Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Racism at EMU, Remember Aiyana

More racist graffiti was found on the campus of Eastern Michigan University. EMU students have been subjected to carious forms of racism.

Taylor Amari Little: "Stop treating these incidents like they are not forms of terrorism."


Nikki CreativeMind Carson
"By definition, these are acts of terrorism and should be treated as such. Whoever is doing this does not seem to think that they will have to face any repercussions behind this, but that is far from the truth. It is time to be on administration's back like calls, emails, whatever it takes for our demands to be met. We will get our changes and we will get justice." 


Alexcia Yelder:
"'We can talk about race and all that later, this is life threatening. Historically, when this stuff happens we know it's not just a conversation starter,' said Alexcia Yelder, EMU student. 'This is not the gateway for race related discussions. I want us to be safe. I was just at Ford Hall last night, and what if I walked by the person doing it? I can't even think,' she continued."

Sierra Witcher at work.

Remember Aiyana: Detroit protesters to appear in court.

Image for FB visibility purposes. Sorry.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

My Thoughts on Last Night's Debate

Image: Photo of Donald Trump, decorated with devil's horns, inside a border of spooky black trees and bats, with an approximation of the title of the movie "The Conjuring" just above Trump's photo.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The 36 Questions That Lead to Love

from the NYT

The 36 Questions That Lead to Love
Mandy Len Catron’s Modern Love

Set I

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Set II

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

16. What do you value most in a friendship?

17. What is your most treasured memory?

18. What is your most terrible memory?

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

20. What does friendship mean to you?

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?


25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling ... “

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share ... “

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

On the Vanishing Cabinet in Harry Potter

Vanishing Cabinet
“We forced him headfirst into that Vanishing Cabinet on the first floor.”

The Vanishing Cabinet and its pair are among the many magical objects in the world of Harry Potter. They are well enough described in the series that I do not need to introduced. Where were they located, though? We know that one was in Borgin & Burkes, and eventually even the least observant of us are forced to acknowledge that one is at Hogwarts. But where in Hogwarts? Was it always in the Room of Requirement?

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, after the school year had begun, Peeves very obligingly dropped the Hogwart's Vanishing Cabinet inside the room just above Filch's office. However, observe the wording used to describe the placement of the cabinet.
“Name . . . Harry Potter. Crime . . .” “It was only a bit of mud!” said Harry. “It’s only a bit of mud to you, boy, but to me it’s an extra hour scrubbing!” shouted Filch, a drip shivering unpleasantly at the end of his bulbous nose. “Crime . . . befouling the castle . . . suggested sentence . . .” Dabbing at his streaming nose, Filch squinted unpleasantly at Harry, who waited with bated breath for his sentence to fall. But as Filch lowered his quill, there was a great BANG! on the ceiling of the office, which made the oil lamp rattle. ... Nearly Headless Nick came gliding out of a classroom. Behind him, Harry could see the wreckage of a large black-and-gold cabinet that appeared to have been dropped from a great height. “I persuaded Peeves to crash it right over Filch’s office,” said Nick eagerly. “Thought it might distract him —” “Was that you?” said Harry gratefully. “Yeah, it worked, I didn’t even get detention. Thanks, Nick!
[Rowling, J.K.. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (pp. 126, 129). Scholastic Paperbacks. Kindle Edition.]
Note that the ceiling of Filch's office shook with the impact. I think that had the Vanishing Cabinet been originally located in the room just above Filch's office, there would have been no need to be so specific about requesting Peeves to drop it precisely in that classroom. This is important to my line of thinking because I think that the Mirror of Erised and the Vanishing Cabinet were originally located in the same room before Peeves got his hands on the Vanishing Cabinet and smashed it up. The Mirror of Erised was stashed in an unused classroom that was being used as a storage room. Also located in an unused room was the Vanishing Cabinet that Nearly Headless Nicholas convinced Peeves to drop on the floor of the room just above Filch's office, which itself is on the ground floor.

So far, I am assuming that this room is in the Grand Staircase Tower, a tower that also houses Gryffindor House and Dumbledore's office. This is because, as Harry Potter Wikia explains, "given its location in the books, it can be found in the circular building adjacent to the Entrance Hall." Whilst Harry Potter Wikia shows an image of a stout little building, it is not unimaginable that the Grand Staircase Tower, also located off the Entrance Hall.

