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Reposted from DKos Florida by JDsg

#38 for My Stupid State series.  H/t SamLoomis.  

Volusia County is a large swing county here in Florida.  As usual, there are more registered Dems than GOP, but it tends to elect conservatives.  The county went for Mitt (albeit just barely) in 2012, and all of the state legislators in that country are GOP.  Yet given that there are many Dems here you would think moderate voices would prevail.  You would think wrong.

The moderate chairman of the Volusia Co. GOP was ousted in favor of a crazed, teabagger wingnut named Tony Ledbetter.  Once elected he sent out press releases demanding $11 million in cuts to the County, even though he was told by all sides that his calculations were way off and to get bent.  He consistently organized protests against a variety of conservative bogeymen, like taxes and the latest one--Common Core Standards.  Yet, they flopped miserably.

FINALLY, earlier this month, Ledbetter found an issue to rally his mouth-breathing followers that was both easy for them to understand AND had the added bonus of bigotry.  A Volusia County parent discovered their kid's World History textbook contained (gasp) one whole chapter on a culture/religion practiced by a quarter of the world's population--Islam!

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Reposted from absdoggy by JDsg

This evening, in a vote of 8-1 with Councilman Bill Bigot DeSteph the lone vote against (more on Bill the Bigot below), Virginia Beach City Council approved plans for the construction of a mosque.  

While approved, I am still sickened by the ignorance and the bigotry on display at the council hearing. Follow me over the orange squiggle to see why.

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Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:13 AM PDT

A New Kind of McCarthyism

by 2minutecapitalist

Reposted from 2minutecapitalist by JDsg Editor's Note: Allahu Akbar! -- JDsg

    In her now-infamous interview of Reza Aslan (July 26, Fox News) Lauren Green raised the absurd suggestion that Mr. Aslan, an accomplished Biblical scholar, was disqualified from writing about Christianity due to his Islamic faith.  She has since been the butt of mockery for her arrogant bigotry, and rightly so.  After all, religious adherence is not required for objective, academic study of religion.  Adherence is, however, required for the religious study of religion; a pursuit which, by definition, is not objective.  A reasonable argument can be made that professors in universities have more reliable knowledge of religions than the priests, rabbis and imams who are held as the experts.  However, to dismiss the adherent’s knowledge as biased is absurd.  Religion IS bias.  It is I who know what I believe and practice as a Muslim, not some professor.  Religious studies are like anthropology or zoology.  It cannot be done from the classroom. You must spend time with your subjects.  

However, to dismiss the adherent’s knowledge as biased is absurd.  Religion IS bias.  
A bizarre and ugly phenomenon has erupted and spread since Sept 11.  It is a body of anti-Islamic pseudo-knowledge.  Its pseudo-experts are as biased and religiously motivated as any clergy.  Yet their pseudo-intellectual pursuits occur in a Muslim-free vacuum; a closed, removed environment akin to the university.  Thus it is the worst of both worlds, a freaky offspring.  There is no better example of it than Andrew C McCarthy’s article Thank God for McCain -- Allahu Akbar! (National Review Online, 9/3/13).  In it, Mr. McCarthy calls Senator John McCain “moronic” for McCain’s assertion that the phrase “Allahu Akbar” is used by moderate Muslims, and that it is similar to saying “Thank God.”  In a radio interview (Mark Levin, 9/3/13), he went on to snicker about McCain’s “ignorance.”  Thus we are through the looking glass, as McCain’s description of the phrase was close to reality and McCarthy’s was stunningly ignorant.  

Andrew C McCarthy has written two books about Islam but does not know any Muslims.  If he had even a casual Muslim acquaintance, he would have an understanding of the phrase “Allahu Akbar”.  He basically makes two assertions about it: That it is used by extremists in violent situations, and that it essentially means “my god is greater than your god.”  Yes it is used by extremists.  It is also yelled by soccer fans after a goal.  It is also said by every Muslim multiple times per day in multiple situations, including prayer.  In fact, five times per day during prayer, the Muslim may not move until he says it.  It is that essential to the religion.

