Nearly 1.5 million Armenians died at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in 1915, during World War I. Turks by and large do not believe mass killings were planned.
CUNGUS, Turkey — The crumbling stone monastery, built into the hillside, stands as a forlorn monument to an awful past. So, too, does the decaying church on the other side of this mountain village. Farther out, a crevice is sliced into the earth, so deep that peering into it, one sees only blackness. Haunting for its history, it was there that a century ago, an untold number of Armenians were tossed to their deaths.
“They threw them in that hole, all the men,” said Vahit Sahin, 78, sitting at a cafe in the center of the village, reciting the stories that have passed through generations.
Mr. Sahin turned in his chair and pointed toward the monastery. “That side was Armenian.” He turned back. “This side was Muslim. At first, they were really friendly with each other.”
A hundred years ago, amid the upheaval of World War I, this village and countless others across eastern Anatolia became killing fields as the desperate leadership of the Ottoman Empire, having lost the Balkans and facing the prospect of losing its Arab territories as well, saw a threat closer to home.
Worried that the Christian Armenian population was planning to align with Russia, a primary enemy of the Ottoman Turks, officials embarked on what historians have called the first genocide of the 20th century: Nearly 1.5 million Armenians were killed, some in massacres like the one here, others in forced marches to the Syrian desert that left them starved to death.
The genocide was the greatest atrocity of the Great War. It also remains that conflict’s most bitterly contested legacy, having been met by the Turkish authorities with 100 years of silence and denial. For surviving Armenians and their descendants, the genocide became a central marker of their identity, the psychic wounds passed through generations.
“Armenians have passed one whole century, screaming to the world that this happened,” said Gaffur Turkay, whose grandfather, as a young boy, survived the genocide and was taken in by a Muslim family. Mr. Turkay, in recent years, after discovering his heritage, began identifying as an Armenian and converted to Christianity. “We want to be part of this country with our original identities, just as we were a century ago,” he said.
Draft-dodging pants-crapper Ted Nugent spoke at the Lincoln Day Dinner of the Republican Party of Maricopa County, Arizona last weekend.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio introduced angry lunatic Nugent, who blamed veteran suicides on President Obama, “Here’s your job, Republican Party. Twenty to 25 of those guys kill themselves every day, and they haven’t told you why and they haven’t told anybody else why but they told me why: because the commander-in-chief is the enemy.”
After he made this comment, all of the sheep in the audience applauded.
Why isn’t this fuckbag dead or in jail like he promised?
WASHINGTON (AP) — The shrinking space on airplanes is surely uncomfortable, but it might also be dangerous for passengers’ health and safety.
Planes are filled with more passengers than ever before. Fliers are older and heavier. Flight attendants warn about an increase in air rage, and experts question if having rows of seats packed closer together might make it harder for passengers to evacuate after a crash.
A consumer advisory group set up by the Department of Transportation dove into all those issues Tuesday at a public hearing as part of its role to make non-binding suggestions to government regulators.
Charlie Leocha, the consumer representative on the committee, said the government sets standards for the conditions for dogs flying as cargo but doesn’t dictate minimum space standards for passengers.
“In a world where animals have more rights to space and food than humans,” Leocha said, “it is time that the DOT and FAA take a stand for humane treatment of passengers.”
Fliers last summer squeezed into the least amount of personal space in the history of flying. In July, U.S. airlines sold a record 87.8 percent of seats on domestic flights, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statics. And that figure does not include all the seats occupied by passengers who redeemed frequent flier miles or airline employees flying for free.
“Unfortunately, the days of the empty middle seat are a thing of the past,” said Julie Frederick, a representative for the American Airlines flight attendants union.
Following the implementation of checked-bag fees in 2008, Frederick said, more and more passengers are carrying on bags, fighting for overhead bin space. That anger carries over through the flight as passengers bump elbows on armrests and bang their knees against tray tables. She said there are more cases of air rage, many of which go unreported.
Questions were also raised if the increased density of seats means passengers won’t be able to evacuate fast enough after a crash.
The Federal Aviation Administration runs various tests including how fast passengers can evacuate a plane and how fast they can put on a life preserver.
But Cynthia Corbertt, a human factors researcher with the FAA, testified that it conducts those tests using planes with 31 inches between each row of seats. Many passenger jets today have less legroom. For instance, United Airlines has 30 inches of room, known as pitch, on some jets; Spirit Airlines offers 28 inches.
“We just haven’t considered other pitches,” Corbertt told the Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection.
Before any new jet is allowed to fly, the manufacturer must prove that everybody can evacuate in 90 seconds with half of the exits blocked.
