Do Anti-Sharia Protesters Really Care About American Women?

As a follow-up to my last post…

These protesters like to talk about how badly women fare under Sharia. They go on and on about Muslim women are chattel, killed, etc. Do they really care? Do they even care about American women? I don’t think so.

They’d have a better argument if these things weren’t true:

FACT: 3 US women are killed every day by an intimate partner

FACT: over 11,000 women were killed between 2001-2012

FACT: over 38M American women have experienced domestic violence at the hands of an intimate partner

FACT: almost 5M women experience domestic violence every day

FACT: over 40% of women in abusive relationships are raped

FACT: the rate of domestic violence in law enforcement and the military is 2-4x higher than in the general population (where are the protests about that?)

But these people don’t really give a rat’s ass about women, they just hate Muslims. More horrific stats here.

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Sharia Law is NOT Coming to the USA

The news out of Texas is that they’re mad about Sharia coming to the USA, so they hang around protesting at mosques and statehouses, armed to the teeth. You know, because it’s Texas. Well, snowflakes, it’s already here. (Cue scary music.)

Yes, there are Islamic tribunals working in our country. Just as there are Catholic tribunals and Jewish rabbinical courts. OMG! Religion and state are supposed to be separate! Well, in this case, they are. Religious courts are all over, and they have been for years. They deal with cases from a religious perspective, not a civil law perspective. Some Catholic experts are worried that the anti-Sharia laws popping up all over could negatively affect the church’s tribunals.

Too many people don’t seem to have a grasp on either Sharia or our own Constitution. Shocking, right?

We’ve all heard of or read stories of barbaric practices that are supposedly mandated by Sharia, like chopping off hands and heads, female genital mutilation, throwing people off buildings, etc. Yes, these atrocious things do happen, but certainly not in all Muslim-dominant countries. Or even most. Some seem to be carried out mainly by ISIS and the Taliban. Either way, those things aren’t going allowed to happen here, under the guise of Muslim rights. And if they do happen, as in the case of fgm, the perpetrators will be prosecuted. Because that’s what we do people who commit violent acts against others.

So why the Sharia hysteria? Simple: prejudice, hatred and fear. Islamophobia is raising its ugly head.

Then why do we even need Islamic tribunals in the US? Well, first, we need to understand them, just like we need to understand Catholic tribunals and Jewish rabbinical courts. Start by reading this article, also cited above.

Since I’m Catholic, I’ll briefly give an example of what Catholic tribunals do.

If divorced practicing Catholics wants to remarry in the church, first they must get a church annulment. If they do not procure one, they cannot marry in the church. They can have a civil wedding, but the church will not consider them to be married, and they will not be able to receive the sacraments. They can still attend Mass, but they cannot partake of Eucharist.

If Catholics decide to go forth and start the annulment process, they must provide testimony (in writing) of the events leading up to the failed marriage, and afterwards. They also briefly tell about their family of origin. The tribunal will then decide whether or not the marriage was canonically valid, that is, did a sacrament take place. If it is deemed to not have been valid, an annulment will be granted and the people are free to marry in the church.  I have been through this process. (My understanding is that divorce in the stricter branches of Judaism is somewhat similar.)

This is an example of how religious courts can function in a secular democratic society.

Before you believe the hype, educate yourself.

 

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Grama

April 28.

April 28, 2003.

Today is the 14th anniversary of the death of my beloved grandmother. I went to the Grama Headstonecemetery and took her some flowers. I wasn’t able to stay long, because I got there right before closing time.

Going to the cemetery is something we do in my family. I can remember going every Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, birthdays, All Soul’s Day (Día de los Muertos). Grama and I would take flowers to my great-grandparents on those days. Now she’s buried with her mother, and is the main reason I go.

My loss is profound, and my heart still grieves, though not as much as before. She lived a long and full life, had a (relatively) easy death. I had her for almost 40 years. Such a gift.

