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The Unpopular Opinion
news and opinions at the extremes of the mainstream
Curated by Baochi
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FBI: 247 People on Terror Watch List Bought Guns in U.S. in 2010

FBI: 247 People on Terror Watch List Bought Guns in U.S. in 2010 | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"The 247 people who were allowed to buy weapons did so after going through required background checks as required by federal law.

It is not illegal for people listed on the government's terror watch list to buy weapons...

The government can only prevent people from buying guns for any of 11 reasons. Convicted felons and illegal immigrants, for example, cannot buy weapons. But the terrorist watch list is different. People become convicted felons only after a court process and an opportunity to defend themselves. The watch list is secret and generated at the government's discretion. It is not a list of people convicted of terrorism crimes."



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Should the Prop 8 Decision Be Overturned Because the Judge Is Gay?

Should the Prop 8 Decision Be Overturned Because the Judge Is Gay? | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
I'd like to interject my own opinion in this case: I think the charges against Judge Vaughn Walker are ludicrous. Think of it this way: if a women's rights issue was presided over by a female judge, is that considered legal bias? If a Latino judge ruled in favor of a Latino defendant, is that considered legal bias? I think not.

"Did the federal judge who wrote the decision overturning Prop 8 — California's ban on gay marriage — make his ruling because he wanted to marry his longtime boyfriend?

That's the charge from the losing side in the decision issued last year by now retired Chief Judge Vaughn Walker. His ruling sent the case to what could be a possible showdown in the Supreme Court over the nature of marriage. Now that Walker has publicly confirmed he is gay and that he has had a long-term partner, proponents of Prop 8 want his successor to overturn the ruling, a decision that could all but stop the gay-marriage movement in its tracks."
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What Is This J. Crew Controversy All About? | Psychology Today

What Is This J. Crew Controversy All About? | Psychology Today | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"for those who have not already seen it, the [J. Crew] ad (pictured above) features Jenna Lyons, a designer for the preppy clothing company posing with her 5-year-old son Beckett. I almost missed it the first time, but if you look carefully you can see that Beckett's toenails are painted pink. Underneath the photo reads the caption, "Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon."
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The image has outraged some social conservatives who claim that this kind of behavior torments children and confuses them about their sexual identity. Erica Brown, a writer for the conservative Media Research Center Network, wrote that the ads such as J. Crew "features blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children."

Many people - myself included - don't see anything wrong with the ad. Personally, my first reaction was, "Isn't that a sweet photo of a boy and his mother sharing a moment together," followed by, "Huh, that boy's toenails are painted pink... that's kind of different." I'm guessing my nonchalant reaction is exactly the reason so many conservative pundits are so upset about the image, as it suggests there is nothing wrong with a child expressing himself in a gender non-conforming manner."
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Welcome To JihadVille | Fast Company

Welcome To JihadVille | Fast Company | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"...game theory, the idea of applying game mechanics to non-games, has conquered corporate America, education, and healthcare, and has begun to catch on in the expanding spaces of terrorism and militant Islamism.

...security consultants Jarret Brachman and Alix Levine wrote on what they call the World of Holy Warcraft and argued that jihadist bulletin boards and chat rooms are making use of the same gamification techniques that Foursquare and airlines, among others, use...

...Gamification allows us to make sense of the introduction of points, status, levels--elements that are being introduced into forums of all kinds--in order to increase and enhance participation. But the difference is that with al-Qaeda, gamification is being used for promoting hatred and encouraging militancy, as opposed to rewarding you for brand loyalty in where you shop or on what airline you fly.

...There's really nothing innovative or pioneering about how the al-Qaeda websites are introducing these gamified elements. It's more the fact that they are doing it that concerns me.

At the same time, I do see these sites as useful for providing an outlet for angry guys to vent with one another. I think taking down sites like the one we profile in the article, Islamic Awakening, would actually do the United States a disservice by depriving individuals of a safe space that they can have to themselves to blow off steam. I think they need to be watched carefully because, as we've seen, individuals who seek to commit acts of violence come out of these communities.

