Sunday, July 31, 2005

Ecumenical wedding has lessons for today

In the car on the way to my daughter’s wedding I realized I had forgotten a scarf.

I was sitting in the back seat between the bride and the groom. My husband was driving, and my ex-husband, father of the bride, was in the passenger seat.

My daughter immediately picked up her cell phone.

“Sarah?” she said. “My mom forgot her scarf. Can you bring one?” She turned to me. “She wants to know what color?”

We met Sarah and her husband in the parking lot of the mosque. She handed me a piece of beautiful ivory silk with delicate stitching of flowers. The colors were perfect.

On her way to her car, a woman in a traditional long dress, her head covered, heard we were having a wedding. She cried out congratulations and hugged the bride, Sarah, me.

We all introduced each other.

“I’m the Jew,” said the father of the bride, who had flown in from New York.

She laughed. “Oh, good, we can duck behind cars and throw rocks at each other!”

There were no rocks thrown.

The wedding party was ecumenical. My daughter is Jewish although I am not, so some strict interpreters would say neither is she. I was raised as a Methodist. My husband is Episcopalian. The groom is Muslim. My daughter’s friend, Sarah, is Muslim, and her husband is a recent convert to Islam.

It may have been the first marriage between a Muslim and a Jew at this mosque.

The ceremony was not in the mosque itself but in a building on the grounds of the Islamic Center in North Tampa.

We recognized the imam from Sarah’s wedding; he still had his cell phone clamped to his brown robe.

The imam guessed correctly that some of us knew little about Islam, so he gave us a brief lesson. In just the few minutes he spoke, I learned things I didn’t know. Islam is the newest religion in the developing history of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Muslims revere Jesus as a prophet, but they pray only to God: “There is no God but God.”

The marriage ceremony, while imbued with deep emotion because it was, after all, a wedding, was more a straightforward talk by the imam on the challenges of marriage, a negotiation and contract signing.

While having children is a primary purpose of marriage, the imam advised the newlyweds to enjoy each other for a while before they have children.

My daughter and her husband negotiated the mahr, or dowry, money the husband must give to the wife upon marriage.

“This is your chance,” the imam joked. “Ask for something big - a Lexus.”

They decided on $2,000 to be paid at later date. In the meantime, the groom would give the bride a symbolic amount.

“Twenty-five cents?” he suggested, smiling.

Not enough, so he handed her two dollar bills.

The marriage contract was signed, with the required witnesses, in this case, two Muslim men. And that was that.

It was all very friendly and casual, and, in its way, very beautiful. Of course it was my daughter.

Her father, who had lost his bid for a rabbi in attendance, told the imam it was the best wedding ceremony he had ever experienced. “You talked about things that are relevant, what marriage really is about.”

People are surprised to hear that a Muslim man may marry a Christian or Jewish woman. They are also surprised that in Egypt, my son-in-law’s native country, women do not change their names when they marry. There are many surprises in Islam to the casual observer, as I was, until this religion, now so heavily political, became very, very personal.

My grandchildren will be raised as Muslims.

Her new mother-in-law sent her from Egypt, a galabea, a long cotton dress, dark blue with colorful embroidery at the top.

She wears it around the house.

Outside she wears what she always wore - stone-washed jeans, T-shirts, sneakers.

No scarf.

Sandra Thompson, a Tampa writer, can be reached at City Life appears on Saturday.

[Last modified July 30, 2005, 01:09:17]

Posted by cricket on 07/31 at 05:05 PM
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Excuse me!! Has anyone else had a missing child during these past weeks?

We’d like to hear about them.  Just commandeer some airtime from your local cable company and saturate the airwaves.  Thank you.

image

Posted by SPN on 07/31 at 03:58 PM
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Saturday, July 30, 2005

Sharpton Slams Blacks for Blindly Supporting Clinton, Democrats

Yeah, whatever man. How convenient for you to “Bill Bash” NOW!

Sharpton, during his remarks at the National Urban League’s annual conference in Washington, noted that his fellow Democrats, including former President Bill Clinton, have taken African-American voters for granted and failed to act in the best interests of the black community.

“The whole network of incarceration (of African-American men) happened under this president and the last president. So it wasn’t just George Bush. Bill Clinton—I wish Hillary had hung around—Bill Clinton built a lot of jails and passed the omnibus crime bill,” Sharpton said shortly after Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) had addressed the same panel discussion, entitled “The Black Male: Endangered Species or Hope for the Future?”