Five times per day during prayer, the Muslim may not move until he says it.
Mr. McCarthy’s second assertion is just as silly.  Prophet Mohammed (saaw)* did not rise to power in opposition to Christians or Jews.  His problem, like that of Moses, Abraham and Jesus before him (saaw)*, was polytheistic paganism.  “Allah” is not a proper name.  Proper names are used to distinguish like things.  “Al” is Arabic for “The” (E.g.  Al-Jazeera, Al-Quaida).  “Allah,” meaning THE God, is a phrase; a statement of monotheism.  The first rule of Islam is to swear the following:  There is no god but THE God, and Mohammed is His Prophet.  Thus, there is no concept of my god or your god in Islam, and no such implication with Allahu Akbar.
“Allah” is not a proper name.  “Allah,” meaning THE God, is a phrase; a statement of monotheism.
Allahu Akbar essentially means Allah is the greatest.  It is testimony that there is no higher authority: not our desires, our families, our nations.  Not wealth, celebrity or any other false idol.  Take it from me; I’m a Muslim.

Saleh R Shahid

*  SAAW is a commonly used abbreviation for an Arabic phrase which means “May peace be upon him.”  It is Islamic etiquette when using the name of a prophet.  


Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 04:42 PM PDT

Muslims Need Not Apply

by rhutcheson

Reposted from rhutcheson by JDsg

That's the title of a report by the ACLU of Southern California which exposes yet another violation of the rule of law (to say nothing of fair play) associated with the endless 'war on terror': since 2008 the US immigration service has been using a combination of watch lists, FBI surveillance data, and demographics such as religion and national origin to deny citizenship to thousands of immigrants without telling them the basis of the decision or giving them a chance to dispute or correct the records.

The ACLU has filed suit to force the immigration service to honor a freedom of information request regarding the so-far secret process which the service has ignored now for over one year.

The text of the lawsuit is here.  The ACLU report is available as a pdf download from the ACLU here.


Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 08:57 PM PDT

Muslims in America.

by Trenz Pruca

Reposted from Trenz Pruca by JDsg

A few months ago, President Obama in a well publicized speech encouraging toleration mentioned in general the historical contributions to our country of individuals, Americans, professing the Muslim faith. This has brought out the expected screams of anguish from those who seem to criticize our president for anything he says or does.

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Reposted from Trial Watch by JDsg

Back in 2010, Oklahomans voted overwhelmingly (70 percent!) to amend their state constitution to ban the consideration of Sharia law.  Well, late Thursday, a federal judge in Oklahoma City threw it out on First Amendment grounds.

In finding the law in violation of the U.S. Constitution's Establishment Clause, U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange issued a permanent injunction prohibiting the certification of the results of the state question that put the Sharia law ban into the state constitution.

"While the public has an interest in the will of the voters being carried out, the Court finds that the public has a more profound and long-term interest in upholding an individual's constitutional rights," the judge wrote.

The full ruling is available at the ACLU site.

Just 48 hours after the election, Muneer Awad, the then-executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on Islamic-American Relations, sued on the grounds that the so-called "Save Our State" amendment violated the First Amendment's establishment and free exercise clauses.  He was later joined by four other plaintiffs.

Miles-LaGrange gave a pretty loud hint of where she was going in a preliminary injunction issued on November 29, 2010, in which she hinted that the amendment was indeed unconstitutional, and that Awad's First Amendment rights would be irreparably harmed if the law were allowed to take effect.  This ruling was upheld by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which preemptively demolished the all-but-certain claims of judicial activism by saying, "When the law that voters wish to enact is likely unconstitutional, their interests do not outweigh Mr. Awad's in having his constitutional rights protected."

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Reposted from Daily Kos by azizhp
night owls
Tasbeeh Herwees is a freelance writer and producer in Los Angeles. She is also the co-founder of Kifah Libya, an independent, online magazine about Libyan political, social and cultural TruthDig writes Who Owns Jesus?

Every 10 years, millions of Middle Easterners in the U.S. turn to their census forms and check the box under race labeled “white.” This is, after all, their legal classification. The U.S. government formally recognizes anyone from “Europe, the Middle East or North Africa” as white.

