December 4th, 2010

The Gang
  • acmeeoy

Diverse and Divided, but Praying as One

When he was asked to present a six-word bio at an interfaith breakfast recently, Rabbi Mark Sameth of the Pleasantville Community Synagogue came up with this: “Nashville songwriter turned rabbi: Who knew?”

Maybe it took a country-and-western rabbi to put together the interfaith Thanksgiving service that ended Sunday with Christians, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists singing “This Land Is Your Land” along with Woody Guthrie’s daughter, Nora Guthrie.

But then the idea for doing the song came not from Rabbi Sameth, but from the Rev. Steven Phillips, pastor of the United Methodist Church of Pleasantville, who is sort of a bluegrass minister. If it takes a country-and-western rabbi and a bluegrass minister to make a point, so much the better.

This is the season of good vibrations, or at least better vibrations than the rest of another crummy year. And interfaith services in Westchester County and elsewhere are getting to be as much a part of Thanksgiving as turkey, football and indigestion. Yet that is not to say there isn’t a message in it all.

Once, Pleasantville was best known as the mailing address of Reader’s Digest magazine (in nearby Chappaqua until recently). But it has long had its share of off-center literary and cultural types and, since 2001, the adventurous Jacob Burns Film Center.

Until fairly recently, members of the local clergy meant representatives of churches. Then Rabbi Sameth, whose prerabbinical songwriting credits included Loretta Lynn’s “Pregnant Again,” joined the Pleasantville Clergy Association, after his congregation was formed in 1997. He was followed by Dr. Mahjabeen Hassan, a Pakistani-born physician of the Upper Westchester Muslim Society, and this year by Victor Fama, a Bronx-bred health care lawyer and Catholic-turned-Buddhist of the Many Branches Sangha.

So it was natural that the interfaith group’s members saw a metaphor in their midst — a story line about diversity, tolerance and the changing nature of religious experiences that went counter to much of the imagery of discord and division in the news.

That was magnified in their reading of “American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us,” a much-praised new book on religion in America. The authors, Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell, found, paradoxically, that Americans are not only deeply divided and polarized along religious lines, but also increasingly tolerant and more likely to intermarry, change religions and accept the faith of others.

THE message seemed obvious, that the more people of different religious backgrounds shared their experiences, the more they understood each other and transcended what Mr. Phillips called religious exceptionalism: the belief that there’s only one path to God and that one’s own religion has it. And so evolved this year’s interfaith service, with the idea of ending with “This Land Is Your Land.”

As things turned out, Ms. Guthrie, who lives up the road in Mount Kisco, agreed to participate, as did a selection of estimable Hudson Valley musicians. These were not entirely Rabbi Sameth’s musical roots, but came pretty close. (“George Jones is God,” he said. “You heard that from a rabbi.”)

It’s not as if all were sweetness and light around here. Ms. Hassan’s group has tried for eight years to build a mosque in northern Westchester. It’s still trying. She said daily life for Muslims was worse now than after 9/11.

This gathering at the synagogue, built in 1847 as an Episcopal church, might not change that much, but then, who knows? “My Buddhist friends say we can only begin by changing ourselves, and by changing yourself and those close to you, sooner or later the world changes,” Mr. Phillips said.

There were readings from the Old and New Testaments, the Koran, and “Thankfulness and Buddhism on Thanksgiving.” There was the bell choir of a Lutheran church and Ms. Guthrie’s account that her father, when asked to specify her religion when she was born, announced: “All or none.”

At the end, the musicians and clergy crowded the bimah. Rabbi Sameth played piano, and Mr. Phillips played bass. The country-and-western rabbi, the bluegrass minister, the physician in the hijab, the Catholic-turned-Buddhist lawyer and everyone in the packed synagogue sang along to “This Land Is Your Land.”

Afterward, there was cider and pumpkin pie, a small moment of American grace in a world often searching for just that.

