conuly: (Default)
We've been having spotty internet lately, and have finally tracked down the problem: My router, which was cheap when I bought it, is eight years obsolete. I need to get a new one. Well, they can't possibly have gone up in price, so it won't break the bank, I don't think.

Gave away a kitten today. Apparently, this was Evangeline's favorite kitten. Tough for her. I didn't say it to her face, but I'm sure he'll be happier in a home with three doting grown-up people who are at home all day than in a home where his needier siblings hog most of the attention and the only one who dotes is six years old and still thinks he likes being hugged. (No, I don't let her squeeze kittens around the middle, even though she wants to.)

Anyway, on to those links!

Israelis Facing a Seismic Rift Over Role of Women
There are pictures


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New Definition of Autism May Exclude Many, Study Suggests


Read more... )

Here's an article about segregated housing for vegetarians only in Bombay

And one on Bastøy, a very free prison in Norway

State notes alarming spike in starvation of adopted children. They list the signs of potential starvation in a child, but of course it's worth noting that with adopted children, many of these psychological signs (like hoarding food or bolting it down quickly) could be a sign that they went hungry BEFORE being adopted.

Report: Medical Marijuana Laws Reduced Traffic Fatalities

Texas doctors lead open-notes movement

And finally, BSG (remake) as an 8-bit RPG!
conuly: (can't)
Well, she's my mom.

Interestingly, during the same talk it came up about a few months earlier when my high school had found out that I DO NOT say the Pledge of Allegiance. And they called my mom, and then basically told me that she's not backing me up, and we came up with this lame-ass compromise where I was just late to third period every day.

Apparently what actually happened is my mother told them they were stupid, said she had no interest in fixing a problem caused by THEIR ignorance of MY rights, and said they should deal with it. Which they did... by lying to me about what my mother said.

I had thought this was remarkably inconsistent with my family, but it never occurred to me that the dean would just lie to my face. (Then again, after I had the guy for health the next term it should've. I seriously disliked him. Fortunately, the feeling was mutual and I ended up doing independent study. Nice when things work out, right?) OMFG! I should've sued!

Man, I am NEVER compromising my principles again just because my mother doesn't back me up, especially when she actually does. (No, I don't know why I didn't discuss it with her later that day. Maybe because it didn't occur to me there was anything to discuss? Who knew I was lied to? OMG!)

I'm seriously tempted to write the school a note about this. That was SO not right.

Coincidentally, here is an article about a group wanting to ban the Pledge of Allegiance from their local schools. Contrary to what people say, this would NOT prevent small children who wish to say the Pledge from saying it. Really, there's nothing stopping you from making your children say whatever silly things you like at home.

But going through the comments, here's the thing that I just don't get. Every time any issue regarding free speech comes up that can even tangentially be connected to atheism, hordes of people come out of the woodwork to go "Well, what about money? LOL, do you not use money because of in god we trust? LOL!!!!"

Aside from the fact that they think they're clever when they're really not, I don't understand why "in God we trust" is okay with Christians! Isn't there some kind of commandment about taking the Lord's name in vain? Doesn't it sort of cheapen your religion to have cheesy signs up in stores saying "In God's name we trust, all others pay cash"? Isn't it wrong to (to borrow some religious phrasing here) yoke God and mammon together? Isn't there something about moneylenders and camels and needs which I am SURE can somehow be applied to putting God's name (more or less) on cash???

It just doesn't make sense. Forget about whether or not it offends atheists, am I missing something? Why doesn't this offend Christians? I just. Don't. Get it.
conuly: Dr. Horrible quote: All the birds are singing, you're gonna die : ) (birds)
But not really, the article has been updated.

The comments are pretty much what you'd expect. If you enjoy a completely uneven battle of wits with trolls and fools, have fun! Otherwise... happy Ramadan if you're celebrating this month.
conuly: (creepy)
in some bird crap. So now they're not washing their car.

You probably could make that up, but why would you want to?

For something more upbeat, I for one would very much like to live in this house. But I'm not sure there are enough bookshelves. (And the first person to say you could accomplish the same thing with a few e-readers is gonna get banned. I don't want to hear it! You still need shelves for the Kindles and Nooks and what-all elses, right?)
conuly: Quote from Heroes by Claire - "Maybe being different isn't the end of the world, it's just who I am" (being different)
High School Student Stands Up Against Prayer at Public School and Is Ostracized, Demeaned and Threatened

I could, at this point, cherrypick a few telling Bible quotes to show these guys up as raging hypocrites... but I'm not going to do that. You know the drill, do it on your own.

