Thursday, September 16, 2010

All Fired Up!

Mayor Bloomberg wants to ban smoking in city parks, beaches and even Times Square. Are you kidding? As a nonsmoker, I have to say this is absolutely ridiculous. If you’re going to ban smoking on NYC streets, please ban all the diesel fueled busses, as well as Hummers and every single oversized SUV out there. That’s worse for your health than a slight breeze of someone’s secondhand smoke. Try putting your mouth around a transit bus exhaust pipe and then take a puff of a cigarette. Which affected you more? Case closed. We’ve eliminated smoking in enclosed spaces like restaurants and bars, etc. That I can understand. I even want to venture to say that people who sit at the bar should be able to smoke if it’s sectioned off and of course, long after dining hours. Come on, smoking goes hand-in-hand with cocktails. There is a few ‘local’ bars that I will not name that bring out the ashtrays after 1am. I think it's great. The smokers don’t have to schlep outside like unwanted patrons just to enjoy a stogie. After dinner, anything “should” go. This is just my personal opinion on this, and I absolutely hate the smell of smoke myself. Fire it up I say...

Whatever happened to the first amendment? Did someone delete it? As much as I am against burning any holy book, you have to wonder why our government seems to favor Islam-based countries over their own. Think about it: people of Islam have been burning our flag, our bibles and basically they’d burn us if given the chance. Yes, of course, “extremist types”, but here in the U.S., it seems that our first amendment rights and freedom of speech went down the drain. We all want peace, that’s a given, but when does it come to the point of pulling our pants down just to appease the people of Islam? Many people of different faiths in this country respect Muslims, but the people who are extremists, and of course those who are still very sore about 9/11 should be given a little slack for their emotions. Get this--- in East Lansing, they’re offering a 10K reward for information leading up to the burning of a Quran outside of a city mosque. Really? Seriously? You’re going to waste 10K on information leading up to, umm, the rights of the first amendment? They said no suspect has been identified or "arrested" in this case. Umm, for what---littering? That’s what he did. He littered. He fired up a few pages and left the remains.

This next story really lights the fire under my ass. A New Jersey train conductor, Derek Fenton was fired from his job because he decided to burn the Quran outside the planned mosque near ground zero on September 11th. He was with his company for 11 years with a very good reputation. Again, although I disagree with the burning of any holy bible, this is not. against. the. law. His first amendment rights have been violated. The company has no right firing him because he didn’t do anything that would be detrimental to his job. Maybe he would have gotten flak when he got back to work, but I think it’s awful that someone would fire him just because of difference of opinions, especially with the high emotions set on September 11th. And let me add another thing to my rage against people ‘outraged’ over U.S. citizens acting out like this: the planned mosque near ground zero is set to open their doors on September 11th of 2011. Coincidence? I think not. After I heard this, I began to think a little differently about everything. Everyone else in other countries are burning our flags, bibles and whatnot, and yet we get fired, arrested and get a 10K reward over our heads if we do something we’re allowed to? That doesn’t make sense at all and frankly, I feel that the United States is a little scared of the people of Islam. Fear instills many emotions and irrational decisions.

Maybe I’ll get arrested for writing this blog post, but then again don’t I have “freedom of speech”? I don’t think it exists anymore. I beg you to watch this video by Pat Condell, who articulates everything that's wrong about the mosque near ground zero. If this post didn't set some red flags for you, watch this video. Even a Brit knows better. Click here to view this video.


17 comments:

Jill Reisfeld said...

Deb, there are limits to free speech. For example, threats of violence are not covered by the first amendment, nor are speeches that incite violence or lead to actions that cause physical harm. For example, screaming "Fire" in a crowded room, when there is no fire, is not covered by the first amendment. Burning a Koran in front of a mosque (besides being racist and hateful) is a threatening act. Just like painting swastikas on synagogues. Such acts go beyond mere speech; their goal is to intimidate and incite violence.