I think that the Hogwarts Vanishing Cabinet was located on the fourth floor of whichever building it was in. In his first year at Hogwarts, Harry Potter snuck off to the library. Now, the Harry Potter series is clear that the library itself (the entrance, at least) is on the first floor. Harry Potter Wikia states,"In Chapter 11 of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry leaves the library, walks along this corridor, walks up a staircase, and is then in a corridor around the corner from the headmaster's office. The headmaster's office is, in Chapter 28 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, said to be on the second-floor, placing the library on the first-floor. Additionally, in Chapter 8 of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry heads towards the library, changes his mind, ascends a staircase and is then on the second-floor corridor, outside of Lupin's office."

This is a potential complication. However, the Restricted Section is reported by the Harry Potter Wikia to be on the fourth floor. When Harry entered the library that Christmas night of his first year, he went to the Restricted Section. The book, Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone, describes Harry as stepping over a rope divider in order to enter the Restricted Section. However, the book did not specify that Harry had remained on the first floor. In addition, nearly every (useful) map of Hogwarts shows a possibly contiguous run from the fourth floor of the library to what would be the fourth floor of the Grand Staircase Tower.

Since Hogwarts is full of secret passages with which Filch is intimately familiar, I find it more plausible that he and Snape were able to remain within earshot of a panicking young boy running for his life than that Peeves went all the way off to a corridor off the library entrance to retrieve a Vanishing Cabinet. Given the layout of the castle and other textual clues, I am inclined to thinking that the Vanishing Cabinet and the Mirror of Erised were at one time located in the same room on the fourth floor of the Grand Staircase Tower.

Dreams, by Dumbledore

After Siruis Black entered the castle in search of Peter-Pettigrew-cum-Scabbers and Dumbledore had relegated the students to the Great Hall to sleep, Snape entered into conversation with him.Eventually, the following line passed Dumbledore's lips: "In dreams we enter a world that is entirely our own. Let them swim in the deepest oceans or glide over the highest cloud." I overlaid that quote on the ceiling of the Great Hall, which that night was emblazoned more with galaxies than mere stars. Click the image to see it better.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Birthday Present Appeal!

Help Me Go to Saginaw for the Election

While this package will be in celebration of my birthday, most of it will take place around Election Day. My hope is to be in Saginaw for Election Day. The most central elements will be gas money for transportation, as well as a bit more for bus transportation. Anyone whom I already know is welcome to "donate" to my birthday fund by offering to transport me for free. There are also free-of-charge items that you can get me. :)

* Gas and bus money: $45 on a Visa Gift Card, available here at Visa's website. Visa charges an additional $5 or less for the card. An alternative is a donated trip to Saginaw and then another donated trip back, as well as some (in-person) donated bus money.

* A place to stay. This would be a gift from someone whom I already know and can be divvied out among a few different people, if you all like. The important thing is that I be in Saginaw late Wednesday morning, Thursday evening, and either sometime Saturday or really quite early on Sunday morning.

* An accountability buddy to remind me to get an absentee ballot. NO CHARGE TO YOU. :)

ADDITIONAL EXTRAS (after essentials are filled)
The last two are not time-restricted. Just get it in Before Easter, is all.

* I have a birthday wish list here. You do not have to know me to get me these. I would love to get that Saginaw trip settled first, of course.

* The Sunday Paper - either the Detroit Free Press or the Saginaw News are fine. Just the one paper, no subscriptions. You would have to know me to get this to me. The Sunday before elections or the Sunday after is fine.

* Some birthday text messages. Almost no charge to you! Let's just say send those on Election Day, since that will be a high communications day, anyway. Good-morning texts are especially cool.

* Watch election news with me. I might set up another FB event. You would have to know me. NO CHARGE TO YOU!

* Photos of your gardens/flowers posted to my FB profile (a restricted privacy setting). NO CHARGE TO YOU!

* Letters by snail mail. Obviously, you would have to know me. VERY INEXPENSIVE TO YOU!


When Academics Post Music, 12 October 2016

A polyglot from the Celtic Lands posted this,


Howard Sharper's Weather Post, 12 October 2016

Monday, 10 October 2016

The Economic and Impact of Slavery on the North: Reading Eric Foner's Texts

The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery
On the strength of its control of the transatlantic trade in cotton, New York City rose to commercial dominance. Even the abolition of the slave trade from Africa in 1808, a year before Lincoln’s birth, did not slow slavery’s growth. A flourishing domestic slave trade replaced the importation of slaves. By the eve of the Civil War, the slave population in the United States had reached nearly four million. The economic value of these men, women, and children when considered as property exceeded the combined worth of all the banks, railroads, and factories in the United States. In geographical extent, population, and the institution’s economic importance, the South was home to the most powerful slave system the modern world has known.

