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December 31, 2004

Governor Kinky?

No, not Jim McGreevey. Not Arnold, either.

Kinky Friedman is running for Governor of Texas!

Why Not Kinky? Sticker

Why? you ask. "Why the hell not?" Friedman replies, echoing the campaign slogan bannered atop his Web site.
Why the Hell Not sticker


"I'm an independent, which is the party of George Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, Sam Houston and Davy Crockett," Friedman said in a phone interview from his ranch. "Voting for a Democrat or a Republican is like choosing between paper and plastic."

In one breath, Friedman sounds every bit as earnest as Jesse Ventura, the ex-wrestler who was elected governor of Minnesota as a Reform Party candidate in 1998, or Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Republican actor who became California's governor in a free-for-all recall election last year.

Well, not quite true. TR was a Republican, and I believe Crockett and Houston were Democrats, though I could be mistaken.

Jewish Cowboy sticker Blue

Friedman says he is for legalizing casino gambling in Texas to help fund public education. He wants a thorough review of the death penalty to make sure innocent inmates aren't being put to death.

He would ban the declawing of cats on grounds that it's inhumane, and end political correctness on grounds that it has wrought an era of "wussification" in Texas. He blames big money for corrupting politics and will try to limit his own spending campaign spending.

"Last time (in the 2002 governor's race), Rick Perry and Tony Sanchez ended up spending $100 million trying to help us decide who we hated the least," Friedman said, referring to the Republican who won and the Democratic who didn't.

In the next breath, the one-time front man for the Texas Jewboys who penned such cult country classics as Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed and They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore sounds like he is riffing between sets at the Broken Spoke saloon in Austin.

Asked about the line in his January 2005 column in Texas Monthly where he suggests that as governor he might invade Oklahoma, Friedman offered a deadpan reply that gave no hint of whether he really would order troops across the Red River.

"I hope it doesn't come to that," he said. "I hope that a war with Oklahoma can be avoided."

He Aint Kinky Sticker


Mainstream party operatives are keeping a watchful eye on Friedman's boomlet, not wanting to fire back at his barbs for fear of being seen as mean-spirited or humorless, and not wanting to alienate a potential constituency in the event that the singer bows out.

"Gov, Perry believes that the political arena should be open to all comers and all ideas," said Robert Black, a press aide to the Republican incumbent who plans to seek re-election.

Kelly Fero, a Democrat, said a Friedman candidacy would energize the race and become a net plus for his side, regardless who the party nominates.

"The Kinkster will be just one more candidate beating up on Rick Perry, or whoever the Republicans vote for in '06," said Fero, pointing out that U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and state Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn are considering challenging Perry in the GOP primary.

Friedman, a University of Texas at Austin graduate who was born in Chicago, dismissed both observations as self-serving pabulum from the political pros.

"The professionals gave us the Titanic, amateurs gave us the Ark," he said. "Career politicians are ribbon cutters. They see the governor's office as a job. I see it as an opportunity to make that Lone Star shine again."

Given what we're facing in 2006, a Kinky candidacy may be very attractive to a lot of voters. Whoever emerges from the GOP primary will be pretty chewed up, while the Democrats have no one other than Sanchez who has publicly expressed interest in being the 2006 sacrificial lamb. If Kinky Friedman can offer a coherent platform that resonates with Texas voters, he could emerge as the winner.






|| Greg, 06:21 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Serious Discrepancies In King County Vote

Gee -- why isn't Jesse Jackson protesting THIS election fraud?
The day after King County released a list of nearly 900,000 voters who cast ballots Nov. 2, Republicans prodded election officials to explain why the list appeared to have about 3,500 fewer names than the number of votes that were actually tallied.

In a response that all but said, "Settle down!" county officials stressed the list was preliminary, noting that records of voters who cast certain write-in ballots and people who wanted their addresses kept confidential still had to be reconciled with election data.

More votes than voters? Sounds like fraud to me. And that King County response sounds like an attempt to stall for time to fabricate records.

And what is this "wanted their addresses kept confidential" garbage? That thwarts teh ability of the public to verify that all voters are legal voters.

No wonder Rossi won't concede -- the only rational view of this election is that he won and the pro-Gregoire forces in King County stole it.





|| Greg, 06:14 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 30, 2004

Why Couples Don't Adopt American Children

My wife and I want to adopt, her health permitting. But stories like this make us think twice, since we lack the means to do a foreign adoption.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- For almost four years, Dawn and Gene Scott have doted over their boy Evan, treating him like a little prince, indulging his love of Hot Wheels and ham sandwiches.

But because their adoption was never finalized, a judge says the Scotts have to return Evan to his biological mother, whom he has never lived with, in a child-custody case involving three families and nine judges.

If that was all I knew, I would be appalled. But it gets worse.

The Scotts are devastated at the strange turn of events tearing their son from their arms.

About four years ago, the Scotts met Amanda Hopkins, an unwed mother, who agreed to a private adoption during the final weeks of her pregnancy.

The Scotts watched Evan's birth, on May 5, 2001.

"We thought he was such a blessing," she said. "His name, Evan, means gift from God and young warrior."

Evan was placed with the Scotts two days later and an adoption petition was filed two days after that.

The petition stated the Scotts had consent of the baby's biological mother. The consent of the child's father, Steven White Jr., was not needed, the petition said, because he had not established his paternity through a court proceeding, had not acknowledged he was the child's' father and had not filed an acknowledgment with the Office of Vital Statistics. In addition, he had not provided any support to the mother or the child.

Hopkins and White never married, and she did not learn she was pregnant until she sought medical treatment for injuries suffered when she was assaulted by White in the residence they once shared, court documents show.

The adoption was supposed to become final on Aug. 22, 2001.

But just a month before that, White filed a motion demanding immediate custody of Evan.

The Scotts claimed White should not be able to block the adoption, but a judge disagreed.

Hopkins supported the Scotts' adoption of Evan as late as August, until it appeared the court might grant White custody.

Pniewski said she doesn't know why Hopkins, who is now married to a sailor in Illinois and has a 19-month-old baby, now wants to scuttle the adoption by the Scotts.

So an abusive uninvolved sperm-donor wants custody. Should be simple as all get out -- NO! You waited too long under the law and you are not a fit parent.

And then, when the courts start making moves to grant him custody, the mother who gave up the child and supported the adoption decides to play "screw daddy" and demands custody.

And in the mean time, the only parents this child have ever known are left out in the cold, despite the clear fact that allowing the adoption to proceed is the only option that is in the best interests of the child.

Debbie Grabarkiewicz, director of case advocacy for Hear My Voice, a child advocacy organization, said that outside of the Scotts, no one in the case has considered what is in the best interest of Evan, which she says is to remain with the Scotts.

"The system failed Evan in this one," she said. "He is bonded to that family."

Hopefully the appeals court will get this one right. And then the legislatures can fix adoption law in this country to prevent such travesties in the future.





|| Greg, 08:28 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

All He Lacks Is Evidence

Why didn't Jesse Jackson just slink off into a dark corner after he fathered his illegitimate child and funded the secrecy with charitible donations? Why does he have any remaining credibility?
Q: If the election were held again with these alleged problems solved, would Kerry win?

A: Of course I think that. If we deal with the anomalies, a fair random count, the urban-suppressed vote, Kerry would get at least 60,000 more votes. At least! I believe that. I don’t know that.

In other words, based upon your unsubstantiated belief we are supposed to overturn the results of an election?

Sit down. Shut up. Your 15 minutes were over long ago.

But then again, what do you expect of a man whose whole career is based upon his lie about the dying martin luther King and blood he wiped off the handrail after the assassination?





|| Greg, 08:15 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Labour Repression Of Political Opponents?

A reporter dares to ask the right questions of the Blair government about its crackdown on so-called "hate speech" by its opponents. And while I realize that the British National party is not the nicest bunch in UK politics, I think this is rather important
In the middle of December last year [n.b -- 2004], five police officers turned up at the Welsh home of Nick Griffin, leader of the British National party, and arrested him on suspicion of inciting racial hatred.

Griffin was driven to Halifax police station and forced to watch three hours’ worth of his own speeches, which the police had surreptitiously recorded. He was then released without charge, bailed and told to reappear on 2 March this year [n.b. -- 2005] precisely at the time campaigning is expected to begin for the next general election. Mr Griffin is standing against David Blunkett, in Sheffield Brightside.

Interestingly enough, though, the police were unable to point to a single statemnt that, by itself consitituted an offense -- they instead stated that it was the "totality" of the speeches that constituted hate speech. A police team had spent "five days a week, ten hours per day" investigating this offense that consisted of speech only, to the exclusion of investigation of actual crimes like robbery or assaults.

Spectator reporter Rod Liddle got interested in the case because he had been looking into new laws proposed to prohibit "incitement of religious hatred," a crime that was apparantly intended to protect Muslims from being made uncomfortable by criticism of Islam. He asked the British Home Office for clarification on what sort of speech would be offended.

I tried to find out from the Home Office what would constitute an offence under the new Act and nobody could tell me: they haven’t got a clue. I asked loads of times. And then, on 8 December, a Home Office press officer said to me the following:

‘It’s all about context. If you wrote something in your column about Islam, the Crown Prosecution Service might not be interested, but if the same thing was said by Nick Griffin in a pub in Bradford, they might well be.’

Four days latter, Griffin was arrested -- for speeches in pubs criticizing Islam. A coincidence? Yes, according to Home Office spokespeople. But not according to West Yorkshire police.

That’s not quite what West Yorkshire police say officially, however. In a written statement to me (their press officers are incapable of speech, I think) they said the following: ‘West Yorkshire police has worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service throughout this inquiry. The Home Office has had no part in the direction and control of this inquiry, which is the responsibility of the chief constable. However, both Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Home Office officials have been kept apprised of the progress of the inquiry.’

This is, to my mind, a direct contradiction of what the Home Office told me. What do you think?

Now nobody wants to comment publicly on this investigation. Official police sources are silent. The magistrate who signed the warrant, Valerie Parnham, won't speak at all.

Then a timorous Mrs Parnham came on the telephone. ‘I can’t say anything about this. I could get into trouble.’

Well, I just wanted to know if you were happy to sign the arrest warrant, I said, as plaintively as possible.

‘(Long pause) I can’t say anything about this. I’m sorry.’

Why the reticence in the face of an arrest of a criminal? Or is it that everyone knows that Griffin has committed no crime, and theat this is simply a political persecution in the run-up to an election in which Blair needs to hold onto Labour's overwhelming share of the British Muslim vote?

nd there is the larger question.

And there is the broader, more general philosophical point: as an indirect result of the War on Terror, our freedom to say what we believe is being swiftly eroded. It’s not just the Muslims who want people silenced or banged up: the Sikhs have been getting in on the act too, forcing a play which was critical of their religion to close. On the day it closed the Sikhs got support from a particularly fatuous spokesman for the Archbishop of Birmingham. He said that people should be free to criticise religion if they did so ‘responsibly’. What a pompous ass. Surely it would be better if God, rather than the West Yorkshire police or the Sikhs or Muslim community leaders, decided what constituted responsible criticism — and delivered His terrible judgment in that black nanosecond after we have drawn our terminal breath. Otherwise the law courts are going to be full for a while to come.

More to the point -- is it the death of free speech in Great Britain?





|| Greg, 01:29 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Go Look At the Picture

Look at the guy in the background, and the lovely shirt he's wearing.

But we'll help these people anyway. One more way the US is morally superior to the scum we fight.





|| Greg, 01:17 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Fighting The Excesses Of "Diversity"

The concept of "diversity" is usually used by liberal "progressives" to promote their agenda, not the acceptance of all people and all viewpoints.
A pink triangle would be accepted in most Anoka-Hennepin classrooms. A cross simply would not - separation of church and state, of course.