Source

Revealed: longer video of policeman punching students

Last week we posted a very short video of a policeman repeatedly punching a student protester.

A longer and clearer version of the video has now emerged.

It shows that many students were trying to escape the kettle that the police had put them in. That prompts the police to forcefully move in, push back protesters, and lash out at them.

Watch the video below – it does not show students creating trouble.



There is now a Facebook campaign to take officer U1202 to court over the incident.

Source: Liberal Conspiracy

Student occupiers call on NUS president to stand down

Aaron Porter is "incable of providing leadership".

The president of the National Union of Students has refused help to student protesters who are facing eviction from occupied universities, in the NUS's second dramatic U-turn this week. After being threatened with removal by baliffs, students from UCL called on Aaron Porter, who had earlier pledged legal and financial help to all student occupiers. ""You are our union, and we're facing a legal bill, you promised us support - we urgently need your help," said the occupiers.

Porter, who had earlier apologised for "dithering" over whether or not to extend support to student protesters, stammered that he had not meant that kind of support, and that nobody's legal costs could be covered. The student movement has been holding demonstrations and sit-ins over planned public spending cuts, including proposals to raise tuition fees.

Porter said that when he promised to support and defend the protests, he meant that the NUS could possibly look into the legal status of the occupations and offer some advice.

Students across the country are now calling for the NUS president to resign.

"Time and again the leaders of the NUS have put their political careers before the interests of the students they claim to represent," said a representative of the UCL and Slade occupations. "After broken promises and chaotic, indecisive leadership, our union has again failed to support its members in the face of the gravest threat to education in decades."If Aaron Porter is incapable of providing leadership then he should step down," he said.
"We are disappointed in Aaron Porter," said representatives of the Cambridge occupation, who also contacted the NUS to be told that there would be no legal support available "By offering legal help and not following through, Porter is actually putting students in danger."Aaron Porter declined to comment. "From our Universities to our government to the NUS, young people are being failed by institutions which are meant to be standing up for us," said the Cambridge occupiers. "This is why we are waging a campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience.

Source: Laurie Penny @ New Statesman
old
  • merig00

WSU cancels Helen Thomas award after remarks

Wayne State University will no longer offer an award named in honor of one of its most famous alumni, former White House Press Corps member Helen Thomas, officials announced today.
The Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity award will no longer be handed out because of controversial statements Thomas, an Arab American, made during a conference in Dearborn on Thursday that resurrected a controversy from earlier this year.
Advertisement
Thomas told a crowd at a diversity conference that "Congress, the White House and Hollywood, Wall Street are owned by Zionists. No question, in my opinion."
Thomas has been an important figure and supporter of WSU's journalism program, which she graduated from during the 1940s, officials said.
But her remarks stirred up such controversy that it impeded the ability of WSU's Journalism Institute for Media Diversity to function. It also cast a shadow over the award, set up more than a decade ago to honor diversity and excellence among working journalists . "The controversy has brought a negative light to the award, which was never the intent of the award," said Matthew Seeger, interim dean of the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts.
Thomas, 90, resigned as a columnist from Hearst Newspapers earlier this year after telling an interviewer that Jews should "get the hell out" of the Palestinian territories and go to Germany, Poland or the United States. She didn't back away from those remarks Thursday but expounded on what she called the influence of Zionists worldwide.
In June, WSU Journalism School Chair Ben Burns told Detroit News columnist Laura Berman, "It may be time to retire the Helen Thomas name on the (Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity Awards) reception." But later, the university announced it would keep the award.
Past recipients have included Leonard Pitts Jr., a nationally syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald, and Walter Middlebrook , a Detroit News assistant managing editor.
In an e-mail, Pitts said he could not believe the comments Thomas made this week.
"Talk about not learning the lesson," he wrote. "WSU did the only thing it could have done. It's a shame to see such a storied career end so pathetically."
Thomas set up an endowed scholarship in her name at WSU and that will likely continue.