Foner, Eric (2011-09-26). The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery (Kindle Locations 582-587). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War
Indentured servitude, a form of voluntary unfreedom, comprised a major part of the non-slave labor force throughout the colonial era. As late as the early 1770s, nearly half the immigrants who arrived in America from England and Scotland had entered into contracts for a fixed period of labor in exchange for passage. Although not slaves, indentured servants could be bought and sold, were subject to corporal punishment, and their obligation to fulfil their duties (“ specific performance” in legal terminology) was enforced by the courts. They occupied, a Pennsylvania judge remarked in 1793, “a middle rank between slaves and freemen.” 3 Of the two kinds of free labor— wage work and independent proprietorship— the latter predominated in colonial America. By the time of the Revolution the majority of the nonslave population were farmers who owned their own land and worked it by family labor, supplemented in many areas by indentured servants and slaves. Recourse to wage labor on the farm was quite rare, and hired workers tended to be youths who could expect to acquire property in the future. In colonial cities, wage labor was more prevalent, although the unfree formed a crucial part of the labor force, even outside the South. Until at least the mid-eighteenth century, large numbers of artisans and merchants, North as well as South, owned slaves and employed indentured servants and apprentices. After 1750, the ranks of wage earners began to grow, their numbers augmented by population growth, declining access to land in rural areas, and the completion of the terms of indentured servants. The economic depression of the

Foner, Eric (1995-04-20). Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War (Kindle Locations 94-106). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Representative government could only rest on a citizenry enjoying the personal autonomy that arose from ownership of productive property and was thus able to subordinate self-interest to the public good. Not only personal dependence, as in the case of a domestic servant, but working for wages itself were widely viewed as disreputable. This belief had a long lineage. In seventeenth-century England, wage labor had been associated with servility and loss of freedom.

Foner, Eric (1995-04-20). Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War (Kindle Locations 114-117). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

in the South, no longer applied to bound white labor, “servant” became a euphemism for slave.

Foner, Eric (1995-04-20). Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War (Kindle Locations 137-138). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

So long as yeoman families retained control of productive property and had the realistic prospect of passing it on to their children, the ideal of autonomy retained social authenticity. “Proprietorship,” concludes Randolph A. Roth’s study of Vermont’s Connecticut River valley, an area fully integrated into the capitalist marketplace by 1860, “remained the ideal and was still a possibility for most citizens.” The opening for settlement of land in the West made the goal of farm ownership even more realistic for small farmers and their descendants. 9 Far different were the consequences of capitalism’s development in the nation’s commercial and manufacturing cities, especially in the Northeast. Here, the increased scale of production, undermining of traditional crafts, and dwindling of opportunities for journeymen to rise to the status of independent master, combined to make wage labor rather than ownership of productive property the economic basis of family survival. As the centrality of the household to production waned, many male home owners were transformed into wage earners; they occupied simultaneously the positions of property owner and dependent employee, even as the spread of outwork mobilized tens of thousands of poor women for paid labor in their homes. After 1830, the rapid increase of immigration swelled the bottom ranks of the labor force, the “army of wage workers” who dug America’s canals, built the railroads, and loaded and unloaded ships in port cities.

Foner, Eric (1995-04-20). Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War (Kindle Locations 151-163). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

During the first half of the nineteenth century, American law adopted the definition of wage labor as the product of a voluntary agreement between autonomous individuals. The freedom of free labor arose from the noncoerced nature of the contract itself, not whether the laborer enjoyed economic autonomy. This legal transformation both reflected and reinforced the shift in economic power toward entrepreneurs and investors, while in some ways limiting the actual liberty of wage earners. Court-ordered specific performance of a labor contract fell into abeyance, no longer deemed compatible with the autonomy of the free laborer; but by the same token, the legal doctrine of “employment at will” also relieved employers of any obligation to retain laborers longer than economically necessary. If the right to quit helped define the difference between the free laborer and the slave, along with it came lack of recourse against being fired. While labor itself was not legally enforceable, the labor contract was held to clothe employers with full authority over the workplace. Thus, work rules that seemed extremely arbitrary to employees had the force of law behind them, and any who refused to follow reasonable commands could legally be dismissed without payment of wages due. Judges invoked the definition of the laborer as an autonomous individual to impede workers, via conspiracy laws, from organizing collectively to seek higher wages, and to prevent them from obtaining compensation from employers for injuries on the job (as free individuals, they were presumed to have knowingly assumed the risks of employment).

