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44-D’s Best Music of 2009

Blogpost by: Ogenec

Never, ever on schedule, but always on time.” – Nas

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Hey y’all, Happy New Year!  I’ve been promising the list for some time, and I’ve been slacking.  Especially in the wake of AG’s most excellent best books list.  But like Kanye, “you should be honored by my lateness.”  🙂  What follows is a highly personal take on the best music of 2009.    The profusion in the quality and quantity of recorded music is mind-blowing.  And I especially love to be turned on to new stuff.  So I’m hoping you guys will chip in with your own suggestions.   Here we go.

Noisettes, Wild Young Hearts:  I’d never even heard of the Noisettes before Summer 09. But I heard their song “Atticus” at a store somewhere and went in furious search of the group.  Even though rock is not my genre, this is probably my favorite disc of the year.  Of course, calling this is a rock album is a serious disservice.  Most commentators call it a hybrid mesh of rock, blues, disco, and old school r&b.  They’re probably right, but it just sounds like the future to me.  The lead singer is DOPE, and I can’t wait to catch their live show.  Favorite cut: Atticus.

Mos Def, The Ecstatic:  He’s baaaack!!  Mos has floundered a little bit since his magnificent opus, Black on Both Sides.   I get it — he’s been distracted by his acting career (and weird appearances on Bill Maher).  And I liked The New Danger more than most folks.  But this is that classic Mos that we know and love.  Favorite cut: Auditorium.  Also love the remake of Roses with Georgia Anne Muldrow.

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Q-Tip, Kamaal The Abstract: The genuises at Q-Tip’s record label have to explain why they shelved this album for more than eight years.  I think it’s even better than last year’s The Renaissance.  Another hybrid album, this time with elements of r&b, soul, rock, and jazz.  Sounds like future Prince or Stevie Wonder.  Favorite cut: Do You Dig U?

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Drake, So Far Gone: Okay, this is a bit of a cheat.  The mixtape, which I’m still geeking over, came out in 2008.  But he re-released certain of the mixtape cuts on CD and itunes in 2009, so it qualifies.  As a bonus, the re-release contains an unreleased track “Fear,” which is bananas.  Hottest kid in the rap game right now, and with good reason.  Favorite cut: Fear.  Shout-out to DJ Khalil.

Lee Fields, My World: I gotta thank the good people of HBO’s Entourage for this one.  When I heard “Ladies” during the credits of one of the episodes, I lost my sh*t.  I had to cop the album.  Gutbucket soul, set to the sweetest harmonies you’ve ever heard.  And hey — I detect a little of the hip-hop influence as well.  Looks like the old school is learning from the new school, not just vice-versa.  I am a big fan of the ’60s renaissance in music.  If you love Amy Whitehouse, Joss Stone etc., check this OG out.  While you’re at it, check out Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings too.  Favorite cut: Ladies.

Rafael Saadiq, The Way I See It: I’m sticking with the retro soul angle here.  I’ve been down with Ray-Ray since Tony Toni Tone.  This is his masterpiece.  Again, if you like the Motown doo-wop sound, you’ve gotta check this out.  And while you’re at it, get the Live from the Artist’s Den DVD.  It’s fantastic.  Favorite cut: 100 Yard Dash.

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Fela, The Best of the Black President: “Eh-heh, let us get down.  Into another underground spiritual game….”  I have to show some love to the greatest Nigerian musician of all time.  If you want to know the meaning of “underground spiritual game,” you need to check out Fela!, the best show on Broadway.  This album will hold you over until you can.  It’s a compilation of Fela’s most popular cuts.  Note, however, that these are mostly edits: many of Fela’s songs run 20-30 minutes long, and you owe it to yourself to listen to the unedited versions.  Still, an excellent way to get familiar with the genius that is Fela.  Favorite cut: Water No Get Enemy.

Robert Glasper, Double Booked: And now we segue from Afrobeat to jazz (actually, less of a transition than you might think).  Robert Glasper is my favorite jazz pianist right now.  He’s just so melodic.  He’s also incredible live — the missus and I saw him last year at the Kennedy Center.  He can play everything from straight-ahead to fusion to soul jazz to hip-hop.  And here, he does.  The first half is an acoustic trio setting; the second, “The Experiment,” a fusion exercise with Bilal and Mos Def making vocal appearances.  Wonderful stuff.  Favorite cut: No Worries.

