Pastor Saeed, other Christians caught in the crosshairs, yet nary a word from Obama

President Obama has a responsibility, to take the lead in defending religious freedom, whether it’s Coptic Christians being murdered in Egypt or a U.S. citizen held in a prison cell in Tehran

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Via: Fox Opines

    

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Why You Should Go to 2013 Front Porch Republic Conference

The estimable Front Porch Republic will host its upcoming conference, titled “City People, Country People: Being a Localist In the Megalopolis,” in Claremont, California. Event speakers include TAC contributors Bill Kauffman and Jeremy Beer. The conference will also contain a screening of recent Maxwell film Copperhead (reviewed by TAC contributor Jordan Bloom in June).

The conference will explore the ideas of place and community in a growing urban and suburban landscape, and strive to determine how people “enmeshed in a massive (sub)urban expanse” can cultivate community and live sustainably. As co-sponsors of the event and friends of FPR, we strongly encourage you to attend.

Here is the program:

Friday, September 20

7:30 p.m.         Screening of Copperhead followed by Q&A with screenwriter Bill Kauffman (Rose Hills Theater)

Saturday, September 21

8:30 a.m.         Continental Breakfast (Rose Hills Theater Lobby)

9:00 a.m.         Introduction (Rose Hills Theater)

Susan McWilliams, Pomona College

9:15 a.m.         “The Good Twenty-First-Century City” (Rose Hills Theater)

Chair: Lily Geismer, Claremont McKenna College

Panelists: Phillip Bess, University of Notre Dame School of Architecture; Peter Dreier, Occidental College; Ted McAllister, Pepperdine University

10:45 a.m.       “The Possibilities of Work in the New World” (Rose Hills Theater)

Chair: John Seery, Pomona College

Panelists: Susan McWilliams, Pomona College; Andrew Yuengert, Pepperdine University; TBD

12:15 p.m.       Lunch and Keynote Address  (Rose Hills Theater and Lobby)

“I Can’t Believe You’re From L.A.: Los Angeles as a Cultural Center”

Speaker: Dana Gioia, author and former chair of the National Endowment for the Arts

2:00 p.m.         “Food in the Megalopolis” (Rose Hills Theater)

Chair: Jeff Polet, Hope College

Panelists: Nancy Neiman Auerbach, Scripps College; William Barndt, Pitzer College; Jason Peters, Augustana College

3:30                 “Philanthropy, Localism, and Hypermobility” (Rose Hills Theater)

Chair: William Schambra, Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal

Panelists: Jeremy Beer, American Philanthropic; David Bosworth, University of Washington; Alicia Manning, Bradley Foundation;

4:45 p.m.         Closing Remarks (Rose Hills Theater)

Mark T. Mitchell, Patrick Henry College

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Via: American Conservative

    

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Stop dithering, Mr. Obama, if US is serious about Syria we must target Assad

Our commander-in-chief Barack Obama is holding his nose while deigning to squeeze a military operation into his busy schedule. Makes you proud, no? No. It makes me ashamed and furious.

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Via: Fox Opines

    

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Plastic Surgery in South Korea Keeps People Grinning

Gwynn Guilford reports over at Quartz that the latest trend to hit South Korea is surgery for a smile:

Cosmetic tweaks like Botox have long minimized furrowed brows and frown lines. But a new technique called “Smile Lipt” carves a permanent smile into an otherwise angry face. The procedure, whose name combines “lip” with “lift”—get it?—turns up the corners of the mouth using a technique that’s a milder version of what Scottish hoodlums might call the “Glasgow grin.”

While it has been long said that it takes fewer muscles (or at least less effort) to smile than to frown, it appears that many South Koreans just want to cut to the chase. The procedure is “increasingly popular among men and women in their 20s and 30s—especially flight attendants, consultants and others in industries aiming to offer service with a smile.”

Aone’s Facebook Page

The most concerning thing about this trend, however, comes at the end of Guilford’s piece: ”as with the popularity of other cosmetic procedures in South Korea, which have made it hard for the natural of face to compete for jobs, permanent smiles may too become the norm.”

She links to a New York Times report from a couple of years back that documented how a plastic surgery culture has boomed in South Korea.

