Saturday, December 31, 2011

ANP rocks Mardan

I've asked the ANP folks for English transcripts of the speeches.
Mardan, thousands of Awami National Party workers arrives at College Ground to listen to ANP Chief Asfandyar Wali Khan and Chief Minister Pakhtunkhwa Ameer Haider Khan Hoti.

AMNtv team was present here with four cameras to cover this historical event.
In this part you can watch Singer Gulzar Alam with flapping listeners and a speech of Mohammad Azam Khan Hoti and the entry of ANP leaders where given warm welcome.

Geo News anchor of Capital Talk Hamid Mir was also present on special invitation of ANP's Central Sec.Information Senator Zahid Khan.

U.S. flags burned at Occupy Charlotte land group in jail

Was this really necessary?

Friday, December 30, 2011

إدلب أريحا جمعة ساحات الحرية 30 12 2011

Jericho Fri 30 yards of freedom 12 30 2011

RealClearReligion - Why I Loved Christopher Hitchens

Father Barron on Hitchens.  Read him all, link at the bottom, but below explains why some believe inspite of the themselves (me too).

What you couldn't miss in Hitchens's writing and speaking was a passion for justice, a deep desire to defend those who were denied their rights. This comes through from his first book on Cyprus and Greece to his articles in defense of his friend Salman Rushdie to his recent essays and speeches on the Iraq war. Where does this passion come from? What makes sense of it?

If there is no God, which is to say, no unconditioned justice, no absolute criterion of good and evil, why precisely would someone burn with righteous indignation at violations of justice? If we are here simply by dumb chance, if all of us will one day die and simply fade away, if the earth will one day be incinerated and the universe spins away without purpose and in utter indifference to human cruelty and human nobility, why would anyone finally bother? Wouldn't in fact Dostoyevsky be right in saying that if there is no God everything is permitted?

My point is that the very passion for setting things right, which burned so brightly in Christopher Hitchens, is a powerful indicator that he was, whether he acknowledged it or not, connected to unconditioned justice. And that connection brought him very close indeed to what serious believers mean by God.

RealClearReligion - Why I Loved Christopher Hitchens

2012: The year when extremism self-destructs? - Guest Voices - The Washington Post

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite on the self-destruction of the “Christian Right”: 2012: The year when extremism self-destructs? - Guest Voices - The Washington Post

The Christian Right’s been with us for decades now.  As long as Abortion is an issue, it will remain with us.  I don’t see that disappearing soon.

Thistlethwait’s got the Tea Party wrong too.  Illinois Social Conservatives i.e. Christian Rightest, polled the many Illinois Tea Party organizations about social issues, and with only one or two exceptions they all replied they took no stands on contentious social issues, because they were, well, contentious.

The Tea Parties focused solely on Budget and Spending issues.  They were focused only on those and anyone was free to join them if they agreed on that, and persons thoughts on marriage, abortion, etc were not issues in the Illinois Tea Party.

As long as we rack up record deficits and job killers like ObamaCare, the Tea Party will be with us too.

Tensions Rise Over Drone Secrecy and the silence of UU Peace Makers

I’m not a subscriber so can only read the first three paragraphs here: Tensions Rise Over Drone Secrecy -

Tensions are quietly increasing between the White House and some congressional leaders over access to sensitive information about the government's use of drones in Pakistan and Yemen, officials said.

The White House has brushed aside requests for information from lawmakers, who argue that the strikes, carried out secretly by the Central Intelligence Agency and the military's Joint Special Operations Command, have broad implications for U.S. policy but don't receive adequate oversight.

Some current and former administration, military and congressional officials point to what they see as significant oversight gaps, in part because few lawmakers have full access to information about ...

Seems like a worthy issue for UU PeaceMakers which hasn’t had a post since Feb 11th. Considering we seem on the brink of war with Iran (if we’re not in one already; I could argue we’ve been at war for years), the Peace Making silence odd.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Jane Addams on Class

From pages 124 and 125 of Elshtain’s Jane Addams and the Dream of American Democracy,
In an interview published in the Chicago News on April 10, 1899, Addams extolled the bicycle as a form of exercise.  When asked if this was particularly beneficial to the poorer and middle classes, she said: “There is where I wish to make an exception. I object  to that word class. It is un-American. There are no classes in this country. The people are all Americans with no dividing line drawn. But I think the the bicycle is a good thing for the workingman…. It gives him recreation and exercise and while riding to and from his work he enjoys the open air.” Whatever one thinks of Addams’s hope that tired workingmen might find their health improved by bicycling, the most interesting moment is her truculent dismissal of the word class. Of course, there were dividing lines in America. It was one thing to acknowledge an empirical reality that separated people; it was another to use  collective category to classify hundreds of thousands of people, and in so doing, to obliterate their distinctiveness. Americans should think of one another as neighbors and fellow citizens who have had vastly different experiences. We are obliged to interpret ourselves one to the other and to do all we can to ease the situation for those who are hard-pressed. Jane Addams practice what she preached when it came to being attuned to the uniqueness of each and every person, however insignificant he or she might seem.
It’s not Jane Addams’s America for many UUs; at least of the blogging sort.  Categorizers abound, plopping fellow citizens into buckets perhaps unfamiliar, and foreign to those plopped.  Our distinctiveness obliterated… the 99% in long lines with the new comer’s blue cup waiting for a welcome.  My guess is most won’t wait for the categorizers wordy greeting: You say I'm what? It’s a vision unintelligible to Americans not willing to give up their distinctiveness.


An example of it from pages 93 and 94 of Jean Bethke Elshtain’s Jane Addams and the Dream of American Democracy,

Chicago people look to Jane Addams of Hull-House in many emergencies. The other night the little woman was roused at midnight to meet a committee of firemen in the parlor. Stables had been burned in the neighborhood and horses were injured but not killed. There is a city law which requires a special order of court to shoot a horse within city limits. This order of court could not be obtained until morning. Horses were suffering with no hope of relief but death. “Miss Addams, can’t you give us an order to shoot them?” asked the burly fireman. “I have no legal authority but I will take the responsibility, “ said the little woman. They drove with her to the place and she stood by to see the horses shot.  --from the Boston Transcript, April 23, 1903

Arab League in Syria: A Mission of Amateurs - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Al Dabi must not look at Youtube.

The information emerging about the visit of Arab League observers to Syria is alarming -- but not because they plan to pointedly pursue the accusations against the regime of President Bashar Assad. Instead, it's because the first statements made by its leader, Sudanese Lt. Gen. Mustafa al-Dabi, are scandalous.