We make our way through life, our grief hidden, but always there. The first anniversary, along with all the other “firsts,” is much more difficult. Here I am in the 14th year since her death. Soon it will be 20 years, 30 years, etc. As long as I’m able, I’ll make my little pilgrimages to the cemetery.

Because I love my grandmother.

lauragrama

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Being Respectful of Believers

[Swearing ahead. You’ve been warned.]

Ok, a rant about religion. Some of you are atheists, some of you are agnostics, and some of you are believers. Some of you who are believers go to church, some don’t. That’s all fine.

Most of you would call yourselves liberal or progressive. My problem is with PERs, or Progressive Except for Religion. You are neither kind, nor tolerant, nor respectful, nor any of that if you refer to people like me as idiots, believers in fairy tales, if you ask if I believe in unicorns too, etc.

Some of you are “recovering” adherents. You may have had bad experiences in the religion you were raised in as a child. I haven’t. I’ve known some assholes, but I’ve also met some of the most wonderful people I have known, including priests and nuns. Your experience isn’t my experience, and vice versa. Let’s both understand that and respect it.

You don’t have to agree with me, you don’t have to validate me, you just need to be respectful.

You can call out the ridiculousness of organized religions, in terms of continued patriarchy, sexism, homophobia, cause of war, need to pay taxes, etc. That’s calling organized religion on its shit, and that’s ok. You can call out for the separation of church and state (but then you can’t demand that Israel remain Jewish, because that would be hypocritical).

You also need to realize that organized religion, like republics and democracies, is run by men. Men are fallible. That men fuck shit up is a well known phenomenon. That has no bearing on whether or not God exists, or why I continue to be involved (however nominally) in organized religion, in my case Catholicism. I’m not going to walk away from God because of a bunch of fuckwits, just like I’m not going to walk away from government and declare anarchy the only way because of the twits in Washington DC.

You may question why I remain, and I’d say I present myself as a liberal Catholic and in that way I am a pain in the ass of the Church. You may disagree with this, but then I’d disagree with your remaining a Democrat to “try and change it from the inside.” We both probably think the other is doomed to failure. Oh, well. We both just may be correct.

Liberals/progressives are very out of touch on this topic, in terms of the rest of our fellow Americans. Maybe this is one reason all those people in the red states can’t stand the “liberal elites.”

So next time you call people who believe in God idiots, fairy tale believers, etc., CHECK YOURSELF. You’re not being very tolerant. Which makes you no better than RWNJs who aren’t very tolerant.

And remember, when you think believers are “idiots,” you’re referring to people like Malcom X, MLK, Jr., Isaac Newton, Nicholas Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, Rene Decartes, Galileo, and even Albert Einstein.

Yes, Einstein was a bit more complicated, but he did say,

In an interview published in 1930 in G. S. Viereck‘s book Glimpses of the Great, Einstein, in response to a question about whether or not he defined himself as a pantheist, explained:

Your question is the most difficult in the world. It is not a question I can answer simply with yes or no. I am not an Atheist. I do not know if I can define myself as a Pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. May I not reply with a parable? The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe. We are in the position of a little child, entering a huge library whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order, which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the human mind, even the greatest and most cultured, toward God. We see a universe marvelously arranged, obeying certain laws, but we understand the laws only dimly. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that sways the constellations.

End of rant.

Religion confusion

Religion confusion

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Throwing Teachers Under the Bus

Santa Rosa City Schools Equity Initiative

Santa Rosa City Schools, Sonoma County

Santa Rosa City Schools is leading the way with its exemplary Equity Initiative changing policies, practices and district climate to better serve Latino students and English learners. Courageous conversations have led to bold action. Staff and other stakeholders enthusiastically embrace training to learn about their cultures, the culture of their students and the unconscious bias that may impede how they interact with and teach some kids. The staff shares disaggregated data and engages in passionate discussion about root research–based best practices for meeting the needs of Latino students and English Learners and closing gaps between them and their fluent English peers. Across the district, conversations have changed from how students are underperforming to how adults may be unintentionally underserving students who matter. 

