Tuesday, 30 April 2013
The Florida Senate ALAC Bill will be heard and voted on before the 2013 Session Ends
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Florida Senator Alan Hays                           Rabbi Jonathan Hausman, Esq.

Sponsor of SB58,

You may have read all of the posts about the drama of the American law for American Courts bill, SB58 in the final days of the Florida Legislative session.  As of this afternoon, the American Law for American legislation is on its way for a floor hearing and vote, most likely on Friday.  Sen. Alan Hays, the Senate sponsor of SB58, Acceptance of Foreign Law in Certain Cases, wrote this encouraging note in an email he sent to Rabbi Jon Hausman and others.  Hausman’s’  arguments,  conveyed by the grass roots here in Florida and elsewhere in email campaigns of  groups like the Christian Family Coalition, Florida Family Association, Act! For America   and others, may have convinced the Florida Senate leadership to bring the matter to head that facilitated the successful vote for withdrawal from the Senate Rules Committee where it has languished since April 9th.   Our thanks to Senate President Don Gaetz, Senate Majority Leader  Sen. Lizbeth Benacquito and Rules Chairman  Sen. John Thrasher for facilitating today's important Senate vote. We believe this Senate vote may have provided the requisite political cover for the Florida Senate leadership.   Sen. Hays noted this in his email:


PRAISE GOD! SB 58 is now released from Judiciary Committee and on its way to the
floor!!!!  The Senate just approved the withdrawal.  It is my clear hope the
bill will be on the special order calendar tomorrow or Thursday and then gain
final approval on Thursday or Friday. Thank you really seems far too meek to express the depth and magnitude of my appreciation for the tremendous help each of you provided to get the bill this far. Now I have to "get the ball in the end zone"!!



There will doubtless be anguish in the cabal of opponents to Florida ALAC SB58 about today's action by the Senate moving the bill out of Rules and onto the floor of the legislature in Tallahassee.  Groups like the ADL, ACLU, National Council of Jewish Women,  Muslim Brotherhood front groups like CAIR, United Voices for America and Engage USA. But first there is the upcoming debate and then the full vote by the Senate clearing the way for adoption of the companion measure, HB351 that passed the house on April 18th.


As the baseball great and master of malapropisms, Yogi Berra might say: “it ain’t over till it’s over”.  


More to follow on this amazing turn in the life of American Law for American Courts in one of this country's major state legislatures.   There will be re to report over the next few days as the Florida legislative session ends on Friday May 3rd.

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Posted on 04/30/2013 6:53 PM by Jerry Gordon
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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Hezbollah Makes The Case For Israel's Keeping The Golan Heights
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See Martin Kramer's comment, and the link to the Hezbollah film, on Facebook here.
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Posted on 04/30/2013 3:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager Stonewalling Like Nixon
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You know there is a problem when a journalist who is supposed to seek and tell the truth acts like a politician trying to hide it.

It's happening at 60 Minutes, one of the most storied franchises in the history of American journalism. Jeff Fager, man who was appointed chairman of CBS News to restore the luster of the network's news division after a series of scandals, is stonewalling. He's stonewalling about a 60 Minutes segment that aired in April 2012.

The segment was a distorted and demonstrably inaccurate hatchet job that blamed Israel for the suffering of Christians in the Holy Land that falsely stated the security barrier completely surrounded the city of Bethlehem. It omitted well-documented and notorious acts of Muslim violence and hostility against Christians in the West Bank and Gaza. Despite receiving thousands of complaints, 60 Minutes has not made any corrections to the segment.

CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager demonstrated just how far he was willing to go to hide the truth about the problems with this segment when he spoke at his home church, St. Mark's Episcopal Church in New Canaan, Connecticut on April 7, 2013.

Instead of coming clean about the factual errors and distortions in the segment, Fager repeated them and tried to portray himself and his news network – one of the most powerful media institutions in the country – as the victim of bullying by CAMERA, a group that tried to get 60 Minutes to correct the record.

