ASAN, South Korea — Some 7,200 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows Sunday in the Unification Church's second mass wedding this year.
Church founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon, a self-proclaimed messiah, offered blessings for the participating couples gathered at Sun Moon University, the school he founded in Asan, south of Seoul.
"I pronounce marriage for the blessed beautiful women and handsome men standing before God, the Lord, the world, and myself," said the 90-year-old Moon.
The couples exchanged vows and held hands to pray during the one-hour spectacle, which was broadcast live online and through satellite television to 194 countries, church officials said.
"We've always grown up, hoping that we could find someone with whom we can then share a family to invite God in and to bring rejoice to God," 22-year-old Italian bride Mika Kanno said as she stood with her British husband Chris Koconey.
The participating couples also threw up their hands and cheered "Hurrah!" in unison.
The church apparently did not schedule the ceremony for the novelty of the 10-10-10 date.
Critics say the mass weddings prove the church brainwashes its followers. Followers routinely let Moon pick their spouses on the belief that he has divine insight and many meet their future spouses for the first time at the mass weddings.
Moon, who says he was 15 when Jesus Christ called upon him to carry out his unfinished work, has courted controversy and criticism since founding the Unification Church in Seoul in 1954.
He held his first mass wedding in the early 1960s, arranging the marriages of 24 couples himself and renewing the vows of 12 married couples.
Over the next two decades, the weddings grew in scale and began to involve followers from Japan, Europe, Africa, Latin America, the U.S. and elsewhere.
A 1982 mass wedding at Madison Square Garden in New York, the first held outside South Korea, drew tens of thousands of participants — and protesters. The ceremonies had been smaller in recent years.
October 18th, 2010
ASAN, South Korea — Some 7,200 South Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows Sunday in the Unification Church's second mass wedding this year.
Project Prevention is offering to pay £200 to any drug user in London, Glasgow, Bristol, Leicester and parts of Wales who agrees to be operated on.
The first person in the UK to accept the cash is drug addict "John" from Leicester who says he "should never be a father".
The move has been criticised by some drug charities who work with addicts.
Project Prevention founder Barbara Harris admitted her methods amounted to "bribery", but said it was the only way to stop babies being physically and mentally damaged by drugs during pregnancy.
Drug treatment charity Addaction estimates one million children in the UK are living with parents who abuse drugs.
Pregnant addicts can pass on the dependency to the unborn child, leading to organ and brain damage.
Mrs Harris set up her charity in North Carolina after adopting the children of a crack addict.
Damage to children
Speaking to the BBC's Inside Out programme, she said: "The birth mother of my children obviously dabbled in all drugs and alcohol - she literally had a baby every year for eight years.
"I get very angry about the damage that drugs do to these children."
After paying 3,500 addicts across the United States not to have children, she is now visiting parts of the UK blighted by drugs to encourage users to undergo "long-term birth control" for cash.
John, a 38-year-old addict from Leicester, is the first person in the UK to accept money to have a vasectomy after being involved in drugs since he was 12.
He said: "It was something that I'd been thinking about for a long time.
"I won't be able to support a kid; I can just about manage to support myself."
Simon Antrobus, chief executive of Addaction, said while no-one wanted to see children brought up in a drug-using environment, there was no place for Project Prevention in the UK.
"It exploits very vulnerable people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol at probably the lowest point in their lives," he said.
The Reverend Robert Black, of Victory Outreach, which works with former addicts in east London, said he thought Project Prevention's aims were "very devious".
Maria Cripps, project manager at the Hackney Dovetail Centre which works with drug users and their carers, said: "I think Barbara uses some very extreme examples to get her point across. It might work in America but Great Britain is a very different country."
But Reverend Martin Blakebrough, director of Camden's Kaleidoscope Project in north London, said sterilisation was "worth considering" if it was right for the individual.
A spokesperson at the British Medical Association said: "The BMA's ethics committee does not have a view on the charity Project Prevention.