Not allowing one over the other is prejudicial and attempts to apply labels to groups of people, such as “homophobes,” “right-wing Christians” – essentially what Brian Tommerdahl likes to call “diversity double-speak.”

Tommerdahl, a member of Anoka-Hennepin’s Diversity Committee and a self-proclaimed proponent of what he refers to as “intellectual diversity” or “natural diversity,” has been waging a six- to eight-year struggle to get educators in Anoka-Hennepin to take a different look at the way they approach the subject.

“This is the problem I have with diversity,” he said. “What road are we going to take? Should we not be promoting tolerance for all perspectives?”

If such diversity training were really about respect for diversity, the answer would obviously be a resounding "YES!" But that isn't the goal, as witnessed by the actions of this school district -- actions that are repeated throughout the nation on a daily basis. It's goal is to label some as privileged, and therefore to be despised and reviled, while the non-privileged are to be exalted and promoted.

One of the most troubling developments in Anoka-Hennepin, according to Tommerdahl, is the proposal espoused in last week’s diversity series story by Eric Moore, director of diversity and student services in District 11, to form a hate speech committee to determine what should be considered hate speech and what should not.

“Who’s going to interpret things as hate speech?” he asked. “Who is going to determine that?”

A case in point to which Tommerdahl points is when he held up a decal at a diversity forum that read, “Defend Marriage,” and the pictorial of man and a woman only as married.

“I held it up, and I was basically attacked,” Tommerdahl said.

Almost everyone at the forum agreed that it was a form of hate speech, but when Tommerdahl cited instances of posters being placed at Blaine High School, reading, “Stop Homophobia – End Hate,” Moore denied that the posters even existed, according to Tommerdahl.

Through a series of digital photographs, Tommerdahl proved that the posters existed at Blaine High School, he said.

At another staff development forum, Tommerdahl said he was told by those attending, “your religion promotes hate.”

Tommerdahl openly questions how discrimination based on someone’s religion can be tolerated in the Anoka-Hennepin School District.

He said a multi-perspective is needed in discussing the issue of marriage, both in terms of a legal contract and as the union between a man and a woman under the eyes of God.

Separation of church, Tommerdahl said, has nothing to do with the topic if both perspectives are given and if the subject is brought up in the context of a political or moral discussion.

One view is therefore to be presented as acceptable, while genuinely diverse views are to be presented as hateful and not open for discussion. Schools therefore seek to actively undermine the teaching authority of the families and religions of district students. The district even went so far as bringing in a speaker to directly attack Judaism and Christianity. Only that viewpoint was permitted at the function -- those with other beliefs were not even permitted to distribute literature, much less present a dissenting point of view.

Yet, Tommerdahl remains deeply troubled that, from his vantage point, Anoka-Hennepin explores diversity from only one perspective and even goes as far to invite guest speakers to staff development workshops espousing the belief that Christianity is oppressing people who don’t agree with it.

At a recent staff development workshop, for example, he said representatives of Outfront Minnesota and District 202 were allowed to distribute literature about their resources, but local pastors were not allowed to distribute literature from such groups as Exodus International and Eagles Wings.

Christine Sleeter, a pro-diversity advocate in favor of labeling people and not finding the commonality in all people, according to Tommerdahl, was allowed to speak but there were no representatives from divergent viewpoints.

“We must diminish the American-Christian Judeo thinking and dominance and progress toward a view promoting and supporting a world community,” Sleeter was quoted as saying, according to Tommerdahl. “Children can be our advocates.”

In other words, the school seeks to turn students into little activists -- not educate kids.

That's one more reason that I'm glad that I don't teach in one of these socialist hellholes. If a speaker like the one above showed up at our staff development, at least half of my fellow faculty members would walk out, and the administrator responsible for the booking would be disciplined, if not fired.

Parents -- keep an eye on what goes on at your local schools, especially when it comes to promoting "diversity." That may mean acceptance for everyone but you.





|| Greg, 11:35 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

What Sort Of Scum Do This?

This local story caught my eye. Thieves have stolen toys donated for needy kids.
A Grinch has already stolen next Christmas.

Police said thieves broke into an Alvin mini-storage unit and made away with about $10,000 worth of toys — about 400 already-wrapped presents — that a Manvel-based charity was saving to distribute to poor families next Christmas.

Project Love — Santa's Angels is a local group that provides Christmas for kids. They had received generous donations this year, and had saved some of the excess to get started on next year's effort.

I realize many of you are much more concerned about the earthquake and tsunami, and rightly so. But if you feel moved by this story, you can visit this group's website at this link.





|| Greg, 11:20 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Cause Of Gray Hair?

As I've been graying (and balding) over the last several years, I've often wondered why hair color changes.


Scientists looking for a cure for skin cancer have stumbled on something else: the reason why hair turns gray.

It turns out that one of the most common signs of aging occurs because of the death of stem cells that spawn the pigment-manufacturing cells called melanocytes, the scientists said. As the supply of new pigment is cut off, hair turns gray.

And here I thought the cause might be teenagers -- in particular those in my last class of the day.





|| Greg, 11:11 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 29, 2004

A Situation I Encounter All Too Often

As a high school teacher (10th grade World History),I see too many babies having babies. And I've seen too many of these little girls who are married or who get married.
In its most forgiving outline, the love story of Liset and James Landeros has the ring of a fairy tale.

Liset and James fell in love. They defied their parents - and the law - to follow their hearts. And after many struggles and trials, they finally married.

But one harsh detail - their ages - belies this romantic formula. A slight, quiet girl with coffee-colored eyes, Liset was only 12 when she began dating James, four years her senior. At 13 she was pregnant and miscarried her first baby. At age 14 she married James to keep him out of jail; the state of Texas was threatening to charge him with the statutory rape of a minor.

Frankly, the law needs to be changed to allow for the charges to be filed regardless of whether or not the couple later marries. And at least this couple sort of tried to do the right thing.

I mean, its amazing. I've seen too many girls with boyfriends in their twenties. Last year I even had a 16-year-old girl who wasn't sure if the father of her unborn child was her 21-year-old boyfriend, the married 26-year-old in the apartment next door, or the 31-year-old married guy upstairs. Mama's response? "It doesn't matter. It will just be wonderful to have another baby in the house, now that your little brother is in pre-school!"

There is a common thread that flows through most of the cases like this that I see. The story notes this same factor.

Immigration from developing countries where the practice is the norm, particularly Latin America, may be boosting the number of underage wives in the United States.

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, young girls of Latino descent are bucking a historic national downward trend in teen pregnancy.

One study released in March by the Mid-America Institute on Poverty in Illinois shows that the birthrate for Latinas age 10 to 19 in that state actually grew by 18 percent in the past decade, while birthrates for all other ethnic groups declined.

"We get a steady influx of people from Mexico, and they bring certain traditions with them," says Maria Socorro Pesqueira, the executive director of Latina Women in Action, an outreach organization in Chicago. "There are quinceanera (coming-of-age) parties for 15-year-old girls that send the signal: Hey, you're a lady now and ready to move on in life."

Does a commitment to "cultural diversity" mean we have to accept such an attitude?





|| Greg, 05:23 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Reflection On The Indian Ocean Catastrophe

I’ve spent the last few days watching with horror the developments following the Indian Ocean earthquake and resulting tsunamis. Reports now put the dead at over 100,000, and I personally expect that number to double, or even triple, by the time the injured die and those effected by disease and the deprivation of food, clean water, medication, and shelter are factored in. I cannot comprehend such loss of life, and have been searching for an answer to the question, “Why?”

I don’t have one.

That’s not to say I have none. Rather, I have several.

I could accept the notion that many have proposed, namely that God made it happen. There are certainly biblical precedents for such events, most notably the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, or Noah and the ark. Yet God promised never to turn loose a flood of such destructive power again, and surely the many nations touched by this tragedy had at least five good and holy people. Is God really the vengeful deity from “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” dangling us over the flames of Hell and waiting for us to fall if we do not repent our sins? This simply does not mesh with the understanding I have of God.

And yet I cannot accept the other side of that coin, either. I do not believe that some malign power, call him Satan if you will, did this either. For even if one accepts the notion that Satan has controlled the world since the Fall of Adam, there is randomness to this event that strikes me as unexplained. Why these people? Why this place? Why now? Satan is a tempter. Where is the temptation in this?

What of the naturalist theory, which denies a role for God in this event (or even his existence)? That is certainly easier, in that the forces at play here are impersonal. Unfortunately, that leaves us with nothing, a cosmic “Sh*t happens.” Is life just random chance? Are all our choices meaningless? That seems to contradict the knowledge of the divine that we have within our hearts.

For better or for worse, I am thrown back to a dichotomy I first heard many years ago. It explains to me how bad things can happen if God is a good God who loves us. It also helps deal with the issue raised by death – especially massive death on an unfathomable scale – without labeling God a murderer. It is the distinction between God’s sovereign will and God’s permissive will.

The idea here is that God actively ordains relatively little in this world. He instead permits the consequences of human choice – dating all the way back to Adam’s Fall – to play out. Mankind broke Creation, and continues to deform it, with every sinful act of disobedience to God and his law. In the first act of disobedience, mankind turned a peaceful order in which there was no pain and death into one in which those physical evils are reality. In an unbroken world, there would be no earthquakes, no tsunamis, and no death, disease, or hunger.

God could choose to stop all death, all tragedy, but he does not. He hopes that our choices and actions will draw us closer to him, but his gift of Free Will means that this is not always the case. Rather than preventing the earthquake and the wave, God permits us to respond to it in ways that may draw us to him or draw us away.

We can therefore align ourselves with God’s will in response to his call to act in a compassionate manner when confronted with suffering and misery, or we can reject that calling. We can, in our personal capacity, offer help to our brothers and sisters in response to that divine call, or we can sit back and let government do it for us, showing that our spoken faith has no works to back it up.

And those who died? What of them? I believe it was the German theologian Karl Rahner who proposed that in the instant of death God supernaturally allows us to be aware of the Gospel message one final time and offer our assent or rejection. I hope that is so, and that many of those who died knew or accepted Christ in those last moments of their lives. And I pray that this tragic event may become a means by which God’s love is communicated to many more throughout the world.

Places To Donate:
WorldVision
Lutheran World Relief
Baptist World Aid
Catholic Relief Services
Church World Service
Christian Reformed World Relief Committee
United Methodist Committee On Relief

Salvation Army
Operation Blessing
American Red Cross





|| Greg, 03:23 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Quote Of The Day

So why the attack on religion [by the Left]? Read the Declaration of Independence. You'll read phrases such as: "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights," "Laws of Nature and Nature's God," and "appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world." The vision held by the framers is that our rights come not from government but from a "Creator" or "the laws of nature and of nature's God." That means the purpose and power of government is rightfully limited to protecting our natural God-given rights.

The idea that government doesn't grant rights is offensive to those who wish to control our lives. Therefore, to gain greater control, the idea of natural rights, God-given rights and Christian values must be suppressed. The idea that rights precede government was John Locke's natural law philosophy, which had a significant influence on our nation's founders, but they chose to refer to natural law as rights endowed by the Creator.

Walter Williams, "Attacking Western Values"





|| Greg, 10:52 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Moron Alert!

Floyd Elliot glaimed to be the victim of a hate crime.
Floyd Elliot, 22, told police two subjects attacked him in a parking lot and tried to burn the word "FAG" into his chest and carve the same thing on his forehead.

Police initially investigated the incident as a hate crime but thought it seemed suspicious because the carving on his forehead was backwards, according to reports.

