These are all the Blogs posted on Saturday, 2, 2009.
Saturday, 2 May 2009
ACLU and other organizations oppose new rule on courtroom dress
The Michigan Messenger has a article today this includes this statement from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on the subject of the decision of the Michigan Supreme Court to give Michigan's Judges the power to require a woman, if they judge fit, to remove her veil.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, with the support of a diverse group of religious, ethnic and domestic violence organizations, submitted a comment today to the Michigan Supreme Court asking the court to change a proposed court rule that would effectively close the courthouse doors to Muslim women who wear a niqab, a veil which covers the lower part of the face.
“Judges should not deny anyone access to justice because of his or her religion,” said Michael J. Steinberg, ACLU of Michigan legal director. “Under the proposed rule, women who were sexually assaulted could not have their day in court without abandoning their religious beliefs. We have come too far as a country to now shut the courtroom doors on women because of their religious clothing.”
The rule of evidence was proposed in response to a lawsuit challenging a Hamtramck District Court Judge’s decision to dismiss a small claims dispute after the plaintiff refused to remove her niqab. The rule authorizes judges to “control the appearance” of parties and witnesses and is intended to permit judges to bar Muslim women who wear a niqab from participating in the court proceedings unless they choose to abandon their religious beliefs.
In its comment, the ACLU and other groups warn that the court rule threatens to unconstitutionally deny individuals their fundamental right of access to the courts based on their religious beliefs. The groups ask the Supreme Court to add a sentence to the rule ensuring “that no person shall be precluded from testifying on the basis of clothing worn because of a sincerely held religious belief.
My view on any form of the veil is an either/or. Either it is imposed on women in which case, like FGM and forced marriage it is an abhorrance and must be resisted.
Or if it is the woman's choice then all choice involves loss. If she choses the veil she loses the chance to give evidence/shop in a particular shop/work as a hairdresser, nurse or whatever. Choose and live with the choice.
Posted on 05/02/2009 2:20 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 2 May 2009
Muslims gather in prayer along Sliema front
As I have written here before the people of Malta have a long history of standing up to oppression, inspired in my belief by long memories of what it was like to live under Islam.
There are an increasing number of Muslims in Malta but their demands are not being pandered to in quite the same manner as elsewhere.
From The Times of Malta
About 50 Muslim men (no women, yet they expect us to take them seriously!) took their prayer rugs to the Sliema front yesterday after the planning authority sealed off their place of worship. The Muslims said the Malta Environment and Planning Authority had locked them out of their flat in Sliema where they used to pray, so they decided to take their cause outside.
"We are not here to protest or threaten violence but to express our fundamental human right to gather in prayer," Bader Zina, one of the leaders, said. According to Mepa, a number of complaints had been received by neighbours and the flat did not have a licence to be used as a place of worship.
This behaviour did not go down well with a group of Maltese onlookers who warned that if this happened again "there will be trouble".
"Malta is a Catholic country. They have no right to come here and pray in front of us. I don't care what they do in the privacy of their own home but not here," one Maltese woman said.
"We've had enough. If you were to do the same in their country they would stone you. I can't understand how they could have been given a permit for this, including police presence and all!" her husband added, visibly disturbed by what he saw.
"They should go to a mosque. That is where they belong. Or in some hole somewhere. But not here where I get my children to eat and have a good time. I would have had no problem if they were Catholics praying... in Malta we are all Catholics so it's not a problem, but not them. Even the tourists were disgusted," he claimed, as his teenage son nodded in agreement.
Mr Zina explained that Muslims prayed five times a day and it was preferable to do so in groups. He did not sense a negative reaction from the Maltese in the area, except for one woman who insisted on walking her dog in front of them. When she tried it the second time, she was stopped by the police.
Although he condemned any type of violence or revenge, he said that if people were discriminated against and hurt, it would become impossible to control a backlash.
If that is a threat I think he will find the people of Malta a different kettle of fish to what he might expect.
Posted on 05/02/2009 2:32 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 2 May 2009
Don't panic Mr Mainwairing, Sir
I decided the best way to deal with the unease induced by the "killer pig plague" panic was to do something sensible and practical.
Like PANIC ! ! !