Now, coincidentally, the same day I read that article I picked up a new book for the nieces, Penina Levine is a Hard-Boiled Egg. Had I read the blurb more carefully I probably wouldn't've. It turned out to be an "issues" boo, with the issue being that Penina's teacher is an ignoramus. Those, for whatever reason, don't tend to be as good as ones that aren't dominated by a single Important conflict. And this book isn't that great. It's okay, it doesn't have any real flaws that I'm going to go "Wow, this book sucks!", but it's nothing to write home about.

It has two negative reviews over on Amazon. One of them ran "I don't think the teacher's reaction makes sense, and it makes no logical sense that Penina would refuse to do the stupid Easter bunny assignment but be willing to go to church with her friend one day. She shouldn't mix religion with friendship!" (Not an actual quote.)

Now, it turned out that what the reviewer meant about the teacher is that she thinks it makes no sense for the woman to do a 180 by the end of the book after Penina's mom calls the principal. This makes more sense than what I thought she meant, but I still disagree. The teacher never really gets a clue, and acts more like somebody who had her ass handed to her than somebody who really understands about not trampling on the rights of the minority.

As far as visiting with her friend at church, I don't see - and said so - that it's inconsistent at all. CHOOSING to go with your friend to church (and not participating in anything that conflicts with your beliefs or makes you uncomfortable) is not at all the same as being forced or coerced to act as though other people's beliefs are your own.

And this is what really bugs me, is when people say ONE thing and then, when you disagree, claim they said something else. In a reply, the reviewer says that it's just WRONG for Jewish children to ever willingly enter a church because it's condoning years of terrible things done by Christians to Jews, and that SHE grew up without ever inviting her non-Jewish friends over for her holidays or giving them Christmas gifts or anything, and Penina isn't a good example.

Now, quite aside from the fact that there is a wide range of opinions on whether or not it's ever appropriate to participate in somebody else's holidays or worship services (and to what degree), this is not what her original point was. What she said at first is that it's illogical and inconsistent. And now she's saying that what she meant was it's just a bad thing to do. Say what you mean and mean what you say, people! Don't say one thing and then claim you meant something entirely different!

Ugh.

But you know, this person at least seems to have thought a little before reviewing. I disagree with some things she said, but she didn't just say whatever.

Check this one out.

If you can work out what this woman is even attempting to get at, please let me know. All I could figure out is that apparently if your grandma survived the Holocaust by hiding in a Catholic school run by nuns, she was "treading on and upsetting personal religions TRADITIONS" (emphasis hers - and I kinda think that taking (or not taking) Communion is more than a "tradition") and you should be ashamed of her and not let her visit your classroom. Or something. It was a good laugh until I opened up page 127 and figured out what the heck she was trying to talk about in that sentence.

These two links don't really go together, except in that they do.

*headdesk*

Feb. 24th, 2011 10:17 pm
conuly: A picture of the Castleton Castle. Quote: "Where are our dreams? Where are our castles?" (castle)
Tennessee Bill Wants to Make Shariah Law a Felony

I'm just going to quote Pat's Papers directly: Two Republican state legislators in Tennessee have introduced a bill that would make practicing Islamic Shariah law a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The bill categorizes any adherence to Shariah law—including prayers—as a “danger to homeland security” reports the Tennessean. Other states have attempted similar motions though most have focused on excluding Shariah law from US courtrooms. Critics call the bill “nonsense,” pointing out that “people of all faiths have to follow secular law.”

This is just silly. Aside from the snarking in the article ("Well, sharia law prohibits stealing, does this mean I should become a thief?") it's just absurd. "Well, of course, sharia law would have to apply to everybody and then they'd kill us all for not being Muslim! OMG!" Except... not so much. It's my understanding that things like sharia law (or, something more common in the US, Beth Din, the pluralization I'm not sure of) is optional. You have two parties who can't agree, and rather than take it to the secular courts they decide to take it to the appropriate religious courts instead. And why not? If you want your rabbi or your priest or your next door neighbor's cat to settle your dispute for you, who's to argue? So long as everybody agrees that this is the way to go, go you! It's just another form of alternative dispute resolution.

But - and correct me if I'm wrong here - in countries such as the US this is used for civil suits, not for criminal suits, mostly because you're not going to get the state to agree to try you in anything other than the state courts. So it pretty much as no effect on anybody outside the two parties who agreed to use this method.

