June 30, 2005

We Wouldn't Want Anyone Actually Helped Now, Would We?

I used to be a big fan of Bob Geldof. I liked his music, and I admired his activism on behalf of the poorest of the poor. I didn't always agree with him, but I found what he was doing to be worthy of admiration. That is why I find this decision regarding the (misguided) Live8 concert to be so shocking to the conscience.

Collecting food for the homeless and hungry is taking a back seat to poverty in Africa as organizers for Saturday's Live 8 concert ban charities from collecting donations at the event.

Organizers have said local fundraising could "dilute the focus" of the concerts, which includes encouraging the world's G8 leaders to eliminate the debt currently owed by African countries.

"That decision came right from Sir Bob Geldof, himself," said Live 8 spokeswoman Katherine Holmes, referring to the Irish rocker fronting the Live 8 concerts.

No, we cannot let there be any effort to actually help the homeless and the hungry -- that would imply that individuals and not just governments have a responsibility to take action on their behalf. Not only that, it would detract from the focus -- that you show your caring and concern more by going to a concert than by actually doing something for another human being.

|| Greg, 07:45 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Will The Rapist be Charged?

I understand Planned Parenthood not being charged in this case -- after all, they did the absolute minimum required of them by law. While it might have been desirable for them to take the extra step and actually verify that this little girl had given them the number for a parent rather than the adult who was raping her, such fundamental decency is not required under the law. Instead, they unwittingly facilitated the statutory rape of a 14-year-old.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced today that no criminal charges will be filed against Planned Parenthood over an abortion it performed on a 14-year-old girl on March 30, 2004.

Questions about the legality of the abortion came up after the girl's family filed a lawsuit in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court earlier this year alleging the abortion was performed without parental notification as required by law.

An investigation by Deters' staff found that the girl provided the incorrect phone number for notification. Instead of giving the agency her parent's phone number, she gave officials the telephone number of her 21-year-old boyfriend, the father of her unborn child.

"Apparently they made no effort to confirm to whom they were speaking when they placed their call to notify the parents," Deters said. "They did the minimum they could under the existing law."

Now I am curious about something else, though. Aren't doctors, nuses, and other staff of medical facilities mandatory reporters under the child abuse laws of the state of Ohio? If not, why has this case not produced an outcry from the public toplace upon them the same obligation that teachers and other professionals in a position to become aware of abuse have?

|| Greg, 07:38 PM || Permalink || Comments

Hate Crime?

I've wondered why the two boys (I will not dignify them with the title of "men") in this incident haven't been charged with a hate crime. After all, their crime was based upon antipathy towards the victims based upon their actual or perceived national origin, as indicated by an American flag flying from the front of their homes.

Those guys didn't set fire to flags they owned in some sort of symbolic gesture. They burned flags that were someone else's private property, something with a value to the owners that goes beyond the cost of the cloth.

But far worse than that, some of those flags were on poles attached to the owners' homes.

Burning those flags goes way beyond expressing contempt in a petty-criminal sort of way. It is a chillingly dangerous and invasive act.

That makes this less like stupid kiddie-acting-up-anarchism and way too much like the real thing. It is a serious crime.

It is also just like the Ku Klux Klan burning a cross on someone's lawn to terrorize a family or an entire community. The damage isn't just to the wood, and it isn't a crime because of the symbol that was destroyed. The damage is the fear it creates for people in their own homes.

Aren't we told that the reason for hate crime laws is the impact of the crime that goes beyond the impact on the victim personally? Well, we have that here -- won't folks be afraid to express their pride in their country for fear that some creting is going to use that symbol of pride to burn the house down around their ears?

Or is a hate crime a hate crime only when it is expressing hate against the "right" people?

UPDATE: I had not seen this story when I wrote the above post.

A white teenager was charged with a hate crime Thursday for allegedly beating a black man with a baseball bat in the Howard Beach section of Queens, the site of an infamous racial confrontation two decades ago.

Police said Nicholas Minucci, 19, confessed to the Wednesday attack, which left the victim in critical condition with multiple skull fractures and a bruised kidney.

Minucci was charged with assault as a hate crime punishable by a minimum of eight years in prison as well as robbery and criminal weapon possession. Police also arrested a suspected accomplice, 21-year-old Anthony Ench, who was to be charged Friday with assault as a hate crime, authorities said.

A third companion surrendered to police and was being described as a witness.

Minucci's attorney, Lori Zeno, said the victim, Glenn Moore, 22, had tried to rob Minucci and threatened him with a screwdriver. Police said they did not believe Minucci's account.

Police said Moore and two other black men were walking in Howard Beach early Wednesday when they were attacked by three white men. One of Moore's friends said he was intending to steal a car, but Moore was not aware of the plan, officials said.

Prosecutors said Moore's assailants hurled racial slurs and allegedly told him, "That is what you get when you try to rob white boys."

Hate crime? Possibly -- but there appears that there could be an addiional angle of a possible crime by the victim or the group that he was with. I'll be watching how this plays out in the days and weeks ahead.

But again I'll ask the quyestion -- why is this a hate crime, but acts of arson committed against folks for flying an American flag not a hate crime?

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Man's Skull Fractured in NYC Racial Attack

|| Greg, 07:33 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

June 29, 2005

Election Fraud! Election Fraud!

Oh, wait -- they are only Democrats. It's not as if the convicted vote-cheats are Republican or anything like that.

A federal jury on Wednesday found five East St. Louis Democrats guilty of vote fraud.

The defendants were found guilty on all counts following a four-week trial in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis.

Four of the defendants -- Jessie Lewis, Sheila Thomas, Yvette Johnson and former city official Kelvin Ellis -- were found guilty of conspiracy to commit election fraud and election fraud.

Democratic Party boss and former City Councilman Charlie Powell was found guilty of one county of conspiracy to commit election fraud.

The five were charged with paying voters up to $10 a vote to vote for Democratic candidates during the Nov. 2 general election.

The jury deliberated about five and a half hours before returning the verdicts.

"This is a wake-up call for East St. Louis," said juror LaMont Reed Jr. of East St. Louis. "I've seen this corruption all my life."

Judge G. Patrick Murphy, who presided over the trial, will set a sentencing date later.

Now when will we hear anything about this PROVEN vote fraud from Howard Dean, Michael Moore, MoveOn.Org, or any other members of the liberal cabal?

Will it be "never", or will it be later than that?

|| Greg, 10:41 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments

The Enemies Of All Mankind

Here’s a neat idea for dealing with Osama and every other terrorist on the planet. They are hostis humani generis -- the enemies of all mankind.

TO UNDERSTAND THE POTENTIAL OF DEFINING TERRORISM as a species of piracy, consider the words of the 16th-century jurist Alberico Gentili's De jure belli: "Pirates are common enemies, and they are attacked with impunity by all, because they are without the pale of the law. They are scorners of the law of nations; hence they find no protection in that law." Gentili, and many people who came after him, recognized piracy as a threat, not merely to the state but to the idea of statehood itself. All states were equally obligated to stamp out this menace, whether or not they had been a victim of piracy. This was codified explicitly in the 1856 Declaration of Paris, and it has been reiterated as a guiding principle of piracy law ever since. Ironically, it is the very effectiveness of this criminalization that has marginalized piracy and made it seem an arcane and almost romantic offense. Pirates no longer terrorize the seas because a concerted effort among the European states in the 19th century almost eradicated them. It is just such a concerted effort that all states must now undertake against terrorists, until the crime of terrorism becomes as remote and obsolete as piracy.

What would be the impact of classifying terrorism along with piracy?

If the war on terror becomes akin to war against the pirates, however, the situation would change. First, the crime of terrorism would be defined and proscribed internationally, and terrorists would be properly understood as enemies of all states. This legal status carries significant advantages, chief among them the possibility of universal jurisdiction. Terrorists, as hostis humani generis, could be captured wherever they were found, by anyone who found them. Pirates are currently the only form of criminals subject to this special jurisdiction.

Second, this definition would deter states from harboring terrorists on the grounds that they are "freedom fighters" by providing an objective distinction in law between legitimate insurgency and outright terrorism. This same objective definition could, conversely, also deter states from cracking down on political dissidents as "terrorists," as both Russia and China have done against their dissidents.

Recall the U.N. definition of piracy as acts of "depredation [committed] for private ends." Just as international piracy is viewed as transcending domestic criminal law, so too must the crime of international terrorism be defined as distinct from domestic homicide or, alternately, revolutionary activities. If a group directs its attacks on military or civilian targets within its own state, it may still fall within domestic criminal law. Yet once it directs those attacks on property or civilians belonging to another state, it exceeds both domestic law and the traditional right of self-determination, and becomes akin to a pirate band.

Third, and perhaps most important, nations that now balk at assisting the United States in the war on terror might have fewer reservations if terrorism were defined as an international crime that could be prosecuted before the International Criminal Court.

I encourage you to read the article by Douglas R. Burgess Jr., “The Dread Pirate Bin Laden”. It may come out of the Legal Affairs, but it is incredibly approachable.

|| Greg, 04:45 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Just Say “NO” To Journalistic Privilege

The spectre of the government throwing reporters into jail rightly strikes fear into the hearts of freedom–lovers everywhere. After all, that is one of the hallmarks of a dictatorship. But not every jailing of a journalist is a bad thing – nor does it offend the First Amendment for a reporter to be held to the exact same standards and requirements of every other citizen. A recent USA Today column puts it well.

Another problem is that claims of privilege turn the press into a privileged class. If ordinary people witness a crime, they have to talk about it. If they participate in a crime — say, by receiving classified documents — they have to say where they got them. Journalists want to be treated differently, but the First Amendment doesn't create that sort of privilege. Nor should we.

The author, Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds himself, is precisely right. While the First Amendment clearly protects the right to freedom of the press, that does not create a special privilege for some sanctified class known as “journalists”. Reporters are, in the end, subject to the exact same laws as every other American. What next – a claim for exemption from laws against speeding because they are rushing to cover a breaking story? A total exemption from libel laws on the grounds that the potential liability that arises from inaccurate reports inhibits the reporting of the news?

I can’t help but think back a couple of decades to my college days. The editorial staff of a campus newspaper went out for a night of heavy underage drinking at the local bars. Several of them drank to excess. On their way home, while crossing the railroad tracks, they decided to play chicken with the 11:30 Amtrak. Five jumped – and the chronically-depressed alcoholic who wrote wonderful satires about campus life embraced the train like a long-desired lover. When the police arrived, his five companions refused to give statements to the police – claiming that as journalists it would compromise their ability to cover the death of their colleague, as well as the (never-to-be-written) feature on under-age drinking in local bars. Any other person making such a claim would have been charged with obstruction.

Now the reporters in the Plame case could, of course, make a Constitutional claim to avoid testifying. They could cite their rights under the Fifth Amendment to not incriminate themselves. After all, they are possibly going to have to admit their role in a criminal enterprise. But doing that would require them to concede that they did something wrong, something criminal. They want to avoid doing so at all costs, for that conflicts with their self-images as paladins out to forthrightly expose the truth. But what they are really out to do is cover up the truth for their own personal convenience.

Reynolds also points out the problem with creating a reporter’s privilege.

Many people who support these privileges say that they would be limited to “real” journalists. But who decides when a journalist is real? If the government decides, isn't that like licensing the press, something the First Amendment was designed to prevent? And if journalists decide, isn't that likely to lead to a closed-shop, guild mentality at exactly the moment when citizen journalism by non-professionals is taking off? All sorts of people are reporting news via Web logs and the Internet. Shouldn't they be entitled to the same privilege?

Press freedom is for everyone, not just professionals. James Madison wrote about “freedom in the use of the press,” making clear that the First Amendment is for everyone who publishes, not just members of the professional-media guild.

Do we really want the government determining who is – and who is not – a journalist? Do we really want to give some bureaucrat the power to grant – or deny – a citizen the full rights guaranteed under the “free press” clause of the First Amendment? Because that will be precisely what will happen when government gets to decide that some folks are “journalists” and have greater rights than other citizens. Let's not create a royalty to whom the rules do not apply.

» Watcher of Weasels links with: The Council Has Spoken!
» Right Wing Nut House links with: THE COUNCIL HAS SPOKEN
» Carpe Bonum links with: So delinquent with Watcher posts

|| Greg, 04:43 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments

What? No Torture?