Yeah, unless he was attacked by dislexic gay-bashers, the letters "GAF" in his forehead were a dead giveaway.

By the way, note this little gem at the end of the article, which seems to contradict feminist dogma on sexual assault charges.

Detective George Parks with the Independence Police Department said officers occasionally get calls from victims who falsify reports.

"Usually when this does occur usually it's a female victim reporting a rape," Parks said.

Really?





|| Greg, 10:32 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

India Rejects All Disaster Aid

America has offered $35 million in government aid, the EU $4.6 million, Isrrael has offered much in-kind and financial assistance and France has pledged $136,000. Other nations have promised help, and private organizations have swung into action, all in support of the relief effort in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami which has decimated Asia. One nation, though, claims it has the resources to deal with the crisis.
However, India has turned down all foreign aid because that nation claims it has "adequate resources" to provide relief, a government official said Wednesday.

India has been flooded with "generous offers of aid" from countries like Russia, the United States and Japan, a government official told the Agence France-Presse news service.

"In fact, all friendly nations have offered help, but we feel we do have the resources to handle the situation. If, at a later stage, we feel we need assistance, we will not hesitate to ask," said the source.

I find this interesting. How can a country that lacks the means to deal with its own crushing poverty be able to cope with a disaster like this?





|| Greg, 10:15 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

It's a Great Job -- If You Can Get It


It's good to be the king!
A Moroccan magazine has taken the unprecedented step of publishing details of King Mohammed VI's salary.

The French-language magazine Tel Quel says the monarch earns less than a typical company director in the developed world, under $45,000 a month. The annual expenses of the royal court are said to be around $250m.

King Mohammed is noted for his attempts to modernize the country and his work to alleviate poverty in his nation have earned him the title of "guardian of the poor."





|| Greg, 10:08 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Israel Offers Tsunami Aid -- Sri Lanka Says No

If you can pick and choose the donors, do you really deserve the help at all?
Israel has cancelled plans to send a 150-person rescue mission to Sri Lanka after the devastated island objected to the military composition of the team.

The delegation - including 60 soldiers - had been due to set off on Tuesday to help after Sunday's tsunami disaster.

Instead, a smaller team will escort a convoy carrying emergency supplies, Israeli officials said.

Apparently the Sri Lankan military had an objection, despite the fact that the Israeli team was coming to set up mobile hospital facilities, including pediatric and internal medicine facilities.

But that hasn't stopped other Israeli generosity.

Humanitarian organisation Latet sent a jumbo jet carrying 18 metric tons of supplies to Colombo, medical teams have been dispatched to Thailand and help offered to India, Haaretz reported.

A rescue-and-recovery team from the Jewish ultra-Orthodox organisation Zaka left for the region on Monday with equipment used for identifying bodies, as well as body bags.

Israel's foreign ministry has set up a situation room for relatives to track down hundreds of Israelis on holiday in the tsunami zone, who have not yet made contact.

And the world's Arab and Muslim nations have done what, precisely?





|| Greg, 09:47 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Operation Anti-Stupid

Authorities in the Houston area will be trying to put a stop to the old custom of firing guns to celebrate the New Year. Some folks just point the barrel up and pull the trigger.
"Those lost bullets, stray bullets, can kill," said Houston police officer Joe Pennington. "One of the things the holidays does is bring out the best and the worst in folks — and one of the worst things we see is celebratory discharging of firearms."

Such gunfire has no target, but is usually aimed up in the sky — posing a significant danger to bystanders.

What goes up must come down, sometimes leading to tragic results, authorities say.

On New Year's Day 1997, a Harris County man who had fired celebratory shots at a backyard tree went inside his home to examine his gun when the weapon jammed. The gun discharged accidentally, killing his 7-year-old daughter. A grand jury declined to indict him.

That same night, a man was killed by a stray bullet from celebratory gunfire. The shooter also wasn't indicted.

In 1999, a stray bullet struck a pregnant woman in her shoulder as she watched fireworks north of downtown Houston. She survived.

Even if no one is hurt, you can still get a year in jail for the Class A misdemeanor.

So just don't do it.

Don't be stupid, dude.





|| Greg, 01:18 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 28, 2004

Did I Miss The Repeal Of The First Amendment, Part II

The mayor of Atlanta is threatening a private country club with a $90,000 fine for refusing to grant the partners of gay members "family" status for membership purposes. The conflict betwee Mayor Shirley Franklin and the Druid Hills Golf Club is shapingup to be a serious legal battle.
"Atlanta has a very proud history of promoting and celebrating diversity," [Mayor Franklin] wrote in a Dec. 22 letter to club President Kent Smith. "Given the club's failure to address the issues internally, I am compelled to act."

Franklin said she is ordering the city solicitor to fine the club for up to 180 days — a maximum fine of $90,000 — unless it changes its benefits policy. Franklin did not specify in her letter when the fines would begin. She was out of town and could not be reached for comment Monday.

In a statement e-mailed to the golf club's 1,100 members, the Druid Hills board of directors said it will fight the fine.

"We continue to believe there is a legitimate and legally recognized distinction between 'spouse' and 'domestic partner' and our policies are non-discriminatory," the board wrote. "Equally important is our belief that the city ordinances that attempt to dictate the club's membership policies are invalid. Further, in our opinion the mayor has no jurisdiction to impose this fine."

The mayor's action seems to have been prompted by the urging of two politically connected gay members. Mayor Franklin, first elected in 2001 with strong support from the gay community, vowed to enforce and strengthen the city ordinance.

What I find interesting, though, is that a city which claims to be proud of its history of promoting and celebrating diversity is attempting to squelch the free association rights of a group which chooses to act diveresely. Once again we see that the liberal definition of "diversity" is everyone acting identically under threat of government sanctions.





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Did I Miss The Repeal Of The First Amendment, Part I

Students at Arizona State University are fighting for recognition as a campus organization. They are seeking to form a chapter of the Christian Legal Society, which is a conservative Christina group that "interprets its statement of faith to require that officers adhere to orthodox Christian beliefs, including the Bible's prohibition of sexual contact between persons of the same sex."
"A person who engages in homosexual conduct or adheres to the viewpoint that homosexual conduct is not sinful would not be permitted to become a member or serve as an officer" of the group at Arizona State, the suit adds.

It goes on to say that a person who has engaged in homosexual acts but has "repented" or people who may have homosexual inclinations but do not act on those inclinations would be eligible for membership

Seems pretty simple to me. The group is founded for a specific purpose, with members voluntarily associating around a certain set of religious principles. Those who cannot or will not abide by those principles are not eligible for membership -- or leadership roles. This public university has no business attempting to make the group act otherwise.





|| Greg, 07:14 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Did The Earth Move?

Yes, apparantly it did -- if you live in Sumatra.
The magnitude 9.0 earthquake off Indonesia moved the island of Sumatra about 100 feet to the southwest, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

The earthquake occurred off Sumatra's northwestern tip in an active geological region and ruptured an estimated 600-mile-long stretch of the Earth beneath the Indian Ocean.

Wow!





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Gotta Love The Bigotry!

I won't even respond to the point Campos is trying to make -- the much more important issue is the extreme bigotry that he shows and the fact that his editors considered it acceptable for their newspaper.
What's the Matter With Kansas? tackles a related issue: How the Republican Party manages to hold together a coalition made up of, to put it as tactfully as possible, snake-handling fundie freaks and those who accept Milton Friedman as their personal lord and savior.
I'm curious -- would a description of the Democrat Party as a coalition made up of "d*ck-sucking homos and those whose living comes from sucking at the government teat" ever make it into the newspaper? If not, why not? And if not, why was Campos' equally offensive turn of phrase allowed?

Let's find out.
Editor -- John Temple
Editorial Page Editor -- Vincent Carroll


Letters to the Editor -- letters@RockyMountainNews.com

By the way, please note the sig-line at the bottom of the column.

Paul Campos is a professor of law at the University of Colorado. He can be reached at paul.campos@colorado.edu.

I wonder what folks at the taxpayer-funded University of Colorado have to say about such bigotry, especially since he is using his taxpayer-funded university email address as part of his propagation of bigotry? Care to find out?

Richard L. Byyny, M.D., Chancellor of the University of Colorado
David Getches, Dean of the University of Colorado School of Law

Regents of the University of Colorado:

Mr. Jerry G. Rutledge, Chair

Ms. Gail Schwartz, Vice Chair
Dr. Peter Steinhauer (D.D.S.)
Ms. Cindy Carlisle
Ms. Patricia Hayes
Ms. Susan C. Kirk
Mr. Tom Lucero
Mr. Jim Martin
Mr. Paul Schauer
Milagros "Millie" Cortez, Secretary of the University and of the Board of Regents






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December 27, 2004

Sex And Drug Offenders Are Nurses

Whenever I apply for a teaching job, there are background checks and a host of other investigations that must be run before I can be hired -- and I am required to pay for them by some districts. That's why this news story angers me so deeply.
Scores of licensed nurses in Texas are convicted drug and sex offenders, and some of them are working in violation of state law, a newspaper investigation has found.

An analysis by The Dallas Morning News found that 57 licensed Texas nurses are felony sex offenders, including 31 who are listed in the state sex-offender registry. About 140 nurses have felony drug records, and about half of them hold current nursing licenses.

This particular case is particularly offensive to me.

In one case, teacher Shellie Jorden was sentenced to five years deferred adjudication for fondling one of his fifth-graders in San Antonio. Authorities recommended he no longer teach kids, and the state revoked his teaching license.

But no one restricted the vocational nursing license he also held. Jorden, registered as a sex offender, successfully completed his community supervision and returned to nursing.

Now, at the community health clinic where he works, Jorden spends about half his time working with young children seeking immunizations. He said he understands concern about whether he should be working as a nurse.

"I can see your point," he said.

But, he added, "all it was, was an allegation." He said he pleaded guilty because "that was the best thing for me at the time. It's not actually that I'd done anything or harmed a child."

Why aren't these folks being checked? The answer is MONEY. The legislature won't appropriate enough money to immediately run background checks on all nurses, and doing them as licenses come up for renewal will take a decade. In the mean time, these cases are a tragedy waiting to happen -- especially because courts are not required to notify the state that the holder of a nursing license has been convicted of a drug or sex crime, which is required when someone with a teaching certificate is convicted. That one common sense change needs to happen as soon as the legislature comes into session in January.





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December 26, 2004

The Problem With Taxes -- Unintended Consequences

I've always loved folks who propose new taxes and assume that their proposal will make no difference when applied. The Las Vegas Review-Journal gives an example of just such a case in Nevada.
State Senate Minority Leader Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, Sen. Randolph Townsend, R-Reno, and Sen. Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, now want to repeal all or most of a live entertainment tax adopted during the rush to cobble together the state's biggest tax hike, back in 2003.

The tax was intended to grab $57 million a year from strip-tease joints, but has instead driven small-time local musical groups out of business while netting the state only a paltry $8.7 million per year.

What happened? Why was there a problem?

It's the darnedest thing. Turns out lawyers have trouble coming up with a way to differentiate between "wholesome small-time family entertainment" and topless dancers that will pass some tedious constitutional test that still says all taxes are supposed to be, you know ... evenly applied.

"It has become a bookkeeping nightmare. ... We created something so complicated that you can't figure out who has to pay," Ms. Titus now admits. "We didn't want to get hula dancers and piano players."

Please note, in passing, the verb of choice. "Get."

But rather than figuring out what their new law really said and meant before enacting it, the Carson City sausagemakers simply left it to the bureaucrats of the state Tax Commission to figure out what the heck they'd voted for.

And even after mariachi bands and piano players and hula girls were (apparently, supposedly) exempted, restaurants have been reluctant to take a chance on engaging them and possibly owing the tax, explains Daniel Dew.