The more they gamify the experience, the more extreme the participation levels are likely to be, which to me suggests that the ramp-up time for an individual who puts down his keyboard and picks up a gun is likely to shrink in the near term.

...Anwar al-Awlaki used elements of gamification to interact with followers and how his would-be acolytes have gamified internet experiences when they disseminate his articles and videos.

Nobody compares to Awlaki in how he created a cult following around him of people vying among one another for his attention and affection. It is more reminiscent of Charles Manson than of Bin Laden; I haven't seen anyone who is nearly as skilled at manipulating online communities rising up the ranks."
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California agencies lent millions to employees who never repaid

California agencies lent millions to employees who never repaid | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
Well, now we know one of the major reasons why California is in a deficit crisis. This. Is. Outrageous.

"State agencies have handed out millions of dollars in interest-free salary and travel advances to their employees without collecting repayment, according to audits from the controller's office.

Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order Wednesday halting the practice. He said he was working with state Controller John Chiang to determine how widespread the practice has been and how much California is owed from employees who never paid back their loans.

...a 2009 state audit found $13.3 million in outstanding loans at 11 agencies. "In most cases, employees were granted advances, and agencies were either slow to collect funds or failed to collect at all," the statement said.

The administration expects to find millions more in unpaid loans at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, where auditors from the controller's office are reviewing the books...

State law allows employees to receive hardship advances on their paychecks and to obtain advances for work travel, Duran said. But the state has no mechanism for collecting on the loans, and after three years, a debt cannot be collected without the employee's consent. [Baochi: WTF???]

An audit of 11 such funds found that more than $13 million had gone uncollected. The Department of Transportation, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and the California Highway Patrol were among the agencies scrutinized by the controller's office.

Caltrans had the largest debt, more than $3.2 million. About $214,000 of that debt was more than three years old."
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Killer's quest: Allow organ donation after execution

Killer's quest: Allow organ donation after execution | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
This is quite an interesting issue. Here's where I stand: while I strongly agree that prisoners (especially those on Death Row) should have limited rights, I don't see why they 1) can't choose the method of their death sentence and 2) can't donate their organs towards a greater good.

What is your opinion? Here's a summary of the controversy:

"An Oregon death row inmate is mounting an aggressive behind-bars campaign to donate his organs after he’s executed, in part to repay society for the gruesome murders of his wife and three young children.

Christian Longo, 37, says he wants to do more to take responsibility for killing his family and dumping their bodies in coastal bays nearly a decade ago than simply accepting execution by lethal injection.

His request to drop his appeals in exchange for being allowed to donate organs has been flatly denied by state corrections officials, who refuse to negotiate with a killer. It’s been denounced in principle as “morally reprehensible” by the nation’s organ donation officials and medical ethicists.

Ironically...while taking organs from executed inmates is prohibited, accepting organs from inmates who die of other causes while in custody is permitted, although rarely and under strict circumstances.

Longo probably has a better chance of donating his liver if he's injured or has a stroke in prison and dies later at a local hospital.

...Transplant advocates, including those who've received organs, say increasing the supply of available organs is the bottom line, and that willing prisoners should be allowed to donate to often-desperate recipients.

But death row opponents, doctors and ethicists counter that larger societal questions are at stake that supersede individual demands for organs.


“I don’t think it’s a calculus that this life can be taken so this life can be spared,” said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a non-profit group that opposes capital punishment. “I think you’ve got to look at the larger picture. The system that gets put in place once the green light is given for that has too many problems.”

But Longo figures that he alone could save eight lives through his death, offering his heart, lungs kidneys, liver and other tissues. That would put a dent right away in Oregon’s waiting list, which includes 768 requests, including 13 hearts, 122 livers and 628 kidneys.