Speaking in the insurgent stronghold of Homs, he said that some areas looked "a bit of a mess," but otherwise he'd seen "nothing frightening"

Arab League in Syria: A Mission of Amateurs - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Judicial Watch Announces Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” for 2011

H/T Jim Kouri

AG Holder makes the top ten this year.  Picture at left is Holder with now convicted Illinois Gov Rod Blagojevich announcing Holder’s hiring to prove Rosemont Illnois was not a mobbed-up community, and indeed worthy of an Illinois Casino license.  The b-girls and bookies on Mannheim Road were tickled to hear his selection I’m sure.
Attorney General Eric Holder: Attorney General Eric Holder now operates the most politicized and ideological Department of Justice (DOJ) in recent history. And revelations from the Operation Fast and Furious scandal suggest that programs approved by the Holder DOJ may have resulted in the needless deaths of many, including a federal law enforcement officer.

Fast and Furious was a DOJ/Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “gun-running” operation in which guns were sold to Mexican drug cartels and others, apparently in hopes that the guns would end up at crime scenes. This reckless insanity seems to have resulted in, among other crimes, the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was killed in a shootout with Mexican criminals in December 2010. Fast and Furious guns were found at the scene of his death.
Judicial Watch Announces Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” for 2011 | Judicial Watch

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Obama and his Bankers

Obama and his Bankers: Repo Men - Kevin D. Williamson - National Review Online
For a few measly millions, Wall Street not only bought itself a president, but got the start-up firm of B. H. Obama & Co. LLC to throw a cabinet into the deal, too — on remarkably generous terms. President Obama, for a guy prone to delivering prim and smug little homilies denouncing greed, greed, greed — the only of the seven deadly sins that truly offends Democrats (though Mrs. Obama has done some desultory work on gluttony) — is strangely comfortable among the Gordon Gekkos of this world. Shall we have a partial roll call?
A call the roll Williamson does.... go read him all.

Tillich on Ecclesiastes for JMP

Reader JMP mentions Ecclesiastes so I’ll point him to Tillich’s The New Being’s chapter 21 on the Right Time.  I first read Tillich in a religion class with Howard Burkle at Grinnell.  I still have my copy of The New Being and sent it with my daughter to University  in Madison. Dan Harper told me once UUs bonkers for anything Tillich.  I like the commentary below on Time from Tillich.  Time’s something few UUs get in my opinion. Many conflicts with the Orthodox and Evangelicals go away when we realize time and how we experience time different things.  Tillich explains a bit….

There is another answer to the question of human existence, to the question of timing and being timed. It is summed up in the words of Jesus: "The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand." In these words, God’s timing breaks into our human timing. Something new appears, answering the question of the Preacher is well as the question of the business man. We ask with all generations of thinking men: What is the meaning of the flux of time and the passing away of everything in it? What is the meaning of our toiling and planning when the end of all of us and of all our works is the same? Vanity? And this is the answer we get: Within this our time something happens that is not of our time but out of eternity, and this times our time! The same power which limits, us in time gives eternal significance to our timing.

When Jesus says that the right hour has come, that the kingdom of God is at hand, He pronounces the victory over the law of vanity. This hour is not subject to the circle of life and death and all the other circles of vanity. When God Himself appears in a moment of time, when He Himself subjects Himself to the flux of time, the flux of time is conquered. And if this happens in one moment of time, then all moments of time receive another significance. When the finger of the clock turns around; not one vain moment is replaced by another vain moment, but each moment says to us: The eternal is at hand in this moment. The moment passes, the eternal remains. Whatever in this moment, in this hour, on this day and in this short or long life-time happens has infinite significance. Our timing from moment to moment, our planning today for tomorrow, the toil of our lifetime is not lost. Its deepest meaning lies not ahead where vanity swallows it, but it lies above where eternity affirms it. This is the seriousness of time and timing. Through our timing God times the coming of His kingdom; through our timing He elevates the time of vanity into the time of fulfillment. The activist who is timing with shrewdness and intuition what he has to do in his time and for his time, and for our whole activistic civilization cannot give us the answer. And the Preacher, who himself once was a most successful activist, knows that this is not an answer; he knows the vanity of our timing.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hewlett Johnson: While we’re waiting for God, Russia is doing it

Before there was #Occupy, there was Hewlett Johnson. Charles Moore reviews a new biography of a painfully familiar sort of Christian: The Red Dean of Canterbury.

As Canterbury Cathedral this week marks the anniversary of the death of its most famous “turbulent priest”, Thomas Becket, it is a good moment to study the life of its second-most famous one. Hewlett Johnson became the Dean of Canterbury in 1931, when he was already getting on for 60, and clung on to the post, despite numerous attempts to get him out, until 1964.

Over those 33 years, Johnson devoted the bulk of his astonishing energy to proving that Soviet Communism, especially as practised by Stalin, was heaven on earth: “While we’re waiting for God, Russia is doing it.” In his bestseller The Socialist Sixth of the World, which was published not long after Stalin’s most extensive programme of mass murder, he wrote: “Nothing strikes the visitor to the Soviet Union more forcibly than the complete absence of fear.”

The rest here: The priest who thought Stalin was a saint - Telegraph

American Iconoclast by Tom Shachtman

A new biography of Eric Hoffer by Tom Shachtman. Hoffer a blue collar guy with some thoughts on class. American Iconoclast by Tom Shachtman

American Iconoclast by Tom Shachtman

Al-Arabiya TV interview, [26 Dec 2011]: The Homs massacres described by Osama Al-Homsi

An interview on Al-Arabiya with English subtitles at bottom.

The Limits of Secularism | Standpoint

An interesting factoid from Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks,

The young aristocrat was Alexis de Tocqueville, and in the book that he wrote about his experiences, namely his experience of American democracy, he said: "18th-century philosophers had a very simple explanation for the gradual weakening of beliefs: religious zeal was bound to die down as enlightenment and freedom spread." In other words, Tocqueville was saying that every self-respecting 18th-century intellectual thought that religion was dying, in intensive care, and all that was needed was a little bit of help on its way — assisted suicide. "It is tiresome," Tocqueville said, "that the facts do not fit this theory at all." So he had this question: how come religion didn't die when everyone said it would?

One hundred and eighty years have passed since Tocqueville wrote these words, but until very recently intellectuals have been making the same mistake. In America today, for example, a higher percentage of the population attends a house of worship weekly than is the case in the theocratic state of Iran: 40 per cent in the US, 39 per cent in Iran. Furthermore, in China today, half a century after Chairman Mao declared China to be religion-free, there are more practising Christians than there are members of the Communist Party. One way or another, religion didn't die.

Read the rest here in a longish but excellent piece:The Limits of Secularism | Standpoint

China Rail Fail: 42% Spending Cut in Bullet Train Meltdown | Via Meadia

Must read for the UU high speed rail lobby: China Rail Fail: 42% Spending Cut in Bullet Train Meltdown | Via Meadia

Monday, December 26, 2011

Iran does not have necessary facilities to stone Sakineh to death so want to hang her instead | Maryam Namazie

via Maryam Namazie’s blog…..

Malek Ajdar Sharifi, the head of the judiciary in East Azerbaijan, said on Sunday that the prison does not have the “necessary facilities” to carry out Sakineh Mohamadi Ashtiani’s sentence of stoning!! Therefore, he said, they are considering hanging as an alternative. Really? Have they run out of stones and hired Islamic sadists?