Carry-on baggage is strewn throughout the cabin, and the test is conducted in night-like conditions. However, the cabin is not filled with smoke, and all of the passengers are physically fit, dressed in athletic clothing and know that an evacuation is coming.
“We’d like to see more realistic simulations,” Frederick testified. She added that most passengers don’t pay attention to pre-flight safety briefings, especially now that they can use electronic devices from gate to gate.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who chairs the DOT committee, noted concern that the FAA does not factor in human panic, especially parents who might take extra time to ensure their children are safe before evacuating.
“So they aren’t the average traveler, quite honestly,” Kane said.
On long flights, there is another risk for fliers: deep vein thrombosis, where a blood clot forms, typically in a leg vein. If that clot gets lose and travels into the lungs, it can cause a blockage.
Berlin - Rabbis and Imams biked together throughout Berlin Sunday evening in a show of solidarity between Jews and Muslims.
The group took part in Bicycle Week with the motto “Cycling Unites,” riding tandem bicycles with one rabbi and one imam on each bike, reports the Berliner (bit.ly ).
Cyclists started at the Brandenburg Gate and visited Jewish and Muslim institutions throughout the ride.
Project meet2respect, a campaign that promotes bringing together different faiths and providing education, with a specific focus on bringing together Jewish and Muslim faiths, led the ride (bit.ly ).
Cyclists Ferid Heider, an imam in various Berlin mosque communities, and Daniel Alter, a Berlin rabbi, work together via meet2respect and tour education and community events in Berlin promoting peace.
Hundreds of cyclists joined the rabbis and imams in the ride and followed them on their tour.
If recent elections have taught us anything, it’s that young Americans have taken a decided turn to the left. Young voters delivered Obama the election: the under-44 set voted Obama and the over-45 set broke for Romney. The youngest voters, age 18-29, gave Obama a whopping 60 percent of their vote.
Now Republicans have a plan to try to recapture the youngest voters out there: Take over the curriculum in public schools, replace education with a bunch of conservative propaganda, and reap the benefits of having a new generation that can’t tell reality from right-wing fantasy.
How well this plan will work is debatable, but in the meantime, these shenanigans present the very real possibility that public school students will graduate without a proper education. To make it worse, many of these attempts to rewrite school curriculum are happening in Texas, which can set the textbook standards for the entire country by simply wielding its power as one of the biggest school textbook markets there is. With that in mind, here’s a list of 11 lies your kid may be in danger of learning in school.
Lie No. 1: Racism has barely been an issue in U.S. history and slavery wasn’t that big a deal.
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute reviewed the new social studies standards laid down by the right-wing-dominated Texas State School Board and found them to be a deplorable example of conservative wishful thinking replacing fact. At the top of list? Downplaying the role that slavery had in starting the Civil War, and instead focusing on “sectionalism” and “states’ rights,” even though the sectionalism and states’ rights arguments directly stemmed from Southern states wanting to keep slavery. There’s also a chance your kid might be misled to think post-Civil War racism was no big deal, as the standards excise any mention of the KKK, the phrase “Jim Crow” or the Black Codes. Mention is made of the Southern Democratic opposition to civil rights, but mysteriously, the mass defection of Southern Democrats to the Republican Party to punish the rest of the Democrats for supporting civil rights goes unmentioned.
Lie No. 2: Joe McCarthy was right.
The red-baiting of the mid-20th century has gone down in history, correctly, as a witch hunt that stemmed from irrational paranoia that gripped the U.S. after WWII. But now, according to the Thomas B. Fordham report, your kid might learn that the red baiters had a point: “It is disingenuously suggested that the House Un-American Activities Committee—and, by extension, McCarthyism—have been vindicated by the Venona decrypts of Soviet espionage activities (which had, in reality, no link to McCarthy’s targets).” Critical lessons about being skeptical of those who attack fellow Americans while wrapping themselves in the flag will be lost for students whose textbooks adhere to these standards.
Lie No. 3: Climate change is a massive hoax scientists have perpetuated on the public.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been hard at work pushing for laws requiring that climate change denialism be taught in schools as a legitimate scientific theory. Unfortunately, as Neela Banerjee of the L.A. Times reports, they’ve already had some serious success: “Texas and Louisiana have introduced education standards that require educators to teach climate change denial as a valid scientific position. South Dakota and Utah passed resolutions denying climate change.” Other states are taking the “teach the controversy” strategy that helped get creationism into biology classrooms, asking teachers to treat climate change like it’s a matter of political debate instead of a scientifically established fact.