Source

Edit: Removed my commentary and posted it in the comments so not to distract people from the topic itself.
tomi solemn
  • kishmet

The Purple Dove Project - Community Promotion

Flickr



Modeled after fandom auction communities like help_haiti, The Purple Dove Project aims primarily to help fund organizations that are actively working to combat anti-LGBTQetc. bullying. Our first round of offering posts has just gone up, and bidding will begin next weekend. Offers are not limited to fandom-related items; you can offer fiction, art, jewelry, foodstuffs, care packages, mixtapes, and just about anything else you can imagine. This is a very personal cause for both the mods and many of our members, so please join, participate if you can, and spread the word.

Community rules and important information can be found on our info page. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, you can ask on our FAQ Post, or email the moderators (ninaelisabeth and kishmet) at thepurpledoveproject[at]gmail[dot]com.
desolation jones

Held as Slaves, Now Free

They arrived in the United States from West Africa, young girls held against their will and forced to work for hours on end. But this time, it didn't happen hundreds of years ago. Nicole's journey started in 2002, when she was barely 12, in her small village in western Ghana. She and about 20 other girls were held in plain sight, but always under the watchful eyes of their captors.

"It was like being trapped, like being in a cage," said "Nicole," now 19. CNN agreed not to use her real name. "I always have to behave, behave, behave, behave. No freedom at all."

The girls' families sent them to the United States after being assured they would receive a better education. But once they arrived, they were forced to work in hair braiding shops across the Newark area -- just a short drive from New York City, right in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. The girls, who are now young women, have never spoken publicly before, until now.

Collapse )

SOURCE: www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/12/02/slave.labor.ring.busted/index.html

Mug

Harry Reid rips John McCain over 'don't ask, don't tell'

This story warmed the cockles of my cynical little heart!

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) ripped into Sen. John McCain on Saturday, saying the Arizona Republican has issued a "dizzying" defense of the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning gays from openly serving in the military.

McCain, his party's 2008 presidential nominee, has defended "an obsolete, embarrassing, discriminatory policy that weakens our military and offends our values," Reid said on the Senate floor before a series of votes on extending tax cuts.

The majority leader likened McCain and other Republicans to the Peanuts cartoon character Lucy, who continues to pull the football away at the last second as Charlie Brown runs to kick it.Collapse )

Source
  • Current Mood
    pleased

This is pretty typical for when trans people go to the cops.

BREAKING NEWS: Transwoman assaulted at Kohl's Department Store in Jackson, TN
Thursday, December 2, 2010

Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving Day) is known for being one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Intrepid shoppers appear hours before the doors open at retail establishments across the country in search of deeply discounted merchandise for holiday gifts. We hear stories each year of customers storming the doors when they open to ensure purchase of an often limited supply of items on sale. Sadly, holiday cheer and good will is sometimes in shorter supply than the merchandise being sought.

Such was the case at Kohl's Department Store in Jackson, TN on Friday, Nov. 26. A transgender woman and her mother were assaulted by other shoppers as the store opened for business. Collapse )

Source (contains graphic photo)

An extremely horrifying, extremely disgusting, and extremely routine sequence of events. I wish that I had the money to put toward Akasha's bills and general dental care. Apologies to the mods if the source isn't a proper news source, this seems to be the most complete collection of information out there so far.

Lesbian Coach Fired For Coming Out To Team [Jezebel]

Tennessee's Belmont University says its women's soccer coach resigned yesterday — but players say she was forced to leave after she came out to them.

