I know, I know, you probably thought it stood for Portland. But, hey, there’s no shame in being a newb. Happens to us all at one time or another. In Oregon and Washington, just so you know, the P in P-town actually stands for Powell’s.
(CCL Rosa Say)
As in Powell’s Books, the Portland bookstore that covers an entire city block–from 10th to 11th, from Couch (rhymes with smooch) to Burnside–and rises four stories.
Youcef Nadarkhani with wife Fatemah Pasindedah and sons Daniel & Yoel, c. 2009
After having run through the Iranian appeals process, Youcef Nadarkhani has received a final sentence of death from the 11th Chamber of The Assize Court of the Province of Gilan, according to reports that our State Department is taking very seriously. The original execution order, handed down in September, 2010, mandated that:
. . . the above-mentioned person as an apostate will be executed by being hanged until somehow his soul is taken from him.
Though the trial court found no evidence that Nadarkhani had ever practiced Islam, he has been sentenced to death for being an apostate–that is, for renouncing Islam (can you really renounce a faith you never practiced?) and converting to Christianity.
I grew up wondering what lint had to do with church.
My sole source of information on the subject was Billy Wyatt, who always showed up late to school, and with a black smudge on his forehead, one morning a month or two after Christmas vacation. Billy seemed pretty embarrassed by the whole thing. About all we ever got out of him was that it was Ash Wednesday. And that the priest had said, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you will return.” We would keep an eye on him for a while, but when he didn’t give any evidence of disintegrating any time soon, we lost interest in Ash Wednesday.
I mean, no candy, no presents. Letting someone tell you you’re dirt. Clearly not as user-friendly a holiday as, say, Christmas.
John Adams, oil on canvas by John Trumbull, 1793 (CCL cliff1066)
“The American experiment,” wrote Charles Francis Adams (grandson of John and Abigail), ”is the most tremendous and far reaching engine of social change which has ever either blessed or cursed mankind.”
It’s sobering to note that Adams, writing in the mid-19th century, seemed to think the jury was still out on just which it was going to be: a blessing, or a curse.
Meet Dan Savage. He’s Editorial Director at the Seattle alternative weekly newspaper The Stranger, and author of The Stranger’s syndicated sex advice column, “Savage Love.” He’s also co-founder of the It Gets Better Project, a website aimed at reducing LGBT teen suicide by getting LGBT adults to post videos giving LGBT teens hope that life will get better as they get older. It Gets Better also encourages site visitors to take a pledge to speak up against hate, intolerance and bullying “whenever I see it.”
I do pledge that. And I hope you do, too.
But hold onto your hats, folks. Because this is where things start getting really ironic really fast.