Tag Archives: Terrorism

Dear Christian,

screenshot-2017-01-29-13-12-06You don’t know me, and I won’t pretend to know you, but we are at a critical juncture in our country and in our respective faiths and it’s important that we act and act quickly.

On Friday, the Republican president signed an ethically, legally, and morally questionable executive order that restricted immigration from seven nations — none of which have given birth to terrorists who have killed Americans, and you can read that in no less a source than The Daily Caller, which may be the only time I ever link to that woe-begotten publication.

The worldwide reaction has been predictably to the negative, and we, as believers, can do no less than to work our hardest against this man. If you voted for this man, you can no longer shrug that you voted for a racist. If you continue to support him, you are a racist, yourself, and racism has precisely no place in your Book. No amount of tweaking will change this — particularly when Pres. Bannon just last night fired the acting attorney general who refused to enforce his benighted ban.

WWJD? Stand up. Fight back. Swords up.

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What will Pres. Obama say in his State of the Union address?

Gizmodo says this State of the Union will be “nontraditional,” and Pres. Obama’s chief of staff says the speech will be “a big optimistic generous view of the future.”

The White House chief digital officer Jason Goldman, says there will be multiple platforms on which to experience the speech, which was first mentioned in our Constitution‘s Article II, Section 3, that the President “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union.” Since 1790, with occasional exceptions, State of the Union messages have been delivered annually.

Thomas Jefferson didn’t much like giving them, so he sent a written report, instead. That means of delivering the message continued through William Howard Taft in 1912. Calvin Coolidge’s State of the Union was the first one on radio on 1923. FDR started the tradition of an oral presentation in his first in 1934.

 

Here are some State of the Union firsts, stolen from the Interwebs:

  • First TV broadcast took place when President Harry Truman was in office in 1947

  • First president to deliver the speech in primetime was Lyndon Johnson in 1965

  • First live webcast on the Internet happened in the President George W. Bush administration in 2002

  • First high definition television broadcast of the address also took place under George W. Bush in 2004

  • First enhanced State of the Union live stream: President Obama, 2011

The Los Angeles Times says to look for optimism; a call to action on domestic policy; international priorities; 2016 presidential campaign, and conversation about agreeing to disagree.

This is Obama’s last SOTU address, and other presidents used their last SOFU to:

  • Ask for a permanent navy (George Washington)
  • Talk about bad labor-management relations leading to too many strikes (a recent stoppage in steel production had been especially worrisome) and about the debilitating effects of inflation. And balancing the budget. (Dwight Eisenhower)
  • Suggest they were taking a victory lap (Ronald Reagan)
  • Suggest the American voters vote for Al Gore (Bill Clinton)

 

Pew Research Center looked back at Pres. Obama’s first address to Congress in 2009 – what they called a SOTU in every way but name — to compare how many promises he’s kept. They found:

Terrorism: For most of Obama’s term, the public gave him fairly high marks on his handling of the threat of terrorism – peaking in May 2011, just after the killing of Osama bin Laden. But Obama’s approval ratings on handling terrorism have fallen since, and took an especially precipitous drop after the Paris and San Bernardino attacks.

Health care: More Americans are covered by some form of health insurance now – whether employer-provided, purchased on an exchange or obtained via Medicaid or Medicare – than when Obama took office. According to the Census Bureau, 16.1% of Americans (nearly 49 million) were uninsured in 2009; by 2014, the last year for which there are data, only 10.4% (almost 33 million) Americans lacked health coverage.

Education: The share of Americans ages 18 and older with at least some education beyond high school has risen since 2009, according to the Census Bureau – from 55% that year to 58% in 2014 – though that’s a continuation of a trend that dates back to at least 2001. But student performance at the elementary and secondary levels hasn’t changed much, according to data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The share of eighth-graders scoring at or above the “proficient” level in reading went from 32% in 2009 to 34% in 2015, for instance, and the share scoring at or above proficiency in math went from 34% in 2009 to 33% last year. Among fourth-graders, 36% scored at or above the proficiency level in reading last year, versus 33% in 2009. For math proficiency, the shares were 40% and 39%, respectively.

Here’s the New York Times’ take on Obama’s promises:

Gun control: ACTION Mr. Obama failed to persuade Congress to mandate universal background checks for gun sales, but he took about two dozen modest executive actions in 2013, and 10 more last week, intended to increase enforcement of existing gun laws.

Iran: ACTION The United States and five other nations reached a deal with Iran in July 2015 that limits the country’s nuclear program for at least a decade in exchange for lifting international sanctions.

Syria: ACTION Despite calling for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to step down and setting a “red line” — the use of chemical weapons by Mr. Assad’s administration — that he said would bring an American military response, Mr. Obama has refused to intervene directly against the Syrian government. The United States and a coalition of partners are bombing select Islamic State strongholds in Syria. The Defense Department also began, but recently abandoned, a program to train moderate Syrian rebels.

Iraq and Afghanistan: ACTION About 10,000 American service members remain in Afghanistan. In October 2015, Mr. Obama halted the military withdrawal and indefinitely prolonged the American presence there. He has also sent a small number of troops — trainers, advisers and Special Operations forces — back to Iraq, but he refuses to make a large-scale commitment of forces.

Health care: ACTION The Affordable Care Act is a hallmark of Mr. Obama’s presidency.

ImmigratioN: ACTION Mr. Obama worked with a bipartisan group of eight senators to pass a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws, but the bill died when House Republicans refused to consider it. He then turned to executive actions, some of which have been blocked by the courts.

Education: ACTION Mr. Obama unveiled his community college plan days before his 2015 speech, pledging to spend $60 billion over 10 years to make two years of college free for as many as nine million students. The Republican-controlled Congress has not accepted his proposal.

Gay rights: ACTION Mr. Obama signed legislation in 2010 allowing the military to do away with “don’t ask, don’t tell,” a Clinton-era law that allowed gays to serve as long as they kept their sexuality a secret.

Climate change: ACTION Mr. Obama issued regulations in August 2015 designed to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions from American power plants and to revolutionize the country’s electric industry. Three months later, herejected a proposal to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the gulf coast. He has also directed billions of dollars to clean-energy projects and advanced a host of other regulations aimed at curtailing climate-warming emissions.

Jobs: ACTION The unemployment rate was 7.8 percent when Mr. Obama took office and peaked at 10.2 percent in October 2009, in the midst of the financial crisis. A series of measures before and during his administration — including the automotive industry bailout, the stimulus package and the financial-sector bailout — helped turn the economy around. The unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday was 5 percent.

Guantanamo Bay: ACTION Since Congress blocked a January 2009 directive to close the wartime detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Mr. Obama has slowly winnowed the number of prisoners held there to about 100, downfrom several hundred, primarily by transferring detainees to other nations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s how we view terrorism in one easy chart

blog_gallup_terrorism_2001_2015You can read more here.

On being grateful…

Troll-6I farted around on the Twitters too much yesterday, a state of goofing off that was a result of  my feeling giddy as the semester winds down, and my feeling arrogantly that I had something to add.

The universe does not reward arrogance — at least, it doesn’t in my neighborhood. I tweeted a link to the post about terrorism having no religion, which yielded me this:

Terrorism has no religion” Yes it DOES. It’s called ‘Islam’. You blind stupid pig-headed liberal scum.

Because that retort was out of the blue from someone I’ve not met yet, I wasn’t hurt or even all that angry, save for the part about Islam. I figure if someone starts with name-calling, they are not a worthy opponent. I retorted something arch and snotty which I typed with one hand because I was holding my lunch sandwich in the other, and then I blocked him forever and ever. Easy-peasy. I never broke a sweat.

But you know what? For a brief moment, I was back in the newsroom where over the years I attracted my share of feeder fish who refused to recognize my genius no matter how hard I tried. A few of those trolls followed me over here. Dealing with the lil’ band of trolls drove me to distraction. It was like swatting flies from in front of your face. Flies don’t have the good sense to leave where they’re not wanted, and neither do trolls.

The difference today is that I no longer get emotionally engaged. That was my downfall with the earlier trolls. I actually, on some level, cared about what they said. I’d try to reason with them. I’d try to humor them. I stayed in conversations with them far too long because on some sad level, I thought we could come to some agreement and be friends.

Well, shit on that noise.

I’m older now. Life’s too short. I haven’t lost my compassion. I haven’t lost my empathy, but I have precisely zero fucks to give if someone is willfully stupid. I shake the dust from my feet (that’s in the Bible!) and I move on. And I’m grateful I’ve learned that lesson.

 

Terrorism has no religion

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And thanks, Mike the Heathen, for the photo.

With all the talk about guns and terrorism…

unnamedAnd thanks, Cynical, for the photo.

It’s terrorism

CHyWfodUEAA3xVACall it what you will, but the shooting at the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, was an act of terrorism.

A shooter — Dylann Roof, 21, of South Carolina — has been taken into custody. The shooter shot the pastor and eight members of the Mother Emanuel AME Church during Wednesday night’s Bible study and prayer meeting. An unknown number of people were wounded, as well.

Here’s the FBI’s definition of terrorism. The shooter was supposed to have said:

You rape our women and you’re taking over our country and you have to go.

Here’s more on the pastor, Clementa Pinckney, who was also a state senator. That’s his desk at the state Senate chambers. Prayers to the family and the community. This is just so sad.