Why isn’t this story getting more play in the mainstream media?

Senators from both sides of the aisle competed on Monday to extol the humane treatment of detainees whom they said they saw on a weekend trip to the military detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. All said they opposed closing the center.

"I feel very good" about the detainees' treatment, Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, said.

That feeling was also expressed by another Democrat, Ben Nelson of Nebraska.
On Monday, Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky, said he learned while visiting Guantánamo that some detainees "even have air-conditioning and semiprivate showers."

Another Republican, Senator Michael D. Crapo of Idaho, said soldiers and sailors at the camp "get more abuse from the detainees than they give to the detainees."

In the last month, several senators, including some Republicans, have suggested that Congress should investigate reports of abuses at the detention center or that the military should close it to remove a blot on the country's image.

Oh, I see – the conclusions reached by the Senators is in direct contradiction to the editorial position of the New York Times and other mainstream media outlets. Therefore it needs to be hidden (like this one, on page A-15) or ignored completely.

But don’t worry – the facts won’t get in the way of Amnesty International and the rest of the rest of the Left making condemnations.

An official of Amnesty International, Jumana Musa, dismissed the visits as "this little Congressional show and tell." Ms. Musa said the statements did not address what she called the inadequate investigation of reported abuses.

"Whether or not people are being fed orange chicken," Ms. Musa said, "does not get at the heart of the issue."

Actually, it does go to the heart of the issue. These terrorist scum are not being abused, tortured, or killed, despite the claims of those who wish to make Gitmo into a gulag or a concentration camp. And the charges are being investigated, as the very report used by Senator Durbin proves.

But when will little things like the truth get in the way of the the Left’s irresponsible charge.

|| Greg, 04:41 PM || Permalink || Comments

“Moonlight” Graham

Those who have watched or read Field of Dreams may remember the character “Moonlight” Graham.

On June 29, 1905, Moonlight Graham -- so nicknamed, some say, because of his insomnia -- made his single major-league appearance.

The North Carolina native played right field for the New York Giants for one or two innings and never got a chance to bat. Seeing his baseball career going nowhere, he quit to become a physician. In 1909 he took a train to Chisholm to answer an ad placed by Rood Hospital.

Moonlight Graham became Doc Graham -- married a local girl who taught at the school, and took care of the town's children for the next four decades or so. No kid who needed medicine, glasses, or a ticket to the ballgame ever went without. The story is beautiful -- and is one of those that makes America great.

As is said by Moonlight Graham in the book -- "Son, if I'd only got to be a doctor for five minutes, now that would have been a tragedy."

» The Education Wonks links with: The Carnival Of Education: Week 22

|| Greg, 04:40 PM || Permalink || Comments


Some folks are just plain sick. I think this qualifies.

A 45-year-old Gardiner, Maine, man was arrested Sunday on criminal trespass charges after a teenage girl found him staring at her from below an outhouse seat, police said.

Police pulled Gary Moody from the waste tank under a log cabin outhouse off the Kancamagus Highway at about 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

"We had to decontaminate him," said Capt. Jon Hebert of the Carroll County Sheriff's Department, adding that firefighters hosed the man down before police handcuffed him.

"We treated him as if he were hazardous material," Hebert said.

Moody, 45, of Nash Road in Gardiner, was arrested Sunday in the area of the Lower Falls off the Kancamagus Highway in the White Mountain National Forest, a popular swimming hole. He was charged with criminal trespass. Police said he may face additional charges.

Sick sick sick sick sick!

|| Greg, 04:38 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments

June 28, 2005

Discourteous Hostage; Considerate Terrorists

Douglas Wood's manners have been called into question.

Apparently the Australian Left is upset because of the ‘boorish” behavior of the recently freed hostage. His offense? Calling the terrorists who held him hostage and executed the Iraqis held with him “assholes”. Or at least that is the view expressed by Andrew Japsan, the editor of The Age, Australia’s most left-wing major newspaper.

Said Jaspan: "I was, I have to say, shocked by Douglas Wood's use of the a---hole word, if I can put it like that, which I just thought was coarse and very ill-thought through and I think demeans the man and is one of the reasons why people are slightly sceptical of his motives and everything else. "The issue really is largely, speaking as I understand it, he was treated well there. He says he was fed every day, and as such to turn around and use that kind of language I think is just insensitive."

You must be kidding. Kidnapped, threatened with death, forced to make a propaganda tape – that constitutes “treated well”?

And Japsan is not alone.

Consider Bob Ellis, who has written speeches and slogans for a collective of Left leaders such as Opposition Leader Kim Beazley, NSW Premier Bob Carr and Greens leader Bob Brown.

Ellis now praises Wood's kidnappers as "honourable men (with) a well-treated captive". Keysar Trad, spokesman for the Mufti, Sheik Taj el-Din el-Hilaly, also agreed Wood had been "well looked after".

The readers of The Age also have a few words to say.

“For those of us on the left, it’s a bummer that he didn’t come out and condemn the war,” wrote internet commentator Shay after Douglas Wood’s rescue. “But just because he’s not of our political persuasion doesn’t mean we should move into attack mode.” Ha! Wood’s fate was sealed as soon as he opted for “God bless America” over the more acceptable “Allah Akbar!” Loathing increased when he sold his story to the Ten Network. “Mercenary to the end,” shrieked one web-based hater. Another seethed: “You are lucky your captors had ethics and did not dispose of you.” The captors, who murdered their Iraqi hostages, had ethics? “Douglas Wood is a disgrace. He should hang his head in shame,” bitched one of many at The Age’s website. “He was profiteering from this wholesale slaughter,” yelped someone who might have been correct had his remark been directed at Saddam Hussein during his oil-for-food orgy with the United Nations. “I think the Woods are stupidly rich and that Douglas is the one who likes being rich best,” announced insightful Mike W. “Was he there helping Iraqis or was he there making money and working for the coalition?” asked Age reader Gregoire, unaware that it’s possible to do both.

And, of course, the real offense of Douglas Wood.

It seems that to a Leftist, this makes Wood the boorish inferior of the killers who beat him and held him captive. It is why journalist Tracee Hutchinson, in an Age column, calls him a "blustering buffoon", moaning: "It was enough that his words God bless America had been played over and over on his release."

Yep, that’s it – he dared to speak well of America. Such words are unacceptable to the Left.

Paging Mr. Rove.

|| Greg, 05:39 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments

Sounds Reasonable To Me

Hopefully we will see more suits of this kind -- and citizen success -- in this post-Kelo world. I mean if the government is going to say that your land is “only” worth $14,000 when it takes it but then turns around and sells it for over four times as much, they clearly were in error on the market value of the property.

In May 2004, the city's Redevelopment Agency, a state-approved board, was granted a court order to employ eminent domain - the government's right to seize property - for Shennett's lot.

Last week, Shennett said he learned for the first time in January that his property had been taken. The city sent him letters in 2004, but Shennett says he never got them.

During a hearing on the matter in Superior Court last week, a judge ruled that Shennett was never properly informed and that the commissioners who approved the $14,730 compensation price for the property must meet again and allow Shennett to get his own appraisal.

The Redevelopment Agency, meanwhile, sold the property to Wayne Asset Management of Kinnelon for $60,000 in December.

Despite the discrepancy in price, which has been a source of contention, the city has the right to pay Shennett less for the property than what it was sold for, said William Ward, a Florham Park attorney with the firm Carlin and Ward, which specializes in eminent domain cases.

The city claims that the difference is due to a zoning change that went through in order to enable the development, and that the law therefore allows it to pay Mr. Shennett the value at the time they seized it from him – prior to its own actions that allowed itself to see a 300% increase in value. In other words, the city artificially kept the value down through zoning. Once it found a buyer for the land, it acted to jack the price up to what the new buyer was willing to pay – and as the owner, it received the benefit of the new market value.

Oh, and did I neglect to include a bit about the developer.

In the meantime, Wayne Asset is building a new house on Shennett's property.

Wayne Asset is run by Wayne Alston, a former city councilman who in 1992 was charged by federal authorities with taking $6,000 in bribes from a city landlord and paying himself $15,000 in bonuses from state funds.

But a mistrial allowed Alston to plead guilty to a lesser charge, and he was sentenced to five months in prison and a year of supervised release

Dirty politician, getting favirs from (and giving them to?) his buddies who are still on the council.


|| Greg, 05:36 PM || Permalink || Comments

Sounds Good, If It Brings Stability

There is continued progress towards the development of a new Iraqi Constitution. Maybe this will be the breakthrough they need to undercut the terrorist "insurgency".

In a meeting with a group of Sunni and Shiite leaders, the cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, outlined a proposal that would scrap the system used in the January election, according to a secular Shiite political leader, Abdul Aziz al-Yasiri, who was at the meeting. The election had a huge turnout by Shiites and Kurds but was mostly boycotted by Sunni Arabs.

Such a change would need to be written into Iraq's new constitution, which parliamentarians are drafting for an Aug. 15 deadline. Although there has been little public talk about what form elections might take under the constitution, Ayatollah Sistani has been highly influential in Iraq's nascent political system.
Under the proposal, voters in national elections would select leaders from each of the 19 provinces instead of choosing from a single country-wide list, as they did in January. The new system would essentially set aside a number of seats for Sunnis roughly proportionate to their numbers in the population, ensuring that no matter how low the Sunni turnout, they would be guaranteed seats.

Now some folks are saying this should have been done from the beginning, and I don’t disagree. Where I do disagree is the notion that it was the fault of the US and the provisional government. Sunnis boycotted the election under threat of terrorism from the so-called insurgents. Their poor showing was therefore their own fault

|| Greg, 05:34 PM || Permalink || Comments

Who Decides?

Edward Whelan makes this observation over at National Review’s “Bench Memos” blog.

Justice Souter and his four colleagues who joined his majority opinion in the Kentucky Ten Commandments case evidently get their understanding of this country from the New York Times op-ed page. Consider this bizarre closing to an argument section that aims to refute Justice Scalia’s dissent:

“[P]ublic discourse at the present time certainly raises no doubt about the value of the interpretative approach invoked for 60 years now. We are centuries away from the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre and the treatment of heretics in early Massachusetts, but the divisiveness of religion in current public life is inescapable. This is no time to deny the prudence of understanding the Establishment Clause to require the Government to stay neutral on religious belief . . . .”

If the Court is going to rest its ruling in part on prudential (i.e., policy) reasons like this, it would be helpful if it would tell us what the dickens its references to “public discourse” and “the divisiveness of religion in current public life” are supposed to mean. Is the Court giving anti-religious forces the equivalent of a heckler’s veto? Or does it seriously believe that we are in even the remotest danger of a modern-day St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre?

Who gets to decide what religious expressions are too divisive to be permitted? Will it be based upon the reasonable judgment of the average citizen? Or will it instead be based upon the wailing and gnashing of teeth of the most overly sensitive religion-haters and member of minority faiths? After all, we have already seen where the so-called “reasonable man” standard was jettisoned in sexual harassment cases in favor of a “reasonable woman” standard – which quickly evolved to be the easily-offended woman standard. Will such notions lead to yet another layer of PC “sensitivity” being imposed in place of the actual, original understanding of the Establishment Clause as it was written by the Framers?

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Court Splits on Ten Commandments Displays

|| Greg, 05:31 PM || Permalink || Comments

I Want To Be Struck Deaf!

Please, dear Lord, anything but having to listen to this!

Tone-deaf AMERICAN IDOL reject WILLIAM HUNG is teaming up with one-hit wonder BILLY RAY CYRUS for a revamped version of the country star's mega-hit ACHY BREAKY HEART.

Novelty hitmaker Hung has recorded a string of summer hits, including Cyrus' classic, for new album MIRACLE: HAPPY SUMMER FROM WILLIAM HUNG.

And Cyrus will even appear in the tongue-in-cheek video.

Hung's new album also features covers of hits like IT'S A MIRACLE, I LOVE LA and SURFIN' USA.

Although in his defense, Billy Ray did have more than one hit. And remains a fan favorite in country music.

|| Greg, 05:29 PM || Permalink || Comments

June 27, 2005

Hutchison For Senate!

In a move that surprised absolutely no one, Kay Bailey Hutchison today announced her intent to run for a third Senate term.