Secondly, the first amendment will protect you from being politically persecuted (i.e., thrown in jail, arrested) for your views. It will not protect you from getting fired if you go against your company's best interests. Any company worth its salt has a zero tolerance policy for discrimination and bigotry. And most require that you "do not engage in behavior that would reflect poorly on the company." By going out in public and performing a clearly racist act, the conductor in NJ really left his company no choice. Train conductors need to engage with all kinds of people. Keeping an openly bigoted person on the payroll is not good for business.

Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequence. Fred Phelps and his ilk are free to say and do whatever they like; the consequence is that most of the human race thinks they're a bunch of inbred assholes.

I find it interesting that the first amendment is coming up in relation to the Islamic Community Center (it is NOT a mosque) in NYC. Anyone who argues for the first amendment while trying to deny someone else their right to it has no argument. The only reason -- THE ONLY REASON -- the construction of the community center became an issue is because right wing media whores like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich chose to make it one for political gain. The community center had long been approved by the zoning boards and the neighborhood association. Moreover, it was even praised by right-wing pundits like Laura Ingraham! It’s amazing how far a little well-placed Islamaphobia can go in this country. Actually, it’s terrifying.

I agree with you on the smoking aspect – it’s quite hypocritical to ban smoking yet allow diesel trucks and hummers. That’s taking things to far. However, I readily admit that NYC smokers piss me off. I’ve been burned twice (literally) by assholes who insist on smoking on the most crowded sidewalks (like 42nd street) where’s there’s hardly room to breathe, much less walk by someone holding out a lit cigarette.
Hope all is well with you and Mad!

Deb said...

Hey Jill,

I totally get what you’re saying. My thing is, the U.S. is so tolerant with other people around the world bashing them, but God forbid we do anything to insult them---or even make a joke or cartoon about them. I am very happy that Rev. Terry Jones didn’t decide to burn the Qurans, and even though this blog post of mine today demonstrates that I am leaning toward the burning of Qurans, I’m not. I don’t think it speaks “peace”, however I will disagree with something you’ve stated. “The Islamic Community Center” is ....a mosque. Why would Barack Obama call it a mosque? Why does 99% of people call it “the mosque”? It is what it is. And if they do call it the Islamic Community Center, than it’s to promote less emotion due to its location obviously. I totally agree that burning anything, like the U.S. flag, burning Qurans and yes, bringing down our towers at the WTC is threatening. There are always consequences when dealing with a “holy war”----and that’s just what this is. I wish there was peace among all religions, but that’s never going to happen. And whether or not the debate of the ‘name’ of the building will continue, it’ll always be debated by those who are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

As far as the Jersey guy getting fired from his job, he didn’t discriminate anyone within his company. He was highly offended by the Islamic Community Center being placed near ground zero. Frankly, Islamic Community Center is a bit worse than calling it a mosque in my opinion, if I were deeply against them putting it up. I just think respect for the mourners of 9/11 should be instilled, and have the Islamic Community Center placed further down. Trump made an offer, but I’m not sure if that is still taking place. That would have been the best solution though for both sides, in my opinion.

I do agree, there has to be some sort of discretion re: smoking in crowded streets, but realistically, people have been doing this for years and years. Yes we can get annoyed, but I also get annoyed with a crying baby at a nice restaurant. For years and years people have smoked in establishments and --remember when people smoked in the malls? All the ashtrays with sand? God I’m getting old!!! But thankfully, all of that is now outside. Do you know sometimes when I’m driving, I can smell someone smoking in the car in front of me? But, I can’t do anything about it. So, instead, I accept it, and when I smell smoke from the street by someone who is just relaxing or walking by----I move away from it. I wish I could move farther away from the diesel fumes... And to think, I used to be a smoker and now hate the very smell of it. Ugh.

Thanks for giving me your thoughts on this, Jill! Mad says hello!!! :)

Just_because_today said...

I need a cigarrette after reading this post!