The piece goes on to point out that this is exactly what is predicted by Von Mises' Law -- one government intervention in the market must lead to another and another -- as the Nevada legislature sets out to fix the problem that it created in the first place by imposing the tax.





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December 25, 2004

And So It Is Written...

Luke 2:1-20 (NKJV)

1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.
2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.
3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
10 Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us."
16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.
18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Used by permission.
All rights reserved.





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December 24, 2004

Houston's White Christmas!

The Loyal Opposition and I saw a couple of stray flakes this afternoon while doing some last minute Christmas shopping. A couple of hours latter, when we walked out the front door for church, we saw snow -- honest-to-God snow -- which even blew across the road as we drove the couple of miles for the Christmas Eve service.

It seems to be area-wide!

While folks from New England would scoff, Houstonians were delighted this morning with light snow flurries falling from gray, cold skies on Christmas Eve. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm travel warning for much of Southeast Texas through 7 a.m. Saturday.
It has been 15 years since anything like this has happened in this part of Texas -- five years before this kid was born.

What's more, the local forecasters are predicting up to three inches, not the little amount the Chronicle is suggesting.





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No-Choice Leftists Seek To Block Homeland Security Major At College

The Borough of Manhattan Community College is planning to create a program in 'security management," providing one more academic opportunity for students, and enhancing homeland security by providing trained professionals in the security field.

And the leftists are having none of it, demanding that the school drop the plan.


The president of the student government at BMCC, Jason Negron, said the proposal is "a very scary issue that students are very, very against."

He said if the program were to be instituted, students would be exposed to "a lot of right-wing views" and about "a lot of things that other countries have done to America without giving the other side of the story." He said it was the "progressive" faculty members who voiced opposition to the proposal at Wednesday's meeting

In other words, Jason and a bunch of leftist profs object to the possibility that their monopoly on the propagation of political views might be broken. They are concerned that some students might actually hear a viewpoint other than theirs. They would prefer that the country be more vulnerable to terrorism and that local residents lack skills to compete in the job market -- all so they can continue to spew anti-Americanism.

Ms. [Elinor] Garely (the program's designer) said the objective of the program is not to promote the Department of Homeland Security but to train students in skills that are in high demand in the workplace.

"The need for safety-and-security education is part of every industry," she said.

"Whether you look at cruise ships, shopping malls, corporate headquarters, every bank, they all have security," she said.

Ms. Garely said the program is geared toward students who want entry-level security positions and to security employees who are seeking promotion. She said the 30-credit program could be transferred to four year degree programs offered at such schools as the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, also part of the CUNY system.

According to her proposal, about half of the students at BMCC are employed, with an average income less than $15,000.

Ms. Garely said she was taken aback by the angry reaction to the proposal from faculty members, whom she encouraged to read the proposal.

"I think that the discussion and viewpoints are what an academic process is about," she said. "That's why we have colleges, so people can speak out."

Actually, that isn't why we have colleges, Ms. Garely. We have colleges so that people can learn, and acquire the skills and knowledge they need to be productive contributors to our society. Sounds to me like your school has lost sight of that mission.





|| Greg, 10:52 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Sadly, The School Board Is Right

I hate agreeing with the School Board in this case, but they made the right choice. Robert Ziegler may be a great guy with a heart of gold and a soul as pure as the new-fallen snow, but his actions cross several lines. His job was to teach, not to preach, and if he cannot conduct himself in an appropriate manner he dose not belong in a public school classroom.
The Papillion-La Vista school board voted 6-0 to terminate the math teacher's contract on grounds of insubordination and unprofessional conduct.

Board President Valerie Fisher said the evidence was clear.

Rick Black, an assistant superintendent for the Papillion-La Vista schools, and two other administrators said Ziegler repeatedly had talked about his personal religious beliefs in class, triggering complaints from students and a parent.

The administrators said Ziegler would not stop, even after his bosses told him it could cost him his job.

Ziegler said he would not challenge the decision in court. He did not have a lawyer, and he called no witnesses.

At the nearly three-hour hearing, he told board members that his case was their opportunity to "make a stand for God."

"You're either for Him or against Him," he said.

No, Bob, one may be adamantly for God and adamantly for the requirement that a math teacher teach math and not religion in his classroom. I know you are concerned about the issues and problems your kids face. I am as well, as I see and here things on my 2500 student campus each day. I laugh with kids and I weep with them. I even try to offer a little bit of spiritual comfort. But I don't turn my history class into a "Come To Jesus" meeting, though I hope and pray each of my students does "come to Jesus".

Like this, Bob -- this is an example of crossing the line.

Jerry Kalina, an assistant principal at the high school, testified that a co-teacher from Ziegler's classroom first reported Oct. 4 that Ziegler was talking to students in class about his religious beliefs.

Ziegler was told to stop, but the co-teacher reported on Nov. 1 that Ziegler was doing it again, Kalina said.

A few days later, a student came to Kalina's office and said that Ziegler was talking about his faith and that it upset her, Kalina said. The student said Ziegler had stopped her in the hall and asked if he could pray for her. She told him that she felt uncomfortable while he prayed.

The girl's mother complained on Nov. 8 that she expected her daughter to learn math, not religion, in the class, Kalina said.

Kalina said he again told Ziegler to stop.

He said Ziegler was encouraged to talk to his minister and to contact Ron Brown, former University of Nebraska football receivers coach, to get advice on how to juggle his beliefs and his teaching duties.

On Nov. 16, a student again raised the issue of Ziegler's speaking about religion in class, Kalina said. The student said Ziegler wrote on the board, "What inspires you to love people?" and another time, "If you were to die today, what would you put on your tombstone, and why?"

The next day, a teacher reported that a student was not doing well in algebra because she felt uncomfortable asking Ziegler for help, Kalina said.

You've clearly shown you cannot do the job you were hired to do, and you are driving people away. I would have suspended you and instituted termination proceedings at least two weeks before your principal did.





|| Greg, 11:16 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

President To Reappoint Most Judicial Nominees Denied Vote

President George W. Bush has decided to reappoint most of his judicial nominees who were denied an up-or-down vote by Democrats engaging in an unconstitutional abuse of the filibuster process.
"The president nominated highly qualified individuals to the federal courts during his first term, but the Senate failed to vote on many nominations," White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said in a written statement.

"The Senate has a constitutional obligation to vote up or down on a president's judicial nominees," McClellan added, "and the president looks forward to working with the new Senate to ensure a well-functioning and independent judiciary."

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist welcomed the reappointments, and offered a pointed reminder to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter not to engage in or allow a minority of senators to obstruct the will of the majority.

"The president has decided to re-nominate many highly qualified and capable individuals to serve as federal judges," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). "I look forward to working with Sen. Specter, other Judiciary Committee members and my colleagues to ensure quick action and up-and-down votes on these judicial nominees."

Democrats protested the president's decision to carry out his campaign pledge to nominate highly-qualified candidates whose judicial philosophy includes fidelity to the Constitution and a recognition that they are not legislators. This has outraged Democrats, whose major policy victories over the last four decades have come when judges have ignored the Constitution and substituted their policy views for those of the people's elected representatives, or of the people themselves.

"I was extremely disappointed to learn today that the president intends to begin the new Congress by resubmitting extremist judicial nominees," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said in a statement.

"The Bush administration is ending the year as they began it, choosing confrontation over compromise, ideology over moderation, and defiance over cooperation," said Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.

"On some of their controversial nominees, they may prevail because of their monopoly of power," Leahy added. "The big loser, however, will be the independence of our judicial branch of government."

Nominated to District Court seats will be James Dever III, Eastern District, North Carolina; Thomas Ludington, Eastern District, Michigan; Robert Conrad, Western District, North Carolina; Daniel Ryan, Eastern District, Michigan; Peter Sheridan, New Jersey; Paul Crotty, Southern District, New York; Sean Cox, Eastern District, Michigan; and J. Michael Seabright, Hawaii.

Nominated to Circuit Courts of Appeals will be Terrence Boyle, 4th Circuit; Priscilla Owen, 5th Circuit; David McKeague, 6th Circuit; Susan Neilson, 6th Circuit; Henry Saad, 6th Circuit; Richard Griffin, 6th Circuit; William Pryor; 11th Circuit; William Myers III, 9th Circuit; Janice Brown, District of Columbia Circuit; Brett Kavanaugh, District of Columbia Circuit; William Haynes II, 4th Circuit; and Thomas Griffith, District of Columbia Circuit.

Four Circuit Court nominees will not be reappointed. Miguel Estrada, who was opposed by Democrats for being conservative while Hispanic, withdrew from consideration in disgust and recently lost his wife. Judge Charles Pickering accepted a recess appointment, and recently announced his decision to retire. Also not renominated are Claude Allen, who was opposed by Maryland Senators because he was a Virginian being nominated to a seat traditionally held by Marylanders, and Carolyn Kuhl, a California judge. The reason for the president's failure to renominate Kuhl is unknown.





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December 23, 2004

Santa Not Allowed, But Administrators Played Grinch

Hampton Academy Junior High School held a "Holiday Dance" on Friday night. That isn't unusual.

Bryan Lafond decided it would be neat to go dressed as Santa Claus. After all, it is a "Holiday Dance," and Santa is a well-recognized secular symbol of one of those holidays.

"I went to the dance with my friend," said Bryan Lafond, who is in seventh grade. "He had an elf hat on and we thought it was pretty cool. Everyone loved the suit, but when I went by the principal, he asked why I was dressed like that."

Principal Fred Muscara said he told the boy he couldn’t get into the dance because he was wearing the costume.

"It was a holiday party," said Muscara. "It was not a Christmas party. There is a separation of church and state. We have a lot of students that go to Hampton Academy Junior High that have different religions. We have to be sensitive to that."

Bryan said while Muscara didn’t say he had to leave, he told Bryan if he wanted to go the dance he would have to change out of the suit and put on proper attire for the dance.

Having nothing to change into, Bryan left the dance to try and find his mother.

"My wife was leaving the parking lot when she saw Bryan running out of the building," said (Bryan's father, Michael) Lafond. "He told her that the principal said it was politically incorrect to wear the Santa outfit."


The image “http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/hampton/h12_21b.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
(Bryan before the dance)

Please note the reasoning. "Separation of church and state." This despite the fact that the US Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled Santa Clause to be a secular symbol. Apparently the administrators were fearful that someone might think the dreaded "C-word" ("Christmas", not "c*nt" or "c*ck", either one of which would apparently have been perfectly acceptable) and be offended.

But the principal didn't stop there.

She said she also complained to several School Board members and Muscara.

On Monday, Bryan’s parents went before the School Board to voice their concerns.

"I don’t want this to happen again," said Leslie (Lafond, Bryan's mother). "It is unacceptable. When Bryan returned to the school, the principal said, ‘What are you doing, trying to get me fired.’ That is not a proper comment to make to a student."

I certainly hope they are trying to get this example of the Peter Principle in action fired. The same Constitution that applies in the rest of the United States also applies in New Hampshire.

Contact Principal Fred Muscara.

Contact Superintendent James Gaylord.

Contact School Board Members Ken Stiles,

Carol Hollingworth, Josh Bridle, Sandra Nickerson, and Nancy Serpis.

Hampton Academy Junior High
29 Academy Ave.
Hampton, NH 03842
ph - 603.926.2000
ph - 603.926-2009
fax - 603.926.1855

School Administrative Unit #21 Office
2 Alumni Drive
Hampton, NH 03842
ph - 603.926.8992
fax - 603.926.5157

Maybe they just need a little coal in their stockings.

