Silent march turns chaotic as police try to divide the crowd

From Raw Story:

By Muriel Kane
Sunday, June 17, 2012

The silent march against stop-and-frisk turned violent and chaotic shortly after 5:00 pm after being confronted by New York police.

It appears that the trouble began as the tail end of the march, which has been estimated as at least 50,000 people, reached the destination point of Fifth Avenue and 78th Street. OccupiedStories tweeted at 5:15, “End of ‪#SilentMarchNYC‬ rowdy and loud. Seems like people are continuing to march down 5th Ave. Intensity level just shot through the roof.”

According to the “Newyorkist” Twitter account, it appears that police then began to move in and the crowd started chanting “No justice, no peace” and then “Whose streets, our streets.”

Police tried to kettle the march with netting and then split the crowd, pushing some down Fifth Avenue and others onto a side street. They then began wielding batons and Newyorkist tweeted, “Crowd control meaures turning super agressive and dangerous. Crowd tremendously agitated.”

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The New Misogyny: What It Means for Teachers and Classrooms

From Common Dreams:

Rethinking Schools Editorial
Published on Sunday, June 17, 2012 by Rethinking Schools

As we go marching, marching,
we’re standing proud and tall

The rising of the women means
the rising of us all.

Our lives shall not be sweated
from birth until life closes,

Hearts starve as well as bodies:
bread and roses, bread and roses.

The song “Bread and Roses” and the 1912 strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts, where the phrase originated, remind us how important women’s struggles have been in U.S. history, and that the liberation of women is central to progress toward social justice.

There hasn’t been much talk about women’s liberation lately. Women have the vote; more than half the students at universities are women; rape is classified as a crime; there are women doctors, lawyers, soccer players, and secretaries of state. A lot of young professionals—and a lot of our students—would say that the whole idea of women’s liberation is passé, a non-issue.

Then, this spring’s political campaigns revealed a deep and ugly wound: misogyny that ranged from Rush Limbaugh’s crass attack on Georgetown Law School student Sandra Fluke to the repeal of Wisconsin’s pay equity law, from the Republican attacks on Title X (which subsidizes cervical and breast cancer screening, testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, and birth control for 5 million low-income women) to Virginia’s mandated vaginal ultrasounds for women who want abortions.

What has been exposed is that the notion that we are “post-sexist” is a lie. There is a disturbing similarity to how the election of an African American president has masked the worsening realities for large numbers of African Americans—in the words of prison rights activist and scholar Ruth Wilson Gilmore, “One African American in the White House and a million in prison.” Professional opportunities for a narrow stratum of women have masked the worsening realities of life for millions of women caught up in the welfare system, the prison system, low-paying service jobs, domestic violence, and the ideological misogyny of growing fundamentalist religious and political perspectives.

The Stereotype of the ‘Lazy Teacher’

The vilification of K-12 teachers is part and parcel of this misogyny. Last year, when teachers led the occupation of the Wisconsin state capitol, many pointed out the obvious: Attacks on teachers—and other public sector workers like nurses and social workers—are overwhelmingly attacks on women. When “reformers” from former D.C. superintendent Michelle Rhee to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie portray teachers as incompetent, incapable of leadership, and selfish, they don’t need to specify women teachers for that to be the image in people’s minds—76 percent of U.S. teachers are women; at the elementary school level, it’s nearly 90 percent. As education blogger Sabrina Stevens Shupe wrote recently, “The predominantly female teaching profession [is] among the latest [targets] in a long tradition of projecting community/social anxieties onto ‘bad’ women—from ‘witches’ to bad mothers to feminists and beyond.”

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Moral Dystopia

From The New York Times:

By Maureen Dowd
Published: June 16, 2012

EVERYONE is good, until we’re tested.

We hope we would be Sir Thomas More in “A Man for All Seasons,” who dismisses his daughter’s pleas to compromise his ideals and save his life, saying: “When a man takes an oath, Meg, he’s holding his own self in his own hands. Like water. And if he opens his fingers then, he needn’t hope to find himself again.”