Foner, Eric (1995-04-20). Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War (Kindle Locations 169-180). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

The elevation of free labor depended on slavery, insisted Senator David S. Reid of North Carolina, for slavery liberated white men from the degrading “low, menial” jobs, like factory labor and domestic service, performed by wage laborers in the North.

Foner, Eric (1995-04-20). Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War (Kindle Locations 215-217). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

It has recently been argued that North as well as South, the rhetoric of wage slavery implicitly rested on a racist underpinning. Slavery was meant for blacks, freedom for whites, and what was degrading in wage labor was reducing white men to the same level as African– Americans. The obvious elements of exaggeration in the idea of wage slavery (sometimes magnified to the point where Northern laborers were said to work in more oppressive conditions than Southern slaves) lend credence to this argument, as does the overt racism of Mike Walsh and other Jacksonians who employed wage slavery language. (Walsh and his fellow New York City Democrats linked to the labor movement even supported Calhoun’s quixotic quest for the Presidency in 1844.) On the other hand, artisans and factory workers were, in general, hardly known as defenders of slavery, and many who employed the language of “wage slavery” assumed that, as a Lynn, Massachusetts, labor paper put it, “all kinds of slavery” should be “buried . . . forever.” However employed, wage slavery, as David Brion Davis has written, was a blunt instrument for describing the range of subtle coercions operating in the capitalist marketplace; indeed, Davis suggests, analogies with chattel slavery may well have “retarded the development of a vocabulary” more appropriate to market society.

Foner, Eric (1995-04-20). Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War (Kindle Locations 218-227). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Black Lives Matter Khutba Ideas

BLM Khutba Ideas

Finally: The Integral role of Black Americans in Islamic revival
In the post-colonial era, the Muslim world became characterized by immense corruption, ritualism, and poverty. Gone was the era of the Islamic golden age in places such as Islamic Spain in which Muslims commanded universal respect and admiration. In light of this, numerous Muslim intellectuals from Abul ala Maududi, Ali Shariati, Abul ala Maududi, and many others have devoted themselves to how the Islamic world could achieve a revival. What role to Black Americans played in this?

Upon being freed from prison, Malcolm X went to the Mosque for the very first time and recounted being upset at the low attendance. Malcolm X states that there should be no empty section in the Mosque” with the surrounding streets full of our brainwashed black brothers and sisters, drinking, cursing, fighting, dancing, carousing, and using dope.” Malcolm X did not treat the Mosque as merely a place to go in for prayer. He sought to utilize the Mosque as a means to transform the community. Malcolm X states that,”Every day after work, I walked, “fishing” for potential converts in the Detroit black ghetto. ” Malcolm X’s dawah was centered upon the ghettos of Black Americans and many came to islam through his efforts.

What is interesting in that Louis Farrakhan shared a story about an Arab brother who lived in the Persian Gulf. The brother expressed to him that despite living in what is called the “Muslim world’, he never practiced his faith and took it for granted. However, the brother stated when came to the United states and began meeting African-American Muslims with great zeal for Islam that his own faith was reawakened. From this, Farrakhan expresses his belief in working to transform America’s black ghettos with its numerous social maladies into model Islamic communities of moral excellence, that the faith of the entire Islamic world can be awakened.

Louis  Farrakhan states,”The Muslim world is astray and they know they know that they are astray And they are looking to the black people in the west to guide them out of their condition.”There have been numerous Islamic thinkers who have dedicated themselves to revival in the post-colonial era. Louis Farrakhan is the only one who has posited a theory of Islamic reform and revival that centers black communities. This Khutba can discuss the importance of dawah in the spirit of Malcolm X’s early work in Detroit’s ghetto’s in pursuit of this vision.
Black Lives Matter.

Turning to the Qu’ran for Black Liberation.

This Khutba will examine how historically blacks have turned to and interpreted ayats in the Quran in efforts to struggle for their freedom and how black folks can continue to turn to the Qu’ran for our liberation.

An-Nisa 4:97 reads, “….Was, then, God’s earth not spacious enough for you to forsake the domain of evil?” Hijrah, or ‘flight from persecution,’ is an Islamic practice that began when the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) early followers forsake the domain of evil in Mecca and established their own Muslim polity, beginning in Ethiopia and then Medina. This practice had a profound impact upon slaves in pursuit of their freedom.

