Archive - Apr 2006
Well, the site's creator noticed that he was getting a bunch of links from a prominent racist web site. He then set it up so that whenever someone clicked through to the church sign generator from the racist web site, the fake church sign says "RACISM SUCKS", regardless of what they enter. His blog post is here.
From an article in The Christian Chronicle by Erik Tryggestad (I remember Erik being on the Lipscomb "Babbler" newspaper staff) titled "Churches mourn seven Jamaican slaying victims":
The recent slayings of seven people â€” ages 3 to 40 â€” with ties to churches of Christ in Jamaica has church members across the country mourning and Jamaica's prime minister denouncing the tide of violence sweeping the island nation.
Mourners packed the Morant Bay Church of Christ for the funeral of six members of a church family â€” Patrice George McCool, 28; her children Sean Chin, 9; Jihad George McCool, 6; and Lloyd McCool, 3; her aunt Terry-Ann Mohommed, 40; and another family member, Jesse O'Gilvie, 9. Their bodies were in three locations, some with slashed throats and one stuffed in a barrel...
Minister Michael Dehaney conducted the funeral, which included a speech from Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, who called for a time of prayer and fasting as Jamaica struggles to cut its high crime rate.
Days after the funeral, the Mona Church of Christ in St. Andrew laid to rest 15-year-old Jordano Flemmings, who was fatally stabbed in a robbery while walking home from church.
An article in the by Carol J. Williams in the LA Times mentions the Morant Bay slayings, calling them a "suspected revenge attack for a failed drug deal":
Contrary to the islands' laid-back, reggae-rocked, calypso-serenaded image, the Caribbean is awash in murderous anger.
Homicide rates have soared â€” Jamaica last year achieved the alarming distinction of being called the homicide capital of the world, and Trinidad isn't far behind. With suspects walking free because of ineffectual courts and corrupt law enforcement, vigilante justice is also on the rise....
Although the roots of the violence differ from island to island, some striving to contain it point to the region's shared afflictions of poverty, social inequity and racial resentment stemming from its history of slavery and colonization.
"This is not just about people losing confidence in law enforcement. This is an eye-for-an-eye society," said Deputy Commissioner Mark Shields of the Jamaican Constabulary Force. "Even if you had an effective system of criminal justice, when children are murdered, you'd have mob rule."
He was alluding to one of the more grisly recent slayings, the Feb. 25 suspected revenge attack for a failed drug deal that left a Morant Bay woman, her aunt and four children with their throats cut and the neighborhood enraged. Residents of the quiet community east of Kingston, the capital, stormed the police station demanding, "Give him to us!" after the suspect turned himself in for his own protection...
Jamaica has been tabbed the world's most homicidal country since reporting 1,674 killings last year, a rate of 62 per 100,000 residents. The country had ranked third in the most recent U.N. global assessment, in 2000, with 32 per 100,000, behind Colombia's 61 and South Africa's 49. By contrast, anarchic Haiti, usually seen as the most unstable country in the Caribbean, had fewer than 20 homicides per 100,000 last year.
Jamaica's shootings, stabbings and rapes mostly occur in Kingston, but bystanders and even tourists may be at greater risk as the incidence increases.
"No one in his right mind goes to Kingston," said Rensselaer Lee, a security analyst and senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Washington, who has long studied crime in the Caribbean. "People can be shot walking down the streets. The violence is mainly turned inward, poor people killing each other. But increasingly people are getting caught in the cross hairs of these gangs and getting killed."
From an article in The Jamaica Observer:
The deaths sparked much public outrage amongst residents in St Thomas, and after a suspect was apprehended, many of them descended upon the Morant Bay Police Station, where he was being held, and demanded that he be turned over to them. This prompted a speedy transfer of the suspect from Morant Bay to a police station in Kingston.
Still seething, the residents found recourse in setting fire to a house allegedly belonging to the suspect last Tuesday. Two rooms and the contents of the back of the house were scorched in the blaze.
