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For those of you unaware of the history of the War on Islam in my lovely state, let me give you a very brief summary.

A couple of years ago, a plan to expand a Middle Tennessee mosque was met with opposition and fear from local political and/or religious leaders...and arson and gunshots from local residents.  Some residents even went to court trying to stop the construction, saying that it is all part of a conspiracy to take over the country, not the free exercise of religion that would be protected in the First Amendment.  Thankfully, the courts ruled against the fanatical bigots, and construction was allowed to proceed.

So what is the next step?

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I've seen a lot of truly horrible stuff come through the legislative pipeline in the past several years here in Tennessee (the buckle of the bible belt), but this might be the worst.  Citing religious freedoms, a proposed bill would permit hate speech and bullying in schools, if that is what your religious beliefs guide you to do.

Really?  This is where we're heading?  Protecting the religious rights of the religious right to the extent that they can gaybash and sentence classmates to purgatory without schools being able to interfere?  Here I thought all the recent attempts to privatize public education was to make a profit...but here I guess they just want to make sure everybody knows that hate crime in the name of God is an inalienable right.  It's been fairly effective against local Muslims so far, I guess it's only natural they widen their gaze towards the next Big Evil on the horizon- those gays hiding among us, poisoning our children with their lifestyle.

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As some of you may know, I work as a school psychologist in a rural county in Tennessee.  For the past few years I have been involved in trying to change educational policies for the better, only to watch helplessly as it continues to change for the worse.  Today, I have a new perspective.

My oldest son is a 14-year old eighth grader.  This will be his last year to take TCAP (our state assessment), before going to high school and enjoying Gateways and EOC exams instead (yay for him, eh?).  The test is to be administered this week...so he spent Saturday night at the movies with a bunch of friends, as he should, burn off some stress before test week begins.

Sunday morning arrives, and everything changes.

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After close to a year of legal drama pitting Muslims in the Bible Belt against the fundamentalist Christians who wear said belt with pride, CNN has finally taken up the story.  For those of you who do not pay much attention to the affairs of Muslims (and the far right religious fanatics who fear them) in the south, just use your imagination- they are trying to build a huge mosque in middle Tennessee (a stone's throw away from where they were trying to build Bible Park USA a few years ago...no joke).  Soledad O'Brien came to town, talked with some of our more intelligent residents...but also some of the regulars.  See below.

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Welcome to the OND, Magnifico's series…it was his idea, he started it, so it’s all his fault.  I accept no responsibility for the contents of this edition, but I will gladly accept tips.

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  • An Israeli air strike into the home of a senior Hamas leader left him dead, along with two of his wives and seven of his children.

    Hundreds of supporters scrambling over the concrete rubble vowed revenge as the mangled bodies, covered in blood and cement dust, were extracted from the wreckage.

  • Former Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI), the namesake of Pell Grants that help college students, passed away at the age of 90.  He suffered from Parkinson's disease for the past 14 years.

  • Senate Democrats insist that Roland Burris will not be allowed to the Senate floor, and Capital police may be called to escort him out if he resists.

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Thu Dec 25, 2008 at 08:29 PM PST

Overnight News Digest: DIY,BDDITM

by Sidof79

Welcome to the OND, Magnifico's series…it was his idea, he started it, so it’s all his fault.  I accept no responsibility for the contents of this edition, but I will gladly accept tips.

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  • Depending on who is interpreting SpendingPulse, holiday retail sales in the US fell anywhere from as much as 4% to between 5.5 and 8% compared to last year.  People are just waiting for the after-Christmas sales to do their Christmas shopping...

  • Following two days of intense rocket fire from Palestinian militants into Israel, the Israeli military is preparing to invade Gaza.  The cease fire has now expired, and numerous attempts by leaders of many neighboring countries to salvage the peace have been unsuccessful.

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Welcome to the OND, Magnifico's series…it was his idea, he started it, so it’s all his fault.  I accept no responsibility for the contents of this edition, but I will gladly accept tips.

This edition is dedicated to Mr. Dale Edwards, a resident of South Africa who sent me a few local stories and asked me to share with with a larger, international audience.  I hope the OND crowd counts.

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  • In an attempt to reduce widespread, violent crime, police in Joburg, South Africa, have installed cameras around the city to help deter or catch criminals.  The first day the cameras were in place, they captured a grisly scene.

    Horrific footage of a well-built thug beating a man in front of onlookers and later casually gouging into his abdomen with a broken bottle was followed by images of him being confronted by uniformed policemen.

    Footage of the incident had been broadcast and is probably available...but I'm not about to go looking for it.


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Welcome to the OND, Magnifico's series…it was his idea, he started it, so it’s all his fault.  I accept no responsibility for the contents of this edition, but I will gladly accept tips.

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  • A report released by the Institute of Medicine calls on the DoD and the VA to conduct large-scale studies of Traumatic Brain Injury in returning combat veterans, that may have been caused by exposure to blasts.

  • An envelope containing 130 ballots is missing in Minnesota, delaying the recount between Norm Coleman and Al Franken for Senate.  The Franken campaign praised election officials for acknowledging the problem and taking steps to resolve it.  The Coleman campaign questioned the idea that the envelope ever existed.

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Welcome to the OND, Magnifico's series…it was his idea, he started it, so it’s all his fault.  I accept no responsibility for the contents of this edition, but I will gladly accept tips.

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  • Iraq's parliament passed a security pact outlines the removal of US troops by 2011, which would end eight years of occupation.  The pact gives Iraq authority over US troops in Iraq and would hold them accountable for crimes committed while they are off duty.  Although the pact says troops must be out by 2011, the hope is that US troops are out much sooner than that.  Thanks for that.

  • Members of the Indian military have stormed the Mumbai Jewish center in which Muslim militants are believed to hold several hostages.  The raid ended nearly a week of terror in city hotels which had already left at least 119 people dead.

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Welcome to the OND, Magnifico's series…it was his idea, he started it, so it’s all his fault.  I accept no responsibility for the contents of this edition, but I will gladly accept tips.

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Welcome to the OND, Magnifico's series...it was his idea, he started it, so it’s all his fault.  I accept no responsibility for the contents of this edition, but I will gladly accept tips.

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  • President-Elect Barack Obama (I still smile a little every time I see/hear that) will resign from his Senate seat effective Sunday, accelerating the scampering for a replacement.  Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich has said he will name a successor before the new year, but Obama's early resignation means that the Democrats will retain the majority in the Senate only if Joe POS Lieberman continues to caucus with the Democrats.  Surely Obama isn't doing him a favor by resigning early...making sure that the Democrats will need him around a bit longer, postponing at least any "punishment" for him being a POS and all.

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Welcome to the OND, Magnifico's series...it was his idea, he started it, so it’s all his fault.  I accept no responsibility for the contents of this edition, but I will gladly accept tips.

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  • California Terminator Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has submitted a budget proposal that includes, among things: a sales tax increase and an oil tax increase; relief for troubled homeowners; spending cuts in education, the welfare-to-work program, and unemployment; requiring state employees to take one unpaid day off per month; and reducing labor laws regarding breaks, overtime, and schedules.  So...he wants you to work harder for less money, pay more taxes when you spend money, and receive less education and welfare-to-work benefits...and he expects this to help the economy somehow?

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