Describing the impact that such ayats in the Qur’an had on slaves, historian Dr. Afroz Sulanta writes that “hijra from the plantations led many of them to form their own community, known as Maroon communities. Additionally, In Slave Rebellion in Brazil: The Muslim Uprising of 1835 in Bahia by João José Reis writes that in the Islamic Slave revolts of Brazil,”The Koran’s texts were especially appealing [to rebel slaves] because of their sympathy for the discriminated, the exiled, the persecuted, and the enslaved.” The Qu’ran impacted Black Liberation in the western hemipshere? After all, what is the spiritual significance of Omar Ibn Said  writing Surah Mulk in his slave autobiography?

In contemporary times, former Black Panther member Assata Shakur states that a comrade of hers told her, “Islam was a just religion, opposed to oppression. “Oppression is worst than slaughter, he quoted from the Holy Koran.” Further, discussing her conversion to Islam in the Black Panther, Safiya Bukhari wrote that,”It was in the Quran that said it was incumbent upon a Muslim to wage a struggle against tyranny and oppression wherever it may be found.” This Khutba will answer the question: what was it about the Qu’ran that made it appealing to the descendants of black slaves in the western hemisphere and how can we continue to turn to the Qu’ran to inspire us to challenge white supremacy?

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Ringwood Forest, Friday 07 October 2016

A peaceful sort of presence - just being with Nature. To see each photo in its full glory and splendour, click on the photo itself.

Because of the information on the map, we were able to identify this plant (in the genus Acer) as poison ivy.

Due to the kind of abuse that I endured during my young adult years, my feet cannot handle very much activity at once. I used this walking stick to great effect to assist me hiking through the woods.

Be sure to leave your walking stick by a tree when finished using it.


Friday, 7 October 2016

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Howard Sharper's Weather Forecast, 06 October 2016

Local Photographer Wins Award

"Autumn Sunset in Saginaw," by Howard Sharper, won an award. Check it out!


Autumn Leaves in Mist


When Are You Not in My Mind?

When are you not in my mind,
or your hand not in mine?
I am grateful that none of my nights
I am now away from you.

If things are that difficult there,
sell the heart, give up life,
Don't such conditions exist, my friends,
in my lover's neighborhood?

The swagger with which one enters
the execution chamber - that hubris
lives on; life comes and goes,
this life is not such a big deal!

Faith's arena is not a palace,
no one cares for the name or genealogy;
no one is named Lover,
love is not the caste of anyone.

If this is a contest for love,
lay down what you can, without fear
wonderful if you win,
If you lose, it is not a defeat.
-Faiz Ahmed Faiz


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

15 Unexpected Quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. By Yanique Dawkins

15 Unexpected Quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
By Yanique Dawkins - September 26, 2014

“I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today – my own government.”

“There is a magnificent new militancy within the Negro community all across this nation. And I welcome this as a marvelous development. The Negro of America is saying he’s determined to be free and he is militant enough to stand up.”

“You can’t talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can’t talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of the slums. You’re really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry. Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong with capitalism.”

“It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’”

“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly I have never yet engaged in a direct action movement that was ‘well timed,’ according to the timetable of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with a piercing familiarity. This ‘wait’ has almost always meant ‘never.’ We must come to see with the distinguished jurist of yesterday that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.'”

“The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists will we be? Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or the extension of justice?”

“If America does not use her vast resources of wealth to end poverty and make it possible for all of God’s children to have the basic necessities of life, she too will go to hell.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“If our economic system is to survive, there has to be a better distribution of wealth … we can’t have a system where some people live in superfluous, inordinate wealth, while others live in abject deadening poverty.”

“The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists, who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood. The trailblazers in human, academic, scientific and religious freedom have always been nonconformists. In any cause that concerns the progress of mankind, put your faith in the nonconformist!”

“Somebody told a lie one day. They couched it in language. They made everything Black ugly and evil. Look in your dictionaries and see the synonyms of the word Black. It’s always something degrading and low and sinister. Look at the word White, it’s always something pure, high and clean. Well I want to get the language right tonight. I want to get the language so right that everyone here will cry out: ‘Yes, I’m Black, I’m proud of it. I’m Black and I’m beautiful!’”

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.’”

“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”

“No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.”

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. (I Have a Dream)

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

PRAYER, by Langston Hughes

Gather up
In the arms of your pity
The sick, the depraved,
The desperate, the tired,
All the scum
Of our weary city

Gather up
in the arms of your pity.
Gather up
In the arms of your love -
Those who expect
No love from above.

