Monday, July 20, 2015

Last Call For Buried Under Bigotry

Meanwhile, in "The First Amendment simply doesn't apply to YOUR filthy religion" news...

Muslims say they're looking for a place to bury their dead. Locals say it's a plot to gain a foothold in their small rural Texas town.

A proposal to bring a Muslim cemetery to Farmersville has stoked fears among residents who are vehemently trying to convince community leaders to block the project. The sentiment reflects an anti-Muslim distrust that has been brewing over the last year in parts of Texas, most notably 25 miles away in Garland — the scene of a deadly May shooting outside a cartoon contest lampooning the Prophet Muhammad. 
"The concern for us is the radical element of Islam," David J. Meeks, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, told The Dallas Morning News. He said he thinks the cemetery would be the first step toward a broader Muslim expansion in town
"How can we stop a mosque or madrassa training center from going in there?" he asked, referring to a type of Islamic school. 

Change "mosque" to "church" or "synagogue" and ask that again, buddy.  Then read the Constitution.

The issue is flaring up as Farmersville leaders consider a 35-acre development request from the Islamic Association of Collin County, which faces a shortage of space to bury members of its faith. Although the area already has a Buddhist center and Mormon church, residents showed up in force at a recent town meeting to oppose allowing a Muslim cemetery, which would include an open-air pavilion and small retail component that would run along a busy highway through town. 

As ridiculous as this is, the town's mayor can smell the impending lawsuit coming a mile away, and is scrambling to talk the Baptist bigots down.

"There's just a basic concern or distrust about the cemetery coming into town," said Mayor Joe Helmberger, who calls the townspeople's worries unwarranted. 
He said the cemetery would be approved as long as the town's development standards are met, pointing out that the U.S. was founded on religious freedom and that the association is simply trying to secure a burial site.

Farmersville better hope this passes, or the town government will probably get sued out of existence, and they know it.

Berned In The Past

It's nice of the Washington Post to remember that Bernie Sanders first became a Senator from Vermont with more than a little help from Wayne LaPierre and the NRA.

A few days before Election Day in 1990, the National Rifle Association sent a letter to its 12,000 members in Vermont, with an urgent message about the race for the state’s single House seat.

Vote for the socialist, the gun rights group said. It’s important.

“Bernie Sanders is a more honorable choice for Vermont sportsmen than ­Peter Smith,” wrote Wayne LaPierre, who was — and still is — a top official at the national NRA, backing Sanders over the Republican incumbent.

That was odd. Sanders was the ex-hippie ex-mayor of Burlington, running as an independent because the Democrats weren’t far enough left. He had never even owned a gun.

But that year, he was the enemy of the NRA’s enemy.

Smith had changed his mind about a ban on ­assault weapons. The NRA and its allies wanted him beaten. They didn’t much care who beat him.

“It is not about Peter Smith vs. Bernie Sanders,” LaPierre wrote, according to news coverage from the time. “It is about integrity in politics.”

Today, Sanders is a senator and a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, drawing huge crowds with his calls to break up big banks, increase taxes on the rich and make college free. The election of 1990 launched him. When Sanders won, he became the first socialist in Congress since the 1950s.

That campaign also marked the beginning of Sanders’s complicated relationship with the ­issue of gun rights — the one area where Sanders’s Democratic presidential rivals have been able to attack him from the left.

Having said that, Sanders currently has a big fat F from the NRA on guns, and has voted for banning high-capacity magazines and against decreasing the federal waiting period on guns from 3 days to 24 hours.

On the other hand, Sanders has voted to allow firearms in carry-on bags on Amtrak trains, and voted several times to protect gun manufacturers from lawsuits.  It is a complicated relationship, and it's one that Sanders has to answer for as far as I'm concerned.

The Disunited States Of Europe

French President Francois Hollande believes the Greek financial crisis indicates that it's time for a central European government.

“Circumstances are leading us to accelerate,” Hollande said in anopinion piece published by the Journal du Dimanche on Sunday. “What threatens us is not too much Europe, but a lack of it.”

While the euro zone has a common currency, fiscal and economic policies remain mostly in the hands of each member state. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi made a plea this week for deeper cooperation between the euro members after political squabbles over Greece almost led to a rupture in the single currency.

Countries in favor of more integration should move ahead, forming an “avant-garde,” Hollande said.

“Europe has let its institutions weaken and the 28 European Union member countries are struggling to agree to move ahead,” Hollande said on Sunday in a text which was also a homage to his mentor Jacques Delors, a former European Commission President who proposed similar ideas.

Draghi called for the creation of a shared treasury within 10 years in a joint proposal with politicians including European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem last month.

The call for a central, ruling EU government that would have binding control over all EU member states isn't new by any means, but in the wake of the massive fracturing of Europe between pro union forces like Hollande in France and "fix your own damn problem" Chancellor Merkel and Zee Germans, I don't see how this has any realistic chance of working.

If anything, the disintegration of the eurozone and the EU seems far, far more likely at this point.


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