Thursday Reads: #IStandWithAhmed

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Good Morning!!

After the horror show that was the second Republican debate, we can at least celebrate the fact that massive numbers of Americans–and people all over the world–stand with Ahmed Mohamed after the disgraceful and humiliating treatment he received from his teachers, school administrators, and the Irving, TX police department.

The Dallas Morning News reports: Ahmed Mohamed swept up, ‘hoax bomb’ charges swept away as Irving teen’s story floods social media.

Irving’s police chief announced Wednesday that charges won’t be filed against Ahmed Mohamed, the MacArthur High School freshman arrested Monday after he brought what school officials and police described as a “hoax bomb” on campus.

At a joint press conference with Irving ISD, Chief Larry Boyd said the device — confiscated by an English teacher despite the teen’s insistence that it was a clock — was “certainly suspicious in nature.”

School officers questioned Ahmed about the device and why Ahmed had brought it to school. Boyd said Ahmed was then handcuffed “for his safety and for the safety of the officers” and taken to a juvenile detention center. He was later released to his parents, Boyd said.

“The follow-up investigation revealed the device apparently was a homemade experiment, and there’s no evidence to support the perception he intended to create alarm,” Boyd said, describing the incident as a “naive accident.”

Asked if the teen’s religious beliefs factored into his arrest, Boyd said the reaction “would have been the same” under any circumstances.

“We live in an age where you can’t take things like that to school,” he said. “Of course we’ve seen across our country horrific things happen, so we have to err on the side of caution.”

The chief touted the “outstanding relationship” he’s had with the Muslim community in Irving. He said he talked to members of the Muslim community this morning and plans to meet with Ahmed’s father later today.

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Good luck with that, Chief. Ahmed’s family  is already talking to lawyers about suing your department and the high school for damages. You should be ashamed.

Speaking at an afternoon news conference outside the family’s home, Ahmed’s father said he’s proud of his son and wowed by his skills.

“He fixed my phone, my car, my computer,” Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed said. “He is a very smart, brilliant kid.”

Mohamed said he’s lived in America for 30 years, but this was a new experience for him.

“That is not America,” Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed said of his son’s humiliation after being handcuffed in front of his classmates.

But Mohamed said he’s also been touched by the outpouring of support for his son.

“What is happening is touching the heart of everyone with children,” he said. “And that is America.”

Ahmed speaks at his family’s press conference.

From the sublime to the ridiculous, Irving, TX police chief tries to explain away his officers’ and MacArthur High School officials’ stupidity and racism.

The good news is that so far, Ahmed has been invited to visit the White House and to tour labs at M.I.T. and Harvard. He’s been invited to meet Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook headquarters and offered an internship at Twitter. He has been offered a scholarship to NASA’s Space Camp, and a tour of Mission Control. In Texas, he has been offered a lifetime membership in the Dallas Engineering Club and has been invited tour the telescope lab at UT Austin. There have been many more invitations and expressions of support.

Last night Ahmed was interviewed by Chris Hayes. Max Fisher wrote about the interview at Vox:

“People will always have your back”: The amazing lesson Ahmed Mohamed took from his arrest.

Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old boy who was arrested at school and accused of trying to make a bomb because he’d brought in a homemade clock, appeared on MSNBC for an interview with Chris Hayes on Wednesday night.

“I felt like I was a criminal, I felt like I was a terrorist, I felt like all the names I was called,” he said of the experience of being handcuffed, finger-printed, and interrogated by police. The treatment was not totally new: “In middle school I was called a terrorist, called a bomb-maker. Just because of my race and religion.”

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Yes. That is what this intelligent and poised young man has had to deal with in his hometown.

Even for all he went through, Ahmed seems to have come out of the experience, amazingly, more optimistic about the world. When Hayes asked him what he thought about the outpouring of support, this was his answer, and it’s really something:

I feel really well after, because before I didn’t think I was going to get any support because I’m a Muslim boy. So I thought I was just going to be another victim of injustice. But thanks to all my supporters on social media, I got this far, thanks to you guys. I see it as a way of people sending a message to the rest of the world that just because something happens to you because of who you are, no matter what you do, people will always have your back.

