Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Posted by Rich Rodriguez at 7:13 PM
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Apparently Mr. Warren hasn't read the Constitution: Article VI section III
Monday, August 18, 2008
Please vote here
Posted by Rich Rodriguez at 10:32 PM
Saturday, August 16, 2008
For more than a week, police say in charging documents describing the scene, the child's lifeless body lay in the back room of an apartment. Queen Antoinette, the 40-year-old leader of a group that called itself 1 Mind Ministries, brought in her followers and told them to pray. God, she said, would raise Javon from the dead.
Instead, Javon's body began to decompose.
The boy's mother, 21-year-old Ria Ramkissoon, and four other people authorities say are members of the group face first-degree murder charges in his death. But Ramkissoon's mother and attorney say that she was brainwashed by a cult and acted only at the group leader's will.
"The members of this cult, who were more than twice her age, were calling the shots," Ramkissoon's attorney, Steven D. Silverman, said Tuesday after a court hearing. "She bought the program hook, line and sinker."
Court documents describe a group that operated secretly, dressed all in white and eschewed medical care. Antoinette, also known as Toni Sloan or Toni Ellsberry, called her followers "princes" and "princesses." And she and her followers were possessive of the children under their care.
The group never had more than a dozen members. It did not operate out of a remote compound, and the specifics of Antoinette's religious beliefs are unclear. However, it meets the definition of a cult, said Rick A. Ross, who has studied cults for 26 years, provided expert testimony and staged hundreds "interventions" to get people out of cults.
"It fits the profile of a classic cult in the sense that it's a personality-driven group and that Queen Antoinette is that animating personality and central defining element of the group," Ross said.
Ramkissoon's association with the group began shortly after Javon was born in September 2005, according to her mother, Seeta Khadan-Newton. She gave birth at 18, and was struggling to care for her baby while working and taking college classes, she said.
Khadan-Newton, who moved with her daughter from their native Trinidad when the girl was 8, described Ramkissoon as sweet-natured and trusting. Khadan-Newton is Hindu, but her daughter became a Christian. Ramkissoon's church betrayed her trust, her mother said, when its pastor pleaded guilty to molesting boys in the congregation.
Ramkissoon was friends with Tiffany Smith, then a member of the group, and 1 Mind Ministries began recruiting her, Khadan-Newton said. After spending time with cult members, Ramkissoon started worrying she was going to hell.
"My daughter was very religious. She was into the Bible — obsessed with it," Khadan-Newton said. "They (were) going to show her the right way. She got sucked into it."
'She was brainwashed'
"She was brainwashed," she said.Fearful for her grandson, Khadan-Newton began a drawn-out, heartbreaking effort to rescue him and his mother. She pleaded with police, social workers, judges and politicians to intervene, but she said she always got the same response: Since the child was with his mother, who left home willingly, nothing could be done. She sued for custody, but her daughter could not be found to be served with papers.
"I fear for (my grandson's) and my daughter's safety, you see. They are in a cult. I haven't seen or heard from my daughter since April," Khadan-Newton wrote in a letter to Circuit Judge Audrey J.S. Carrion about a month before the child died.
State Secretary of Human Resources Brenda Donald said her agency has records of a couple of calls about Javon, including one in October 2007 from a person who said he was a relative of the boy and one several months later from a health care worker who knew a cult member.
Investigators went to an address they were given by the first caller but found it was vacant, Donald said. She said they weren't able to follow up because the caller would not leave his name or contact information.
There was no documentation of calls from Khadan-Newton, Donald said.
"It's a tragic, tragic situation and we responded with the information that we had in a responsive way and unfortunately it didn't change the outcome," she said.
Meanwhile, after cult members abandoned hope of Javon's resurrection, they switched to Plan B, police say. Antoinette burned Javon's clothing and mattress and put his body in a green suitcase. She stuffed the suitcase with mothballs and fabric softener sheets, and opened it occasionally to spray disinfectant inside.
In early 2007, cult members stored the suitcase behind a home in Philadelphia and relocated to New York City, according to police, who found the suitcase more than a year later, the body still inside.
Not knowing her grandson was dead, Khadan-Newton traveled in February 2008 to the Brooklyn apartment where the group was staying, and spoke to her daughter through an intercom. Ramkissoon called her by her first name, instead of Mom, Khadan-Newton said, and there were long pauses after Khadan-Newton asked questions about Javon's whereabouts.
A different daughter
In part because of Khadan-Newton's contact with a social worker in New York, authorities there tracked down Antoinette and two other cult members wanted in a separate case: Trevia Williams, 21, and Marcus A. Cobbs, 21. They were later charged in Javon's death. Ramkissoon returned to Baltimore and was living in a homeless shelter when she was arrested. A fifth person charged in the case, Steven Bynum, 42, is being sought in New York.