In traditional Korea, tampering with the body bestowed by one’s parents was a violation of Confucian precepts that also discouraged cremation and, later, organ and blood donations. But in recent decades, cosmetic surgery has become a weapon in Koreans’ efforts to impress others, “like buying an expensive handbag,” said Whang Sang-min, a psychologist at Yonsei University.

According to one makeup artist preparing to go under the knife, “‘You must endure pain to be beautiful,’ she said, adding that an eye job is so routine these days ‘it’s not even considered surgery.’” One market survey indicated that “one of every five women in Seoul between the ages of 19 and 49 said they had undergone plastic surgery.” The surgeons themselves report that “their main patients are young women entering the marriage and job markets. ‘As it gets harder to find jobs, they’ve come to believe they must look good to survive,’ said Choi Set-byol, a sociologist at Ewha Woman’s University.”

Such a boom has led to a situation now where “‘Koreans agree on what constitutes a pretty face,’ he said. ‘The consensus, now, is a smaller, more sharply defined youthful face — a more or less Westernized look. That makes 90 percent of Koreans potential patients because they’re not born with that kind of face.’” The trend towards facial uniformity has been so widespread that “The film director Im Kwon-taek says it has become all but impossible to find an actress who still has a traditional Korean face.”

If one stays agnostic on the medical ethics of cosmetic surgery, the procedures become a matter of free choice and open markets, where patients and doctors have the freedom to arrange an operation, as long as there is no coercion.

But the South Korean example is …read more

Via: American Conservative

    

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Egypt Needs a Political Solution, for the Copts and the Brotherhood

Andrew Doran’s article in National Review last week rightly notes the brutality undergone by the Copts in the aftermath of Egypt’s coup. He even compares the brutality with Nazi persecution of the Jews:

 The Muslim Brotherhood’s systematic and coordinated attacks against Christians in Egypt are reminiscent of Kristallnacht in Germany in 1938, when Nazi paramilitaries systematically vandalized Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues and murdered scores of Jews in a disturbing foreshadowing of the fate of European Jews over the next few years. It is no accident that many Jews, including Barry Rubin and Jeffrey Goldberg, have been quick to raise the alarums over the persecution of Christians: They recognize the dangerous signs. “They have hatred in their hearts,” says Thabet of the Brotherhood, echoing observations commonly made of the National Socialists in 20th-century Germany.

But the Copt’s persecutors are not a well-organized military force, with a charismatic and powerful leader. Rather, they are a hurt and angry mob, with a rapidly dwindling leadership. Their acts of aggression against Coptic Christians seem less a calculated ruthless policy than the raged revenge of a hurt and angry people. Of course, this is not to excuse those horrendous actions. However, it does change the way in which we seek a solution to the problem.

In Egypt, the mob and the military are not unified; rather, their very friction has helped instigate and foster this persecution, more or less. More military crackdown only seems to result in more Coptic persecution. Thus, a foreign military strengthening Egypt’s military arm is not likely to fix the problem. The Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership has been weakened significantly in recent weeks; this, as Eric Trager argued in The New Republic, makes the group even harder to control and direct in a peaceable manner. And this does make sense: without leadership with whom to reason, the group will become more and more unreasonable:

… By disorganizing Egypt’s most cohesive Islamist group, the generals have turned hundreds of thousands of deeply ideological Muslim Brothers into free radicals, who will no longer listen to their typically cautious leaders. Many younger Muslim Brothers, in particular, lean towards Salafism, and their upbringing in the Brotherhood—whose motto concludes with the phrase “death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations”—has made them willing to die for Islamism, and possibly willing to fight for it as well.

In addition, one cannot exempt the military from blame in Coptic persecution: John Storm, acting Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement Thursday that “For weeks, everyone could see these attacks coming, with Muslim Brotherhood members accusing Coptic Christians of a role in [Morsi’s] ouster, but the authorities did little or nothing to prevent them.”

The military does not bring answers to Egypt’s current conflict, then – at least not long-term answers. Some form of representative government must be found to provide succor for the country’s minorities and appeasement to its religious majority. This is not to suggest that Western-style democracy will solve all the country’s problems – …read more

Via: American Conservative

    

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50 years later, still a nation divided

Fifty years after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech and a great day for civil-rights, the daily experience of the average African-American is still marked by racism and exclusion from the “American Dream.”

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Via: Fox Opines

    

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