Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Random Thought About "Ground Zero" Mosque

I haven't updated in a while. And when I go a while without updating you should be worried, because that means I've been thinking a lot. For the past week or so, I've been thinking about the community center and Mosque being built in lower Manhattan. I've tweeted about it a lot, and if you follow my tweets, you know that I support their right to build the community center and Mosque there. I haven't even thought about "should they build there," because it doesn't make any difference to me. I think the most important thing is for the United States to uphold the Constitution and everyone's rights to freedom of religion and freedom to own property.

But a lot of people don't see it that way. Most people do support the right of the Mosque to be built, but most people don't think it should be built there. People have called the abandoned Burlington Coat Factory that was bought by Imam Rauf to build this community center "hallowed ground." I love a bargain as much as the next person, but "hallowed ground?" This building is two blocks away from Ground Zero, it's been abandoned for 8 years, and it's about time that area of the city be rebuilt to foster a feeling of community and at least try to bring it back to the bustling neighborhood it was before September 11, 2001. People like Newt Gingrich and other opposers of the Mosque are comparing Muslims to Nazis. Muslims all over the country who wish to build Mosques and Muslim prayer centers are being denied permits, as local governments are wiping their assess with the Constitution in order to please some racist jerks. And all of these thoughts naturally lead me to wonder this:

Did Glenn Beck face this much red tape from the government when he was planning his demonstration at the site of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech this Saturday? Oh yeah. None. None at all. In fact, this was something he's been talking about for a year.

Think about it. Protesters of the Mosque in lower Manhattan are saying that because the 9/11 hijackers were Muslim, Muslims building on private property there would be in poor taste and would be a slap in the face to everyone who lost loved ones on September 11. Let's apply this logic be applied to Glenn Beck's demonstration. After all, a White person murdered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Therefore, White people shouldn't be allowed to demonstrate on the site where he gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. It's sacred ground for African Americans who fought and died for equal rights. If you think I'm going too far with this, please read on.

One of the other major objections to a Muslim community and prayer center being built two blocks from Ground Zero is that this 13-story building is a symbol of Muslim's desire to convert everybody and change their most cherished beliefs and values. Fancy this quote.

This is going to be an image for the history books. If you come, I believe this may -- maybe in 100 years from now or 200 years from now -- I believe this will be remembered as a moment America turned the corner.

This is going to be an iconic event . . . This is a moment quite honestly, that I think we will reclaim the civil rights movement. It has been so distorted and so turned upside down. It's an abomination . . . We will take that movement because we were the people that did it in the first place.

Gee, who said that? Imam Rauf? No. It was Glenn Beck. It looks like Glenn Beck is the one who is trying to change history and our value system. Projection much?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Take Action Monday

End breast ironing in Cameroon.

Protect Social Security.

Tell President Obama to increase humanitarian aid to displaced Iraqis.

Urge Sarah Palin to STFU.

Support Net Neutrality.

Speak out against Republican obstructionism.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Palins to Teachers: "Oooh."

Former Governor Sarah "Winky Magee" Palin visited her home state of Alaska for some reason and brought a camera crew. Then, she saw a sign that said "WORST GOVERNOR EVER" and rushed over to talk to the person who made it. You know, because when Sarah Palin sees a sign that says "WORST GOVERNOR EVER," she automatically thinks, "That's me!" This is what went down:

Woman: You swore on your precious Bible that you would uphold the interests of this state. And then, when cash was waved in front of your face, you quit.

Sarah: [shocked] Oh, you wanted me to be your governor! I'm honored. Thank you.

Woman: I wanted you to honor your responsibilities. That is what I wanted. And to be part of the political process instead of becoming a celebrity so that you could -- and if that is the best you could do, then good for you, if that's the best you could do.

Sarah: That's why I'm out there, fighting for America, to have a Constitution protected so that we could have free speech.

Woman: Where are you fighting for that?

Sarah: Oh my goodness! To elect candidates who understand the Constitution, to protect our military interests so that we can keep fighting for our Constitution and freedoms --

Woman: By using your celebrity status. Certainly not by political --

One of Sarah's daughters -- Sprocket?: How is she a celebrity?

Sarah: I'm honored that she sees me as a celebrity!

Woman: You're certainly not representing the state of Alaska any longer, even though --

Palin's daughter -- Ozmodiar, I think: She's representing United States! *jazz hands*

Woman: Yes, I know. You belong to America now, and that's just fine.

