Devil Has New Partner–Fred Phelps Dies

Will there now be a coup d’etat for control of hell?

I have walked past Fred Phelps at a protest he put together while in Madison.  I have taunted his family at the same rally by holding hands with James and walking past their insanity.  I even talked with him one time on a Madison radio show, asking him to sit down and have coffee with me (my treat)  and discuss his views.  He declined on-air.   Chicken!

Now the ass is no more on earth.

Fred Phelps, the founding pastor of Westboro Baptist Church, known for its virulently anti-gay protests at public events, died today at the age of  84.

Phelps founded Westboro Baptist of Topeka, Kansas, in 1955 and molded it in his fire-and-brimstone image. Many members of the small congregation are related to Phelps through blood or marriage.

According to the church’s website, it has picketed more than 53,000 events, ranging from Lady Gaga concerts to funerals for slain U.S. soldiers. Typically, a dozen or so church members – including small children – brandish signs that say “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.”

Associated Press Changes Style: Crimea No Longer In Ukraine

This is one of those controversies where it is understandable to see the logic on one side of the debate, and still feel the emotion from the other side.

In a nutshell Associated Press made a style change about how to identify Crimea, a peninsula that Russia annexed from Ukraine.   To explain their move the wire service issued the following statement.

“Previously, we wrote ‘SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine (AP).’ But Ukraine no longer controls Crimea, and AP datelines should reflect the facts on the ground,”  

Effective immediately the AP will now name a city and then Crimea.

The AP explained why it wouldn’t identify the city of Sevastopol as being in Russia given the annexation. 

“The reason is that Crimea is geographically distinct from Russia; they have no land border,” the AP said. “Saying just the city name and “Crimea” in the dateline, even in the event of full annexation, would be consistent with how we handle geographically separate parts of other countries.” 

If I look at this matter from a factual point of view this makes sense, and reflects the political and governmental reality of the situation on the ground in Crimea.   From that perspective I am in agreement with the wire service.

Meanwhile the international community has adamantly stated that the aggression against Ukraine must not be allowed to stand, and have placed sanctions in place and promised more unless President Putin changes course.    I strongly agree that what Putin did was reckless and in sharp difference to international law.  There is no lacking emotion from this blogger over the Russian move.

But it is not for the AP, a journalistic enterprise, to wade into the opinions of what happened.  Rather they have a job to report the news, using the facts they have to impart to us the information we need to know.  Part of the fact is that Crimea–for better or worse-is no longer part of a Ukraine in a working sense of the word.  Legal and political experts will weigh in and make news one way or the other to affect change in the region, and AP will report it.    That is the only role they are expected to play.