Jill makes really good points. We need to differentiate what the first amendment really does for us.

I am 100% in agreement with you on smoking even if I dont smoke (any longer). Smoking is being used as a scapegoat for everything that goes wrong. God forbid one day they decide to single out drinking! what will I do????

If a person is smoking in a park adn I dont like it, I can move, I should move. He/She has the same right to be in the park as I do.
Let's hope they never impose those sanctions on wine...

Xmichra said...

I agree with the smoking ban, i think that is a little too far. You really want to make an impression? make it illegal to sell. but that wouldn't work, how would those roads get paved (or rather the pockets get padded). I quit a long time ago, but have no issue with smoking while drinking, or smoking in an open area. Honestly, if the gov't was that upset by the polution, take off the diesel, the high manufacturing plants, the drugs in the healthcare system, heck take it all.

As for the Islamic stuff... wow. I have a few opinions here and there, but nothing constructive. In the end, it is all about perspective and individual feelings. I can see why people would be mad, and I can see why people would be tollerant.

I would agree with Jill above on the reason for terminating that one man. Only because when I signed on with my company, I signed on the code of conduct for my company that said I wouldn't put the company in a bad light with my actions. I know that is an easy out for the company, but that is why it's there. And when you do something that is against company poilicy, that little piece of disclaimer works wonders to ge rid of something that could be really bad. Not just for the company's image, but also for the people who work with that man,who may get in the crossfire for his actions. So I can see what happened there, regardless on the right and wrong of it. It's business.

Deb said...

One thing I have to say is, it’s not about discrimination, it’s about respect for the people who have died on 9/11. The building of the mosque that is near ground zero should be bought out in my opinion, just for the sake of peace. What Derek Fenton did wasn’t the best choice, but he wasn’t doing it out of discrimination - he was showing his distaste for the mosque being built near ground zero. I don’t consider him a bigot, nor do I consider Rev. Terry Jones a bigot, I just think that people are highly upset and still sensitive over the tragedy of 9/11. Let it rest. Build it somewhere else or let Donald Trump buy it out like he proposed to do. Again, I don’t agree with anyone burning a holy book, but apparently, this is the only way to ‘raise a few eyebrows’ with the people of Islam. It’s an extreme response, perhaps a desperate one.

What are your thoughts about the mosque planning to open its doors on September 11th of 2011? Nobody commented about that. Just curious to know what goes through your mind when you hear something so "coincidental".

Deb said...

A mosque rises over Ground Zero. And fed-up New Yorkers are crying, "No!"
A chorus of critics -- from neighbors to those who lost loved ones on 9/11 to me -- feel as if they've received a swift kick in the teeth.
Plans are under way for a Muslim house of worship, topped by a 13-story cultural center with a swimming pool, in a building damaged by the fuselage of a jet flown by extremists into the World Trade Center.
The opening date shall live in infamy: Sept. 11, 2011. The 10th anniversary of the day a hole was punched in the city's heart.

How the devil did this happen?
Plans to bring what one critic calls a "monster mosque" to the site of the old Burlington Coat Factory building, at a cost expected to top $100 million, moved along for months without a peep. All of a sudden, even members of the community board that stupidly green-lighted the mosque this month are tearing their hair out.
Paul Sipos, member of Community Board 1, said a mosque is a fine idea -- someplace else.
"If the Japanese decided to open a cultural center across from Pearl Harbor, that would be insensitive," Sipos told me. "If the Germans opened a Bach choral society across from Auschwitz, even after all these years, that would be an insensitive setting. I have absolutely nothing against Islam. I just think: Why there?"
Why, indeed.
A rally against the mosque is planned for June 6, D-Day, by the human-rights group Stop Islamicization of America. Executive director Pamela Geller said, "What could be more insulting and humiliating than a monster mosque in the shadow of the World Trade Center buildings that were brought down by an Islamic jihad attack? Any decent American, Muslim or otherwise, wouldn't dream of such an insult. It's a stab in the eye of America."