UPDATE: Seems to me that Grinchitis afflicts not just Muscara, but Supt. Gaylord and Board members Serpis and Bridle as well. Not only that, but they want to turn this into an issue of Bryan Lafond leaving the school to catch a ride home with his mother rather than the rampant intolerance of Muscara's action.

I know this is a blue state, but my hope is that the locals have sense enough to send the whole bunch packing at the first opportunity.

Also there's this great editorial from the Manchester Union Leader.





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Republicans To Fight Democrat Election Theft In Washington

Since the Supreme Court of the State Of Washington effectively ruled that there is no deadline for counting the votes,
"This count, this election, is not over," said Chris Vance, the chairman of the state Republican Party. The Supreme Court, he said, "basically threw the door open to start all over again. I think that's crazy."

Vance said Republicans planned to "show up at 9 a.m." today "on the doorstep of every county auditor with people whose votes weren't counted for Dino Rossi."

After all, that is the Democrat standard now.

Perhaps the first order of business of the state legislature needs to be to declare the office of governor vacant and re-run the election, since the Democrats have so polluted this one with questionable ballots and erroneous counts.





|| Greg, 11:16 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Hate-Monger Seeks Inclusion In Holiday Parade

Well, the anti-Christian minority has crawled out from under its rock to demand that it be included in a holiday parade instead of a float representing Christmas.
Now an atheist group wants to put a float in Denver's next Parade of Lights.

"We want to be included for once," said Robert Tiernan, spokesman for the Freedom From Religion Foundation. He wrote a letter Dec. 16 to the president of the parade's producing arm, the Downtown Denver Partnership, in which he argues that in 2005 a "winter solstice" float should be chosen instead of a Christian one because "Christianity is already well represented in downtown Denver."

And I suppose that the KKK's values should be front and center at the MLK Day parade, since civil rights and racial equality are already well-represented downtown.

UPDATE: William Donahue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has a good response to Tiernan.

“Robert Tiernan, a spokesman for the Freedom from Religion Foundation, is demanding that atheists be represented in next year’s Parade of Lights in Denver. He wants a ‘winter solstice’ float instead of a Christian one. He deserves better.

Atheists deserve to have their own holiday, Nothingday the purpose of which would be to honor what they believe in, which is absolutely nothing. Nothingday would be held on the day of the winter solstice and would be celebrated by holding nationwide conferences explicitly designed to accomplish nothing.

For example, there would be seminars and workshops on the virtue of standing for nothing. Participants would be invited to watch a video on the meaning of Nothingday and would then discover to their utter delight that there's nothing on the tape. Tables outside conference rooms would be set up, though there would be nothing on them. Breakout sessions would allow participants to huddle in corners for the express purpose of doing nothing. When they reassemble, their team leader would be able to report that they have accomplished absolutely nothing. Naturally, no minutes would be kept.

They would then repair to the cocktail lounge where they would all be given empty glasses. Dinner would follow, though nothing would be served. At the awards ceremony, those who best represent the spirit of nothing would, of course, be given nothing for their efforts. Best of all, the keynote speaker wouldn't open his mouth, allowing everyone to just sit there, staring endlessly into space.
Quite frankly, this sounds a heck of a lot better than the conferences I've been to.;





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No Discrimination Against Religious In Jury Picks

I'm amazed this was even an issue.
NEWARK, N.J. -- The state's highest court ruled Wednesday that New Jersey prosecutors cannot bar overtly religious people from serving on juries.

The 6-0 ruling by the state Supreme Court overturned an appellate court decision and ordered a new trial for Lloyd Fuller, who was convicted in 2000 of armed robbery in Essex County and is serving a 14-year term.

Apparently a prosecutor decided to strike a former missionary and an individual he believed to be muslim from the jury because he believed that "demonstrably religious persons are all alike in sharing defense-minded sympathies".

And here is an example of someone finding the bright side of losing a case.

State Attorney General Peter C. Harvey, whose office had defended the exclusion, said the ruling would be "very helpful to prosecutors."

"We now have clarity on how peremptory challenges can be used when people are wearing overt religious symbols," Harvey said. "I'm really happy that the court shares our view that we shouldn't be asking prospective jurors detailed questions about their religious beliefs. At the same time, the court has given trial judges and lawyers flexibility to explore bias that may arise from a person's beliefs by permitting the court to conduct an inquiry about a juror's ability to be fair."

In other words, the court gave guidelines that any reasonably intelligent tenth grader could have formulated -- "You can't exclude people from juries because of their religion unless there is a reason to believe they cannot fairly judge the evidence." I wonder how much this fiasco cost the taxpayers of the state of New Jersey.





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Medved Hits One Out Of The Park!

We conservatives are frequently attacked for crating a "culture war" using divisive "wedge issues. Michael Medved gives a response today that I can only wish I had written myself, for it encapsulates my feelings perfectly.
Author Thomas Frank feels frustrated by conservative success in using cultural issues to win elections.

In the New York Times he wrote: "The Democrats are today a party that has trouble rallying its historical working class constituency, losing more and more of its base every four years to some novel culture-war issue invented by the wily Republicans: blasphemous art, Ten Commandments monuments in courthouses, the dire threat of gay marriage."

In debating Mr. Frank on my radio show, I pointed out that it wasn't "wily Republicans" who placed the issue of gay marriage on the national agenda: it was homosexual activists, arrogant judges, and the arch-liberal Mayor of San Francisco.

As with federal funding for blasphemous art, conservatives would prefer to drop such debates, but liberals won't pull back from their relentless efforts to remake America.

Far from "inventing" such controversies, Republicans would love rebuilding cultural consensus and putting them to rest forever

After all, it wasn't conservatives who dipped a crucifix in urine and called it "Art" -- and demanded federal funding for it.

It wasn't conservatives who attempted to suppress the display of the Decalogue.

And it wasn't conservatives who sought to redefine marriage as it has existed in Western society 9and most others) for millenia.

If Democrats want those issues to go away, then they need to quit aising them and championing the losing side in each.





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Muslims Offended -- What Else Is New?

The friendly terrorist-supporters at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (which has had at least three board members or employees convicted on terrorism-related charges) has sent a letter of complaint to the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools after a Houston area school received a letter from the 238 member group's director, Edd Burleson, that asked questions it believed to be "alarmingly intolerant and hostile attitude toward Islam and Muslims." The group is joined in its concerns by the ACLU and the Anti-Defamation League.
In his correspondence, Burleson quoted a verse from the Quran as calling on Muslims to be violent toward Christians and Jews. He noted that most TAPPS member schools are Christian. "Why do you wish to join an organization whose membership is basically in total disagreement with your religious beliefs?" he asked in the two-page letter, which included 10 questions.

He asks about the school's attitude toward "the spread of Islam in America" and the goals of the school "in this regard."

Finally, he suggests that some TAPPS members may not be tolerant of Muslims: "Why do you think that the current member schools of TAPPS will not be biased against your school, based on the fundamental difference in your religion and Christianity, since about 90% of TAPPS schools embrace Christianity?"

I think the first point is legitimate. Given the incredible anti-Semitic and anti-Christian nature of much of Islam today, raising the question of how the school and its students will interact with other member schools is legitimate. The Quran does include calls for violence against non-Muslims which have been used in recent years to justify certain unpleasant incidents involving the World Trade Center, Pentagon, commercial aircraft, US diplomatic compounds in other countries and US military installations and personnel around the world. Does the admission of the school to TAPPS constitute a threat to the safety of students from other schools?

The second point is probably irrelevant. Most of the schools in TAPPS have an explicit mission about spreading the Christian religion and its influence. Unless the question is again related to the use of violence, it does not particularly make sense to focus on such a mission on the part of an Islamic school while not doing so with regard to Christian schools.

The third is an interesting question. Dar-Ul-Arqam would be putting its students in a potentially hostile environment, given the radically different ethos it strives to impart. Given current realities, is membership in TAPPS beneficial. And given that many of the schools are evangelical in nature, does it make sense that Muslim students should be participating in a league in which most of their fellow students view Islam as a Satanic counterfeit? Is Dar-Ul-Arqam prepared to deal with the difficulties of other students expressing religious beliefs that by Muslim standards are blasphemous (which Muslims are required to punish by killing the offender)? Or what about the issue of Christian students "witnessing" to students from Dar-Ul-Arqam, given that a Muslim who apostasizes is to be punished with death under Islamic law, as is one who seeks to convert a Muslim to another religion? Or are students from the other 238 schools to be muzzled on religious matters to avoid offending the beliefs and practices of Islam? For that matter, what about the obvious issues that come up when the Islamic school is scheduled to compete against a team called the Crusaders? Will schools be expected to change their team names to avoid giving offense to the Muslim school?

All-in-all, Burleson raised good points in a poor way. But I suppose it could be worse. He could have asked if the school would be traveling to events via jet, and if students would be bringing their "improvised explosive devices" to TAPPS events. Given the support that Dar-Ul-Arqam is receiving from CAIR, those might not be bad questions after all.





|| Greg, 09:26 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Common Sense In Arizona

Public employees are now required to ask applicants for public benefits about their citizenship and immigration status, and to report those illegally in the country to immigration authorities. Federal Judge David Bury upheld the law, which was adopted by the voters on November 2, 2004.

Supporters of border-jumping invaders are outraged, as are the damp-vertebraed criminals themselves.

Jesus Garcia, an undocumented immigrant from Sonora, said the proposition already has bred fear and uncertainty in immigrant communities. Garcia, a 47-year-old construction worker who has lived in Tucson since 1998 after spending nearly a decade in the Valley, said his wife is afraid to go to government offices, even though the couple's three children are U.S. citizens.

"I think it's racist," Garcia said. "They don't understand if (undocumented immigrants) receive help, it's not for them, it's for the kids who are U.S. citizens. They're trying to put pressure on immigrants, and it's very dangerous . . . because some won't seek help."

This does point out an obvious problem -- we need to change the Fourteenth Amendment to exclude from citizenship the offspring of those in the country in contravention of American law. In the mean time, I see no reason for not taking the citizen-children of immigration criminals like Garcia into the foster care system, where they can be placed with US citizen families and adopted following the termination of the parental rights of their law-breaking parents.

One issue is still being fought. Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard issued a narrow definition of "public benefits" covered by Proposition 200. Groups that sponsored and supported teh measure have a suit pending to expand the definition.





|| Greg, 09:09 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 22, 2004

I'm Conflicted -- What Do You Think?

Girl Sues School -- Banned From Prom Over Confederate Flag Dress

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"I wanted to show part of my Southern heritage," Shannon Duty said. She said she worked on the design for four years.




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December 21, 2004

Public Official Seeks Censorship -- But Conservatives Are The Bad Guys?

You may remember Nelson Polite, the Demo-fascist from Lancaster, Pennsylvania who tried to shut down political speech -- at least conservative political speech -- in his town.
If you haven’t been following the Nelson Polite thing, this is basically what it amounts to: In the wake of President Bush’s re-election, 81-year-old Polite, a Democratic city councilman, was at Central Market and saw a standholder with a prominently placed photo of the president. It had been a long and divisive campaign, and Polite, an African-American, may have been bitter over the outcome.

So he asked the standholder to take the photo down; appropriately, the standholder refused. Then Polite said something to the effect that he’d like city council to pass an ordinance banning political “items” in public places. And then all hell broke loose.

Well, it is official. According to Gil Smart, a local columnist, the inapproriately named Mr. Polite is... the victim here. Seems that he has been exposed as a would-be suppressor of free speech, and has been roundly criticized for it. Unfortunately, a few folks have threatened him, and others have used some racial slurs his direction, both of which I condemn.

