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Ultra-Orthodox Israeli Rabbis are flipping out over internet comments, call for internet boycott

Ultra-Orthodox seek boycott of their own Web sites
Prominent ultra-Orthodox Israeli rabbis are targeting a new foe in the decidedly impious world of the Internet: They've demanded a boycott of their community's own Web sites, accusing them of disseminating "gossip, slander ... filth and abominations." It's the latest flashpoint in a long-simmering battle by rabbis in the profoundly insular ultra-Orthodox, or haredi, community to preserve their influence over hundreds of thousands of followers in an era when the forces of technology are growing ever more powerful. The ultra-Orthodox portals do not contain the seamy material that traditionally has been the main target of rabbinical ire. But the sites, which publish articles on politics, economics, health and religion, do offer freewheeling discussions with irreverent and unmonitored reader responses — including direct criticism of rabbis' authority. . . . The anonymous comments are an injection of openness in the intensely cloistered world of Israel's estimated 650,000 haredim, Hebrew for "God fearing." The haredim live in isolated enclaves across Israel and study in closed school systems. These communities, easily recognized by their bearded men in long black coats and brimmed hats, have minimal contact with the rest of the world.

January 25, 2010

The Last Abortionist

The last abortionist | World news | The Observer This is another must-read piece. It's a portrait/interview/second-person account of the last doctor in America who will perform late-term abortions for women who medically require them.
In the kitchen at the clinic, Dr Hern bolts down two microwave tamales. He talks fast and doesn't smile. "It is my view that we are dealing with a fascist movement. It's a terrorist, violent terrorist movement, and they have a fascist ideology…" Dr Hern goes on like that for some time. Long before the first doctor got shot back in 1993, he was warning that it would happen. He was getting hate mail and death threats way back in 1970, just for working in family planning. They started up again in 1973, two weeks after he helped start the first non-profit abortion clinic in Boulder. "I started sleeping with a rifle by my bed. I expected to get shot." In 1985, someone threw a brick through his window during a protest by the quote unquote Pro-Life Action League. He put up a sign that said THIS WINDOW WAS BROKEN BY THOSE WHO HATE FREEDOM. In 1988, somebody fired five bullets through his window. In 1995, the American Coalition of quote unquote Life Activists put out a hit list with his (and Tiller's) name on it. The feds gave them protection for about six months, then left them on their own. "People don't get it," he says. "After eight murders, 17 attempted murders, 406 death threats, 179 assaults, and four kidnappings, people are still in denial. They say, 'Well, this was just some wingnut guy who just decided to go blow up somebody.' Wrong. This was a cold-blooded, brutal, political assassination that is the logical consequence of 35 years of hate speech and incitement to violence by people from the highest levels of American society, including but in no way limited to George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jesse Helms, Bill O'Reilly, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Reagan may not have been a fascist, but he was a tool of the fascists. Bush was most certainly a tool of the fascists. They use this issue to get power. They seem civilised, but underneath you have this seething mass of rabid anger and hatred of freedom that is really frightening, and they support people like the guy who shot George – they're all pretending to be upset, issuing statements about how much they deplore violence, but it's just bullshit. This is exactly what they wanted to happen." . . .

January 22, 2010

There is actually a guy trying to start a "whites-only" basketball league in the South

"All-American Basketball Alliance" Allows Whites Only - Feministing The money quote, "[o]nly players that are natural born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race are eligible to play in the league."
Don "Moose" Lewis, the commissioner of the AABA, said the reasoning behind the league's roster restrictions is not racism. "There's nothing hatred about what we're doing," he said. "I don't hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here's a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like." Lewis said he wants to emphasize fundamental basketball instead of "street-ball" played by "people of color." He pointed out recent incidents in the NBA, including Gilbert Arenas' indefinite suspension after bringing guns into the Washington Wizards locker room, as examples of fans' dissatisfaction with the way current professional sports are run. "Would you want to go to the game and worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch?" he said. "That's the culture today, and in a free country we should have the right to move ourselves in a better direction."