Incidentally, speaking of Wikipedia, they say something interesting which I'm not going to try to back up at this time, instead trusting one of you to correct me if they're wrong:

One contribution Islamic law made to Western law, was the legal procedure. Until the Crusades, legal procedure in the West often consisted of "God's judgments" by boiling water (or another "ordeal") or by duel. By contrast, Islamic law decided on the basis of proof and allowed the defendants to express freely, a practice that had been established in the time of the second Caliph of Islam, Umar. Marcel Boisard argues that these procedures were transmitted to Europe via Louis IX, who instituted several reforms upon returning from the Crusades.[208]

If this is right, using the sarcasm employed earlier I can safely say... "Well, shariah law calls for a strict level of proof and for the defendants to, uh, defend themselves. You want to take that away?" Of course, that may very well be what some parties wish to do, but I'm a pessimist.
conuly: Good Omens quote: "Kids! Bringing about Armageddon can be dangerous!" (armageddon)
For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. What went wrong—and how we can fix it.

I'm not entirely sure I believe this article, but there it is.

Here's a video on blizzards and long-term methods for traffic calming.

NYPD Cops' Training Included an Anti-Muslim Horror Flick. Other than the disturbing nature of this, it's not really worth reading past the title (which sums up what you need to know) unless you are masochistically inclined towards comment-reading. Half of them say that Muslims and Islam and Obama are all evil-evil-evil, and the others say that this video is the work of Zionist Jews who, along with Obama, are all evil-evil-evil.

Teachers are (unreasonably) cautious about teaching evolution in school. Again, I warn you - don't read the comments.

And there's this interesting article on a school in the Bronx. Actually, I have to say, the really interesting part is the pictures. My god, that school has got to have the ugliest uniform I have ever seen in a school. Orange and blue plaid? I fully admit that this is a shallow worldview, but... wow.

More on the school profiled is at Wikipedia.
conuly: Dr. Horrible quote: All the birds are singing, you're gonna die : ) (birds)
And let me just say that anybody who doesn't think that term is a little disturbing isn't thinking clearly about it. They're explicitly using a passage about having children like little arrows. If they were just about the kids, why not call themselves the "fruitful" movement?
conuly: Quote: "You only wish you were as cool as I am" (cool)
It's a chart detailing the various contradictions in the Bible. Even clicking on the image doesn't make it very big, you'll want to open the PDF.
conuly: (Default)
First, let me say that I'm told the previous article in diabetes IS, in fact, really bad. My apologies.

One on the avoidance of the term "rape" for children who clearly WERE raped.

On the trend of diagnosing children with bipolar disorder - worth reading

A 1960s parody of commercials

The Pope has more or less approved condom use by male prostitutes to prevent the spread of AIDS. This is one of those situations where, if you can get inside the logic that leads to "condoms for male hookers = yes, condoms for married couples = no" it makes internal sense. I guess.

On good airport security

Canada wants more immigrants.


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For Catholics, Interest in Exorcism Is Revived

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Cigarette Giants in Global Fight on Tighter Rules

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Catholics in Belgium Start Parishes of Their Own

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On Nov. 4, Anderson Cooper did the country a favor. He expertly deconstructed on his CNN show the bogus rumor that President Obama’s trip to Asia would cost $200 million a day. This was an important “story.” It underscored just how far ahead of his time Mark Twain was when he said a century before the Internet, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” But it also showed that there is an antidote to malicious journalism — and that’s good journalism....


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For Saudi Women, Biggest Challenge Is Getting to Play

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Small Cheesemaker Defies F.D.A. Over Recall

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I.R.S. Sits on Data Pointing to Missing Children

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Articles!

Oct. 8th, 2010 10:12 am
conuly: (Default)
In Fierce Opposition to a Muslim Center, Echoes of an Old Fight

The comments are absolutely worthless, but get a load of this gem:

"How true. We all remember Catholic suicide bombers and how they wanted to replace the US constitution by biblical law (is there such a thing?) and how they chanted "My Catholic God is Great" after cutting the heads of innocent Protestants"

1. No, honey, that's the largely Protestant fundies you're talking about.
2. I guess nobody remembers the Spanish Inquisition anymore?


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Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children
A woman misquoted in the article has her comment here.

My view is that if picture books aren't selling, it's because they only come in hardcover! I don't want to spend $16 on a new picture book when I can spend half that price on a longer chapter book! Sure, I can buy used, but that doesn't help the new books get printed, does it?


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Some states may be drugging incarcerated kids to control their behavior. Well, no shit.

Here's a quote from a brilliant guy who thinks the government is going to force people to eat their veggies. LOL!

Children need more play

Not enough PWDs on TV, again I say "well, no shit"

Let's not forget the extrasolar earthlike planet

An article on renegade female Catholic priests.

Migrant ‘Villages’ Within Beijing Ignite Debate


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An article on Romansh

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One on dishes LIKE ratatouille

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We may have found the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder!

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conuly: Picture of a dandelion fluffball. Quote: "What is harmless about a dreamer?" (dreamer)
New Kellogg School Research Suggests a Colorblind Approach to Diversity May Frustrate Efforts to Identify and Confront Discrimination. No duh.

The Disease Called Perfection.

Time Lapse video of a compost pile

This WTF? inducing post by Nikki Grimes

An article on getting boys to read that confirms that literacy does not mean you understand logic.

"Dr. Robert Weis, a psychology professor at Denison University, confirmed this suspicion in a randomized controlled trial of the effect of video games on academic ability. Boys with video games at home, he found, spend more time playing them than reading, and their academic performance suffers substantially. Hard to believe, isn't it, but Science has spoken."

Or maybe boys who prefer video games to books are more likely to have video games than books.

"The secret to raising boys who read, I submit, is pretty simple—keep electronic media, especially video games and recreational Internet, under control (that is to say, almost completely absent). Then fill your shelves with good books. "

And you're also going to keep them from playing sports, you're going to keep them from exploring outside, you're going to keep them from having swordfights inside, you're going to keep them from masturbating, you're going to keep them from doing chores, right? Because the choice is screentime or books, not books and EVERYTHING ELSE, right?

That link comes from here which ultimately I got from here.

On bikeshare programs (and similar)

"But the question is whether most consumers would ever accept time share ownership of a bike or a blender. After a bike share program began in Denver, one gubernatorial candidate in Colorado attacked the program as un-American. "

Yup, you got it, a business model that allows you to pay to share a bike is un-American. Capitalism isn't American!


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Some Obama Allies Fear School Lunch Bill Could Rob Food Stamp Program

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Old West Traditions, and Tensions, at Rodeo

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At Sukkah City, Religion Meets Whimsy

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This house is only a few blocks from mine
Pics!


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Their Moon Shot and Ours

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Achieving Techno-Literacy

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conuly: Quote from Veronica Mars - "Sometimes I'm even persnickety-ER" (persnickety)
Obama Tries to Calm Religious Tensions

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Notice how he just kinda slides that mention of his deep Christian faith in there. I don't know why he bothers. The people who think he's secretly Satan-worshipping Muslim aren't going to believe him anyway - and the real problem is that these folks have this idiotic idea that it matters.

City Disavows Pastor’s Talk of Burning Koran

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Chock Full o’Nuts Returns to Manhattan. But Is That Salmon on the Menu?

Chock Full o'Nuts is the <i>heavenly</i> coffee.... )

You know, the original words to that jingle said that "better coffee Rockefeller's money can't buy". My mother all of a sudden remembered that a few years ago, and talked about it for three days.
conuly: A picture of the Castleton Castle. Quote: "Where are our dreams? Where are our castles?" (castle)
Recalling Green Book, Guide for Black Travelers

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Proposed Muslim Center Draws Opposing Protests

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The Littlest Redshirts Sit Out Kindergarten

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Amid Furor on Islamic Center, Pleas for Orthodox Church Nearby

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Immigrants are less likely to change their names nowadays

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(BTW - if you go to read that article on their website, don't click to read the comments. Apparently, not changing your name is akin to destroying the very fabric of society, and heaven forbid you mispronounce REAL names!)

At West Point, Hidden Gay Cadets Put in Spotlight

This is another one where you want to be careful with those comments. One thing, though - a lot of people in the comments are saying she "tricked" her way in. Isn't the whole dubious point of Don't Ask, Don't Tell that being gay isn't against the rules, so long as nobody talks about it?


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When an Arab Enclave Thrived Downtown

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Pastor's Plan to Burn Koran Adds to Tensions

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In a Hoarder’s Home, Going All Out to Find the Floor

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conuly: Quote: "I'm blogging this" (blogging)
And I'm not even reading that many! But everybody links to some articles, and then I read Pat's Papers (which is awesome), and then the articles and stories there have links on the side, and all of a sudden I have ten pages of links up.

*sighs*

Well, the non-not-a-mosque articles up first.

First, a video clip that's not entirely about space toilets, except that it pretty much is. I gotta say, this is something I never contemplated while eating dehydrated astronaut ice cream!

One on a boy's school that's going to "cater to boy's learning styles". Good idea in theory, but it again makes the foolish assumption that all boys have the same learning style, and that's universally different from girls (who ALSO all have the same learning style), and that the "sit down and shut up" method of education is great for girls and ONLY detrimental to boys.

The comments are hilarious. Half of them are "Oh, these spoiled boys, they're never going to get a job and they're going to be bullies and they'll be on welfare just wait and see" and the other half are "Oh, see, this is all because of feminism and feminists are why we don't have gym class because girls are weak and pathetic and feminists want to hurt everybody and the idea that girls and boys might have ANYthing in common is a lie". Then there's this one person who works for the people who made this school and who wants to comment to EVERYBODY telling them how wonderful it is. There's a small handful of comments going "I'm a woman/I have a daughter, and this would've suited me/her" or "I'm a man/have a son and this would be TERRIBLE" or even "Well, of course, there are many many MANY learning styles and they don't match up evenly the way you think, even if there is some correlation...." but they're being voted down by damn near everybody, which is a shame.

More on bedbugs

An article on kids who don't want to give up their pediatrician even when, well, they're not kids anymore.

The youngest kids in the class are more likely to get (mis?)diagnosed ADHD

The newest set of college kids was born in 1992, and look - the reference list is updated!

Here's some nifty school supplies. Gotta say, the dry-erase crayons work really well.

And finally, a post about a guy who got a call in the middle of the night from a prostitute in his office.

~~~~~~~~~~~


Dear Rest-of-America: Take This Map, It's Why You're Wrong About the "Ground Zero Mosque"

The Ground Zero Coat

Where's the Ground Zero Terror Mosque? 39 Experts Explain!

I especially love “on the ash-strewn site of 3,000 dead Americans”. Guys? It's been nine years. We've, uh, we've kinda swept it up already. Although if you'd like to volunteer for clean-up efforts, even though the ash is gone I'm sure I can find you some gum to scrape off the sidewalk for us. You know - so the terrorists don't win and all.

The Wikipedia article on Mohammed Salman Hamdani

GOP calls Obama insensitive over stand on mosque

Nothing new there, but I love how it's written up. For some people, writing an article is an excuse to break out the melodrama. "Recalling the emotion of that deadly day" indeed! It was 9/11. You don't need to spell it out for us. We were (most of us) there. Or not, but you know what I mean.

Senate races in Louisiana and Nevada are suddenly about a construction project in distant Manhattan

The absurd controversy over the proposed Islamic center in New York shows that many Americans need to meet some Muslims.
conuly: image of Elisa Mazda (Gargoyles) - "Watcher of the City" (watcher of the city)
Now, there's something I see over and over again in the comments to these articles. Apparently, because NO Muslim countries (where Muslim = Arab and Arab = Muslim, of course) allow churches, we can't allow any mosques in NYC.

The most obvious thing wrong with this statement is that, uh, it's wrong. A quick google search found me many refuatations of this story. If you bring this up, of course, the people saying it will try to change their words, going on about how Christians are treated unfairly in these other countries (I wouldn't know, I've never been there, but then, neither have they) and this and that - but what they SAID was WRONG.

However, the more important thing that's wrong with this statement is the fact that this isn't some other country! This is the United States of America! Freedom of religion is one of our most important precepts - it's the very first amendment! Speech, press, religion, assembly, and petition! (It's a very catchy chant. Try it.) Instead of trying to tit-for-tat Saudi Arabia, shouldn't we be holding ourselves to our own high standards?

Mixed in with this are the more "humorous" suggestions that the "mosque" (it's not) should be built "with a synagogue next to it" or a church (as though Jews and Christians only exist so Muslims can be annoyed or something) or a strip club (there are plenty in that neighborhood already. Actually, there are plenty of churches too, though I don't know about synagogues).

And of course the complaint that it'd somehow be terrible or shocking or irritating to hear a call to prayer. Nobody ever complains about churchbells on the hour (half hour, quarter hour....), or at least when they do they don't say it's somehow anything other than a noise complaint.

What really bugs me about all these arguments is how incredibly, unbearably hypocritical they all are. I just can't stand it.

(Also, I loathe "I don't blame all Muslims for 9/11, but I think it's insensitive". What is this? Either you blame them, in which case you should fess up and save the rest of us the trouble of trying to have a conversation with you, or you do NOT blame them, in which case you shouldn't feel upset by this at all.)

So, on with the links!

Not really recent, but it's vaguely topical about Muslim victims of 9/11.
Also, here is Wikipedia's fascinating article on Islam in the US

For Mosque Sponsors, Early Missteps Fueled Storm

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In Lower Manhattan, Two Mosques Have Firm Roots

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Obama Strongly Backs Islam Center Near 9/11 Site

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Mayor’s Stance on Muslim Center Has Deep Roots


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Articles!

Aug. 13th, 2010 11:50 am
conuly: (Default)
(Wow, it's like all I ever do anymore!)

So Pretzel Crisps has changed their icky ads to... MORE icky ads. This is a pity, because their pretzels actually taste pretty good.

Here's some information on actual shelf life (compared to use-by dates)

One on the media and 11 year old girls using the pill (most likely for medical reasons)

Another editorial on the NOT-A-MOSQUE that would NOT be at the WTC site. (Also, an interesting version of the twenty zillion words for snow myth.)

On using superheroes to teach philosophy

Apparently, orangutans will mime to communicate. Cool!

And here's aNOTHER editorial on the non-mosque. One of the comments goes "Why here, when there isn't a big Muslim population here?" Well, I don't know if many Muslims live in Lower Manhattan, but a lot of them work there. I have another article coming for a later post about two mosques in the area that have to regularly turn away worshippers due to lack of room. That kinda indicates to me that they need a new place to pray.

Apparently, you're legally required to have tons of bright lights and signage in Times Square. (Even the cops and the train station have neon lights.) I had no idea!

"What stimulus could mean if it included the formerly incarcerated"

On an article about prisons and voter representation. Fascinating and disturbing.

And finally, on the proposal to close schools in NYC for Muslim holidays. (Of course, IF we were to do this, we wouldn't have to cut school days. We could start the year earlier, or end it later. Or we could increase school HOURS somewhat to make up the lost instructional time. It needn't be in small increments, it could be one half-hour a week or something. There are so many options.)
conuly: Picture of Darth Vader, with word "darkside" (darkside)
Once again, let me repeat the main points here:

1. It's not a mosque. It's a cultural center, with, yes, a mosque attached, kinda like having a small chapel appended to your YMCA.

2. It's not at the WTC. It's a few blocks away - which is not NEARLY as close as you think.

And, because I see this in the comments a lot in various articles:

3. It's proposed to be there because there are a lot of Muslims who work in Lower Manhattan! Of course, wherever "there" is, it would be the wrong spot to some of these people, that much should be blatantly obvious even to them.

First link
Second - this one is very informative
Third
conuly: image of Elisa Mazda (Gargoyles) - "Watcher of the City" (watcher of the city)
A few of them are about the proposed mosque near the WTC site. Sorry, it's not a mosque. It's a cultural center which will have a mosque appended to it. So when people start talking about a "15 story mosque", think instead "15 stories of classrooms and pools and a gym, oh, and a mosque". Also, when they say "At the WTC" don't think "At the WTC" think "A few blocks away where there used to be a Burlington Coat Factory". I used to shop there occasionally. It's not quite as close as it's being made out to be.

Now, the Boy Scouts are trying to rebuild their ranks. Most of the comments point out that the Boy Scouts condone and endorse (and practice!) exclusion of atheists and gays. One of them, however, goes "Well, this country was better when we had more Boy Scouts and official recognition of them!" You know, back in the 50s or so.

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And a corollary article on the Girl Scouts.

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One link on the subject of how some parties lie and manipulate (brings up the cultural center AND the boy scouts, so it's our little linchpin here)

A NYTimes article on the cultural center Read the comments, they're... enlightening. My favorite was the one who said upfront that people a few thousand miles away don't get any say. Hear, hear! You don't live in NYC, you never lived in NYC, you probably don't especially want to come to NYC - you don't get a vote.

Incidentally, for all the people talking about the guys "celebrating in Pakistan" or wherever it was, all I can think, every time, is of sitting on 9/11 watching the video of people being evacuated from Disney World, laughing and waving.

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Incidentally, I'll cut you some slack because you *are* a Holocaust survivor, Mr. Foxman, but comparing 9/11 TO the Holocaust? If I did it, or anybody else did it, we'd be told just how classy we were.

And another link on the not-actually-a-mosque.

Apparently some buses in the nation currently have anti-Islam ads on their sides.

Oh, and the Lieutenant Governor of Tennessee says that Islam might be a "cult". Yes, I suppose for that definition of "cult" that includes every religion under the sun, sure!
conuly: Discworld quote: "The new day is a great big fish!" (fish)
One on race and the economy

One on the IB program - which, though it isn't explained in the article, stretches down to preschool


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One on iPhone apps for debating the existence of God. One of them says with a straight face that Christians should claim to atheists in random, spontaneous debates, that the Bible has no inconsistencies or contradictions whatsoever! This is supposed to prove some sort of point, I don't know what, but I'm hung up on the blatant lie there. You can ignore it or find a way around it or justify it or whatever you like, it's your own holy book, but don't tell me lies that I can easily check for myself. That's just insulting! (Unless these people have never read the Bible and therefore have no idea...?)

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conuly: Picture of Darth Vader, with word "darkside" (darkside)
Clicky!

