Sunday, July 30, 2006

Jesus Christ!

Blogger John Lynch of Stranger Fruit posted a great justaposition.

There was an article in the New York Times Saturday on the Dobriches, the Connecticut Jewish family that’s being hounded out of their town by its Christian majority. Responding to the report about classmates taunting the 11-year-old Dobrich boy, one Spirit-filled asshole shouted at a school board meeting,
“If you want people to stop calling him ‘Jew boy,’ you tell him to give his heart to Jesus.”
A few days earlier, the Wall Street Journal had reassured us all,
Christian anti-Semitism […] is largely a thing of the past, especially in this country. Anti-Semitism today is chiefly the province of the Muslim world and the secular, multicultural left.
Please pick your jaw up off the floor. Someone might trip on it.

What sends one’s head reeling even more is that the Journal said this in response to anti-Semitic comments by self-proclaimed devout Christian Pat Buchanan.

The weekend’s news about the explicitly anti-Semitic (and audio-recorded!) spew by self-proclaimed devout Christian Mel Gibson probably would not affect the Journal’s analysis, either, as it is factual.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

More flag insanity

The irony is that this is taking place in Kansas (see last paragraph).

For J.R. and Robin knight, owning a bed and breakfast is everything they've always wanted. "We came here in search of our dreams, my wife always wanted a bed and breakfast and I always wanted a restaurant," says California native J.R. Knight. You can fly it upside down, too But recently their dream has turned into a nightmare, all because of a flag they're flying outside. “It's a rainbow flag - to some people it means friendship to some people it means gay pride," says Knight. But for knight, it was just a souvenir from his 12-year-old son.

Knight says the local Meade [Kansas] newspaper is trying to put him out of business and was frustrated when it ran an article about the flag and did not even bother to contact him regarding why he put it up. In fact, most people we spoke to in Meade said they didn’t even know what the flag meant until the article ran. But once word got around, the reaction was harsh.

Knight says the radio station has called him threatening to remove the restaurant’s commercials if he does not remove the flag. A local pastor stopped by said it was equivalent to hanging women’s panties on a flag pole. When Knight jokingly said he might consider that – the preacher said he would have him arrested.

His business has suffered - down to only a few local customers. The folks in Meade who've boycotted say it's too offensive for them to eat there.

Local resident, Keith Klassen says the flag is a slap in the face to the conservative community of Meade. “To me it's just like running up a Nazi flag in a Jewish neighborhood. I can't walk into that establishment with that flag flying because to me that's saying that I support what the flag stands for and I don't," says Klassen.

Knight says it's not meant to be a gay pride symbol but he doesn't mind if that's how it's taken. “Any gay or lesbian people that do stop by will be treated with the best service I can give you," says Knight

But despite the local ridicule and loss of business, Knight is determined to stand his ground. “When this rainbow flag shreds, I will buy another one, and another one, and another one - just like my American flag, I'll buy another one."

Knight says his son gave him the flag after a trip to Dorothy's house, a museum about the Wizard of Oz. The flag reminded the boy of "somewhere over the rainbow."

[from KWCH-TV News (Witchita) and Pandagon.]

Update: In early August the rainbow flag was “cut away … leaving behind only tattered corners” by vandals, according to the AP. The Knights said they will replace it.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Signal of Distress

From Matthew Rothschild's McCarthyism Watch in The Progressive

A signal of distress
Dale Klyn raises beef cows in Corydon, Iowa.

For the past six years, he has been flying an American flag on his property.

But since May 21, that flag has been upside down.

He gives two reasons.

First, he’s angry at a judge for allowing a debtor of his to declare bankruptcy. The debtor, who had bought a business from Klyn on a contract and still owed him $282,000, now only has to “pay me six cents on the dollar,” says Klyn. “The judge approved that on the 18th of May. I was pretty upset about that.”

Second, he wants to show solidarity for Terri Jones.

She’s the Iowa mom who has been flying her flag upside down after her son returned from the Iraq War and committed suicide. (Klyn had never met her before.)

“When I got the Des Moines Register and read the article about Terri Jones and how her son didn’t get the medical attention he needed, I decided I’m going to support her and oppose what the judge had done and fly my flag upside down,” he says.

It got a reaction.

“I went to the local Case equipment dealer and bought some parts, and the salesman come out and he asked me why I was flying the flag upside down,” Klyn says. “So I explained it to him.”

But the salesman wasn’t sold, telling Klyn, “I’ve lost all respect for you. I’ll buy you a one-way ticket anywhere you want to go out of the country,” Klyn recalls.

Klyn says his postal worker also remarked on it.

“The mail carrier left me a personal note,” he says.

A local TV news reporter then came out and did a story on him.

“The next thing I knew I’d been charged with disorderly conduct,” he says. “I was surprised. I have the right and the freedom to do that.”

On July 6, Klyn, represented by the Iowa ACLU, met with a magistrate.

“I pled not guilty,” Klyn says. “No trial date has been set.” Terri Jones, by the way, went to court that day to support him.

“She came to my hearing," he says. “It was very kind of her.”

Alan Wilson, the county attorney who is prosecuting the case, did not return three phone messages for comment.

But Klyn’s troubles go beyond this court case.

He faces death threats from a forum on a Marine vets’ website, www.leatherneck.com, which calls itself the “Marine Corps Community for USMC Veterans.”

That forum contained the following remarks from four different Marines:

“Any scout snipers live in Corydon, Iowa???”

“Corn hole ’m.”

“Fly him under it upside down.”

“If the flag is flying upside down, it means he is in trouble, right? I think we Marines should show up and get him ‘out’ of trouble.”

Says Klyn: “I view it as a threat.”

Friday, July 14, 2006

Anti-descriptivism

Using what people actually say and write to determine appropriate English usage is […] like writing an ethics textbook based on what people actually do.
          –“Revenge of the Language Nerds” in Slate, July 12, 2006