Iran does not have necessary facilities to stone Sakineh to death so want to hang her instead | Maryam Namazie

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Anshe Kanesses Israel synagogue

City moves to tear down historic West Side synagogue - Chicago Sun-Times

Terrible loss and one that would harm the eventual revitalization of Lawndale.

Check Brule Laker's photo stream for photos

(12.25.2011) Wadi Alarab | Homs | "Santa Claus wants the fall of the Assad regime"

Santa's a good guy..

The Christmas Truce | First World War Centenary

Merry Christmas 2011.  A link to the podcast over at the Imperial War Museum on the 1914 Christmas truce.  And a link to my new blog on the First World War as 2014 approaches.

IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM’s Voices of the First World War

Here is the ninth in a series of podcasts that delve into the IWM’s Sound Archive to bring you the voices of those who lived through the First World War. Find out what a huge range of people felt, experienced and witnessed during 1914–1918, and the impact the events of those years had on their lives.

The Christmas Truce of 1914 has become almost legendary over time, with stories of German and British soldiers putting down their arms to play football in no man’s land. But what really happened? Find out from those who witnessed this incredible – and unexpected – piece of history.

Podcast 9: The Christmas Truce | First World War Centenary

In the Room with Walter Brueggemann | The Prophetic Imagination of Walter Brueggemann

Listening to Brueggeman on On Being with Krista Tippet. Merry Christmas!

In the Room with Walter Brueggemann (live stream) from On Being on Vimeo.

In the Room with Walter Brueggemann | The Prophetic Imagination of Walter Brueggemann []

Saturday, December 24, 2011

OWS' Reaction to TIME's 'Person of the Year' (explicit)

H/T Illinois Review

제네바 일리노이 유니테어리언교 - 보편 사회의 언약

우리 규약
(1842로 작성)
세계에서 실질적인 장점을 추진 내리기 위해이기 때문에, 그리고 도덕과 종교 개선 서로 도울 기회를 우리가 아니라, 캐릭터에 대한 믿음이나 완벽에 보편 진리를 획득하는 데 같은 의견에 동의으로 자신을 함께 - 안 관련된지만, 구직자로있다 이후 진리와 선하심.

McHenry County Blog | Bi-Partisan Coalition Led by Joe Walsh “Saves Christmas” or at Least “Merry Christmas”

For those who think the Rich run America, here’s a decidedly unrich guy, unloved by the political establishment in Illinois, who managed to connect, get elected, and have impact.  Cal Skinner sums it up here: McHenry County Blog | Bi-Partisan Coalition Led by Joe Walsh “Saves Christmas” or at Least “Merry Christmas”

Friday, December 23, 2011

Inside Syria's Death Zone: Assad's Regime Hunts People in Homs - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Assad’s thugs are really hunting too.  The story and pictures here: Inside Syria's Death Zone: Assad's Regime Hunts People in Homs  - SPIEGEL ONLINE

gulfnews : Kfar Owaid massacre will haunt Syria

gulfnews : Kfar Owaid massacre will haunt Syria

An organized slaughter... no survivors.

وذبح نظمت في كفر عويد، ولا ناجين

Update: WARNING as it's extremely graphic.

Sebelius' Masterful Muddle

Sebelius' Masterful Muddle

Samuleson writing the SecHHS punts on the Uniform Health Benefits Package under ObamaCare and leaves it to the States to define.
Some background: The ACA requires all Americans to have health insurance. But what's acceptable insurance? Under Section 1302 of the ACA, the secretary of HHS is supposed to answer that question. It's a fateful decision. By 2016, an estimated 35 million uninsured Americans will receive subsidized health insurance under the ACA through Medicaid or from policies purchased on state "exchanges," according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The package of essential health benefits would apply directly to their coverage. It would also apply to unsubsidized beneficiaries receiving coverage in the individual and small group insurance markets (small group usually means firms of less than 100 workers). All told, about 73 million Americans would be affected, estimates the Kaiser.

Defining essential health benefits poses a basic conflict. On one hand, everyone wants broad coverage; on the other, the broader the coverage, the more expensive policies will be -- pushing government spending up (because government pays for the subsidies) and wages down (because employers will shift compensation from wages to fringe benefits).
Pay attention to your State's Legislature with jurisdiction on this one because I anticipate most of our Churches will find themselves putting staff into Medicaid.

Prepaying your Churches staff in that two month FICA Holiday Window

Should your board consider prepaying your staff in January and February in the event the FICA Holiday doesn't go beyond two month?  It will give them a little boost in income for the year.

One of the advantages this law brings to the self employed, or those with some sway over the boards that pay them.

Just wondering.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Days of Rage vs Days of G-8: Fighting Protesters With Neoliberalism

I have a vivid recollection of the Days of Rage although at 14 a bit too young to participate: Days of Rage vs Days of G-8: Fighting Protesters With Neoliberalism - The 312 - December 2011 – Chicago

I sang this song though, and not very proud of it,

Richard Elrod
, a city attorney, was paralyzed after he attempted to tackle Weatherman member Brian Flanagan. Elrod accused Flanagan of attacking him, while Flanagan maintained that Elrod simply hit a concrete wall. Flanagan was charged with attempted murder and other crimes but was acquitted on all counts.[19] The Weathermen later produced a song mocking Elrod, a parody of Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay," including the lines Lay, Elrod, lay || Lay in the street for a while || Stay, Elrod, stay || Stay in your bed for a while ."
I recall another line that went Lay, Erod, lay || Lay in your Iron Lung.  Lousy times and foolish people rioting.  I’d hate to think we UUs encouraging another waste of young people.

Europe's Perishing Parishes: Dutchman Helps to Liquidate Dying Churches

Der Spiegel on Christianity’s retreat in the Netherlands: Europe's Perishing Parishes: Dutchman Helps to Liquidate Dying Churches - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

I’m not certain what fate befalls the schismatic temperament when the Mother Church disappears.

Re: Standing on the Side of Love Tells Chicago Cardinal George: We Are Not the KKK

This one’s way over the top:Tell Chicago Cardinal George: We Are Not the KKK « Standing On The Side Of Love
For starters, consider there are more Gays and Lesbians in Chicago’s Catholic Churches every Sunday, then total attendance at Chicago’s UU Churches.  Even with the Chicago area’s UU Churches tossed in.  Probably more gays in big multiples then ever come to UU Churches. 
We may be on the side of love, but over and over again I saw Gays use my Church (the old one in Oak Park) to have their Unions blessed, and then go back to their own Parish for spirituality they couldn’t seem to find from us.
Second, after Springfield’s Democrats kicked Catholic Charities over adoption, Cardinal George has good reason to feel a bit persecuted.
Rick Garcia, who claimed to represent Gays in Illinois had no problem participating with Farrakhan's people on Illinois Human Rights commission. He just ignored all their blather and Farrakhan’s about washing Jerusalem's streets in blood because a Jewish Mayor allows a Gay Pride parade (how KKK is that?), yet activists screamed about Catholic Charities over adoption guidelines.
Please, give us a break here SOL from the party line orthodoxy and think an issue through for a change.