"As with all requests for treatment, doctors need to be confident that the individual has the capacity to make the specific decision at the time the decision is required.
"The BMA's ethics committee also believes that doctors should inform patients of the benefits of reversible contraception so that the patients have more reproductive choices in the future."
U.S. bloggers call for boycott of Canadian-made halal Campbell's soup
The controversial Ground Zero mosque in New York and Campbell's Canadian-made tomato soup have nothing in common, one would think.
Yet they're being stirred in the same pot by some conservative bloggers in the U.S., who say Islamic terrorists are behind both projects.
Pamela Geller, who runs a widely read anti-Muslim site called Atlas Shrugs, is calling for a boycott of some 15 soups made by the Canadian subsidiary of New Jersey-based Campbell Soup Co..
The soups are certified as halal food, meaning they're prepared according to Islamic dietary laws.
Sold in Canada, the soups are certified by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which has been certifying halal foods since 1988.
But Ms. Geller claims ISNA has ties to terrorist groups, including Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
“No one is suggesting they not have halal food. I'm not against halal food any more than I'm against kosher food. My issue is who's doing the certifying,” Ms. Geller told The Washington Post Sunday.
A number of conservative groups, including JihadWatch.org, have joined Ms. Geller's call for the soup boycott. A Facebook page called Boycott Campbell Soup counted more than 3,500 members as of Sunday night.
What seems to be lost in the American blogosphere is the fact that Campbell's halal soups are not offered in the U.S., and the company says it's not planning to.
The company says ISNA was selected after consultations with professionals in the field of Islamic foods and nutrition, and with Islamic scholars.
ISNA has denied any ties to Hamas and has specifically condemned religious extremism and violence, the Washington Post said in a story headlined “A Canadian line of Campbell's soups has activists stewing over Islamic connection.”
And the Muslim Brotherhood, a fundamentalist political movement founded in Egypt in the 1920s, is not included in the U.S. State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations, the report said.
The New York Times has also published a profile of the 52-year-old mother of four, who critics say is spreading fear of Islam and a dehumanization of Muslims.
According to the NY Times report, Geller's Atlas Shrugs, which gets about 200,000 unique visitors a month, helped draw thousands to protests against the Ground Zero mosque project earlier this summer. She's also the leader of an organization called Stop Islamization of America.
It is not the first time Ms. Geller looked north for inspiration.
In 2008, she issued an appeal to raise $4,000 for a headstone for a Muslim-Canadian girl who was killed by her family for refusing to wear a headscarf, the NY Times reported.
Aqsa Parvez, a 16-year-old woman from Mississauga, Ont., was killed by her father and brother after a dispute over her choice of dress, her friends and other issues. The two men were sentenced to life in prison after guilty pleas last June to second-degree murder.
As for the impact the boycott calls have had on Campbell's soup business, the company says it has not noticed any effect on its sales.
Hide yo bowls, and hide yo spoons.
Buying a soup made by an American company is funding terrorists.
Eleven people were arrested at The Club-Dallas on Friday night, Oct. 8, when police raided the gay bathhouse in Deep Ellum for the first time in several years.
Ten patrons of The Club reportedly were charged with either public lewdness or indecent exposure, while one employee was charged with interfering with police. DPD would only release records related to three of the 11 arrests, saying Dallas Voice needed to file a freedom of information request to obtain additional details.
Laura Martin, DPD’s liaison officer to the gay community, said the vice unit raided the establishment on Swiss Avenue in response to a complaint. But police wouldn’t say who had complained.
Martin said she believes it marked the first time since 2003 vice officers have gone in to the 34-year-old establishment, one of nine similar clubs nationwide.
“We’ve done operations in that club since the late ’70s. There just hasn’t been one in a while because there hasn’t been a complaint,” Martin said. “They [officers] were in there for a legitimate reason, and obviously there was illegal activity going on or that many arrests wouldn’t have been made.”
The Club Dallas on Thursday, Oct. 14 issued a one-sentence statement about the raid.
“The Club Dallas management is committed to pursuing justice for and defending the rights of each of its members,” the statement read.