The lesson that “people will always have your back” no matter what you look like is perhaps not the one that I might have taken had I gone through what Ahmed did. It is truly amazing to see him come out from this so optimistic about the world, willing to see the silver lining from his experiences rather than to be embittered by the many ways he was mistreated. It’s yet another lesson we could all stand to learn from him.

The entire video of Chris Hayes’ interview with Ahmed is posted at the All In website at MSNBC.

More links to explore:

Also from Max Fisher at Vox: It’s not just Ahmed Mohamed: anti-Muslim bigotry in America is out of control.

Chris Gayomali at GQ: Ahmed Mohamed Is a Goddamn Genius.

Ken White at Popehat: Willful Paranoia: The Classic Excuse for Willful Paranoia #IStandWithAhmed.

Shaun King at DailyKos: Definitive proof that ninth-grader Ahmed Mohamed is smarter than police officers who arrested him

At CNN, a surprisingly excellent, detailed article about what happened to Ahmed: Muslim teen Ahmed Mohamed creates clock, shows teachers, gets arrested.

Amanda Taub at Vox: The message Ahmed Mohamed’s school just sent: creativity isn’t for Muslim kids.

ABC News: Texas Teen Arrested for Clock Gets Warm Welcome From Silicon Valley.

Al Arabia: #IStandWithAhmed shows America at its best, and worst.

Reactions to last night’s GOP debate

The GOP candidates, USA Today

The GOP candidates, USA Today

I thought this interview with Ronald Reagan’s sons was interesting. Although Ron Reagan is a liberal and Michael is a conservative, both men are sick and tired of Republicans who try to claim they are just like Ronald Reagan. (The interviews took place before last night’s debate.) Politico:

Ronald Reagan’s sons have one thing to say to Donald Trump: We knew Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was our father. And you’re no Ronald Reagan.

The conservative 40th president has been a touchstone in practically every presidential race since he left office, but this year, from Scott Walker’s fawning tweets to Jeb Bush’s custom T-shirt, Reagan fever seems to have reached a new high. And you can bet it will be a main feature of the debate tonight, at the Reagan Library in California.

But if you ask Reagan’s sons Ron and Michael, they’re not so keen on the comparisons. In two exclusive interviews (both published below), which span what the former president would think of the 16-strong Republican field (“I think he’d be kind of appalled”) to who’s most like Reagan (“Rick Perry. … They have the same hat size”) to what Reagan would think of Jeb Bush (“lacks charisma”), the sons of the former president both reject the idea that any Republican today really is the next Ronald Reagan. Plus, as Ron Reagan, a liberal political commentator, points out, “my father never went around comparing himself to someone else.”

Not only is the whole party “certainly getting him wrong as a Republican,” says Ron, the idea of comparing Trump to his father disgusts him. “I can’t think of two people who are more diametrically opposed. This egotistical, narcissistic guy with the weird comb over swanning in his private plane. … I mean, look in the mirror, fat boy. Look at that hair, you’re ridiculous! Where do you get off talking on anybody’s appearance? It’s just so unchivalrous. My father would recoil at that sort of thing.”

Michael Reagan, a conservative political strategist who hosted a talk radio program for 26 years, also questioned the idea that Republican candidates today are just like his father, especially Trump. “It’s interesting to see how many of them … recreate my father in their image and likeness instead of his,” he says. “Ronald Reagan would never take 11 million people or three million people or a million people and throw them out of the United States of America.” Plus, Michael says, talking about Reagan all the time is just bad strategy: “I have a 32 year-old daughter named Ashley. She knows who Ronald Reagan is, but name another 32 year old who does.”

And as for Donald Trump being the next Ronald Reagan? That’s ridiculous, says Michael. “To say what he said about Carly? … Is that the face we want for the Republican Party? If that’s the face, then the Democrats have to be going, ‘Go Donald!’”