Mike Organ of Tennesseean spoke with several players from the Belmont team, who say coach Lisa Howe asked the administration for permission to tell the team that she and her partner were expecting a baby. The administration didn't answer for several weeks, and according to senior Erica Carter, "people were finding out, so she went ahead and took the initiative and told us, even though they didn't clear her to tell us." Then Howe was told she could either resign or be fired. A statement by Athletics Director Mike Strickland says, "Women's soccer coach Lisa Howe has informed the university of her intent to conclude her employment with Belmont. This was a decision Coach Howe made." But soccer team captain Sari Lin says that when she met with Strickland about Howe's resignation, he told her a different story:

He basically said we have the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy and when she told us about the pregnancy, it violated that. She was telling us what her sexual preference is. He said you can hide your sexuality, but you can't hide a baby. He pretty much told me that once the baby was born she was going to get fired anyway, so it's better to do it sooner than later.

The Tennesseean couldn't reach Strickland for comment, but notes that Tennessee's Human Rights Act does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation — so if Howe was fired for coming out, she may not have had legal recourse. She also wouldn't be the first school official fired for her sexual orientation this year — Christine Judd, athletic director and dean of students at a Catholic high school in Massachusetts, was fired after she married her partner (thereby, according to a diocese spokesman, engaging in "conduct which contravenes the doctrine and teaching of the Catholic Church"). On its website, Belmont University calls itself "a student-centered Christian community providing an academically challenging education that empowers men and women of diverse backgrounds to engage and transform the world with disciplined intelligence, compassion, courage and faith." But if Howe was really fired for having a baby with the person she loved, then the school's definitions of "diversity" and "compassion" must be pretty limited.

Belmont Disputes Gay Coach Was Fired [Tennessean]
Belmont Coach Resigns Following Same-Sex Relationship Disclosure [Nashville City Paper, via Speaker's Corner]
Coach Lisa Howe's Dismissal Shocks Women's Soccer Team [Belmont Vision]
It Gets Better: Belmont Honors Christ's Birth By Booting Expecting Family Into The Cold [Nashville Scene]
 

[Source]

------

I graduated from Belmont a few years ago and while this doesn't come as a huge shock unfortunately, it's still disgusting. Just a few weeks ago, the school also refused to approve what would've been the school's first GLBT student group. They're primarily a music and music business school and have a huge GLBT population, so such a huge slap in the face to students and faculty when they start pulling shit like this. I just want to make sure this story gets around to as many outlets as possible to expose them for the bigots they are.
Ray spelled backwards is GOD

The Ugly Face of Crime

February 17, 2006

"I'm too ugly to get a job."

-- Daniel Gallagher, a Miami bank robber, after police captured him in 2003

The hapless Mr. Gallagher may have been ugly, but he was also wise.

Not only are physically unattractive teenagers likely to be stay-at-homes on prom night, they're also more likely to grow up to be criminals, say two economists who tracked the life course of young people from high school through early adulthood.

"We find that unattractive individuals commit more crime in comparison to average-looking ones, and very attractive individuals commit less crime in comparison to those who are average-looking," claim Naci Mocan of the University of Colorado and Erdal Tekin of Georgia State University.

Mocan and Tekin analyzed data from a federally sponsored survey of 15,000 high-schoolers who were interviewed in 1994 and again in 1996 and 2002. One question asked interviewers to rate the physical appearance of the student on a five-point scale ranging from "very attractive" to "very unattractive."

These economists found that the long-term consequences of being young and ugly were small but consistent. Cute guys were uniformly less likely than averages would indicate to have committed seven crimes including burglary and selling drugs, while the unhandsome were consistently more likely to have broken the law.

Very attractive high school girls were less likely to commit six of the seven crimes, while those rated unattractive were more likely to have done six of seven, controlling for personal and family characteristics known to be associated with criminal behavior.

Mocan and Tekin aren't sure why criminals tend to be ugly. Other studies have shown that unattractive men and women are less likely to be hired, and that they earn less money, than the better-looking. Such inferior circumstances may steer some to crime, Mocan and Tekin suggest. They also report that more attractive students have better grades and more polished social skills, which means they graduate with a greater chance of staying out of trouble.