And it could bring down the national waiting list, which on Tuesday totaled 110,772 candidates, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing."
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Dorothy Retha Cook's curator insight, April 12, 4:41 PM

WHEN IT COMES TO ORGAN DONATIONS DOES IT MATTER THAT THE DONAR IS A DEATH ROW MURDERER OR NOT!! EVEN THEN IF IT IS LIFE OR DEATH I WOULD CHOOSE LIFE BECAUSE DENYING THE ORGAN DONATION WOULD MEAN DEATH ANY HOW, WHY NOT BE THANKFUL FOR THE CHANCE TO LIVE NO MATTER FROM WHOM IT COMES FROM. TRUTH BE TOLD MANY HAVE MURDERED BY WORDS OUT OF THEIR MOUTH OR BY SENDING ANOTHER TO DO THEIR DIRTY WORK AND JUST BECAUSE ITS NOT SEEN BY MAN DOES NOT MEAN ITS NOT SEE BY GOD TO AND HE HAS A WAY OF LETTING MAN KNOW HE MIGHTY HAVE GOT BY PER SOME BUT HE DID NOT GET AWAY PER GOD!

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Obama Officials Tried to Convince S&P Not to Issue Credit Warning

Obama Officials Tried to Convince S&P Not to Issue Credit Warning | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"Even though the White House has publicly downplayed the credit warning issued Monday from a leading agency, Obama administration officials were privately trying in recent weeks to convince Standard & Poor's not to lower its outlook for U.S. debt from "stable" to "negative," Fox News has confirmed."
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Congressman blames U.S. unemployment crisis on iPad | ZDNet

"In it U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr (D-IL) blasts Apple and Steve Jobs claiming that the iPad is responsible for killing thousands of American jobs.

In the rambling manifesto Jackson claims that the iPad is to blame because it enables anyone to easily download books and newspapers. Thus everyone who works at bookstores (i.e. Borders) or the publishing industry will lose their jobs to workers making iPads in China.

“Why do you need to go to Barnes & Noble? Buy an iPad and download your newspaper, download your book, download your magazine.” He went on to talk about plans to Chicago State University’s plans to create a “textbookless” campus by giving incoming freshman students iPads.

The most ironic part? Jackson himself is an iPad owner."
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Court Allows Sex-Change Surgery for 10-Year-Old Boy

Court Allows Sex-Change Surgery for 10-Year-Old Boy | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"A court has allowed a 10-year-old boy to become the youngest Australian to have sex-change therapy, the Herald Sun reported.

The boy, known as Jamie, has lived as a girl for two years, dressing in feminine clothes, using the girls' toilet at school and "presenting as a very attractive young girl with long, blonde hair," the court heard.

Jamie's parents, medical experts and psychiatrists feared early-onset puberty could lead to self-harm or suicide and supported an urgent application for the child to receive sex-change therapy.

Family Court Justice Linda Dessau ordered that Jamie be allowed to start drug therapy to stop male puberty and that the court reconvene when she turned 16 to consider approving the second stage of taking female hormones to feminize the body.

The court heard that Jamie saw herself as a "freak" and a "girl in a boy's body," and had first identified as a girl when she was a toddler."
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Is America a Nation of Book Burners?

Is America a Nation of Book Burners? | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
Great article written by Stephen Schwartz, Executive Director, Center for Islamic Pluralism:

"I am an American Muslim, but I was a plain American for 49 years before becoming Muslim. I have often spoken admiringly to Muslims of my mother's Christian heritage and the intensity of faith it expressed. Apparently unknown to Jones, the Quran praises Christians at several places in the text. I have also articulated my hope that Muslim scholars will examine and analyze Jewish religious thought in the rational and sympathetic manner so many great Jewish commentators have displayed toward Islam.

