Say Hello and Open Thread

Say Hello to the new Firedoglake. What a great bloglift (yes, we coined that phrase.) Lots of new features and a terrific design.

Update: Vote reminder...Please vote for TalkLeft in the politics is sport category of the ABA Journal awards.

It's balmy and beautiful here in Key West and I'm honored to be receiving NORML's annual Al Horn Award this evening. I'll be back home late tomorrow night.

What have you been reading and thinking about this weekend?

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    DA, I thank you for bringing the subject up. (1.00 / 0) (#9)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 10:48:55 AM EST
    Minneapolis-St. Paul is concerned that its taxi service is deteriorating. Citing their religious beliefs, some Muslim taxi drivers from Somalia are refusing to transport customers carrying or suspected of carrying alcohol.


    "So, by my transporting my alcohol in your cab, you are sinning?" I asked.

    "Sinning to God, yes," he replied.

    Adan is not alone. About three quarters of the 900 cabbies serving the airport are Muslim, and many have been regularly refusing passengers carrying beer, wine or liquor.

    In the past five years, 5,400 would-be taxi passengers at the airport were refused service for this very reason, said the Metropolitan Airport Commission, or MAC. Last May, passenger Bob Dildine says he waited for 20 minutes, and five cab drivers would not give him and his daughter a ride. He was carrying wine he bought on vacation.

    "They're here to provide service to people," said Dildine. "We were a lawful customer, and we were denied service. That's not our way of doing things."


    In San Diego:

    Stephens was assigned March 8 to Carver, where she said she taught a "segregated class" of Muslim girls. She said she was given a lesson plan that included an hour for prayer. She alleged that a teacher's aide led the prayer.

    Stephens told the school board, "What I saw is clearly a violation of administrative, legislative and judicial guidelines."

    Principal Kimberlee Kidd said Stephens misconstrued the lesson plan. She confirmed that an assistant was assigned to the classroom for an hour. During that time there was a 15-minute recess, Kidd said. The aide, who is Muslim, prayed alongside the students but did not lead the prayer, she said.

    The practice has been stopped, mostly due to public outcry. To my knowledge the ACLU did not threaten to sue the school district over separation of church issues. But I could be wrong.


    And to return to the north:

    For example, last year administrators at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College banned a coffee cart operator from playing music "tied to Christmas," but approved the use of tax dollars to install special basins for Wudu so that Muslims could ritually wash their feet before prayer. College President Phil Davis defended this glaring double standard by absurdly insisting that "the foot-washing facilities are not about religion, they are about customer service and public safety." At least a dozen other public colleges and universities in the nation have also installed Wudu facilities, including George Mason University in Fairfax.

    And then...

    A GMU spokesman said there were no complaints from other student religious groups when the Muslim Student Association was given permission by administrators to convert a common third-floor meditation room into a makeshift mosque. Would Campus Crusade for Christ be allowed to turn the facility into a makeshift Resurrection scene? The spokesman acknowledged that the other student religious groups have to reserve rooms or meet off campus when they want to pray together


    So yes, I say Shari law is here, and it is being foisted on us by our PC diversity loving have no common sense educational administrators.. and many lower level government types who are desperate to not offend anyone.

    But now we see that the threat of the Moslem radicals is enough to make authors change the name of fictional characters because of a fear that their names violate Shari law.

    LONDON: First there was Mohammed the Mole and Dipak the Dalmatian . Now there is Morgan the Mole and Dipak the Dalmatian . A British children's author who named his fictitious mole Mohammed and the dog Dipak in an attempt to promote multi-culturalism, has backed away from the first for fear of offending Muslims


    And then we see this over some cartoons. Many papers in the US surrendered their rights and didn't publish them.

    "Those cartoons are very offensive to every Muslim feeling, and to Islam as a religion," said Abdel Moeti Bayoumi, a theology professor at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. "Do you expect Muslims to remain silent or rise to defend their religion?"

    And in the same vein.

    The turmoil comes a year after Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered in Amsterdam by a Muslim radical because he made a film critical of Islam. It also revives memories of the 1989 death threat against writer Salman Rushdie over his portrayal of Muhammad in "The Satanic Verses."

    Laws that are imposed through pressure and fear are often just as effective as laws that are backed with the threat of legal sanctions because the fear of attacks is real, and no preventative actions really exist.