Recalculating Love

Why do men claim to have had so many sex partners while women claim to have so few? The conventional wisdom is that men deliberately inflate their number of lovers while women underreport their dalliances -- the "macho and maiden" hypothesis.

That's mostly wrong, says psychologist Norman R. Brown, a visiting research scientist at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research. Most men and women don't intentionally fib about their past partnering. Instead, his studies suggest, men and women use different ways to estimate their number of different partners and this dissimilarity is a major reason men report more lifetime liaisons than women, a statistical impossibility.

"Women are more likely to rely on enumeration" and count up their partners, Brown said -- "a strategy that typically leads to underestimation. Men are twice as likely to use approximation to answer the question. And approximation is a strategy known to produce overestimation."

But men and women still lie about love, Brown said. Fully 21 percent of the men and 15 percent of the women acknowledged at the end of a recent national survey that they had been untruthful about their sexual histories. When he looked at the results just among truth tellers, the average number of partners for men fell from 32 to 16 -- still nearly three times the number claimed by the female truth tellers.

Rough on the Diamond

Baseball celebrity apparently comes with a price: Hall of Fame players die younger than other major-leaguers, claim Ernest Abel and Michael Kruger of Wayne State University.

The researchers compared Hall of Famers to former players of comparable ages who were alive when the stars were inducted into Cooperstown. The superstars died, on average, five years before their less accomplished peers, they reported in Death Studies.

Abel and Kruger suggest several reasons America's baseball stars die younger, including the cumulative effect of all those strangers buying them drinks and post-retirement banquets.

Who Would Have Thought? Post-It Notes, Drunks and Elvis Herselvis

* "Post-It Note Persuasion: A Sticky Influence" by Randy Garner. The Journal of Consumer Psychology. Vol. 15, No. 3. A Sam Houston University professor finds that people were more likely to complete a survey questionnaire and give more complete answers if the researcher attached a Post-it note. The reason: People interpreted the note as a request for a personal favor.

* "Binge Drinking in the Context of Romantic Relationships" by Judith L. Fischer, et al. Addictive Behaviors Vol. 30, Issue 8. Researchers led by a Texas Tech University professor discover that students who drink too much aren't the best lovers.

* "Women Who 'Do Elvis': Authenticity, Masculinity and Masquerade" by Francesca Brittan. Paper to be presented Sunday at the Study of Popular Music conference in Nashville. A Cornell University researcher studied female Elvis Presley impersonators such as Janice K and Elvis Herselvis and finds them to be "campy, cheeky, and often disturbingly convincing."

Washington Post
misc01
  • xerox78

Olbermann vs. (Bristol) Palin

Bristol Palin Strikes Back At Keith Olbermann For 'Worst Person' Selection

Bristol Palin struck back at Keith Olbermann after the MSNBC host dubbed her the "Worst Person In The World" for her role as a spokesperson for abstinence with the Candies Foundation.

On his Monday show, Olbermann mocked the selection of Palin as a role model for abstinence -- and her ad promoting it with The Situation -- given her status as one of the country's most famous teen mothers.

"That's like saying George Bush kept us safe, except for that 9/11 thing!" he said.

On Thursday, Palin posted a long reply to Olbermann on her Facebook page:
Accusing me of hypocrisy is by now, an old canard. What Mr. Olbermann lacks in originality he makes up for with insincere incredulity. Mr. Olbermann fails to understand that in order to have credibility as a spokesperson, it sometimes takes a person who has made mistakes. Parents warn their children about the mistakes they made so they are not repeated. Former gang members travel to schools to educate teenagers about the risks of gang life. Recovered addicts lecture to others about the risks of alcohol and drug abuse. And yes, a teen mother talks about the benefits of preventing teen pregnancy. I have never claimed to be perfect. If that makes me the "worst person in the world" to Mr. Olbermann, then I must apologize for not being absolutely faultless like he undoubtedly must be. To Mr. Olbermann let me say this: you can attack me all you want. But you will not stop me from getting my message out about teen pregnancy prevention. And one day, if you ever have a daughter, you may change your mind about me.