Roy Hargrove, Emergence: A little more jazz.  I’ve loved this guy ever since I saw him play in St. Louis many moons ago.  Like Glasper, Hargrove does all variety of jazz, soul and hip-hop-inflected music.  Indeed, my favorite album of his is Crisol, a Latin jazz homage.  Here, Hargrove goes big band.  I’m not generally a fan of the big band genre, but I love this.  Especially the treatment of Mambo for Roy from the Crisol album.  Favorite cut: Mambo for Roy.

Maxwell, Blacksummersnight: Maxwell returns.  He’s lost the neo-soul affectations of his first few albums, and is in full-on grown man mode.  I love it, and you will too.  The harmonies, the live instrumentation, the trumpets, it’s all so gorgeous.  And if you missed his North American tour, you missed the best concert of the year.  Period.  Favorite cut: Bad Habits.

Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Devil’s Halo: I think of this album as sort of a bookend to Bitter.  I liked Bitter, but found it to be a little dark for me.  This is dark too, but it’s not so depressing.  Just deep, slow, and sensual.  You know, kinda like Me’Shell herself.  Favorite cut: Love You Down (wonderful remake of the Ready for the World song).

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The Dream, Love vs Money: I don’t listen to a lot of commercial radio.  Obviously.  🙂  It’s virtually all dreck to me.  But I love me some The-Dream.  I don’t think there’s anyone else in R&B working at his level.  He’s behind most of the hits you’ve danced to, from Rihanna’s Umbrella to Beyonce’s Single Ladies.  But he saved the best for himself on this album.  The-Dream is the future of R&B.  Favorite cut: Fancy.

Major Lazer, Guns Don’t Kill People, Lazers Do: I don’t even know how to classify this one.  Reggae meets rock meets electronica?  Dancehall meets punk?  I heard someone call it “electro reggae.”  Let’s go with that.  This album, from MIA’s producers Diplo and Switch, rocks HARD.  Just get it already.  Favorite cut: What U Like(WARNING: This is a VERY explicit and raunchy song.   Not for delicate ears!!!)

Raekwon, Only Built for Cuban Linx 2: The second installment of the Wu-Gambino crime-soaked masterpiece.  This is for all you who claim not to like gangsta rap.  Indulge your id and have a little fun with this one.  It’s not real, any more than playing Grand Theft Auto or watching Scarface is.  But it’s an escapist treat. Amazon says “Blazing tracks…delivered with Raekwon’s melodic flows and street oriented delivery.”  Werd.  Favorite track: We Will Rob You.

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The Missing Link From Killeen to Kabul by Frank Rich

Op-ed by Frank Rich

Frank Rich

Frank Rich/The New York Times

New York Times/Frank Rich—The dead at Fort Hood had not even been laid to rest when their massacre became yet another political battle cry for the self-proclaimed patriots of the American right.

Their verdict was unambiguous: Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an American-born psychiatrist of Palestinian parentage who sent e-mail to a radical imam, was a terrorist. And he did not act alone. His co-conspirators included our military brass, the Defense Department, the F.B.I., the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and, of course, the liberal media and the Obama administration. All these institutions had failed to heed the warning signs raised by Hasan’s behavior and activities because they are blinded by political correctness toward Muslims, too eager to portray criminals as sympathetic victims of social injustice, and too cowardly to call out evil when it strikes 42 innocents in cold blood.

The invective aimed at these heinous P.C. pantywaists nearly matched that aimed at Hasan. Joe Lieberman announced hearings to investigate the Army for its dereliction of duty on homeland security. Peter Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, vowed to unmask cover-ups in the White House and at the C.I.A. The Weekly Standard blog published a broadside damning the F.B.I. for neglecting the “broader terrorist plot” of which Hasan was only one of the connected dots. Jerome Corsi, the major-domo of the successful Swift-boating of John Kerry, unearthed what he said was proof that Hasan had advised President Obama during the transition.

William Bennett excoriated soft military leaders like Gen. George Casey Jr., the Army chief of staff, who had stood up for diversity and fretted openly about a backlash against Muslim soldiers in his ranks. “Blind diversity” that embraces Islam “equals death,” wrote Michelle Malkin. “There is a powerful case to be made that Islamic extremism is not some fringe phenomenon but part of the mainstream of Islamic life around the world,” wrote the columnist Jonah Goldberg. Islam is “not a religion,” declared the irrepressible Pat Robertson, but “a violent political system bent on the overthrow of the governments of the world.”