Hutchison's re-election announcement was anticlimactic, coming 10 days after she sent word via a press release on a Friday evening that she wouldn't run against Perry.

About 200 supporters gathered to hear Hutchison speak Monday at an aviation museum next to Love Field. The 61-year-old senator said she wanted to stay in Washington to work on federal issues such as homeland security and tax relief and to move up the Senate GOP leadership ladder.

And Kay has established herself as a serious force in Washington, and can be expected to move up the ladder in Senate leadership. Who knows -- the day might not be far off when she holds one of the higher offices held by a certain former Texas senator named Johnson -- be that Senate Majority Leader, Vice President, or even President.

Hutchison had vowed to serve only two full, six-year terms. She said Monday that she still supports term limits but would not bind herself unless senators from other states also left after two terms.

I agree with Hutchison's reasoning here. It is not good for the state to abide by term limits not accepted by all. Not that I am a term limit fan -- far from it, as I believe them to be antithetical to good government. Just look at cities like Houston, which limit city offeceholders.

Frankly, I find this to be a good thing for Texas, and a better thing for the Texas GOP.

|| Greg, 07:56 PM || Permalink || Comments

Churchill Advocates Fragging

What more need be said about these two quotes from Hate-America-Firster Ward Churchill?

"For those of you who do, as a matter of principle, oppose war in any form, the idea of supporting a conscientious objector who's already been inducted [and] in his combat service in Iraq might have a certain appeal," he said. "But let me ask you this: Would you render the same support to someone who hadn't conscientiously objected, but rather instead rolled a grenade under their line officer in order to neutralize the combat capacity of their unit?"


Later, in a question-and-answer period, Churchill was asked whether the trauma "fragging" inflicts on that officer's family back home should be considered, he responded: "How do you feel about Adolf Eichmann's family?"

At a certain point, doessn't advocacy of a political position cross a line beyond which speech has no protection? And doesn't that "speech beyond the pale" include advocacy of mutiny and murder within the armed forces of the United States?

UPDATE -- The story on WND seems to have been lifted without attribution from the blog "Pirate Ballerina." To download the audio, click here. (Hat Tip -- Lone Star Times)

|| Greg, 03:54 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (7) || Comments

So Much For Tolerance And Diversity

The views of a British Christian group have led to its bank dumping it. The problem – the group’s opposition to homosexuality puts it at odds with the bank’s commitment to “diversity”. There is no room for tolerance of dissenting views.

The Co-operative Bank has asked an evangelical Christian group to close its account because of its anti-homosexual views.

The bank said the opinions of Christian Voice were incompatible with its support for diversity.

Christian Voice said the bank, based in Manchester, was discriminating against it on religious grounds.

It is now waiting for other religious groups with similar opinions to be asked to close accounts, it added.

Christian Voice has held an account with the Co-operative Bank for about three years.

But now the bank has decided the group's stance on homosexuality is so extreme, it has asked members to look for a new bank.

"It has come to the bank's attention that Christian Voice is engaged in discriminatory pronouncements based on the grounds of sexual orientation," a spokesman for the bank said.

"This public stance is incompatible with the position of the Co-operative Bank, which publicly supports diversity and dignity in all its forms for our staff, customers and other stakeholders."

So let’s see if I understand the bank’s position correctly. Diversity is so important that it cannot allow for a diversity of views among its customers. Wouldn’t that mean that the bank does not really value diversity, but instead values homosexuality over Christianity?

|| Greg, 03:52 PM || Permalink || Comments

June 26, 2005

Watcher's Council Results

Tthe winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Beautiful Indifference by Dr. Sanity, and Kos Says U.S. Torture 'Equal' To that of Saddam Hussein (A Comparison) by The Jawa Report. Congratulations to the winners and all participants.

|| Greg, 09:53 PM || Permalink || Comments

Liberal Race-Baiting Never Out Of Style

Newsday columnist Less Brains Les Payne wrote one of the more outrageous pieces of race-baiting hate-mongery that I've ever encountered. And to do it, he has to tarnish a victory for racial justice over the hatred of the KKK.

The conviction of the 80-year-old Mississippi racist for a 41-year-old murder reminds us that the new Republican Party, the GOP that gave us Nixon, Ford and Reagan, Bush 41 and his unspeakable son, rode into power on the backs of the Ku Klux Klan.

This triple murder in June 1964, to sum up for the attention-deficient, hastened the passing of the first Civil Rights Act in July of the same year. By promising blacks the vote, this act stampeded white Southerners into the arms of the national GOP and provided the margin needed to dominate Congress and the White House. These party-switchers would, of course, demand their pound of flesh and along the way, pay homage to the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan who made it all possible.

The Civil Rights Act was first introduced by President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated before its enactment. This historic reform prescribed the initiation of equal rights for blacks in voting, education, public accommodations, union membership and in federally assisted programs. Passage of the law fell to President Lyndon B. Johnson, who was a protege of Sen. Richard Russell of Georgia, who led the filibuster against it, declaring: "We will resist to the bitter end any measure ...which would ... bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our states."

After signing the bill into law, Johnson reportedly told close associates that "I am afraid we have lost the South for a hundred years."

Payne, of course, forgets the minor detail that the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act passed precisely because the GOP threw its weight behind the laws that brought about equality for blacks, while the Democrats took the credit for the passage of the legislation that its own Klan-ridden party could never have passed alone. Furthermore, he fails to acknowledge that those who came over to the GOP at the time left behind an equal number of colleagues who continued to oppose civil rights from inside the Democrat party, while the GOP remained a fundamentally pro-civil rights party -- as it is to this day.

Payne also fails to not ethat the only member of Congress with a history of KKK involvement is Democrat Senator Robert Byrd, a Klan organizer, recruiter, and supporter. The "Conscience of the Senate's" recent autobiography still fails to deal forthrightly with facts that are on the historical record regarding his relationship with the KKK years after he quit. On the other hand, whenever a Klansman pokes his head above the hedges in the GOP, he is quickly repudiated by the party -- as can be seen with the GOP response to David Duke. But somehow it is the GOP, in Payne's view, that pays homage to the Klan.

So what has the recent conviction of Klansman Edgar Ray Killen in Philadelphia, Miss., to do with the modern GOP? More than the party would openly admit.

The white South as a touchstone for success has not been lost on the GOP. It was no accident that Ronald Reagan launched his 1980 presidential campaign by trekking to Philadelphia in search of symbol and Mississippi blessings. It was at this terrible place, so sacred then to Cowboy Reagan, that, on the night of June 21, 1964, the Klan abducted and murdered Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner.

Actually, I'll argue it is very much an accident that the campaign began in that place. I've read the transcript of that day's speech (I cannot find it on the web, though) -- it doesn't speak to issues of race or civil rights at all. Here is a key chunk of it, the section that uses the dreaded term "states rights".

What we have to do is bring back the recognition that the people of this country can solve its problems. I still believe the answer to any problem lies with the people. I believe in state's rights and I believe in people doing as much as they can for themselves at the community level and at the private level. I believe we have distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended to be given in the Constitution to that federal establishment.

As you can see, this is not an appeal to themes of race and racism, but rather to the hallmark of Reagan's campaign -- reducing governemnt and decentralizing federal power. Those are themes that resonated tehn and resonate now, but which are clearly race neutral. And while folks like Payne make much of the Philadelphia speech, they do not often have the integrity to mention that the next speech he gave was one devoted to the traditional Republican theme of support for civil rights -- at the convention of the National Urban League.

Les Payne wants to paint every southern Republican -- including those of us transplanted here from northern locales -- as unreconstructed Confederates, night-riding Klansmen, and black-hating Dixiecrats. He is wrong, for the GOP continues to support the principles of equal opportunity that have always animated it. What his column does show is that he is animated with the very racial bias that he thinks propels us.

|| Greg, 09:22 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments

I Wonder If He Would Consider Marketing These As Trading Cards?

Will Franklin over at WILLisms has put together a photographic display of notable quotes from our favorite Democrats. Drop in for a quick look.

|| Greg, 11:02 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments

An Interesting Take On Flag Burning

I don't like the proposed amendment to ban flag desecration, and I oppose it. To some that makes me a ahte-America-first-liberal sort of guy -- but that isn't it at all, as many of you have read my condemnations of the America-hating Left (and Right) over the last year. Rather, I am concerned about what will be held to constitute desecration (how about a flag patch on the seat of a pair of pants, or anywhere on Michael moore's body?), and the fact that other much more powerful symbols of this country (the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence) are not covered. And yes, I am concerned about the slippery slope that will exist (not might -- will) if we start tinkering with the bedrock principles of the First Amendment -- heck, it is already hard enough to get Congress and the courts to respect them as it is, as we have seen in cases permitting the regulation of political speech in the name of "campaign finance reform".

Mark Steyn, though, has an interesting take on the matter.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "An Interesting Take On Flag Burning" »

|| Greg, 10:51 AM || Permalink || Comments

Kelo Strikes In Texas

Looks like at least one Texas town had a vested interest in Kelo coming out as it did -- and is wasting no time to make its move to seize the property of two businesses in order to give to another, all in the name of economic development.

With Thursday's Supreme Court decision, Freeport officials instructed attorneys to begin preparing legal documents to seize three pieces of waterfront property along the Old Brazos River from two seafood companies for construction of an $8 million private boat marina.

The court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that cities may bulldoze people's homes or businesses to make way for shopping malls or other private development. The decision gives local governments broad power to seize private property to generate tax revenue.

"This is the last little piece of the puzzle to put the project together," Freeport Mayor Jim Phillips said of the project designed to inject new life in the Brazoria County city's depressed downtown area.

Over the years, Freeport's lack of commercial and retail businesses has meant many of its 13,500 residents travel to neighboring Lake Jackson, which started as a planned community in 1943, to spend money. But the city is hopeful the marina will spawn new economic growth.

"This will be the engine that will drive redevelopment in the city," City Manager Ron Bottoms said.

Lee Cameron, director of the city's Economic Development Corp., said the marina is expected to attract $60 million worth of hotels, restaurants and retail establishments to the city's downtown area and create 150 to 250 jobs. He said three hotels, two of which have "high interest," have contacted the city about building near the marina.

"It's all dependent on the marina," Cameron said. "Without the marina, (the hotels) aren't interested. With the marina, (the hotels) think it's a home run."

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Kelo Strikes In Texas" »

|| Greg, 10:01 AM || Permalink || Comments

June 25, 2005

More Kelo Info

Over at, Alex Jones has the truly horrific details of the abuse perpetrated by New London officials against those residents whose attempts retain their own property were rebuffed by the liberal majority of the Supreme Court yesterday.

These include;

- An insulting offer of $60,000 from the government on a home worth $215,000.

- Unannounced visits to Cristofaro's elderly parent's home demanding they sign a contract to hand over their property.

- Intimidating and harassing phone calls at all hours of the day.

- Parking bulldozers and wrecking balls outside the houses pointing at the property with threats of "your house is next."

- Revving the engines of the bulldozers outside the houses in the early morning hours of the morning.

- Cristofaro's mother becoming distraught and suffering a heart attack after being served with condemnation papers that said she no longer owned her property and had ninety days to leave.

- A death bed plea from a 93-year-old resident begging "what about my house, what about my house?" The man had been living in his home for 80 years. The contractors would park construction vehicles on his property, make his house literally shake and would, Waco-style, shine bright floodlights into his home as his blind wife cowered in fear.

- A threat to charge residents back rent if they lost the case, effectively meaning the homeowners will have to pay the city to be kicked out of their own homes. One resident, William von Winkle, would owe the city $200,000 in back rent.

- When the Supreme Court decision was made on Thursday, the city had police cruisers and a fire truck casing the neighborhood because they feared the residents would riot. "What were they planning on doing? Hosing us down?" stated Cristofaro.

- Real Estate agents paid by the government to force residents to sign contracts to hand over their homes were on an $8,000 commission to get the signatures by any means possible.

- William von Winkle's apartment tenants were forcibly evicted and locked out from their homes in the early morning hours during winter with snow on the ground, before the city even owned the property. Von Winkle had to break back into his own apartment block to prevent his tenants from freezing to death.

In other words, "We made you an offer -- you cannot refuse."