Terry Jones and the radical Islamists mirror one another and feed on each other; they are bound together by mutual need. Their resemblance is visible in Jones' apparent eagerness for martyrdom as well as his disregard for human life. Jones said in an interview broadcast by ABC News on April 4 that he considers the death of non-Muslims, including American soldiers, to be worthwhile if "perhaps in the long run, we may save hundreds or thousands." This is exactly the wording used by al Qaeda and other Muslim extremists to justify their atrocities: that they kill now, in violation of traditional Islamic guidance against suicide and terrorism, to save the Muslims who might be victimized in the future. In the same encounter with ABC reporter Matt Gutman, Jones luxuriated in death threats he claimed to have received.

...Afghanistan is not the leading Muslim nation in the world and if, incited by the Pakistani jihadis as well as the Afghan and Pakistan Taliban, some Muslims fail to exercise the restraint called forth repeatedly by the Quran itself, it is not the same as a planetary upsurge of Islamic outrage. The same may be said of Florida: The extremism of its Christian demagogues does not represent the whole Christian population of this country. But another question may be presented to Muslims: Are they so weak in their belief that the antics of a discredited American loudmouth threatens their religion?"
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Gawker — Gay kiss banned from Facebook (while plenty of straight kisses are aplenty)

Gawker — Gay kiss banned from Facebook (while plenty of straight kisses are aplenty) | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
Now this is quite an interesting story, courtesy of Gawker.

"Last week, talk show host Richard Metzger posted a story to Facebook about a "kiss in" held at an English pub that had ejected two men for kissing. Facebook quickly removed the story—apparently because of the above picture.

...Here's the email Facebook sent to Metzger:

Hello,

Content that you shared on Facebook has been removed because it violated Facebook's
Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Shares that contain nudity, or any kind of graphic or
sexually suggestive content, are not permitted on Facebook.

...A quick perusal of the blog post Metzger shared doesn't reveal any kind of "nudity" or "graphic or sexually suggestive content," unless you're so sensitive that two guys kissing counts as "sexually suggestive." (A search for "making out" brings up a number of pages with similarly "explicit" photos of straight couples kissing..."
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Evolution cannot explain existence of creationists, concedes Dawkins | NewsBiscuit

Evolution cannot explain existence of creationists, concedes Dawkins | NewsBiscuit | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
VERY interesting.

"In a severe blow to the credibility of evolutionary science, biologist Richard Dawkins admitted today that Darwin’s theory of evolution could offer no rational explanation for the continued existence of creationists. The process of natural selection sees genes which provide an advantage in the battle for survival being preserved across generations, but scientists can find no useful purpose for the gene which leads people to believe that the earth was created in only six days about 10,000 years ago.

‘It’s a flaw in our argument, for sure,’ said Dawkins today. ‘By any reading of evolutionary theory, creationists ought to have died out ages ago. They serve no function in the planet’s ecosystem, and no other species has survived so long while in such fundamental disagreement with observable reality. If I wasn’t such an ardent believer in secular materialism, I’d wager this is really troubling Darwin in the afterlife.’"
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Quote of the Day: Congressman BARNEY FRANK on Don't Ask, Don't Tell via @Time

Quote of the Day: Congressman BARNEY FRANK on Don't Ask, Don't Tell via @Time | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"After all the fuss about 'Don't ask, don't tell,' there's been no great backlash against its repeal. People will see that it has had absolutely no negative effect, and it will be an issue of the past."

- BARNEY FRANK, openly gay Congressman from Massachusetts, in a Playboy interview
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Quote of the Day: On Marriage in the Old Days Versus Today

Quote of the Day: On Marriage in the Old Days Versus Today | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"When our parents married, there was a sense that you were marrying for life. That sense is not as prevalent."

- EDWARD ZIGLER, founder and director of Yale's Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy, of a report that shows one in four children in the U.S. is raised by a single parent

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Mohammed says he beheaded U.S. reporter Daniel Pearl despite warnings

Mohammed says he beheaded U.S. reporter Daniel Pearl despite warnings | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"A senior Al Qaeda military commander strongly warned Khalid Shaikh Mohammed not to kill Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002, cautioning him "it would not be wise to murder Pearl" and that he should "be returned back to one of the previous groups who held him, or freed."