Which took the form of buying some extra tins of beans and tinned goods and some long life milk just in case I can't get out for a few days, and ditto for the elderly relative with the very short hair. A couple of packets of paracetamol for aches and fever and a family pack of emergency Mars bars to treat shock and depression.
After a busy day preparing for our weekend away I decided I deserved an emergency Mars ration.
There was one left.
Short of bricking stockpiled rations up behind a false wall (which John Wyndham novel was it where one of the characters had the foresight to do that?) where now can I hide my next stash?
On the subject of the weekend I shall be away shortly. Do enjoy your own weekends (extra day for May Day bank holiday in the UK). See you next week.
Posted on 05/02/2009 3:46 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 2 May 2009
Exciting news about exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!! From The Guradian (?!?!?):
There is a town of 1,471 happy souls in Quebec called Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!. The second "Ha!", amazingly, is part of the town's name, not my commentary on the first "Ha!". Unlike, for example, the Devon town of Westward Ho! Ho! There, the second "Ho!" is mine. Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! is the only town in the world whose name has two exclamation marks. It will remain so until Wolverhampton is renamed Wolverhampton!! to highlight its funky new Black Country vibe, which, all things considered, seems unlikely.
Or maybe I'm wrong. After all, exclamation marks - those forms of punctuation derided by the funless and fastidious - are making a comeback, thanks to an internet renaissance that is bleeding over into every form of written communication. Once it was bad form to end a paragraph with an exclamation mark. Now it's borderline obligatory. Once it was enough to put a sign on your door: "Back in five minutes." Now, without the flourish of an exclamation mark, that
in her book on punctuation, Eats, Shoots and Leaves, calls, "a screamer, a gasper, a startler or (sorry) a dog's cock". That was her "sorry" not mine.
Novelists (at least male ones) are apt to be mean-spirited about dog's cocks. "Cut out all those exclamation marks," wrote F Scott Fitzgerald. "An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own jokes." It isn't actually. When one German starts a letter to another with "Lieber Franz!" they are merely obeying cultural norms, not laughing at their own jokes. Nor is chess notation, which teems with exclamation marks, especially funny. No matter. Elmore Leonard wrote of exclamation marks: "You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose." Which means, on average, an exclamation mark every book and a half. In the ninth book of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, Eric, one of the characters insists that "Multiple exclamation marks are a sure sign of a diseased mind." In Maskerade, the 18th in the series, another character remarks: "And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five? A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head."
There are lots of people these days with figurative underpants on their heads. That's because in the internet age, the exclamation mark is having a renaissance. In a recent book, Send: The Essential guide to Email for Office and Home, David Shipley and Will Schwalbe make a defence of exclamation marks. They write, for instance, "'I'll see you at the conference' is a simple statement of fact. 'I'll see you at the conference!' lets your fellow conferee know that you're excited and pleased about the event ... 'Thanks!!!!'", they contend, "is way friendlier than 'Thanks'."
Posted on 05/02/2009 5:16 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 2 May 2009
Our Brothers' Keepers
Robert Spencer writes:
I disagree with Wilders's statement that Islam is not a religion. Islam is certainly a religion -- a belief-system that, like other religions, purports to relate human beings to the divine. But at the same time, I understand why he says that Islam is not a religion -- because the strictly religious aspects of Islam are actually of no concern to unbelievers at all. It makes no difference to me if a Muslim wants to pray five times a day, or read the Qur'an, or believes that Muhammad is a prophet -- except insofar as it impinges me as a political program that demands my conversion, subjugation, or death.
What about what Islam does to Muslims - especially women? Are we to abandon them entirely?
I cannot help but imagine the father of a family under the pressure of dhimmitude: "If I say the words, I can keep my job. If I just say the words, we won't starve. If I just say the words, they won't take our son. If I just say the words, they won't kill us." And how easy those words are to say. At the time they must have seemed like deliverance, but behind him the door slammed shut and all his children, and their children and their children on down were trapped forever in Islam, for eventually there was no one to remember the ancestral father who was just pretending, who was just trying to save his family.
Imagine an angel's eye view of humanity. Looking out over the harvest of souls, a full one fifth is filled with souls which are stunted, misshapen and dying. Islam effectively harnesses the religious impulse to attack the soul.
