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April 24, 1915.

One Hundred Years.

A Century with no "official" acknowledgement that it even happened.
Today, in a Mass at St. Peter's, with Armenian Church leaders and President Sarkisian in Attendance, Pope Francis went there:

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday marked the 100th anniversary of the slaughter of Armenians by calling the massacre by Ottoman Turks "the first genocide of the 20th century" and urging the international community to recognize it as such. Turkey immediately responded by recalling its ambassador and accusing Francis of spreading hatred and "unfounded claims."

Francis issued the pronouncement during a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica commemorating the centenary that was attended by Armenian church leaders and President Serge Sarkisian, who praised the pope for [telling the truth]* and "delivering a powerful message to the international community."

"The words of the leader of a church with 1 billion followers cannot but have a strong impact," he told The Associated Press.

*Diarist removed phrase in brackets because of possible unpleasant connotations

Naturally, the Turks vigorously denied it was genocide using the same arguments they've used for 100 years.

Turkey has fiercely lobbied to prevent countries, including the Holy See, from officially recognizing the Armenian massacre as genocide and reacted strongly to Francis' declaration.

Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I, an event widely viewed by scholars as the first genocide of the 20th century.

Turkey, however, denies a genocide took place. It has insisted that the toll has been inflated and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.

"The pope's statement, which is far from historic and legal truths, is unacceptable," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted. "Religious positions are not places where unfounded claims are made and hatred is stirred."

The Foreign Ministry summoned the Vatican's envoy in Ankara, and then announced it was recalling its own ambassador to the Vatican for consultations.

In a statement, the ministry said the Turkish people would not recognize the pope's statement "which is controversial in every aspect, which is based on prejudice, which distorts history and reduces the pains suffered in Anatolia under the conditions of the First World War to members of just one religion."

The United States is one of the countries that has yet to recognize the slaughter as genocide, due to the desire to not rile an important ally in the Muslim world, and especially one in the fight against ISIS.

Adam Schiff (D-CA) has introduced a new resolution recognizing the genocide and said he hoped the pope's words would "inspire our president and Congress to demonstrate a like commitment to speaking the truth about the Armenian genocide and to renounce Turkey's campaign of concealment and denial."

Discuss

I've only seen this on one outlet, but it's hitting social media:

It seems that voters in minority wards are receiving paper ballots with Rahm's name already marked.

One Facebook status--

Barry Lyndon
11 hrs · Edited ·

I just voted in Chicago's election, and got handed a ballot ALREADY FILLED OUT FOR RAHM EMANUEL. Returned it in disgust, told the poll workers to search through all the ballots to see if others hadn't been tampered with. Called the Chuy office and they told me there are complaints all over the city. What a corrupt bastard. Fraud! ‪#‎FireRahm‬

From 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston:
Leslie A. Hairston
6 hrs · Chicago, IL ·

Vote fraud being reported all across the City - ballots already marked for Rahm.
If this happens to you call 312-603-7960 immediately and ask for a clean, blank ballot.
Like · Comment · Share

Reached by the website DNAInfo, a Chicago Board of Elections spokesman did not deny the story, but did try to wave it away: “If someone is suggesting that the judges somewhere are trying to slip one past our voters, I think you're insulting the intelligence of our voters,” Jim Allen said. “If it were a conspiracy, it would probably be the least effective conspiracy in the history of conspiracies.”
Something is smelling. I hope Rahm gets busted for this.
Discuss

Sat Apr 04, 2015 at 09:55 PM PDT

Welcoming Easter: He Is Risen

by zenbassoon

Laud ye the name of the Lord.  
Alleluia!
O praise it, ye servants of the Lord.  
Alleluia!
Praised be the Lord out of Sion,
     who dwelleth at Jerusalem.  
Alleluia!
O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious,
     and his mercy endureth forever.  
Alleluia!
O give thanks unto the God of heaven,
     for his mercy endureth forever.  
Alleluia!

