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  • Arkansas Republican Rep. Jon Hubbard calls slavery ‘blessing in disguise’; GOP Republican State House candidate Charlie Fuqua advocates deporting all Muslims - masteradrian’s posterous
    http://masteradrian.posterous.com/arkansas-republican-rep-jon-hubbard-calls-sla

    Arkansas Republican Rep. Jon Hubbard calls slavery ‘blessing in disguise’; GOP Republican State House candidate Charlie Fuqua advocates deporting all Muslims
    Arkansas GOP calls both comments ‘highly offensive’ as it attempts to distance itself from controversial statements in two new books.
    By The Associated Press / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
    Sunday, October 7, 2012, 12:10 PM

    Arkansas Republicans are speaking out against “offensive” statements by GOP state representative Charlie Fuqua (l.) who is running for re-election and Rep. Jon Hubbard (r.) of Jonesboro, a former GOP legislator running for a state House seat.
    Arkansas Secretary of State/AP

    Arkansas Republicans are speaking out against “offensive” statements by GOP state representative Charlie Fuqua (l.) who is running for re-election and Rep. Jon Hubbard (R.) of Jonesboro, a former GOP legislator running for a state House seat.

    Arkansas Republicans tried to distance themselves Saturday from a Republican state representative’s assertion that slavery was a “blessing in disguise” and a Republican state House candidate who advocates deporting all Muslims.

    The claims were made in books written, respectively, by Rep. Jon Hubbard of Jonesboro and House candidate Charlie Fuqua of Batesville. Those books received attention on Internet news sites Friday.

    On Saturday, state GOP Chairman Doyle Webb called the books “highly offensive.” And U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, a Republican who represents northeast Arkansas, called the writings “divisive and racially inflammatory.”

    Hubbard wrote in his 2009 self-published book, “Letters To The Editor: Confessions Of A Frustrated Conservative,” that “the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise.” He also wrote that African-Americans were better off than they would have been had they not been captured and shipped to the United States.

    Fuqua, who served in the Arkansas House from 1996 to 1998, wrote there is “no solution to the Muslim problem short of expelling all followers of the religion from the United States,” in his 2012 book, titled “God’s Law.”

    Fuqua said Saturday that he hadn’t realized he’d become a target within his own party, which he said surprised him.

    “I think my views are fairly well-accepted by most people,” Fuqua said before hanging up, saying he was busy knocking on voters’ doors. The attorney is running against incumbent Democratic Rep. James McLean in House District 63.

    Hubbard, a marketing representative, didn’t return voicemail messages seeking comment Saturday. He is running against Democrat Harold Copenhaver in House District 58.

    The November elections could be a crucial turning point in Arkansas politics. Democrats hold narrow majorities in both chambers, but the GOP has been working hard to swing the Legislature its way for the first time since the end of the Civil War, buoyed by picking up three congressional seats in 2010. Their efforts have also been backed by an influx of money from national conservative groups.

    Rep. Crawford said Saturday he was “disappointed and disturbed.”

    “The statements that have been reported portray attitudes and beliefs that would return our state and country to a harmful and regrettable past,” Crawford said.

    U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., kicked off the GOP’s response Saturday by issuing a release, saying the “statements of Hubbard and Fuqua are ridiculous, outrageous and have no place in the civil discourse of either party.”

    “Had I known of these statements, I would not have contributed to their campaigns. I am requesting that they give my contributions to charity,” said Griffin, who donated $100 to each candidate.

    The Arkansas Republican House Caucus followed, saying the views of Hubbard and Fuqua “are in no way reflective of, or endorsed by, the Republican caucus. The constituencies they are seeking to represent will ultimately judge these statements at the ballot box.”

    Then Webb, who has spearheaded the party’s attempt to control the Legislature, said the writings “were highly offensive to many Americans and do not reflect the viewpoints of the Republican Party of Arkansas. While we respect their right to freedom of expression and thought, we strongly disagree with those ideas.”

    Webb, though, accused state Democrats of using the issue as a distraction.

    Democrats themselves have been largely silent, aside from the state party’s tweet and Facebook post calling attention to the writings. A Democratic Party spokesman didn’t immediately return a call for comment Saturday.

    The two candidates share other political and religious views on their campaign websites.

