Mohammed Hano and Mobarak Albadawi, refugees from a violent conflict in a distant African country who now live in Anchorage, say they woke Sunday morning to find their cars covered in messages telling them to leave the place that was supposed to be their final, safe home.
“Not Welcome,” “Leave Alaska,” “Move out,” and “Go Now” were among the words scrawled on the Chevy Blazer and Chevy Lumina parked in their Spenard driveway. The tires on both vehicles had also been deflated.
Hano, Albadawi and three other roommates at a Dorbrandt Street apartment complex are refugees from Darfur, a region in the African nation of Sudan that has been embroiled in a brutal, ongoing conflict since 2003.
Image via feelsengine.com
Finally, creationism and anti vaccination on the same webpage! To think I was worried that creationists wouldn’t try anything new. Emil Karlsson, takes on Cornelius Hunter and power owns him to death with science!
One of the more frightening conceptual aspects of pseudoscience is known as the crank magnetism effect. It occurs when someone, who promotes one kind of pseudoscience, becomes more likely of promoting other kinds of crankery. Someone who promotes HIV/AIDS denialism may also promote alternative medicine, someone who promotes conspiracy theories about 9/11 might also believe that chemtrails are real, someone who are against vaccines might advocate for conspiracy theories about condoms and so on. This might occur because of similar core beliefs, such as the alleged severe deceitfulness of the government or because of extreme religious beliefs, or perhaps because of the similar themes and content of many kinds of pseudoscience.
Cornelius Hunter, an intelligent design creationist associated with the Center for Science and Culture (previously named the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture) at the Discovery Institute, is a good illustration of the concept of crank magnetism. In two recent blog post, he promoted a number of classic anti-vaccine talking points, but these were not completely unrelated to his intelligent design creationist activism. Instead, he appears to see both of the conflicts as part of a larger culture war between mainstream science (that he calls “scientism”) and various religious and anti-scientific groups and individuals.
Gov. Mike Pence, scorched by a fast-spreading political firestorm, told The Star on Saturday that he will support the introduction of legislation to “clarify” that Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not promote discrimination against gays and lesbians.
“I support religious liberty, and I support this law,” Pence said in an exclusive interview. “But we are in discussions with legislative leaders this weekend to see if there’s a way to clarify the intent of the law.”
The governor, although not ready to provide details on what the new bill will say, said he expects the legislation to be introduced into the General Assembly this coming week.
We can only hope that Gov. Pence’s inane attempts to tap dance around the inherently discriminatory nature of the RFRA have destroyed any chance that he had to land on the GOP’s national ticket in 2016.
One of my favourite military affairs writers talks about terrorism, Islamists and why the West’s response to them is going to fail.
The annual legislative skits were this weekend in Juneau. That’s a big social event where legislative staff get together to make fun of their bosses. The 2015 Alaska Legislature is certainly a target-rich environment for parody.
For example, there was the amazing spectacle of Republican Sen. Peter Micciche grilling Attorney General Craig Richards about his “conflict of interest.” It happens that Micciche is an expert on conflict of interest. He’s the ConocoPhillips employee who helped write the oil tax bill: you know, the law expected to give ConocoPhillips tax breaks worth billions.
So Micciche, that paragon of ethical rectitude, was “deeply concerned” by the “perceived conflict” of Richards having represented the city of Valdez in a dispute with the owners of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System over the valuation of the pipeline for tax purposes.
Let that sink in for a minute.
I came across this NY Times editorial via Nancy LeTourneau in a piece published at Washington Monthly. Definitely worth a read.
THE surrender of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House, 150 years ago next month, effectively ended the Civil War. Preoccupied with the challenges of our own time, Americans will probably devote little attention to the sesquicentennial of Reconstruction, the turbulent era that followed the conflict. This is unfortunate, for if any historical period deserves the label “relevant,” it is Reconstruction.
Issues that agitate American politics today — access to citizenship and voting rights, the relative powers of the national and state governments, the relationship between political and economic democracy, the proper response to terrorism — all of these are Reconstruction questions. But that era has long been misunderstood.
It was not economic dependency, however, but widespread violence, coupled with a Northern retreat from the ideal of equality, that doomed Reconstruction. The Ku Klux Klan and kindred groups began a campaign of murder, assault and arson that can only be described as homegrown American terrorism. Meanwhile, as the Northern Republican Party became more conservative, Reconstruction came to be seen as a misguided attempt to uplift the lower classes of society.