 (Blessed be thy name, O Lord;
     teach me the way of thy statutes.)
All the angel host were amazed  
when they beheld thee among the dead;
yet destroying all the might of death, O Saviour,
with thyself thou didst deliver Adam,
and from Hades didst redeem us.
 (Blessed be thy name, O Lord;
     teach me the way of thy statutes)
“Wherefore mingle ye the sweet smelling ointment,
O ye disciples, with
your pitying tears?”
shining from the tomb spake the Angel
     to the women bearing spices:
“Behold ye the tomb, and be of good cheer,
for he is not here, but is risen.”
 (Blessed be thy name, O Lord;
     teach me the way of thy statutes.)
Very early came the myrrh-bearing women,
lamenting sorely, to the sepulcher:
but before them stood an Angel and said:
“The time of your mourning is past;
lament no more,
     but go and tell the apostles that he is risen.”
 (Blessed be thy name, O Lord;
     teach me the way of thy statutes.)
When the myrrh-bearing women
drew nigh thy sepulchre,
O Saviour, they mourned:
but an angel spake unto them, saying:
“Why seek ye the living among the dead?
As God he has risen from the grave.”
     Glory to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
     Let us worship the Father with the Son
  and the Holy Spirit,
     The Holy Trinity, three
in one and one in three;
          let us cry with the angels
     Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth,
     as it is and shall be
ever, world without end.
 Amen.
Thou, O Holy Virgin, bringing forth the Lord,
 ransomedst Adam
     and gavest joy for sorrow unto Eve:
     they whom from life had fallen are restored
     by the Saviour incarnate of
 thee, both God and man.
     Alleluia!  Glory be to thee, O God.

We have seen thy resurrection, O Christ,
     and adore thee, O Holy Lord Jesus,
     for thous only art sinless.
We venerate thy Cross, O Lord Christ,
     and we praise and glorify
 thy holy resurrection.
For thou art our God;
     we know none other beside thee;
     therefore we call upon thy Name.
O come hither, all ye faithful,
     let us magnify Christ’s holy resurrection:
For behold, through the Tree
     joy hath come to all the world;
wherefore we bless the Lord evermore
and we sing his resurrection with joy
who suffered the shame of the cross,
conquering death by his death.

Today hath salvation come to earth;
     let us praise our Saviour, risen from the tomb;
     for he is the Author of our life;
for destroying death by death,
     he hath given us the victory and great favor.

When thou hadst arisen from the tomb,
     and burst the bonds of hell,
thou destroyedst the condemnation of death
     O Lord, breaking the
bonds of the enemy.
Revealing thyself to thine Apostles,
     thou didst send them forth to preach thy Word,
granting thy peace through them to all the world,
     O thou only all-merciful one.

Heaven-elected chieftain
of triumphant hosts,
since thou hast saved us from evil,
hymns of glad thanksgiving do thy servants
 off unto thee,
thou who bearest God!
Do thou, to whom God hath given might invincible,
     deliver us from every ill;
then shall we cry:
     hail to thee, O Bride and ever Maiden!

Discuss
Example of "Value-Added" formula
The following post appeared on the Band Director's page on Facebook last night. The teacher in question has given permission to share:
Robin Stephens
10 hrs
Rant!!!
State of NM has gone to a new 'Teacher Evaluation' system. Our attendance is included in this. On my most recent state eval, out of 40 points, I got exactly '0'... ZERO!!! Seems that when I had to take two weeks off because of lung cancer surgery, I lost ALL my points. The loss of those points took my from being rated 'Highly Effective' or 'Minimally Effective'. Consequently, the state PED turned down my request for a Level III Teacher Licensure. Difference between Level II and Level III is about $5000 a year. Oh, I am just finishing my 24th year in teaching.
Tell me again why I'm doing this................
Think about that.

They docked for CANCER SURGERY. FMLA be damned. And since it has gone to the state, there are NO APPEALS. They've done this for other surgical leave, MATERNITY LEAVE, and for every other reason under the sun. This is their "value-added" model. The teacher in question has already been advised to get a lawyer and go to the media.

This is not an isolated case in New Mexico. Jump for more:

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I haven't as yet seen it diaried, but all reports say that Ted Cruz will officially announce he is running for President tomorrow.

Now naturally, the first thing pundits will gravitate to will be all the crazy that comes out of his mouth.

Next, they will talk about how he engineered the shutdown last year, in his role as de facto Speaker of the House.

But others here are good at showcasing that particular brand of crazy.

But what about his religious beliefs?

Ted Cruz is a fanatical Dominionist, a Seven Mountains apocalyptic theocrat and a future Ayatollah.

Don't believe me? Ask his father, uber-right wing pastor Rafael Cruz

Speaking of Rafael Cruz, here are some of his Greatest Hits:

“We need to send Barack Obama back to Chicago. I’d like to send him back to Kenya, back to Indonesia.” He went on to say, “We have to unmask this man. This is a man that seeks to destroy all concept of God. And I will tell you what, this is classical Marxist philosophy. Karl Marx very clearly said Marxism requires that we destroy God because government must become God.”
"Go to Genesis chapter nine and you will find the death penalty clearly stated in Genesis chapter nine ... God ordains the death penalty!”

"God has given you an anointing to go to the battlefield. And what's the battlefield? The marketplace. To go to the marketplace and occupy the land. To go to the marketplace and take dominion."

"Evolution is one of the strongest tools of Marxism because if they can convince you that you came from a monkey, it’s much easier to convince you that God does not exist."

"The president has the gall to tell us that this is not a Christian nation. The United States of American was formed to honor the word of God."

“The wealth of the wicked is stored for the righteous. And it is through the kings, anointed to take dominion, that that transfer of wealth is going to occur."

“Barack Obama said: If the winds shift, I will side with the Muslims.”

But you want Ted Cruz quotes?
May 1, 2013
"We understand that our rights come not from a king or queen, not from government, but from The Lord God Almighty. Today there are great challenges facing our nation, but if America is going to continue to stand strong, we must first be on our knees.
Here's a video mashup of Ted Cruz's religious quotes

Here he is being "anointed".

Now, how many Americans know of radical Dominionism and the Seven Mountains strategy?

How many would agree with it if it were presented to them?

How many would want this country to become like Iran, or Afghanistan under the Taliban, or run by ISIS or Boko Haram?

So should these religious beliefs be off limits?

Should we not educate the public as to the truth?

Discuss
Last night, Bob Braun, an investigative reporter in New Jersey, received a copy of the following email:

He posted the following on his blog, Bob Braun's Ledger:

MARCH 13, 2015
BREAKING: Pearson, NJ, spying on social media of students taking PARCC tests
 ” Pearson, the multinational testing and publishing company, is spying on the social media posts of students–including those from New Jersey–while the children are taking their PARCC, statewide tests, this site has learned exclusively. The state education department is cooperating with this spying and has asked at least one school district to discipline students who may have said something inappropriate about the tests.

 This website discovered the unauthorized and hidden spying thanks to educators who informed it of the practice–a practice happening throughout the state and apparently throughout the country. The spying–or “monitoring,” to use Pearson’s word–was confirmed at one school district–the Watchung Hills Regional High School district in Warren by its superintendent, Elizabeth Jewett.
Jewett sent out an e-mail–posted here– to her colleagues expressing concern about the unauthorized spying on students. She said parents are upset and added that she thought Pearson’s behavior would contribute to the growing “opt out” movement.
In her email, Jewett said the district’s testing coordinator received a late night call from the state education department saying that Pearson had “initiated a Priority 1 Alert for an item breach within our school.”
The unnamed state education department employee contended a student took a picture of a test item and tweeted it. But it turned out the student had posted–at 3:18 pm, after testing was over–a tweet about one of the items with no picture. Jewett does not say the student revealed a question. Jewett continues:

“The student deleted the tweet and we spoke with the parent–who was obviously highly concerned as to her child’s tweets being monitored by the DOE (state education department).
“The DOE informed us that Pearson is monitoring all social media during the PARCC testing.”  (Diarist's emphasis)

When this posted, Braun's blog was shut down with a DDoS attack.