Text inside a meme containing a photo of young Langston Hughes and a book description as follows: The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes; by Langston Hughes; ed Arnold Rampersad; copyright 1994 by Estate of Langston Hughes; pub Vintage Books, a division of Random House, NY. Meme is bordered by a thicker black-line border on the outer edge and a thinner black-line border just to the inside of the thicker one.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Tao of Now: Kabir's "The Breath Inside the Breath"

Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat. My shoulder is against yours.

You will not find me in Stupas, not in Indian shrine rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals:

Not in masses, nor in kirtans, not in legs winding about your own neck, nor in eating nothing but vegetables.

When you really look for me, you will see me instantly -
You will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Students, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Woe to the Complacent!

God the Socialist Declares
(via Prophet Amos)

AM 6:1A, 4-7
Thus says the LORD the God of hosts:
Woe to the complacent in Zion!
Lying upon beds of ivory,
stretched comfortably on their couches,
they eat lambs taken from the flock,
and calves from the stall!

Improvising to the music of the harp,
like David, they devise their own accompaniment.
They drink wine from bowls
and anoint themselves with the best oils;
yet they are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph!
Therefore, now they shall be the first to go into exile,
and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

22 September 2016 Sunrise (Orange)

Want to see the bird better? Click the photo.

2016.09.22. 2120 Orange Sunrise with Bird

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Love Like an Ocean in My Soul

I've got love like an ocean in my soul.
(Song: "I've got peace like a river in my soul.")

God is Ever Watchful over You

He is ever watching over you.
Quran 33:52

A reminder that God loves you that much.

Tell That Bully

Multilingual Bully Posts
Did I make an error? I am particularly curious about the French poster. Let me know!

If ever anyone tells you that
* you are not good looking.
* you are unintelligent.
* you do not deserve companionship.
* you are always a bother.
* you are unworthy.

Tell that bully to shut it. Even if it is the voice in your head.

Si en algún momento alguien intenta decirte que
* no eres de aspecto bueno.
* no eres inteligente.
* no mereces compañerismo.
* eres siempre una molestia.
* eres indigno.

Di a ese montiroso matón que se calle. Aún cuando es la voz en tu cabeza.

Si à chaque fois que suelqu un essaie de le dire que
* tu n'est pas beau/lle.
* tu n'es pas intelligent.
* tu ne méerite pas la compagnie.
* tu es toujours une nuisance.
* tu es indigne.

Dis-tu à ce couché tyran qu'il se taise. Même s'il est la voix dans ton tête.

Images Related to Being Free

Your Freedom Album

Butterflies Shall Carry Me

Break the Mirror

Leap off the Carousel, O Horses!

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Friendly Spaces for Progressive-Minded and LGBTQIA Muslims

Muslims for Progressive Values
el-Tawhid Juma Circle: Toronto Unity Mosque (msg to admin immediately after requesting to join; there are branches throughout North America)
Inclusive Muslims
Interfaith Liberation Theology
CALEM Cabinet | Secularism, Interculturality, Gender, Religiosity - experts
Progressive Shia Muslims if you are a Shia Muslim (send PM when joining)
* There is a group for transgender Muslims. Ask in Muslims for Progressive Values if this applies to you.
* There is a group for asexual Muslims. Ask in MPV if this applies.

El Tawhid Juma Circle Unity Mosques - Masajid El Tawhid
Masjid el-Tawhid - Toronto - Unity Mosque
Inclusive Mosque Initiative
Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity - MASGD
Universalist Muslims
The Inner Circle
Muslims for Progressive Values
Queer Muslims of Boston
Queer Muslims and Allies at Penn

El-Farouk Khaki
Daayiee Abdullah
Muhsin Hendricks
Shahla Khan Salter
Ani Zonneveld
Ilana Alazzeh


* Homosexuality in Islam: Critical Reflection on Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Muslims - by Dr. Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle

* Living Out Islam: Voices of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Muslims

* The Crisis of Islamic Masculinities, Dr Amanullah De Sondy

* Progressive Muslims, ed Dr Dr. Omid Safi

* Maqasid Al Shari'ah and Contemporary Reformist Muslim Thought, Dr Adis Duderija

* The Imperatives of Progressive Islam, Dr Adis Duderija

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Feel My Love

This post contains some lyrics of Adele's "Feel My Love," a cover of it by Shila Amzah, and a photo of the stars twinkling above a wintry forest at sunset with a pale pink and purple sky.

"When the rain is blowing in your face,
And the whole world is on your case,
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love.

"When the evening shadows and the stars appear,
And there is no one there to dry your tears,
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love.