He couldn't even get the details right here. In telling his “we're the victim” story, Fager mischaracterized CAMERA's efforts to hold 60 Minutes accountable for its errors.

It was a pretty ugly use of an invitation from his pastor, Rev. Peter Walsh, who had asked Fager to speak to his fellow congregants about the segment on Christians in the Holy Land and the response to it as part of the church's “Abraham's Tent” series about Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Fager's lecture attracted an audience of 200-300 people, a good showing for the first Sunday after Easter, which by the way, was Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Instead of promoting the cause of interfaith reconciliation, Fager incited hostility toward the Jewish state by repeating already refuted misstatements, stating for example, that Bethlehem is surrounded by a wall, when in fact it is not.

Fager also defended the “Kairos Document” issued by Palestinian Christians in 2009 as a peacemaking document signed by influential church leaders in the Holy Land. The fact is the document is so hostile and one-sided that the Central Conference of American Rabbis described the text as anti-Semitic. Moreover, the text was not signed by denominational leaders in the Holy Land but by low-level church officials and lay members.

The Story and the Response

The controversy began on April 22, 2012 when 60 Minutes aired its segment, “Christians of the Holy Land,” reported by Bob Simon and produced by Harry A. Radliffe II. The segment presented a false account of life for Christians in the Holy Land, blaming Israel for their difficulties while ignoring Islamist oppression of Christians in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and in the rest of the Middle East.

CAMERA produced an analysis of the segment, alerted its supporters to the problems with the story and published an ad in the Wall Street Journal drawing attention to some of the more egregious errors in the segment.

CAMERA activists also appeared at a CBS shareholders meeting and subsequently submitted a proxy resolution (rebuffed by the Securities Exchange Commission) calling on CBS Corp.'s Board of Directors to ensure that CBS News abided by its corrections policy which calls for the news network to get its facts right and to make on-air corrections when it gets them wrong.

Throughout all of this, CAMERA's goal was to convince CBS News to correct the factual errors to the story. CBS News, led by its Chairman, Jeff Fager, stonewalled the entire time. In June 2012, Fager wrote a letter stating: “I believe our story was responsible journalism which included the position of Israel's Ambassador to the United States quite extensively. It was fair and accurate reporting about a newsworthy subject.”

It was nothing of the sort.

Episcopal Church in New Canaan Enters the Fray

The controversy was revived in early 2013, when St. Mark's Episcopal Church in New Canaan, Connecticut, announced that Jeff Fager would be speaking about Christians in the Holy Land on April 7, 2013.

The church's publicity about the event indicated that Fager would show the 60 Minutes segment about Christians in the Holy Land and speak about the response it received. As stated above, the event was advertised as part of a lecture series about Christian, Muslim, and Jewish relations.

At the event, the church's rector, Rev. Peter Walsh gave Fager a laudatory introduction, stating that the CBS executive is “a man of extraordinary integrity and character. He's a man of grace in a world without grace. He's a trustworthy soul in a world where people ain't always so trustworthy.”

Rev. Walsh also told the crowd of more than 200 that Fager was going “to tell you some stories that are really, really cool and really valuable for us to hear.” He also handed out a copy of CAMERA ad published in the Wall Street Journal on Aug. 14, 2012 stating that Fager would refer to it later.

Fager then spoke for a few minutes, telling his fellow congregants that “fairness and accuracy is such a huge part of what we do” at 60 Minutes. For example, Fager said, he does not like it when journalists report that someone “refused to do an interview” because no one should have to do an interview. “It's our job to make sure we get their side of the story whether they cooperate with us or not.”

Fager also described how Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the United States allegedly tried to “kill the story” about Christians in the Holy Land. Michael Oren was upset that 60 Minutes was even doing the story because in Fager's words, “he had heard it was going to be a hatchet job. I don't like that phrase associated with 60 Minutes.” Fager added:

… Michael Oren was very upset and I said, “We don't do hatchet jobs.” And he said, “Yes you do and this is going to be another one.” And I said to him, if you're that concerned about it, you should come on and do an interview with us and we'd be happy to interview you because you're in the story.