The Club reportedly helped bond out arrested members from jail and has offered them legal representation.
Martin, meanwhile, warned that additional police activity at the business is possible.
“When somebody complains we have to go in, just like when someone calls 911 we have to go to the call,” Martin said. “Now that so much activity was found there, they can probably expect more vice operations there. … I’ve certainly never been there, but I’ve heard that public lewdness does go on in the club. All you have to do is keep your ears open.”
Though it is billed as “a private men’s club,” The Club Dallas is considered a public place for the purposes of Texas’ public lewdness statute, according to one criminal defense attorney who frequently represents people charged with the crime.
Public lewdness, defined as sexual intercourse or sexual contact in a public place, is a class-A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum $4,000 fine.
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Source: Dallas Voice
As a regular bathhouse patron, fuck this shit. Police raids on gay spaces are supposed to be something that used to happen in the bad old days, FFS.
A device to discourage texting while driving. A self-powered hydroelectric water purification device. A test of whether foam really is the best material to pad the inside of a safety helmet.
These projects weren't put together by some of the country's best scientists, but were assembled by up-and-comers who won a range of science, technology, engineering and math competitions. They brought their projects to a science fair at the White House on Monday.
President Barack Obama reveled in it. He spent nearly an hour viewing 11 science projects on display in the State Dining Room, ranging from cancer therapies to solar-power cars, water purification systems and robotic wheelchairs. And he intensely questioned the presenters.
"It's hard to describe just how impressive these young people are," Obama, who is emphasizing math and science education, said afterward at a reception. Their work "is a testament to the potential that awaits when we inspire young people to take part in the scientific enterprise."
Obama, who shows a personal fascination with science, said these victories often go unnoticed.
"You know, when you win first place at a science fair, nobody's rushing the field or dumping Gatorade over your head," said Obama, who has welcomed many championship professional and college athletic teams to the White House.
"But in many ways, our future depends on what happens in those contests, what happens when a young person is engaged in conducting an experiment or writing a piece of software or solving a hard math problem or designing a new gadget," he said.
Obama said the U.S. is being outpaced by other countries and he wants American students to move from the middle to the top in science and math over the decade.
He also announced his appearance in an episode of "Mythbusters," a Discovery Channel program that uses science to uncover the truth behind urban legends. Obama has already taped his appearance and the episode is scheduled to air Dec. 8. Discovery said that episode will consider whether Greek scientist Archimedes set fire to an invading Roman fleet using only mirrors and the reflected rays of the sun.
Now about those helmets.
Three boys from Los Angeles explained their testing method to Obama and said they concluded that foam isn't the best material to protect the head in a bike or other safety helmet. A gel liner is best, they said, but it's also more expensive.
Coming in January: Obama to appear on a season of "I'm a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here!"
Another Outrage: Pushing Back Social Security Benefits
Friday 15 October 2010
by: Rick Wolff | MR Zine | Op-Ed
In France, millions march against the Sarkozy plan to push the age of eligibility for full retirement benefits from 65 to 67. "We can no longer afford" to pay for workers' retirements at age 65, Sarkozy says. Similarly, rumors swirl in Washington and beyond that Obama's special Deficit Reduction Commission is tilting toward similar changes for Social Security here.
What a dishonorable way to "reduce government deficits." It amounts to reneging on commitments made to working people. For many decades they contributed to Social Security, and made decisions about their savings, expecting and counting on the Social Security retirement age promised to them for all those years.
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f you’ve ever watched C-SPAN or C-SPAN 2 with any regularity, you know that it is the opposite of salacious. Usually the most interesting thing that can happen while you’re watching it is that you realize that you can recognize Senator Evan Bayh by voice alone. But recently on Book TV (the Lost of C-SPAN 2), something really strange happened. A panel discussion that was supposed to be about writers with varying political leanings very slowly morphed into a man explaining that he dated one of the other panelists, and that she is a monster who cheated on him and wanted to play a weird power game in which she would set up a couple just so she could seduce the man in order to confuse him and hurt the other woman. Jesus Christ! And the guy doesn’t even seem that upset about it. And then she doesnt’ even seem upset that he’s bringing it up in front of an audience and literally DOZENS of people watching on TV nation wide.