But with formerly hallowed institutions and icons sinking into a moral dystopia all around us, has our sense of right and wrong grown more malleable? What if we’re not Thomas More but Mike McQueary?

Eight tortured young men offered searing testimony in Bellefonte, Pa., about being abused as children by Jerry Sandusky in the showers at Penn State, in the basement of his home and at hotels.

But the most haunting image in the case is that of a little boy who was never found, who was never even sought by Penn State officials.

In February 2001, McQueary was home one night watching the movie “Rudy,” about a runty football player who achieves his dream of playing at Notre Dame by the sheer force of his gutsy character. McQueary, a graduate assistant coach and former Penn State quarterback, was so inspired that he got up and went over to the locker room to get some tapes of prospective recruits.

There he ran smack into his own character test. The strapping 6-foot-4 redhead told the court he saw his revered boss and former coach reflected in the mirror: Sandusky, Joe Paterno’s right hand, was grinding against a little boy in the shower in an “extremely sexual” position, their wet bodies making “skin-on-skin slapping sounds.” He met their eyes, Sandusky’s blank, the boy’s startled.

“I’ve never been involved in anything remotely close to this,” the 37-year-old McQueary said. “You’re not sure what the heck to do, frankly.”

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Christian missionaries with pig’s head crash Arab-American festival in Michigan

From Raw Story:

By Jonathan Terbush
Sunday, June 17, 2012

A group of Christian missionaries hijacked an Arab-American festival in Dearborn, Michigan on Saturday, bearing signs criticizing Islam and carrying a pig’s head mounted on a pole.

According to the Detroit Free Press, several Christian missionaries protested the Arab International Festival, shouting at attendees and holding signs which read, “Islam is a religion of blood and murder”  and  ”Muhammad is a … liar, false prophet, murderer, child molesting pervert.” One missionary also carried a pig’s head on a staff—an antagonistic gesture because Muslims do not eat pork.

One of the missionary groups, called the Bible Believers, has notoriously picketed Arab events in the past. The group’s website—which contains lengthy diatribes against Santa Claus and Christian Rock music, among other things—has a section conveniently titled, “What So Wrong With Islam?” Among the reasons cited are a belief that Muhammad was a sinner, and that the Quran requires violence.

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Bigotry Again Masquerading as Religious Liberty

From Fire Dog Lake:

By: Peterr
Saturday June 16, 2012

In the 1850s and 60s, there were slaveholders who justified their ways by appealing to their religious beliefs. In the 1950s and 60s, there were segregationists who screamed “religious liberty” when their practices were questioned. Indeed, as late as 1983, Bob Jones University went to the US Supreme Court to defend their discriminatory practices that violated federal law. At stake, properly speaking, was not their right to hold their beliefs or practice discrimination, but rather their tax-exempt status. That is, they were receiving a benefit from society while acting against the laws of that same society.

Let the record show that Bob Jones University lost their case, 8-1.

Said the majority opinion (emphasis added):

Charitable exemptions are justified on the basis that the exempt entity confers a public benefit — a benefit which the society or the community may not itself choose or be able to provide, or which supplements and advances the work of public institutions already supported by tax revenues. History buttresses logic to make clear that, to warrant exemption under § 501(c)(3), an institution must fall within a category specified in that section and must demonstrably serve and be in harmony with the public interest. The institution’s purpose must not be so at odds with the common community conscience as to undermine any public benefit that might otherwise be conferred.

. . .