The reality is that climate change is a fact that has overwhelming scientific consensus. In 2004, Science reviewed the 928 relevant studies on climate change published between 1993 and 2003 and found that exactly zero of them denied that climate change was a reality, and most found it had man-made causes. To claim that climate change is a “controversy” requires one to believe that there’s a massive conspiracy involving nearly all the scientists in the world. So, your kids are not only not learning the realities of climate change, they are also learning, if indirectly, to give credence to conspiracy theory paranoia.
Former US Vice President Dick Cheney doesn’t mince words when it comes to President Barack Obama.
In a new interview for the April issue of Playboy, Cheney repeatedly tore into Obama on a wide array of issues, including the racially charged riots in Ferguson, Missouri, and foreign policy.
“I look at Barack Obama and I see the worst president of my lifetime, without question,” Cheney told journalist James Rosen. “I used to have significant criticism of Jimmy Carter, but compared to Barack Obama and the damage he is doing to the nation—it’s a tragedy.”
On the cover, the interview is billed as “A Fiery Discussion With The Most Powerful Vice President In History” next to a photo of 23-year-old rapper Azealia Banks. Cheney is well known for his unusually active role in shaping the administration of former President George W. Bush, Obama’s predecessor.
More at Business Insider.
A house Ulysses S. Grant lived in during his time in Detroit is being evicted from the State Fairgrounds and will be hauled clear across town this summer, likely near Eastern Market.
The house was built in 1837, making it one of the oldest structures in the city. For decades, the house was furnished in period styles and opened to the public as an attraction during the annual State Fair. But now that the fairgrounds are closed and the state is selling the land to developers, Grant’s one-time digs have to go.
The state has been in talks about moving the house to the Detroit Edison Public School Academy’s campus on St. Aubin, near Gratiot, but it’s not quite a done deal. Representatives of the state, the school and architects on the project met at DEPSA on Wednesday to continue discussions.
“Details are still being finalized, but we are honored to bring this historic project to the DEPSA campus,” Ralph Bland, the school’s superintendent, said in a statement.
The house will definitely be moved, likely this summer, and will stay in Detroit, said Sandra Clark, director of the Michigan Historical Center, which is taking the lead for the state on the home’s relocation.
There’s also no final agreement on what the house will become, but one thing is clear: This won’t be a shrine to Grant just filled with his things and photos.
“Today, we’re thinking differently about historical homes and what’s the best use for them,” said Clark. The idea is to make “them an active educational tool for the school and the public, an interactive way to learn about the history of Detroit. … We want to put history to work, if you will.”
Grant was a young Army officer just four years out of West Point when he was transferred to the Detroit Barracks as regimental quartermaster of the 4th Infantry in the spring of 1849. Detroit was a tiny town at the time — with only 21,000 people. The future U.S. president and Civil War hero and his wife, Julia Dent Grant, lived in the house from April 1849 through May 1850, according to Kimberly Johnson, a Michigan Historic Commission member who has researched the Grants’ time in Detroit. Another house that the Grants lived in during a later time in Detroit was demolished long ago.
Jack Dempsey of Plymouth, president of the Michigan Historical Commission, has been working for years to save the historic structure, which has sat unused and neglected.
“Grant is an iconic figure in American history, a man who, before the Civil War, didn’t have much success, but he went on to become the highest-ranking general in the war and saved the union,” Dempsey said. “There are a whole number of Grant structures around the country, and Michigan is the only state that has treated one of them like this.”
The fact that Grant is one of only two presidents to live in Michigan — Gerald R. Ford being the other — makes saving the house even more worthwhile, Dempsey said. Moving the home to near its original location is an added bonus.
As thousands marched across Selma’s Edmund Pettus bridge this weekend, a small band of white people were less than a mile away, mourning the loss of the Confederacy and guarding a memorial to a white supremacist.
Live Oak cemetery is a burial site for Confederate soldiers in the civil war and contains the grave of Edmund Winston Pettus, the general - and member of the Ku Klux Klan - after whom the town’s bridge was named.
There has been a growing campaign to rename Selma’s bridge given its association with the Confederate south, and dozens of students had planned a peaceful march to the cemetery. They quickly changed plans after discovering the neo-Confederates were waiting for them.
“‘March’ is a military term,” explained Todd Kiscaden, 64, who had traveled to Selma from his home in Tennessee to defend the memorial site. “In any military context, if you’re going to march on my castle, I’m going to man my barricades.”
Selma is most famous for the violent assault on peaceful civil rights marchers on the town’s bridge in 1965. But the Alabama town was also the site of another clash: a notorious civil war battle in which Union forces defeated the pro-slavery Confederate army.