Read the complete interviews at the Politico link above.

A few more debate reactions:

CNN: Republican debate reactions, captured in GIFs.

Chuck Todd and friends: Winners and Losers from Last Night’s Debate.

John Cassidy at The New Yorker: Carly Fiorina Tests Donald Trump’s Indestructibility.

Chicago Tribune: What happens if the new Donald Trump is just boring?

USA Today: Fact check: The second Republican debate.

That’s all I have for you today. What stories are you following?

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22 Comments on “Thursday Reads: #IStandWithAhmed”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Let me add my 2 cents (since that is all they are worth) concerning last night’d “debate”:
    These are people who want – and promise to – destroy your unions and collective bargaining, eliminate Planned Parenthood, destroy Social Security, deny climate change, push religious beliefs, appoint the same type of Justices, sacrifice regulations, and promote “war, war, war” as they answer to every global issue.

    Today we are witnessing, thanks to the press, the “rise” of Carly Fiorina. What I saw was a woman who could not control herself from constantly interrupting every speaker with her memorized “talking points” who also lowered herself to repeat the lies of those Planned Parenthood tapes as a means to attack Hillary Clinton. This is not a nice woman which I am sure will bring out those who will be only too glad to attest to that same thought now that she is “front and center” as a candidate.

    The rest, including Trump, are non factors. Should Trump slip and leaves this race the interest will diminish since he is the one who brings the laughs to a field of non entities who propose more harm to this country with their policies. Make this happen soon!

    W made is “safe”? Has anyone looked at the middle east lately? Where does most of that turmoil come from? How about our stupid invasion of Iraq covered in lies that opened the whole can of beans we enjoy today.

    Stupid people standing for 5 hours talking stupidly should make the most reasonable people sit back and consider just where the hell these fools will be taking us.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks, Pat. Good thoughts–worth much more than 2 cents.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        Hillary on at 5pm with Wolf Blitzer on CNN.

        Can’t wait to hear her impressions about the “debate”.

      • Fannie says:

        Ditto, and Wolf asked Hillary would she be a better President than her husband and President Obama…….What a idiot.

        She let him know deeply involved she has been with voters of this country, and that she is presenting her policies, compiling them after months of talking to voters, to businesses, and to the media. She is truly the first woman of her kind to do the job as president, because she is discussing the issues during her campaign. Now she is ready to move on out, and share her platform for a democratic success.

    • dakinikat says:

      She and Trump were egos out of control and on parade. They are typical CEOs. Dick swinging braggarts that lie and just try to bully whoever threatens them. The lies about that Planned Parenthood propaganda film were a good example of some one incapable of distinguishing fact from their imagination.

    • List of X says:

      Fiorina will be rising only up to the moment media really starts looking at her CEO record – the one where she laid off 30000 people at HP, where HP’s stock price went up 7% the day she was fired from HP, and where she was investigated for fraud as CEO of Lucent. She’ll be the poster girl for the “incompetent but overpaid CEO whose job can really be done by a traied monkey just as well” type. Trump with his four bankruptcies will seem like a enterprising genius compared to her.

  2. NW Luna says:

    Really good wrap-up on Ahmed and what he had to go through. So good to see the support for him.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    TPM: Mayor Of City Where Muslim Teen Was Wrongly Arrested Is Anti-Sharia Crusader.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/ahmed-mohamed-beth-van-duyne-sharia

  4. ANonOMouse says:

    Good post today BB. What has happened to Ahmed is sickening, but not surprising. During last nights debate if they said “radical Islam” once, they said it 100 times. Too many people in this country can’t mentally separate “radical Islam” from Islam, many claiming, even some of the GOP candidates, that they’re one and the same. This young man’s religion should have nothing to do with anything, but as long as this GOP keeps hyping the bogey man, it will.