    Hubbard, who sponsored a failed bill in 2011 that would have severely restricted immigration, wrote on his website that the issue is still among his priorities, as is doing “whatever I can to defend, protect and preserve our Christian heritage.”

    Fuqua blogs on his website. One post is titled, “Christianity in Retreat,” and says “there is a strange alliance between the liberal left and the Muslim religion.”

    “Both are antichrist in that they both deny that Jesus is God in the flesh of man, and the savior of mankind. They both also hold that their cause should take over the entire world through violent, bloody, revolution,” the post says.

    In a separate passage, Fuqua wrote “we now have a president that has a well documented history with both the Muslim religion and Communism.”

  • Einstein’s historic ‘God Letter’ written shortly before death up for auction — opening bid set for $3 million « MasterAdrian’s Weblog
    http://masteradrian.com/2012/10/08/einsteins-historic-god-letter-written-shortly-before-death-up-for-auct

    Einstein’s historic ‘God Letter’ written shortly before death up for auction — opening bid set for $3 million
    October 8, 2012
    Einstein’s historic ‘God Letter’ written shortly before death up for auction — opening bid set for $3 million
    Einstein’s private 1954 letter to philosopher Eric B. Gutkind called God a “product of human weaknesses” and said Bible stories were “pretty childish.”
    By Michael Walsh / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
    Sunday, October 7, 2012, 9:36 AM
    Einstein’s private letter, never intended for public viewing, will be up for auction on eBay from Oct. 8 to 18.
    Einsteinletter.Com
    Einstein’s private letter, never intended for public viewing, will be up for auction on eBay from Oct. 8 to 18.

    One of the most celebrated minds of the 20th century tackled one of the most contentious topics of all-time – and now his thoughts are up for auction, with an opening bid set at $3 million.

    Albert Einstein penned some of his most trenchant critiques of religion in a letter to philosopher Eric B. Gutkind on Jan. 3, 1954, a year before he passed away.

    Auction Cause will auction Einstein’s “God Letter” on eBay from Oct. 8 to 18.

    The handwritten letter, in German, was Einstein’s response to Gutkind’s book “Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt.” Although Einstein and Gutkind had a lot in common, in Einstein’s estimation, Einstein disagreed with several of Gutkind’s theological convictions.
    EINSTEIN7N_1_WEB

    AP
    Albert Einstein penned some of his most trenchant critiques of religion in a letter to philosopher Eric B. Gutkind on Jan. 3, 1954, a year before he passed away.

    The Word of God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish,” Einstein wrote from his home in Princeton, N.J.

    He claimed that no interpretation, no matter how sophisticated, could sway his stance.

    Einstein also responded to Gutkind’s written statements on Israel and the Jewish people. “Israel’s soul could not be hypnotized,” Gutkind wrote, “it never succumbed to hypnotic assaults. … The soul of Israel is incorruptible.”

    Einstein said that Judaism – like all other religions – is “an incarnation of the most childish superstitions.” He said that he is glad to belong to the Jewish people but that they have “no different quality for me than all other people.”

    “As far as my experience goes,” he continued, “they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them.”

    Joan Stambaugh translated the portions of the letter quoted above into English.

    The letter – known to the scientific community for more than 50 years – will be auctioned with its original envelope, stamp and postmark.

    The letter was previously sold for $404,000 through Bloomsbury Auctions in London, reported The New York Times.

    In a different letter, dated March 24, 1954, Einstein rejected the notion of a personal god, but explained his sense of wonder that could be considered somewhat spiritual.

    “If something is in me,” Einstein wrote, “which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

    mwalsh@nydailynews.com

  • Why America Has Won Its War of Words with France | Yascha Mounk (Dissent)
    http://www.dissentmagazine.org/atw.php?id=453

    Perhaps the most captivating fallout from Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s rape trial has been the glaring culture clash between the United States and France. The opening salvo in this war of words was fired by the New York Daily News when, on the day after Strauss-Kahn’s arrest, it adorned its front page with the simple words, “Le Perv.” The implication was clear: the French are all oversexed deviants. Strauss-Kahn’s Frenchness is not incidental to his alleged crime—on the contrary, his being French is what accounts for his misdeeds. (...)