(Via Random & Politically Incorrect Thoughts!

|| Greg, 12:22 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments

Eminent Domain -- Even When Legitimate, Government Needn't Be Fair

All the discussion of the Kelo case has put me in mind of a use of eminent domain down here in Houston that led to the demise of an internationally known store that was over 130-years-old. Now please note that this is a "pure" eminent domain case, dealing with highway expansion that is a true "public use". But the effects were just as devastating, because the deck was stacked and the state held all the cards.

Western-style clothier Stelzig of Texas has possessed the grit of an Alamo defender for more than 130 years, withstanding floods, the Great Depression, recessions and even a bit of cowboy backlash.

By the end of this year, though, the country's oldest Western store could ride off into the sunset, shutting its doors for good. It's a case of Houston's massive highway system gobbling up the retail landscape.

The state acquired the company's land via eminent domain for the West Loop construction project, but the settlement amount for the property is still in dispute. A panel of special commissioners, which sets the amount, ruled in July that the Stelzigs should be paid more than $4.7 million. The state is contesting that ruling.

Until the store gets that money in hand, owners say, they can't buy new property for relocation or build a new store . The state says they must vacate by Dec. 31.

Hardly a storybook ending for a family-owned business spanning five generations, serving everyone from foreign dignitaries to American presidents, oil barons and pop icons to your everyday urban cowboy.

Leo Stelzig Jr. said he thought he found a permanent home for the business his grandfather founded when it relocated to the Galleria-area location from downtown about 18 years ago.

"Then the state comes along and says they're taking it," Stelzig said. "It's not a choice. That puts you in the position where you have to vamonos. And that's terrible."

The odds of the store reopening in the future are remote. "It's pretty slim," Stelzig said. "When you liquidate inventory, furniture and fixtures, that's pretty tough."

"We don't want to quit doing business," his daughter, Frances Stelzig-Butler, chimed in.

The Stelzig property is needed for the $80.97 million road reconstruction project. The contract was awarded by the Texas Department of Transportation in July and work is scheduled to begin in January, says Janelle Gbur, spokeswoman for TxDOT.

Yeah, that's right -- the state didn't like what its own panel decided, so they took the matter to court, which meant that the family got nothing while the state got immediate possession of the property. I've never seen any resolution to the case, so I can only presume that the family is still waiting to be paid for land over which thhousands drive daily.

No doubt we will see plenty of this as communities engage in eminent domain for economic development -- "Take this low-ball offer or we will take the house with no compensation while we tie the matter up in court for the next few years." With a home being the major investment of most Americans, and a small business being the sole source of income for many an entrepreneur, what choice will the victims have? Can you afford to wait for two or three or five years, paying a lawyer and a new mortgage, while a judge or jury decide what you should be paid for a major asset that the government has already confiscated and is already using? Can you afford to wait out the appeals process if you or the state are still not satisfied? I know I can't, and I suspect the same is true of most Americans.

Now there is a mini-happy-ending to this story, but one which strikes me as bittersweet. Stelzig of Texas did get a resurrection of sorts this past year -- as part of a shop at Bush Intercontinental Airport. But gone are the days when it was a thriving business that had customers from around the world and a distinguished place in the fashion world.

|| Greg, 12:06 AM || Permalink

June 24, 2005

Whither Free Speech And Free Religion?

I’ve been saying for some time that the excesses taking place in Canada and other foreign environs could eventually reach to within America’s borders. I just didn’t expect it to come so soon.

Is there no longer a right for employees to engage in Constitutionally protected speech about their religious beliefs on their own time? Doesn’t firing them for such activity constitute discrimination based upon such speech constitute employment discrimination based upon religion, which is banned by the statute by the federal government and all fifty states? Or does the judicially-discovered right to sodomy override those guaranteed by the Bill of Rights?

An employee of the Allstate insurance company has been fired from his job for comments that appeared in a men’s journal denouncing same-sex “marriage,” even though the statement was penned in the employee’s own spare time and from home.

“I explained to Allstate that the article was a reflection of my personal Christian beliefs, and that I had every right to both write it and to have it published,” J. Matt Barber told WorldNetDaily news. “I further explained that I had written the article while at home on my own time, that I never mentioned Allstate's name and that I neither directly nor indirectly suggested that Allstate shared my Christian beliefs or my views on same-sex marriage.”

Allstate made no attempt to hide its bigotry. According to its report, “The claimant was discharged from Allstate Insurance Company because an outside organization had complained about an article he had written while on his own time.” The company even tried to have Barber denied unemployment insurance, which can be withheld if a person was fired for a violation of company policy or rules.

Now what awful things had Barber written in the article to which the online publication appended a biography identifying his employer without his knowledge? What evil, hateful, discriminatory words had he caused to be published? How had he engaged in misconduct so grave that Allstate sought to have him denied unemployment benefits mere weeks after the birth of a child following a difficult high-risk pregnancy? Well, take a look.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Whither Free Speech And Free Religion?" »

|| Greg, 06:48 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments

MoveOn.Org Blamed America First

Will Democrats and other leftists deny the accuracy of Karl Rove’s words as applied to MoveOn.Org and its ilk?

The story began with a man who has received little attention in the controversy, a young film student named David Pickering. Visiting his parents' home in Brooklyn on September 11, 2001, Pickering immediately began to worry about the consequences of U.S. retaliation for the terrorist attacks. "It was this incredible moment in which all doors were opened and the world was seeming to come together," Pickering told me in an interview for my book, The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy. "I had this feeling that it would be a shame if that were spoiled by a spirit of vengeance."

The next day, September 12, Pickering wrote a petition calling on President Bush to use "moderation and restraint" in responding to 9/11 and "to use, wherever possible, international judicial institutions and international human rights law to bring to justice those responsible for the attacks, rather than the instruments of war, violence or destruction."

At the same time, Pariser, who had graduated from college the year before and was working at a liberal nonprofit organization in Massachusetts, was writing a similar petition, which he put on a website he created called Pariser noticed Pickering's work and e-mailed him to suggest that they merge their sites. Pickering agreed, and featured a petition which read:
We implore the powers that be to use, wherever possible, international judicial institutions and international human rights law to bring to justice those responsible for the attacks, rather than the instruments of war, violence or destruction. Furthermore, we assert that the government of a nation must be presumed separate and distinct from any terrorist group that may operate within its borders, and therefore cannot be held unduly accountable for the latter's crimes. . .

Meanwhile, across the country in Berkeley, California, MoveOn founders Wes Boyd and Joan Blades were writing an anti-war petition of their own. Entitled "Justice, not Terror," it read, in full: "Our leaders are under tremendous pressure to act in the aftermath of the terrible events of Sept. 11th. We the undersigned support justice, not escalating violence, which would only play into the terrorists' hands."

As they staked out their own anti-war position, Blades and Boyd were also following the progress of In a September 2004 interview for The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy, I asked Blades how she had come to know Pariser. "It was after 9/11," she told me. "He put out a message similar in results to the one we had, basically an e-mail petition asking for restraint. It went viral on an international scale. . . . Eli's petition grew to half a million in half a week. Peter [Schurman, the executive director of MoveOn] contacted him because he figured he probably needed some help. We did provide him with some assistance, and we started working together on other issues and eventually merged." In the end, their shared opposition to U.S.-military retaliation for the September 11 attacks brought Pariser and MoveOn together. (For his part, David Pickering moved to Paris to attend film school.)

Critics have suggested that at the very least, Rove's "liberals" charge was overbroad. That's a fair criticism. But as far as MoveOn is concerned, Rove's words were accurate and fair.

The shoe fits – wear it.

|| Greg, 06:44 PM || Permalink || Comments

Ground Zero Desecration

Here’s who they want to run the museum at Ground Zero.

A museum that is set to rise above the hallowed soil of Ground Zero has showcased art that the families of 9/11 victims are denouncing as offensive, anti-American - and a slap in the face of nearly 3,000 dead innocents. The Drawing Center, a little-known cultural group in SoHo, has mounted works linking President Bush to Osama Bin Laden and showing a hooded victim of U.S. abuse at Abu Ghraib prison.

The storefront museum currently features a "pseudo-didactic PowerPoint presentation on the Axis of Evil" that appears to mock Bush's famous description of Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

Previous exhibits include a drawing of four airplanes swooping menacingly out of the sky - one of which is flying directly at a naked woman lying on her back, legs spread-eagled. The acrylic image is titled "Homeland Security."

What do the families of those who died in the 9/11 attack on our country have to say?

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Ground Zero Desecration" »

|| Greg, 06:42 PM || Permalink || Comments

"Nor Shall Private Property Be Taken For Public Use, Without Just Compensation."

I’ve read a lot of great stuff on the Kelo decision, which effectively gutted the above clause of the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution. The best analysis seems to be that of Professor Stephen Bainbridge.

Unfortunately, the requirement to pay fair market value is a grossly inadequate safeguard on government power for two reasons. First, it fails to take into account the subjective valuations placed on the New London property by people whose families have lived on the land, in at least one case, for a 100 years. In other words, the government now will be able to seize land at a price considerably below the reservation price of the owners. Indeed, as Will Collier explained:
"... the price even a willing seller would be able to get from his property just took a huge hit. All a developer has to do now is make a lowball offer and threaten to involve a bought-and-paid-for politician to take the property away if the owner doesn't acquiesce."
Second, unlike the prototypical eminent domain case, in which the land is seized to build, say, a school or road, in this case the city is using eminent domain to seize property that will then be turned over to a private developer. If this new development increases the value of the property, all of that value will be captured by the new owner, rather than the forced sellers. As a result, the city will have made itself richer (through higher taxes), and the developer richer, while leaving the forced sellers poorer in both subjective and objective senses. Justice O'Connor's dissent makes the point eloquently:
"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random." "The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."
After news of Napoleon's victory in the Battle of Austerlitz was conveyed to British Prime Minister William Pitt, Pitt pointed to a map of Europe and said: "Roll up the map; it will not be wanted these ten years." In light of the Supreme Court's decision to side with New London, we might just as well roll up the Takings Clause of the Bill of Rights, because we won't need it any longer.

Indeed, not only have the justices declared that we do not need the Takings Clause any longer, but they have indeed taken it, eviscerated it, and left its carcass to rot in the sun, for we have now seen the principle of eminent domain expanded far beyond the concept of public use and the revitalization of truly blighted and decayed areas to include the destruction of viable middle class communities.

UPDATE -- Great blog with a good proposed constitutional amendment.

|| Greg, 06:39 PM || Permalink || Comments

NY Times – “Screw The Little Guy”

How else can you interpret this conclusion from today’s editorial on the Kelo case?

Connecticut is a rich state with poor cities, which must do everything they can to attract business and industry. New London's development plan may hurt a few small property owners, who will, in any case, be fully compensated. But many more residents are likely to benefit if the city can shore up its tax base and attract badly needed jobs.

In other words, property rights be damned – be happy the government is giving you anything when they throw you out of your home for the benefit of someone else.

UPDATE: I had no idea how right I was when I wrote this -- the NY Times itself has screwed the little guy in an "eminent domain for economic development case" that allowed it to get the land for its new headquarters from an unwilling seller. And they updated the original editorial surreptitiously to include an acknowledgement of this fact in the editorial after it was published. Good going to Lawroark at Protect Homes, Not Flags.

|| Greg, 06:39 PM || Permalink || Comments

Terror Manuals Discovered

But no doubt Dick Durbin and the rest of the Left will be glad to explain to us that these exist because we have failed to keep the cells at Gitmo appropriately climate-controlled.

US Marines have found manuals on taking hostages and decapitation during a raid on a guerrilla hideout in the Iraqi village of Karabla, near the town of Qaim, close to the Syrian border. The Arab newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports that in the hideaway the troops also found several hostages who were being held there by Islamic militants. The hiding place was being used as a centre for the interrogation and torture of hostages, and contained electrodes and other instruments of torture.

The manuals found were used as Jihad (Holy War) handbooks. The first was titled: "How to choose the best hostage", the second covered decapitation and was called: "Rules for cutting off the heads of infidels", and the third manual, "principles of the philosophy of the Jihad", was more theoretical.

The three documents, the last of which is 574 pages long, carry the name Abdel Rahman al-Aliya, which the newspaper says is probably a cover name to hide the identity of the real author. The hideout - in the volatile western Anbar province which has been the scene of fierce fighting between insurgents and the US-led forces - is believed to have been used by the group led by the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He is credited with introducing the practice of decapitation to the activities of the Jihadist movement.

