A sorry police chief * More brisket * Strikes and slapdowns: Friday’s Roundup

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Attorney General Eric Holder resigned Thursday (Sept. 25)

Attorney General Eric Holder resigned Thursday (Sept. 25)

We’re going big here at Roundup today. After all, what do we live for when the news is like an unfunny op art caption: Bang! Pow! Socko! I quit!

Summing up the fight against the Islamic State: Airstrikes, airstrikes and more airstrikes pounding Iraq and Syria. And no, the mayor of New York assures folks, the city is not under imminent terror threat.

Meanwhile, ISIS is now touting that it executed a civil rights activist, Samira Salh al-Nuaimi, whose “crimes” included posting messages on Facebook “critical of the militants’ destruction of religious sites in Mosul.”

One woman has donned a secret camera to film life in the Syrian city of Raqqa surrounded by armed men:

Pope Francis has sacked a bishop in Paraguay who is accused of covering up complaints of sexual abuse by a priest (oh and maybe he also embezzled a bit).

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has resigned and the merits of his six-year term as attorney general depend on your news source: Fox News delivers a litany of every controversial move Holder ever made. While MSNBC measures him by (surprise!) progressive accomplishments, particularly on civil rights and gay rights. He told the Daily Beast his work on criminal-justice reform was his “signature achievement.” 

But the spotlight moved in moments from Holder’s accomplishments and/or errors to the fight ahead for his replacement.

Ferguson, Mo., is in uproar — still and again. The police chief Thomas Jackson made an awkward, two-months-late apology for police leaving Michael Brown’s body in the street for hours. Reaction: Protests in the streets and calls for his resignation.

Oh, let’s just cheer up now!

Meet “God’s rivals.”  

That’s what 26 wives and girlfriends of Catholic priests call themselves. And they want the upcoming Vatican synod on the family to ditch the centuries old tradition of clerical celibacy. Good luck with that, ladies. So far, not even gregarious Pope Francis is giving them the time of day.

A Maryknoll Father says that synod needs women’s voices, not only “post-middle-age celibate males who, in the phrase jokingly used by clerics, ‘have no children to speak of’.”

Happy New Year – again

Jews worldwide celebrated Rosh Hashanah Thursday so they’re done, right? Wrong. Conservative and Orthodox Jews celebrate this holy day for two days so l’shanah tovah to all who are heading to services and heating up the left-over brisket. What? You don’t make a brilliant brisket? You need to check the ‘Splainer for Lauren Markoe’s mother’s recipe.

What’s it all about, Alfie?

One of the posters featuring quotes and reflections from prominent British humanists.

Photo courtesy of Thought for the Commute

One of the posters featuring quotes and reflections from prominent British humanists.

British Humanists are posting answers to life’s big questions in subway posters quoting the wisdom of novelists and philosophers who, of course, all happen to be nonreligious. George Eliot: “What do we live for if not to make the world less difficult for each other?

In-your-face anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller is coming baaaak with another round of New York transit posters screaming (can a poster scream? Well, figuratively speaking…) about jihad. According to Newsweek, the new posters go up September 29. The last round of public opinion Ping-Pong advertising was in May, when Geller’s ads prompted a rebuttal flush of ads from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Unhappy about such advertising? Recite the First Amendment while gritting your teeth.

Department of stuff you didn’t know you wondered about:

Wonder what Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral looks like now that it’s becoming the Christ Catholic Cathedral of a Roman Catholic diocese? Renderings show the transformation of the building, once seen by millions as the scene of Schuller’s “Hour of Power.”

Wonder where to find a rich field of lonely, bored adults killing time with sinful activities? They’ve followed the oil boom to North Dakota. Now evangelists are moving in on prairie “man camps.” So far, no gushers of converts but evangelists live on hope.

Point of View


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  • John McGrath

    The proper role of humanitarian action in the mid-east as conceived in DC:

    The US dollar is the only currency allowed for use in the settlement of debts by one nation to another, or by international corporations to each other. This exclusivity is based on the petrodollar, the fact that the dollar is used to pay for oil no matter who is the purchaser or the seller. We keep reading that Russsia and China are determined to get rid of the petrodollar. They are not succeeding. BUT the threat to the petrodollar is real – provided we avoid messy wars.If messy wars can be avoided then the petrodollar can be undermined or even eliminated. The oil states will back away from eliminating the petrodollar when they realize that their only protection from political/religious opponents is the US military.

    The US does not need mid-east oil. But it does need to protect all the oil states in the Mideast in order to ensure the survival of the petrodollar. It’s not about the oil, it’s about the petrodollar.

    Th US military exists not for humanitarian purpose but to protect the economic interests of the US and global corporations, especially energy companies and oil states. All US economic interests are based on the petrodollar and the dollar as the sole currency of international debt settlement.

    You can argue that intervention in the mid-east is both inhumane in the long run and stupid from a military strategy point of view. But military strategy aimed at victory is not what US military strategy is based on. Nor is US humanitarian intervention based primarily on humanitarian concerns. In fact humanitarian concerns are quite low on the list of why DC does what it does.

    Three things prevent taking any arguments for non-intervention seriously: 1. The need at all costs to protect the petrodollar right now, and thereby the dollar as the currency of international debt settlements. … 2. The Christian pressure to intervene to protect Christians in the mid-east. This is of course exploited for many other political ends in the US and Britain. 3. The need to protect the existence of Israel from threats of annihilation.

    In the end all military strategy derives from three urgencies: 1. Protect the petrodollar, meaning intervene in the mid-east to protect the current oil state regimes. … 2. Prevent instability in Europe and East Asia. Europe and East Asia are seen as the safe areas for global financial capitalism, which is based on the dollar as the currency of international debt settlements. … 3. Protect Israel. Strategies One and Three keep us enmeshed in the mideast. Actually so does Two.

    When you hear American Empire, think petrodollar and currency of international (debt) settlement. Then think military strategy. Then think humanitarian concerns. Yes, there are genuine humanitarian concerns. But they come last and they are pursued most aggressively when their pursuit also protects the petrodollar.

  • The note about evangelists headed to the North Dakota oilfields reminded me instantly of Ben Rumson’s song “The First Thing You Know” in the musical “Paint Your Wagon”:

    “They civilize the foothills and everywhere God put hills;
    “The mountains and valleys below.
    “When I see a parson, I gotta put my arse in
    “A wagon and follow the tail of the crow.
    “The first thing you know, I pick up and blow!
    “The first thing you know.”

  • Doc Anthony

    It’s time for Michael Brown’s family to publicly apologize to that store clerk for what Michael Brown did to him. That humiliating video of Brown’s strongarm robbery has been shown from coast to coast, and it’s Michael Brown’s fault, not police chief Jackson.

    Time for Michael Brown’s family to apologize. Publicly. No excuses.

  • greg

    Maybe instead of portraying the First Amendment as a chore (“gritting your teeth”), you could explain how it protects you and RNS from crippling liability for anything you write that a powerful person doesn’t like? Post-‘Sullivan’ at least? Recommend you read the short new book “Freedom From Speech” by the head of a student civil-liberties group.