Now, a note. There are some people who, upon finding out that THEY are not being persecuted (and, in fact, are in the majority and often benefit in material ways from their religious ties), will go and say "Well, YOUR group isn't either, because it's so much worse in Iran/China/Afghanistan/North Korea!!!"

That's probably true, however, it seems to me that justice isn't served by simply being better than a totalitarian state.
conuly: Picture taken on the SI Ferry - "the soul of a journey is liberty" (boat)
Clicky!

The details appear to be: There's this cross in the park, erected to honor war dead. Religious services are held at this cross. The park officials have refused to let other religious groups put their own memorials at the site. In a deal that sounds shady even to type out, that little patch of land was sold on the condition that the memorial be kept up - if the memorial comes down, it's again part of the national park, so it's like this little patch of technically private land in the middle of a public park, like that makes all the difference.

The comments contain the normal amounts of fail. And once again, I will dredge through the comments to drag them up here and tell you all how annoyingly wrong they are. Truly, I deserve a medal.

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conuly: image of Elisa Mazda (Gargoyles) - "Watcher of the City" (watcher of the city)
The Good Folks at Conservapedia, concerned that as Christian conservatives they're being persecuted in the world today*, have decided to write their very own update of the KJV Bible.

You have to actually view their own website to fully appreciate the massive levels of fail that're going on here.

Just... wow.

*These people have clearly never been within 1500 feet of anything that even slightly whiffs of persecution or they wouldn't confuse "being the dominant religion and having the ability to surround themselves with people who think the same silly things they do" with "being persecuted".

From [profile] homasse. I'd say thanks, but it might be that I was better off not knowing.
conuly: Quote from Veronica Mars - "Sometimes I'm even persnickety-ER" (persnickety)
Here's one on Texas schools being required to teach the Bible. I'm sure it'll collapse soon enough.

You know, my father was from Texas. It was a big part of his identity. He's actually buried over there. Must be spinning in his grave. I wouldn't be surprised if he got up and started walking to march on the capital either!

And here's one about a bunch of whiners complaining that people wonder WHY, exactly, they felt the need to bring guns to a presidential event.

"I still have some freeeeeeeedoms!" they declare. I think the following comment sums it up:

Let's make sense of this. Wear a John Kerry shirt to a Bush rally and get arrested. Carry an assault rifle to an Obama rally and you are a Freedom Fighting Revolutionary.
conuly: (Default)
Prosperity gospel. Huh. I'm not a Christian, but I'm fairly damn certain that's not actually supported in any canonically accepted scripture. Accepted by anybody.

People want to throw away their money, that's their business, but it's wrong to scam them out of it any faster. Comments in bold are mine.

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conuly: (Default)
An article on psychological problems faced by Chinese-American children coming "home" to their parents after being sent to live with their grandparents. Interestingly, it seems the worst of these problems are caused by what ought to be a good thing - due to the proliferation of preschool, parents are calling their kids home at younger ages than they used to, at 2 instead of 6. Of course, two year olds are less likely to understand that these strangers are their *families*, you know?

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An article on changing ways of life in the Amazon

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An article on Sephardic Jews on the Jersey Shore

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conuly: image of Elisa Mazda (Gargoyles) - "Watcher of the City" (watcher of the city)
One on adding two Muslim holidays to the school calendar.

I understand the reasoning that you can't reasonably add EVERY possible holiday to the calendar, but it occurs to me that they get off all of July and August, plus part of June and September. They don't *actually* have to be off until the Tuesday after Labor Day, they really can start school the Thursday before if necessary to fit these extra holidays in.


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An article on laws requiring electronics companies to safely dispose of electronics

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An article on how some societies have children who don't crawl. They're calling this research *new*, but as I've been referring people to these *very same studies* for years I wonder how new it can be.
conuly: (Default)
On a woman's effort to speak Hindi in NYC

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Daughter Against Use of Father’s Name to Subvert Neo-Nazis

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When an Ear Witness Decides the Case

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An article on beekeeping in the city

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An article on how feeding cows a different diet not only reduces their methane output but - surprise! - makes them healthier