"I could make you happy, make your dreams come true.
Nothing that I wouldn't do.
Go to the ends of the Earth for you,
To make you feel my love
To make you feel my love"

"Muslim Immigration in Europe: Masculinity, Politics, and Law" at University College Cork in Ireland

A cannot miss event! Coming up at University College Cork: "Muslim Immigration in Europe: Masculinity, Politics, and Law." It takes place on Friday 23 September 2016, 6-7:30 pm at Aula Maxima, UCC. This presentation will feature these luminaries:

Dr Amanullah De Sondy, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Islam at UCC Study of Religions Department as Chair
* Dr Michael B Murphy, President of University College Cork
Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, UK MP for Ochil & South Perthshire
* Dr Samia Bano, Senior Lecturer in Islamic Law at SOAS University of London

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Michigan Legislature Activities for Autumn 2016


Scroll down for "Uniformed Lives Matter" bill and its possible linking with a bill expanding civil rights protections for LGBT people.

* Lawmakers return after long summer break, introduce nearly 100 bills
Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press
11 September 2016

A bill that would eliminate the requirement that cities and villages pay for a portion of road repairs on state highways passed nearly unanimously in the Legislature earlier this year. But Snyder vetoed it because he said he felt it would create a patchwork of funding mechanisms for road repairs in the state. State Rep. Pete Pettalia, R-Presque Isle, also reintroduced a bill vetoed by Snyder that would limit the use of aftermarket auto parts that aren't made by the original car maker.

For more on Michigan's anti-trafficking legislation, see Section 750.462a of the Michigan Penal Code, Act 328 of 1931.

HB 5808: Allow testimony of expert witnesses regarding behavioral patterns of human trafficking. Sponsor: Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township.

HB 5838-5839: Prohibit, and provide penalties for, people or businesses knowingly selling travel services for the purpose of human trafficking. Sponsors: Reps. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville; Jason Sheppard, R-Temperance.

HB 5815: Provide re-entry services and housing for individuals released from prison as a result of their conviction or sentence being overturned. Sponsor: Rep. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit.

HB 5820 and SB 1060: Expand the suspicion-based drug testing program for cash assistance recipients from a three-county pilot to statewide and require annual reports on Nov. 30 of each year. Sponsors: Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township; and Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida.

HB 5829: Prohibit exclusivity clause in public sector labor union contracts. Sponsor: Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Midland.

HB 5856: Eliminate a Brownfield Development Authority’s ability to capture future special millages. Sponsor: Rep. Lee Chatfield, R-Levering.

SB 1035: Expand the definition of ethnic intimidation to include gender identification and sexual orientation. Sponsor: Sen. Steven Bieda, D-Warren.

SB 1039-1040: Prohibit rules that are more stringent than the current requirements to claim exemption from immunizations, and prohibit excluding students from school as a disease control measure. Sponsor: Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton.

SB 1046: Change the requirements for transportation of students, adding that school districts shall transport or pay for transportation for a student from the public school within the district to a nonpublic school that the student attends. Sponsor: Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton.

SB 1066: Prohibit local units of government from raising the minimum age to purchase or use tobacco products. Sponsor: Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

* Michigan Legislature's fall agenda: energy laws, driverless cars, marijuana bills
David Eggert, Associated Press (Crain's Detroit Business)
05 September 2016
The Republican-led Michigan Legislature returns for voting this week after a three-month summer break, with plans for an abbreviated calendar before the crucial November election determines which party controls the House. Both chambers will have three weeks in session before the election, or nine days. The House schedule is front-loaded to September, while the Senate — whose members are not up for election for another two years — will be in session off and on into October.

Top priorities for GOP legislative leaders and Republican Gov. Rick Snyder continue to be an update of energy laws and changes in parole and probation policies. Lawmakers have been unable to resolve issues that ultimately affect consumers' bills — competition in the electricity market, how much power should come from wind and other renewable sources, and whether to require energy-efficiency markers. Senators will resume session Tuesday. Majority Republicans plan to revisit the energy legislation and marijuana bills in a private caucus meeting. House-passed measures would tax and regulate medical marijuana.

It has been nearly four months since a special legislative committee concluded investigative hearings into the lead contamination that began when the financially strapped city's water source was switched under state management. The Legislature has allocated $240 million. But policy recommendations, including potential revisions to the emergency manager law, have yet to be released — sparking questions from Democrats on the GOP-controlled panel. Republicans now could wait to make recommendations, originally due in May, until after the election. Democrats fighting to win the House majority for the first time since 2010 have tried to tie GOP lawmakers to the crisis by criticizing them for not calling Snyder to testify and allowing public money to be spent on lawyers helping him with Flint-related legal matters.