But Mohammed told his U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay that he cut off Pearl's head anyway, according to U.S. military documents posted on the Internet on Monday by WikiLeaks.

Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, also told his captors of the aborted attempt by Richard Reid to light a shoe bomb aboard a flight from London to the U.S. in late 2001. He "stated that he had instructed Reid to shave his beard prior to boarding the airplane and to detonate the bomb inside the airplane bathroom."

But Reid refused to shave his beard, tried to ignite the bomb in his seat, and was stopped and arrested and sentenced to life in prison. For that, according to a disgusted Mohammed, Reid was "irresponsible," according to the documents."
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Quote of the Day: Libertarian Larry Elder on High Gas Prices

Quote of the Day: Libertarian Larry Elder on High Gas Prices | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"In 2008 when gas prices hit $4, 49% blamed Bush. Today we're at $4 and 11% blame Obama. Lucy, you have some 'splaining to do."

- Larry Elder, radio personality who is a vociferous Libertarian
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Why You Won't Read This Earth Day Article (And Why That Doesn't Matter)

Why You Won't Read This Earth Day Article (And Why That Doesn't Matter) | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"Earth Day turns 41 this year, but in some ways, environmentalism seems to be stumbling. According to recent Gallup polls, 48 percent of Americans now believe that the dangers of climate change are exaggerated, up from 41 percent in 2009 and 31 percent in 1997. Meanwhile, environmental concerns rank eighth on Americans' worry list, behind terrorism, illegal immigration and the size and power of the federal government.

...for too many people, conservation is a means to another end beside environmentalism. Some want to save money. Others see kicking foreign oil as a national security issue. Some Christian evangelicals believe protecting the Earth is a biblical mandate

For that reason, convincing more people that climate change is happening may not be as productive as making it easier for people to be environmentalists -- even if they don't call themselves that."




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If you pay taxes to Uncle Sam and you make over $100k, you might want to read this article via WSJ.com

If you pay taxes to Uncle Sam and you make over $100k, you might want to read this article via WSJ.com | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"A dominant theme of President Obama's budget speech last Wednesday was that our fiscal problems would vanish if only the wealthiest Americans were asked "to pay a little more."

...Washington will need to soak the middle class—because that's where the big money is.

...The rich, in short, aren't nearly rich enough to finance Mr. Obama's entitlement state ambitions—even before his health-care plan kicks in.

So who else is there to tax? Well, in 2008, there was about $5.65 trillion in total taxable income from all individual taxpayers, and most of that came from middle income earners. The nearby chart shows the distribution, and the big hump in the center is where Democrats are inevitably headed for the same reason that Willie Sutton robbed banks.

...Keep in mind that the most expensive tax deductions, in terms of lost tax revenue, go mainly to the middle class. These include the deductions for state and local tax payments (especially property taxes), mortgage interest, employer-sponsored health insurance, 401(k) contributions and charitable donations. The irony is that even as Mr. Obama says he merely wants the rich to pay a little bit more, his proposals would make the tax code less progressive than it is today.

...Medicare and Medicaid spending are consistently growing two to three times faster than the rest of the economy, while Medicare's cash-in-cash-out financing model means that seniors collect far more in benefits than they paid in taxes over their working lifetime. The entitlement state was designed for another era."

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Marijuana Compound Treats Multiple Health Issues

Marijuana Compound Treats Multiple Health Issues | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"Today is known as National Marijuana Day or 4/20—and if the idea of having a marijuana deficiency sounds laughable to you, a growing body of science points at exactly such a possibility....

Ever since the pioneering work of Dr. William O'Shaughnessy on cannabis and pain compiled in the 1840's a growing body of science has shown that cannabis offers relief for various types of pain. In the brain, the endogenous agent anandamide also plays a role in mitigating inflammation and pain. So both cannabinoids from inside and outside the body play a role in pain reduction. More recent studies show pain relief among sufferers of multiple sclerosis when cannabis is consumed.