Update: Chicago Southsider Pat Hickey's take. Cardinal George and Catholic Charities - The Hands That Helped HIV Victims

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday season celebrated — AustinTalks

Rev Covell needs to get the word out a bit more about what the handfull of UUs left in Chicago are doing.  I’m not sure the radio show on Progressive talk radio’s gonna do it.

Looks like a great party below though, in an Historic building housing a Church that didn’t flee.

by AustinTalks on December 18, 2011

Third Unitarian Church and Central Austin Neighborhood Association held a free holiday party last weekend that was a great opportunity to celebrate the season with our Austin neighbors!

Rev. Brian Covell of Third Unitarian Church

A family-focused service on “the Spirit of Christmas” was followed by a festive dinner in the church’s Robeson Room that more than 60 people attended.

The Rev. Brian Covell praised the work of the Central Austin Neighborhood Association, and CANA President Serethea Reid and her husband Ron described the year’s successes and their goals for the coming year.

Holiday season celebrated — AustinTalks

The 5 worst economic ideas of 2011 (and 12 great ones for 2012) « The Enterprise Blog

Here’s the list of good ones.  #Occupy leads the list on bad ones.

1. Pay teachers more but get rid of tenure so the bottom five percent of teachers can be replaced by even average ones.

2. Encourage more high-skilled immigration.

3. Reduce regulatory barriers to new business creation.

4. Replace payroll taxes with more economically efficient ones.

5. Phase out and eliminate pricey and market-distorting subsidies like the mortgage interest deduction.

6. End Too Big To Fail.

7. Eliminate the tax code’s bias against investment.

8. Move toward market-friendly entitlement reform like Wyden-Ryan.

9. Create a patent system with the length of legal protection depending on the cost of innovation and imitation.

10. Establish more innovation prizes.

11. Have fewer kids in college getting liberal arts degrees, more in business-run worker training programs.

12. More investment in basic research, not in crony-capitalist, industrial policy schemes like Solyndra

The 5 worst economic ideas of 2011 (and 12 great ones for 2012) « The Enterprise Blog

At Reform biennial, energy, Obama and handwringing over the next generation | JTA - Jewish & Israel News

JTA channeling Dan Harper…

Reform activists and leaders cite several reasons for the disaffection of young Jews: the difficulty of competing for young people’s attention given the distractions of the modern world; the ethos of individualism in American life; a growing preference for virtual social networks over physical ones; parents who emphasize soccer practice over Jewish tradition; a declining sense of obligation to belong to communal institutions.

And then, of course, there’s the deterrent of Reform synagogues themselves.

“The standard model is not working for the younger generation,” said Rabbi Larry Sernovitz, 39, of Old York Temple Beth Am in Abington, Pa., near Philadelphia. “A lot of programming is based on the 50s and 60s set -- one size fits all. But American Jews have become more assimilated and are moving away from organized synagogue life. The movement has to change along with that.”

At Reform biennial, energy, Obama and handwringing over the next generation | JTA - Jewish & Israel News

I’m not certain what’s to be done.  As far as declining sense of obligation to communal institutions, well, we UU’s really don’t strike me as institution builders any longer.  Consider this new book on William Greenleaf Eliot, Eliot’s work via the Amazon review,

When William Greenleaf Eliot came to the "untamed West" from Boston in 1834, it was to establish the first Unitarian church in St. Louis, then a frontier town of 7,000. Yet Eliot's vision and efforts, and the generosity of his congregation, led to the founding of Washington University, Mary Institute, the Mission Free School, and - indirectly - the Saint Louis Art Museum. Eliot was president of the St. Louis School Board and fought successfully for public funding of the city's schools. He helped keep Missouri in the Union, and he proposed and worked tirelessly for the Western Sanitary Commission (forerunner of the American Red Cross). All the while, Eliot preached and taught, visited his parishioners three hours a day, and founded several Unitarian churches in the West. Earl K. Holt III, who succeeded to Eliot's pulpit at First Unitarian Church in 1974, brings to life this diminutive, frail minister - William Greenleaf Eliot: Conservative Radical - who laid the foundation for what was, by 1900, one of the most dynamic cities in the nation.

This was institution building; not #occupy stuff.  Few builders left among UU’s either.

Egyptian women march on frontlines of country's revolution

link here......

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

David Potter, “The Victor’s Crown: A History of Ancient Sport from Homer to Byzantium (Oxford University Press, 2011)

The author’s Milt’s guest tonight.

As David Potter points out in his survey of Greek and Roman games, The Victor’s Crown: A History of Ancient Sport from Homer to Byzantium(Oxford University Press, 2011), there have been only two periods in human history when spectator sports have had a prominent place in society and culture: our own modern age, and the ancient and classical eras in the Mediterranean. The parallels between ancient and modern games are numerous. The athletes of millennia ago, whether Olympic competitors or Roman chariot racers, were celebrities of their day, lauded by the earliest sports columnists (Greek lyric poets) and fan bloggers (Roman graffiti scribblers). They were also well rewarded. Olympic victors were the objects of bidding wars among competing Greek cities, similar to today’s free agency and transfer windows, while the richest athlete of any age remains the Roman charioteer Diolces, whose wealth was surpassed only by the emperor’s.

David Potter, “The Victor’s Crown: A History of Ancient Sport from Homer to Byzantium (Oxford University Press, 2011)

Mark-up for the Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act of 2011

A bipartisan bill that deserved more coverage in the press…..

Mark-up for the Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act of 2011

Chairman Paul Ryan
Opening Remarks, As Prepared for Delivery

December 15, 2011

The purpose of today’s meeting is to mark up the Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act of 2011.

I am proud to be here today marking up legislation that was written in a bipartisan way with my counterpart on this committee, the Ranking Member, Chris Van Hollen.

Chris, I want to thank you and your hardworking staff for helping us advance this common-sense reform to improve government’s stewardship of taxpayer dollars.

The Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act gives the President an important tool to target unjustified spending, while also protecting Congress’s constitutional authority to make spending decisions.

This new authority would allow the President to specify spending provisions within an appropriations bill, while requiring stand-alone consideration of these rescission proposals by Congress. 

Legislation implementing the proposed spending cancellations would receive expedited floor consideration and an automatic up-or-down vote in both chambers of Congress. Should Congress approve the rescission bill, every dollar of savings would be devoted to deficit reduction.

In addition to this bill, there are a number of other budget process reforms that are badly needed and that I want to mark up in this committee. This bill, for example, does not address mandatory spending, which represents 60 percent of our budget and is the key driver of our debt. 

We also need to keep in mind that budget process reforms alone will not solve our enormous budget challenges, but this reform and others can give us tools to help us tackle the drivers of the debt and remove impediments to economic growth.

With that, I yield to the Ranking Member, Mr. Van Hollen.

Mark-up for the Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act of 2011 | Committee On The Budget

Occupied Kafranbel Syria

H/T Bad Rachel

Also, video... note the banner in English directed to the U.S.

Women's demonstration against children slaughterer Al-Assad in Kafranbel town in Syria 31.05.2011

Egyptian women march against military rule مسيرة المرأة المصرية ضد الحكم العسكري

This is huge...via Al Jezeera below,
Egyptian women have led a rally in Cairo against the army's treatment of female protesters.

Thousands took to the streets demanding the military be held accountable for their abuse of women.

On Saturday, a woman was stripped and badly beaten by Egyptian security forces, in an incident that was captured on camera and met with outrage around the world.

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports from Tahrir Square.

Update: via the BBC,
Yolande Knell BBC News, Cairo

"The daughters of Egypt are a red line," chanted the crowd of women as they marched through the streets of central Cairo close to Tahrir Square.

Hundreds of female protesters soon turned to thousands, with men linking arms to form a human chain around them. These women came from all walks of life - some with flowing hair and designer sunglasses, others in the niqab or full-face veil.

Many held aloft the photograph that has shocked Egyptians - a woman activist with her clothes ripped by soldiers to reveal her bra. "He who violates the honour of our girls cannot be entrusted with our country," said one sign.

This unusual sight has re-energised protests against military rule and prompted the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to make an apology for what it called "violations" - a sharp change from its previous dismissive approach to this abuse

More from Unity 1889 on Bankers

From the April 1 issue….


The Banker’s Conscience

From Unity, March 1882, under the Workman’s Conscience series,




Unity 1879: Articles of Association and Constitution of the Free Congregational Society of Baraboo, Wisconsin


A curious coincidence for Unity on Trinity

Via Unity, 15 March 1879


Can Reform Jews be politically conservative? Yes, say the ‘1 percent’ | JTA - Jewish & Israel News

Some familiar stuff here: Can Reform Jews be politically conservative? Yes, say the ‘1 percent’ | JTA - Jewish & Israel News

Occupy vs. Nativity Scene (feat. Baby Jesus)

H/T Illinois Review

Monday, December 19, 2011

Egypt مصر

Via Robin Wright on FaceBook
If you get this, then you understand what's happening in Egypt now. (It's the blue bra revolution for the woman who was roughed up by Egyptian security forces in Tahrir Square and whose clothing was ripped off, exposing her bright blue bra. It's set on the background of the Egyptian flag.)
إذا كنت تحصل على هذا، فإنك تفهم ما يحدث في مصر الآن. (انها ثورة زرقاء حمالة لامرأة كانت بخشونة من قبل قوات الأمن المصرية في ميدان التحرير والذي كان انفصل الملابس، كاشفة حمالة صدرها زرقاء لامعة. تم ضبطه على خلفية العلم المصري.)

President Obama (and Rev Bill Schultz) shouldn't remain silent on Egypt

Update: That's a Youtube below with over 2 million hits. The majority of hits on my blog often from the middle east. We ought to say a little on their affairs 'cause they're certainly looking out on the net.

Rev Schultz ought reflect back on this one 'cause events proving contrary,
The military makes the difference. It takes nothing away from the courage and persistence of the protestors to acknowledge that in both Tunisia and Egypt, it was the military's refusal to turn on the people that ultimately guaranteed the success of the revolution.
There's Armies and there are Armies but Egypt's strikes me as more Industrial Enterprise than an institution to lead a badly needed deep reform.

الحقيقة وراء كل حد بيقولك فبركة و عامل فيها سيف الحديدي.................احب اقوله ان الفيديو for all who love egypt ...we respect u all...this video shows one of the heros of explain what happened later in egypt from the military towards egyptian people that only need freedom .....مبيكدبش

The American Spectator : On Vaclav Havel -- and Chris Hitchens

Paul Kengor speculating on Havel and Hitchens at the Gates to Heaven:The American Spectator : On Vaclav Havel -- and Chris Hitchens

Drinks and smokes for both I’d hope. 

Vaclav Havel was not just a man of politics and intellect, but a man of the arts, theater, literature -- and, yes, of God. He exhorted the West and the wider post-modern world to seek "transcendence." Hitchens might have figured God "the ultimate totalitarian," but Havel saw God as the solution to totalitarianism, as tyranny's antidote, as the fountainhead of freedom. This was something Havel deeply admired about America and its roots -- its fusion of faith and freedom and the recognition that the latter cannot genuinely exist without the former. "The Declaration of Independence states that the Creator gave man the right to liberty," Havel concluded in his July 4, 1994 lecture at Philadelphia's Independence Hall, home of that very sentiment. "It seems man can realize that liberty only if he does not forget the One who endowed him with it."

Beauty Tips for Ministers » Elz Curtiss on Sacramental Energy

Beauty Tips for Ministers » Elz Curtiss on Sacramental Energy:
This raises questions about our openness on political and cultural issues. Do we really want to be as politically narrow as the Religious Right tries to be? Many of those congregations, by the way, are reconsidering whether that is the best way to serve their God and members, as people leave when their politics soften or change.
If the we means UUA, I'd say it's been pretty narrow for a while. As the last Century's Liberal Orthodoxy comes apart of its own contradictions (I'm no longer the Marxist but I still believe in History's dialectic), UUA will likely respond with more narrowness.

That said, the rant on yellow shirts forgets the critical importance of costume for that 1968 left that took over so much of UUism. Liberalism became drama and theater. Costume an important feature. The yellow shirts a rather mild 2012 update on a long standing habit.

thelivelytradition and Praxis

A wordy post here by thelivelytradition (comments not allowed) on praxis as those of us who grew up with the Theses on Feuerbach would say: "Die Philosophen haben die Welt nur verschiedeninterpretiert; es kommt aber darauf an, sie zu verändern" as we oft put it, in the German please ‘cause that’s the language of the revolution and dialectic.

‘Cept today’s Liberals not given much to any self-reflection on their praxis (seen any AAR’s on UU endorsements of #Occupy?) and it’s ‘nuff said to cast opponents in denial.

thelivelytradion’s reflection upon praxis isn’t going to happen with UUA.

Illinois Review: Jesus visits SNL

SNL does theology and not badly all-in-all...Illinois Review: Jesus visits SNL

Prime Minister’s King James Bible Speech - Number 10

Prime Minister’s King James Bible Speech - Number 10

Like it our not, it's our Heritage and tradition too.

A Democrat Reaches Across the Aisle on Medicare

A Democrat Reaches Across the Aisle on Medicare

Michael Barone on Wyden-Ryan Medicare reform plan.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Marathon Pundit: Vaclav Havel dead at 75--from defender of a rock band to president

Marathon Pundit: Vaclav Havel dead at 75--from defender of a rock band to president

John Ruberry's post on Havel.

