August 31, 2011
Considering college and want the best fit for you? Here is ConnectEDU:
This won’t just help the brightest, most driven kids. Bad matching is a problem throughout higher education, from top to bottom. Among all students who enroll in college, most will either transfer or drop out. For African American students and those whose parents never went to college, the transfer/dropout rate is closer to two-thirds. Most students don’t live in the resource-rich, intensely college-focused environment that upper-middle-class students take for granted. So they often default to whatever college is cheapest and closest to home. Tools like ConnectEDU will give them a way to find something better.
August 31, 2011
A study sums this up here. Money quote from Adam Serwer:
Until Republican leaders try to appeal to the better angels of their constituents’ nature — rather than feeding on and profiting from their paranoia — things are unlikely to change.
H/T: The Dish
August 29, 2011
“I don’t see Islam as our enemy. I see that motivation is occupation and those who hate us and would like to kill us, they are motivated by our invasion of their land, the support of their dictators that they hate,” –Ron Paul on how he sees America’s foreign policy, not Islam, as a threat to America.
August 28, 2011
This readers story from the Dish is eye opening:
I have a best friend who would take the shirt off his back to help (almost) anyone. We’ve been friends since childhood (we’re now in our late 40s). I’m a liberal atheist Democrat, he’s a conservative Christianist Republican. Certainly if we had met as adults we would never have become friends. But because of our history we remain friends, despite our differences and our friendly, but increasingly, vehement arguments.
About a year-and-a-half into Obama’s presidency we had to agree to stop talking about politics and the world in order to preserve our long-standing friendship. He wasn’t quite a birther, but he suspected something quite wasn’t right there. Our final, incredible, blowout argument was over the “Ground Zero Mosque.” He had succumbed to the “Muslims are bad” theory and had become a bit zealous, even going as far as saying “Fox News is the only media outlet telling the truth.” Sigh. We screamed at each other, there was spittle, and HUGE anger; if we hadn’t known each other for so long it might have devolved into fisticuffs. But, with incredible restraint, we remained friends; it was clear we were skirting around current topics and trying valiantly to stay the course without saying “you’re an idiot” to each other. We were hanging out a lot less frequently than we had previously. Sad, but necessary?
Finally, Norway was a breakthrough. I would not have broached the subject, to keep the peace, but his wife brought it up tonight at a backyard BBQ. I didn’t say a word for a long time; they talked it out. In essence, the conversation went like this:
Wife: But he (Breivik) identified himself as a Christian.
My friend: Nope, he couldn’t be a Christian.
Wife: I know, not any Christian we know or could identify with.
My friend: Ridiculous how he says he’s Christian.
Wife: But it got me thinking about how a lot of Muslims say the terrorists aren’t true Muslims.
My friend (I was holding my breath at this point): Yea, I’m starting to see that. This crazy guy wants to represent Christians. He’s fucking insane. Maybe the 9/11 guys were insane too and didn’t represent Muslims?
He looked me in the eye at that point and … apologized. Ohmygod! He said, “I never saw the other side.” We both cried. I’m trying not to be melodramatic here, but it was literally a life changing moment for my friend. He had truly believed that Muslims were really bad and Christians were good, with some aberrations (he used the Tiller murder as an example of a bad Christian, but never would give that “aberration” description to any Muslim). Anyway, tonight was unbelievable in my world. One of my best friends, and a rabid Christianist, acknowledged that all Muslims weren’t bad. Sounds simple? But, really, a major breakthrough.
So maybe there is something positive to come out of the tragedy in Norway. Very sad to say that, but in my little world, it’s a positive thing. Obviously this is incredibly anecdotal, but maybe there are other Christianists seeing that there are extremists who don’t represent all Christians just as there are Islamists who don’t represent all of Islam?
May 26, 2011
The foaming at the mouth pundits and politicians who try to propose draconian measures to prevent America being taken over by Islamofascists may actually be acting quite contradictory to their roots. Ironic? Always:
Jon Campbell considers himself a loyal member of the tea party. The Kingsport, Tenn., man is a conservative Christian who wants the government to keep its hands off his wallet and his personal life. And that’s why, he said, a bill that originally targeted supporters of Islamic law is a bad idea for Tennessee. State officials could have used the bill to punish unpopular groups, he said.
