Thursday, September 09, 2010

Jones Cancels "Burn A Koran Day"

Finally the media whore, Terry Jones has listened to reason and canceled his publicity stunt.  The New York Times reports that he has agreed to meet with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf the leader who is building the Islamic Center in NYC.  Amazing!

Perhaps President Obama's plea was heard.  Perhaps Jones got all the press he wanted.  Perhaps Jones actually opened his Bible and read that line about "blessed are the peacemakers"?  Whatever, it's over for now.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Terry Jones & Dove World Outreach in Perspective

OK, this fellow causing all the stink, Rev. Terry Jones is indeed a hateful bigot who wants to burn Qu-rans, no question about it.  However, is he really worth all the brouhaha?  It only took a few moments research to find that his church consists of a 50 member congregation.  That puts it somewhere in the Westboro Baptist Church category.  His message smacks of Westboro as well and in fact Fred Phelps cult, (Westboro Baptist) participated in a joint protest with Jones flock in April 2010.  They were protesting homosexuality!  What a surprise.

I guess Jones figured he needed to stake out his own territory in loony land by his outrageous attacks on Islam?  Now he has all the free publicity he wants and it only cost him a few phone calls to a sensation hungry press and some hand painted signs.

I understand the anger from Muslims around the world at this guy, but perhaps he should be treated like Fred Phelps, and just ignored wherever possible.  He feeds on publicity and if you cut off the supply  his little cult will fade away. 

Note to the press:  Since when was it BIG NEWS when a wacko preacher with a nearly non-existant congregation decides to do something hateful and silly at the same time?  Must be a slow news month.  I guess you ran out of "it's so hot you can fry an egg on the sidewalk" stories and now have to pander to the genuine certified lunatic fringe?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Close Call With Asteroid in 2015

Looking at the latest info from the Near Earth Object survey that NASA and several other groups have in progress, I found this little guy.  2004 JC is the asteroid depicted in this computer simulation.  Crosses earth orbit regularly, but in 2015 it looks pretty durned close.  Of course this is still many many miles away, but this demonstrates the need for the survey.  Being able to plot these objects and model their courses could help us spot a potential danger far enough in advance to do something about it.

Dove World Church Hates American Soldiers

Rev Terry Jones has responded to General Patraeus' plea to not hold the incendiary "Burn a Qu'ran Day" and Rev. Jones has spoken.  He was interviewed by CNN Kiran Chetry and gives his response:
CHETRY: Are you willing to have the blood of soldiers on your hands by this demonstration?
JONES: Yeah, we are actually very concerned of course. We are taking the General’s words very serious. We are continuing to pray about the action on September the 11th. We are indeed very concerned about it. [...]
CHETRY: So you’re saying you might not well go through with this? [...]
JONES: I am saying we are definitely praying about it. We have firmly made up our mind, but at the same time, we are definitely praying about it.
Already there are protests and violent actions as a result of his much publicized announcement and all he can say is, "we are praying about it"?  His cavalier attitude toward our troops and his publicity grabbing stunts have already caused imeasurable harm to any good will we might have left.  Now this guy when faced with the real possibility that this silly publicity stunt  might get US troops killed still intends to go ahead with it?

What kind of Christian is he?  As far as I can tell his actions have so little to do with Jesus teachings that I don't even recognize what religion he is.   

Five Years After Katrina, Zeitoun's Story Still Resonates

Here in Dallas there are lots of folks who are expat New Orleanians.  They moved here after Katrina and Rita devastated the Crescent City and the Gulf Coast and never moved back.  Our city is richer for this, espceially for the friends I have made who arrived here as refugees and stayed to become Dallasites.

Meanwhile in New Orleans, a lot of people returned and began picking up the pieces and rebuilding their city.  Some never left.  One of those Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian immigrant and small  business owner sent his family away while he looked after his home, business and several rental properties his family owned.  His story is fascinating, inspiring and maddening.  It made a wonderful book.

Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers, is the true story of the Zeitoun family and the trials and tribulations following the storm. The book gives a good account of what really happened in New Orleans and if you think you knew the story, think again.  The sensationalized news accounts of animalistic behavior were for the most part rumor and the real events were far more disturbing in the way authorities handle emergencies and how citizens are treated in the aftermath.  This is an important book and worth your time.