The really good part starts at 3:33, but if you have the patience, I recommend watching it from the beginning. This guy really nails it.
Personally, you should watch the whole thing
Assange has been establishing a base in Sweden in order to benefit from the Nordic country's strict journalist protection laws. He is also being investigated over rape allegations in Sweden, which he has denied, calling them baseless.
"The board today rejected Assange's application for a work and residency permit," said Hakan Gestrin, a spokesman at the Swedish Migration Board. He gave no reason for the rejection of the permit, citing confidentiality rules.
Assange, an Australian citizen, can appeal the decision within three weeks.
The Pentagon said Sunday it had a 120-member team ready to review an expected leak this month by the whistle-blowing Wikileaks of as many as 500,000 Iraq war documents. Wikileaks released some 70,000 U.S. military files on Afghanistan in July.
The Perfect Storm
Monday 18 October 2010
by: Robert Reich | RobertReich.org
It's a perfect storm. And I'm not talking about the impending dangers facing Democrats. I'm talking about the dangers facing our democracy.
First, income in America is now more concentrated in fewer hands than it's been in 80 years. Almost a quarter of total income generated in the United States is going to the top 1 percent of Americans.
The top one-tenth of one percent of Americans now earn as much as the bottom 120 million of us.
Who are these people? With the exception of a few entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, they're top executives of big corporations and Wall Street, hedge-fund managers, and private equity managers. They include the Koch brothers, whose wealth increased by billions last year, and who are now funding tea party candidates across the nation.
Which gets us to the second part of the perfect storm. A relatively few Americans are buying our democracy as never before. And they're doing it completely in secret.
Hundreds of millions of dollars are pouring into advertisements for and against candidates — without a trace of where the dollars are coming from. They're laundered through a handful of groups. Fred Maleck, whom you may remember as deputy director of Richard Nixon's notorious Committee to Reelect the President (dubbed Creep in the Watergate scandal), is running one of them. Republican operative Karl Rove runs another. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a third.
The Supreme Court's Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission made it possible. The Federal Election Commission says only 32 percent of groups paying for election ads are disclosing the names of their donors. By comparison, in the 2006 midterm, 97 percent disclosed; in 2008, almost half disclosed.
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ABC News's Michelle Dubert reports:
Perhaps the New York Post editorial board didn’t take too kindly to New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino’s (R) loaded threat to “take out” the paper’s veteran scribe Fred Dicker.
In a surprising move today, the right-leaning Post, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorporation, endorsed Democrat Andrew Cuomo, the state’s attorney general, saying there was “something refreshing” about Paladino at the outset of his campaign, until “a screw popped loose.”
“He won the primary by showing that he understood the frustrations New Yorkers grapple with daily -- and by speaking to them, directly and forcefully…Then a screw popped loose. Paladino revealed himself to be undisciplined, unfocused and untrustworthy -- that is, fundamentally unqualified for the office he seeks,” the editorial reads, adding that he gave Cuomo “a free pass” by growing silent on the issues.
Paladino’s brusque style, controversial remarks and desire to “take a baseball bat” to Albany has kept him in the headlines despite trailing Cuomo badly in the polls. A new New York Times poll released last night has Cuomo leading Paladino 59 percent to 24 percent among likely voters.
Paladino’s fame – or notoriety – came quickly with his unlikely primary victory over former Rep. Rick Lazio (R) on September 14. But since then, he and his campaign have received more attention for his gaffes and dismissiveness with the media than for his plan to fix New York’s struggling economy.
