Friday, June 25, 2010

USA to assist Muslim efforts in UN to criminalize "defamation of religion"

Rashad Hussain, Obama's special envoy to the Organization for the Islamic Conference (OIC), told the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on Wednesday that the USA will work with the OIC in the United Nations on defamation of religion. This is terrible. The OIC has been pursuing an effort to have the UN ban the defamation of religion.

Hussain has now divulged that the U.S. will support the OIC in the latter’s United Nations effort to criminalize “defamation of religion” – widely perceived as a measure to suppress criticism of Muslim practices that violate human rights. "The OIC and the Obama administration will work together in the UN on the issue of defamation of religion, especially in Europe," said Hussain. He had previously said, at the above-mentioned April “post-Cairo” conference, that the U.S. would work with the OIC to defend the Muslim head-scarf against prohibitions on its display in schools and governmental offices – a measure common to secular France and now Islamist-ruled, but still legally-secular Turkey, as well as Muslim-majority Tunisia and Kosovo.

I don't think he should be conflating the headscarf issue with the "defamation of religion". A strong argument can be made for allowing headscarves as a freedom of expression issue, just as criticism of religion is an issue of freedom of expression. Prohibiting defamation of religion goes against the USA 1st Amendment protecting free speech.

Just this March, the USA was taking a firm stand against "defamation of religion" legislation in the UN :

Eileen Donahoe, U.S. ambassador to the UN, also slammed the resolution as an "ineffective way to address" concerns about discrimination.

"We cannot agree that prohibiting speech is the way to promote tolerance, because we continue to see the 'defamation of religions' concept used to justify censorship, criminalisation, and in some cases violent assaults and deaths of political, racial, and religious minorities around the world," she said.

"Contrary to the intentions of most member states, governments are likely to abuse the rights of individuals in the name of this resolution, and in the name of the Human Rights Council," added the U.S. envoy.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sperm donor kids not really all right

Slate has an article about a new study of 18- to 45-year-olds including 485 who were conceived via sperm donation, 562 adopted as infants, and 563 raised by their biological parents that has found that children conceived by sperm donation are more likely to have problems with the law, substance abuse and mental health:

Regardless of socioeconomic status, donor offspring are twice as likely as those raised by biological parents to report problems with the law before age 25. They are more than twice as likely to report having struggled with substance abuse. And they are about 1.5 times as likely to report depression or other mental health problems.

Here's a link to the whole study report.

Will Mitregate effect Episcopal funding of Anglican Communion Office?

Is Ruth Gledhill of The Times raising the possibility that the Episcopal Church may soon retaliate financially against the Anglican Communion Office (ACO) for the recent insult to the Presiding Bishop on the occasion of preaching and presiding at Southwerk Cathedral?

In her article in The Times, Gledhill notes:

Significantly, The Episcopal Church funds at least 40 per cent of the budget of the Anglican Communion Office, without which the Anglican Communion and its 38 provinces would be unable to continue as a coherent body.

And in her blog, Gledhill notes regarding the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church meeting in Baltimore:
Apparently the question of the ACO budget is one of the issues on the agenda this week...

The juxtaposition of the Archbishop of Canterbury's lines in the sand with the financial stakes serves to underscore the courage he is now demonstrating. And the difficult position the Secretary General of the ACO, Canon Kenneth Kearon, faces in his meeting with Executive Council.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Germany: Religious Muslim boys more violent, study says

A study of 45,000 teenagers (14, 15 and 16 year olds) in Germany has found that boys growing up in religious Muslim families are more likely to be violent. The study, conducted by Christian Pfeiffer of the criminal research institute of Lower Saxony, took into account the level of education, standard of living in the families, how religious the teenagers considered themselves, and how integrated they felt in Germany.

Pfeiffer said that even when other social factors were taken into account, there remained a significant correlation between religiosity and readiness to use violence. There were some positive correlations too he said, noting that young religious Muslims were much less likely than their non-Muslim counterparts to drink alcohol – or to steal from shops.

The increased likelihood to use violence was restricted to Muslim boys Pfeiffer said – Muslim girls were just as likely to be violent as non-Muslim girls.


The results showed that Muslim boys from immigrant families were more than twice as likely to agree with macho statements than boys from Christian immigrant families. The rate was highest among those considered as very religious, Pfeiffer said. They were also more likely to be using violent computer games and have criminal friends.