I’m curious – what is the position of Amnesty International and the International Red Cross on this?

|| Greg, 06:31 PM || Permalink || Comments

Dean Lies – Democracy Dies

Howard Dean lied about the contents of his party’s report on the Ohio election this past year. Who says so? One of the authors, and the Democrat official in charge of election in one of the counties he cited as proof of intent to suppress minority voter turnout.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean tried to claim that the report nonetheless backed up charges that there was widespread "voter suppression" in Ohio involving long lines at polls due to a misallocation of voting machines and unlawful voter identification requirements.

Mr. Dean also indicated that the report backed up his belief that Republicans actively worked to suppress black voter turnout. "It's been widely reported over the past several years that Republicans do target African-Americans for voter suppression," he told reporters. "It's very clear here while there was no massive vote fraud, and I concur with the conclusion -- it's also clear that there was massive voter suppression."

But Mr. Dean's statement landed him in hot water when a scholar involved in writing the DNC report, Cornell University Professor Walter Mebane Jr., explained to the media that while the report had found numerous irregularities, it could not determine whether there was any partisan intent behind them. He also noted that county election boards in Ohio, which determine the distribution of voting machines, are bipartisan. Mr. Dean then had to return to the microphones to revise his remarks: "While we certainly couldn't draw a proven conclusion that this was willful, it certainly has the appearance of impropriety."

But William Anthony, a Democrat who is chairman of the Franklin County Democratic Party in Ohio's capital of Columbus, rejects any suggestion of voter suppression. "Most of the precincts that stayed open late because of long lines were in the suburbs," he told the Columbus Dispatch last November. Mr. Anthony, who is also chair of the Franklin County elections board, acknowledged that the high turnout and a ballot that involved more than 100 choices for some voters did create lines, but added that he was offended by allegations from "a band of conspiracy theorists" that voter suppression had occurred. "I am a black man. Why would I sit there and disenfranchise voters in my own community?" That, in turn, raises the question: Why do Democrats like Mr. Dean persist in inciting racial tensions with wildly exaggerated claims that black voters are being disenfranchised?

Howard Dean – do you not realize that every time you and your fellow Democrats lie about voter fraud and vote suppression, you undermine the public’s confidence in the electoral system of this country? Do you not realize that doing so will serve to further alienate voters from the process? And do you not realize that, in the end, your partisan falsehoods will undermine support for the government of our country? I will ask the question, sir – why do you hate America?

|| Greg, 06:29 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments

June 23, 2005

The Death Of A Hero

America lost a true hero this week, former Marine Corps Commandant and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Gen. Louis H. Wilson. He passed away at age 85 at his home near Birmingham, Alabama.

Retired Gen. Louis H. Wilson, a Medal of Honor winner and former commandant of the Marine Corps, has died. He was 85.

Wilson, who had battled a degenerative disorder of the nervous system for several years, died Tuesday at his home in the Birmingham suburb of Homewood, said his daughter, Janet Taylor of Vestavia Hills.

Wilson was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in the South Pacific during World War II. According to the award citation, he organized night defenses throughout continuous enemy fire and, though wounded three times, coordinated hand-to-hand fighting for 10 hours to hold his unit's position.

He later became the Marine Corps' 26th commandant, holding the position from 1975 to 1979.

"The members of the Howlin' Mad Smith Detachment of the Marine Corps League join our fellow Marines around the world in mourning the passing of Gen. Wilson," said Bob Arnwine, commander of the Birmingham unit. "His leadership, courage and valor will forever be a part of the legacy of our Corps."

A native of Brandon, Miss., Wilson moved to Alabama from California in 2000 to be near his daughter.

Wilson is also survived by his wife, Jane.

Taylor said Wilson will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

God bless you, sir, for your service to this country. may you fine eternal rest in God's presence, surrounded by your beloved comrades.

|| Greg, 09:12 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments

SCOTUS: Your Property Is Not Your Own

Well, that isn’t precisely what they said. A more accurate summary would be “Your property is not your own if the government wants it for any reasonincluding to give it to someone else.”

A divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses against their will for private development in a decision anxiously awaited in communities where economic growth often is at war with individual property rights.

The 5-4 ruling - assailed by dissenting Justice Sandra Day O'Connor as handing "disproportionate influence and power" to the well-heeled in America - was a defeat for some Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They had argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas.

As a result, cities now have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes in order to generate tax revenue.

Imagine that – these poor dumb citizens believed that they had the right to decide when and if they would sell their homes and property to private developers, and at what price.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "SCOTUS: Your Property Is Not Your Own" »

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|| Greg, 05:47 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments

Terrorist Bitch Seeks To Destroy Hospital, Kids

The evil sought by Wafa al-Biri is impossible for me to understand.

Only two months ago, her family wrote to Sorooka Hospital in Beersheba, Israel, to thank them for the fine care she received after being burned in a gas stove explosion. She had an appointment on Monday morning, but didn’t make it.

Thank God.

But Wafa didn't arrive for Monday's 8 a.m. appointment. "I didn't think much about it. I just marked her as one of the people who didn't show up," Krieger said.

Wafa had begun the journey to her appointment with Krieger, arriving at the Erez border crossing from Gaza into Israel around 5:30 a.m., armed with a letter detailing her appointment and her official permission to cross into Israel for humanitarian reasons.

But that wasn't all the young woman was armed with. She carried a 20-pound bomb inside her underwear. Her target was the outpatient clinic of Soroka hospital and, inevitably, the doctor who saved her life.

She told IDF interviewers that she also wanted to take out 30 to 50 Jews, including children.

And some people believe that this kind of animal should be rewarded with an independent country which will forever threaten the lives of every Israeli? That must be a sick joke, right?

|| Greg, 05:42 PM || Permalink || Comments

Are Honor Killings Next?

We’ve all read about honor killings in Muslim countries – the murder of women whose behavior is considered “unchaste” by their families. Causes range from being sexually assaulted to being alone in a room with an unrelated male, as well as actual morally questionable actions like the commission of fornication and adultery – acts which still do not merit murder.

And now we are headed that way in the United States if we do not clamp down on such quaint socio-religious customs among Muslims in this country. Take this as an example.

The Oakland County Prosecutor's Office on Thursday will attempt to permanently end the parental rights of a Madison Heights couple who police say neglected to seek medical help for their daughter after her older brother allegedly beat her over her relationship with a non-Muslim boy.

The 15-year-old girl, who is a Madison Heights Lamphere High junior, suffered a broken back in the beating, according to court documents. The trial to determine whether parental custody rights should be terminated is set for Thursday before Oakland Circuit Judge Joan Young.

The girl's brother, Ahmad Abdelmomen, 21, is charged with aggravated assault in the April 29 incident at their home in Madison Heights. Abdelmomen is free on bond pending a July 13 preliminary hearing before Madison Heights 43rd District Judge Robert J. Turner.

"She complained of the injury to her parents, but they didn't take her to a doctor because they condoned the punishment her brother gave her," said Robert Zivian, an assistant Oakland County prosecuting attorney assigned to the neglect case.

The following day, when the girl was still complaining of injuries, her parents called for an ambulance, according to Madison Heights Police Detective Sgt. Ron Hillman.

"She was in a lot of pain, and when she eventually went back to school, it was in a wheelchair," Hillman said. "It was too painful for her to stand for any period of time."

The girl initially told hospital workers she fell, Hillman said. After being questioned by police, she admitted that her brother had beaten her because he was upset over her relationship with a boy who was not of their religious faith, Hillman said.

"She wrote me a two-page statement about how both her brother and her parents disapproved of the situation," he said. "She wrote that's what prompted the beating in the first place."

The girl was placed in temporary foster care following the incident, Zivian said.
"Now she is recanting the original story and also claiming she fell down some stairs," Zivian said.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Are Honor Killings Next?" »

|| Greg, 05:40 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments

Rove Right

Karl Rove nailed the difference between liberals and conservatives in the speech he gave at a fundraiser last night.

"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," Mr. Rove, the senior political adviser to President Bush, said at a fund-raiser in Midtown for the Conservative Party of New York State. Citing calls by progressive groups to respond carefully to the attacks, Mr. Rove said to the applause of several hundred audience members, "I don't know about you, but moderation and restraint is not what I felt when I watched the twin towers crumble to the ground, a side of the Pentagon destroyed, and almost 3,000 of our fellow citizens perish in flames and rubble."

The liberals, of course, are angry and demanding an apology.

Told of Mr. Rove's remarks, Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, replied: "In New York, where everyone unified after 9/11, the last thing we need is somebody who seeks to divide us for political purposes."

The Democrats are demanding a retraction, and are calling on the President to repudiate the comments. Strange, coming from the party that won’t repudiate Dick Durbin for comparing American soldiers to the agents of the most murderous regimes of the twentieth century. But given the continuous assaults on the President and his policies towards the forces of terrorism, I don’t see Rove’s comments as terribly inaccurate, despite what I will admit was a commendable and uncharacteristic pro-American stance in the short-term after 9/11.

And don’t forget who the dividers have been in recent American politics, as collected by the RNC in a new commercial.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Rove Right" »

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Dems Say Rove Should Apologize or Resign

|| Greg, 05:38 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments

Anglicans Expel US & Canadian Churches

Looks like the only Anglicans left on this continent might be the traditionalists.

Unconvinced by the justifications offered by both churches on Tuesday for ordaining an openly homosexual bishop and authorising same-sex blessings, members of the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Nottingham asked them to leave the council and its central finance and standing committees. Although the motion invites the churches to withdraw voluntarily, it amounts in effect to expulsion. The debate was held behind closed doors at Nottingham University, and the motion was passed 30 to 28 by secret ballot, with four abstentions. The Anglican Consultative Council is one of the four "instruments of unity", of the worldwide church, but it is the only one with a legal constitution. Based in Britain, it is in effect the church's central administrative body.

Ultimately, it comes down to a simple question – will the Bible or the latest social science article be binding on matters of faith and morals.

|| Greg, 05:36 PM || Permalink || Comments

Klan Kover-up

The Washington Post recently expressed surprise that the white-sheeted history of Robert Byrd didn’t hinder his political career and public image. Could it simply be that it has been ignored for years by the mainstream press?

Sunday’s article, based in part on the senator’s new autobiography, details how in the early 1940s Byrd started a chapter of the Klan in Crab Orchard, W.Va., recruited members, appealed to the KKK’s national leadership and became the local “exalted cyclops.”

The story details how Byrd remained active in the Klan for longer than he has ever acknowledged and how, in 1945, he wrote a letter saying that he would rather die than see the United States “degraded by race mongrels.”

It was strong stuff. But surely nothing new, right? Surely the Post has covered that territory many times before, right? After all, Byrd has been in the Senate since 1959.

Well, actually, not. A review of the paper’s coverage of Byrd reveals that, on the whole, the Post has been extraordinarily reluctant to investigate — or even criticize — the Democratic leader’s Klan history.

According to a search of the Nexis database, since 1977, 32 stories in the Post used Byrd’s name and the words “Klan” or “KKK.”

Three of them were letters to the editor. One was a book review. A few were stories in which Byrd’s name and “Klan” or “KKK” appeared but were not related.

Such a lack of coverage by the capital’s paper of record could certainly be the explanation.

|| Greg, 05:34 PM || Permalink || Comments

Raise Your Right Hand And Swear

An issue has been raised in the state of North Carolina about the use of religious texts for swearing in witnesses in courtrooms. It seems that often the only option available is the Bible, which creates a conundrum for those individuals whose faith does not recognize that book, While they could simply make a general affirmation of truthfulness without the book, Muslims are now asking to be permitted to use the Quran for taking the oath.

"There is no (statewide) policy ... and there is no particular plan in place to write a policy," said Dick Ellis, spokesman for the Administrative Office of the Courts. "We haven't gotten to the point yet that something has to be done."

Judges in Guilford County told a Greensboro Islamic center last week that they would not allow people to be sworn in with a Quran rather than a Bible.

In response, the Washington-based Council on Amerian-Islamic Relations asked Tuesday for a statewide policy allowing oaths to be taken on the Quran.

"Eliminating the opportunity to swear an oath on one's own holy text may also have the effect of diminishing the credibility of that person's testimony," CAIR Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar said in a statement.

CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said Wednesday that failing to establish a clear policy about the issue will lead to further confusion.

"I think there really does need to be a clear statement one way or the other," Hooper said. "Whether only a single religious text is viewed as holy scripture or whether, in our multi-faith, multi-ethnic society, there are a variety of texts that would be viewed as valid."

Now as much as I hate to agree with Ibrahim Hooper or any other representative of the terrorist-front group that is the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), I have to agree with him. The use of a religious text is customary in our society, and the denial of the use of one's text is certainly problematic in a society that has significant grups practicing minority religions. Why shouldn't there be more thna one text used, at the discretion of the witnes? All that is needed is to ascertain in advance the text desired by the witness, and there will be no disruption. Either that, or eliminate the practice of taking an oath on religious texts, something that Most Americans (including me) would oppose.

Now if this happens, there needs to be a clear understanding that no text gets preferential treatment. That means none of the Gitmo-style wrapping the Quran in a towel, handling it with white gloves, or any of the other extreme veneration of the book required of service personnel for fear of offending the terrorists who have made war on the US and who still want to kill us. The Quran would have to be stored, handled and presented in a fashion identical to those other books. And if that means that the bailiff who holds the Quran after lunch is a menstruating woman who still has grease on her fingers from her BLT, no objection can be raised.

After all, treating the Quran differently would be "promoting one faith over another, and that is not what's allowed by the Constitution." And we wouldn't want that, would we Mr. Hooper?

|| Greg, 05:50 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments

June 22, 2005

ACLU -- No Patriots Allowed

You can be a communist, devoted to the overthrow of the US Constitution, and the ACLU will embrace you. You can be a Nazi, and the ACLU will leap to your aid. You can be a card-carrying al-Qaeda terrorists, and the ACLU will defend your rights. But if you support increased border security and the suppression of border-jumping, and the ACLU will throw you out of the organization.

The board of a section of New Mexico's American Civil Liberties Union has been suspended because a member was involved with an alleged vigilante program.

The ACLU's New Mexico leader suspended the board of the state's southern chapter pending a new election, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

The move came after board member Clifford Alford was asked to resign because he was involved with a group that planned a civilian patrol of the U.S.-Mexican border. Alford refused to step down.

Since there's no way to remove just one board member the entire panel was suspended.

Alford claimed the ACLU did not talk with him about the civilian program. He said a group established along the lines of the Minutemen would respect the civil rights of any immigrant found.

ACLU New Mexico Board President Gary Mitchell told the Journal: "We're not going to tolerate anyone depriving anyone of liberty without due process of law, not going to tolerate vigilante groups on the border without speaking out against them, and without monitoring."

But wait – the Minutemen are not a vigilante group. They patrol the border and report border-jumpers to the appropriate immigration authroities. Their methods are those of your local Neighborhood Watch group. There is no violation of due process rights – unless one also believes that calling the police on someone breaking into a home is a denial of due process.

What has clearly happened here is that the ACLU doesn’t like having its people stray from the bounds of knee-jerk liberalism. And while the organization has every right to determine its membership and officers, it certainly seem to be acting in contradiction of its alleged principle of defending political speech and activities which are protected by the Constitution.

|| Greg, 07:16 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments

Conscience Of The Senate?

Robert Byrd has tried to bleach his involvement in the KKK as white as freshly washed sheets. But let’s consider the simple truths about that involvement.

After decades of trying to dodge, deflect and denigrate questions about his KKK past, Byrd has now had to bring it up himself. Because he has written an autobiography — "Robert C. Byrd: Child of the Appalachian Coalfields," published this week by the University of West Virginia Press. But new and excellent reporting by Washington Post correspondent Eric Pianin revealed this week that Byrd's 770-page book still minimizes the duration and depth of his role in the Klan and his pursuit of the bigotry for which it stands.

Pianin reported that Byrd not only wrote Grand Wizard Samuel Green of Atlanta in 1941 to say he wanted to join the KKK, but he signed up 150 recruits to form a KKK chapter in Byrd's hometown of Crab Orchard, W.Va. Byrd has said he joined "because it offered excitement and because it was strongly opposed to communism." Byrd wrote that he was "caught up with the idea of being part of an organization to which 'leading persons' belonged." Byrd's book does not mention his1946 letter to the Grand Wizard, urging the growth of the Klan in West Virginia — written as a 29-year-old who'd begun his own political career in the state legislature.

Nor does the autobiography mention a Dec. 11, 1945, letter that Byrd wrote to Sen. Theodore Bilbo, D-Miss., Washington's most noxious segregationist, to complain about President Harry Truman's efforts to integrate the military. Byrd told Bilbo that he would never fight in the military "with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours be degraded by race mongrels."

It is a cadence and eloquence — but hardly a sentiment — that rings familiar today to liberals who now cheer the anti-Iraq War flourishes of the snow-haired old man whom they hail as a hero and proclaim to be "The Conscience of the Senate."

Democrats keep insisting that Byrd has apologized, repented, and made amends. But given his failure to acknowledge his full involvement with the Klan and the time period after his (acknowledged) membership during which he praised and promoted the organization, I question the sincerity of the apology.

|| Greg, 07:14 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments

Even The Devil Deserves His Due

Dick Durbin made truly reprehensible comments about the military last week, and his apologies appear neither sincere nor complete. On the other hand, he, along with Senator Obama, is correct in this situation, trying to help the widow of a civilian contractor killed in Iraq stay in the United States.

Because the couple had not been married for at least two years, and because Todd Engstrom was working as a civilian contractor in Iraq, Diana Engstrom does not have the rights given to widows of active-duty soldiers.

"It just shows you that when you have these laws drawn so strictly, you forget the human element," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. "Who would have thought when they wrote this law, that you'd have a situation where someone's married less than two years, dies protecting people from our country, but not in the armed services? The laws didn't consider those options, and that happens so many times when you're dealing with immigration questions."

Durbin and his Illinois colleague, Sen. Barack Obama, have co-sponsored a bill to grant Diana Engstrom permanent residency. Their legislation suspends the deportation process while the two senators round up votes.

In recent years, Congress has been reluctant to pass bills designed to benefit a single individual, and mostly they deal with immigration issues. Of the 132 so-called "private relief" bills introduced in the last Congress, only six became law.

"Generally, it's a bad idea to identify a single individual and do a piece of legislation for them," said Obama, "but this is such a heartbreaking story and it speaks to a lot of civilians who are essentially working on behalf of the war effort in Iraq."

Obama added that Engstrom case falls into "a gray area," since Todd Engstrom was a civilian acting as a U.S. military operative.

"We are going to be taking a look to see if we should be passing some more general laws to close this very narrow loophole," Obama added.

"In this new modern world where they're depending more on contractors, it seems that the intent of the law should include those that are in the war on the front lines doing the job," Ron Engstrom said.

"In my mind it is not a special consideration," he added. "To me it is a consideration that should be broadened to include everybody that serves in the war."

In this case I stand with Senators Durbin and Obama. They are right, and Diana Engstrom deserves to be permitted to stay in this country and raise her late husband’s son, just as he asked.

Oh, and for those of you on the Left, notice the source on the article -- Fox News. Just a little more proof for you that they are really fair and balanced.

|| Greg, 07:13 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments

Some People Have No Decency

Michael Schiavo is clearly one of them.

The cremated remains of Terri Schiavo, the severely brain-damaged woman who died after her feeding tube was removed in March, were buried Monday in a Clearwater cemetery.

The burial failed, however, to bring a close to the Schiavo saga. Instead, acrimony flared anew, with her parents complaining that they were not notified beforehand about the service.

Michael Schiavo, who said he promised his wife he would not keep her alive artificially and waged a long legal battle to remove her feeding tube, had the words "I kept my promise" inscribed on her bronze grave marker.

The marker also lists Feb. 25, 1990 - the day she collapsed and fell into what most doctors said was an irreversible vegetative state - as the date Schiavo "Departed this Earth."

Schiavo actually died March 31, nearly two weeks after her feeding tube was removed by court order. The marker lists that date as when Schiavo was "at peace."

David Gibbs, an attorney for the woman's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, decried the words on the marker.

"Obviously, that's a real shot and another unkind act toward a grieving mom and dad," Gibbs said.

Taking a shot at your dead wife’s parents on her tombstone, and refusing to even permit their attendance at her burial, is about as low as you can go. But then again, what do you expect from a guy who fights to kill his wife so he can marry his mistress, who is living in the family home along with his two illegitimate kids.

|| Greg, 07:10 PM || Permalink || Comments

The People Have Spoken – So Screw ‘Em

California voters passed a law banning the recognition of homosexual marriage as a matter of constitutional law in 2000. This spring, a bill to recognize homosexual marriage was defeated in the state assembly. But the bill has been resurrected by a coterie of homosexual legislators, who aim to attach it to another piece of legislation and thereby overthrow the vote of the people.

Assemblyman Mark Leno, one of six openly gay members of the Legislature, said he has decided to employ a legislative maneuver known as "gut and amend" to resurrect the bill that on June 2 fell four votes shy of gaining the simple majority it needed to pass the 80-member house.

"My hope is that we will have a bill amended by the end of this week or the beginning of next," said Leno, declining to offer specifics on which legislation he plans to rewrite. "We intend to do this."

Leno's bill would have changed the California family code to define marriage between "two persons" instead of between a man and a woman. To bring it back to life, he can substitute his measure's language into a bill that successfully passed from the Assembly to the Senate.

If it passes Senate committees and makes it off the Senate floor, it would be the first time a legislative chamber in the nation had voted to give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual spouses. The measure would have to return to the Assembly for another round of voting before it could be sent to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

So what we have here is a legislative body preparing to tell the people of the state to go screw themselves, because the political elite knows better. Who cares about votes and the voice of the people – the agenda of the left must be imposed by any means necessary.

|| Greg, 07:08 PM || Permalink || Comments

Not So Complete Disclosure

Yeah, John Kerry did fulfill his pledge to sign and submit a DD-180 – but limited the release of information to just three reporters. That means that the rest of us will never get to see for ourselves if what was released was complete and correct.

Senator Kerry of Massachusetts recently granted three reporters broad access to his Navy service records, according to documents obtained by The New York Sun.

The privacy waivers signed by Mr. Kerry authorized the release of "a single, one time copy of the complete military service record and medical record of John F. Kerry" to Glen Johnson of the Associated Press, Michael Kranish of the Boston Globe, and Stephen Braun of the Los Angeles Times.

The waivers, executed on a National Archives form known as Standard Form 180, also permitted release of "an undeleted report" of any discharges ever granted to Mr. Kerry. The undeleted reports would include the "character" of any discharge, the form indicates.

Last year, when Mr. Kerry was the Democratic nominee for president, some of the senator's critics speculated that a six-year gap in his service record indicated that he was disciplined or discharged less than honorably after leading antiwar protests in the 1970s. A spokesman for Mr. Kerry, David Wade, adamantly denied that the senator was ever punished by the military or discharged less than honorably.

The journalists who reviewed the records the Navy released said there was no indication of any discharge beyond the honorable one Mr. Kerry received in 1978.

One of Mr. Kerry's most steadfast critics, Houston attorney John O'Neill, said yesterday that the latest information from the Navy did not address the issue of whether Mr. Kerry's record might have been purged. "The real question was, was other material in there and was anything expunged?" Mr. O'Neill said.
The Navy provided the copies of the privacy waivers to the Sun in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Mr. Kerry first promised to make public his full Navy record more than a year ago. Mr. Kerry signed the waivers for the wire service and the Globe on May 20. The form for the Times was signed June 6.

A spokesman for Mr. Kerry rebuffed a request from the Sun for access to the service and medical files released to the other three news organizations.

Would the release of the president’s service records to three reporters known to be friendly to the Bush be reckoned as full disclosure by the Democrats? I didn’t think so. So why should a similar release by Kerry be seen as one?

|| Greg, 07:03 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments

Child Neglect?

Certainly, if you or I did this. But celebrities are judged by a different standard.

She is living only a few miles away and is said to have more than one nanny to look after her child.

But Sharon Stone left her adopted son Roan in the car being looked after by her chauffeur for more than two hours while she had a late meal at one of London's most fashionable restaurants.

Despite the heat on Saturday night, four-year- old Roan managed to sleep through his mother's date with a mystery male companion.