This seems counterintuitive, but it’s the product of several contentious court battles that occurred in the early 1900s. The most prominent of these was Dow v. United States, a 1915 case in which Syrian immigrant George Dow fought to overturn two lower court decisions that found him ineligible for naturalization because he wasn’t white. A federal appeals court ruled in Dow’s favor. And he won because of Jesus.

Tasbeeh Herwees
Tasbeeh Herwees
Part of Dow’s successful argument was couched in the logic that if Jesus, a Middle Easterner, was white, it only followed that George Dow, also from the Middle East, was white too. It was notions of Jesus’ whiteness—in a largely white Christian American culture—that ultimately won the case for Dow. White Christians owned Jesus and the right to call him theirs, and they were unable to let him go.

Perhaps popular perceptions of Jesus have not changed since then, as evidenced by the extremely uncomfortable Fox News interview with Reza Aslan—a religious scholar and professor at UC Riverside—that has gone viral since it was posted July 26. Aslan is the author of “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” which has been the center of some controversy at Fox News, but not for anything that’s in the book. The point of contention for Lauren Green, host of the program “Spirited Debate,” and Fox News guest writer and Christian pastor John S. Dickerson is the author himself, who is Muslim.

“I want to be clear, you are a Muslim,” Green began the interview. “So why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?”

In a manner befitting that of an elementary school teacher, Aslan carefully explained to Green that he was a scholar who’s devoted much of his academic career to the history of religions. His own religion was inconsequential.

“Well, to be clear,” replied Aslan, “I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim.”

But Green’s line of questioning did not let up, and she continued to prod Aslan’s motives for writing the book, even quoting from the Dickerson Fox News op-ed piece that purported to “out” Aslan as a Muslim. Aslan, clearly unsurprised by her persistence, informed her patiently that he’s never tried to hide the fact that he’s Muslim—it’s something he states quite clearly on the second page of his new book.

This went on for almost 10 minutes, making it clear that this wasn’t an interview. It was an interrogation. In Dickerson’s op-ed and in Green’s interview, it was not Aslan’s book that was being put on trial, but Aslan himself.

Why anybody with more than half a brain goes on Foxaganda (unless it's just to mess with them) continues to be beyond my comprehension.

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2003Suicides an in issue in Iraq:

Let's face facts. Iraq is a physically, mentally and socially hostile place. Supplies are frequently short, the soldiers feel trapped and the enemy is getting better, not worse.

All it takes for a 19 year old to get jumpy is a letter from his gf that she has a new boyfriend. Colleges have a problem dealing with this, so does the Army. Iraq could be a very easy place to lose hope.
This is the kind of story which rarely makes the papers with any impact. But it indicates that some soldiers are coming under intense emotional pressure.
I think it indicates our Army in Iraq is not a happy one. And that has implications beyond their mere emotional state. If they don't believe in the mission, they may get killed.

Tweet of the Day:

"Your an idiot" is the greatest sentence in all of online comments.

On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin gave us his round-up, and in the first of what will become regular weekly appearances, Joan McCarter visited with us as well! Items of interest: the procedural drama surrounding the confirmation (finally!) of an ATF Director, The Hill's "50 Most Beautiful" list triggers a Sports Illustrated curse, the continuing intra-"party" (if you can still call it that) Gop feud, the search for the origins of Green Lanternism, upcoming filibuster fights, House Rs in disarray, the crappy student loan "fix" bill, and the continuing tensions on NSA policy between Intelligence and Judiciary committee Senators.

High Impact Posts. Top Comments.


Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 06:27 PM PDT

A Muslim writes about Jesus?

by illinifan17

Reposted from illinifan17 by JDsg

The link is Gawker, but there is video.

Sometimes it is difficult to tell whether the obtuseness of Fox News is real or feigned.   This is an interview with Reza Aslan, primarily about his new book, Zealot:  The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.

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Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 06:51 AM PDT

a Muslim American agenda for Justice

by azizhp

This past week, there were two Iftars in Washington DC, one by the State Department and the other at the White House. I was honored to be invited to the former but was unable to attend. What surprised me was a huge controversy that erupted between Muslims on twitter about whether these Iftars were worthy of attending, tagged with #WhiteHouseIftar. The twitter debate was, as usual, more vitriolic than useful, but Prof. Omid Safi laid out the case for boycotting the iftars in a civil and reasoned way. In a followup post, Omid called upon Muslim Americans to stand up for Justice (as per Qur'an 4:135), specifically about drones and Gitmo. In response, I lay out a vision for a Muslim American domestic agenda that I'd like to share here, below the fold.

