian neighbors showed no signs of easing Monday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku's remarks came a day after Japan's prime minister rejected China's demand that Tokyo apologize and offer compensation for the arrest of the Chinese boat captain earlier this month near islands claimed by both countries.

The captain was released Friday and has since returned to China, but the diplomatic back-and-forth since then indicates nationalistic sentiments stirred up by the incident are not dissipating.

"We will ask China to pay for damage incurred to coast guard vessels," Sengoku told reporters at a morning press conference, saying the request had been relayed to Beijing via diplomatic channels.

Sengoku also said it was now China's turn to decide whether it wants to repair bilateral ties.

"At this point, the ball is now in China's court," he said.

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I think China pushed Japan too much with this--or rather, when they started talking about Japan paying compensation for this. Japan was already stinging from the pressure and releasing the captain, and to, in the eyes of many, capitulate (there was a news story in the Japanese news about the way the foreign press was saying Japan gave in under pressure), and then to turn around and insist on compensation, which would have been a de facto admission from Japan that they were wrong was one push too far. Both Maehara (the minister of foreign affairs) and Kan were emphatic on a) the Senkaku Islands are Japan's and Japan considers the matter closed and b) they aren't paying damages. I'm not at all surprised that Japan is starting to dig its heels in now.

Had China not raised a stink about Japan needing to pay damages, this may had faded somewhat quietly, which is what I suspect Japan wanted by releasing the captain--but the images of the captain flashing a giant V sign when he got off the plane, the reports in Japan about the Chinese press reporting this all as Japanese aggression, and now the requests for damages when Japan released the captain for the sake of diplomacy (which is basically what a news report I watched said--the government asked the courts for 'consideration for the diplomatic situation') and at a time when China is still holding four Japanese nationals under really sketchy-looking timing (they were arrested right when this was blowing up) means that this looks like it is could get messy. :/
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Cone of shame

And the crazy keeps on coming

From the Huffington post

Tiny Upstate New York Town Wants Local Muslims to Dig Up Their Cemetery
by: Andrew Reinbach

A town in upstate New York is trying to force a local Muslim religious community to dig up a small cemetery on its property and never bury anyone there again because it says it's illegal.

"What we would not want is an unauthorized cemetery," says Bob McCarthy, town supervisor of the Delaware County town of Sidney, population 5,993. "We're taking care of a bunch of cemeteries, and they just came in and buried the bodies, and didn't go through...there's no funding there, it's not a standard kind of deal, and it's going to become a liability to the town."

So what steps have the Muslims skipped? "I don't know what the exact law is," he says.

Which is the problem; because whether or not the town government likes it, there are no laws in Sidney -- or New York state, for that matter -- covering cemeteries on private land -- religious cemeteries included. Plus, the town approved the cemetery in 2005.

In any event, the cemetery, in the tiny hamlet of Sidney Center, was never a secret -- and couldn't have been: When the first body arrived in November, 2009, it had a 3-car escort from the Passaic, New Jersey Police Department, which necessarily told local authorities it was arriving.

And there's certainly nothing illegal about it as far as the State Troopers are concerned. "We looked into the cemetery and it was determined what they were doing is lawful," says Captain James Barnes of the New York State Police, Troop "C," based in Sidney.

This apparently isn't stopping the town board. Town attorney Joseph Ermeti wouldn't speak with us, but two other town officers indicated that in the absence of specific laws forbidding the cemetery, the town may try for a court order to force the Muslims to dig up the graves, based on a New York law against cemeteries on mortgaged land -- a technicality that covers the Muslim site, sitting in a hillside glade no larger than a Manhattan studio apartment.

Shaykh Abdul Kerim al-Kibrisi, leader of the Sufi group -- called Osmanlı Nakş-ı'bendi Hakkani Dergahı -- says he just discovered the problem himself, and is correcting it -- his options being to either subdivide the property to exclude the cemetery, or to pay off the mortgage, which is under $200,000.

In any event, whether a lawyer could convince a court that a 650-square foot cemetery on mortgaged property so offends the dignity of the law that it merits digging up bodies is the sort of fine distinction only lawyer could love. Likewise, there's the question of whether taking such a course is wise, since the town's actions could attract all sorts of unwelcome attention -- and possible civil rights lawsuits.

"Islamophobia is something we're definitely aware of," says James Mulvany, Deputy Commissioner of the New York Division of Human Rights.

Some interested parties are certainly looking at the religious bias angle -- in part because the board took its first official steps in July, just as the so-called "Terror Mosque" controversy was making headlines.

"It's like Sherlock Holmes used to say," says Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has attracted its own Islamophobes. "When everything that's untrue is disproved, what's left must be true, and this is obviously bias."

Feelings in Sidney about the cemetery are certainly strong. Asking a sampling of people in Sidney drew responses ranging from a deer-in-the-headlights stare followed by categorically denying knowing anything about it, to a strong stare and a curt, "mind your own business."

In fairness to both the town and Sidney Center -- population 1,391, area 44 square miles -- the Shaykh, in his flowing robes, long beard and turban, must cut quite a figure to deeply traditional, rural Americans.

And the fears that fasten on him and his followers aren't helped by the fact that in the past year or so, Muslims have been buying property near the center, spurring speculation that the ultimate plan is to create a town-within-a-town, governed by Sharia law.

"I understand [those fears], but that's not our intention," says the Shaykh, who says no more than a half-dozen Muslims have bought property nearby. "They just want to participate [in the center], get away from the city, and live a clean life."