After some thought, Oren agreed to do the interview, during which he was accused on camera of trying to kill the story. Fager justified this by stating 60 Minutes believed that “part of the story is that he called to try and kill it and you can't ignore that. So as you'll see we asked him about that as well.”

As it turned out, Ambassador Oren's statement about the 60 Minutes piece was prescient. The segment was a hit job and an inaccurate one at that, which may help explain why Fager felt obligated to show and defend the segment to his fellow congregants at St. Mark's in early April.

Wrong About Barrier

After Fager showed the segment to his fellow parishioners, he told the audience what happened after it aired. Referring to the CAMERA ad that that was handed out to the audience by his pastor, Fager offered a point-by-point refutation of CAMERA's complaints as they appeared in the Wall Street Journal ad, stating that “There's nothing accurate to their accusations.”

Fager said that CAMERA's is wrong about the security barrier and that “Bethlehem is surrounded by a wall.”

This is a patent falsehood. Maps provided by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United Nations, B'tselem, and even the PLO all indicate that the security fence does not completely surround Bethlehem.

This writer (who attended the event) challenged Fager on this point, offering to give $5,000 to a charity of Fager's choosing if he could prove that the security barrier completely surrounds Bethlehem.

Fager said “OK” in response but has not followed upon the offer for one simple reason: He can't prove the barrier surrounds Bethlehem because it doesn't.

So much for Fager's assertion that there is “nothing accurate” to CAMERA's assertions.

Disproportionate Coverage

Fager also took issue with CAMERA's complaint that 60 Minutes ignored the plight of Christians elsewhere in the region while obsessing about violence against Christians elsewhere in the Middle East. To buttress his point, Fager stated Bob Simon, “a nice Jewish boy from the Bronx” had been given the Christian beat and that 60 Minutes had in fact done stories on the plight of Christians in Iraq and on the oppression of Christians in Turkey.

Watching the segments Fager mentioned, however, raises questions about 60 Minutes' ability to give the oppression of Christians in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East the attention it deserves. For example the segment on Iraq, which documented the ethnic cleansing of several hundred thousand Christians from Iraq lasted four and a half minutes.

By way of comparison, 60 Minutes' episode on Christians in the Holy Land, whose population is growing in absolute terms, was more than 14 minutes in length.

Why the disproportionate attention?

The segment on the oppression of Christians in Turkey, which aired in 2010, downplayed that country's brutal history of anti-Christian violence. During the segment, Bob Simon reported that, “At the turn of the last century there were nearly 2 million Orthodox Christians in Turkey; 1.5 million were expelled in 1923, and another 150,000 left after violent anti-Christian riots in Istanbul in 1955.”

The report, however, omits any reference to the Armenian Genocide, which resulted in the murder of approximately 1.5 million Christians between 1915 and 1918. The report also fails to mention earlier massacres of large numbers of Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Christians in the late 1800s and early 1900s – all prior to 1923.

How can 60 Minutes fail to acknowledge the massacres of huge numbers of Christians in Turkey in a story about the status of Christians in that country? Did 60 Minutes cave into demands from the Turkish government that it refrain from mentioning this story? It wouldn't be the first time. Just ask the folks at MGM who tried to make a movie about the genocide in the 1930s.

Coverage Since the Bombings?

Interestingly enough, both of the stories that Fager invoked to demonstrate that 60 Minutes is not ignoring the oppression of Christians in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East were broadcast prior to two notorious bombings – the first in Baghdad on Oct. 31, 2010 and the second in Alexandria on New Year's Day 2011.

These two bombings were not enough to prompt 60 Minutes to address the issue, but some exaggerated complaints about an exodus of Palestinian Christians leaving the Holy Land was enough to instigate an anti-Israel report on the status of Christians in the Holy Land.

Again, it's reasonable to ask, why the disproportionate coverage? Why is it that Palestinian Christians who publicly blame Israel for the suffering merit so much coverage why other acts of violence are passed over?