* CPR training could become school requirement in Michigan
Tampa Bay Times
11 September 2016
The legislation easily cleared the Senate in the spring and is pending in the House, which supporters hope will vote this month before members break again to focus on the November election. The bill would require that schools provide instruction in CPR and the use of defibrillators at least one time between grades 7 and 12. The requirement would begin in the 2017-18 school year. Rep. Tom Hooker, a Byron Center Republican, sponsored the legislation in the House.

* Michigan legislation seeks to allow pooches on restaurant patios
Brittany Gray, WWMT
10 September 2016
Michigan State law generally prohibits animals at restaurants, but Senate Bill 727 would allow dogs on outdoor patios. Michigan State law generally prohibits animals at restaurants, but Senate Bill 727 would allow dogs on outdoor patios. The bill introduced by Sen. Margaret O'Brien, R-Portage passed the Republican-led Michigan Senate this week and heads to the Michigan House, but some who oppose the legislation are saying they don't want to see dog hair or slobber while they're eating. It would allowed leashed dogs on a restaurant's outdoor patio, but those patios would have to be free of dog hair and regularly disinfected. The bill also allows communities to ban dogs, if the community wasn't in favor of the idea. The bill would not affect any existing laws covering service dogs.

Proposed bills would classify attacks on Law Enforcement Officials as hate crimes.

* Michigan senator to introduce 'Uniformed Lives Matter' bill
Emily Lawler, MLive
09 July 2016
Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake promised to introduce legislation in Michigan that would treat attacks on law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical services personnel as hate crimes under state law. Michigan law already does prohibit the killing of a police officer, but it is not currently classified as a hate crime.

Michigan law defines a hate crime as being motivated by a bias against a race, color, religion, gender, or national origin. Federal law also includes crimes motivated by a bias against perceived religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability in its definition of hate crimes. According to a report from the Michigan State Police there were 495 hate crimes in Michigan in 2015.

* Legislation eyed to make attacks on cops hate crimes
Candice Williams, The Detroit News
08 July 2016

Michigan Senate Majority Leader and former public safety director for White Lake Township Mike Kowall said he would introduce the “Uniformed Lives Matter” legislation when the Senate returns to session in September after summer break. The legislation would cover law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical services personnel.

* Jones backs classifying LGBT bias as hate crime
Todd Heywood, City Pulse
July 2016

State Sen Rick Jones, a Grand Ledge Republican and former sheriff, will announce that he is cosponsoring a bill to amend the measure to include LGBT people. His support breathes new life into the legislation after decades of disappointment for proponents. His backing guarantees a hearing before the Judiciary Committee. This will be the first time the Legislature’s upper chamber has held hearings on hate crimes legislation, and the first time since 2008 either chamber has done so. Last week, Jones signed onto SB1035 to amend the state hate crimes law to include gender identity and sexual orientation as protected classes. Jones and Warren Democrat Steve Bieda will take the lead shepherding the legislation through the Senate. Ingham County Democrat Curtis Hertel Jr. and Republican Tory Rocca from Sterling Heights have also signed onto the bill as sponsors.

State statistics show antigay crimes have been an ongoing issue in Michigan. In 2014, the Michigan State Police listed 60 antigay bias crimes. That was out of 532 victims and 441 incidents. In 2015, the number of victims and incidents had dropped to 399 incidents and 495 victims. The MSP reports that 12 percent in 2015 were motivated by antigay bias, or 61 cases. The majority of bias crimes were perpetrated based on the victim’s race. Michigan's Hate Crime law doesn't include crimes against a particularly vulnerable group, transgender people, which the state police do not track. Equality Michigan, a statewide gay rights organization, reported in the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects 2015 annual report on hate crimes that the state had tracked three anti-trans murders.

State Sen. Mike Kowall of White Lake said last week, after news of the shooting of white police officers in Dallas, that he would introduce legislation he is calling “Uniformed Lives Matter.” That proposal would make a crime to target first responders for violent crime, as apparently happened when a gunman opened fired on Dallas Police last week during a Black Lives Matter march. Kowall opposes amending existing hate crimes laws to include the LGBT community. Ironically, however, MSP reports on bias incidents show that in 2014, five police officers were victims of bias crimes, whereas 60 members of the LGB community were victims of such crimes. In 2015, eight police officers were victims of bias crimes, while 61 members of the LGB community were victims.

Nathan Triplett, political director for Equality Michigan, said Jones’ move is “very positive.”