...Anandamide also plays a role in proper appetite, feelings of pleasure and well-being, and memory. Interestingly, cannabis also affects these same functions. Cannabis has been used successfully to treat migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and glaucoma..."
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Gay Marriage Opponents Now in Minority

Gay Marriage Opponents Now in Minority | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
A survey released by CNN is the fourth credible poll in the past eight months to show an outright majority of Americans in favor of gay marriage.
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The Latest Enemies of Iran: Dogs and Their Owners via @Time

The Latest Enemies of Iran: Dogs and Their Owners via @Time | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"For much of the past decade, the Iranian government has tolerated what it considers a particularly depraved and un-Islamic vice: the keeping of pet dogs.

During periodic crackdowns, police have confiscated dogs from their owners right off the street; and state media has lectured Iranians on the diseases spread by canines. The cleric Gholamreza Hassani, from the city of Urmia, has been satirized for his sermons railing against "short-legged" and "holdable" dogs. But as with the policing of many other practices (like imbibing alcoholic drinks) that are deemed impure by the mullahs but perfectly fine to many Iranians, the state has eventually relaxed and let dog lovers be. (See the top 10 animal stories of 2010.)

Those days of tacit acceptance may soon be over, however."
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Feds' request: Let us take on jail that bans all books except the Bible

Feds' request: Let us take on jail that bans all books except the Bible | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"The US Justice Department is asking a federal judge in South Carolina to allow it to intervene in a lawsuit against a sheriff who allegedly forbids prisoners in his jail from receiving books, magazines, or printed materials other than copies of the King James version of the Bible.

Berkeley County Sheriff H. Wayne DeWitt denies that restrictions imposed at the county lockup in Moncks Corner, S.C., rise to the level of a constitutional violation or violate US law.

He maintains that any actions taken at the jail are justified to preserve health and safety, and to further the pursuit of “legitimate penological objectives.”

Justice Department lawyers disagree.

“The only book, magazine, newspaper, or religious publication that [jail officials] consistently permit prisoners to possess is the Bible,” the Justice Department says in its complaint. “These practices discriminate against non-Christian prisoners in violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.”

The First Amendment’s establishment clause forbids the government from favoring one religion over any other. The amendment also bars the government from interfering in private acts of worship.

A Jewish prisoner seeking a Torah said he was told by jail officials that the prison only provides Bibles. Two Muslim prisoners seeking copies of the Koran were told the same thing, according to the complaint.

“The freedom to practice one’s faith is among our most cherished rights, and the Justice Department is committed to defending that right,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said in a statement.

The Justice Department complaint says the jail’s practices violate the First Amendment and the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act."
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Are you Catholic? How do you feel about this proposal? "Palm Sunday Plea: Let Priests Marry" via @Time

Are you Catholic? How do you feel about this proposal? "Palm Sunday Plea: Let Priests Marry" via @Time | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
I know very little about Catholicism but would be very interested to hear what Catholics out there think about the proposal to allow Priests to marry?

Here's an excerpt from the article:

"...the Catholic Church has got to drop its celibacy requirement for priests. I say that not because I think letting priests marry would have prevented priestly abuse. Pedophiles prey regardless of marital status. I say it, especially after having interviewed abuse victims, because I think letting Catholic clergy have wives and families may well make the hierarchy, from guys like Lynn on up to bishops and the Vatican, more concerned about safeguarding youths than about protecting priests.

...So since I'm a hack and not a theologian, I'd suggest Catholics could start that process this week by recalling another, more benign scandal that hit the church two springs ago. That was the case of the Rev. Albert Cutié, the Catholic priest and Spanish-language television talk-show star who left the church in 2009 after a tabloid printed photos of him and his covert girlfriend (now his wife) cuddling on a Miami beach. Cutié, aka "Padre Alberto," became an Episcopal priest and, this past December, the father of a baby girl. In the process he's refueled the Catholic debate about clerical celibacy...