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President Obama Launches Major Veterans Employment Initiative

Initiative Will Transform Federal Government into Model of Veterans Employment

President Obama Launches Major Veterans Employment Initiative

WhiteHouse.gov—Monday, the White House announced the launch of an initiative that is designed to transform the federal government into the model employer of America’s veterans. This evening, President Obama will be joined by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry to sign an Executive Order on the Employment of Veterans in the federal government, which establishes the Veterans Employment Initiative for the Executive Branch. The Initiative underscores to federal agencies the importance of recruiting and training veterans, aims to increase the employment of veterans within the Executive Branch, and helps recently hired veterans adjust to service in a civilian capacity.

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis

Honoring our sacred trust with America’s veterans means doing all we can to help them find work when they come home so they never feel as if the American Dream they fought to defend is out of reach for them and their families,” said President Obama. “But this initiative is about more than repaying our debt for their courageous service and selfless sacrifice. It’s also about continuing to fill the ranks of federal employees with men and women who possess the skills, dedication, and sense of duty that Americans deserve from their public servants. And few embody those qualities like our nation’s veterans.”

The Executive Order creates an interagency Council on Veterans Employment that will advise the President and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management on the veterans’ employment initiative. The Council will be chaired by Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. OPM Director John Berry will serve as the Vice Chair and Chief Operating Officer of the Council.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki

Veterans have shown unmatched dedication to public service,” said Secretary Shinseki. “They offer leadership and technical skills that are in high demand, whether in the public or private workforce. Not only does this initiative present an opportunity for Veterans to serve their Nation once again, the Nation will benefit from the education and training Veterans received in the Armed Forces. I am looking forward to working with Secretary Solis and Director Berry to achieve the objectives of this initiative across the federal government.”

Veterans are an important part of our nation’s past, present and future. They deserve our full support as they reintegrate into the civilian workforce,” said Secretary Solis, “In signing this Executive Order, President Obama underscores his Administration’s commitment to our military men and women, and keeps us squarely on the path to achieving the goal of good jobs for everyone.”

OPM Director John Berry

OPM Director John Berry

President Obama strongly believes in honoring the service of our veterans and he sees this initiative as an opportunity to put some real muscle behind that promise,” said Director Berry. “The strong sense of patriotism and public service held by members of our armed forces doesn’t leave them when they exit from active duty. It benefits our government to seize this opportunity to utilize their skills and dedication to service. The Veterans Employment Initiative will help our federal agencies identify qualified veterans, clarify the hiring process for veterans seeking employment with the federal government, and help our veterans adjust to civilian life once they are hired.”

The Order also establishes a Veterans Employment Program office within most federal agencies. These offices will be responsible for helping veterans identify employment opportunities within those federal agencies, providing feedback to veterans about their employment application status, and helping veterans recently employed by these agencies adjust to civilian life and a workplace culture often different than military service.

In addition, the Office of Personnel Management will issue a government-wide strategic plan that will focus on creating leadership commitment and an infrastructure in each agency to promote continued skills development and employment success for veterans. The strategic plan will also include marketing strategies aimed at agency hiring managers as well as veterans and transitioning service members.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano

This Executive Order reflects the shared commitment across the Obama administration to hiring American veterans,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Veterans play a vital role in the Department of Homeland Security’s mission to protect the nation, which is why we have pledged to grow our veteran workforce to more than 50,000 Department-wide by 2012.”

At the end of Fiscal Year 2008, there were approximately 480,000 veterans working within the federal government.

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This is not the way we should be doing things in America…

Posted by Audiegrl

Colin Powell and Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press 10/19/08Watching the horrific events at Fort Hood unfold yesterday, it saddens me to admit that one of the first things that came to my mind, once the shooter was identified, was “oh no, what is the right-wing going to do with this?” Today, after seeing some fair and some not so fair coverage of the Fort Hood Massacre, it reminded me of what General Colin Powell said on Meet the Press in October of last year. When asked by host, Tom Brokaw whether he was prepared to announce whether he was endorsing John McCain or Barack Obama, Powell answered with a very long explanation on how he came to the decision to endorse Barack Obama for president and how he felt about the recent actions of the GOP. Towards the end of his answer, he said something that needs to be said again and again, regarding some of the countries reaction to the events at Fort Hood.