One on the proposal in the UK to stop teaching the specific mnemonic "I before E except after C". I personally have seen people claim this is due to "political correctness gone amok" (there's a term that no longer means anything if I ever saw one!), that it's due to "Obama's election" (these people seem to think that the UK is synonymous with the US), that it's due to not wanting to teach children how to spell, that there's NO way to learn how to spell without reciting inane jingles at every turn, and that all the rules are flying out the window. Not to mention the people who don't understand the rule in the first place. Why is language always ostensibly defended by people who lack the reading comprehension skills to understand that it was never under attack in the first place? WHY?

An article on why ethnic jokes aren't that funny

An article on octopi that "walk" to get past predators. COOL.
conuly: Quote from Heroes by Claire - "Maybe being different isn't the end of the world, it's just who I am" (being different)
I made the mistake of reading the comments (some of them, anyway) where I first picked up this link.

Let's just say they were appalling and leave it at that. Two things, though.

1. While the school's actions may not be censorship in the strictest definition, they were acting as an arm of the government to specially restrict where, when, and to whom this one child could share her knowledge. This sends a clear message about Harvey Milk in particular and gay people in general, and let's not talk about what it says about the pursuit of knowledge! (And don't give me that "sex" line. If you think you have to talk about this guy's sex life in order to talk about him, I suggest you get your mind out of the gutter. I know some of our politicians lack any sense of discretion, but seriously, we don't *have* to talk about it.)

2. I am so *sick* of reading about how "OMG, the ACLU only ever attacks Christians and Christian values and hates Christianity and is ebil!!!!!111" Aside from the exceedingly narrow view of who can be Christian, it's just flat-out wrong. Unless of course I'm imagining their defense of....

A Christian prisoner's right to preach (at least twice!)

A Christian church's desire to put their money where their mouth is and uphold their Christian morals by housing the homeless

The right of a Christian man to protest Wal-Mart for "supporting gay lifestyles and marriage". (I don't agree with his statement, but I sure do agree with his right to say it!)

The right of a second-grader to sing a religious song at a school talent show

I'll grant you, most of the ACLU's press releases on their work related to religious freedom is about non-Christians, usually being pressured by Christians. This, however, is not because the ACLU wishes to silence Christians, or because society oppresses Christians so much that very few of them can even make cases. What nerve! It's because Christians are the majority and often casually (and usually unintentionally) do things which harm other's religious rights! Well, of course. It's much easier for the majority to do things which harm the minority than the other way around, how could it be otherwise? Christians certainly aren't being persecuted as a group in the US. What an idea! And attempts to take away the special rights Christians often have really aren't the same as attempts to remove their/your religious freedom. No, really.

So, if any of you were interested in spouting that old ACLU canard about how they hate Christianity and traditional values (what is more traditional in this country than the first Amendment, I ask you!), please - educate yourself.
conuly: (Default)
Really good book, although I don't think the ending hangs together as well as it might have. I can think of at least three better ways for the ending to have twisted. Oh well.

Now, over on Amazon, the top review of this book states that there's an "interesting lack of religion or spirituality" to this book. (I gotta say, I get a little tired of books where the gods are DEFINITELY real, and meddling in every niggling affair too. Hilari Bell is a good one for that - gods in her books are either explicitly dead, or distant from human affairs, or, at the very least, the main character is personally atheist (and the good guys aren't shocked or surprised at this revelation, even if they disagree), though when you read all her books in a marathon session that starts to be just as noticeable!)

I replied stating - and no spoilers here - that I didn't see it quite that way. The people's stories about their hallowed ancestors, and the various superstitions regarding the dangerous trow seem to fill the spot of religion for them. To which he replied that well, they don't worship their ancestors, so it's not quite the same thing.

Fair point, but it got me thinking - what is required to call a belief a religious belief? Wikipedia is ABSOLUTELY no help here. Lots of interesting information, but not helpful at all. (Well, that's always the way, isn't it?) Religious Tolerance isn't much better. What do you think?

OMG

Mar. 5th, 2009 12:02 am
conuly: (Default)
I've never yet heard of anybody being offended by kosher salt, but I guess there's a first time for everything. Bonus? I've finally found out why kosher salt is.

WHAT a silly waste of time this all is. Oh well, fools and their money. (That's gotta be in the Bible somewhere, right?)

Also, while I grant kudos to the creator of this... food... for mentioning that Jesus was a Jew, I think it's worth mentioning that Jesus probably kept kosher. And as far as "keeping Christianity alive" goes, I wasn't aware that a religion with billions of members was in risk of dying. (And if it were, I really doubt that table salt would make the difference.)

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