...Cutié feels that the hierarchy's overreaction to his indiscretion reflects how celibacy has helped condition the church's lame reaction to the abuse horror. He's of course not suggesting that a man has to have a wife and kids to be sensitive to these issues. But the Catholic Church risks breeding insensitivity by segregating its diocesan priests and bishops from the world of wives, children and the loving sex that begets them. It risks sending the message that those human joys would somehow sully their vocations — that those things are inferior to the priesthood, and so protecting the holy fraternity is what matters most during a crisis like the sexual abuse plague.

...Celibacy was not a clerical requirement in the early church — in fact, many popes were married during Christianity's first few hundred years. But as Catholicism became more affixed to the Roman Empire, the church fathers fell increasingly under the influence of Stoicism and its demonization of sex, an attitude the medieval church codified. Today the church would argue that celibacy isn't about demonizing sex but rather nobly sacrificing it as part of being alter Christus, or "another Christ."

I and most other Catholics can respect that — if it's a priest's choice. Unfortunately, we're also aware that mandatory celibacy has led to an unnecessary isolation of our clergy — and, in turn, to the harmful sense of clerical superiority we've seen so much of during the abuse crisis."
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Gawker — New Rules For Student Debt

Here's yet another article that questions the financial wisdom of that entitled American dream: a four-year college education. The linked article, with excerpts below, talks about how the financial crisis has resulted in a dearth of available jobs, leaving many college grads unemployed and living with student debt. Some go back to grad school and wait it out, only to be more deeply in debt and facing, again, a job market that doesn't welcome them with open arms.

I really do wonder if this is the beginning of a new era of trade schools, i.e., specialized vocations that don't require, as another similar article puts it, an analysis of Macbeth and other college general ed that doesn't pertain to, say, a career as a nurse.

"The NYT says that student loan debt will top a trillion dollars this year—which, to put it in perspective, is Kelli Space's astronomical debt times five million.

"Two-thirds of bachelor's degree recipients graduated with debt in 2008, compared with less than half in 1993." Clearly, all the warnings aren't doing jack to keep the freshmen hordes from borrowing more and more, year after year. It's time for, at the very least, a slight realignment of expectations. A few guidelines for the new decade of debt:

- If you're not rich, community college ain't bad at all. If you can get in.
- If you're not rich, even doing four years at a state school will make you poor for a while. Expect it.
- If you're not rich, doing four years at a private school will make you poor for a long, long time. Expect it.
- Law school is probably a bad investment.
- As are most other forms of grad school. Unless you're really, really brilliant. Which you're probably not.
- Your future self will thank your present self for every dollar you don't spend. Do yourself a favor and reconsider that semester abroad.
- If you're rich, disregard all of the above. The world is yours."
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Federal ban on marijuana results in inefficient industry, report says - SmartPlanet

Federal ban on marijuana results in inefficient industry, report says - SmartPlanet | The Unpopular Opinion | Scoop.it
"Weed may not be as green as you think.

Indoor marijuana growing operations in the United States are massive energy hogs, consuming some $5 billion worth of electricity each year, according to a new report.

That’s about 1 percent of the nation’s total power consumption.

The problem, according to efficiency firm Energy Associates, is that the pot industry is almost entirely prohibited in the U.S., keeping it hidden from regulators and, by extension, efficiencies in agricultural production.

Study author and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist Evan Mills writes that the average grow operation approaches 200 watts per square foot — enough to power a modern data center.

What’s more, a single joint contains the equivalent of about 2 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions.

If improved practices applicable to commercial agricultural greenhouses are any indication, such large amounts of energy are not required for indoor cannabis production. Cost-effective efficiency improvements of 75 percent are conceivable.

Marijuana is considered the nation’s largest cash crop, with an estimated production value of $40 billion annually. At that scale, energy savings are significant: California’s indoor cultivation alone results in a carbon emissions equivalent of putting an additional 1 million cars on the road for a year.

It’s an interesting catch-22: if an industry is out of sight, can it really be regulated?"
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