The cemetery where Pettus is buried also contains a memorial to the fallen soldiers, and a controversial monument to Nathan Bedford Forrest, the lieutenant general in the Confederate army and first Grand Wizard of the Klan.
The graveyard has long been a flashpoint between African Americans and pro-Confederate historians in the town. The graveyard has been the focus of protests before; the memorial has been vandalised and, three years ago, a bronze bust of Forrest was stolen. Kiscaden, from the group Friends of Forrest, which tends the memorial site, said they were in the process of replacing the stolen bust.
Sunday’s aborted march to the cemetery was organised by Students Unite, the Selma-based youth group behind a viral online campaign to rename the Edmund Pettus bridge. They planned to march peacefully and respectfully to the graveyard, to draw protest against the Pettus bridge name and the existence of a monument to a white supremacist.
“We’re a non-violent group,” explained John Gainey, 25, executive director of Students Unite. “We didn’t want a confrontation.”
“The people in the south - the white people, who were being abused - organised a neighbourhood watch to try to re-establish some order,” he said of the nascent Klan. Slavery in the south was “a bad institution”, he said, but possibly “the mildest, most humane form of slavery ever practiced”.
“If you look at the wealth created by the slaves, in food, clothing, shelter, medical care, care before you’re old enough to work, care until you died, they got 90% of the wealth that they generated,” he said. “I don’t get that. The damn government takes my money to the tune of 50%.”
Kiscaden and Godwin insisted they were not racist. But they made plain that they hankered for a revival of some of the ideals most Americans believe were defeated in 1865.
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -
A man is facing charges after harassing a rabbi outside the Ohev Shalom Congregation in Miami Beach, police said.
According to the arrest report, Diego Chaar, 24, first yelled out “Allahu akbar,” which is translated from Arabic as “God is great” or “God is greater.”
Police said the Rabbi David Weberman and a witness ignored Chaar, at which point he yelled, “Heads will be cut off” and “I will cut your head off.”
The victim feared for his life at that point and called 911. The witness followed Chaar in his vehicle while the victim followed him on foot. Police officers located the suspect hiding behind a car, filled out an incident report and released him at the scene.
The report states Chaar walked by the synagogue again and again began to scream “Allahu akbar.” Police were called for a second time, at which point Chaar was taken into custody.
Local 10 News reporter Roger Lohse spoke to Chaar, who admitted saying “Allahu akbar” but said he never threatened anyone.
“This is not a hate crime,” Chaar said. “This has nothing to do with them being Jewish. I just want to help them find peace within themselves.”
Chaar said he converted to Islam three years ago while serving time in prison on drug charges.
“Christians say ‘Jesus saves’ all day, every day,” Chaar said. “I was a Christian before until I converted. I’m trying to convert these people, but they seem scared. They want to be scared. They want to call the police.”
Chaar said the allegations that he threatened them are a lie.
“There’s no proof I said I was going to cut their heads off,” Chaar said.
Lohse asked Chaar why he would scream “Allahu akbar” in the first place.
“Because I don’t want them to burn in eternal hell forever,” Chaar said. “I want to help. They’re good people.”
Religion—you’re doing it wrong.
DON’T READ THE COMMENTS.
Award recognizes 132 companies spanning 21 countries and five continents that embrace the correlation between ethical business practices, public trust and improved company performance
NEW YORK—(BUSINESS WIRE)— The Ethisphere Institute, the global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices, today announced the 2015 World’s Most Ethical Companies(r). The latest list includes 132 companies representing more than 50 industries spanning 21 countries and five continents.
The World’s Most Ethical Companies is a distinction that honors superior achievement in transparency, integrity, ethics and compliance. Honorees use ethics as a means to further define their industry leadership and embrace the connection by embedding their corporate values into everything they do, every employee they hire, and every partner they bring into their network to ensure they deliver long-term value to key stakeholders including customers, suppliers, regulators, and investors.
“Companies today are challenged by a complex and often conflicting set of laws and regulations around the world, yet despite the lack of a global rule of law there’s a growing commonality about how to do business the right way,” explained Ethisphere’s Chief Executive Officer Timothy Erblich. “More and more, we’re finding that stakeholders from employees and customers to executives and investors understand that ethical leadership drives outcomes ranging from operational performance to corporate integrity, transparency, and workforce behavior. We’re delighted to honor these companies who not only understand the various components of what makes a company ethical but are dedicated to building an environment that makes it so.”
“This award celebrates doing business the right way and making the right choices every day,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, the only automaker to receive the Ethisphere honor for six consecutive years. “Ethical behavior and good corporate citizenship are not just the right things to do, they also make good business sense.”