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Reposted from David Harris-Gershon (The Troubadour) by JDsg

Originally published in Tikkun Daily |

The Los Angeles Times editorial board has finally had enough. Enough of what, you ask?

Enough of exemplary American citizens being falsely smeared for the crime of being Muslim or the temerity to be critical of Israel. It's had enough of so-called 'pro-Israel' groups trying to sabotage the professional lives and personal aspirations of upstanding Americans by slanderously tarring them with the "anti-Semite" label.

The Times has expressed this opinion beautifully in an op-ed congratulating, and defending, the first Muslim student ever to serve on the University of California Board of Regents, whose resume is impressive:

Congratulations to Sadia Saifuddin, who will be the first Muslim to serve as student representative to the University of California Board of Regents. Her resume for the post is a strong one: Since arriving at Berkeley, she has worked to increase the amount of financial aid available to students, to secure funding for the UC Berkeley Food Pantry and, as head of the student Senate's finance committee, to allocate money to student groups.

But there's one glitch. She is also a critic of Israel. Like many people, she opposes the occupation of the West Bank, the continued building of settlements and what she sees as the mistreatment of Palestinians. Earlier this year, she cosponsored a nonbinding resolution in the student Senate calling on the UC system to divest from companies that do business with the Israeli military.

The Times goes on to detail how Saifuddin, because of her progressive political views, has been attacked by numerous 'pro-Israel' groups, which attempted to reverse her appointment. Conservative activist David Horowitz wrote in an open letter, "If she were confirmed, it would set a dangerous precedent to encourage anti-Semitism on campus, which is already a big problem in the UC system."

Here is how the Times responded:

Oh, for goodness' sake, will this never stop? There's no indication that Saifuddin is an anti-Semite, despite her criticism of Israel, her involvement with the Muslim Students Assn. or her condemnation of anti-Islamic "hate speech." On the board, she says, she hopes to focus on financial aid reform and "bringing students together."
We are finally reaching a point in which attempts by American 'pro-Israel' groups to slander Muslims (and Jews) who critique Israel are being called out for what they are: extremist and tiresome.

Last week, New York Jet Oday Aboushi – the first Palestinian American to be drafted in the NFL – was wrongly smeared as anti-Semitic by a host of publications (including Yahoo! Sports), which wondered aloud whether the Jets or the NFL should allow him to play. In response, Dave Zirin wrote a forceful defense of Aboushi in The Nation that went viral.

Right-leaning 'pro-Israel' groups have diluted and cheapened a very real prejudice that exists: anti-Semitism. The term has been so misused that all it really means at this stage, when flung by right-wingers, is this: I don't agree with your politics.

As one who has also been smeared as anti-Semitic in print, I echo the Times' when it asks, "Will this never stop?"

Fortunately, growing pushback in America against such smears indicates that it may stop, or slow to a crawl, sooner rather than later.


Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 07:04 PM PDT

Ramadan Love From A Christian

by mntleo2

Reposted from mntleo2 by JDsg Editor's Note: Ramadan Mubarak! -- JDsg

In the weeks after 911, I was attending college and saw that my Muslim sisters were noticeably absent from school. So I began to wear a head scarf in solidarity with them. But I learned quickly about how brave these women must be. The 2nd day while waiting for the bus, a car whizzed by with a group of people jeering at me. They went around the block and came back, shouting hateful words. I tried to ignore them, and pretend I did not hear what they were saying when a rock whizzed by my head, and I heard the whoooosh as it passed my ear, missing my head by inches. It made a loud thud as it hit the back of the bus shelter and the car sped away, echoing with the sound of their "triumphant" laughter.

In that instant I realized I could have been killed by strangers who did not even know who I was. The rock was about the size of an adult fist and it was a graphic lesson as to how courageous these women are wearing their head scarf while keeping down the fear hanging over the heads that they endured every day. This subtle fear that was occurring every day in my country where freedom of religion was one of the reasons it began. What the hell?  