Olbermann did not reply directly to Palin, but he did respond to someone on Twitter, who said Palin had shown "the class and kindness Keith will never know."

"So what if she's leading to more teenage pregnancies by pushing abstinence-only, which DOES... NOT... WORK," Olbermann shot back.

Original Worst Person video at source
Bristol's response on Facebook

Well, at least she left the homophobia out of this response. QUACK! QUACK!
mus | like a bird in a cage

WikiLeaks founder wants Flanagan charged over flippant assassination comments

The founder of WikiLeaks says former Stephen Harper adviser Tom Flanagan should be charged with incitement to commit murder for suggesting he should be assassinated.

Julian Assange was speaking Friday in an online forum run by Britain's Guardian newspaper and was asked about flippant comments Flanagan made during a television broadcast this week.

"It is correct that Mr. Flanagan and the others seriously making these statements should be charged with incitement to commit murder," Assange replied to the online question-and-answer session from an undisclosed location.

Collapse )
this is what you get when you mess w/us

Dirty Little Secrets in NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau

Witch hunts, injustice, and just plain incompetence in the secretive police-department-within-a-department



Earlier this year, the Voice uncovered a troubling pattern of how the NYPD operates, relying on secretly recorded tapes to show that street cops are under intense pressure to achieve seemingly contradictory goals set down by their superiors. Years of recordings, lawsuits, and testimonies by active and retired police officers reveal that Ray Kelly's police department has been on an intense program that punishes innocent bystanders while intimidating and harassing actual crime victims.

We've heard relatively little, however, about the NYPD wing that is supposed to be watching for these kinds of injustices: the Internal Affairs Bureau. Until now.

More officers have come forward, telling the Voice that the secretive police-department-within-a-department is as troubled as the rest of Kelly's operation. To illustrate this, we will look at three unrelated Internal Affairs cases: One involves a Queens woman who says she was stalked, harassed, and impregnated by an NYPD sergeant; the other, a veteran detective stuck in a dead-end job requiring him to watch surveillance video all day; and the third, a gay cop in the Internal Affairs Bureau itself who faced constant harassment over his sexual identity. (The NYPD did not respond to detailed questions about these cases.)

Taken together, the three cases highlight several themes about the current Internal Affairs Bureau.

Collapse )
music | Janelle Monáe

"The CRTC denies MuchMusic's request to play fewer [music] videos".



The CRTC [i.e., Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission] has rejected MuchMusic's request to air fewer music videos in favour of more "lifestyle" programming, but network executives say the station will continue to press for the changes.

Much had asked the federal broadcast regulator for a number of amendments to its licence — including one that would allow the station to reduce the number of videos it plays to 25 per cent of its total content from the current 50 per cent.

Parent company CTV also wanted to reduce Canadian content and add more animated programs and drama to MuchMusic.

The CRTC turned down most of CTV's requests but will permit feature films to be aired on MuchMusic.

MuchMusic's move to reduce the number of music videos it shows was opposed by a number of groups, including Rogers, which argued that "it would allow MuchMusic to reorient itself from a music-based service into a lifestyle-type service targeting young adults.

Collapse )

___________
Let's discuss the trend of music channels (MuchMusic/MTVCanada in Canada, and MTV in the USA, etc.) moving from playing music vids--even if they're determined by being pre-selected,heavily-rotated RIAA/ClearChannel-saturated top 20 songs every few months--to shitty reality TV shows and  syndicated-type programmes. 

Arguably, both MuchMusic and MuchMore have already made that gradual shift over the last decade, but perhaps the CRTC's rejection stands for...I dunno,  something, symbolic anyway.

Do music channels outside N. America have this same problem? Share which ones they are, and whether they've managed to preserve the mostly-music format, or have gone the way of programming not really related to music.