Rev. Otis Moss III
On Aug. 5, six worshippers at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin were killed by a white supremacist. Days later, a transgendered woman was stabbed to death in Washington, DC because of her sexual orientation. No one has been arrested for her murder. In January, two people were sent to prison in New Mexico because they beat up a developmentally challenged Navajo man, drew KKK and white power symbols on his body, and branded him with a swastika.
The inhumane beating and branding of the Navajo man,and the senseless deaths of the Sikh worshippers and the transgendered woman, are only a few of the hate crimes committed in the United States this year. In addition to these oft-reported incidents, thousands of others have experienced violent assaults motivated by racism, religious intolerance, sexism, ableism, gender identity, sexual orientation, or immigration status.
It is time for our national leaders to address the increasing number of hate crimes and hate groups in America.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, hate groups in America have grown by 60% since 2000 to more than one thousand. Since August, approximately 10 Islamic institutions and Muslim communities in seven states have experienced attacks including vandalism, a suspicious fire, shootings and the desecration of religious sanctuaries. The Jewish community continues to experience persistent bias attacks, accounting for 65% of all religiously motivated hate crimes documented by the FBI in 2010. Hate crimes based on anti-Hispanic bias accounted for 67% of ethnically motivated crimes in 2010. And although African Americans were 12.4% of the U.S. population in 2010, they were victims in 70% of all racially motivated hate crimes that year.
From RH Reality Check: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/09/16/modesty-is-about-lot-more-than-long-skirt
by Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check
September 17, 2012
In a year where anti-choicers seemed determined to demonstrate the anti-woman and anti-sex roots of their hostility to a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy—even while still offering lame, unbelievable claims of caring for “life”—the Value Voters Summit is positioned to remove all doubt that conservatives in America only care about restricting reproductive rights because they fear women’s liberation and want to control women’s lives and bodies. Indeed, things got off to a nice start when Think Progress got hold of a pamphlet that was being distributed at the summit called “Modesty Matters.”
The pamphlet lays out an old argument consistently found in patriarchal societies worldwide, even if they technically have different religions: Lust is bad. Men feel lust, something women presumably don’t, which is why they don’t understand and have to be told. But even though lust is a male emotion, it’s not really the fault of men! Men simply cannot be held responsible in any situation where there’s a woman available to blame. So, women are responsible for the thoughts inside men’s heads, which we control by wearing “immodest” clothes. Thus, it’s women’s responsibility to suppress men’s lust by wearing long skirts and shapeless clothes.
There’s so much wrong with this argument that it’s really hard to know where to start. Men can control themselves. Lust in and of itself isn’t wrong, and there’s definitely nothing wrong with someone taking some alone time to relieve strong feelings of lust that can’t or won’t be reciprocated. Lust isn’t a male-only emotion, and women understand it just fine. Even if you assume that lust is naughty and women should take responsibility for men’s thoughts, there’s no evidence whatsoever that draping women in more cloth suppresses feelings of lust; on the contrary, men just re-orient their understanding of normal, so that instead of a glimpse of upper thigh, just a glimpse of an ankle does it for them.
What’s interesting is that neither of these arguments for or against mandatory modesty mentions “life,” the supposed concern of conservative Christians who pass laws controlling female sexuality by attacking reproductive rights. Even the most strained Christian rationalizer who has convinced him or herself that merely looking at a birth control pill causes spontaneous miscarriages of nine-month pregnancies isn’t crass enough (yet) to argue that a man’s stray glance at a woman’s legs in a miniskirt takes any kind of “life.”
From The Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-boy-scouts-files-20120916,0,6937684.story
When volunteers and employees were suspected of sexually abusing children, Boy Scout officials often didn’t tell police, files from 1970-91 reveal. In many cases they sought to hide the situation.
Over two decades, the Boy Scouts of America failed to report hundreds of alleged child molesters to police and often hid the allegations from parents and the public.
A Los Angeles Times review of 1,600 confidential files dating from 1970 to 1991 has found that Scouting officials frequently urged admitted offenders to quietly resign — and helped many cover their tracks.
Volunteers and employees suspected of abuse were allowed to leave citing bogus reasons such as business demands, “chronic brain dysfunction” and duties at a Shakespeare festival.
The details are contained in the organization’s confidential “perversion files,” a blacklist of alleged molesters, that the Scouts have used internally since 1919. Scouts’ lawyers around the country have been fighting in court to keep the files from public view.
As The Times reported in August, the blacklist often didn’t work: Men expelled for alleged abuses slipped back into the program, only to be accused of molesting again. Now, a more extensive review has shown that Scouts sometimes abetted molesters by keeping allegations under wraps.
Continue reading at: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-boy-scouts-files-20120916,0,6937684.story
From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/17/occupy-protest-not-over
A good many observers wonder, is Occupy over? After all, the encampments that announced the movement a year ago have largely disappeared, and no obviously similar protest demonstrations of young people have taken their place, at least not in the United States.
Nevertheless, I think the ready conclusion that the protests have fizzled is based on a misconception of the nature of movements, a misconception influenced by the metaphors we rely on. We think of these eruptions as something like explosions, Fourth of July fireworks perhaps that shoot into the sky, dazzle us for a moment, and then quickly fade away. The metaphor leads us to think of protest movements as bursts of energy and anger that rise in a great arc and then, exhausted, disappear.
In fact, no major American movement of the past fits that description. The great protest movements of history lasted not for a moment but for decades. And they did not expand in the shape of a simple rising arc of popular defiance. Rather, they began in a particular place, sputtered and subsided, only to re-emerge elsewhere in perhaps a different form, influenced by local particularities of circumstance and culture.