This was not how I viewed the whole unconscious bias training the district has had. And what is meant by “students who matter”? Don’t they all matter?

Mind you, “best practices” this semester meant putting 10 non-English speaking kids in a regular 11th grade US History class. So, 10 kids who don’t speak much English, have no prior knowledge to draw on, and they’re with 20+ kids who do speak English. A bilingual aide was hired. There were no materials, and the district told us you can’t segregate children and presented it as giving these students “access to the curriculum.” Antonin Scalia was correct when he said “Words no longer have meaning…”

When I pointed out the ridiculousness of this set up, the district changed it around and blamed the previous ELD coordinator, who retired last June. You know, after vigorously defending their plan. To quote Scalia again, “pure applesauce.”apple_sauce_reg.jpg

 

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Angry. Again.

I am so goddamned angry.

About everything.

So, yes, I lost my bid for re-election to the school board. That I can live with, though it did take me by surprise, and it’s humiliating. I was beat out by a one trick pony who’s only concern seems to be gifted kids. And now there is no Latino voice on the board of a district that is over 50% Latino. And while we have a few great white saviors on the board, they don’t have a clue about kids who don’t live on the east side of town.

Anyway, I can take the loss, besides it’s kind of karma, isn’t it? I’ve been bitching for years about being one of two, sometimes three, progressive voices. I almost didn’t run, but with two other board members not seeking re-election, I thought there might be a chance to change the board. Silly me.

What I’m mad about is lack of support for labor, and labor’s own diluted and mealy mouthed voice.

Let me explain. The teacher’s union endorsed three candidates (yes, me) out of a possible four, in a six-way contest, but only one of them won. Two years ago, only one of their endorsements won. So, on Wednesday, only two board members out of seven will have been endorsed by the union. Um, that’s a failing grade. 29% to be exact. exam-f-grade-480x340 So I gave them  some suggestions for future races, which they didn’t understand, and certainly won’t do because they’re very politically naive. And I can’t stay in my own lane about it.

My main suggestion is that they need to let community groups, like the Democrats, know that the teachers should be looked to for direction. We all know that no one has any idea what’s really going on in a district except the teachers. Really. And yet community groups, when making their endorsements, do not look to the teachers for guidance. They don’t even ask on their applications if the candidate has been endorsed by the teachers, and ifyield-sign-3 not, why not. So where’s the support for labor? It’s all lip service. And the teachers just don’t get it and they’re not willing to speak out and claim their power. And I can’t stay in my own lane about it.

And then I fought with a (former) “friend” about a recent debriefing on the election put on by Labor, enviros and the Dems. I didn’t attend because I’m sick and even if I wasn’t sick, screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-12-54-51-amI’m sure I would have barfed from all the bullshit. (I’m not feeling like I’m at Death’s door anymore btw, just milling around in his front yard.)

This little soiree was emceed by none other than Mike McGuire, a state senator who, just mere months ago, showed what a coward he was by abstaining on a vote for shade for farmworkers. His deep pocket agriculture friends would’ve been mad, ya know. He was chastised over and over again for his lack of leadership and courage, he was jeered at the Labor Day Breakfast, and yet here he is, the ringleader for their circus. Well, we gotta move on, right? Let bygones be bygones. Um, no. The message sent to the senator was that Labor needs him more than he needs Labor. “Let us plant our lips on your white tush. Please?”

My comments, much like those above, were not welcomed by my “friend” about “her event.” (Gee, I wonder why!) The same woman who talks about new leadership needed at the helm of the Democratic Party, and says that maybe Labor should start it’s own party. That would be impossible, since it’s obvious the unions have their noses so far up the Democrat Party’s ass they haven’t seen the light of day in years. I’m guessing my comments hit too close to home for her, especially taking Labor to task for having the emcee they did. Sorry, but you can’t be a self-proclaimed radical when you’re kissing a white man’s ass. No.