We cannot be concerned only with ourselves. As Ibn Warraq says, Muslims are the first victims of Islam. And Islam is the greatest spiritual and intellectual fraud ever to be perpetrated on mankind. Muslims are sacrificed , literally and figuratively, for no other purpose than the perpetuation of Islam. We have a duty to fight it, not only for the sake of ourselves, our children and our own civilization, but for the sake of humanity and the progress of the world as a whole. That is why we must fight Islam whole - not only as a political system.
The strictly religious aspects of Islam are of concern to non-believers unless we are to deny our obligation to God and our fellow man - to deny that we are our brothers' keepers.
Posted on 05/02/2009 6:57 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 2 May 2009
Fighting the "Militants' In Pakistan
...Obama administration officials have been up front in expressing dissatisfaction with the response shown by Mr. Zardari’s government [Pakistan] to increasing attacks by Taliban fighters and insurgents with Al Qaeda in the country’s tribal areas, and along its western border with Afghanistan. During a news conference on Wednesday, Mr. Obama said he was “gravely concerned” about the stability of the Pakistani government; on Friday, a Defense Department official described Mr. Zardari as “very, very weak.”
The official said the administration wanted to broker an agreement not so much to buoy Mr. Zardari personally, but to accomplish what the administration believes Pakistan must do. “The idea here is to tie Sharif’s popularity to things we think need to be done, like dealing with the militancy,” said the official, who insisted on anonymity to speak more candidly about American differences with Pakistan’s government.
Mr. Sharif, 59, represents the Pakistan Muslim League-N, a coalition that includes a number of Islamist groups. He was prime minister twice during the 1990s, and received hero status in Pakistan for ordering nuclear weapons tests in 1998.
Both Mr. Holbrooke and Mrs. Clinton have spoken with Mr. Sharif by telephone in the past month, and have urged Mr. Zardari’s increasingly unpopular government to work closely with Mr. Sharif, administration officials said. “We told them they’re facing a national challenge, and for that, you need bipartisanship,” a senior administration official said. “The president’s popularity is in the low double digits. Nawaz Sharif is at 83 percent. They need to band together against the militants.”...
Let's see, the plan is this. Support for "militants" in Pakistan is overwhelming. Nawaz Sharif is a "militant." In fact, he represents the "militants." So we're going to pressure Zardari to put him in government in order to fight the "militants." He told Clinton and Holbrooke he'd get right on it. Brilliant.
Posted on 05/02/2009 8:07 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 2 May 2009
The secret of the universe
Nature, they say, abhors a vacuum. Not the one between Nassim Haramein's ears. You create your own reality, he claims, but at the same time reality creates you, through a vacuum that is organised - and crystalline to boot. Thanks to David Thompson for pointing me in the direction of this exquisite piece of hippy blather.
Posted on 05/02/2009 8:23 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 2 May 2009
Jerry Gordon explores the question of whether the allies could have saved lives by bombing the death camps and rail lines during WWII in his latest piece. Of course, there have always been questions on that score and suspicions about Roosevelt and his attitude toward the Jews, especially after the St. Louis was turned back. There is new evidence about Roosevelt's plans to save European Jews before the war according to Patricia Cohen's book review in New Duranty:
Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s legacy has been slid back under the microscope recently as his efforts to pull the country out of the Great Depression are scrutinized. Now a piece of his foreign policy is also being re-evaluated in a soon-to-be published book that upends a widely held view that he was indifferent to the fate of Europe’s Jews, and asserts that new evidence shows that the president pushed for an ambitious secret rescue plan before the war began.
The book, an edited collection of official documents, diaries, internal memos and more, contends that Roosevelt hatched a scheme in 1938 to rally the world’s democracies and relocate millions of European Jews to undeveloped areas in Latin America and Africa.
“It is a book that will change the consensus about the role of President Roosevelt,” said Deborah Lipstadt, a leading expert on the Holocaust, who has read some sections. It “compels historians — both those who have vilified F.D.R. and those who have sanctified him — to rethink their conclusions.”
The book, “Refugees and Rescue: The Diaries and Papers of James G. McDonald, 1935-1945,” will undoubtedly reignite the charged debate over whether Roosevelt could have done more to rescue millions of Jews, Gypsies, gay people, dissidents and others who died in Nazi death camps. To his detractors, the refusal in June 1939 to take in any of the more than 900 Jews aboard the ocean liner St. Louis who were seeking a haven after Germany’s deadly Kristallnacht is much more emblematic of the United States’ response. Many of those passengers ultimately died.