He did not even appear to wake when scores of flash bulbs exploded as she left The Ivy at around 1am.

But many will wonder why she took the boy with her to the restaurant in Covent Garden and left him in the car when she is living so close by in Belgravia.

I’m speechless.

|| Greg, 07:01 PM || Permalink || Comments

You Mean He Really Didn’t Violate the Rules?

So much was made of Tom DeLay’s travels and who paid for them how. It was alleged that Jack Abramoff’s use of a credit card (later reimbursed by his client) to pay for some expenses was a violation of House rules. But guess what – it appears that Abramoff and his firm were told by the House Ethics Committee staff that such arrangements were permitted!

Internal memorandums and e-mail messages from the Seattle firm, Preston Gates & Ellis, say that the firm contacted two lawyers on the House ethics committee in 1996, when it began organizing large numbers of trips, and was told House rules probably allowed lobbyists to pay for a lawmaker's travel, as long as a client reimbursed the firm.

The memorandums and e-mail messages report that the ethics committee specifically addressed trips that the firm's chief lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, arranged for Mr. DeLay and other lawmakers to the Northern Mariana Islands, an American commonwealth in the Pacific that was among Mr. Abramoff's clients.
In 1997, a year after the firm's contact with the ethics committee, Mr. Abramoff arranged trips for Mr. DeLay to the Marianas and to Russia.

Mr. Abramoff also paid expenses for at least one other overseas trip for Mr. DeLay, a $70,000 visit in May 2000 to England and Scotland by Mr. DeLay, a Texas Republican, his wife and aides that may have been in violation of House rules. A House ethics manual issued a month earlier explicitly barred lobbyists from covering the travel costs of lawmakers, even if they were reimbursed.
Mr. DeLay, the House majority leader, has faced a flurry of ethics accusations involving foreign travel and his ties to Mr. Abramoff. Mr. DeLay's spokesman had no immediate comment on the Preston Gates documents.

The lawmaker has said he was unaware of the logistics of payment for the trips, including Mr. Abramoff's use of his personal credit card for airfare and other expenses, but always believed that his travels conformed to House rules. His staff has said that it understood the Northern Marianas trip was paid for by the islands' government, while other trips were paid for by a conservative research group associated with Mr. Abramoff.

Now yes, there was a change shortly before the 2000 trip, but in the context of the earlier advice it reduces the violation to one of negligible importance, on the level of an oversight, not corruption.

I guess this mud won’t stick, either.

|| Greg, 07:00 PM || Permalink || Comments

June 21, 2005

Evans Condemns Durbin (Critics)

I guess that Dick Durbin is not the only member of the Illinois congressional delegation to be totally out of touch with reality. Lane Evans has shown a similar lack of coherant reasoning.

Noting that Durbin was working with him to protect the shifting of 1,200 jobs from Rock Island Arsenal under this year's round of base closings, Evans blamed the Bush administration for "putting our nation at risk" by realigning the arsenal and other bases in Illinois "at a time when we are fighting the war on terrorism."

"That is why I condemn the rhetoric of those intent on destroying the character of Dick Durbin, a public servant who has given so much to our military and to our veterans," said Evans, the senior Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee whose district includes the arsenal.

"This attempt by the right wing to shift responsibility and blame from the Bush administration to Sen. Durbin is pathetic and will backfire with the American people."

Would someone please connect the dots between the base closing and Gitmo? I don't get it.

|| Greg, 07:57 PM || Permalink

Party Of Inclusion?

Gordon Quan, a popular Houston City Councilman, has bowed out of the 2006 race for the Democrat nomination for Congress so as not to jeopardize the chances of former Congressman Nick Lampson in next year's election for the 22nd Congreesional District seat held by Tom DeLay.

But as I read the article, I become more and more shocked about the nature of the Democrat Party, and the clear racial bias that exists there.

Quan, who had formed an exploratory committee for the 22nd Congressional District in April, said he wanted to avoid a "costly, divisive and lengthy" Democratic primary.

He said he conducted polling that showed DeLay has lost support among constituents and that he and Lampson had nearly equal support.

The district, which includes parts of Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston and Harris counties, is solidly Republican and has elected DeLay 11 times.

Quan must leave the council in six months because of city term limits.

Quan, who is of Chinese ancestry, made the announcement at Kim Son restaurant in Stafford, and said he plans to help bring out the Asian vote for Lampson. Asians make up about 10 percent of the district.

Now let me get this straight. Nick Lampson doesn't live in the 22nd District -- but his grandparents did. He does not own a home there -- his residence is in the Beaumont area, at least 90 miles from the Fort Bend County communities that make up the heart of the 22nd District. He used to represent a few Harris County precincts that are now in the 22nd District, but they were never a strong part of his base of support -- but his grandparents used to live in Stafford. The powers that be in the Texas Democrat Party have recruited him and anointed him as the candidate -- and did we mention he used to visit his grandparents in Fort Bend County when he was a kid?

Quan, on the other hand, is a well-known and popular Democrat who has shown the ability to win elections in the area. A Chinese-American, he is part of a community that makes up 10% of the district. He does not need to establish residency to run in the 22nd District -- he lives there. And he is running even with Lampson in everything but fundraising -- because the Democrat power elite put the word out that Lampson is the candidate they want.

So why dump the popular Asian-American local officeholder in favor of a former congressman who does not even live in the district?

And what would be said if this were the GOP dumping a minority candidate in favor of a white carpetbagger candidate selected by the powers that be?

|| Greg, 07:55 PM || Permalink || Comments

And These Folks Want Control Of The Budget?

This would be really humorous if it were not so frightening.

Broke and without enough money in the bank to pay its bills after the end of the month, the Florida Democratic Party has now been slapped with a lien by the Internal Revenue Service for failing to pay payroll and Social Security taxes in 2003. The state party's budget and finance committee voted Tuesday to ask for a new audit to account for more than $900,000 it believes somehow disappeared from the books during the 2003-2004 calendar years when the party was led by Scott Maddox, who is now seeking its nomination for governor.

Maddox and successor Karen Thurman, who became the party's new chairwoman just last month, did not immediately return phone messages asking for comment on the findings.

"We're going to be on top of this a lot more than we were previously, not only in Scott's term of office, but Bob Poe's term in office," state party vice-chair Diane Glasser of Fort Lauderdale said Tuesday. "We weren't getting all the information we should have been getting." Maddox replaced Poe.

While the party owes roughly $200,000 in delinquent payroll and Social Security taxes, the lien was against the remaining $98,000 in their account on Friday, longtime Leon County committeeman Jon Ausman said. Ausman said it cost about $250,000 a month to pay salaries and overhead for the party operation in Tallahassee and that it had been spending more so far this year than it has raised.

So what we see here is that the Florida Dems have floated a $200,000 from the taxpauyers by failing to turn over to the government money held out of employee salaries for taxes. Seems to me that there is a serious issue of financial mismanagement and fraud here. Who is going to be the first locked up?

But it gets even worse, as the responsible officials in the party look to pass the blame elsewhere.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "And These Folks Want Control Of The Budget?" »

|| Greg, 07:43 PM || Permalink || Comments

Another Lesson For Senator Durbin

Just a quick reminder about the Holocaust, that historical evil you minimized and denied last week with your comments on Gitmo, as well as the other government-sponsored mass murders you belittled.

Aushwitz. Bergen-Belsen. Birkenau. Buchenwald. Dachau. Majdanek. Mauthausen. Sobibor. Treblinka.

Ring any bells?

Those were true concentration camps - places where death crossed all human boundaries and people died simply because of who they were.

If you were a Gypsy, you died. If you were mentally handicapped, you died. If you were a homosexual, you died. If you were a dissident, you died. If you were a Jew, you moved to the head of the line and died as part of a program aimed at the extermination of an entire race.

Mothers and children were killed. Fathers and sons were killed. The sick and the old were killed. Babies were bashed against walls. Children were thrown into fires. People were packed into "bath houses" and killed by the score, after which the bodies were packed into ovens and burnt to ash.

The death toll in such camps has been estimated to be as high as 11 million people.

The Soviet gulags got started earlier, but their "best" years were between 1930 and 1950. Again, millions (estimates range from 20 million to 50 million) perished. One of the worst of these camps was a little patch of sunshine called Kolyma. Those fond of making comparisons might want to read up on it.

Minor aside: Given such numbers, one wonders why the term "Communists" isn't used more frequently since the Nazis were, obviously, a second-string operation when it came to slaughtering innocent people.

As regards Pol Pot and his merry band of killers, here's a bit of information provided by the Dith Pran Holocaust Awareness Organization:

"The Khmer Rouge turned Cambodia to year zero. They banned all institutions, including stores, banks, hospitals, schools, religion, and the family. Everyone was forced to work 12-14 hours a day, every day. Children were separated from their parents to work in mobile groups or as soldiers. People were fed one watery bowl of soup with a few grains of rice thrown in. Babies, children, adults and the elderly were killed everywhere. The Khmer Rouge killed people if they didn't like them, if they didn't work hard enough, if they were educated, if they came from different ethnic groups, or if they showed sympathy when their family members were taken away to be killed. All were killed without reason. Everyone had to pledge total allegiance to Angka, the Khmer Rouge government. It was a campaign based on instilling constant fear and keeping their victims off balance."
The death toll was 2.5 million.

When will you resign, sir?

|| Greg, 04:04 PM || Permalink || Comments

A Different View From Gitmo

I found this over at National Review. What do you think, Senator Durbin? Are you prepared to call this military chaplain a liar, in addition to a war criminal who has committedcrimes against humanity?

Here's a list that might help you if you're willing to listen to an Ordained Elder who knows the facts rather than accusations made based on speculation. I'll respond here specifically to some of the ones I've heard.

1. The detainees have direct access to the International Red Cross representatives contrary to the accusations that they have no outside contact. Also, all the detainees are allowed to write and receive mail from family.

2. The detainees have their food prepared according to Islamic guidelines. The call to prayer is broadcast for them to go to prayer. Each detainee has the direction to Meccah painted in their cell. They are allowed to practice their religion without interference and are given the religious items they need to do so. They are allowed to observe Ramadan.

3. There are strict guidelines and training concerning human rights protections. If a service member sees a violation they are to report it and if asked to violate someone's human rights they are to consider it as an unlawful order. Those who violate are subject to prosecution.

I know, Senator, that such a man is not nearly as trustworthy as an enemy cobattant who violated international law in taking up arms agains the United States, but I hope you will give his claims some weight.

|| Greg, 06:08 AM || Permalink || Comments

School Flag Ban

I'm always troubled by school district policies that seek to ban the Confederate flag. It is a symbol with a multiplicity of meanings, depending upon the wearer and the observer. Is it a racist hate symbol? The iconic image of ancestral heritage? A signe of rebelliousness? Or simply an advertising slogan (we have a "blody-art shop near school, patronized by all ethninc groups, called Southern Boys', that uses the banner as its logo)? What should schools do about the flag> And what CAN they do?

Personally, I think this district stepped over the line in its response to the Confederate flag. They want to ban every flag except the American flag, unless specific advance permission is obtained to celebrate a certain heritage on a particular day.

The proposed ban, which would be unique in the Tampa Bay region, was drafted by a district committee examining changes to the student code of conduct. In addition to barring students from wearing the Confederate flag, the proposal would keep them from wearing the flag of any other country, unless there is "a designated ethnic recognition activity held at the school."

The scope of the flag ban could make it vulnerable to litigation. Becky Steele, director of the West Central Florida region of the American Civil Liberties Union, said it was "overly broad" and would create "serious first amendment problems."

Barbara Renczkowski, president of the Hernando County council of PTAs and a member of the committee that proposed the change, said the ban had come up because officials wanted to head off students who might wear the Confederate flag to school. Members then decided to expand the ban rather than keep it narrow, Renczkowski said.

"It was an observation that it could possibly cause problems," Renczkowski said. "They just felt it would be easier to ban them all (except the American flag) instead of just one."

Now I see a couple of issues. First, there is the issue of Tinker v. DsMoines. Are these flags causing a disruption in school? It seems not, with the possible exception of the Confederate flag. But the article doesn't list any problems in this school. And even if the wearing of the flag makes some uncomfortable, does it rise to the level of a disruption under Tinker? After all, the First Amendment exists to protect speech that makes people uncomfortable.