    Think about it.

    A question about the cabbies (none / 0) (#10)
    by glanton on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 11:25:21 AM EST
    What about the cab companies for whom they work?  

    Well (none / 0) (#12)
    by glanton on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 08:48:55 PM EST
    Whatever or whomever owns the cabs, if they are giving that ridiculous leeway, then it shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody that the cabbies in question are taking advantage of it.

    This issue parallels those nutty pharmacists who will not distribute certain prescriptions because of religious beliefs.  Of course in that case the stakes are far more serious than being denied a particular cab at a Metropolitan airport, especially in small towns with a dearth of pharmacists.


    Firedoglake (none / 0) (#1)
    by Jgarza on Sat Dec 01, 2007 at 12:35:32 PM EST
    I love fire dog lake. Jeralyn, were you part of the team that helped cover the Libby trial?

    Too Much Publicity (none / 0) (#2)
    by JHFarr on Sat Dec 01, 2007 at 12:38:44 PM EST
    Looks like their server's down. Oh well.

    Nice (none / 0) (#3)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 01, 2007 at 01:08:02 PM EST

    Well, It's Cold and Beautiful Here!!! (none / 0) (#4)
    by Packratt on Sat Dec 01, 2007 at 05:33:28 PM EST
    Here in Seattle it's my oldest son's 13th birthday today and it's the first snow of the year in Seattle (where it actually snows quite infrequently).

    The first snow is special to us, especially me and my oldest son. It's sort of always our official "father son" day and I take off work or do anything I can to spend it with him.

    Last year I couldn't spend his birthday or snow day with him, so this time around it's extra special.

    (pic of the snow and my son here, at the bottom of the post)

    Congrats on the Award. (none / 0) (#5)
    by ding7777 on Sat Dec 01, 2007 at 06:53:12 PM EST
    p.s. Never thought of you as "Jerri", Jeralyn.

    AIDS (none / 0) (#6)
    by Aaron on Sun Dec 02, 2007 at 06:20:08 AM EST
    I recently saw the documentary The Origins of AIDS (2004) a.k.a. Origines du SIDA, Les (2003) which examines the theory that the AIDS viruses came about as a result of unsafe approaches to creating polio vaccine back in the 1950s and 60s in the Belgian Congo.

    I remember reading about this theory in Rolling Stone in the early 90s, and later hearing that the theory had been discounted by the experts.  Apparently a number of journalists and scientists resurrected this theory in the early part of the century, and is expressed in Edward Hooper's book The River : A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS.  

    The evolutionary biologist, and one of the greatest evolutionary theorists of the 20th century, William Donald Hamilton became convinced there was a connection, and died from complications associated with malaria while he was collecting data on this theory in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Up to that point no one had gone to the Congo to look for evidence of the connection to the polio experiments.

    Hooper has asserted that the experiments which were conducted on chimpanzees, where the organs and blood serum from these animals was shipped around the world for use in the creation of vaccine, were prompted by the pharmaceutical companies funding these experiments, who hoped to beat Jonas Salk and his funders to the creation of a safe vaccine.  Apparently he and others believe that corners were cut, and that unnecessarily risky methods were used, and then covered up by the scientists who employ them.

    The vaccine that was created was then given to the local populace, one million people, one of the first experiments on humans to test its safety.  These trials were criticized by the World Health Organization.  It is believed that this same area in the Congo produced the very first HIV positive tests from human being once the virus was discovered.

    This is an excellent documentary that I would urge everyone to watch, and consider the implications of what it will mean to society if it is discovered that AIDS was created by group of scientists being pushed by the greed of pharmaceutical manufacturers to engage in unethical and unsafe experiments on animals and human beings.

    I recently read in the New York Times that HIV infection and AIDS is on the decline thankfully, but just imagine if we find out that the disease itself was the result of human greed.  I wonder what all those Bible thumper's who were condemning gay folks will say then. I wonder if they'll go after these huge conglomerates that have so much power around the world and within our own government.

    Just imagine if we didn't have (none / 0) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 02, 2007 at 09:19:22 AM EST
    people who
    believe such nonsense.

    Everyone knows AIDS came from polluted crack cocaine distributed free by the CIA in east LA....