“He was a man of grand vision who wanted to resettle a much larger number of refugees from Germany” and elsewhere, the editors conclude, citing a directive from Washington in June 1938 indicating that officials should deal with “the problems of refugees from all countries.” They agree that such efforts were completely dropped in 1940 when Roosevelt turned his attention to the war.
One of the new pieces of evidence that the editors point to is a summary written by Arthur Sweetser, a director of the secretariat of the League of Nations, describing a meeting between himself and the president on April 4, 1938:
Mr. Sweetser wrote that Roosevelt asked him how he liked his refugee proposal. “ ‘That was my proposal,’ the president quickly interjected, tapping his chest with obvious pleasure. ‘I worked that out myself.’ ”
The summary continues, with Mr. Sweetser quoting Roosevelt: “ ‘Suddenly it struck me: why not get all the democracies to unite to share the burden? After all, they own most of the free land of the world, and there are only ... what would you say, 14, 16 million Jews in the whole world, of whom about half are already in the United States. If we could divide up the remainder in groups of 8 or 10, there wouldn’t be any Jewish problem in three or four generations.’ ”
In a confidential memo to Mr. McDonald dated May 17, 1938, Mr. Sweetser wrote, “The President’s proposal took a large place in the League’s refugee deliberations this past week.”
Paul Shapiro, director of the museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, said, “What is quite striking here is that at this moment in 1938 Roosevelt is very seized by this issue of rescuing the Jews.” Germany’s occupation of Austria showed how much life changed overnight for Jews there. The book includes “important new documentation about F.D.R. and his efforts to save the Jews,” he added. Roosevelt supported using German, French and British colonies in Africa and elsewhere as well as countries in South America as possible havens. And he privately nudged the British to let more Jews into Palestine, said Mr. Breitman, a history professor at American University...
And once again, the situation for the Jews in Europe is worsening and a second Holocaust is not inconceivable. How will history judge us?
Posted on 05/02/2009 3:44 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 2 May 2009
I. F. Spy
Posted on 05/02/2009 4:06 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 2 May 2009
NY Rally for Human Rights and Freedom
MAY 3 - Times Square, Noon
A former Muslim terrorist will speak out for human rights and against radical Islam at mass rally in Manhattan's Times Square this Sunday at noon.
Tawfik Hamid, former member of the Jemaah Islamiya terror group, will join Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Jewish and other Muslim leaders and organizations to call for the defeat of radical Islam and heighten awareness about the danger radical Islam poses to human rights across the globe.
Other speakers will include Sudanese leader Simon Deng, who is a a freed slave; Mohamed Yahya, leader of Muslim Darfur group Damanga; author and women's rights advocate Dr. Phyllis Chesler; Hindu leader Narain Kataria of the Indian American Intellectuals Forum; anti-slavery activist Pastor Gerald Bell; Dr. Charles Jacobs of Americans for Peace and Tolerance; Christine Brim of Center for Security Policy; Beth Gilinsky of Alliance for Interfaith Resistance and others.
The "Rally for Human Rights and Freedom," sponsored by the Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam (HRCARI) and a new rainbow coalition of dozens of diverse partner organizations, will feature a special ceremony to honor the US Military, Homeland Security, police, firefighters, emergency workers and others who have defended the United States from terror. A representative of the 9/11 Families will be present, as will a retired NYC police officer who lost a family member on 9/11.
The May 3rd event will mark the kick-off event for a new grassroots global action network that is taking on the fight against radical Islam. An HRCARI spokesperson notes, “As part of this initiative, we intend to educate elected officials to help prevent the spread of Shariah Islamic law. We will work to publicize the threat of radical Islamic terrorist groups and their allies, and endeavor to protect the right to freedom of religion and freedom of speech in the face of those who seek to silence advocates of human rights against the threat of radical Islam.”
HRCARI believes that radical Islam is a worldwide threat against commonly accepted human rights and is the most urgent topic of our generation.
Posted on 05/02/2009 5:43 PM by Rebecca Bynum