Defended Kairos Document

Fager also defended 60 Minutes depiction of the Kairos Document, which CAMERA described as a “screed that demonizes Israel and whitewashes terrorism.” CAMERA also stated that the people who signed the document were not “leaders” but anti-Israel agitators, low level officials and laymen.”

Fager's response was to flatly assert that the document does not demonize Israel and that it was in fact signed by leaders including the Patriarch of Bethlehem, the leader of the Anglican Church in the Holy Land “and I'm assuming the Roman Catholic Church.”

Fager simply does not know what he's talking about. Malcolm Lowe, a New Testament Scholar who writes in Jerusalem reports the following:

With the exception of Arab Lutheran Bishop Munib Younan, the Heads of Churches played no role in the origins of this document. Some of them were taken by surprise when it appeared. They were, however, put under political pressure to toe the line propounded by the document. Four days later, consequently, they issued a brief statement of their own. (Emphasis added.)

Lowe reports that Younan soon asked that his name be removed from the document soon after it appeared. Lowe also reports that one of the signatories, long time anti-Israel activist Michel Sabbah “retired as Latin Patriarch in early 2008, so he spoke only for himself and not the Latin Patriarchate.” Lowe continues:

The case of Greek Orthodox Archbishop Atallah Hanna is even more acute. Online one can find that back in 2007 he publicly called for withdrawal of the official recognition of Greek Patriarch Theophilos III. As a consequence, his salary from the Greek Patriarchate was suspended for several months, the account says. Far from being a leader, he is rather an opponent of the Christian leadership.
The other signatories are parish priests, low level officials and laypeople. For sure, some of them are fairly well known as long-term agitators on behalf of Palestinian political aims and echoes of their familiar views are easily discerned in the document. A recent recruit is Yusuf Daher, whom the WCC secretariat has set up with an office in Jerusalem in order to mobilize Christians on behalf of the Palestinians. So the document, as it now appears on kairospalestine, does not have any bona fide Christian leader among its authors.

Lowe's article clearly contradicts the original 60 Minutes report, which stated the Kairos Document was “was endorsed by the leaders of 13 Christian denominations including Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Anglican.” This is simply false, as is Fager's subsequent defense of 60 Minutes' reporting on the document.”

As far as the Fager's assertion about the Kairos Document not demonizing Israel, he should read the statement issued by the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), comprised of rabbis from the Reform movement in April 10, 2010. The statement reads in part as follows: “The cause of peace is not served by pronouncements which vindicate one side while demonizing the other, but by the courage of moral clarity and respect for truth.” That's a pretty clear indication that there's a problem with the text.

Population Problem

Fager also took issue with CAMERA's contention that 60 Minutes got wrong about the numbers of Christians in the Holy Land. In the ad, CAMERA asserted that 60 Minutes falsely reported that in 1964 Christians in Jerusalem's Old City numbered 30,000 and then declined to 11,000 today. CAMERA also asserted that in reality, there were only 11,000 Christians in Jerusalem in 1964. About the only response Fager could muster to this challenge was that 60 Minutes worked hard to get the numbers right and was “comfortable” with its reporting.

He offered no sources to back up his assertion that 60 Minutes got it right.

Fager also responded lamely to CAMERA's assertion that 60 Minutes “deceptively concealed the reality that in Israel the Christian population has quadrupled since 1949, from 34,000 to 122,000 in 2009.” He stated that the focus of the segment was on Christians in the Holy Land and not Israeli Christians. He continued:

Our story was about Arab Palestinian Christians. I don't know hat the population of Ethiopian Christians are in Israel but it's grown significantly as have other Christians in other parts of the world.

Ethiopian Christians? What is Fager talking about? There has been a huge influx of Ehtiopian Jews into Israel in the past decades, but not Ethiopian Christians. The fact is, the increase CAMERA between 1949 and 2009 was of Arab Christians living in Israel, many of whom live in Galilee. Is that not part of the Holy Land?

