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Articles

Written by Warren Mass on Friday, May 07 2010 01:00.

The 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (commonly referred to as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty — or NPT) opened on May 3 at UN Headquarters in New York and will run through May 28. Opening day saw speeches from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The 189 nations that are treaty members meet every five years to discuss new ways to implement and enforce the NPT. Of the world’s independent nations, only four countries are not treaty members: India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel all of which have nuclear arsenals or weapons programs, though Israel has not officially acknowledged its nuclear arsenal. The Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan, signed the NPT in 1968, but since being expelled from the UN in 1971, the world body has not considered Taiwan eligible for membership in UN nonproliferation treaties.

VOA News reported on May 3 that Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who spoke for more than half an hour, kicked off the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference with a lengthy diatribe against the United States and other Western powers who are trying to bring sanctions against Iran because of its uranium fuel enrichment program. Ahmadinejad said the possession of nuclear bombs is not a source of pride, but is "disgusting and shameful." 

"And even more shameful is the threat to use or to use such weapons, which is not even comparable to any crime committed throughout history," the Iranian continued.

Written by Jack Kenny on Wednesday, May 05 2010 14:00.

Dale McAlpine and homosexualityBritish street preacher Dale McAlpine apparently has no problem telling people that homosexuality is a “crime against the Creator.” But he got in trouble when he said that to someone who is not only a homosexual, but is the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender liaison officer for the local police.

On April 20, McAlpine, a Baptist, was passing out leaflets explaining the Ten Commandments or offering a “ticket to heaven” to passersby on a street in Workington, Cumbria where he had been preaching for years, according to the Telegraph of London. When a woman stopped to debate with him, McAlpine said he mentioned a number of sins listed in I Corinthians, including blasphemy, fornication, drunkenness, adultery and homosexuality. When the woman walked away, a Police Community Support Officer approached her and spoke briefly with her, McAlpine said. The officer then came over to McAlpine and told him a complaint had been made and warned him he could be arrested for using racist or homophobic language.

The street preacher said he told the officer: “I am not homophobic but sometimes I do say that the Bible says homosexuality is a crime against the Creator.” The officer then said he was homosexual and identified himself as LGBT liaison officer for the Cumbria police. Undeterred, McAlpine replied, “Well, it’s still a sin.” He then began a 20-minute sermon in which he says he did not mention homosexuality. But three uniformed officers arrived, arrested the preacher and put him in the back of a police van. He was taken to the police station, where officers took his fingerprints, a palm print, a retina scan and a DNA swab. He was charged with causing “harassment, alarm or distress” in violation of the Public Order Act and, after seven hours in a jail cell, was released on bail on the condition that he would not preach in public. McAlpine, 42, said the incident was one of the worst experiences of his life.     

Written by Thomas Sowell on Wednesday, May 05 2010 13:00.

Racism between blacks and asian americansRecent stories out of both Philadelphia and San Francisco tell of black students beating up Asian American students. This is especially painful for those who expected that the election of Barack Obama would mark the beginning of a post-racial America.

While Obama's winning the majority of the votes in overwhelmingly white states suggests that many Americans are ready to move beyond race, it is painfully clear that others are not.

Those who explain racial antagonisms on some rationalistic basis will have a hard time demonstrating how Asian Americans have made blacks worse off. Certainly none of the historic wrongs done to blacks was done by the small Asian American population who, for most of their history in this country, have not had enough clout to prevent themselves from being discriminated against.

While ugly racial or ethnic conflicts can seldom be explained by rational economic or other self-interest, they have been too common to be just inexplicable oddities — whether in America or in other countries around the world, and whether today or in centuries past.

Written by Alex Newman on Friday, April 30 2010 15:52.

photographyIn early 2007, the cops destroyed his $400 camera flash, bashed his head against the ground, threatened to taser him, and took him to jail on bogus charges — all for legally snapping some pictures of police in a public place. A photojournalist, he was working on an assignment, and so refused to obey their unlawful order to move along. But after the now-infamous attack and arrest, Miami resident Carlos Miller decided to take action.

The multimedia journalist set up a website to publicize his trial, which, after an appeal, eventually resulted in acquittal on all charges. But while publishing news about the case, Miller also began to document similar abuses around the country. Since then, his award-winning website has become an internet sensation and a force to be reckoned with.

Under the banner “Photography is Not a Crime — Shining a Light on First Amendment, Media and Police Issues,” Miller highlights everything from police brutality and incompetence to pro-illegal-immigration protesters (whose rights he also supports) assaulting a videographer during a recent protest in Arizona. But the main theme of his work surrounds the rights of photographers and abuses perpetrated against them under color of law. 

Written by Warren Mass on Thursday, April 29 2010 16:00.

In a 5 to 4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on April 28 overturned a ruling made by a federal judge and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California that had ordered the U.S. Park Service to remove an 8-foot-high cross that had stood in the Mojave National Preserve since 1934 as a memorial to World War I soldiers.

As Rev. James Heiser noted in his article posted online last September 29, “Supreme Court to Rule in Mojave Cross Case”:

The Mojave cross has stood since 1934 when it was raised by local veterans of the First World War; as the Washington Post observes, “It is unlikely the veterans who erected the cross knew or cared that Sunrise Rock was on federal land. World War I vets had flocked to the desert, either for mining opportunities or because doctors had suggested the climate for those with "shell shock" or respiratory problems from the war.” The nearest road — unpaved, at that — is a hundred yards away, and so one wonders how many Americans would even know the cross was there, if not for a lawsuit brought by Frank Buono (a former assistant superintendent at the reserve) and, of course, the American Civil Liberties Union.

Six of the nine justices wrote statements supporting their reasoning in voting as they did in the case, which was Salazar v Buono.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority that "the Constitution does not oblige government to avoid any public acknowledgment of religion's role in society."

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