Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Thursday, December 30th, 2010.

Snow Job

Obama Administration

Sunday New York got hit with a sure-enough blizzard. I haven’t been in the city proper, but here in the city improper we all got snowed in real good.

Apparently the Right has seized upon the snow-covered city as a means to smear both unions and public employees. Stories generated by Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post and the conservative Washington Examiner claim that the city sanitation workers’ union deliberately sabotaged the snow cleanup. The Examiner went so far as to claim that “union thugs” routinely shake down the city for more money and use intimidation to line their pockets. The Post claims that union “bosses” ordered workers to snarl the cleanup to protest budget cuts.

Naturally, the rightie blogosphere is eating it up. And Faux News warns that union thugs soon will be sabotaging snow cleanup in your town.

Note also that the one and only source for this story is one Republican councilman from Queens.

Mayor Bloomberg promises to look into it, but the more likely explanation for why this particular snow was such a pain in the bleep can be found at The Talking Dog.

Among other things– apparently what really snarled up Sunday traffic was that the city didn’t declare a snow emergency and order non-emergency traffic off the street. So, lots of people foolishly tried to drive places in the snow and got stuck, which much complicated plowing and snow removal. See more in New York Times and New York Daily News.

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Today in Religion


Here’s one for the Islamophobes who are perpetually pointing out there are no Christian churches in Mecca — According to the Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem is rocked with controversy over an apparent rumor that a statue of Buddha might be erected in a traffic circle.

Agon Shu, a Japanese Buddhist organization that promotes world peace, was invited by the city of Jerusalem to beautify a traffic circle. But the religious establishment in Israel went ballistic over the possibility that a statue of Buddha or other Buddhist symbolism might be publicly displayed in their country.

Ahead of the Sculpting Committee meeting – scheduled originally for last Sunday but postponed for reasons unrelated to the volatile agenda – councilman and committee member Yossi Deitsch of United Torah Judaism spoke out strongly against allowing “actual idolatry” in the city’s limits. This sentiment received wide resonance in the religious and haredi media.

“There is a Japanese group that wants to place some sort of Buddha statue in the city. This is actual idolatry. We should not have such things,” Deitsch reiterated to The Jerusalem Post late last week regarding the Agon Shu proposal. …

… In a later conversation with the Post, Deitsch explained that he was basing his stance on what the municipality’s art adviser David Suzana had written in a letter about the Agon Shu traffic circle. According to Suzana, the proposed design contained religious and ritualistic Buddhist elements, and the art adviser objected to it on those grounds.

“I cannot agree to have Buddhists arrive to conduct religious ceremonies at the site,” asserted Deitsch, who will be seeing the plans for the first time when the committee convenes.

The architect designing the traffic circle says there is no plan to erect a Buddha. They are planning an “abstract design,” he says.

Apparently it’s OK to display religious symbols, such as a Christian cross, in Jerusalem, but a Buddha statue is too much like a graven image. In fact, generally a Buddha statue is regarded within Buddhism to symbolize enlightenment or some other principle, such as wisdom or compassion, and it not considered to be a god.

Elsewhere — Robert Jones of the Public Religion Research Institute says that

Nearly 6-in-10 Americans affirm American exceptionalism, that God has granted America a special role in human history. Those affirming this view are more likely to support military interventions and to say torture is sometimes justified.

Some people might want to remember that the meek, not the “exceptional,” will inherit the earth.

Also — religious cult turns Air Force cadet into a sheep.

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