Ramkissoon called her mother last Sunday from the city jail. At first, Khadan-Newton didn't realize that she was speaking to her daughter — a conversation that reinforced her belief that Ramkissoon remains under the group's control.
"She sounded empty, like an empty shell. There was no emotion," Khadan-Newton said. "I was shocked. I didn't even recognize her voice. ... It's not the same person."
Friday, August 15, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
William Lane Craig in his debates with Bart Ehrman and James Crossley, and probably other presentations, as well, offered something he called "probability calculus," where he argues against ruling out the Resurrection of Jesus based on its inherent improbability. I would like to break down this probability, which Craig touts as if it were some kind of helpful information. Bart Ehrman, who I assume has little if any education in probability and statistics, was not able to refute Craig in detail, instead dismissing the argument, saying, "mathematics is simply irrelevant" in the context of the Resurrection. And he's absolutely right. But that isn't a very satisfying refutation, is it?
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
New York, NY 10123
Fax: (212) 371-3394President name: William Donahue
The Catholic League ran by William Donahue has engaged in libel against a Senator of the United States who is running for president. The group claims that Senator Barack Obama supports infanticide!
View the hate speech here
Infanticide: the practice of someone intentionally causing the death of an infant.
Infant: A child up to 2 years (24 months) of age.
The word "infant" came from the Latin infans which was derived from in-, not + Fari, to speak = not to speak, speechless. The idea was that, since the ability to speak was thought to arrive at the age of two, younger children were infants.
By an odd twist, some adults may only show their infantile attitudes when they open their mouths to speak - like Mr. Donahue.Please fill out the form provided and email it to the address at the top of this page.
Just in case William Donahue reads this here is a message for him:
By: Andrew Brown writing for the Guardian
The Swedish government has announced plans to clamp down hard on religious education. It will soon become illegal even for private faith schools to teach religious doctrines as if they were true. In an interesting twist on the American experience, prayer will remain legal in schools - after all, it has no truth value. But everything that takes place on the curriculum's time will have to be secular. "Pupils must be protected from every sort of fundamentalism," said the minister for schools, Jan Björklund.
Creationism and ID are explicitly banned but so is proselytising even in religious education classes. The Qur'an may not be taught as if it is true even in Muslim independent schools, nor may the Bible in Christian schools. The decision looks like a really startling attack on the right of parents to have their children taught what they would like. Of course it does not go so far as the Dawkins policy of prohibiting parents from trying to pass on their doctrines even in their own families - and, if it did, it would certainly run foul of the European convention on human rights. It does not even go as far as Nyamko Sabuni, the minister for integration - herself born in Burundi - would like: she wanted to ban all religious schools altogether. But it is still a pretty drastic measure from an English perspective.
The law is being presented in Sweden as if it mostly concerned fundamentalist Christian sects in the backwoods; but the Christian Democratic party, which represents such people if anyone does, is perfectly happy with the new regulation. There is little doubt that combating Islamic fundamentalism is the underlying aim, especially in conjunction with another new requirement that all independent schools declare all their funding sources. This would allow the inspectors - whose budget is being doubled - to concentrate their efforts on those schools most likely to be paid to break the rules.
In the background to these announcements comes the release of a frightening documentary film on Swedish jihadis, which follows young men over a period of two years on their slow conversion to homicidal lunacy.
The question is whether we in Britain will come to see this as a necessary move in the struggle to contain Islamist ideologies. Can a defence of freedom convincingly be mounted by a state that takes such a firm view of what is or is not true? Or can freedom not be preserved without such measures? The dilemma makes no sense from a completely liberal position, where it is assumed that the truth will always win out in fair competition, and that the state is almost always to be distrusted. But Swedes have never really been liberal in that sense, notwithstanding the fact that the two ministers involved here are members of the Liberal party.
Superficially, the British position could not be more different. The British government's strategy with Islam or protestant extremism in Ulster has been - so far as we have had one - flattery and corruption, or what Microsoft, in another context, calls "embracing and extending". Find the leaders, flatter them, and draw them into the ruling class in the hope that they will then cooperate and see that their followers do too. The gamble that the government is taking on faith schools is that if religious groups are given their own schools to run, they will do so in ways that will turn out for the benefit of society as a whole, as well as of their pupils. Certainly this works quite well with the Church of England. Anglican schools are happy, by and large, to teach religion as if it were not true; to put it in a more flattering light, they concentrate more on the fruits of the spirit than on dogma. However, no one supposes that society is threatened by a terrorist movement nurtured in C of E primary schools.
Demanding that Muslim, Jewish, and Catholic schools stop teaching their own religions as if they were true, which is essentially the Swedish position, looks an impossible task for a British government. But I think it might also be a necessary one. It is certainly the only way to discover whether the parents of such schools really want the "ethos" or the pseudo-factual beliefs and what exactly it is that the people who fund them think they are buying with their money.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Gabriel Chin's paper on McCain: