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It’s a hard life (wherever you go)

by Susie
Nanci Griffith:


by Susie
Ruby Gamble, 96, Kenny Gamble’s mom. She inspired the song “I’ll Always Love My Mama.”


by Susie
Springsteen gave the keynote speech at this week’s South by Southwest conference, and it’s just wonderful. Turn it up loud, sit down in your favorite chair and just listen while he talks about music for an hour – I promise, you won’t regret it:

Video streaming by Ustream

Morally inconsistent

by Susie
Yeah, I’d say that’s a good way to describe the U.S. Catholic church, considering how they’ve been under the blankets with the extreme right-wing for so long:

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has no official policy on donations to Komen because funding activities take place at the local level, according to conference spokeswoman Sister Mary Ann Walsh. That could change as more bishops speak out on the issue, though another conference official said the national body has no plans to take up the question.

Observers say the local bishops’ focus on Komen and other social issues reflects a larger conservative shift within the American church since New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan became chairman of the Conference in November 2010.

Under Dolan’s leadership, the conference last year set up a new ad hoc committee on religious liberty to oppose government policies that conflict with church teachings on abortion, contraception and gay marriage.

That move coincided with the rise of social conservatives in Congress and state legislatures during the 2010 elections and has gathered pace during the 2012 presidential campaign.

“It’s an ideal time for them to push both Democrats and Republicans to acquiesce to their demands, because nobody wants to be seen as disrespecting religion,” said Jon O’Brien of the advocacy group, Catholics for Choice, which opposes the Vatican on matters related to sex, marriage and family life.

But even as opposition to Komen continues, some Catholic recipients of Komen money have promoted their ties with the breast cancer charity to the media. Other institutions carry hypertext links to Komen on their Web sites and some display the Susan G. Komen for the Cure logo, including a pink ribbon.

In Ohio, tens of thousands of dollars in Komen grants have gone to some of the same institutions that bishops there proposed as funding alternatives to Komen.

Georgetown University in Washington has received $15 million in Komen grants. Catholic institutions overall collected $7.4 million from the charity in 2011 alone, while Planned Parenthood’s receipts totaled $684,000 during the same year.

The grants, and the warm reception for Komen among some Catholic institutions, underscore the common interests of charity and church in protecting women against a devastating and deadly disease. But some outside observers say the money also raises ethical questions about the bishops’ opposition role.

“It is morally inconsistent, and difficult to explain, why you would condemn donations but continue to accept grants. It makes no ethical sense at all,” said Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Bioethics.

Republican Jesus

by Susie
On the extra work required to create the penis.

Yet another week

by Susie
Of highly unusual weather!

A highly unusual week-long heat wave is building over much of the U.S., and promises to bring the warmest temperatures ever seen so early in year to a large portion of the Midwest. The exceptional heat will also be exceptionally long-lasting: record-breaking temperatures 20 – 30 degrees F above normal are expected today through next Wednesday for much of the Midwest and Northeast U.S. The weather system responsible is a large upper-level ridge of high pressure that is “stuck” in place–a phenomenon known as a “blocking pattern.” The jet stream is bending far to the south over the Western U.S., then bending far to the north over the Rockies and into Canada, and lies far to the north of the eastern U.S.

Since the jet stream acts as the boundary between cold air to the north and warm air to the south, the current looping pattern is bringing colder than normal temperatures and snow to the mountains of the West, and summer-like warmth to the Eastern U.S. It is common for the jet stream to get stuck in a blocking pattern for a period of a week or more, but not in to this extremity. If the current model forecasts prove correct, a high pressure ridge over the U.S. bringing heat this intense and long-lasting in March will be unprecedented in the historical record, going back to 1872.

A win

For one of the good guys.


by Susie
Not your friend.

‘Go back to your own country’

This horrible murder took place in an area outside San Diego that’s heavily infested with white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Nearby Santee is nicknamed “Klantee” because of its racism – and the actual Klan members. Lakeside has a real reputation for racial violence and assaults by skinheads; in fact, vicious white gangs are a known problem throughout the East County area.

So is there a connection? Not yet, but the odds are high in its favor:

EL CAJON — An Iraqi immigrant and mother of five died Saturday of injuries from a severe beating in her El Cajon home, where a note warning the family to “go back to your own country” was left next to her.

El Cajon police said they are investigating the possibility of a hate crime.

The attack on Shaima Alawadi, 32, has shocked and grieved Muslims and others in San Diego and beyond.

“People who have heard of it are numb,” said Hanif Mohebi, executive director of the San Diego chapter of the Council on Islamic-American Relations. “I have had communications from the San Francisco Bay Area asking, ‘how can I help this family,’ and even around the country people are praying for the family.

“Given the fact of these notes left, we’re obviously concerned about the possibility of a hate crime. I don’t think anyone would disagree this is a coldblooded murder.”

Police said the 17-year-old daughter of Alawadi and Kassim Al Himidi found her mother unconscious in the dining room of the family’s Skyview Street home about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday. Alawadi was hospitalized, then taken off life support about 3 p.m. Saturday. She died a short time later, police said.

The daughter told KUSI Channel 9/51 her mother had been beaten on the head repeatedly with a tire iron. Mohebi said the daughter had been sleeping upstairs. When she went downstairs, “it was too late and the (attacker) was gone. The sliding glass door was broken.”

Police did not disclose contents of the note found next to Alawadi. A family friend said the note read, “go back to your own country. You’re a terrorist.”

El Cajon police Lt. Mark Coit said the family told investigators they found a similar note outside the house earlier this month, but did not report it to authorities. Alawadi had dismissed that note as a child’s prank, her daughter told KUSI.


by Susie

I’ve been reading some pretty outraged comments online, most of them denouncing Moroccans as Islamic savages, inhuman, animals, etc. This is certainly a horrifying story and I can understand why people are so upset:

The suicide of a Moroccan teenager who reportedly had been forced to marry her rapist has spurred calls from around the world to change criminal laws long lamented by Moroccan feminists.

Human rights groups complain that Moroccan law has been interpreted to allow someone who rapes a minor to escape punishment if he marries the victim. Moroccan media reported that was what happened to Amina Filali, a 16-year-old who reportedly swallowed rat poison Saturday.

“It is unfortunately a recurring phenomenon,” Fouzia Assouli, the president of the Democratic League for Women’s Rights, told the Associated Press. “We have been asking for years for the cancellation of Article 475 of the penal code, which allows the rapist to escape justice.”

What kind of backwards patriarchal thinking reduces women – rape victims, even – to mere chattel, to be married off as a remedy for their family’s honor? Don’t be so quick to look down your nose, because that would also be that all-American favorite, the Bible. Deuteronomy 22:28-29:

“If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.”

So another desert tribe had pretty much the same law. Yes, but that was 2000 years ago! What kind of crazy people would try to impose ancient tribal rule on a modern society as its legal code? Just about any right-wing politician:

“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” — Leviticus 20:13
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