    As for last nights debate, I made the mistake of joining in the “one shot” for every time Ronald Reagan is mentioned, double dog dare you. I dropped out quickly!!! Had I not I’d likely be on a slab in the morgue right now. 🙂

    Carly Fiorina!!!! There’s only one word to describe her, POSER!!!!! If she thinks she can match Hillary on any front she is delusional. NO one in the GOP can beat Hillary in a GE. If Hillary can get past “the bern”, and I believe she will, she’ll sail from there. My argument against Bernie when his supporters claim that he’s not taking donations from anyone except regular citizens and that makes him immune to influence from “the establishment” is “He is totally immersed in “the establishment”, and the biggest handout of all is coming from the DNC. If Bernie was truly an independent and totally believed that he could be elected POTUS without the help of “the establishment” , he would have run as what he is, an Independent Democratic Socialist. Should Bernie get the nomination he will forever be beholding to the DNC. The notion that Bernie Sanders is truly Independent, is lost forever”.

  5. Fannie says:

    Chile just had a big earthquake, 8.3……….

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-34275783

    I wanted to share this article which I read a couple weeks ago on the Big One. It is rather long 16 pages, but worth the read. You might want to book mark it for later. This is by Kathryn Schulz. It was frigging outstanding research.

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/20/the-really-big-one

    • roofingbird says:

      Yeah, that was good Fannie. NWLuna should read it, if she hasn’t already.

      • NW Luna says:

        Thanks; it is rather alarmist in tone, but it’s not news to me. There’s no escaping that our country ignores the risk of natural disasters and is not well prepared. Whether they be earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, or wildfires. However local NW media runs stories on new findings about earthquake science fairly often — the U of Washington, in Seattle, has excellent researchers. There are several local areas where you can see old fault lines where there’s been a sudden rift and many feet difference from one side to the other.

        But even though one of the major highways through here, the Hwy 99 viaduct, has a IIRC more than 1:20? 1:12? chance of collapsing in an earthquake it’s taken decades to get anything done about replacing it.

        We added earthquake-“proof” attachments for our house to its foundation, and have emergency supplies in the basement, and I carry extra clothes, food, water in my car’s trunk. Good to have in case of a winter snowstorm, too. And our house is not near a bluff, riverside, or on old tideflat fill that liquifies in an earthquake! But too many buildings here are.

        • roofingbird says:

          Re: the alarmism, agreed. That’s all you can do, when the world doesn’t listen-is take care of you and yours. It’s not prepper speak, just common sense. When we lived in Portland we did the same just in case that ice storm took out the power lines. Even now where I am, we do. When Hbby takes the train to SF he takes a week of his meds in his backpack, just in case. We store Pet food and water too.

          Strapping that water that water heater to the wall even if it’s electric, could save you 50 gals or whatever yours is, of water.

          • Fannie says:

            I have been recording earthquakes, 7.0 or higher, since 2004. Since 2010, we have had 9 big ones. So when I read this article, I was like WOW, didn’t know who the experts where, but in back of my mind was the “sooner or later” theme. I couldn’t put my head around the damage and lost of life, but when it hits you are right, what matters is you being prepared. I’d like to help people and would, but it makes you wonder.

            The other thing that sticks in my head, is don’t travel and go on vacation to certain areas, cities, and the coast.

            I have friends who had to evacuate the Valley Fire. Mother lost her home, where the kids were born, son lost his home, had to leave, but his house is standing. It came through so fast, many didn’t have time to sort out the important stuff. Some couldn’t take animals and pets. The drought seems to have it’s effect too.

            I’m always storing food stuff, wish my kids took it serious like me. But I have enough for them too. I also look around of generators, and the prices are pretty good, so that makes me feel good. Water is something that I keep on hand too.

            You are correct about buildings and repairing pumps, and levees, nobody is fixing them.

          • NW Luna says:

            Oh yes, we’ve strapped the water heater to the wall, that was part of the earthquake “proofing”. Not to mention reduce safety risk from hot water spilled over a room if one of us was down there when it fell. We have a rain barrel and water purification tabs. All the backpacking gear and supplies can work in the city if the power etc goes out.