Today, that’s Muslims, he said. Tomorrow, that could be the tea party. He pointed to a 2009 report by the Missouri Information Analysis Center, funded in part by the Department of Homeland Security, that labeled Ron Paul supporters as potential terrorists. “If you don’t like the ideas that someone supports — how is that illegal?” he said.
This topic may remind many conservatives of their libertarian roots and the unintended consequences that not only it could have on them but will have on others.
May 14, 2011
Osama’s compound had a few scattered electronic devices (which were banned under Taliban rule in Afghanistan). The Navy SEALs also found his porn stash (or someones stash of porn in his house). Was he that much of a fundamentalist?
May 10, 2011
Whether or not torturing (or it’s euphemism “enhanced interagation techniques” (EIT) lead America Navy Seals to OBL, it strips humans of their dignity and God-given image.
Now that that is out of the way, I want to confront this ideology mix-up. When the Khmer Rouge (the architects of the Killing Field in Cambodia) tortured, we called it inhumane and torture. When the Nazi’s tortured Jews, we called it inhumane and torture. When America tortures terrorist suspects (while there are more effective legal alternatives out there), we call it “protecting our country”, “defending liberty”, “fighting terrorists”, or some other Americanized slogan that could go on a bumper sticker.
I want to know why we don’t see our torture as what it is: torture. It isn’t any nice, prettier, or better if we do it, too. We will go down in history as torturing and we have little room to condemn others (even radical Muslims who torture Americans and their own). An eye for an eye, even when doing it for “just” causes, leaves all blind.
This all reminds me of the death penalty and the war on terror. We kill people who kill people to show that killing people is bad. We torture people who torture people to try to attain some righteous outcome. That doesn’t sound like logical math to me.
February 22, 2011
William Saletan makes a fantastic point when it comes to GOP leaders and their refusal to dismiss birther allegations:
These three men are confident enough in the personhood of fetuses to support banning abortion. They’re confident enough in the efficacy and justice of the U.S. health care system to block funding of the Affordable Care Act. They’re confident enough in Wall Street, despite the recklessness and bailouts of the last three years, to press for repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law. But ask them whether Obama is a Muslim or was born in the United States, and suddenly they’re too humble to impose their beliefs on others. They can only describe “the facts as I understand them.” They can only speak “for me.” They can only “listen to the American people,” not “tell them what to think.”
These men aren’t leaders. They’re followers. To lead a party, much less a country, you have to be able to say no. You have to stand up to liars, lunatics, and dupes on your party’s fringe. John McCain did it, in his clumsy way (there’s nothing wrong with being a Muslim or Arab), when he was the GOP’s presidential nominee. Even Bill O’Reilly andGlenn Beck have done it. They’ve called the birther conspiracy theories “bogus,” “absurd,” and “ridiculous.”
February 22, 2011
Matt Yglesias translates a French article for us:
This new generation isn’t interested in ideology, their slogans are all pragmatic and congrete; they don’t speak of Islam the way their predecessors did in Algeria in the late 1980s. Above all they reject corrupt dictators and demand democracy. That’s not to say that the demonstrators are secular, but simply that they don’t see Islam as a political ideology to be used to create a better order, they’re well inside a secular political space.
This is a continuation of Roy’s work over the past several years on “the failure of political Islam.” The basic idea here is that in part thanks to the example of Iran, you just don’t have a mass constituency that’s prepared to believe that Islam or Islamic rule offers answers to the concrete problems of poverty, corruption, and slow economic growth. People may be religiously observant or culturally conservative in ways that western liberals (or even western cultural conservatives) would find alarming, but the Egyptian people are asking “where are the jobs?” and don’t think the answer is going to be found in the Koran.
February 20, 2011
Andrew Sullivan provides a profound thought on the pursuit of democracy in the Middle East vis-à-vis Libya, Egypt and now Bahrain:
…when was the last time you saw frenzied crowds in the streets in several Muslim Arab countries where the American flag wasn’t being burned? We finally figured out how to help democracy in the Arab world: get out of the way and nudge quietly from a distance.