And in any event, the population of Christians in the West Bank, where 60 Minutes did most of its reporting for the segment in question, has also increased since 1967. CAMERA reported the following in April 2012:

The numbers,compiled by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, reveal that in the late 1940s, there were approximately 60,000 Christians living in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gazaand that this population declined to approximately 40,000 just prior to the Six Day War in 1967. Today, there are approximately 52,000 Christians living in these areas.

These numbers did not make their way into the segment. Instead, 60 Minutes merely reported about a decline in the percentage of Christians in the Holy Land. This decline is due to a growth in the Muslim and Jewish populations, not because of a decline in the Christian population.

Editorial Control

Fager also accused CAMERA of filing a petition that would change CBS's corporate bylaws so that CBS News's editorial decisions would be placed under the control of the corporation's board of directors and corporate officials.

This is an outlandish interpretation of what CAMERA actually did. CAMERA filed a proxy motion that called on CBS shareholders to “request that the Board of directors ensure” that CBS Corporation's policy regarding journalistic accuracy and corrections “is adhered to by CBS News programming.”

The proxy also stated that the board of directors “should report back to the stockholders no later than the next annual meeting on progress in ensuring adherence to this policy.”

The proxy also quoted the relevant passage of CBS's corporate policy, which reads as follows:

Our reputation for accuracy in reporting depends upon our efforts to get the story right, or, if you get it wrong to broadcast a correction. Significant errors of fact must be corrected clearly and promptly in the broadcast or on the web page of the program in which the error was made…

So what CAMERA did was file a proxy asking CBS corporate officials to ensure that the corporation they control adheres to its own pre-existing policies.

This is no nefarious attempt to deprive 60 Minutes of its editorial freedom. It's merely an attempt to ensure that it tell the truth.

Conclusion

60 Minutes' refusal to correct, and Fager's stonewalling is a breach of faith with CBS's viewers. Fager and 60 Minutes need to do the right thing, make the corrections, promise to do better next time and move on.

In other words, it's time for Fager to live up to the praise heaped upon him by his pastor a few weeks ago.


First published in CAMERA.
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Posted on 04/30/2013 2:43 PM by Dexter Van Zile
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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
EDL attack: the terror plot foiled by luck
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From The Telegraph  

Six Islamic fanatics, inspired by al-Qaeda, planned to attack a rally of the English Defence League (EDL) with homemade bombs, guns and knives. It is possible they wanted to assassinate the far-right group’s leader Tommy Robinson, who was due to speak at the event.

Despite one of them being under watch by MI5 and two others also known to the counter-terror agencies, the only reason the plot failed was because the Jihadist group turned up too late for the event.

And the only reason they were caught was because one of the group accidentally gave a car insurance company the wrong registration meaning one of their vehicles was stopped by a traffic officer on its way home.

The six-strong group was a mixture of British and foreign born Muslims all living in Birmingham. Omar Khan, 28, Mohammed Hasseen, 23, both of Sparkhill, and Mohammed Saud, 22, from Smethwick are British. Jewel Uddin, 27, of Sparkhill was born in Bangladesh while Zohaib Kamran Ahmed, 22, of Alum Rock and Anzal Hussain, 24, of Moseley, were born in Pakistan.

The group planned to target an EDL rally in Dewsbury on June 30 last year and turned up heavily armed with explosives, two shot guns and up to a dozen knives and machetes. EDL leader Tommy Robinson was due to speak at the event, which involved up to 700 supporters, and it was expected to run all afternoon.

The terror group did not arrive in the town until 4pm, by which time the EDL demonstrators had left.

It was on the journey back to Birmingham that the police and security services had their second stroke of luck. Khan and Uddin were travelling in a Renault Laguna that they believed had been insured for that day. A South Yorkshire Police traffic officer on routine patrol on the M1 motorway made a check on the vehicle and it flashed up as having no insurance.

It later transpired that Saud had made a slight error in the registration number when taking the policy out meaning it was not on the records. The officer stopped the car and ordered it be impounded but even then the true scale of what he had stumbled across was not known.