Why does the incorrectly named Mr. Smart think Polite is a victim (besides the fact that to a liberal like Smart, a black man like Polite must always be a victim)? It's because conservatives had the audacity to actually TALK ABOUT Polite's attempt to violate the Constitution. It's our fault because we believe that a government official threatening legislation to override the Constitution is an outrage and worthy of condemnation.

By the way, Smart makes a point of repeatedly bringing Polite's race into the matter. i didn't know his race. I never saw it referred to anywhere. The first person I saw bring it up was Gil Smart. It is irrelevant that Polite is a Stupid Negro rather than a Stupid Caucasian, and for Smart to make it the issue is clearly a sign of Smart's problem.





|| Greg, 08:53 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Anyone Disturbed By This Besides Me?

This news in from England.
LONDON - A theater on Monday abandoned further performances of a play that caused a riot by Sikhs who said it demeaned their religion. Executive director Stuart Rogers said the Birmingham Repertory Theatre had been left with no alternative but to end its run of "Behzti," a play by Sikh playwright Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti that depicts sexual abuse and murder in a Sikh temple.

"It is now clear that we cannot guarantee the safety of our audiences," he told reporters at the theater in Birmingham, central England. "Very reluctantly, therefore, we have decided to end the current run of the play purely on safety grounds.

Three men were arrested Saturday when 400 Sikhs stormed the theater, forcing staff to cancel the Saturday evening performance. Theater staff said protesters caused thousands of pounds (dollars, euros) in damages.

Rogers said the decision to abandon the play had been taken after discussions with West Midlands Police and leaders of the Sikh community Monday.

"Sadly, community leaders have been unable to guarantee to us that there will be no repeat of the illegal and violent activities that we witnessed on Saturday," he said.

Now hold on. We Christians are attacked in art and literature all the time. We are expected to put up with it. Nobody cancels plays, cancels gallery exhibits, or alters their behavior because we are angry about insults to our faith. And if local Christian religious leaders said they couldn't guarantee their followers wouldn't attack a theater over a blasphemous play (like Corpus Christi), cops in riot gear would be out front and probably martyred believers dead in the streets.

So, why do the followers of non-Christian religions get better, preferential treatment?





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More Hate Crimes Directed At Christian Symbols This Christmas


I recently noted the increasing acts of violence and vandalism directed against Christian symbols this year, and have wondered why there are no hate-crime charges or investigations. Well, here are some more, courtesy of the Catholic League.
“On December 10, we issued a news release documenting 16 instances of nativity scenes that were vandalized nation wide. Since then, there have been 24 more reported incidents that have come to our attention. Here is where they occurred: Grand Rapids, Michigan; Costa Mesa, California; Santa Cruz, California; Anchorage, Alaska; Hanover, Pennsylvania; Lansdale, Pennsylvania; Knoxville, Tennessee; Charlotte, North Carolina; Epping, New Hampshire; Tiverton, Massachusetts; Neenah, Wisconsin; Morningside, Iowa; Diamondhead, Mississippi; Maplewood, Minnesota; Baxter County, Arkansas; Murrieta, California; Grand Traverse County, Michigan; Plainfield, New Jersey (2 crèches were vandalized); Volusia County, Florida; Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Princeton, Indiana; Whitman, Massachusetts; Norwalk, Connecticut.

“So what’s going on? The vandals in Norwalk, Connecticut gave us an idea. Not only did they thrash a nativity scene, they wrote profanity and drew satanic symbols on one of the figures. This isn’t the act of some crazy drunks—it is the act of hate-filled persons.

Will these be treated as hate-crimes? I doubt it, despite teh fact that similar attacks on the symbols of other religions would be given such special treatment. But attacks on Christians are apparently fair game.

Not that such things are not acceptable to today's liberals. Consider these examples.

Better yet is Phil Goodstein, a Denver historian who recently labeled the nativity scene ‘utterly obnoxious.’ Julie Wells, also of Denver, confesses that ‘I wish they had kidnapped the Baby Jesus when they kidnapped Rudolph,’ adding that she fantasizes about ‘driving a Chevy Blazer’ over a crèche. And both atheist Christopher Hitchens (always the contrarian), and Dallas Cowboy fullback Darian Barnes, boasted over the weekend how much they ‘hate Christmas.’

I wonder what the NFL would do to a player who publicly stated such hatred regarding things Jewish or Muslim? Say he said he hates Ramadan or Haunnakah. The guy would get the John Rocker treatment. As a season ticketholder with my local NFL franchise, I think I'll contact Paul Tagliabue and ask.

Paul Tagliabue
280 Park Ave.
New York, NY 10017

If anyone has an email address for the commissioner, let me know and I'll post it.





|| Greg, 01:10 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 19, 2004

Maybe Zero Tolerance Should Be Applied

Given that kids are expelled an/or consigned to alternative schools for relatively trivial offenses like bringing butter knives to school or drinking at an off-campus party, what do you think LaMarque ISD should do with this situation?
Superintendent charged with DWI

La Marque School Superintendent Adrain Johnson was charged with driving while intoxicated Sunday after he was pulled over on the Gulf Freeway on Saturday night.

Houston police said Johnson, 49, was speeding and swerving in and out of lanes.

Well, it seems pretty clear he was drunk and endangering others. But what I find interesting is the response of school board members.

Trustee Merritt Lockwood, who said he stands by the district's leader because "people make mistakes," said the school board should stay out of Johnson's personal business.

"I don't think anything ought to be done," Lockwood said. "That's his personal life."

Another trustee, Joe Cantu, said he needs to know more about the case before he takes any position on the matter.

Gee, do you apply the "people make mistakes" criteria in enforcing your zero tolerance policies against students, or do you use a "one size fits all" approach to discipline? Do you "need more information," or do the details not matter when it is one of the students in your district?

Or do you hold your kids to a higher standard than you hold the head of your district?





|| Greg, 10:46 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Is A Hospital Chapel An Appropriate Place For A Cross?


Yeah, you read that question correctly. What frightens me is that some hospital administrator in St. Paul, Minnesota has answered the question with a resounding "NO!"
Let's try this again. The hospital decided to remove the cross from the chapel. Chapel. There was a fear, apparently acted on by hospital administrators that the cross could be offensive to those who use the chapel but are put off their game by a crucifix.

"Regions doesn't have a religious affiliation,'' said Vince Rivard, the hospital's spokesman.

Rivard is a cool, collected fellow. When I expressed astonishment that a cross would be removed from a chapel, he calmly explained that this is a growing trend in the hospital industry.

"It's a natural evolution,'' Rivard said. "We have a more diverse population in St. Paul, with people having more diverse religious beliefs.''

So what?

I guess I could understand a hospital removing a cross from the property if the cross was planted in the front yard, or illuminated up on the roof or was a focal point of the lobby. You could certainly make a reasonable argument that such a symbol would be out of place in a hospital that has no religious connection.

But this is a new one for me.

IT'S A CHAPEL!

To think that someone could be offended by a cross in a chapel is like believing that someone could be offended by a safe in a bank.

But don't worry -- they do allow the cross to be taken out of hiding for daily Mass. At least until someone decides that it is offensive to allow daily Mass, and instead replaces that with a hand-holding Kumbayah circle.

Over 380 employees of the hospital have petitioned for the return of the cross to its proper place in the chapel, But Rivard, the administrator, says the decision is final, no matter how many folks sign the petition.

Let's test that one. Tell Vince Rivard that the Cross needs to go back in the Chapel. You can contact him here:
https://www.regionshospital.com/Regions/FrontDoor/0,1639,contact,00.html
I'll refrain from posting the phone number, because I don't want to risk disrupting essential phone service to the hospital.





|| Greg, 10:23 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Bad Evidence/Incompetent Investigation -- The Gitmo Spy Cases

Now I am a little bit concerned about the reliability of this source. After all, the New York Times is not noted for being a reliable or objective news source, nor does it require either professionalism or accuracy of its employees. But the story has the ring of truth to it, so I will reluctantly link to it.

In 2003 there were a series of accusations of espionage against Muslims military personnel stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where they worked with terrorist detainees. Spectacular charges were made, yet each and every one of the cases unraveled and left the government with minor issues that barely constituted wrongdoing on the part of the accused -- and had nothing to do with spying.

Even now, Defense Department officials refuse to explain in detail how the investigations originated and what drove them forward in the face of questions about much of the evidence. Military officials involved in the case have defended their actions, emphasizing that some of the inquiries continue.

But confidential government documents, court files and interviews show that the investigations drew significantly on questionable evidence and disparate bits of information that, like the car report, linked Captain Yee tenuously to people suspected of being Muslim militants in the United States and abroad.

Officials familiar with the inquiries said they also fed on petty personal conflicts: antipathy between some Muslim and non-Muslim troops at Guantánamo, rivalries between Christian and Muslim translators, even the complaint of an old boss who saw Airman Al Halabi as a shirker.

In one case an investigator even violated a directive to shut down an investigation, instead engaging in rank insubordination by rewriting his report and sending it over the head of his superior.

Each of the cases turned into a shoot first, investigate later operation. There were press conferences and weighty accusations. In the end the cases fell apart due to the discovery of reasonable explanations, erroneous translations of documents, and possible investigatorial misconduct.

Questions must be asked, and answers must be forthcoming.





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December 18, 2004

Bishop Julius Jia -- Faith, Hope, And Love In China

Bishop Julius Jia is a leading figure of the underground Catholic Church in the People's Republic of China. He will likely be jailed in the next few days, as he was at Easter, to prevent him from marking the Christmas holiday with his flock, which numbers about 1.5 million.
Government restrictions on the bishop's movements mean that he lives under house arrest in a tiny, whitewashed house near Wuqiu, a poor village where he founded an orphanage for unwanted children in 1991. Yet Bishop Jia frequently circumvents the order by going out to say Mass, often hiding in the back of a car.

His "diocese" is widely acknowledged to have the largest following in the province; in the middle of Wuqiu, a red-brick cathedral has been built, albeit without official approval.

Yet despite the official persecution, Bishop Jia's hope is intact and his spirit unbowed.

The Pope is known to have made one Chinese clergyman a cardinal in pectore - that is, a secret appointment - and Bishop Jia is widely believed to be that man. He is crucial to any further attempts to reconcile Beijing and the Vatican. And while the government harasses Bishop Jia, it has been unable to crush his spirit.

"For my followers, there are great risks, and I do bring them into danger sometimes," he says. "They are never scared so I don't worry. After all we know God will take care of us."

This man's life exempifies the gifts of faith, hope, and love that St. Paul talks about in I Corinthians 13. So do his people. Would that each of us did as well.

I leave you with two requests.

First, pray for the persecuted Church.

Second, ask yourself why the American media doesn't tell us of such human rights abuses.





|| Greg, 10:19 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dolphins To Interview Minority, Hire Saban

It is an absurd little ballet required by the NFL. Every team must interview a minority candidate for open coaching positions or face a fine. It doesn't matter that you know who you want to hire, that they are well-qualified, and they are ready, willing, and able to come to work for you -- you must interview a minority.

Enter the Miami Dolphins. The team has been a disaster this year, and lost head coach Dave Wannstedt earlier in the season. They have ben courting LSU head coach Nick Saban for some time now. There is nothing standing in the way of a deal that both sides want -- except for the absurd policy. Leading to this absurdity in the Houston Chronicle.

Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga and president Eddie Jones, an LSU graduate, flew to Baton Rouge on Tuesday to meet with Saban. He's expected to be offered a contract worth $4 million to $5 million a year with authority to shape football operations, which could lead to the departure of general manager Rick Spielman.

Jones has said the Dolphins will adhere to NFL hiring policy. Guidelines established in 2002 require teams to interview at least one minority candidate for coaching vacancies.

