Short Takes: News From All Over: December 30, 2004

School Defends Slavery Booklet
By T. Keung Hui, New Observer
Did you know that southern slaves led ‘a life of plenty, of simple pleasures’? That’s one of the lessons in Southern Slavery, As It Was, a booklet used at the Raleigh, North Carolina-based Cary Christian School which employs pseudo-history and the Bible to whitewash slavery. The school’s principal justifies the curriculum in the name of academic diversity, but many observers have been shocked to find out just how different some ‘different ideas’ can be. — Brendan Themes

Backfire: Turning Pickets into Pledges
By Heather Merriam, Planned Parenthood
Thinking about picketing Planned Parenthood? You might want to reconsider since some clinics are now tying pledge drives to protests, collecting a set donation for each angry face outside. — Brendan Themes

The True Spirit of Xmas
By Julian Sanchez, Reason
The sky is falling! Wait, make that the mistletoe. Once a year, the conservative spin machine turns four-fifths of the country into an oppressed minority by predicting the imminent extinction of Christmas. Why do they engage in such misguided alarmism? Apparently, it’s not just Christmas, but part of the larger persecution complex shared by some right-wing Christians. — Brendan Themes

The Karma of Misfortune
By Arvind Sharma, Beliefnet
The devastation wrought by the recent tsunami has left several people asking, ‘Why?’ If looking to science leaves you feeling helpless and religion leaves you feeling guilty, the Hindu natural law of karma may be what you’re searching for. Like religion, its application ranges from the uplifting from the fatalistic, but the ambiguity can be empowering in the right circumstances. — Brendan Themes

Art & Soul
By David Harris, Whole Life Times
Tired of big-box anonymity and mass-produced tchotchkies? Exercise your rights and privileges as a socially aware consumer and visit Novica, an online global art marketplace that connects you to an international network of skilled artisans and an economic paradigm that places humanity and humanitarianism over bottom-line brutality. — Brendan Themes

Diebold to Settle with California
By Clint Boulton, Internet News
Diebold, which manufactured numerous electronic voting machines used in the 2004 presidential election, has been ordered to pay $2.6 million to the State of California for lying about the security and reliability of the machines. Though the technology was proven to be insecure and easily manipulated long before the election, the courts waited until after the election to hold Diebold accountable. — Brendan Themes

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