Letter to an antisemite

From Times of Israel:  http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/letter-to-an-antisemite/

Fred Maroun
January 12, 2015

I received your message the other day.  Thank you for taking the time to write.  You asked me why I, a non-Jew, speak so loudly about antisemitism.  You said that I make too much of a big deal about Israel.  You said that lots of people are anti-Zionist without being antisemitic,even Jews!  You said that antisemitism is not really a problem, and that the Holocaust should be left alone in the history books.  You said that I should forget about the outdated issue of antisemitism.

I regret that my support for Israel offends you and that my opposition to antisemitism disturbs you, but I will reply to your recommendations by asking you some questions.

Since you are an educated person, you must be aware of the overwhelming evidence that Israel is isolated, demonized, singled out, and boycotted for the sole reason that it is the Jewish state.  Why do you choose to ignore this antisemitism?

When someone makes callous remarks about the Jewish nation being “that shitty little country”, do you nod enthusiastically?

When someone arrogantly declares that Israel is a Western imperialist power on the land where Jews have lived for over three thousand years, do you agree?

When someone scornfully announces that Israel’s settlements building is an obstacle to peace even though Palestinians have rejected multiple attempts at a two-state solution, do you respond with approval?

When someone self-importantly condemns Israel’s security barrier, claiming that it is racist, do you acquiesce?

When someone condescendingly makes claims of “apartheid” in Israel, the only country in the Middle East where the rights of religious and ethnic minorities are respected, do you approve?

When someone disdainfully proclaims that Israel is engaged in genocide in Gaza every time it dares defend itself against terrorism, do you smile in agreement?

When Parents Are Criminalized: Couple In Trouble for Letting Their Kids Walk Unsupervised

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/maryland-parents-legal-trouble-letting-their-kids-walk-alone

Authorities tell parents they may lose their kids; tell kids a stranger will grab them.

By Cliff Weathers
January 15, 2015

A Maryland couple is in trouble with law authorities because they let their kids walk around the neighborhood without hovering over them.

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv say that their neighbors have called the local police and Child Protective Services because their children, ages 10 and 6, have been spotted walking to two area playgrounds without adult supervision. One playground is a mile away from the Meitiv’s home in Silver Springs, while the other is just two blocks down.

In a letter to Reason.com, Danielle Meitiv recalls a December 20 incident involving the police:

“On a Saturday afternoon in December, my husband, Alexander, gave our kids permission to walk home from the local playground. I was out of town at the time. When they’d walked about halfway, a Montgomery County Police patrol car pulled up. A ‘helpful’ neighbor had called 911 to report unaccompanied children walking outside. Our kids were brought home in a police cruiser.

At the door the police officer asked to see my husband’s ID, but did not explain why. When he refused, she called for backup.

A total of six patrol cars showed up.”

The Meitivs say that law enforcement authorities and social services representatives have questioned their children while at school, and without their knowledge or consent and that the investigation infringes on their rights as parents to raise their children in a manner that they see fit. The parents also say the authorities asked their 10-year-old son what he would do if seized by a strange adult. According to Alexander Meitiv, they told his son that “there are creeps out there that are just waiting to grab children if they’re walking by themselves.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/maryland-parents-legal-trouble-letting-their-kids-walk-alone

The Gender Police

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/olivia-wilson/the-gender-police_b_6460848.htm


01/13/2015

The lady blocks my way as I try to walk into the bathroom, I go to walk around her, she’s looking me right in the face and when I try to dodge her she sidesteps into my path again, we do a little dance, her challenging me, me trying to walk in the door, coincidentally I need to pee.

Eventually, she lets me in with a suspicious little squint in her eye and when I’m sitting on the toilet I can see her sensible shoes standing guard outside. For some reason I make sure to pee loudly. She lets me leave and I’m struck with a bad case of the staircase wit, Treppenwitz the Germans call it, where one’s mind is suddenly flooded with witty retorts to a situation you’ve just left. In my head they get more and more aggressive, going as far as remaining silent and just flashing my boobs at her. If anything grants entitlement to the ladies’ bathroom, surely they do.

Because that was her problem, she thought I was a man. This isn’t unusual for me, it happens all the time. People are just usually less defensive about the whole thing; they’ll stride into the loos, see me, stop in their tracks and do a double take on the sign on the door, confirm that they really did see a stick figure with a skirt and then proceed with caution and a few stares as I wash my hands and try not to do anything to make them uncomfortable, like stare back.

Life is just fine for me in every other aspect of life, I frolic freely in my androgyny and it’s not until those moments when your gender is asked of you that confusion ensues. Everyone does the calculations, you have to: He, she, her, him. What shall we call our baby?

There are the odd perks, the airline employee who when inspecting my boarding pass declared I couldn’t possibly be Olivia. I am and after a slightly too long pause with a jetlagged sigh told her so. The apologetic mortification that she felt lead to exceptional in-flight service and bottle of wine to take home. Then of course, the times when the ladies’ has a line stretching to infinity and I stride with confidence into the near-empty mens’.

The cringe factor is the extreme embarrassment people feel when they get it wrong. They have mistaken your place in the most basic division of humanity. The fact is that the world cradles gender identity at its core, and its only when you hover in the in between that it is blindingly obvious.