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John Sorrentino said...

If you can burn a flag, you can burn a Qur'an. That simple. There is no right not to be "shocked" or "outraged." Freedom of expression applies to all.

Once again, please read the Qur'an and decide for yourself if it is holy or not. You can borrow mine.

Peta Joy said...

I don't mind breaking the law, in fact I'd be all for it! As for the freedom of speech.... That's tricky. There have been many laws put on the books to curtail this freedom, The Alien and Sedition Act comes to mind right off. And many a newspaper reporter and publisher went to jail for "freedom of speech". There was a huge cut into our freedoms with the passage of the Patriot Act, but I don't think burning a cigarette or a Quran was among them....

budh.aaah said...

''Everyone else in other countries are burning our flags, bibles and whatnot, and yet we get fired, arrested and get a 10K reward over our heads if we do something we’re allowed to? That doesn’t make sense at all and frankly, I feel that the United States is a little scared of the people of Islam.''

But I dont agree here DEb, because its not fear thats driving the US to take these steps..but Sanity. I personally think its commendable when US tries to keep their sanity and enforce peace (though the 10k reward does seem a little over the top)


Only sane people will try to keep order when feelings are running high. Only a tree which bears fruit/is heavily laden with fruit bows/has flexibilty..'goes another hindi adage.

This is America's 'one drop in the ocean of humanity..I have this theory and am very fond of repeating this ‘’one drop theory’ over and over again. I believe if each one of us contributes our one drop of goodness in this life’s ocean the world would be a beautiful/peaceful place’One Drop’ ‘trying’ to be responsible/sensible when no one else is, its ‘trying’ to contribute what we can for the good of society/world in whatever small or big way we can. Its reaching out physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually..Its feeling, empathizing, being there..

budh.aaah said...

Sorry Deb the 1st comment was cut by mistake..

''people of Islam have been burning our flag, our bibles and basically they’d burn us if given the chance. Yes, of course, “extremist types”

This is so true of the extremist types Deb. I totally empathise with the pain of the people who were directly or indirectly (the whole world, barring of course the extremists) affected by 9/11. And I am against the sacking of the guy who decided to burn a holy book outside the site proposed for the mosque..some flak -yes, but sack-NO.

Though personally I dont agree with his decision of burning it. But I do think that the people who decided to build a mosque near ground zero should have been more sensitive..there is an adage in hindi which says ''jale per namak chirakna' also in english which says the same thing..rubbing salt on your wounds. Sensitivity is definitely missing here though the intentions might be good/peaceful.

''Everyone else in other countries are burning our flags, bibles and whatnot, and yet we get fired, arrested and get a 10K reward over our heads if we do something we’re allowed to? That doesn’t make sense at all and frankly, I feel that the United States is a little scared of the people of Islam.''

But I dont agree here DEb, because its not fear thats driving the US to take these steps..but Sanity. I personally think its commendable when US tries to keep their sanity and enforce peace (though the 10k reward does seem a little over the top)


Only sane people will try to keep order when feelings are running high. Only a tree which bears fruit/is heavily laden with fruit bows/has flexibilty..'goes another hindi adage.

This is America's 'one drop in the ocean of humanity..I have this theory and am very fond of repeating this ‘’one drop theory’ over and over again. I believe if each one of us contributes our one drop of goodness in this life’s ocean the world would be a beautiful/peaceful place’One Drop’ ‘trying’ to be responsible/sensible when no one else is, its ‘trying’ to contribute what we can for the good of society/world in whatever small or big way we can. Its reaching out physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually..Its feeling, empathizing, being there..

Deb said...

”...rubbing salt on your wounds. Sensitivity is definitely missing here though the intentions might be good/peaceful.”

Exactly, Budh... I just feel that they should have at least given it more distance. But how do you feel on top of everything, that they’re going to open their doors next September 11th? Isn’t that another punch in the stomach?