Sharpton noted that African-American men make up 6 percent of the U.S. population but 44 percent of the nation’s prison population.

“And just because Bill can sing “Amazing Grace” well doesn’t mean the omnibus crime bill was not a bill that hurt our people,” Sharpton told the several hundred people gathered at the Washington Convention Center.

“We must stop allowing people to gain politically from us if they’re not reciprocating when dealing and being held accountable,” said Sharpton, referring to the allegiance that African-American voters maintain to the Democratic Party.

Sharpton said many politicians who court the black vote “come by and get our votes ‘cause they wave at us on Sunday morning while the choir’s singing. And we act like that is reaching out.”

The problem is these same politicians “never addressed why they sit here in Washington with an epidemic proportion of HIV AIDS in our (black) community, unemployment in our community and they do nothing to deal with eliminating those problems,” Sharpton explained.

“As long as we allow people to get elected off of us and deliver nothing to us, then part of our problem is that we have such low political self esteem,” he said. “Every time we give them support for no support, we add to the marginalization of black men.”

Sharpton said the situation has “gotten so bad that we hold black leaders accountable and give white leaders a pass.”

‘People emulate what they see’

Sharpton also took aim at black popular culture. Noting that in some U.S. cities, black male unemployment exceeds 50 percent, Sharpton said black music and movies only aggravate the situation.

“We come out in response to that with movies like (the 2005) “Hustle and Flow” and tell our kids that the personification of black men is a black pimp of a white prostitute that wants to be a rapper who shoots the rapper and at the end of the movie, [a] black woman he had as his prostitute has his baby and the white prostitute becomes the head of the record company and makes the money while he’s in jail. That don’t make sense,” Sharpton said to applause.

“People emulate what they see ...We cannot succumb to a generation that acts like it’s all right to celebrate being down. It’s one thing to be down, it’s another thing to celebrate being down,” he explained.

Referring to gangster rappers, Sharpton said, “We’ve gone from ‘black and proud’ to groups now calling themselves “Niggers with an attitude.”

Sharpton told the panel discussion of how he has confronted rappers about their lyrics only to be told that the rappers simply “reflect the times.” Sharpton said black art and culture used to project its “hopes for the future.”

“In slavery we wasn’t singing, ‘you a low down cotton pickin ho.’ That would’ve reflected the times,” he said to more laughter and applause.

“In the civil rights era, we sang “We shall overcome” we didn’t sing ‘You in the back of the bus, got gum on your show, no good MF.’ I mean we’ve been down before. We never romanticized it and put melody to it and acted like it was all right,” he added.

Sharpton concluded his discussion with a call for the black community to help itself and return churches to “the center of our community.”

“Even if we [are] not responsible for being down, we [are] responsible for getting up,” he said. “And if we wait on those who knocked us down to lift us up we’ll never get up ‘cause if they wanted us up we would have never been down,” he said. 

Posted by cricket on 07/30 at 07:17 PM
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I hate people from out of town.

I started acting and sounding like an old grumpy geezer today.  People were driving recklessly in town today.  Some were doing U-turns in the street with traffic.  Some were ignoring stop lights.  It was after the third illegal traffic maneuver that I realized that all of the cars doing this crazy driving were from New York or Pennsylvania.

Let me correct my title.

I hate people from New York and Pennsylvania that come to the town I live in and make a mockery of the tightly-knit, traffic-law-abiding community we have here while blatantly ignoring our clearly posted traffic signs and lights.

Thank you.
Go back home and leave the Jersey shore to the full-time professionals!

Posted by SPN on 07/30 at 03:54 PM
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Friday, July 29, 2005

Mom abandons child on the Beltway

FAIRFAX, Va.—A Newport News woman has been ordered held without bond after allegedly abandoning her child on the Capital Beltway.

Channoah Green, 22, faces two felony charges. They include reckless endangerment of a child and failure to render aid at the scene of an accident.

Police say Green struck the 4-year-old boy with her car when he tried to get back into the vehicle.

“Based on what he told us, his mother was upset with him. She put the child out. He attempted to get back into the vehicle as she was driving off and was knocked to the ground,” said Virginia State Police Sgt. J.L. Doss.

Authorities said the child was taken to the hospital and treated for cuts and bruises and then turned over to Fairfax County Child Protective Services.

Green appeared for arraignment in Fairfax County’s Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Friday morning. A judge told her a public defender would be appointed to represent her. She also set an Aug. 26 court date for her trial.

If convicted, she faces a possible prison sentence on each of the two counts.

Posted by knya on 07/29 at 02:39 PM
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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Man Forced to Wear Sign for Animal Cruelty

This is a little creative, but perhaps quite effective for some people...........

Jul 22, 8:26 PM (ET)

HOPWOOD, Pa. (AP) - A western Pennsylvania man said he endured more than he expected when he agreed to an unusual sentence for an animal cruelty conviction.

Ulysses Zimmerman, 22, of Point Marion, pleaded guilty to animal cruelty for allegedly neglecting his dog, denying it veterinary care and strangling the animal.

But Zimmerman didn’t pay a fine or spend time in jail. Instead, he stood at a busy intersection in South Union Township Thursday, wearing a sign that read, “I Plead Guilty ... Animal Cruelty is a Crime ... My Dog’s Name WAS Salt and Pepper.”

Zimmerman was supposed to stand at the intersection for eight hours, but Robin Moore, the Fayette County Humane officer who devised the sentence, allowed Zimmerman to leave early because of all the abuse passing motorists hurled at him.

“Everybody started screaming at me and cussing me. I got there at 9:30 a.m., but Robin said at noon that she’d heard enough and that I could leave,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman denies he intentionally hurt his pet.

Posted by rosevine69 on 07/28 at 04:41 AM
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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

With the current heat wave…

...I’d like to know how my cousins are doing in AZ.

We’ve got 95+ degree temperatures here in south Jersey.  That coupled with 90% humidity makes things dangerous.  Sofar we haven’t had any requests from the power company to scale things back.  Luckily, most of this area is wooded so we have a lot of natural cooling going on.

Posted by SPN on 07/27 at 08:15 AM
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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Why is this such a cause for discussion?

Ancient phallus unearthed in cave. You don’t hear about 10,000 year old holes in the ground being hailed as a sexual aid.  What is with this fixation we have with items like this?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4713323.stm

A sculpted and polished phallus found in a German cave is among the earliest representations of male sexuality ever uncovered, researchers say.

The 20cm-long, 3cm-wide stone object, which is dated to be about 28,000 years old, was buried in the famous Hohle Fels Cave near Ulm in the Swabian Jura.

The prehistoric “tool” was reassembled from 14 fragments of siltstone.

Its life size suggests it may well have been used as a sex aid by its Ice Age makers, scientists report.

Posted by SPN on 07/26 at 10:58 AM
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Any musicians out there with song writing talent and a dog?

In case anyone may be interested....I wish I had the talent for this kind of thing.....a $200,000 home makeover is always a good thing!!!

Cottonelle is offering a
chance to win a $200,000 home makeover by celebrating your dog in song!

1. Write a song about the extraordinary relationship you and your family
have
with that very special member of the family, your dog.
2. Complete the entry form. Simply enter your information and print out a
copy to submit and a copy for your records.
3. Perform your song. You have two ways to participate:
1) Videotape your performance and mail it in along with your entry
form

2) Perform live at one of our local auditions. To find out if there’s
an audition being held near you, check back soon, we will be listing the
audition locations on the website soon!
For complete details on this contest, please visit the website at
http://www.cottonelle.com/

Posted by rosevine69 on 07/26 at 06:22 AM
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Monday, July 25, 2005

Subject:  Fwd: Emergency Personnel Look for ICE in your cell phone

I guess this could be something to think about or worth considering.

A campaign encouraging people to enter an emergency contact number in
their mobile phone’s memory under the heading “ICE” (for “In Case of
Emergency"), has rapidly spread throughout the world as a particular
consequence of last week’s terrorist attacks in London. Originally
established as a nation-wide campaign in the UK, ICE allows paramedics
or police to be able to contact a designated relative / next-of-kin in
an emergency situation.
The idea is the brainchild of East Anglian Ambulance Service paramedic
Bob Brotchie and was launched in May this year. Bob, 41, who has been a
paramedic for 13 years, said: “I was reflecting on some of the calls
I’ve attended at the roadside where I had to look through the mobile
phone contacts struggling for information on a shocked or injured
person.
Almost everyone carries a mobile phone now, and with ICE we’d know immediately who to contact and what number to ring. The person may even know of their medical history.”
By adopting the ICE advice, your mobile will help the rescue services
quickly contact a friend or relative - which could be vital in a life or
death situation. It only takes a few seconds to do, and it could easily
help save your life.
Why not put ICE in your phone now?
Simply select a new contact in your phone book, enter the word ‘ICE’
and the number of the person you wish to be contacted. For more than one
contact name ICE1, ICE2, ICE3 etc. 

Posted by cricket on 07/25 at 08:14 PM
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Friday, July 22, 2005

Hustle & Flow

After hearing buzz and reading a review about the movie and Terrence Dashon Howard, I think I am going to have to figure out a way to see this movie in the theatre.  Since becoming a mom, I don’t get to see movies in the theatre much (gotta love Netflix).  But there’s nothing quite like seeing a film on a large screen in a dark theatre.  If someone sees this movie and has comments, please post them.

Posted by Nuttshell on 07/22 at 10:49 AM
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The War on Terrorism is GREEEEAT!!

I think that once everyone is finished paying for the war we’ll all be broke so there will be no one that can afford a bomb.  Deficits are good things.

image

Posted by SPN on 07/22 at 09:10 AM
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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Somebody definitely did something illegal it appears.

Valerie Plameís identity marked as secret in a State Department memo.  Spin the wheel of DISHONESTY!!  Let’s see how this gets shifted into a non-issue.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8635385/

A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked “(S)” for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.

Plame—who is referred to by her married name, Valerie Wilson, in the memo—is mentioned in the second paragraph of the three-page document, which was written on June 10, 2003, by an analyst in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), according to a source who described the memo to The Washington Post.

The paragraph identifying her as the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV was clearly marked to show that it contained classified material at the “secret” level, two sources said. The CIA classifies as “secret” the names of officers whose identities are covert, according to former senior agency officials.

Anyone reading that paragraph should have been aware that it contained secret information, though that designation was not specifically attached to Plame’s name and did not describe her status as covert, the sources said. It is a federal crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a federal official to knowingly disclose the identity of a covert CIA official if the person knows the government is trying to keep it secret.

Prosecutors attempting to determine whether senior government officials knowingly leaked Plame’s identity as a covert CIA operative to the media are investigating whether White House officials gained access to information about her from the memo, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.

Three key questions
The memo may be important to answering three central questions in the Plame case: Who in the Bush administration knew about Plame’s CIA role? Did they know the agency was trying to protect her identity? And, who leaked it to the media?

Almost all of the memo is devoted to describing why State Department intelligence experts did not believe claims that Saddam Hussein had in the recent past sought to purchase uranium from Niger. Only two sentences in the seven-sentence paragraph mention Wilson’s wife.

Posted by SPN on 07/21 at 02:33 PM
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U.S.: Sudan apologizes to Rice over rough up

Guards manhandled Secretary of State’s delegation, NBC reporter

MSNBC News Services
Updated: 8:00 a.m. ET July 21, 2005

ABU SHOUK, Sudan - Sudanís foreign minister on Thursday apologized to visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over the manhandling of U.S. officials and journalists in Khartoum, a U.S. official said.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail had phoned Rice while she was on a plane to Darfur in western Sudan to say sorry.

ìHe apologized for the treatment of our delegation and the press corps,î McCormack told journalists travelling with Rice, Reuters reported.

Earlier, Rice told journalists she wanted an apology.

ìIt makes me very angry to be sitting there with their president and have this happen,î she said. ìThey have no right to push and shove.î

ìDiplomacy 101 says you donít rough your guests up,î Rice senior adviser Jim Wilkinson had said earlier as he and reporters traveling with Rice faced off with guards at the ultra-high-security residence of Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir.

El-Bashirís guards elbowed Americans and tried to rip a tape away from a U.S. reporter. At another point, Riceís interpreter and some other aides accompanying her were blocked at a gate.

Ambassador Khidair Haroun Ahmed, head of the Sudanese mission in Washington, attempted to smooth over the situation. ìPlease accept our apologies,î he told reporters and Rice aides. ìThis is not our policy.î

NBC correspondent roughed up
Shortly after the first apology, another scuffle broke out when NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell tried to ask el-Bashir a question about his involvement with alleged atrocities.

“Why should the U.S. believe the Sudanese government will stop the killing when the government is still supporting the militia?” Mitchell asked, before guards grabbed her and muscled her toward the rear of the room as State Department officials shouted at the guards to leave her alone.

The session at el-Bashirís residence capped a morning of meetings before a scheduled visit to the western Darfur providence, where the United States blames his government for recruiting and equipping rebel militiamen to massacre rural villagers and burn their homes.

He denies government involvement, but the United States and international organizations say his military sent helicopter gunships to bomb small villages before rebels swept in with horses, guns and knives.

Rice points to positive developments
Prior to her meeting with el-Bashir, Rice said the United States is making a difference to relieve a refugee crisis and African peacekeeping troops are helping to stop atrocities.

ìWe are not where we were a year ago,î Rice said Wednesday, ahead of her first trip to Sudan as secretary of state. ìWe are in a different circumstance and the United States has spent a great deal of money and a lot of diplomatic and other energy to try and bring this conflict to a conclusion.î

War-induced hunger and disease have killed more than 180,000 people and driven more than 2 million from their homes in what Rice reaffirmed Wednesday was a case of genocide.

Rice was touring a refugee camp in Darfur on Thursday, and meeting privately with women to discuss recurring sexual violence against women refugees. The camp, Abu Shouk, is the second-largest in Sudan, with more than 70,000 residents in mud brick huts.

Some rebels wore uniforms provided by the Sudanese Army, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Andrew Natsios said Wednesday.

Sudan formed a new reconciliation government this month, following a peace agreement to end a 21-year-year civil war between the Muslim north and the mainly Christian and animist south that killed an estimated 2 million people.

That conflict was separate from the Darfur killing, which began after black African tribes took up arms in February 2003, complaining of discrimination and oppression by Sudanís Arab-dominated government. The Sudanese government then allegedly responded by backing a counterinsurgency by Arab militia known as the Janjaweed.

El-Bashir remains in charge of the new government with former black African rebel leader John Garang installed as a new vice president. On Tuesday, Garang dissolved his guerrilla movement and dismissed all government officials in 10 former rebel-controlled southern states.

The United States has held the Arab-dominated former government at armís length, operating an embassy without a full ambassador and listing Sudan, Africaís largest country, among the nations sponsoring terrorism.

Still, the Bush administration has made Sudan a focus of diplomatic and humanitarian efforts, with $700 million spent for humanitarian needs over the past two years. The United States also supplies logistical help for African troops newly installed as peacekeepers.

Improved situation?
The period of ìethnic cleansingî has largely ended, Natsios said, and the Darfur crisis has now shifted to peacekeeping and the administration of huge refugee camps.

ìThe level of attacks has clearly diminished,î Natsios said. ìThe major reason for that, frankly, is there are not many villages left to burn down and destroy.î

The United Nations has estimated that 2,000 Sudanese villages have been completely or partially destroyed.

In addition to short-term humanitarian needs, the United States and others are trying to prevent the temporary camps from becoming permanent fixtures in Darfur.

ìI think the people in those camps want to go home,î Natsios said, although some refugee organizations say that is far from universally true.

ìThey want their land back and they want their animals back,î Natsios said.

He acknowledged that the camps can be attractive for people without many resources, and that some Sudanese city dwellers who were not victims of the Janjaweed have moved in to take advantage of food and services, including education.

NBC News staff, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
© 2005 MSNBC.com

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8645592/

Posted by Nuttshell on 07/21 at 10:03 AM
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Is your city overpriced?

Cost of living—from housing to the electric bill—is going up just about everywhere, but these 10 cities have the rest of the country beat. Seattle tops the list. Again. Does your hometown make the cut?  Surprising that the Balt/DC area is not on the list.

By Forbes.com

Once an overpriced city, always an overpriced city.

That may not be how the old saw goes, but it’s one of the things Forbes.com gleaned from the fourth edition of its “Most Overpriced Places” study. A couple of cities fell off the list, and others shuffled places. For the most part, the roster is still made up of metropolitan areas that will suck dollars from your wallet in a flash.

Now: Plenty of places are expensive. You probably think where you live is far too costly, especially since real estate costs keep heading north around the country. Movie tickets used to cost a quarter, and with a million dollars you could get a mansion. In Los Angeles this year, the median home price rose above a half-million dollars, according to the California Association of Realtors. Don’t even get us started about the cost of catching a film.

Go to http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/invest/forbes/P123785.asp?GT1=6706 for the rest of the story.

Posted by Nuttshell on 07/21 at 09:55 AM
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