Some of the proceeds from it go to the Zeitoun Foundation which is helping rebuild New Orleans, so you can feel good about buying a copy and enjoy the read as well.

Monday, September 06, 2010

General Patraeus Says Burning Qu'rans Will Endanger US Troops

General David Patraeus has stated the obvious, but thank God he did.  The misguided zealot Terry Jones and his Dove World Church have come up with a great publicity gimmick, "Burn A Quran Day".  They intend to burn the sacred boks on September 11 as some kind of statement.  Well it's a statement alright, a really crazy, racist and bigoted one.

First of all burning books is so 1939 Germany, and second of all the whole thing is only going to be used as a rallying cry for the Taliban and Al Quaeda to inflame already strained tensions in Afghanistan and the Middle East.  That will result in more American's getting killed and the whole thing taking on a heightened sense of holy war.

Of course that is what Jones and his apocalyptic wackos want!  They are itching for a fight that of couse doesn't actually endanger them.

Well, here's the deal.  Already the Taliban is calling for the assassination of President Obama and renewed vigor in the attacks on US troops.  That sounds like a national security threat to me, and so that trumps Jones "free speech".  So when is soneone from Homeland Security going to arrest him for giving aid to the enemy?

Better still, someone needs to get him in a room and lay out this whole picture for him.  He isn't just thumping a Bible for his flock, he is trying to ferment more terrorist attacks.  Of course I feel sure his vision involves something very much like that.  He probably wants Armageddon sooner than later so he can be raptured up to Jesus.  Somehow I get the feeling his actions will not endear him to the Prince of Peace. 

Note to Rev. Jones and the Taliban as well:  Open your holy books, Qu'ran and Bible, and look back toward the beginning.  You will find that Abraham is listed there in both books as the patriarch of us all.  Christians, Jews and Muslims all sight a common ancestry,  why is that so hard to understand?  Rev. Jones, when you burn the Qu'ran, you are burning stories of the patriarchs and even Jesus.  Maybe we would all be better off with a read the Qu'ran day or for that matter a "Read the Bible" day.  Something positive would be much better than this incendiary crap!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

It's Gay Pride Parade Time in Dallas - In a Couple of Weeks....

On the cusp of the Gay Pride Parade here in Dallas I always debate whether I will once again dress up in my leather in the gawd-awful Texas heat and traipse down Cedar Springs Ave. tossing beads and waving to the thousands of people who line the route.  It's hot and sweaty and sometimes makes me the target of taunts form the handful of protesters who come to hold hateful signs and sneer.

I also know that a lot of folks on the "A-Gay" list are appalled at the leathermen and leatherwomen who parade, as well as the drag queens and anyone else who looks atypical. These are the HRC crowd who believes we should assimilate and become the non-threatening straight-acting good citizens they show in their brochures and advertisements.

Now I understand it is easier to catch flies with honey, and true a lot of straight people might find images of drag queens, gender queers and leather folk disturbing.  OK, that's fine, but to try to cover up the diversity and "color" of our community does a disservice to the cause of equal rights.  We want equality not so we can look and act like straight people, but so we can be who we are and still enjoy full rights as citizens of the Unites States.

Now don't get me wrong, the Human Rights Campaign has done some good things and I support them, but I certainly would not want them to be the only face of the LGBT community.  That's why I support the Woodhull Freedom Foundation.  It's a growing organization that  has a simple and very catchy mission statement.

"Sexual freedom is a basic human right."

Wow!  Not marriage, not military service not politics but basic human rights?  Sexual freedom is a cause a whole lot f people can get behind.  Surprisingly the allies come from all parts of the sexual spectrum.  I think we need to consider why we are denied our rights.  It's because not of what we wear, but how and who we love. If we cannot be proud of our community and it's diversity, then we have missed the boat.  We are a sexual minority plain and simple and as such we will never "fit" the straight mold.

So what is the point of this rant?  Well, it's simply to let everyone know that if you go to the Parade in a couple of weeks, be prepared to see the real rainbow of who we are.  Also be prepared to have a good time and celebrate just how different we all can be while still embracing each other as community.