More below the Chee-to:

Continue Reading

This is going to hurt.

We all know about the "letter" Tom Cotton and 46 of his besties sent to Iran in order to scuttle the nuclear talks. If the reply by the Iranian Foreign Minister is any reaction, the GOP has just embarrassed themselves to the entire world.

Asked about the open letter of 47 US Senators to Iranian leaders, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Dr. Javad Zarif, responded that “in our view, this letter has no legal value and is mostly a propaganda ploy.  It is very interesting that while negotiations are still in progress and while no agreement has been reached, some political pressure groups are so afraid even of the prospect of an agreement that they resort to unconventional methods, unprecedented in diplomatic history.  This indicates that like Netanyahu, who considers peace as an existential threat, some are opposed to any agreement, regardless of its content.”
Furthermore, he also expressed not only astonishment that members of Congress would write to leaders of another country AGAINST their President and administration, but also pointed out that they, contrary to what they claim in their letter, have absolutely no clue about not only International Law, but their own Constitution:
“I should bring one important point to the attention of the authors and that is, the world is not the United States, and the conduct of inter-state relations is governed by international law, and not by US domestic law. The authors may not fully understand that in international law, governments represent the entirety of their respective states, are responsible for the conduct of foreign affairs, are required to fulfil the obligations they undertake with other states and may not invoke their internal law as justification for failure to perform their international obligations.”

The Iranian Foreign Minister added that “change of administration does not in any way relieve the next administration from international obligations undertaken by its predecessor in a possible agreement about Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.” He continued “I wish to enlighten the authors that if the next administration revokes any agreement with ‘the stroke of a pen,’ as they boast, it will have simply committed a blatant violation of international law.” He emphasized that if the current negotiation with P5+1 [Britain, China, France, Germany Russia and the United States] result in a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, it will not be a bilateral agreement between Iran and the US, but rather one that will be concluded with the participation of five other countries, including all permanent members of the Security Council, and will also be endorsed by a Security Council resolution.

Zarif expressed the hope that his comments “may enrich the knowledge of the authors to recognize that according to international law, Congress may not ‘modify the terms of the agreement at any time’ as they claim, and if Congressadopts any measure to impede its implementation, it will have committed a material breach of US obligations.”

The Foreign Minister also informed the authors that majority of US international agreements in recent decades are in fact what the signatories describe as “mere executive agreements” and not treaties ratified by the Senate.  He reminded them that “their letter in fact undermines the credibility of thousands of such ‘mere executive agreements’ that have been or will be entered into by the US with various other governments.”

In other words,

While he did say that it's only if all parties act in good faith and with the political will to reach an agreement, in a rebuke to the GOP, and a possible out for reaching an agreement at all, his response in general gives me hope that Iran will reach a good agreement just to piss off the GOP. Because I think Iran wants to show the world that they are better than the GOP. Plus, that is another embarrassment for America, as Iran keeps an agreement but the US is the one who reneges.

Truly some just want to watch the world burn.

Discuss

Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 11:27 AM PST

Informal Poll--Chicago Mayor

by zenbassoon

Seen at a Chicago coffee shop this morning:

Yes, but how does Rahm rate against roaches?
Discuss
You just can't look away
A note in the Lexington (NC) Dispatch:

Well, the best that can be said is that this is a letter to the editor, and not an editorial. Thank goodness for small favors.