The much-publicized scuffle with Dicker came after the reporter approached Paladino asking for evidence to support his accusations that Cuomo had had extra-marital affairs. Paladino instead asked why the paper “sent goons after my daughter,” referencing the Post running stories on Paladino’s mistress and their 10-year-old daughter, culminating in the threat, “You send another goon to my daughter’s house, I’ll take you out, buddy.” Paladino’s campaign manager ended the confrontation by intervening, telling Dicker he was working for Cuomo, was “way out of line” and is “a terrible journalist.”
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On Saturday, September 18th, with the tapping of the first keg by Munich Mayor Christian Ude and a cry of "O'zapft is!", Oktoberfest 2010 officially started in Munich, Germany. While this year marks the 177th Oktoberfest to be held, 2010 is the 200th anniversary of the very first Oktoberfest in 1810 (some years were missed due to war or cholera outbreaks). The Oktoberfest tradition started in 1810 to celebrate the October 12th marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The citizens of Munich were invited to join in the festivities which were held over five days on the fields in front of the city gates. This year, festivities [ran] until October 4, 2010. Collected here are a few images from [that] opening weekend.( Collapse )
Four men snared last year in an FBI sting were convicted Monday of plotting to blow up New York City synagogues and shoot down military planes with the help of a paid informant who convinced them he was a terror operative.
A jury in federal court in Manhattan deliberated eight days before finding alleged mastermind James Cromitie and three co-defendants guilty of charges including conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles to kill U.S. officers and employees.
Cromitie and David Williams were convicted of all eight counts, while Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen were convicted of seven of eight counts.
The trial featured 13 days of testimony by undercover informant Shahed Hussain, who met Cromitie at a mosque north of New York City. Prosecutors also relied on hundreds of hours of video and audiotape of the men discussing the scheme at the informant's home, handling fake weapons — even praying together.
The FBI-orchestrated sting never put New Yorkers at risk. But the defendants "thought this was real — real bombs, real missiles — every step of the way," Assistant U.S. Attorney David Raskin said during closing arguments.
The defense sought to diminish the tapes' impact by calling them a "movie written, produced and directed" by the FBI.
The film director, lawyers said, was Hussain — a 53-year-old Pakistani immigrant they sought to portray as a master manipulator who entrapped a crew of aimless nobodies. They also argued he would do anything to win the government's favor and escape serious punishment in a separate fraud case.
Hussain "is a liar, straight up," Cromitie's lawyer, Vincent Briccetti, told jurors. "He's not just any old liar — he lied to you."
Added Briccetti: "Without the help of the FBI, Cromitie wasn't going to do anything."
The FBI assigned Hussain in 2008 to infiltrate a mosque in Newburgh, about an hour north of New York. After meeting Cromitie, he told him he was a representative of a Pakistani terror organization that was eager to finance a holy war on U.S. soil.
Prosecutors alleged that in meetings with Hussain, the 44-year-old Cromitie hatched the scheme to blow up the synagogues in the Bronx with remote-controlled bombs. They say he also recruited the other men — Onta Williams, 34, David Williams, 29, and Payen, 28 — to help him shoot down cargo planes at the Air National Guard base in Newburgh with heat-seeking missiles.
Agents arrested the men in 2009 after they planted the devices — fakes supplied by the FBI — in the Riverdale section of the Bronx while under heavy surveillance.
In one of several videos played at trial, the men could be seen practicing with a shoulder missile launcher and praying together in a bugged warehouse in Connecticut two weeks before the planned attack. At the end of the tape, Cromitie, two of his cohorts and the informant bow their heads in prayer.
In other tapes, Cromitie was heard ranting against Jews and expressing his desire to retaliate against U.S. military aggression in the Middle East.
"I'm ready to do this damn thing," he said. "Anything for the cause."
Prosecutors said the tapes proved the defendants didn't need prompting by the defendant to launch an attack.
"The FBI did exactly what it's supposed to do — it caught four dangerous men before they could do any real harm," Raskin said. "Ordinary people wouldn't even dream of what these defendants did."
Jurors deliberated for more than a week. A judge denied a request for a mistrial last week after a juror came across a document in an evidence binder that shouldn't have been there. The juror was dismissed.