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Exiled From Westboro: Leaving America’s Most Hated Church

Author: Mike Spies

This summer, Zach Phelps-Roper could be seen on the streets of Topeka, Kansas, holding a sign above his head bearing the words, “You are beautiful.” He was picketing the Westboro Baptist Church, arguably the most reviled religious organization in the country. “Please forgive them,” he could be heard shouting, “for they know not what they do!”

Not long ago, Zach, 23, was holding an entirely different kind of picket sign. He is the grandson of the late Fred Phelps, Westboro’s founder and spiritual leader. It was Phelps who shaped the church’s extreme zealotry and brazenly offensive anti-gay pickets, especially those staged at military funerals, where congregants of the church hold signs that read “God Hates Fags” and “Pray for More Dead Soldiers.” The Southern Poverty Law Center has branded the church “the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America.” The media often refers to it as a cult.

Zach Phelps-Roper outside the Westboro Baptist compound, his former home in Topeka, Kansas. He's one of at least 20 members to leave the church in the last decade, including his brother Josh and his sisters Megan and Grace.

This February, Zach, who was born and raised in the church, left Westboro, having suffered for weeks with a back injury his parents believed could be cured with prayer. After begging them to no avail to take him to the emergency room, he decided he was done being a martyr. “I don’t love this religion anymore,” he said.

In the eyes of the church, that declaration was an unforgivable offense worse than blasphemy. And it meant that Zach would be excommunicated. He knew he would never be able to talk to his parents again, and all traces of him would be scrubbed from his family’s home and their place of worship. The congregation would classify him as an apostate who would spend eternity in hell.



Rosa Parks ‘Transformed a Nation’ on This Day

It was Dec. 1, 1955, that Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus

On this day nearly six decades ago, Rosa Parks got on that fateful bus.

As TIME would recount in including Dec. 1, 1955, in its list of days that changed the world, she was on her way to a meeting at her local N.A.A.C.P. about protesting segregation laws when it happened: “she found a seat in the first row of the “colored” section in the back. But after a few stops, the driver ordered her to get up so a white passenger could sit down. Parks refused, and the police were called to take her to jail.” Her ordeal would soon inspire a citywide boycott and a ruling that such segregation was illegal.

When Parks died in 2005, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. wrote an appreciation of her life. As Jackson pointed out, the idea that she didn’t move just because she was tired is a myth:
With quiet courage and nonnegotiable dignity, Rosa Parks was an activist and a freedom fighter who transformed a nation and confirmed a notion that ordinary people can have an extraordinary effect on the world. In her declining health, I would often visit Mrs. Parks, and once asked her the most basic question: Why did you do it? She said the inspiration for her Dignity Day in 1955 occurred three months prior, when African-American Emmett Till’s murdered and disfigured body was publicly displayed for the world to see. “When I thought about Emmett Till,” she told me, “I could not go to the back of the bus.” Her feet never ached.


All I can respond is, Facepalm: Poll: 50 percent say GOP majority is bad

Half of the public says that Republican control of Congress will be bad for the country and cause more gridlock, according to a new CNN/ORC poll.

The poll finds that 50 percent of adults say Republican control of the House and Senate will be bad for the country, compared to 44 percent who say it will be good.
Fifty-two percent say there will be more gridlock with a Republican Congress, while just 9 percent say there will be less. Thirty-seven percent say there will be no difference.

The public has a more negative view of Republican gains this November than it did of other recent midterm elections. A majority, 52 percent, thought it was good for the country when Republicans took over the House in 2010. An even larger percentage, 67 percent, thought it was good for the country when Democrats took over Congress in 2006 amid the unpopularity of President George W. Bush.

The country appears frustrated with both congressional Republicans and President Obama when it comes to gridlock, but more so with Republicans.



Maybe if you fucking idiots (in the poll) bothered to vote last month for Democrats, this wouldn't be a problem.

Monday Toon Roundup 3- The Rest





Monday Toon Roundup 2- Obstructionist Party

Monday Toon Roundup 1- Race

The world’s deadliest terror group issues... a pancake recipe

THE IS agency for women, has launched a ‘cookbook’, explaining how to keep jihadists happy and fulfilled by making pancakes after a day of fighting.

The agency known as Al-Zawra that “prepares sisters for the battlefield for jihadists” has been dubbed a “finishing school” for young women hoping to wed militants.

In a step-by-step guide, published by Al-Zawra, the recipe calls for one egg, four tablespoons of sugar, one tablespoon of oil, 4 tablespoons of salt, one cup of milk and one cup of flour.

This follows the first recipe released earlier in November, “balls of date mush”.



Blackbird Diaries

When Bob Gilliland made the first flight of the SR-71 on December 22, 1964, engineers were still tweaking 379 items on the aircraft. That didn’t deter Gilliland, who took the airplane to 50,000 feet and Mach 1.5. At a 2010 talk in Ridgecrest, California, Gilliland recounted that he ignored the one error message he saw in the cockpit that day: “Canopy Unsafe.”

We have the cold war, Kelly Johnson, and the CIA to thank for what is still the fastest aircraft propelled by jet engines. Once the U-2 proved vulnerable to the Soviet Union’s surface-to-air missiles, the CIA issued a contract for a spyplane that could evade SAMs. Johnson responded with the A-12, the aircraft that would evolve into the SR-71.

Fifty years later, the Blackbird continues to mesmerize pilots and public alike. During its career, the reconnaissance aircraft gathered intelligence all over the globe. Crews spied on military activities in North Vietnam, took imagery during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, flew over the Persian Gulf, and peered into the former Soviet Union.

We’ve collected just a few of the stories from Blackbird crews, but when we asked pilots to compare it to other aircraft they’d flown, we stumped them. One summed up the slim similarities: “It’s got controls and a throttle.”


St Louis Rams players show of support for Ferguson community

ST. LOUIS -- Five Rams players used the team's pregame introductions to offer a show of support for nearby Ferguson before Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders.

As the offense was introduced, Rams tight end Jared Cook and receivers Kenny Britt, Stedman Bailey, Chris Givens and Tavon Austin stopped near the tunnel and raised their hands in a nod to the fatal shooting of teenager Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.

Members of the Rams raised their arms during pregame introductions as a salute to nearby Ferguson, Missouri.

Earlier this week, the Rams spent time lamenting the fact that there wasn't much they could do to help right now with the unrest in Ferguson.

Multiple players and coach Jeff Fisher spoke during the week about trying to offer a three-hour or so distraction from what's happening in their community.


How police confront black and white: U. of I. vs. Cleveland

by Charles J. Johnson


In my case, a visibly out-of-control white adult on a college campus within theoretical firing range of students was taken down without injury.

In the Rice case, a black child, also holding a fake gun, was shot dead upon the arrival of police.

This discrepancy I simply cannot rectify, no matter how much I wish I could.

I don't know what I would have done. But I did witness what is supposed to be done.

the rest

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