Join me over the Chee-to for more:

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Mon Jan 19, 2015 at 10:07 AM PST

Dr. King, Race-Baiter; Race Hustler

by zenbassoon

During the George Zimmerman trial, Tucker Carlson made the following comment about Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson on Fox and Friends:

“I am positive that people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton do not deserve to be called civil rights leaders–they are not– they are hustlers and pimps who make a living off inflaming racial tensions.”

The above speech by Dr. King was given at Stanford University on April 14, 1967. It's a speech no one talks about. In school we get the sanitized version of Dr. King's life--preaching in Atlanta, the bus boycott, the Letter from Birmingham Jail, the March to Selma, and only about 7 minutes of his speech from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom; and they always skip the "jobs and freedom" part.

Anyway, if Fox and Friends were around back then, or if Dr. King gave this same speech today, as everything he said is still relevant today, he would be called exactly what Tucker Carlson called Sharpton and Jackson. King would be as reviled among the right--and some on the left--as those two.

Jump below the Chee-to for excerpts:

Continue Reading

Good evening, all.

It's been a long time since one of these came up, but I'll throw this one up because this is such a fun concept.

I found this blog post the other day with the most interesting--and tough--challenge. It's one of those "desert island" challenges where you choose what you would take. This one is CDs of Symphonies.

Here's the challenge: You only get to choose nine CDs. Now, by itself that would be a fun and agonizing challenge as you go through all this great music. I mean, I would have on my list things from Johann Stamitz to Charles Ives. BUT--and it's a big BUT--there are rules to this game:

   You can only pick one symphony per composer

    You must choose numbered symphonies 1 through 9 only.  No Symphonie fantastique, Symphony of Psalms, Symphonic Dances, etc. And no, the Franck is not a numbered Symphony.

    Once you choose a numbered symphony, you cannot choose another similarly numbered symphony by a different composer (i.e. no choosing both Beethoven’s 7th and Sibelius 7th).

    Use only current numbering conventions; so if you were to pick the New World Symphony by Dvořák, you’d have to put it in the 9th Symphony spot, not the 5th Symphony where some folks 50 years ago may have put it.

    Bonus point for including symphonies by composers who actually composed at least nine numbered symphonies.

So jump below the Chee-to to see the nine I chose:
Continue Reading
Dateline Winfield, Alabama--Because of COURSE it's Alabama:

In a secret meeting where only the city council and the mayor were present, it was unanimously decided to cede ownership of the town to that person or persons known as "God".

Now, I know what you're thinking. And frankly I agree with you. Here is the text of the resolution:

   “Whereas we acknowledge God is the owner of the City of Winfield and that it is a City under God. We acknowledge that at all times, He is in control.

    “Whereas, we acknowledge that through His leadership, the Mayor and City Council will seek his wisdom and knowledge to be good stewards of the city.

    “Whereas, we acknowledge that though prayer, with His guidance and presence, that we will be able to trust that no problem will be too large or too small to overcome.

    “Whereas, we acknowledge that the City of Winfield is where it is today because of God’s grace and mercy.

    “Whereas, we acknowledge that at all times and in all circumstances, His will shall be done.

    “Whereas, we acknowledge that to God be the glory.”

But wait. It gets worse. When asked about any objections to this based on that little thing called the Establishment Clause, the mayor had this to say:

“I’m going to step on a lot of people’s toes but there’s not but one God and, that one God, to Him be the glory. There’s no other way; there’s no other God. There are a lot of religions out there but only one God.”
Now to me, that sounds a lot like "There is no God but God." And I'm sure if we pointed out those consistencies to him he would get red in the face.

Anyway, one anonymous resident has already taken this up with the Freedom From Religion Foundation. So we shall see how it goes.

In the meantime, click here for the mayor's contact info so you can ask for God's email address, because I'm sure there are a lot of things on our minds.  Things like why does the cable suck, is He looking to flip the property, that sort of thing.

Discuss
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