Again, I do not agree of burning any holy book, but what these people are doing is gross in my opinion. Placing a mosque near ground zero and then OPENING it on September 11th of 2011??? Something’s a bit off about this and I have a very bad feeling.

You’re absolutely right about the U.S. trying to maintain a level of peace, because without that, we’ll just be like all the other ‘crazies’ out in the west, burning everything we don’t like, continuous and dangerous rallies in the streets, etc. I agree with you there. What I’m trying to say is, give these people a little slack for their emotions just because what the owners of the mosque are doing is exactly what you’ve stated, “'jale per namak chirakna” - totally.

The ‘one drop theory’ sounds beautiful....in a perfect world. It’s only going to get worse before it gets better. We’re living in a world that’s based on holy wars. I wish your theory would come to pass, but I doubt it... I’ll pray for it! :)

Just_because_today said...

Freedom of speech doesn't mean hurting others because we have the right. That is when we have to get in touch with our faith and follow "harm no one"
I don't like the building of the islamic center so close to Ground Zero but I understand what the US is doing by allowing it.
I haven't heard that its to open on 9.11.11! That goes with my first statement, "harm no one" be mindful of people's feelings. That date brings many sad memories. They have the right to open a center that day or any other day but..it would hurt feelings. Pick any other day out of the 364 days left

Deb said...

JBT, I agree. But, it's more like a tit for tat type of thing now. "You hurt me so I'm gonna hurt you"----and with the means of how they're going about it -- it's totally legal. It's legal to open the mosque. It's legal to burn a Quran. Does it hurt? Sure it does. It hurts many.
But...but...but...when does it end? How does it end? It's just an ongoing process of a holy war the way I see it. I totally agree, take anyone of the 364 days that are left.
But...but...but...
They have the right to open it. :\

budh.aaah said...

Oh OPENING it on September 11th of 2011????????
Something’s definitely a bit off..whoever the decision taker was - was OFF his rocker/out of his mind..that totally reeks of insensitivity.

Dr. Deb said...

I think the outdoor smoking ban is quite silly. I'm not a smoker but feel that it is restrictive too.

As for the other issues:
Trauma has a way of setting into motions very primitive defenses. Hate being one of them.

Deb said...

Just look at the numbers itself: 9.11.11
The two elevens look like the towers. Maybe I'm reading too much into this perhaps...?

the walking man said...

If the Imam were a wise man he would build his Mosque/Cultural center here in Detroit. The land would be much less expensive and we have in Dearborn MI the largest population of Arabs outside of the Middle East and he would also be providing desperately needed jobs to construction workers.

But in my life I have met very, very few men of religion who were wise. Wisdom being defined as the proper application of knowledge.

Do I think this is an "in your face" move. Personally yes I do seeing as Muslims really do want all to convert to their way of religious philosophy.

But then as an infidel to all religions, no matter what creed, I personally will simply trudge on with that Spirit who has tolerated me long enough to teach me to know that what men do is usually the MOST foolish thing, choosing to follow the mind rather than the heart imbued with that spirit which connects us to the eternal.

The train man was not in a company shirt that I could tell and I doubt that when dealing with the public he asks what religion the company's customers are. I believe his union will have him quietly made whole as long as the media stays out of it.

I do think the mayor and the president have taken the right tack, expressing the right to build while questioning the wisdom of it.

What I find a bit off kilter is that everyone believes America is a Christian nation which is fallacy. It is actually a non sectarian country. That is the stand of the document that established the basis this nation laws as regards tolerance.

I guess the question you ask is how tolerant is to tolerant. When America snaps and roars back then the world will once again know that we are not a nation of dogs and cowards. I do not want to see that snapping happen but as every toddler finds out, his parents will only take so much then comes the hand across the ass.

We have done it before and we will do it again if pushed and it will be a bloodbath and world wide conflagration unlike anything Mohamed or Aminidjab ever envisioned.

I hope cooler head will prevail but I doubt it.