The car was taken to the Woodhead Motors pound near Sheffield and sat there for two days before an inspection by staff unearthed a terror cache. In the boot were two sawn-off shotguns, ammunition and a selection of knives and machetes. When police arrived, they also discovered a homemade bomb adapted from a regular firework and three small, partially constructed pipe bombs.The firework contained more than 350 nails and 187g of explosive, made up of twice the number of explosive pellets normally found in the rocket.

There was also CDs containing Islamic extremism, including lectures by the al-Qaeda fanatic Anwar al-Awlaki.

Crucially for the police, officers also found ten copies of a letter which spelt out the gang’s plans to attack the EDL and which was addressed to the Queen and David Cameron.

Uddin had been under watch by MI5 after he had been investigated during a separate plot in 2011 by a Birmingham gang to attack the UK with eight suicide bombers. The three ringleaders of that group were convicted earlier this year and others either pleaded guilty or await a further trial.

There was insufficient evidence to link Uddin, who had been seen carrying out street collections with members of the other terror gang, with the plot.

Sources insist there was no intelligence to link Uddin with the others or anything to indicate a coherent group. There was also no intelligence to suggest a plot to target the EDL.

Analysis of computers seized after the arrests showed the group had researched the EDL in depth, including details of Mr Robinson, for up to a month before the rally. They had also researched an EDL rally held in Rochdale on June 9 before turning their attention to the Dewsbury one.

Copies of a letter, likely to have been distributed during or after the attack, also insulted the Queen as a “kuffir devil” and said the EDL or “English Drunkards League” was being attacked in retaliation for blasphemy of Allah and the prophet Muhammed.

Although it remains unclear whether the terrorists planned to martyr themselves, the letter, which was addressed to the Queen and David Cameron, added that they “love death more than you love life."

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Posted on 04/30/2013 10:59 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Rag-Picker
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by Bibhu Padhi (May 2013)


Give me back my rags 
          --
  Vasco Popa


You are the morning.

The moment I go out,

the smell of your skin and possessions

pervade the invisible air.  more>>>

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Posted on 04/30/2013 10:04 AM by NER
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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Mao, On Contradictions
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by Moshe Dann (May 2013)


Outside my window, overlooking Eighth Avenue and Twenty-Third Street, three cars joined fenders in holy communion and traffic backed up for several blocks, honking in celebration. Next door, my Puerto Rican neighbor was having a fight with her boyfriend, or maybe they were just saying hello, or goodbye. They shouted and then in the sudden stillness that followed, I imagined they struggled, fell into each other's arms and made love. Half-asleep, I felt Toni moving restlessly next to me, but it was too early to get up. more>>>

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Posted on 04/30/2013 9:59 AM by NER
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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Church Ale – Pub signs with an ecclesiastical theme
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by Esmerelda Weatherwax (May 2013)


In some cultures the religion bans alcohol. Methodists and strict Chapel disapprove – Islam forbids entirely. No religion condones drunkenness and alcohol abuse. But with Christ Himself offering wine at the last supper and the wedding at Cana and St Paul’s advice to ‘take a little wine for thy stomach’s sake’ we have an example in the Church of England that alcohol can be enjoyed in sensible moderation. In the Middle Ages one of the ways the parish priest could supplement his income was by brewing Church Ale to be drunk at wedding and christening celebrations which could take place in the church, straight after the event. In later centuries the twin hubs of a village are the pub and the church.  more>>>

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Posted on 04/30/2013 9:53 AM by NER
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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Society's Welcome Convictions
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by NB Armstrong (May 2013)


There are numerous imperfect but telling shorthand filters for judging a society. A people's general driving standards, the nature of the bureaucratic processes involved in starting a business, its foreigner visa restrictions, or even its pornography might all be semi-seriously invoked by the outsider wishing to explain the country he has recently visited, been deported from, or ripped off. To try to insightfully apply the above to modern day rural Uruguay or Denmark two hundred years ago is, perhaps, to immediately disprove the technique. But still, there is something general to be excavated from the particular of these limited phenomena. Another such way to gauge a society is to examine the way it summarizes itself: its news headlines. However, just as with drawing big broad conclusions from driving, pornography, etc, this is a less than scientific approach and prone to misreading. For example,