Sarah: What do you do here?

Woman: I'm a teacher.

Sarah and Dingleberry Jones: Oooh. [exchange disappointed looks]

Yes, Sarah. Do you know what a teacher is? You should probably bring a Kindergarten teacher with you. She can improve your penmanship for the next time you want to read something off of your hand!

Ms. Palin's fee-fees got all hurt when news outlets played the video and concluded that she did indeed show contempt for this woman's career, albeit subtly. She certainly seemed much more thrilled when the woman identified herself as the wife of a commercial fisherman. Why not get so excited about her being a teacher, if you consider working in a school such an honorable profession that many of your family members hold? Where was she when John Boehner called the $20 billion jobs bill for teachers and police officers a "bailout for teachers unions?" Blogging in her PJs? Ms. Palin is all talk and no action and won't even come to the defense of her family when some jerk undermines their work. Shame, shame, shame.

So brava to Alaskan teacher lady, for speaking your mind, being proud, and being able to make a cogent argument. Can't say the same for Sarah Palin and her daughter, Boomerang Gypsy or something.

Monday, August 2, 2010

10 Things Anti-Choice Protesters Can Do to Help a Child Live a Happy Life

I just finished watching (and re-watching some of) the HBO documentary 12th and Delaware. It's about an intersection in Florida where there is an abortion clinic and a crisis pregnancy center (CPC). Unfortunately, most of the documentary follows CPC workers and anti-choice protesters. I guess that's where all the juiciness is. But I saw the anti-choice protesters in a different way. Don't get me wrong. I did not see past their ignorance and downright hatred for women. It was abundant. But what got me the angriest was that they were wasting some of their redeeming qualities, like tenacity, dedication, and passion, on harassing and hurting women. They spend their days, and make their living, harassing, lying to, and insulting the intelligence of women and teen girls. The "counselor" of the CPC and an anti-choice protester in the film admitted that their tactics may be harmful and/or illegal (e.g., stalking doctors and locking pregnant women in a room for 6 hours to convince them not to have an abortion), but it was worth it, because they thought they were helping.

Imagine if they engaged in activities that helped children, instead of denigrating women?

So I had the idea to do some convincing myself. I don't know if I will convince anybody to change their routine, but I'll just get it out there. I would like anybody who spends their days protesting outside of abortion clinics and other women's health centers to take one hour, just ONE HOUR, out of their protesting schedule to help real sentient children live fulfilling lives. Here are some ideas.

1. Spend an hour reading to one or more children at the local library or hospital. In an hour, you can read a couple of really good picture books, and it's a great excuse to talk in funny character voices.

2. Join an organization like Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and spend an hour with a child playing an awesome board game like Chutes and Ladders. There's no chute for the girl who had an abortion, but I'm sure pro-lifers can still appreciate the lessons learned.

3. Volunteer at the library or an after-school program, and spend an hour helping children with their homework.

4. Get together with neighborhood parents and organize a carpool to transport children to and from school. It helps kids and the environment!

5. Spend an hour at the local recreation center and teach music, dancing, art, baking, or first aid to children.

6. I highly doubt that most anti-choicers would do this, but I'll give it a shot. Spend an hour a day being a crisis intervention counselor for The Trevor Project, a hotline for suicidal LGBTQ youth. Help save the life of a transgender, genderqueer, gay, bisexual, or questioning kid in need.

7. Spend a half hour standing outside of the grocery store and collect money for UNICEF, the March of Dimes, or Abandoned Babies and Children. Spend the other half hour buying groceries to donate to the local food bank, since millions of kids go hungry every day in the United States.

8. Spend an hour at a group home for foster children, teen moms, runaways, or juvenile offenders and talk or play with them.

9. Volunteer at the local park and motivate children to exercise and eat healthy.

10. Spend an extra hour a day enjoying the company of your own children, grandchildren, and the other adorable little kids in your lives. They might be jealous that you're giving so much attention to other women's embryos.

This isn't about changing the views of anti-choicers. I'm not even telling them to stop protesting outside of clinics (although I wish they would, since they're doing more harm than good [that was a rhyme]). All I'm saying is that the above 10 things (and many others) are at least as rewarding as protesting outside of a clinic, and way more effective at helping children live happy lives. So take an hour each day and help children in need who can at least smile in appreciation. Some might even say thank you!

P.S. Although I say "volunteer" throughout the post, you can get a paying job to do some of those things. But you'd have to do it for more than an hour, of course.