This Court has long held the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to be an absolute prohibition against governmental regulation of religious beliefs, Wisconsin v. Yoder,406 U. S. 205, 406 U. S. 219 (1972); Sherbert v. Verner,374 U. S. 398, 374 U. S. 402 (1963); Cantwell v. Connecticut,310 U. S. 296, 310 U. S. 303 (1940). As interpreted by this Court, moreover, the Free Exercise Clause provides substantial protection for lawful conduct grounded in religious belief, see Wisconsin v. Yoder, supra, at 406 U. S. 220; Thomas v. Review Board of Indiana Employment Security Div.,450 U. S. 707 (1981); Sherbert v. Verner, supra, at 374 U. S. 402-403. However, “[n]ot all burdens on religion are unconstitutional. . . . The state may justify a limitation on religious liberty by showing that it is essential to accomplish an overriding governmental interest.”

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Occupy the Heritage Foundation: How a Conservative Think Tank Aims to Rebrand the American Dream

From Truth Out:

By Matt Dineen and Jason Del Gandio
Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Occupy Wall Street movement has captured the collective imagination and inspired a groundswell of radical activity. This inspiration is so great that even the corporate media was regularly covering Occupy back in the fall. But that media coverage changed once the encampments were dismantled. The media coverage has either subsided or, in more recent times, has falsely branded occupiers as “agitators” and even “terrorists” (see Bill O’Reilly’s Talking Points from May 21 and May 22, for instance). But this is not the approach taken by everyone. On April 17 of this year, the Heritage Foundation organized a public panel discussion entitled “Occupy Wall Street: A Post-Mortem?” Unlike the dismissive and demonizing tactics of Fox News, this influential conservative think tank is seriously grappling with the Occupy phenomenon. Until now, there has been no response to the Heritage Foundation from Occupy or from the left. Philadelphia-based writer Matt Dineen recently interviewed Occupy Philadelphia member and “Rhetoric for Radicals” author Jason Del Gandio. In the following dialogue, the two explore the significance of the Heritage Foundation’s study and what Occupy can learn from it to ensure its own vitality and evolving relevance as the summer approaches.

Matt Dineen: The Heritage Foundation is clearly taking the Occupy movement seriously and not simply dismissing it like much of the right wing has done. In framing the question around the current state of Occupy, they do not argue that this is a post-mortem – but their project is committed to ideologically defeating this unpredictable movement. How can we begin to make sense of the Heritage Foundation’s strategy here? What is it that they are trying to accomplish?

Jason Del Gandio: My guess is that the Heritage Foundation sees Occupy as a legitimate – or at least a potential – threat to American capitalism. The speakers make frequent reference to capitalism, free markets and free enterprise, and often mention traditional buzzwords like individual liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Heritage Foundation is trying to understand the populist appeal of Occupy, and by doing so, trying to use that appeal to “win back” some of the Occupiers. Or, at the very least, to impede Occupy’s progress and win the hearts and minds of those who are still on the fence. One speaker, Ben Domenech, uses the word “persuadables.” This refers to Occupiers who, he believes, are still sympathetic to capitalism and the American dream – that if you work hard, you can live a happy, comfortable, successful life. Another speaker, Anne Sorock, is a marketing researcher and former corporate brand manager. She explicitly states that she wants to understand the feelings and psychological motivations of the Occupiers. Based on her research, she has created two categories of Occupiers – the professionals and the communitarians. The first, according to Sorock, is composed of long-time, dedicated activists and organizers; they are not persuadable. The second group is less dedicated and experienced, less concerned with political issues, and driven more by existential desires: they seek community, purpose and meaning in life, which Occupy provides. The Heritage Foundation is guessing that these folks are still persuadable. Such psychological profiling grants the Heritage Foundation – and other conservatives – the ability to rebrand capitalism and the American dream. After all, who doesn’t want to believe that the system works with you and not against you, and that hard work pays off? These are extremely powerful myths that help maintain the status quo. But things like economic inequality, escalating poverty, bank bailouts, home foreclosures, Citizens United, a clear lack of political accountability, disappointment in Obama and a general malaise associated to the corporate/consumer lifestyle challenge the American mythology. Occupy then comes onto the scene and acts as a conduit for these and other issues. Occupy is a galvanizing point that cuts through the American myth.

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