By the turn of the century, with the acquiescence of the Supreme Court, a comprehensive system of racial, political and economic inequality, summarized in the phrase Jim Crow, had come into being across the South. At the same time, the supposed horrors of Reconstruction were invoked as far away as South Africa and Australia to demonstrate the necessity of excluding nonwhite peoples from political rights. This is why W.E.B. Du Bois, in his great 1935 work “Black Reconstruction in America,” saw the end of Reconstruction as a tragedy for democracy, not just in the United States but around the globe.
Man arrested over racist rant on Wellington bus
5:20 PM Sunday Mar 29, 2015
A Lower Hutt man has been arrested after a video of a racist rant on a Wellington bus against two young men who appeared to be Muslim was published online.
The incident happened on an NZ Bus in the Lower Hutt suburb of Naenae on Wednesday morning.
The footage, shot by an Iraqi Muslim woman sitting behind the man, shows the man calling out to the pair and accusing them of being “Islam c***s” and “shooting innocent people”.
“Go back to your own country,” he said.
One woman on the bus stood up for the young men and called out “welcome to New Zealand” to them before telling the man to behave himself.
The man then repeatedly told the woman to “shut your mouth up b****”.
Police today said they had identified and arrested a 66-year-old Lower Hutt man in relation to the incident.
Someone needs to tell the old white man that this isn’t 1960s New Zealand anymore.
DILI, EAST TIMOR — I ought to be familiar with the Houthi, the Shia militia that’s now conquering most of what’s worth taking in Yemen. After all, the Houthis started in Saada Province, just a few miles due south of Najran, Saudi Arabia, where I was living a few years ago.
But the truth is Yemen was totally closed off to everyone in Najran, and no one except a few networks of smugglers and spies who, from what I heard, had a very high attrition rate, dared to cross that border. None of us expat goofs even knew the name of the Yemeni Province across from us. Yemen was that country from whose bournes no traveler returns, unless he’s hoping to get rich from an SUV full of weed—and what with the, you know, beheadings for drug dealing and all, we were pretty much a straight-edge crew in our time there, figuring to make up for lost time when we got home. We knew nothing about what was over the border except that every day there seemed to be a new convoy of car-carriers loaded with brand-new Land Cruisers with the logo of the Saudi Border Patrol rolling into town. The Saudi authorities were clearly nervous about that border, even back in 2011….
…Arabs are reduced to choosing which Allah and which Emir to support because a half-century alliance between the worst oligarchies in the West and the most reactionary elements in their countries wiped out the alternative. That’s why it’s so grotesque to hear right-wingers blaming the Arabs for the lack of commitment to democracy and even more ridiculous that Leftists demand respect for fascist thugs like Islamic State, as if they were the voice of the Muslim people.
These sectarian wars are what’s left when you’ve killed everybody else who was attempting to provide Arabs with an effective, secular, modern existence.
I can’t recommend this piece highly enough. The author, in explicating the factors that brought Yemen to its current state, sheds light on the historical events that led to the ongoing chaos in the ME.
As amazing as Half-Life 2 was when it was first released in 2004, time has not been kind to the original release’s graphics, which can look a bit flat and dated compared to modern PC games. Enter Romanian modder Filip Victor, who’s ready to release the final version of a massive, Source engine-powered graphical update for the game on Steam for free tomorrow.
As shown in a slick comparison trailer and detailed in a PDF brochure, Half-Life 2: Update offers graphical improvements like high dynamic range lighting, improved fog and particle effects, world reflections, more detailed water rendering, improved background models, and other effects that just weren’t feasible back in 2004. The update also fixes a number of animation and cut-scene-activation bugs that have persisted in the original release and adds optional fan commentary from a number of high-profile YouTube personalities.
Despite all the graphical changes, the update leaves the original gameplay, level design, character models, textures, and animations intact. “The goal of Half-Life 2: Update is to fix up, polish, and visually enhance Half-Life 2, without ever changing the 2004 original’s core gameplay, or time-tested style,” Victor wrote in the update’s brochure. “I wanted to ensure that the update was something that would be enduring, and worth the time it takes to play it. I hope that both newcomers and veterans of the Half-Life series will enjoy seeing the work that went into its creation.”
Host: Rita Houston
Cameras: Tim Pierson, Will Sanderson, Brenna Keeley
Editor: Brenna Keeley & Deirdre Hynes