Vaclav Havel RIP

Via The Telegraph,It was Havel who helped, as much as anyone, to put across the idea that Communism was built on an illusion and that, once people began to doubt the illusion, it would collapse. His essay
"The Power of the Powerless" described a system based on the Emperor’s New Clothes, a fairytale that would perfectly suit the bizarre shadow world of Marxist-Leninism. In Czechoslovakia the “brotherly help” given by the Soviet Union in 1968 was followed by “normalisation” whereby 145 historians were expelled from universities and any praise for the inter-war Czechoslovakian democracy banned. Havel, in trouble with the authorities from 1968 when he worked for a radio critical of the Soviets, and spending many years in jail, expertly described the world of “Post-Totalitarianism”, where people “live within a lie”. (Or as the Russian joke went: we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.) No political system based on a lie could ever be just. So his slogan, “Truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred”, was not an empty one.
UU's get the Love and Hate right, but struggle mightly with Truth and Lies. Get some experience with Marxist double talk as did Hitch and Havel, and the demarcation's stark. The importance obvious...

Friday, December 16, 2011

The American Spectator : The Real Sleeping Giant

Ross Kaminsky on Obama’s choice of the Class War Frame: The American Spectator : The Real Sleeping Giant

As Gallup notes, "Americans as a whole are no more likely to see the country as divided into haves and have nots than at any time in the past two decades." This is bad news for Barack Obama and other Democrats running for reelection in 2012. Their siren song of divide-and-conquer is falling flat on the ears of the majority of Americans. But the annoying political tinnitus is awakening the real sleeping giant -- those Americans who recognize that our nation did not become great by thinking like V.I. Lenin, Che Guevara, or Chairman Mao.

It’s just a big a failure for UU’s who thought it would grow our Churches too. Enough of a failure to do us in ‘cause we’re already on the edge as is.

Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011

John Podhoretz on Hitch: Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011:

There is no question in my mind that Christopher Hitchens was the bravest ideologically driven writer since—well, I’ll say it—my father, Norman Podhoretz. The bravery he displayed was not in taking unyielding positions and holding to them even when the outcome appeared bleak, as was the case with his support for the war in Iraq—contrast [...],

I'll gather more links on him. They're all over. All good.

Shmuley Boteach: Remembering Christopher Hitchens
Juli Weiner: In Memoriam: Christopher Hitchens, 1949–2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Saudi Witch Trial: 73rd Beheading is a Saudi Woman | Al Bawaba

Via Jordan's al Bawaba,The Saudi Witch Trial: 73rd Beheading is a Saudi Woman | Al Bawaba:
A Saudi Arabian woman was beheaded after being convicted of “practising witchcraft and sorcery,” the interior ministry said in a statement published by official state-run SPA news agency.

Amina bint Abdulhalim Nassar became the 73rd person executed in the ultra-conservative gulf kingdom this year after being sentenced to death in the northern Jawf province, the news agency reported.

The death continues to spark outrage among activists in the country as well as international human rights groups, who have repeatedly called for a moratorium on the death penalty in Saudi.
Say a prayer for her.

QB’s signature pose has Jews and gentiles ‘Tebowing’ | JTA - Jewish & Israel News

One Rabbi's take on Tebowing, QB’s signature pose has Jews and gentiles ‘Tebowing’ | JTA - Jewish & Israel News:
Rabbi Marc Gitler of the East Denver Orthodox Synagogue described the 24-year-old quarterback as a source of pride for anyone who could be mocked for their devotion

"Even from people who are very [religious Jews], they are happy to just have a guy who is religious and a good role model," he said.

“I think it’s a great story, a person who was doubted and showed that he can win games in this miraculous fashion. It’s great for this country and great for this religious, moral human being.”

Cronyism in America

We like to think we invented it in Chicago. We call it the "Chicago Way".

Iraq: U.S. troops out, U.S. hotels in -

Iraq: U.S. troops out, U.S. hotels in -

A friend of mine at University and expert on the place told me he had a surprising phone call from a huge Hotel chain asking about... and I completed the sentence with Najaf. He said yes. Hotels for all the pilgrims from Iran.

Good, and I hope the bring podcasts of Ayotallah Sistani back home with them.

Reignite: Do we welcome atheists?


A good post over at Reignite: Do we welcome atheists?

So just what the heck is if we UU’s welcome people too, or into, or what ever.  Go over and read him.  I left a comment there with my take.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lana Peters RIP

Steeled in Struggle | The Weekly Standard

She passed away in Richland Center Wisconsin. A very scenic corner of Wisconsin. I hope she found some peace there.

Occupy Wall Street | The Frontier Lab

A study here: Occupy Wall Street | The Frontier Lab about who is participating in Occupy.
From the Executive briefing,
The research reveals two segments of Occupy protesters, divided not along demographics but along their deeper reasons for supporting the protests. These two segments, the Communitarians and the Professionals, support the Occupy solution because it satisfies six core values—many which flow from a decrease in individual responsibility and a focus on present-day satisfaction. The Professionals come together with the Communitarians, capitalizing on the latter’s lack of meaning, purpose, and community in their lives, in order to achieve self-centered ends.

Key insights from the report:
• The Communitarians' deep values set includes Community, Purpose, and Security
• The Professionals' deep values set includes Prestige, Validation, and Control
• The promise and responsibility of ‘The American Dream’ do not overlap with either values set
• The most viable segment for conversion to other political movements are the Communitarians, because a sense of Community, Purpose, and Security can be more easily replicated

Baptist Press - The real Santa Claus is worth remembering

Via The Baptist Press, Baptist Press - FIRST-PERSON: The real Santa Claus is worth remembering - News with a Christian Perspective:

One of the most interesting stories connected with him was his role during the Arian controversy. St. Methodius asserted that "thanks to the teaching of St. Nicholas the metropolis of Myra alone was untouched by the filth of the Arian heresy, which it firmly rejected as death-dealing poison." (Arius, of course, asserted that Jesus was a created being and had not existed from all eternity.)

One weak tradition has him actually attending the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325, when Arian doctrine was rejected. The story goes that he got into a heated debate with Arius himself about whether there was a time when the Word (Jesus) did not exist. Nicholas strongly disagreed.

The debate ended suddenly when Nicholas punched Arius then and there on the floor of the council. This gives new meaning to the ditty: "He's making a list and checking it twice, he's going to find out who's naughty or nice."
Ask the jolly fat man at the Department store if it's true.

Monday, December 12, 2011

New Poll: UUA leading from behind?

A new poll before the results of the coming results on Church memberships although the indicators not looking good.

I had hoped for a more aggressive move on prompting Church building, and instead have seen mostly reactive moves on what seem to me ill fated moves e.g. UUA's expression of support to Occupy, and the earlier deliberations around Arizona's Immigration law and the location of General Assembly. Both decisions seemed to take UUA some time to pull together. I don't know how they fit with a strategy of growing our Churches. So they seem to me examples of leading from behind. And I don't know, if you have problems with authority, maybe that's as it should be. But it doesn't strike me as leadership.

The Poll to the right.

Poll Results: Should your Minister Blog?