February 4, 2011
TheAtlantic has a contributing writer that was mistaken for an Iranian in Cairo and was subsequently drug through the streets:
I have an Iranian stamp, a tourist visa from 2009. Like the United States, Iran includes a photo of the visa-holder on the visa itself. So they saw the visa, with all my biographical details and my photo and “Islamic Republic of Iran,” and thought they were looking at the passport information page of an Iranian citizen. Pretty soon I was being dragged through the street like a deformed farm animal, and the people around me were yelling “Iranian! Iranian!” while I cried out in my best English in protest. We passed two cafés, and no one even bothered to take a shisha pipe out of his mouth to inquire about me.
The men ultimately delivered me to a government building on the Nile, where a man in a police uniform spoke English and confirmed that I was either a native English speaker with an accent appropriate to his nationality, or an Iranian with an unusually effective ESL teacher. He guessed the former and let me go, but not before telling me by way of apology that there are “foreign people in the crowds who want to create danger and kill Egyptians.” He said roadblocks and crowds along the corniche were advised to hunt down “Iranians, Hizbullah, Qataris, Hamas, and” — because why not? — “Israelis.”
It’s incredible that he was able to get away basically unscathed and then able to write about it for the world to see. Its unfortunate during national crises that broad brush prejudices are brought out of the closet and applied so draconianlly and as the author said indiscriminately.
Along with the note on national crises, one of the larger roles of protesting (nonviolently, mind you) is to grab the attention of national and international eyes. They will see despotic leaders order troops to beat up on civilians and cause disgust in the viewer. This was a key aspect of the American civil rights movement. Unfortunately, it can get quite tiresome for the protesters to constantly be beaten and then have the national/international powers remain idle.
December 27, 2010
I forget how I heard about this movie, but I just got to watch it. A Prophet received four stars and is a French film. It is a story of a 19-year old inmate named Malik who serves a 6-year prison sentence and is forced to survive on the inside.
Malik, an Arab, comes to work for the Corsican mafia. As time progresses and respect is garnered, Malik moves up in rank. Its quite a watch to see such a young kid form into the mold of a gritty type of Euro/Asian crime character.
Many points in this movie are disturbing, eerie, graphic, or lewd. The first man Malik kills with a razor blade haunts him throughout the movie. His ghost joins him in his cell, scars and all showing just as in Beetlejuice, with his cigarettes smoke blowing out. As the movie progresses, Malik is able to go out on day leaves for “work”. His work is often jobs for his boss Cesar and is often dangerous, sometimes rewarding, and usually brings him back past his due time (this eventually lands him in the hole).
I wouldn’t give high recommendations for this movie unless you want to see a film of dark substance depicting life inside prison.
November 30, 2010
A funny cartoon but an even better article here; it includes an interview with the TSA director, which should carry more weight than your favorite pundit.
November 13, 2010
Would you believe that this video has been spread almost entirely via email?
1. Could it be that if you believe this faux comspiracy theory, you would take the word / opinion of a couple of Saudi’s over your own president?
2. Could it be that you then take that obvious lie and build a foundation on it? What is that to say about having entire structured viewpoints built on mere lies?
3. Could it be, you idiot, that Barack Obama bows to foreign leaders out of respect for them and for their culture, and so not to impose a sense of authority over someone of foreign descent?
4. Could this be, oh my yes, his birth certificate? There goes your theory, pal.
5. Could it be that if this were partly true, Obama has supported Islam by not balkanizing it and supporting Jewish/Christian views over it? (see his views on the Ground Zero mosque)
I love the eerie music implanted into the video. It makes you feel almost as if something truly bad is about to happen. Keyword: almost.
September 29, 2010
A handbook was created for the Islamic nation whose leader not only denies the Holocaust ever happening but believes 9/11 was an inside job. PBS tracked Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s pernicious lies while recently in NYC for a UN General Assembly:
“Iran is the freest country in the world”:
This is while there are at least 800 political prisoners in Iran whose sole “offense” has been protesting the terrible state of the nation, at least 110 people have been killed since last year during demonstrations and in detention centers, at least two prominent supporters of the Green Movement have been assassinated, and at least eight people have been executed.