Another article in The Jamaica Oberver describes Jamaica's new prime minister's remarks at the memorial service held at the Morant Bay church of Christ:
"Let us use this occasion of immense grief to make a safer Jamaica for our children," Simpson Miller said in her tribute. "We must stop the slaughter of our children, mothers, fathers and grandparents. We need to engage all sectors of society to play their part."
She noted that nearly 100 children were killed last year and called for an end to the "savagery and barbarism".
"We need to take back the power from the criminals and restore it to peace-loving citizens by influencing change in the society," she said.
In a symbolic gesture of unity, she invited Golding, the MPs and the police commissioners onto the platform to stand beside her.
"We need unity of purpose and to demonstrate that we are serious, because we need to secure the future of our children," Simpson Miller said.
The six were honoured with numerous tributes in song and poetry by friends, family members and former schoolmates of the children.
From a press release from Indiana Univ.:
Indiana University scientist Chuck Bower and two partners from the business world, Frank Frigo of Louisville, Ky., and Bo Durickovic of Austin, Texas, have created ZEUS, a computer model of football as it's played in the National Football League, based on years of NFL statistics. ZEUS runs on an off-the-shelf laptop, perfect for a football sideline or a coach's booth above the playing field.
ZEUS is designed to do what a coach needs to do during a game but can't -- calculate the consequences of a decision before he calls the next play. Accept the penalty or decline it? Challenge the official's call or not? Go for it on fourth down or punt? Go for one extra point or two after the touchdown?
These are the kinds of decisions that often determine the outcome of a game, especially a close one. In many situations the decision is obvious, but sometimes it's not clear which choice offers the best chance to win. That's where ZEUS comes in.
There's an interesting article by that title in the LA Times a week and a half ago by Stephanie Simon. It describes a US church on the Texas/Mexico border (a sort of Spanish-style mega-church) made up of immigrants and children of immigrants, focusing on their views of politics and the immigration debate.
The stakes are high, but many here do not dwell on how changes in immigration law could affect their families. They ask instead:
What would please God?
Most come to an answer that represents a middle ground: not unequivocal amnesty but not mass deportation of illegal immigrants, either; better policing of the border, but not a wall stretching hundreds of miles...
Tougher measures to halt illegal immigrants at the border are viewed as an act of Christian kindness. Too many men and women die trying to sneak across. Once they're here, too many are taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers. Too many have nowhere to sleep.
...Eleidy Olivarez, 35, a native of Colombia...can't accept a proposal to build a wall along the border. "God doesn't want to divide people," she said. But she would like to fine every illegal immigrant in the U.S., and use the money to hire more border patrol officers, install more security cameras and take other high-tech measures to police the Rio Grande.
The congregation balances the call for a border crackdown with appeals to put illegal immigrants in the U.S. on a path to citizenship, as long as they work hard, pay taxes, learn English and stay out of trouble.
Sonia L. Garcia, 49, makes the case for amnesty through theology: God demands reverence for life and for family.
That's why she opposes abortion. And that's why she disapproves of the proposal to deport immigrants who have long since settled in this country: It could wrench parents from children, husbands from wives.
"To me, abortion and immigration are issues of equal importance. We're talking about protecting the family," Garcia said. She came here from Mexico a decade ago to be with her parents and to make sure her two children learned English. She's now a legal, permanent resident, with the goal of becoming a citizen â€” and, she said, God has given her compassion for others who would like a similar chance.
"The blessings of God come to us when we look down and say, 'I need to help you,' not when we look away," Garcia said.
Late this afternoon I was walking into Office Max in Midland when I saw a Blue Lakes Charters & Tours bus drive past. There was a man riding ON TOP of the bus. Just sitting there and holding on. I'm not kidding. I wish I had jumped back in my truck and followed the bus. I think it was going to the fairgrounds nearby. It was very strange.
In other news, today was opening day for Little League baseball, so Elliot played in his first game. I'll post more on that later.