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The Worst Kind of Free Speech

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, People & Culture
Westboro Baptist Church at the United Nations ...

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The latest media reports indicate that pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida has postponed, but not cancelled, his congregation's planned Qur'an-burning on the anniversary of September 11th, after a phone call from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and condemnation from leaders worldwide.

Unfortunately, Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church (of "God Hates Fags" infamy) have vowed to carry out the burning if Dove World doesn't do it.

In the meantime, Dove World has had its website taken down by their hosting providers, Interpol has issued a global alert, and some clever folks have created a parody ad mocking Jones and Phelps.… Continues …

The World's Greatest Threat?

— Filed under: Breaking News, People & Culture
i know it hurts to burn (one)

Tony Blair recently remarked that radical Islam is the world's greatest threat.  Although I agree that radical Islam is threatening, I don't think it's just Islam that's the problem.  I think it's all extremists that we should be concerned with. 

I read today that there's a church in Florida, called Dove World Outreach Center, that's planning to commemorate September 11 with "Burn a Koran Day".  They've created a Facebook page for the event, that states:

"On September 11th, 2010, from 6pm - 9pm, we will burn the Koran on the property of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, FL in remembrance of the fallen victims of 9/11 and to stand against the evil of Islam. Islam is of the devil!"… Continues …

Pakistani Military Brass Tossed Off US Flight

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government
 This was ...

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Is airport security going too far?

On Sunday night, nine passengers of Pakistani descent were removed from a United Airlines flight to Tampa, Florida, after one of them made a comment that alarmed another passenger. At first blush, this incident doesn't seem particularly unusual. Just another in a long string of incidents involving a careless comment and a slightly overzealous flight crew, right?

Except that the nine passengers were officers in the Pakistani military, on their way to a meeting at the invitation of US Centcom. At the time of writing, most news outlets in the United States were reporting only that "nine foreign-born people" were tossed off a plane. The full story can be had by scouring the international press. Dawn.com, a Pakistani newspaper site, reports that a brigadier traveling with the delegation "had misbehaved with a stewardess and told her that 'this would be her last mission'". The article goes on to say that the delegation was held for hours without a clear explanation of what had prompted their expulsion from the airplane.… Continues …

Infographic Tackles Islamophobia

— Filed under: People & Culture

In the midst of all the madness surrounding the so-called "Ground Zero mosque" (which is actually two blocks away from Ground Zero), do sane voices still exist? Sometimes it seems as though all of America has gone crazy with Islamophobia. Where are the rational folks? And how do they convince the irrational and fearful folks that not all Muslims hate them?

I stumbled upon a visual tool that I think could prove handy. Accompanying this infographic is a bit of insight from the author:

"... I think the problem with the New York mosque controversy is that the people who are upset can't tell the little red circle from the blue area or from the larger circle encompassing both. I figured if I drew a picture, they might get it better. The people in the red circle hate the people in OUR circle, including the people in the blue area. If YOU hate the people outside the red circle, you aren't paying attention."

Would you try e-cigarettes?

— Filed under: People & Culture, Science & Technology

World Won't Wait for E-Cigarettes, Spice

— Filed under: People & Culture, Science & Technology
Super-T Manufacturing's all mechanical, wirele...

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The e-cigarette, a new craze that is so strange it's almost comical, is sweeping the world and taking a lot of life-long smokers with it. It's essentially a vaporizer that "vapes" a nicotine-containing liquid called "juice". It gives the user the fix of nicotine without the harmful and carcinogenic side effects that burning brings.

For those wondering whether they could give up the real thing for an electronic alternative, the article linked above claims that many smokers have been able to make a total switch within days.… Continues …

Endangered Javan Leopard Killed By Police

— Filed under: Science & Technology

The extremely rare Javan leopardThe extremely rare Javan leopardBuried in an Indonesian newspaper's website, and certainly underreported by the international news media, was the story of the endangered Javan leopard that was shot by police on Saturday. It is estimated that there are less than 250 Javan leopards left in the world, and possibly as few as one hundred.

According to the article, the leopard entered a village and scared the residents, who called police. The leopard ran away, but "the residents ... kept on chasing it." The leopard was finally shot three times in a classroom of the Sukabumi Police Academy. How it ended up on the grounds of the police academy is not explained, and seems a bit fishy to say the least.

US Revokes Training Ban for Controversial Indonesian Commando Unit

— Filed under: Politics & Government

One month ago today during a diplomatic visit to Indonesia Robert Gates, the US defense secretary, announced the recession of the US ban on ties with Kopassus, the special forces branch of the Indonesian military.

In 1999, following the implementation of a 1997 law prohibiting the US from training military forces accused of human rights violations, the US severed ties with the Indonesian military. This ban was officially receded in 2005 as a result of perceived good behavior with regard to the Indonesian military’s observation of human rights, yet the ban remained in place for the specialist Commando regiment.

Al Qaeda Afraid That Iran Will Take Over Mecca

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government
The Holy Kaaba in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

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Mecca: Soon to be Iranian?

In case you missed it, Iran went nuclear over the weekend. After decades of waiting, the Islamic republic opened its first nuclear reactor, complete with assurances that it would only be used to provide energy and not to arm warheads. In related news, Iran also broadcast the launch of new surface-to-surface missiles, and announced a host of other new weapons (including a "stealth bomber drone"), most bearing names with religious significance.

Because the Shiite-majority republic has repeatedly called for the annihilation of Israel, all eyes now shift to the Jewish state. Israel never faced any real repercussions from the botched flotilla raid a few months ago. Might the newly-emboldened nation employ a surgical strike to eliminate Iran's nuclear plant, thus igniting a regional war? Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) certainly think so, and they're getting ready.… Continues …

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