TheI selected quotes above from the article gave factual information about the study. Much of what I edited out were the efforts of the researcher to report his results without being labeled a bigot.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Gaza bound Flotilla response to request from Israeli army

I'd think this was a fraud expect
1) for seeing that video of Helen Thomas last week,
2) this is from the official Israeli Defense Force News desk,
3) a story about it is carried in the Jerusalem Post.

"This is the Israeli Navy, You are approaching an area which is under a naval blockade."

"Shut up. Go back to Auschwitz."

"We have permission from the Gaza Port Authority to enter"

"We're helping Arabs going against the US. Don't forget 9/11 guys."

Douglas County GA Tea Party: Still Clinging to Guns and Religion

Today is the anniversary of D-day, the day in World War II that the US had the courage to invade Normandy. That was before I was born, and my father, who did fight in WWII was also a native Californian and fought in the Pacific.

In honor of D-Day, I am posting this video of a moment at a Tea party across the country from me in the state of Georgia. Thank you for still clinging to your God and your guns.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”
And the Star-spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Hat Tip to America Daughter

Saturday, June 5, 2010

New documentary The Lottery shows Teacher's Union rent mobs

I really want to see the new documentary The Lottery about charter schools in Harlem. The Wall Street Journal today had an interview with the filmmaker, Madeleine Sackler, Storming the School Barricades by Bari Weiss, that describes how she came to understand that the teacher's union was paying Acorn to create a false sense that parents were against the charter schools:
Her initial aim was simple. "Going into the film I was excited just to tell a story," she says. "A vérité film, a really beautiful, independent story about four families that you wouldn't know otherwise" in the months leading up to the lottery for the Harlem Success Academy.

But on the way to making the film she imagined, she "stumbled on this political mayhem—really like a turf war about the future of public education." Or more accurately, she happened upon a raucous protest outside of a failing public school in which Harlem Success, already filled to capacity, had requested space.

"We drove by that protest," Ms. Sackler recalls. "We were on our way to another interview and we jumped out of the van and started filming." There she discovered that the majority of those protesting the proliferation of charter schools were not even from the neighborhood. They'd come from the Bronx and Queens.

"They all said 'We're not allowed to talk to you. We're just here to support the parents.'" But there were only two parents there, says Ms. Sackler, and both were members of Acorn. And so, "after not a lot of digging," she discovered that the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) had paid Acorn, the controversial community organizing group, "half a million dollars for the year." (It cost less to make the film.)

Finding out that the teachers union had hired a rent-a-mob to protest on its behalf was "the turn for us in the process." That story—of self-interested adults trying to deny poor parents choice for their children—provided an answer to Ms. Sackler's fundamental question: "If there are these high-performing schools that are closing the achievement gap, why aren't there more of them?"

Here's the trailer for the film:

But I also want to juxtapose this film with the Chris Christy video I saw over at Nickie Goomba's site.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Afghan girls flogged for fleeing forced marriages

Young girls in Afghanistan (13 and a 14 year old ) being flogged for running away from arranged marriages. They had been married to old men who beat them when they resisted consummating the marriages. However, a police officier in an ajoining province found them and returned them to their village. In Afghanistan, marriage of girls under 16 is against the law and flogging is against the law.

The New York Times reports:
Forced into a so-called marriage exchange, where each girl was given to an elderly man in the other’s family, Khadija and Basgol later complained that their husbands beat them when they tried to resist consummating the unions. Dressed as boys, they escaped and got as far as western Herat Province, where their bus was stopped at a checkpoint and they were arrested.

Although Herat has shelters for battered and runaway women and girls, the police instead contacted the former warlord, Fazil Ahad Khan, whom Human Rights Commission workers describe as the self-appointed commander and morals enforcer in his district in Ghor Province, and returned the girls to his custody.

After a kangaroo trial by Mr. Khan and local religious leaders, according to the commission’s report on the episode, the girls were sentenced to 40 lashes each and flogged on Jan. 12.

Efforts to call this to the attention of the authorities have meet with indifference:
The Human Rights Commission took the videotapes and the results of its investigation to the governor of Ghor Province, Sayed Iqbal Munib, who formed a commission to investigate it but took no action, saying the district was too insecure to send police there. A coalition of civic groups in the province called for his dismissal over the matter.

Nor has Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry replied to demands from the commission to take action in the case, according to the commission’s chairwoman, Sima Samar. A spokesman for the ministry did not respond to requests for comment.