NFL Hall of Famer Harry Carson, representing a group that advocates more minority hirings in the league, said he complained Friday about the Dolphins' search process in a meeting with Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, chairman of the league's diversity committee.

Carson said any interview with a minority candidate would now likely be viewed as a "courtesy interview ... because the Dolphins have already made up their mind."

Well, DUH!!!!!!!!! That is all the policy requires -- and is more than it should require. What do you want-- hiring quotas? They are hiring one of the best coaches in college football today. Why should they need to justify that to anyone, or meet some artificially imposed requirement? Wouldn't YOU be trying to hire Saban, given the chance? I know I would.

Under these circumstances, what self-respecting person, minority or not, would accept such an interview. None -- which is why former Raiders coach Art Shell and University of Miami defensive coordinator Randy Shannon will be the likely interview candidates. Followed immediately by the Saban hiring. Wonder what they get out of it?





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Why Not Let The Data Speak For Itself?

The Dallas News, not known for its favorable coverage of religious issues, had a great editorial earlier this week supporting the teaching of Intelligent Design. It notes that famed British philosopher Anthony Flew, a leading proponent of atheism for decades, announced last week that he had become convinced of the existence of some Creator behind the existence of the universe. Why? Because DNA research has convinced him that biological life as we know it could not have come randomly into existence due to its sheer complexity. Darwin and his successors may be able to explain much about the process that followed later on, but they cannot account for the beginning of life itself. As he said when he made this announcement, his conclusion isn't based upon some pre-conceived notion of religious faith.
My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato's Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads.

Please note -- this isn't some jack-leg street-corner preacher thumping a Bible. This is a serious intellectual whose writings have been cited for years by those who are opposed to religion and supportive of rational materialism. Why, then, are so many folks opposed to even presenting the theory of intelligent design alongside the theory of Darwinian evolution? Why do leading scientist like Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin insist with a fundamentalist fervor that any view that might even hint at the existence of God is unacceptable?

We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, and in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so-stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."
Lewontin, R., "Billions and Billions of Demons," The New York Review, January 1997, p. 31

No, it is long past time for us to reject the notion that science and spirituality are necessarily at odds with one another. Teach the theories -- both Darwinian Evolution and Intelligent Design -- AS THEORIES and present the evidence for both. Then allow students to follow Plato's Socrates, as did Flew: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads.





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They'll Be Home For Christmas

Twenty soldiers were going to be stranded at Ft. Dix after their military flight home for the holidays was cancelled. They just could not afford commercial tickets -- at more than $700 each -- to get home to California. They would simply head to Iraq after the first of the year without seeing their loved ones. Enter Congressman Chris Smith.
"At first, it looked like they were going to be stranded, which would be absurd considering they're about to be deployed to a war zone," said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J.

"I thought it would be unconscionable for these soldiers to be at Fort Dix and making phone calls home when they could actually be home with their families for the holidays," Smith said.

Smith made contact with American Recreational Military Services, a nonprofit run out of the home of Ronnie Micciulla. She donated $10,000 to the cause, enabling all 20 to celebrate Christmas with their families. And New Jersey 101.5 radio host Mary Walter launched a fund-raising effort to reimburse ARMS, so that the Christmas cheer won't require the group to cut back anyplace else. And the Congressman got in touch with Southwest Airlines to arrange for the flights with Southwest Airlines.

And a Merry Christmas will be had by all!





|| Greg, 10:21 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Julian Bond -- Head Case, Or Rebel Without A Clue?

The GOP is "Talibanistic," catering to "right wing" extremists, and seeking to reverse civil rights gains.

Or at least that is what once-admirable civil rights leader Julian Bond is claiming these days.

Black Southerners, Bond said, are just as disenfranchised as in the past because all of the South's electoral votes went to Bush.

Now look at the absurdity of that statement. Blacks were able to vote in record numbers -- because of the Actions of the GOP in fighting the Civil War, passing the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, proposing and/or backing every major federal civil rights law overwhelmingly from the Civil War to the present, and legal action to enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by every GOP president in the last 35 years. But they are disenfranchised because 90% voted for the losing candidate despite the fact that this administration has put more blacks in real policymaking positions than any administration in history. I guess that if your vote just didn't count if you didn't win. What does Bond want? Presidential elections open to blacks only?

"[Republicans] have divided more voters than in any other time," Bond said. "We have men versus women, whites versus nonwhites, straights versus gays, conservatives versus liberals, Protestants versus Jews, rural versus urban."

Imagine that. Groups with different interests being divided and voting differently. And it is all the fault of the GOP; despite the fact that the Democrats have been the party of special interest group Balkanization for the last four decades. And in the process the Democrats have managed to lose all but three presidential elections since 1968.

Bond defended the continued use of affirmative action as necessary to counter the advantages of "white privilege" that came from slavery and segregation. He said he supports slave reparations for African-Americans to level the playing field with whites.

Even thought that means we have to divide people based upon race, and then award benefits and privileges based upon racial identity -- in direct contradiction of the clear words of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment.

Go away, Julian -- you are an irrelevant dinosaur who has sullied the great work of your youth with race-baiting in your old age.





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December 16, 2004

Time For Irreligious Minority To Sit Down, Shut Up

Sometimes a demand for "tolerance" needs to be ignored. Heck, sometimes it needs to be dismissed as an outpouring of bigotry on the part of a minority. This case from Bellevue, Washington, is one such example.



They call it the "Giving Tree". It contains requests from the needy for assistance. Every "holiday season" (no use of the "C-word" in City Hall) it helps raise$25,000 for the needy around the city.
So, you might be surprised that Sidney Stock would look at this tree and say, "I resent it."

Sidney and Jennifer Stock are atheists.

They asked the city council to remove the tree because it represents Christmas, which is a Christian holiday.

Stock says city hall should: "Act as a place where everybody feels welcome. It is impossible for everybody's religious belief to be displayed and non-religious belief to be displayed, so therefore, no religious beliefs be displayed."

Well, as a legal matter he is wrong -- a tree (even one designated as a Christmas tree) has been held to be a secular symbol by no less than the US Supreme Court. So this tree is likely not going anywhere.

But look at his argument. When reduced to its essence, what he says is that because it is impossible to represent the views of the majority and every single minority on government property, the only acceptable result is to exclusively represent the minority belief system held by he and his wife! Never mind the history, culture, and desire of the overwhelming majority -- he wins. Talk about overbearing arrogance!

Sidney, Jennifer, why don't you sit down, shut up, and quit trying to impose your religious values on us. And if you can't, why don't you find some place where atheism is the official policy of the state. I hear that both Cuba and North Korea are nice this time of year -- though neither one of them is open to the sort of public whining against the government that you seem to have made a hobby.





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The Bill Of Rights -- Guarantor of Freedom Or Limiter Of Freedom?

Rick Lynch points out the problem with the Bill of Rights -- too many people see it as the full extent of our freedom, rather than simply the starting point. The notion of the people retaining rights not enumerated has been lost, leading most Americans to asume that government has free reign in those areas in which its power is not limited by specific restrictions.

The Founders had a different view. James Wilson of Pennsylvania, signer of both the Declaration and the Constitution, said

"In a government consisting of enumerated powers, such as is proposed for the United States, a bill of rights would not only be unnecessary, but, in my humble judgment, highly imprudent. In all societies, there are many powers and rights, which cannot be particularly enumerated. A bill of rights annexed to a constitution, is an enumeration of the powers reserved. If we attempt an enumeration, every thing that is not enumerated, is presumed to be given. The consequence is, that an imperfect enumeration would throw all implied power into the scale of the government; and the rights of the people would be rendered incomplete."

Unfortunately, too many people now see that neumeration as the limit of our personal freedom. Worse yet, many otherwise intelligent people, such as one of my assistant principals, assumes that we have thes rights because government gives them to us -- and regularly says that before the recitation of the Pledge of Allegience. I make sure my students know better, but am I trying to turn back the tide?





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Multi-Culti Mumbo Jumbo In Education

Robert Holland comments on the agenda of the National Association of Multicultural Educators and its leftist agenda.
Surveys by the nonpartisan organization Public Agenda have shown that parents still believe in America as an overwhelmingly good country, and they want their children to believe that as well. A Public Agenda report a few years ago summarized parental attitudes this way: "We found a clear-eyed patriotism among parents of all backgrounds; a deep belief that the United States is a unique nation, while acknowledging its faults. Parents want the schools to face those faults, but not to dwell on them — the parents we surveyed want history taught with fairness to all groups, but recoil from strategies that they feared might encourage divisiveness." The multiculturalists, by stark contrast, do not see the United States at all as a good country with common values worth transmitting. They grossly divide Americans into "oppressors" (all whites of European descent) and the "oppressed" (all persons of color from minority cultures).

This is a surprise? I could have told you that 20 years ago, while being subjected to the state-mandated multicultural education class I took at Illinois State University. The one film that offered a "majority" perspective on society was a product of the John Birch Society advocating segregation -- the rest all celebrated ethnic minorities and their cultures, and condemned the oppressive white man. The irony of having the course taught by a white male professor who ruthlessly censored all opposing viewpoints wasn't lost on most of us.

Fortunately, more and more of my colleagues in the classroom are rejecting the approach described above. We love our minority students, but are more interested in educating them than promoting victim status.





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December 14, 2004

Fraud At The Polls?

Is it just me, or is this the most blatant exercise in election stealing in American history?

Seems to me that they are making up rules as they go along, mining the invalid ballots to fet the result they want. After all, this is the same county that miraculously "discovered" 11,000 votes for the Democrat loser to bring the total difference in the vote to just a handful of ballots.





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December 11, 2004

Dem Dictator Seeks City Censorship Of Public Pres Pics

Lancaster is a beautiful town in eastern Pennsylvania, in the heart of Amish country. Its publicly-owned farmer's market dates to the 1730s, and is probably the oldest one continuously operating in the United States. It is also on the front line of the battle for free speech in America.
A Democratic city councilman has demanded that a baker remove photos of President Bush from his stand in Lancaster's venerable farmers market, saying the city needs a "healing period" following the bitterly contested presidential election.

City Councilman Nelson Polite approached David Stoltzfus last month and asked him to remove the pictures. When Stoltzfus refused, Polite vowed to pursue a city ordinance that would ban all political items from public places in the city.

Polite said the photo offended city Democrats.

"I just feel that since it was a close election and the city's so divided, that we should have a healing period," Polite told the New Era of Lancaster on Friday.

George W. Bush

Polite said the photo should come down because "this is a public market" and that the public display of political paraphernalia is inappropriate and divisive.

"Bush didn't win here (in Lancaster City). It is like rubbing salt on a wound," he said.


I am speechless -- which is exactly where a pompous fool like the inappropriately named Polite would have Republicans. So let's let him know -- "Polite"-ly, of course -- what we think of him and his unAmerican attempt to prevent patriotic Americans from displaying pictures of our recently reelected President.

Mr. Nelson M. Polite
politesr14@aol.com

540 North Street
Lancaster, PA 17602
(717) 392-4655
(717) 392-3434 (Fax)





|| Greg, 06:43 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Nice Going, Kid!

A big part of the reason i started this blog is to be able to respond to liberal idiocy and hypocrisy that appears in the press. Dan Schwartz of Plymouth, Minnesota, a student at the University of Minnesota, did me one better -- he actually got printed in the Minneapolis "Red" Star-Tribune, responding to a piece in the paper written by someone named Susan Lenfestey.