Suspension of Death Penalty Fails to Quell Rising Murder Rate  more>>>

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Posted on 04/30/2013 9:48 AM by NER
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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Why Me? Another Biography of John Cage
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by Richard Kostelanetz (May 2013)

   
I’ve written before about my recurring inability to evaluate standard biographies of cultural figures. From commercial publishers they appear in roughly the same size, I guess contractually prescribed, 6” x 9”, 500-plus pages, indexed, its prose stylistically undistinguished, with perhaps 50 to 80 pages of footnotes and a signature or two of photographs. Even about major cultural figures commercial publishers evidently prefer such books over criticism, even though the latter might finally become more valuable and respected.  more>>>

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Posted on 04/30/2013 9:44 AM by NER
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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Zohar Argov and the Hebrew Language Gap
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by Norman Berdichevsky (May 2013)


Zohar Argov (1955-1987) is a name that only provokes a blank stare from an overwhelming majority of American Jews. He was more than a popular singer and represented the underprivileged, under represented Mizrahi (Oriental) face of Israel. He was called the King and deserved the title as much or more than Elvis did. Zohar came from the most impoverished sector of Israeli Jewish society, the oldest child in a family of ten of Yemenite immigrant parents and became the leading figure of the Mizrahi and Mediterranean music in Israel, following the startling victory of Menahem Begin and the Herut-Likud Movement that had become the champion of many Mizrahim in the 1977 general elections. more>>>

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Posted on 04/30/2013 9:39 AM by NER
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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
At the Maison de Victor Hugo
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by John Broening (May 2013)


The Place des Vosges is the coziest and most expensive square in Paris. Identical, high-ceilinged 17th century apartments on four sides. An arcade that runs all the way around and houses a Michelin three-star restaurant where lunch can run you a thousand Euros. A gated park, full of fine gravel and poodle-like topiary, that takes up most of the square and expresses the French mania for placing a strict order upon wild things; for some reason, it makes me think of classic French poetry, with its elaborate officially sanctioned taxonomy and precision-cut alexandrines.  more>>>

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Posted on 04/30/2013 9:33 AM by NER
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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Unisexual Marriage—Philosophical Musings Over an Oxymoron
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by Michael Zebulon (May 2013)

“If we take a horse’s tail and call it a leg, how many legs will the horse then have?
“The correct answer is four.
“You see, gentlemen,” Mr Lincoln went on to say…
“…you can call a horse’s tail a ‘leg.’ 
“But that does not make it a leg.”
                                             
-- Traditional        

What is it, precisely, about same-sex marriage that fails the smell test? more>>>

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Posted on 04/30/2013 9:29 AM by NER
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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Xanthippe
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by David P. Gontar (May 2013)


And will you, being a man of your breeding, be married
under a bush like a beggar? Get you to church and have
a good priest that can tell you what marriage is: this fellow
will but join you together as they join wainscot; then one of you
will prove a shrunk panel, and like green timber, warp, warp.

                                                                              --   Jaques

                                                         * * * *

LYSIS

Well, Socrates, I guess you should congratulate us.  more>>>

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Posted on 04/30/2013 9:24 AM by NER
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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Playing by the Rules – and Winning Victories Against Sharia Law
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Revisiting Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”
by Louis Palme
(May 2013)

There is a concerted ideological battle going on between the defenders of liberty and those who would impose “Allah’s laws” on all of society – the latter group better known as faithful Muslims. There is no getting around their objectives: Their verbal word of Allah (i.e., the Quran) states, “Make war on them [unbelievers] until idolatry shall cease and Allah’s religion shall reign supreme.” (Surah 8:40) more>>>

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Posted on 04/30/2013 9:18 AM by NER
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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Which Is Stronger, Democracy or Islam?
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by Robert Wolfe (May 2013)