But it’s all emblematic of the problem with unions. They’re too useless and mostly sell outs. (UFCW is a piece of shit; I know since both my boyfriend and roommate are members.) I include NEA, my umbrella union. This past summer we got Clinton rammed down our throats before we voted on an endorsement, and the t-shirts given out to people who contributed to the NEA Fund said something like “I’m with her.” Again, BEFORE we even voted. Yeah, very democratic. No undue influence there.

My same union that has for seven years pleaded with a DEMOCRATIC president to ditch his POS choice for Secretary of Education. Nope. Obama never came to speak to us, and never got rid of Arne Duncan. Let me repeat that. A Democrat president foisted a POS ondinda-puspitasari-hand-writing-typography-be-careful-of-what-you-wish-for us as Secretary of Education (although we may end up longing for those good old days when we get Betsy DeVos).

In fact, I think it took NEA members three years (?) to even get enough votes at the NEA Representative Assembly to formally ask Obama to please make Duncan go away. We didn’t want to antagonize the president, I think.

Anyway, my argument with my former friend got ugly. She accused me of being lazy and not running a campaign (even though another friend and running mate told her she was wrong), and said I was lashing out at others for my failure. I think my remarks about unions hit too close to home, and threatened her view of herself as this self-proclaimed radical. Again, you can’t be a “radical” if you’re kissing Democrat ass. Sorry.

I’m taking a break from any and all community activities for the foreseeable future.

I’m also taking a break from Facebook, and have deactivated my account. My goal is to try and not return until the New Year. Wish me luck. I can’t afford to alienate EVERYONE.

facebook-rage-guy

Posted in Anger, Elections, Politics, Unions | Leave a comment

Texas, Please Secede Already

What kind of garbage is this? This same backassward state that had textbooks that said slaves were “immigrant workers,” has struck again. They answered the call of a Mexican-American textbook and came up with….this. The textbook has come under fire, and rightly so. Here’s some excerpts from the article.

“Chicanos…adopted a revolutionary narrative that opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy this society.”
Whaaaaaaaaaat?

“College youth attempted to force their campuses to provide indigenismo-oriented curriculum, Spanish-speaking faculty and scholarships for poor and illegal students…During the Cold War, as the United States fought Communism worldwide, these kinds of separatist and supremacy doctrines were concerning. While solidarity with one’s heritage was understood, Mexican pride at the expense of American culture did not seem productive.”

(eye rolling)

And this:
“Cubans seemed to fit into Miami well, for example, and find their niche in the business community,” the book’s authors, Jaime Riddle and Valarie Angle, write. “Mexicans, on the other hand, seemed more ambivalent about assimilating into the American system and accepting American values…The concern that many Mexican-Americans feel disconnected from American cultures and values is still present.”

I admit to never having been to Miami, but my understanding is that Cubans have not necessarily assimilated, but made south Florida a “Little Havana,” and there are many Spanish-speaking businesses. I think the authors like them better because Cubans tend to vote Republican.

And then the AHA! moment: Momentum Learning, the book’s publisher, “is owned by Cynthia Dunbar, a former member of the Texas State Board of Education, well-known right-wing activist and author of the book ‘One Nation Under God: How the Left is Trying to Erase What Made Us Great.'”

It’s all about the money. The Texas State Board of Education handed a gift over to a former trustee, in the form of taxpayer money. Why aren’t the RWNJs in an uproar over this? Because they like her message, so it’s ok if it’s all backroom deals, right?

And really, how can Dunbar write a book about the left erasing U.S. history when the State Board of Education approved textbooks that said slaves were “immigrant workers”? Like many conservatives, she can’t deal with our history.  She can’t acknowledge that slave labor is one of the things “that made this country great.”

textbook Really? Aztec dancers? That’s not quite “Mexican-American.”

Posted in Chicano history, Education, Racism | Leave a comment