I'm particularly fond of this part:

Unfortunately, she leaves out what Democrats take greatest comfort in: Watching Republicans change the world, complaining it was done incorrectly and taking credit for any positive outcomes. That's how the party that ended slavery became labeled anti-minority compared with the Democrats who fought to keep slavery alive, how the party of gay rights told homosexuals in the military it was all right to be gay as long as they kept it a secret, and how liberals have, according to Lenfestey, become the group that will "mourn innocent Iraqis who have been maimed or killed."

Were these liberals mourning Iraqis when Saddam Hussein ignored Iraqi law and endorsed amputations as punishment? Did liberals object when the Baath Party used rape, torture and beheadings for more than a decade to suppress those who spoke unfavorably of them? Did liberals protest the chemical-weapon-based genocide of Iraqi Kurds? No, either they forgot or never cared to begin with.

In the 1998 election year their preoccupation with abortion rights must have made it too difficult to fight for the 7,000 Iraqis killed and 10,000 injured in five days of Saddam's gassing. In 1991, it must have taken too much liberal effort to speak out against corporate oil greed to care about protecting Kuwait.

Nicely done.





|| Greg, 06:06 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (21) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

It's Christmas, So Some Attack Christian Symbols


I can't help but be disturbed by the amount of anti-Christian hate this Christmas season.

No, I'm not talking about the media.

I'm not even talking about the Democrats and the rest of the liberal elite and their compulsive hatred of all things biblical.

I'm talking about these:

Nativity scenes vandalized nationwide.
Jesus statue decapitated.
Statue attacked at LDS Temple.

But since it is only Christians and their faith being attacked, there is no hate crime problem.

When will the authorities pay attention to these hate crimes, and treat them as such?





|| Greg, 07:54 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 06, 2004

Reid Rips Thomas. Ignorance, Racism, Or Both?

On the air over the weekend with Tim Russert, Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following statement about a possible Bush appointment of Clarence Thomas as Chief Justice.
Russert: Why couldn't you accept Clarence Thomas?

Reid: I think that he has been an embarrassment to the Supreme Court. I think that his opinions are poorly written. I don't--I just don't think that he's done a good job as a Supreme Court justice.

Unfortunately, Russert failed to press Reid for an explanation, or an example of the justice's shortcomings. That's too bad, because Clarence Thomas is known for his legal craftsmanship. James Taranto points to Thomas' dissent in the University of Michigan affirmative action case, Grutter v. Bollinger, as among his favorite Thomas opinions. I much prefer his concurring opinion in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, in which he urges a rethinking of the Establishment Clause jurisprudence developed over the last 50 years.

That leaves me asking if Reid's comments were based upon ignorance or racism. Is Reid simply relying on what others have said without doing any investigation of his own, or is the senator simply confident that an African-American lacks the necessities to be a good legal writer?





|| Greg, 07:30 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Ding! Dong! The Witch Is Dead!

Or at least out of a job.
President Bush on Monday moved to replace Mary Frances Berry, the outspoken chairwoman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission who has argued with every president since Jimmy Carter appointed her to the panel a quarter century ago.

The only problem is that she is refusing to leave, despite the fact that her term is over. The matter was settled in court proceedings over her refusal to seat a Bush appointee to an expired term, arguing that the incumbent was entitled to a full term, not just the remainder of her predecessor's, when appointed to finish the term of a deceased member. She wants to hold the job for six more years, since Clinton delayed her appointment until January 21, 1999, to prevent a GOP successor from filling the spot in his first term. But the vacancy began on December 5, 1998, meaning that Berry's term expired over the weekend.

Also replaced was Vice Chairman Cruz Reynoso.


The newly named commissioners are Gerald A. Reynolds, former assistant secretary for the office of civil rights in the Education Department, and attorney Ashley L. Taylor of Richmond, Va. Bush intends to designate Reynolds the commission chairman, succeeding Berry, and to name Abigail Thernstrom, already a commission member, as vice chairperson.

Good job, Mr. President. Now prosecute these miscreants if they attempt to collect a single minute of extra pay.





|| Greg, 07:15 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 05, 2004

French Crisis Solved?

An army of toy soldiers from Toyland have invaded France. The French government has surrendered, ending the crisis reported earlier.

(Hat Tip to David Benzion of Lone Star Times)





|| Greg, 02:59 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

When Will France Surrender?

This just in -- a major crisis exists for the French government.

A French soldier angry about being forced to retire holed himself up in an army depot containing 60 tons of explosives and threatened to blow it up Sunday, officials said. Authorities led an evacuation of hundreds of residents from nearby villages.

***

"He works there, and knows how to set off the explosives which is why we're taking this threat seriously," said army spokesman Col. Patrick Chanliau. "I don't have a list of demands ... but we know he says he cannot stand the mandatory requirement age."

They've already conducted a full-scale retreat away from the perimeter of the base -- French government officials are now debating whether or not French custom requires France to surrender to one of its own soldiers, or must it instead be faced with a foreign invader, such as a troop of Belgian Girl Scouts?





|| Greg, 02:51 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 02, 2004

US Out Of UN? UN Out Of US?

I'm not sure that Edd Hendee ever got answers to his UN questions this morning on KSEV (AM 700), since I arrived at work in the middle of his discussion of the matter. I thought I would contribute what I know, on the chance that he didn't.

The US signed the UN Charter on June 26, 1945, in San Francisco. It was ratified as a treaty on July 28 of the same year. On October 24, 1945, the Charter became effective with its ratification by all five permanent members of the Security Council (US, UK, France, China, USSR) and a majority of the other 48 original signatories.

The House and Senate passed Public Law 80-357 on August 4, 1947. It wrote into law the special status of the UN Headquarters in new York, and authorized the building of the present structure. It also authorized a loan to the UN for construction purposes.

Could the latter agreement be revoked? Yes, but it would only do away with the special diplomatic status of the property, not UN ownership. The loss of that status might be sufficient to make the leadership at the UN decide to leave.

Can we quit the UN? That is a bit harder. The Charter contains no "exit mechanism" that I've found. As a general principle of international law, a treaty with no expiration date is usually aboe to be repudiated with sufficient notice -- generally a year. On the other hand, it might be advantageous to stay, given that our veto power would be lost if we quit and that has often been the only means of protecting the US and Israel from action by the Seciurity Council. Our presence reduces the UN to the status of an infant, impotently thrashing its limbs and loudly squawking, but incapable of effective action.

The US currently pays 22% of the UN budget. Other contributors include Japan (19.63%), Germany (9.82%), France (6.50%), the U.K. (5.57%), Italy (5.09%), Canada (2.57%) and Spain (2.53%). The remaining quarter of the budget is paid by the remaining 190 or so member nations. Interestingly enough, permanent members of the Security Council (with veto power) China and Russia are not major donor nations.






|| Greg, 10:31 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 01, 2004

FDNY Heroism And Sacrifice Continues

You have probably never heard of Christian Engeldrum.

Odds are you have never seen his face.

You might have seen him at the bottom of this ladder at Ground Zero on September 11.

You almost certainly didn't know about this part of his life.

Sgt. Engeldrum died on Monday, November 29, 2004, when his vehicle hit a mine outside of Baghdad. He leaves his wife, Sharon, and two teenage sons, Sean, 18, and Royce, 16. Two other members of his unit were also killed, and sixteen soldiers were seriously wounded, including FDNY firefighter Daniel Swift.

Sharon Engeldrum's widow says her husband was the "ultimate patriot". My words can add nothing to that accolade.





|| Greg, 11:59 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Adoption

Adoption usually isn't a funny topic -- but this piece certainly tickles the ribs. It gives 15 reasons why adoption is preferable to artificial means or reproduction.

A couple of highlights:

13. You can watch your kids develop talents that nobody else in your family has.

14. You can have some fun if your kids don't look like you, or like each other. One foster/adoptive mother of many responds to incredulous inquiries about her "unusual" family by saying: "Yes, they are all mine. They all have different fathers."

Really, folks, think about it. Do you have a place in your heart and home for one -- or more -- kids who really need a loving family? The Loyal Opposition and I are trying to get matters arranged so we can adopt. Why don't you?





|| Greg, 08:30 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Black-Robed Tyrant Overrides Will Of The People

The people of Arizona have spoken. They don't want their tax dollars going to enemy invaders who illegally cross our nation's borders. They said so when they passed Proposition 200 on November 2, which requires state and local government employees to verify the immigration status of people applying for public benefits and report violators of our nation's immigration laws to immigration authorities.

U.S. District Judge David C. Bury has spoken. He doesn't give a rat's ass what the people of Arizona want, and has substituted his will for that of the people. He said that when he issued an order forbidding the implementation of a measure passed by the voters themselves.

"It seems likely that if Proposition 200 were to become law, it would have a dramatic, chilling effect upon undocumented aliens who would otherwise be eligible for public benefits under federal law," Bury wrote.

The thing is that no one is denied benefits by the law. It simply makes it state policy to check the citizenship/immigration status of all applying for programs and allows for the reporting of those in violation of federal law. There is no plausible right to not have one's illegal activity exposed to the authorities, is there?

Also outrageous is this quote from "Latina student" Marabella Ayala, who likely has US citizenship only because of the illegal activities of her parents who are "immigrants of Guerrero state in Mexico":

"We can breathe now. This means a lot. The Hispanic community is devastated because of this."

What needs to happen is that Ms. Ayala and her parents need to be unceremoniously dumped across the Mexican border, where they can file a suit in the Mexican court system demanding that the Mexican government supply the benefits that they tried to steal in the US. The rest of the invaders should scurry home after them. Why? Because the American taxpayer is no longer willing to subsidize their illegal presence in our country.





|| Greg, 07:10 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

No Christians Allowed InHoliday Season Parade

There will be a group honoring gay Native American men and women as holy people.

There will be a group marking the Chinese New Year.

There will be German folk dancers and an "international procession."

Don't forget Santa and the gingerbread house

All varieties of cultural traditions are welcome in Denver's Parade of Lights. Well, almost all.

That's what Pastor George Morrison of Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, Colorado found out. It seems that Christians are not welcome in the city parade -- at least not if they want to have a sign that says "Merry Christmas" or have the choir sing Christmas carols on the float.

According to parade spokesman Michael Krikorian,

"We want to avoid that specific religious message out of respect for other religions in the region. It could be construed as disrespectful to other people who enjoy a parade each year."

Might I suggest, as does Pastor Morrison, that it is highly disrespectful to hold a parade marking the Christmas season and leave out the most important cultural aspect of all? After all, the parade is scheduled when it is to precisely coincide with the Christian holiday. This isn't neutrality towards religion -- it is outright hostility!

And they wonder why the Christian majority in this country feels marginalized.





|| Greg, 06:51 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Only Enforce The Laws They Want?

Congress is currently considering a simple, reasonable, common-sense approach to our ongoing border control and immigration problem. The Clear Law Enforcement For Criminal Alien Removal Act would penalize state and local governments if law enforcement is not authorized to enforce our nation's immigration laws, or if they fail to file appropriate reports regarding suspected immigration violators. The penalties would take the form of reduced federal dollars for state and local law enforcement agencies.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police has come out in opposition to the proposed law.

In a release, the IACP said it took the action, its first-ever position on immigration, after a careful review of the impact that enforcing immigration law could have on state, tribal and local law enforcement and the communities they serve.

Listen up, you doughnut-eating glorified bureaucrats with tin shields. Your job is to enforce the laws. It is not your job to determine what they are, nor is it your place to refuse to enforce the laws you don't like. You may not have heard about the attack on our country in 2001, but the rest of us do remember 9/11. We also remember that most of those involved were here illegally, and that many of them had contact with law enforcement personnel along the way who could have reported or detained them.

If enforcing immigration law to enhance national security is too difficult, I suggest that you apply to work at the local mall, guarding the food court.





|| Greg, 05:42 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||
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