There might be some sample bias asking this question on a blog of blog readers, but the vote decisive: Yes.
Yes 8 (72%)

No, but Social Networks OK 1 (9%)

No, not all 0 (0%)

Could care less 2 (18%)
I was the one vote on No, but SN's ok. I'll elaborate in a bit. I hope young seminarians who might read this don't rush off and start blogs. I still think it's a habit with some pitfalls for their kinds of careers.

Scholar, former UChicago staff member Jeffrey Abt completes book on O.I. founder | UChicago News

Scholar, former UChicago staff member Jeffrey Abt completes book on O.I. founder | UChicago News

Wednesday's night doings at OI.

Should more affluent UU Churches support the less affluent?

Rev Dan Harper on Top ten best things about liberal religion in 2011, pt. 1 « Yet Another Unitarian Universalist

Number 10’s the Great Recession culling out smaller, and hence less affluent UU Churches. Their dooming failure  not make decisions conducive to growth. (Why growth isn’t similarly the solution for the greater economy, a question that ought be asked too; but let's not go there.) 

The good per Dan is these dallying Churches now forced with either making the decisions to grow, or disband. 

Instead though, note Catholic Churches, in Chicago at least, routinely collect money for less affluent Churches, usually in the City, and often in African American neighborhoods with few Catholics.

So, should UU’s kick points over to less prosperous congregations, or hold back and let the cull go on?

Channing on Napoleon

Before Hitler and Stalin, there was Napoleon. Here's a clip from Channing's Memoirs on Napoleon, France, and the Revolution.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Liebe Gnoessen

The Clarence Darrow Collection

A huge collection of Darrow’s writings, all online, here at the U of Minn: The Clarence Darrow Collection

What an amazing time to be a Historian and Scholar.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"Putin Out," Russian protesters chant

And St Petersburg via The Telegraph

Captain Kirk Meets Up WIth Ron Paul On Sean Hannity

Comrade Zinoviev: Individual, Party and Truth

Analysis of a popular scene in Reds from a Marxist's perspective, John Reed as a Liberal, Zinoviev as Voice of Reason and here's the text from the film,

John Reed: “Yes well, I don’t allow people to take those liberties with what I write.”

Gregory Zinoviev: “Aren’t you propagandist enough to utilize what moves people most?”

JR: “I’m propagandist enough to utilize the truth.”

GZ: “And who defines this truth? You or the Party? Is your life dedicated to speaking for yourself or—”

JR: “You don’t talk about what my life is dedicated to.”

GZ: “Your life? You haven’t resolved what your life is dedicated to. You see yourself as an artist and at the same time a revolutionary. As a lover of your wife and as the spokesperson for the American Party.”

JR: “Zinoviev, if you don’t think a man can be an individual and be true to the collective, or speak for his own country and the International at the same time, or love his wife and still be faithful to the revolution, then you don’t have a self to give!”

GZ: “Would you be willing to give yourself to this revolution?”

JR: “When you separate a man from what he loves the most, what you do is purge what’s unique, and when you purge what’s unique in him, you purge dissent!”

GZ: “Comrade Reed…”

JR: “And when you purge dissent, you kill the revolution! Revolution is dissent! You don’t rewrite what I write!”

Reds sets up the individual v collective frame, and deconstructing it a popular theme for some (google Reds Zinoviev Reed). Zinoviev wins usually as Realist. Check the link.

It's a false frame though. The struggles not fidelity to individual v party, but fidelity to the truth, or falsehoods.

The picture above of Zinoviev in his mug shot at the start of the Great Purge. When truth came crashing in on him and he faced the existential reality we all face alone.

Footnote: I haven't read it yet, but a new book out on Baku: To See the Dawn: Baku, 1920-First Congress of the Peoples of the East (Communist International in Lenin's Time) A reprint of a 1993 Pathfinders Press pub, so readers will have to pick a bit for the truth I suspect. Still a good read I bet. If you're interested in this stuff...

The Economists Book list

A post to save a link of stuff I want to read.

Chicago's Skilled Labor Shortage

From Crain's Retooling Chicago series, on Chicago's Austin PolyTech Academy.

If you have working class skills, you can do ok in a Chicago faced with a lack of skilled workers. Occupy needs to sort that one out.

Kinzinger: "The greatest disinfectant to terrorism is freedom"

Kinzinger: "The greatest disinfectant to terrorism is freedom"

Friday, December 09, 2011

Obama's thin gruel at Osawatomie | Campaign 2012 | Washington Examiner

Attention Peter Morales of the denial claims, Obama's thin gruel at Osawatomie Campaign 2012 Washington Examiner:
Democrats like to think of themselves as the party of smart people. And over the last four years we have heard countless encomiums, and not just from Democrats, of the intellect and perceptiveness of Barack Obama. But a reading of the text of Obama’s December 6 speech at Osawatomie, Kansas, billed as one of his big speeches of the year, shows him to be something like the opposite.
Read Barone all, then consider the comments on Morales perplexity more Americans couldn't see the light shined by Enron's Economist Paul Krugman:

Do you remember when Gingrich said that no one he knew watched PBS or listened to NPR?
A recent article compared the brains (physical and functional) of self-described Conservatives and Liberals. While the Liberals had large amounts of neurons in the areas associated with complex thought (and functional MRI demonstrating increased activity) the brains of Conservatives were substantially more developed in the areas associated with fear. So, rationality isn't what should be expected as their responses are more rooted in the basic emotion areas and functions of the brain. Illuminating
No NPR, no PBS, a over developed brain; a wonder I can get my pants on in the morning. The damage here's not to me, but to liberalism. Avoiding argumentation on psychiatric grounds leads to sclerosis of the imagination.

A Klingon Christmas Carol ~ Kuriositas

HT to Daily Hearld for this: A Klingon Christmas Carol ~ Kuriositas:
It had to happen at some point. The first play to ever be produced in the language of the Klingons, A Klingon Christmas Carol began its performances in Chicago recently. Scrooge of course is the central character and to begin with, he has no honor and no courage. What better way to start a great and noble story of a warrior's redemption?
Glad it's not opening at a UU Church.  Check the link.  Many pics.

"A Klingon Christmas Carol" is going to Chicago! from Christopher Kidder on Vimeo.

McHenry County Blog | Durbin Tries to Trade Thomson Prison for Independent International Religious Persecution Watchdog’s Existence

McHenry County's Cal Skinner writes: McHenry County Blog | Durbin Tries to Trade Thomson Prison for Independent International Religious Persecution Watchdog’s Existence:

I've been following the commission but had no idea Drubin was too. How Illinois of him to trade an outfit advocating fundamental American principles, for a white elephant prison Illinois can't afford.
In typical Illinois style, U.S. Senate Dick Durbin has been fingered by CQ Weekly’a Shawn Zelle as the one who put a hold on the unanimous consent agreement passage of re-authorization of the US Commission on Religious Freedom.