So when I see a fellow androgyne it warms my heart.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/olivia-wilson/the-gender-police_b_6460848.htm

Bill Maher RIPS Liberals for ‘Extreme Bullying’ on Islam: You’re Part of the Problem

Islamic State throws men off building for ‘being gay’ Read more: Islamic State throws men off building for ‘being gay’

From The Times of Israel:  http://www.timesofisrael.com/islamic-state-throws-men-off-building-for-being-gay/

In a series of photos, group depicts gruesome executions of various alleged criminals, including thieves and an unfaithful woman

By Times of Israel staff
January 18, 2015

Islamic State has published disturbing pictures of what it says are the executions of two homosexual men in Iraq — shown being thrown off a high-rise rooftop to their deaths

The organization has also released images of two men being crucified for theft, and a woman being stoned to death for infidelity.The two men, accused of being gay, are seen being led to the edge of a tall building as a large crowd gathers below to watch. The men are then photographed falling through the air. A later photograph shows their broken bodies laying on the ground.

Additional photographs show two men accused of stealing as they are tied crucifix-style to a metal frame, their eyes blindfolded as a masked IS member reads the charges.

Two other IS militants then shoot the two in the head, killing them.

A final killing depicts woman draped in an all-black niqab as she is led to her stoning, on charges of infidelity.

IS members are seen hurling rocks at her and waving the IS flag. Finally her limp body is covered with a tarpaulin.

On Tuesday the jihadist group released a video on purporting to show a young boy executing two men accused of working for Russian intelligence services.

The video shows the two men apparently being shot dead by the child after being interrogated on camera about their alleged attempts to infiltrate IS in Syria.

Continue reading at: http://www.timesofisrael.com/islamic-state-throws-men-off-building-for-being-gay/

See also: ISIS Executes Pigeon and Bird Breeders in Diyala, Iraq

Slacking Workers of the World Unite

File under “Ain’t Goinna Work on Maggie’s Farm No More”

A friend of mind used to call his acts of work place sabotage “Willful Inefficiency”

From In These Times:  http://inthesetimes.com/article/17448/slacking_workers_of_the_world

We’ve made an art of wasting time at work. But to what end?

BY Lindsay Beyerstein
January 1, 2015

Seventy percent of porn viewing and 60 percent of online shopping take place during business hours. Studies indicate that worldwide, the average employee spends about 1 to 3 hours a day goofing off at work.

In Empty Labor: Idleness and Workplace Resistance, Roland Paulsen, a scholar of business administration at Lund University in Sweden, sets out to understand what he calls empty labor, which includes anything a worker does on the clock that isn’t work—be it surfing the web, sleeping, organizing the office football pool, or writing a doctoral dissertation on the sly.

Paulsen focused on the most extreme shirkers. He interviewed 43 Swedish workers who claimed to spend less than half of their work hours actually working. He tracked down these hardcore non-performers through friends of friends, web ads and the Swedish website maska.nu, where people share slacking stories and tips. Most were white-collar workers, but a construction worker, a security guard and several house cleaners also participated. Paulsen’s interviews were designed to answer two basic questions: How do you get away with this? and Why do you do it?

It turns out that slacking off is serious business: “ ‘Doing nothing’ while at work can be a very demanding activity requiring planning, collaboration, risk calculation, and ethical consideration,” Paulsen observes. Some subjects turned shirking into a game they found more meaningful than their actual jobs.

Even when productivity is difficult to measure, presence is easily quantified. In order to get ahead, workers have to be seen to show up early and leave late. Many of Paulsen’s informants said they put a lot of effort into punctuality and attendance (as well as personal grooming), which made managers less likely to question their low performance.

Paulsen concludes that the most successful slackers have jobs with high “opacity,” which means that other people have a hard time grokking what they actually do or how long it’s supposed to take.

Uber-slackers are taking advantage of a feature of the modern economy: It is unusually conducive to empty labor. We are often told that people are working longer and harder than ever, and that may well be true, on average. But in many jobs, work has become decoupled from tangible production, making productivity difficult to measure.

A web developer told Paulsen that her team gave inflated time estimates for projects they didn’t want to do, and nobody could contradict them, because only the web team knew how long it should take to build a website. When a client wanted to put flying sanitary napkins on a company website, the team claimed it would take weeks, instead of the short time it would actually require.

Continue reading at:  http://inthesetimes.com/article/17448/slacking_workers_of_the_world

Attempt to stop child marriage in Saudi Arabia fails

From Progressive Secular Humanist:  http:www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2015/01/attempt-to-stop-child-marriage-in-saudi-arabia-fails/

by January 5, 2015

Islam: Religion of pedophiles? Despite efforts by human rights activists to end the barbaric practice of child marriage, Muslim men will continue to marry girls under the age of 15 in Saudi Arabia.

The push to raise the legal age of marriage to 15 was crushed after the Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh, the most senior religious authority in the country, ruled that Islam supports men marrying underage girls.

The Grand Mufti ruled that it’s acceptable for men to marry girls under the age of 15, despite strenuous efforts by human rights activists and the Saudi justice ministry to set 15 as a minimum age for brides in the kingdom.

Grand Mufti Abdulaziz declared there is nothing prohibiting Muslim men from marrying girls under the age of 15. Abdulaziz is president of the Supreme Council of Ulema (Islamic scholars) and chairman of the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing Fatwas, which makes him the final authority in Saudi Arabia on Islamic teachings.

In Saudi Arabia, Muslim clerics have been fighting a successful battle to preserve the legal right of men to marry underage girls. In recent years reformists have been working to prevent and prohibit the abhorrent and barbaric practice of child marriage sanctioned by so many Islamic scholars. However, attempts to prohibit child marriage has met strong and sustained resistance by many Muslim scholars.

For example, in 2011, Dr. Salih bin Fawzan, a prominent cleric and member of Saudi Arabia’s highest religious council, issued a fatwa asserting that there is no minimum age for marriage and that girls can be married “even if they are in the cradle.”

Most Muslim scholars in support of child marriage note that nowhere does Sharia (or Islamic law) set an age limit for marrying girls.

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