More over the squiggly thingy ...

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Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:29 AM PDT

Pork laced bullets, for suckas

by Clytemnestra

Reposted from Clytemnestra by Clytemnestra

When I read this story two quotes came to mind.  The first:

There's a sucker born every minute...and two to take 'em!
- maybe P.T. Barnum
It seems a few [ignorant] "patriots" (their self description, not mine) in Idaho County, Idaho decided it would be a great "push back" agin dem Islamic jeeeeehadist, to paint bullets with pork infused paint.

Their reasoning/logic (or what passes for it) is that this will make all dem damn Islamic jeeeeehadist peaceful. Becuz it'll keepem frum Paradise.  Cuz evybuddy knows Muzlems can't git to Paradise iffen they'd comin ta contact with pork.


History of dealings with radical Islam from the days of Jefferson and the Barbary Pirates to actions of Gen. John J. "Black Jack" Pershing in the early 1900’s in the Philippines gave clarity to a modern day market solution-Jihawg Ammo. Our preference is peace first but if a fight is to be had we are determined and resolved to win. Thus came the beginning of the truest form of defensive ammunition ever created in history.

A natural deterrent that prevents violence just by owning it but will strike fear into the hearts of those bent upon hate, violence and murder. Jihawg Ammo is certified "Haraam" or unclean. According to the belief system of the radical Islamist becoming "unclean" during Jihad will prevent their attaining entrance into heaven. Jihawg Ammo is a natural deterrent to radical and suicidal acts of violence.
- Jihawg Ammo

I'm trying hard to rein in what I'm thinking.

Okay first off fuckface person who seems to only get your "Islam/Muslim" news from people like Pam Geller.  If doing haram things like drinking alcohol and going to strip clubs prior to piloting planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, didn't deter the Al-Qeada operatives from committing acts of terrorism, believing that they'd get into Paradise - your porcine packed projectiles won't either.

And yes, when they did those things they were "on mission" which means, according to the "out" on your website, they were in jihad.

However, Shannon Dunn, assistant professor of religious studies at Gonzaga University, said South Fork’s concept is based on an inaccurate understanding of the Quran.
- Huffington Post
Boy, she's being nice.
“There is no penalty for coming into contact with pork given by the Quran,” she said . . . To my knowledge, Muslims, especially unknowingly, would not be banned from heaven for eating or getting hit by pork,” she said. “There are some interpreters who suggest that Muslims should eat pork rather than starve, if faced with that alternative.”
- Huffington Post
Embolden mine, but something one would know if one had Muslim American friends or family members, and not be an Islamaphobic asshat. Because sometimes it is hard to avoid pork in the states, even when you think you've done everything possible including question the serving staff at restaurants.

There are  many people do not know that lard is pork, or that traditional pepperoni is too. So a Muslim American at a Mexican restaurant can ask the server about the re-fried beans; is there pork in them?  Having been told they don't contain pork (lard) when in fact the do, the re-fried beans are eaten.   Since the Muslim in question did so unknowingly it is not held against them.

Surprisingly some on the right are attempting to school those who created or would buy this product:

It is a nice, kitschy way to sell a product, of course, but the fact is Islam is quite a bit more flexible than that.


And they have happened in the past. The British often used the “pork” issue against Muslims in wars in the dim, dark past. Dead Muslims were sometimes buried with parts of pigs thrown in the graves. It didn’t really deter anything back then, either.

Anyway, it is all rather pointless and does more harm than good.
-RightWing News

Loonwatch calls Jihawg Ammo, "Classic Islamophobic Fail."

The "out" I spoke of is this:

We, however, stress that the nullifying principle of our product is only effective if you are attacked by an Islamist in Jihad. Otherwise, our ammo functions just like any other ammunition so we obviously insist upon defensive use of our ammo only-not offensive.
-Jihawg Ammo
Get that? If you use their product you will only keep a Muslim out of Paradise if they are on Jihad.  So don't go killin em jest cuz yer mad at em, cuz they'll go ta Paradise.

Jihawg Ammo has over 4,700 likes on Facebook.

What was the other quote I was reminded of when I read this story?

Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.
--  H. L. Mencken
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