I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, “He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.” This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan's mother at his grave in Arlington Cemetary

Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan's mother at his grave in Arlington Cemetary

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards–Purple Heart, Bronze Star–showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.~~Colin Powell

His words were important last year, but even more so relevant today. The following are two a thoughtful pieces written by Kamran Pasha and Jon Soltz.

A Muslim Soldier’s View from Fort Hood

Soldiers praying

Soldiers praying

Kamran Pasha—Major Nidal Malik Hasan is a murderer and has brought great shame upon every American Muslim in the armed forces.

There are currently over 10,000 Muslim soldiers in the U.S. military, men and women who are patriotic and love their country and their fellow service members. Hasan’s evil actions, the murder of his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, have now brought those honorable soldiers’ loyalties into question.

The Islamophobe community on the Internet is trumpeting how Hasan’s behavior is reflective of the threat Americans face from their Muslim neighbors, and how radical Islamists have infiltrated the ranks of our military. Calls for purging the military, and perhaps even the United States, of its Muslim members have already begun.

Today there are dozens of families mourning the attack on their loved ones by a fellow-in-arms. And there are hundreds of Muslims at Fort Hood who knew Hasan and are stunned that he would betray their country and their community with such cold, calculated ease. Hasan’s rampage has truly shattered many more lives than we can begin to imagine.

I spoke today with a friend who is a Muslim soldier stationed at Fort Hood. He is a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Army and a recent convert to Islam. He agreed to share his perspective with me if I granted him anonymity. So we will call him Richard.

Richard is exactly the kind of soldier we need to protect our country from those that seek to do us harm. A combat veteran who has served in Iraq, Richard became interested in studying Islam initially as a strategic means of understanding his adversary in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. But as he began to study the religion’s teachings, he became struck by how different they were from what was being claimed by men like Osama Bin Laden.

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Kamran Pasha is a Hollywood filmmaker and author of “Mother of the Believers”

Many Issues With Tragedy at Ft. Hood — A “Muslim Problem” not One of Them, FOX News

Grave of Major James Michael Ahearn

Grave of Major James Michael Ahearn

Jon Soltz—Yesterday was one of the most tragic days in the military, in the midst of a slew of tragic days as we continue to see casualties in Afghanistan. Innocent soldiers lost their lives, and many more were injured, at the hands of a very troubled Major at Ft. Hood. Our hearts go out to all those who lost their lives, their families, and those wounded.

Like many, I’m angry and confused, as well, at how this could possibly happen. But, until the facts are all known, I won’t jump to conclusions, or cast aspersions at a large group of Americans, like the disgraceful hosts of FOX and Friends.

During an interview with Geraldo Rivera, the FOX and Friends hosts twice implied that this is some kind of Muslim problem. Of course, they didn’t come out and say it outright, they couched it in the form of a question, like FOX News can be so good at. You know, like their teasers, “President Obama. Does He Hate America?”

Brian Kilmeade asked if it’s time to have “special debriefings” or “special screenings” of all Muslims in the military. Because, as he said, “If I’m gonna be deployed in a foxhole, if I’m gonna be deployed in an outpost, I’m gonna want to know that the guy next to me isn’t gonna want to kill me.”

Perhaps sensing that they were not being offensive enough, Gretchen Carlson chimed in, “Could it be that our own military is so politically correct right now…to be careful about treatment of Muslims that they would have allowed this to go by?”