This is the independent agency that is credited with pushing the Bush administration to understand the north–south conflict in Sudan as primarily a religious one, according to Nina Shea, the director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute and one of the US Commission on Religious Freedom.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

A History of Violence

A History of Violence: From the End of the Middle Ages to the Present. By Robert Muchembled. Polity388 pages; £60. To be published in America in January; $29.95 Buy from

I haven't read it but it's on the The Economist's xmas book list.  It fits my sense of the trend since 1989 although counter to most of the gloom vibes I get from fellow UUs.

The Economist's review here


The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does Happen. By Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw. Allen Lane; 255 pages; £20. To be published in America in January by Da Capo Press; $25. Buy from

I suspect that should be titled Everything That Can Happen Did Happen and maybe the young earth crowd may be closer than reality than Darwinists when it comes to time.

But I haven't read this book yet either.

The Economist's review here.

Book by UU author: A red boyhood « : Editors' blog

Book by UU author: A red boyhood « : Editors' blog:
Book by UU author: A red boyhood
By Kenneth Sutton, on December 7th, 2011
A Red Boyhood: Growing Up under Stalin. By Anatole Konstantin. University of Missouri Press, 2008. Konstantin, a member of the Unitarian Church of Westport, Connecticut, tells the story of his childhood from his birth in 1928, through the arrest and execution of his father in 1938, to his emigration to the United States in 1949.
And via a Review in the Jewish Ledger,
Q: Give us a preview of your Dec. 19 talk.

A: I tell the story about what happened to my family and how it happened, but I also tell why it happened, how the Soviet system allowed it to happen. You have to have an understanding of that system in order to understand. It’s strange that very few people know what happened in the Soviet Union under Stalin; there is no constituency for that history. So many people in the media were sympathetic to the Communists and were trying to hide the truth of what Stalin was doing, even if they knew about it. There are people who had full faith in Communism and now have to talk about the Communists as murderers.

What I emphasize in my talk is that political fanatics are no different from religious fanatics; they can be just as murderous.
That first paragraph in the answer a pretty powerful one. I have a friend with almost an identical personal history as Konstantin's. Curious he talks in the present tense here: ...and now have to talk about the Communists as murderers.

My experience is they just don't talk at all.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

....the party that sucks up to the Google guys and the Gates Foundation

More evidence the wheels have come off Liberalism. Via Mickey Kaus, Obama's Charity Capitalism
It’s pathetic if the mighty U.S. is really forced to beg corporations to produce here out of Warren-Buffetesque philanthropic urges. But it’s especially pathetic for American liberalism, which has always been most appealing when it stood up against the condescension of “alms givers”–but which now celebrates wealthy philanthropists with nauseating ease (a trend I blame, in very small part, on my old employer Slate, with its annual “Slate 60″ charity porn feature). “Giving back” is the credo of Hollywood celebrities, not New Deal liberals. Democrats are supposed to be the party of government–government that establishes a foundation for the essential dignity of working people–not the party that sucks up to the Google guys and the Gates Foundation.

At least Elizabeth Warren only wanted rich businessmen to pay higher taxes. It’s a sign of liberalism’s humiliating inability to do enough with those taxes that left-wingers now seek to substitute The Giving Pledge.

Read more:
The Liberal task's going to be to rebuild a coherent program from this slop. Humiliating it is. What would George Meany have said?

Campaign 2012: We Ignore the Iranian Issue at Our Peril

Via Real Clear Politics, Campaign 2012: We Ignore the Iranian Issue at Our Peril

I have a feeling Iran becomes the only issue very soon.
Last month, on “Morning Joe,” Mika Brzezinski hosted a program on which former U.S. diplomat Richard Haas and Iranian official Mohammad Javad Larijani discussed Iran’s nuclear program.

Aside from denying everything, and doing so with a mirthless smile, Larijani claimed that Iran had “fantastic relations” with all its neighbors, termed the United States the world’s biggest sponsor of state-supported terrorism, said it had supported the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and referred to “the renegade state of Israel” as the source of all the terror in the region -- all while of refusing to grant Israel even the right to exist.

Afterward, Brzezinski, who is well-informed on foreign policy issues, was shaken. “I was actually really disturbed by the entire interview,” she told her panelists. “It was chilling.”

A few moments later, Brzezinski added, “I also would love to hear each [presidential] candidate really, really, really talk about their perspective on the Iran situation.”

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Press Release

I wonder if I was there only reader?

December 6, 2011

USCIRF Announcement
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom regrets to have to bring to your attention the attached resolution, which we understand to reflect our legal obligations to prepare to cease all operations unless reauthorized by December 16, 2011.

It remains our most fervent hope that the Commission will be reauthorized, so that it can continue its vital work in advising the President, the Congress, and the Secretary of State.

The Commission expresses its sincere appreciation to all those who have supported, and remain supportive of, the continuation and reauthorization of the Commission’s mandate and work.

Leonard A. Leo, Chair
Dr. Don Argue, Vice Chair
Dr. Elizabeth H. Prodromou, Vice Chair
Dr. Azizah al Hibri, Commissioner
Felice D. Gaer, Commissioner
Dr. Richard D. Land, Commissioner
Rev. William Shaw, Commissioner
Nina Shea, Commissioner
Ted Van Der Meid, Commissioner

* * *


RESOLUTION (12/6/11)

WHEREAS the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) shall expire on December 16, 2011, in the absence of either enactment of reauthorizing legislation by the Senate and the House of Representatives that is duly signed by the President of the United States by that date, or, enactment of provisions specifically extending USCIRF's operations in another continuing resolution or other measures, should any of these be adopted by the Congress; and

WHEREAS Federal law requires USCIRF to undertake certain fiscal and administrative measures to ensure an orderly and financially solvent closure of the agency before its expiration; and

WHEREAS the Government Services Administration has notified USCIRF of the need to initiate such measures;

BE IT RESOLVED that, effective immediately, all USCIRF personnel shall, under the direction of the Executive Director, undertake any and all steps that are necessary to ensure that, in the event of USCIRF's expiration on December 16, 2011, USCIRF will shut down in accordance with all applicable Federal laws and regulations.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that USCIRF personnel shall, under the direction of the Executive Director, take all necessary steps to preserve and archive any and all records of the Commission.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that USCIRF's Executive Director shall determine whether and where said records can be archived and make appropriate arrangements for their transfer upon expiration of the Commission.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Resolution be transmitted to all Members of Congress, the President of the United States, and the Secretary of State, and that this resolution be posted as well on the USCIRF website.

USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the leadership of both political parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives. USCIRF’s principal responsibilities are to review the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress.

To interview a USCIRF Commissioner, contact Tom Carter, Communications Director at, or (202) 523-3257.

Iran - Heavy Presence of Security Forces in Center of Tehran, Dec. 6th 2011

(12.05.2011) Homs | Leaked video of tanks firing and shelling mosques & civilian homes

A Real Priest - Father Dan Mallette Viciously Beaten

A Real Priest - Father Dan Mallette Viciously Beaten

Via fellow Chicago blogger Pat Hickey. Chicago often a cruel place.