Obama reacts here.
September 26, 2010
Once you get past Iran and its progressing nuclear program, its missiles, its connections to Hezbollah, its ambiguous and dangerous leadership, and its connection some see to the Rapture, you have the above video. I watched it at first and didn’t know what it meant. Its translation is here:
Tomorrow is Saturday. Tomorrow is a day of destiny.
Tonight, the cries of Allah-o Akbar are heard louder and louder than the nights before.
Where is this place? Where is this place where every door is closed? Where is this place where people are simply calling God? Where is this place where the sound of Allah-o Akbar gets louder and louder?
I wait every night to see if the sounds will get louder and whether the number increases. It shakes me. I wonder if God is shaken.
Where is this place that where so many innocent people are entrapped? Where is this place where no one comes to our aid? Where is this place that only with our silence we are sending our voices to the world? Where is this place that the young shed blood and then people go and pray — standing on that same blood and pray. Where is this place where the citizens are called vagrants?
Where is this place? You want me to tell you? This place is Iran. The homeland of you and me.
This place is Iran.
Watching a video like this will send you in one direction. Reading these tweets or viewing these pictures with captions sends you in another completely opposite direction.
We can’t continue to see and view others in broad brush strokes. More so, this surpasses Islam and pervades every other religion, ethnicity, and aspect of life. It would be ignorant of me to think of my friend who is Jewish as a cookie cut identical to the last Jew I met, in his thinking, his religious views, and his politics. This world is too complex, our thoughts are so vast and deep (everyone is included here, not just the educated), and our issues are so deep that we can’t settle for cutting ourselves short in discourse with others and our own thinking. This all goes beyond mid term voting, 2012 general elections, and politics. This is life. And the one manning the camera above, speaking in private, has no voice but to speak into a camera. Their voice is against the tyranny of their Islamic Republic. And we think all of those crying out Allah Akbar are about to kill themselves and others. Let’s get real.
September 11, 2010
Where to even begin after an amazing week at the Christian Community Development Association Conference?
I’ll start with Eid because of it’s relevance. As Ramadan comes to a close, Muslims around the world observe the holy day of Eid. This came up yesterday, the final day of the CCDA conference, as Eboo Patel was interviewed for the morning plenary session. Patel is the founder and executive director of Interfaith Youth Core and a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. And, he’s a Muslim.
First, Patel complimented the work of the CCDA and told us how comfortable he felt in a room full of Christians working for social justice. He identified the common ground and peace that can be found between Christians and Muslims who are working together for a better world. Sadly though, not all of Patel’s interactions with Christians have been so encouraging.
For the past nine years, Patel shared, Muslims in America have been living as outcasts in their own country. He shared the pain he and other American Muslims felt as they watched the attacks on September 11th, only to feel hate from their fellow citizens. He communicated the real and painful concerns Muslims discuss together as they go to prayer, especially in the past few months. Children are harassed at school. Jobs are threatened. Women are humiliated. It was sadly similar to the experience shared immediately before Patel of an American Latino.
American Christians need to realize the despicable way in which they are living and change before things get worse. I recently read of a book called “Hurt people hurt people.” The striking title is self-explanatory. As I listened to Patel and thought about that book and the state of “Christianism” (the unique brand of Christian nationalism typically propagated by the right) in America today, my only conclusion was that scared people scare people. What we are seeing in America today are Christians who dwell in fear and lash out at others as a result. It’s a double dose of hypocrisy from a population that is supposed to be freed from fear and loving their enemies. The most dangerous idea coupled with this ideology is its virtue. There’s a belief that this is the right track. However, as Patel pointed out yesterday Heinrich Heini knew better all the way back in 1821. It was then that he wrote “Where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people also.” His work came to be a prophetic sacrifice as the Nazis burned it before firing up the crematories of the Final Solution. While today’s Quran burning has been cancelled, as Christians, we must never let ourselves be dragged into the belief that we are above and beyond the most atrocious acts imaginable if we for but a moment descend into the darkness of fear and hatred. Instead, let us love, as it is the first and last step toward ushering in a better world.
Dona nobis pacem.