Movements that may appear to us in retrospect as a unified set of events are, in fact, irregular and scattered. Only afterwards do we see the underlying common institutional causes and movement passions that mark these events so we can name them, as the abolitionist movement, for example, or the labor movement or the civil rights movement. I think Occupy is likely to unfold in a similar way.
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/17/occupy-protest-not-over
From Robert Reich: http://robertreich.org/post/31668931701
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Unemployment is still above 8 percent, job gains aren’t even keeping up with population growth, the economy is barely moving forward. And yet, according to most polls, the Romney-Ryan ticket is falling further and further behind. How can this be?
Because Republicans are failing the central test of electability. Instead of putting together the largest possible coalition of voters, they’re relying largely on one slice of America — middle-aged white men — and alienating just about everyone else.
Start with Hispanics, whose electoral heft keeps growing as they become an ever-larger portion of the electorate. Hispanics now favor President Obama over Romney-Ryan by a larger margin than they did six months ago.
Why? In last February’s Republican primary debate Romney dubbed Arizona’s controversial immigration policy – that authorized police to demand proof of citizenship from anyone looking Hispanic — a “model law” for the rest of the nation.
Romney then attacked GOP rival Texas Governor Rick Perry for supporting in-state tuition at the University of Texas for children of undocumented immigrants. And Romney advocates what he calls “self-deportation” – making life so difficult for undocumented immigrants and their families that they choose to leave.
Continue reading at: http://robertreich.org/post/31668931701
September 17, 2012
Mitt Romney did not say anything new on immigration in a Monday speech billed by his campaign as an example of a new specifics-oriented push from the campaign. Instead, Romney reasserted stances that Hispanic advocates say have kept him way back in the polls.
Romney reiterated many of his existing views on immigration to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Monday. The only real difference following his campaign’s promise to offer more specifics on a raft of issues this week was a harsher tone than he’s used before.
When Romney spoke at the NALEO conference in June, he attacked President Obama’s executive order enacting parts of the DREAM Act, and promised to make it easier for legal immigrants to navigate the system. He did the same thing Monday before the Hispanic Chamber, and he also threw around a hot-button word in the immigration fight.
“I oppose amnesty, because amnesty will make it harder, not easier to strengthen our legal immigration system,” Romney said. It’s not a new stance: Romney’s opposition to “amnesty” has been a cornerstone of his campaign so far.
As anti-American protests spread through cities in Muslim countries, Republican candidates mixed with those who fan the flames, including a former general calling for a pre-election Israeli strike on Iran.
By Zaid Jilani
September 16, 2012
If there’s anything we know about evangelical Christians, it’s that they comprise a remarkably effective voting block, and the religious right has been a core part of the Republican coalition for decades.
So it comes as no surprise, perhaps, that the two top members of the Republican ticket, presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running-mate, Paul Ryan, would court the Family Research Council at its recent Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., where, on Friday, Ryan delivered a speech, and Romney appeared via video message . But what is appalling is that the event this duo endorsed quickly devolved into a hate fest directed against an American religious minority.
At the podium in the massive ballroom of the Omni Shoreham Hotel, and in the breakout sessions that followed, the conference’s Saturday line-up seemed contrived to demonize Muslims as liars, infiltrators and worse — and one speaker, retired Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, sought to direct U.S. foreign policy in ways that could affect the outcome of the presidential election, by calling on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to strike Iran before November 6.
From Think Progress: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/09/17/857321/billionaire-drops-12m-on-obama/
By Ian Millhiser
on Sep 17, 2012
Joe Ricketts, the founder of what became online brokerage TD Ameritrade Inc., plans to spend $10 million airing ads supporting GOP nominee Mitt Romney and another $2 million to help Republicans running for Congress. The ads will begin airing this week. . . .
In one critical way, the Ricketts effort represents a new approach. Unlike big-money donors who have given to individual campaigns or independent political groups, including super PACs, Mr. Ricketts is doing it alone. He is funding his own super PAC, called the Ending Spending Action Fund, hired staff and has personally overseen the strategy and ads, tying him very directly to the effort.
It’s not clear yet what the ads will say about President Obama. Last May, a leaked document revealed that Ricketts considered a $10 million anti-Obama campaign starring an “extremely literate conservative African-American” that would attack Obama’s supposed image as a “metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln,” but Ricketts ultimately rejected this plan.
Continue reading at: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/09/17/857321/billionaire-drops-12m-on-obama/
By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, September 17, 2012
Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter thinks the decline of civic education is putting the United States in danger.
During a question and answer session last week at University of New Hampshire School of Law, Souter described “pervasive civic ignorance” as one of the biggest problems in the United States. He warned that Americans’ ignorance about their own government could lead to a dictatorship.
“I don’t worry about our losing a republican government in the United States because I’m afraid of a foreign invasion, he said. “I don’t worry about it because of a coup by the military, as has happened in some other places. What I worry about is that when problems are not addressed people will not know who is responsible, and when the problems get bad enough — as they might do for example with another serious terrorist attack, as they might do with another financial meltdown — some one person will come forward and say ‘Give me total power and I will solve this problem.’”
“That is how the Roman republic fell,” Souter continued. “Augustus became emperor not because he arrested the Roman senate. He became emperor because he promised that he would solve problems that were not being solved.”
From The Telegraph UK: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/9546004/Just-100-cod-left-in-North-Sea.html
16 Sep 2012
A survey of catches at European ports has found that fishermen did not catch a single cod over the age of 13 last year.
The findings raise concerns for future stocks of cod, which become more fertile as they age. The fish can live as long as 25 years and grow to 6ft.
Researchers warned a lower life expectancy meant a lower birth rate and a faster decline.
Callum Roberts, professor of marine biology at York University, told the Sunday Times that intense industrial fishing meant that few fish survived beyond the age of four, when they reach sexual maturity.
“This means that there are fewer eggs and larvae to perpetuate future generations,” he said.