And in fact that's exactly why the Shaykh and his 30-some followers moved to the 50-acre sheep farm in Sidney Center in 2002, his basic teachings being that since the world is what it is, people who want to live a spiritual life need to live apart from it -- not unlike Hasidic Jews or Amish people.

But that hope hasn't stopped what the community considers harassment. Hans Hass, a spokesman for the group and member of the local EMS team, says that while most relations with their neighbors are civil, some trucks do blare their horns and throw rocks at the little farmhouse on Wheat Hill Road.

Then, he says, there have been the "dozens" of visits by various police departments since 2002 -- including one in 2003, made by the FBI on a Muslim holy day -- the Eid-ul Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan.

That visit, says Capt. Barnes, was triggered by a report that a man wanted for murder was seen on the property. Hass says it was because of reports of "people with turbans." Captain Barnes says his men have made "only about a half-dozen" official visits to the center, although he concedes there may have been more, unofficial visits from members of his Troop as well as Delaware County and Sidney police.

At the end of the day, the entire hoo-hah may be the result of third parties using the town as a cat's paw to attack the Shaykh and his followers. An email from one Salih Kalfaoglu and made available to me accuses the center of being a fraudulent, for-profit venture (an email to the address on the email requesting comment wasn't returned).

Another email, from McCarthy to a third party, discussed telephone calls from someone claiming Tea Party affiliation who "...wanted to know how he could help with 'the Muslims.'" In that email, McCarthy says "all outward signs...indicate this is a for profit venture and should not receive any of the benefits afforded to a religion."

None of this, says Hass, who was born in Maine, is what the Shaykh and his followers want. "We hope to put down our roots and live here as Americans."

Me - I hate Christmas

Unfiltered sketches of life in Afghanistan

In August, I embarked on my first trip outside the United States, trading the calm of Portland for the chaos of Afghanistan, as election violence and deployed NATO troops reached their zenith. Along with Ted Rall and Steven Cloud, two fellow cartoonists, we traveled unembedded and without the support of any media organization (or security) to get an up-close look at Afghan life nine years after the U.S. invasion. Collapse )
aladdin needs to get a fucking job.
  • chaya

Ironic Obit is Ironic

The owner of the Segway company has died, apparently in an accident involving one of his upright two-wheeled vehicles, police in England said Monday.

The body of James Heselden, 62, was pulled from the River Wharfe in northern England on Sunday, police said.

A Segway-type vehicle was recovered from the river, police said.

The incident is not thought to be suspicious, police said.

Heselden's family said in a statement that "there is absolutely nothing to suggest it was anything other than a tragic accident.

"Our family has been left devastated by the sudden and tragic loss of a much-loved father and husband," the family said. "The exact circumstances of the accident are still being clarified and will, of course, be the subject of an inquest."

Heselden was the chairman of Hesco Bastion, a company that manufactures protective walls used by military troops. He also owned Segway Inc.

Hesco Bastion confirmed "with great sadness" that Heselden had died "in a tragic accident near his home."

It hailed his charitable work, saying that a donation of 10 million British pounds (nearly $16 million) to a local foundation earlier this month raised his lifetime charitable giving to 23 million pounds (over $36 million).

The British veterans' charity Help for Heroes was another beneficiary of his donations, the company statement said.

Source is in before Doctor Who segway gif.

The Fox primary: complicated, contractual


Hey mods! I'm sorry if this is posted twice in the queue. My computer was acting wonky the first time I tried submitting it.

With Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee all making moves indicating they may run for president, their common employer is facing a question that hasn’t been asked before: How does a news organization cover White House hopefuls when so many are on the payroll?

The answer is a complicated one for Fox News.

As Fox’s popularity grows among conservatives, the presence of four potentially serious Republican candidates as paid contributors is beginning to frustrate competitors of the network, figures within its own news division and rivals of what some GOP insiders have begun calling “the Fox candidates.”

With the exception of Mitt Romney, Fox now has deals with every major potential Republican presidential candidate not currently in elected office.

The matter is of no small consequence, since it’s uncertain how other news organizations can cover the early stages of the presidential race when some of the main GOP contenders are contractually forbidden to appear on any TV network besides Fox.

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Warm tone butterfly (by fruitpunch_it)

Aliens have deactivated British and US nuclear missiles, say US military pilots

Aliens have landed, infiltrated British nuclear missile sites and deactivated the weapons, according to US military pilots.

The beings have repeated their efforts in the US and have been active since 1948, the men said, and accused the respective governments of trying to keep the information secret.

The unlikely claims were compiled by six former US airmen and another member of the military who interviewed or researched the evidence of 120 ex-military personnel.

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Kim Jong-Il's Son Slated to Assume Power

SEOUL, South Korea — The youngest son of Kim Jong-il, North Korea’s reclusive leader, has been promoted to a military general, that country’s official Korean Central News Agency reported early Tuesday, the clearest sign yet that he is in line to succeed his father as the country’s leader. A brief dispatch by KCNA said the son, Kim Jong-un, and five others had been made generals in the Korea People’s Army. It was the first time that KCNA or any North Korean news outlet had mentioned the son, who is either 27 or 28, by name.

“This promotion of Kim Jong-un to four-star general carries a lot of weight in North Korea, and it has the connotation of very senior ‘top brass,’ ” said Lee Sung-yoon, a North Korea expert at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. “This is a very big deal.”
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