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Jon Stoltz is the Co-Founder of VoteVets.org, served as a Captain in Operation Iraqi Freedom

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Fort Hood Shooting: Muslim Groups Fear Backlash

Don’t Ask Me About Hasan

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Wajahat Ali: The Fort Hood Tragedy: Fanning the Anti-Muslim Hysteria

Right-Wing Media Respond To Fort Hood Shooting By Attacking Muslims

Fox And Friends” Hosts Worry That Military Needs “Special Debriefings” For Muslims

Allen West, GOP Candidate: Ft. Hood Shows “Terrorists Are Infiltrating Military

WND’s Jerome Corsi Claims Fort Hood Shooter Advised Obama

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Muslims Brace for Backlash while Troubling Portrait of Gunman Emerges

Posted by Audiegrl updates by GeoT

Update: ABC News: Alleged Fort Hood Shooter Now Paralyzed

FORT HOOD, TX — The military says a 13th victim died early Friday morning after a mass shooting at Fort Hood in Texas. The suspect, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, is alive on a ventilator, paralyzed and unconscious.

more here: News 10

FORT-HOOD-largephotoof HasanCanadian Press/Lee-Anne Goodman— His name had barely been released, his heritage and history not immediately known, but the reaction was fast and furious.

Jihad at Fort Hood? Shooter: Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan,” was the headline of a post on the Jihad Watch blog just moments after Hasan was identified as the perpetrator of a mass shooting at the Texas military base that killed 12 people, himself included, and wounded 31 others.

The name tells us a lot, does it not, senator?” Fox News’s Shep Smith said while interviewing Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Texas senator.

Arab-American InstituteThe Arab-American Institute said it received one threatening call from an unidentified male shortly after Hasan’s name was released. The group, which condemned the massacre, said it was expecting more.

Council on American-Islamic RelationsThe Council on American-Islamic Relations scheduled a Capitol Hill news conference on Thursday night to urge calm.

No political or religious ideology could ever justify or excuse such wanton and indiscriminate violence,” the group said in a statement.

The attack was particularly heinous in that it targeted the all-volunteer army that protects our nation. American Muslims stand with our fellow citizens in offering both prayers for the victims and sincere condolences to the families of those killed or injured.”

ABC News reported that Hasan, a psychiatrist who once practiced in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., was reportedly an Islam convert despondent about being deployed to Iraq and upset about the war.

Military officials told the Associated Press that Hasan was a psychiatrist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington for six years before being transferred to Fort Hood in July. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because military records are confidential, said he received a poor performance evaluation at Walter Reed.

Suspected Gunman Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan

Suspected Gunman Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan

Hasan, born in Virginia and in his late 30s, was single with no children. The Austin American-Statesman reported his parents were originally from Jordan.

Robert Spencer, the director of the Jihad Watch blog and the author of nine books on Islam and jihad, chastised the media for failing to point to jihad as a possible explanation for Hasan’s crime.

No one, no one at all, in the mainstream media is discussing jihad as a motivation,” Spencer wrote. “It’s all about ‘snapping,’ ’not wanting to go to war’ …. If this turns out to be a jihad attack, watch for the president to caution against ‘backlash’ and ’Islamophobia.”’

Elsewhere in the blogosphere, commenters warned of exactly that kind of backlash.

How long before some idiotic elected official declares Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to serve in the military?” asked Salon’s Mike Madden.

The American Prospect’s Adam Serwer beseeched: “Please, America, remember what kind of country you are right now.”

Josh Marshall, who writes for the TalkingPointsMemo blog, predicted: “This is going to get very dark” upon the identification of the perpetrator’s name.

“The fact that the primary assailant has an Arabic name and is presumably, though we don’t know this yet, of Muslim extraction, if not a practising Muslim, is going to be the focus of attention,” Marshall wrote.

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From CNN: Convenience Store Surveillance Video Of Fort Hood Shooter Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan – 11/05/09

UPDATE

AP – The base commander at Fort Hood says soldiers who witnessed a shooting rampage that left 13 people dead reported that the gunman shouted “Allahu Akbar!” before opening fire at the Texas post.

more here:


Hero Cop Took Down Shooter in ‘Amazing Performance’

Kimberly Munley, the police officer who shot the Fort Hood gunman, with the country singer Dierks Bentley

Sgt. Kimberly Munley, a civilian police officer, has earned the highest praise for taking down the Fort Hood gunman. She and her partner responded to the scene within 3 minutes, base commander Lt. Gen. Robert Cone reports, and she pumped four bullets into Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, from just a few feet away, while taking a bullet herself.

full story here:


What Nidal Hasan (allegedly) said about suicide bombers

Internet posting that purports to come from the Muslim Army doctor who killed 13 people at Texas base:

“There was a grenade thrown amongs a group of American soldiers. One of the soldiers, feeling that it was to late for everyone to flee jumped on the grave with the intention of saving his comrades. Indeed he saved them. He inentionally took his life (suicide) for a noble cause i.e. saving the lives of his soldier. To say that this soldier committed suicide is inappropriate. Its more appropriate to say he is a brave hero that sacrificed his life for a more noble cause. Scholars have paralled this to suicide bombers whose intention, by sacrificing their lives, is to help save Muslims by killing enemy soldiers. If one suicide bomber can kill 100 enemy soldiers because they were caught off guard that would be considered a strategic victory. Their intention is not to die because of some despair. The same can be said for the Kamikazees in Japan. They died (via crashing their planes into ships) to kill the enemies for the homeland. You can call them crazy i you want but their act was not one of suicide that is despised by Islam. So the scholars main point is that “IT SEEMS AS THOUGH YOUR INTENTION IS THE MAIN ISSUE” and Allah (SWT) knows best.”source:

Related Articles

Muslim, Arab Groups Condemn Fort Hood Shooting, Brace For Backlash

Troubling portrait emerges of Fort Hood suspect

His name appears on radical Internet postings. A fellow officer says he fought his deployment to Iraq and argued with soldiers who supported U.S. wars. He required counseling as a medical student because of problems with patients. There are many unknowns about Nidal Malik Hasan, the man authorities say is responsible for the worst mass killing on a U.S. military base. Most of all, his motive. But details of his life and mindset, emerging from official sources and personal acquaintances, are troubling.

Read More Here:

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Laura Ricketts Is First Openly Gay Major League Baseball Owner

Posted by Audiegrl

LAURARICKETTS-largeHuffington Post/Tim Taliaferro—The Chicago Cubs have reached a baseball milestone and it has nothing to do with their century-plus World Series drought.

With the team’s purchase by the Ricketts Family, the Cubs are the first Major League Baseball team to have an openly gay owner.

Among the new owners is Laura Ricketts, an out lesbian who is also on the board of the gay rights organization Lambda Legal, the Windy City Times reports.

Ricketts, who is a member of the Cubs board of directors, came out to her family in her 30’s.

Chicago_cubs_2I think for a long time I wasn’t really out to myself growing up in Omaha, Neb., to a Catholic conservative family,” Ricketts said. “It took me a while to come out to myself and not long after that I came out to them. I think that it really couldn’t of been a better experience. They were all immediately supportive. … I have been really really fortunate in that regard.”

The Ricketts family bought the Cubs and Wrigley Field from the Tribune Co. for $845 million in a deal that was finalized Oct. 27.

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New White House Line Against Fox: It’s War by Ari Melber

Posted by Audiegrl

arimelbersmallThe Nation/Ari Melber—The White House’s battle with Fox News reached a new high on Sunday, when Communications Director Anita Dunn went on national television to blast Fox as a partisan organization that functions as an appendage to the Republican Party.

Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party,” Dunn told CNN, adding, “let’s not pretend [Fox is] a news organization like CNN is.” Dunn also took her beef to the New York Times, saying in a Sunday interview that Fox is “undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House [and] we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.”

FoxNewsRNC_In the most significant exchange on CNN, Dunn stressed that President Obama now personally views Fox as a partisan opponent, rather than a journalistic organization. “When he goes on Fox he understands he is not going on it as a news network at this point,” she explained, “he is going on it to debate the opposition.”

That’s a big departure from how most of the Democratic establishment engages Fox. It’s been a long time coming.

While rank and file Democrats view Fox News as an obviously hostile force, elected Democrats have long struggled over whether to engage or fight the channel. In fact, the Democratic establishment even agreed to empower Fox as an official host and moderator of a debate during the presidential primaries — but that bit of self-handicapping was scuttled after a coalition of progressive bloggers and activists objected. By the homestretch of the presidential campaign, Obama’s campaign dialed up the heat, aggressively confronting Fox with pointed barbs from senior staff, surrogates and sometimes the candidate. (And who can forget Robert Gibbs turning the tables on Sean Hannity on Fox last October?)

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Ari Melber’s commentary has appeared in The Nation Online, The Baltimore Sun, The New York Post, The Times Union, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Kirkus Reviews, The Huffington Post, The Forward, Alternet.org and TomPaine.com. Melber served as a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate and as a national staff member on the 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry. He was born and raised in Seattle and he currently lives in New York.

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