For a long time now I have been saying that the long term survival and growth of Israel depends in large measure on the gradual democratization of the political culture of the Arab and Muslim world. As if to confound me there have been a series of pro-democracy uprisings in the Arab world - the so-called “Arab Spring” - whose main result has been to greatly enhance the power and prestige of the manifestly anti-democratic and anti-Semitic Muslim Brotherhood. In particular there now appears a strong possibility that the overthrow of the Mubarak regime in Egypt will lead to the establishment of an even more repressive Islamist dictatorship supported by the majority of the Egyptian people. Having come to power through a pro-democracy uprising leading to democratic elections, the Muslim Brotherhood now seems poised to perpetuate its rule for a long time to come.  more>>>

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Posted on 04/30/2013 9:13 AM by NER
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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
The Challenge of Theoterrorism
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by Paul Cliteur (May 2013)


“Military fervor on behalf of faith has disappeared. Its only souvenirs are the marble effigies of crusading knights, reposing in the silent crypts of churches on their tombs,” writes John William Draper (1811-1882) in his History of the Conflict between Religion and Science (1874).1 Writing on the pernicious influence that religion had exerted on scientific progress, Draper thought this belonged to the past. Draper would have looked with astonishment at book titles we are so familiar with nowadays: God’s Century: Resurgent Religion and Global Politics (2011),2 Is Religion Killing Us? Violence in the Bible and the Quran (2003),3 Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence (2003),4 Making War in the Name of God (2007)5 and God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (2007).5 more>>>

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Posted on 04/30/2013 9:09 AM by NER
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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
The Myth of Muslim Self-Radicalization
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by Jake Neuman (May 2013)


The media is covering up, or at least ignoring, Islam’s direct role in the Boston Massacre by creating the myth of "self-radicalization." This myth revolves around the idea that a Muslim who is peaceful, peace loving and a good citizen magically “self-radicalizes” and becomes a kafir killing machine. Muslims claim (and the media supports the view) that the Quran is a book of pure peace and that Islam is the religion of true peace and that Mohammed, whom Muslims claim was the most exemplary example of mankind ever created by God is, therefore, the prophet of peace.  more>>>

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Posted on 04/30/2013 9:05 AM by NER
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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
The End of Reason & the Next Big Bang
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by G. Murphy Donovan (May 2013)

   “Presumption is the pride of fools, and it ought to be the scholar's pride not to presume.” – Elie Kedourie

    

Institutions are the product of good ideas. Unfortunately, over time, the institution often becomes the enemy of the idea. The subversive character of “success” has an ancient lineage in the history of human experience. more>>>

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Posted on 04/30/2013 9:01 AM by NER
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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
We Are All to Blame - or Is It the Others?
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by Theodore Dalrymple (May 2013)


When, many years ago, I started regularly to review books for profit and pleasure (my profit and pleasure, that is), I thought it would be fun to write destructive reviews of bad books. I was beguiled into this idea by having read Macaulay’s eviscerating essay-review, which I found delightful, of a three-volume biography of Lord Burleigh:

Compared with the labour of reading through these volumes, all other labour, the labour of thieves on the treadmill, of children in factories, of negroes in sugar plantations, is an agreeable recreation. There was, it is said, a criminal in Italy, who was suffered to make his choice between Guicciardini and the galleys. He chose the history. But the war of Pisa was too much for him. He changed his mind, and went to the oar. more>>>

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Posted on 04/30/2013 8:50 AM by NER
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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Slouching To Despotism
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by Fergus Downie (May 2013)

They have their little pleasures for the day, and their little pleasures for the night, but they have a regard for health."We have discovered happiness,"--say the last men, and blink

What is the price for this carnival of amusements – the descent of man. When there are no values worth standing on – happiness becomes the ultimate democratic virtue and as a consequence contemporary politics is little more than a footnote to Bentham’s hedonistic calculus with all the authority of 21st century neuroscience thrown in. This is the politics of nudge, with all the diminished expectations of citizenship one might expect when one starts coining desperate oxymorons like liberal paternalism to cover the void.  more>>>

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Posted on 04/30/2013 8:44 AM by NER
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