Second, does this ban constitute the establishment of a political orthodoxy by the school district? In permitting the American flag at all times, but banning all others except when permitted by schools, does it have the effect of endorsing one position and penalizing all others? If so, it would seem to go beyond the limits set in the 1943 Flag Salute case.

Still, I'm interested inthe thoughts of others. What do you think?

» The Education Wonks links with: The Carnival Of Education: Week 21

|| Greg, 06:03 AM || Permalink || Comments

More Cool History Stuff

I've been fascinated with the ancient Greeks and the age of Pericles ever since the first book about them was stuck in my hands somewhere arouhnd the age of eight-years old. As the son of a naval officer, I was particularly interested inthe battle at Salamis, which saved the Athenians (and the rest of the Greeks) from defeat at the hands of the Persians.

Marine archaeologists are now searching for evidence about the battle which made the development of classical civilization (as we know it) possible.

In the world of underwater archaeology the hunt for the legendary armadas is the expedition that might, just, scoop all others.

Topping the international team's wish list is the remains of a trireme, the pre-eminent warship of the classical age.

"This is high-risk archaeology," says the team's co-leader, Dr Shelly Wachsmann, of Texas A&M University. "Discovering a trireme is one of the holy grails. Not one has ever been found."

The Persians' defeat at Salamis is seen as one of the first victories of democracy over tyranny, a crucial moment in Western history. Without it, say scholars, there would have been no golden age and the world would have been a very different place.

All of which makes this week-long mission more poignant as experts try to discover how the Greeks managed to defeat a much bigger and better-equipped enemy.

If this Aggie gets his trireme, I might even be persuaded to offer a hearty "Gig 'Em" on their behalf.

|| Greg, 05:43 AM || Permalink || Comments

June 20, 2005

Let The Boy Sing!

Good grief -- if this young man has this exceptional talent and range, why deny him the right to compete on a fair and equal basis with the girls?

Singing soprano is for girls only in Texas' All-State Choir, eliminating a 17-year-old boy's chance to audition for a statewide honor and raising questions about gender and vocal performance.

The Texas Music Educators Association denied a petition by Mikhael Rawls of suburban Fort Worth to audition this fall for the elite ensemble as a soprano, a part traditionally sung by girls.

Rawls sings countertenor, a little known male voice part that has surged in popularity in classical and operatic circles in the past decade. He can sing an octave and a half higher than most boys his age, and he feels most comfortable singing in that range. He has even won first place as a soprano in the University Interscholastic League's competition two years in a row.

The association, however, does not allow boys to sing soprano, or alto or girls to sing tenor or bass. Association spokeswoman Amy Lear said the group adopted the rule two years ago because of concerns that girls auditioning for tenor parts were hurting their voices by singing too low.

"If you make a rule one way it has to work both ways,"

Actually, no you don't have to make it both ways. On the one hand, you have individuals being harmed by exceeding their abilities. On the other, you have someone trying to sing in their natural range. No reasonable judge in the world would see it differently.

Oh, that's right, I just used a non-sequiter -- "reasonable judge".

The young man, though, hits the nail right on the head in his letter to the association.

"This is an education association that is supposed to be fostering and developing young singers," said Maguire, who wrote a letter to the Texas group urging them to approve Rawls' petition. "Keeping someone from singing what is essentially natural to them is not fostering them."

Fortuantely, colleges are already looking at this fine young man. He'll get to sing on the college level -- and well beyond, if I do not miss my guess.

Good luck, Mikhael! I long to hear your voice some day.

» JennyD links with: Education Carnival #20

|| Greg, 07:59 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments

The Responsibility Of The Democrats

William Kristol makes an excellent point in The Daily Standard. It is not the responsibility of the Republicans to act against Dick Durbin for his reprehensible statements against the US military. Rather, it is the responsibility of the Democrats.

Why not put the burden on the Democrats? When Sen. Trent Lott made a far less damaging, but still deplorable, statement two and a half years ago, his fellow Republicans insisted he step down as their leader. Shouldn't Democrats insist that Sen. Durbin step down as their whip, the number two man in their leadership? Shouldn't conservatives (and liberals) legitimately ask Democrats to hold their leader to account, especially given the precedent of Lott?

Yes, what is the Democrat Party's response to Durbin's outrageous words and his clear lack of repentance over them -- as evidenced by his non-apology which indicates he believes the comparison to the Nazis was appropriate but misunderstood? Do the Democrats penalize such Holocaust denial (for that is what his comments constitute)? We know that the Democrats still refuse to come to grips with the true nature of Communism and the murderous barbarism of that system. Yet one would have hopes that the genocide of six-million innocent Jews and the liquidation of six-million other innocents would still be seen as quantitatively and qualitatively different from the use of extreme interrogation techniques against a few hundred terrorists who took up arms against the US in a manner that violates international law and places them outside its protection. Will the Democrats in the Senate (and elsewhere) act to repudiate Durbin's minimization of industrialized murder?

Senator Durbin is scheduled to join Democratic chairman Howard Dean at a big fundraiser at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., this Tuesday. I assume he will withdraw from that appearance. But if he cannot appear with his party chairman, one can ask how he can lead his party in the Senate? And if he does appear with Dean Tuesday night, and stays in his party's Senate leadership, doesn't that tell us everything we need to know about today's Democratic party?

The GOP sacrificed Trent Lott for the crime of saying kind but stupid words to an old man on the occasion of his reaching 100-years of age. Should we not expect the Democrats to do at least as much against a senior member of leadership whose words clearly defame our troops, implicitly deny the magnitude of the Holocaust, and arguably give aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States during time of war?

|| Greg, 05:51 AM || Permalink || Comments

June 19, 2005

But This Brings Silence From Durbin

I guess the Senator from Illinois just isn't disturbed enough by reports of real torture against real innocents to issue any sort of condemnation. But American troops are Nazis for turning off the AC.

What I see in front of me is absolutely heartbreaking. It's two of four hostages who are being taken away, rescued. They were rescued this morning. They're Iraqi, and they were found in this complex that Marines first thought was a car-bomb factory. In fact, they did find what they believe was a potential car bomb or suicide car bomb.

But inside this complex, they found something even more sinister -- four Iraqis who were handcuffed, their hands and feet bound with steel cuffs. They're now being taken away for medical treatment, one being borne away on a stretcher.

The man in intense pain that they're trying to get into a vehicle, has been tortured, he says, and has all the marks of being tortured with electricity. His back is crisscrossed with welts. The other man is even ... in worse shape. Their crime was to be part of the border police.

The Marines came in here this morning, rescued them. The battle is still raging around us. I don't know if you can hear the gunfire, but this is a major offensive to get rid of insurgents and foreign fighters in this city near the Syrian border....

... Two young men say they don't know why they were seized. They say they didn't hear the voices of their captors, only people whispering in their ear that they were going to be killed.

But we have just watched the two who were most badly treated be carried out of here for medical equipment, one of them on a stretcher, an older man who worked for the border police, along with his colleague. ... the Marines showed us the room where he says he was hung by his feet, his head dipped in water and then tortured with electric shocks repeatedly.

One of the other men, the other border police, was too weak, really, to tell us what had happened. But he obviously was in very, very bad shape.

They were rescued this morning as Marines and Iraqi forces came into this complex, which included an underground bunker, weapons stockpiles and other things, and found them here. Their captors have fled.

Bring on a Senate censure -- or better yet, his resignation.

|| Greg, 03:39 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments

Out Of Touch With Reality

Does Joe Biden really believe he would stand a chance, given his 1988 scandal and his later health concerns -- not to mention Hillary?

Democratic U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden said on Sunday he intends to run for president in 2008, two decades after he dropped out of the race amid charges he plagiarized a British politician's speech.

"My intention now is to seek the nomination," Biden, of Delaware, said on CBS television's "Face the Nation." He said he would explore his support and decide by the end of this year -- a sign the race may get off to an early and competitive start.

"If in fact I think I have a clear shot at winning the nomination, by this November or December, then I'm going to seek the nomination," he said.

Biden is the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a frequent critic of President Bush's Iraq policy.

Still, if he did get the nomination I think he would be an easy-to-beat candidate for the eventual GOP nominee.

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Biden Eyes 2008 Presidential Bid

|| Greg, 03:35 PM || Permalink || Comments

Terrorist In Arkansas

A Muslim student at the University of Arkansas, upset that his doctoral dissertation would require another six-months to defend, decided to leave off his studies and become a terrorist.

Federal agents arrested Arwah J. Jaber, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Palestine, on a criminal complaint accusing him of knowingly attempting to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization.According to a criminal affidavit filed with the U.S. District Court in Fort Smith, an anonymous tipster from Fayetteville placed a call earlier this month to the Department of Homeland Security to inform them that Arwah Jaber, a Ph.D. candidate in chemistry at UA, intended to go to Palestine to fight in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

A video of the May 14 graduation at the University of Arkansas shows Jaber joining thousand of of other students in commencement exercises. Jaber was a candidate in the program for the last four years, and according to the affidavit, had only six months left to go before he had completed his studies. But just days before graduation, Jaber's attitude had suddenly shifted as evidenced in an e-mail Jaber sent to his doctoral advisor on May 11. The professor turned over the e-mail after being questioned by investigators. It reads in part:

“Since Dr. Wilkins was unable to help me graduate this May, I have decided to take an honorable job in Palestine with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Organization to pursue a more noble cause -- freedom, justice and peace for the Palestinians and to fight the Israeli terrorism. This action will make it impossible for me to return to the states to defend my dissertation -- assuming I am still alive."

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Terrorist In Arkansas" »

|| Greg, 01:13 PM || Permalink || Comments

June 18, 2005

Strayhorn Announces

To nobody's surprise, RINO Comptroller Carole Keeton McClellan Rylander Strayhorn announced her bid to unseat Governor Rick Perry in the 2006 GOP primary.

"You know that Texans cannot afford another four years of a governor who promises tax relief and delivers nothing," she said.

"Now is time to replace this do-nothing drugstore cowboy with one tough grandma," Strayhorn told a cheering crowd.

Strayhorn specifically criticized Perry for his decision today to veto the state's $35 billion education budget and call a new special session without having a plan on how to overhaul public school finance.

"A leader does not call a fifth special session — costing taxpayers another $1.5 million dollars — when he does not have a plan," she said. "A leader does not hold our children's education hostage and certainly would never even allow a discussion about schools not opening on time."

Strayhorn offered two specific suggestions on what she would do as governor. One is to pass her proposed program to pay for two years of college for every high school graduate. And the other is to legalize video lottery terminals with the revenue going to pay for a teacher pay raise.

Strayhorn has been able to brag in her statewide electi

While Strayhorn has done well in general elections in recent years, she does not have as strong support among GOP primary voters. She trailed Perry by 80,000 votes in the 2002 primary in number of primary votes received.

CAMPAIGN NOTE: I'm backing Perry -- please contact me if you are interested in supporting Governor Perry.

|| Greg, 10:47 PM || Permalink || Comments

The Most Notable Post In The Blogosphere

I just ran across the single most impresive post in the blogosphere on the pathetic smear of America by Senator Dick-less Durbin.

I already know my nominee for this week's Watcher's Council vote.

|| Greg, 11:17 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (26) || Comments

A Reminder To Durbin

John Kass of the Chicago Trbune offers this pointed reminder -- and rebuke -- to Senator Dick-less Durbin regarding his outrage over the non-torture inflicted upon terrorist prisoners at Gitmo.

We're at war, Senator. How can you possibly justify that statement?

And you know what? We have learned from history. The reason buildings at Guantanamo are full is because there are two big holes in the ground in New York.

Senator, weren't you one of those legitimately complaining that U.S. intelligence dropped the ball and something had to be done so it wouldn't happen again?

It is being done. Much of it isn't polite or civilized and some of it upsets me, like the abuse of the Koran. Suspects have been pushed around, hurt, and enemies have been given propaganda fodder.

Clearly, Americans don't like it when others get hurt. But Americans really don't like it when Americans get hurt.

At any rate, this is not the kind of torture I've heard about. In World War II in Greece, my father was handed over to the Germans on the suspicion he aided downed British airmen. They beat him, day after day, making him dig his own grave. He played dumb to survive and it worked. An uncle was forced into a labor camp. The Nazis didn't use Christina Aguilera music on him, though luckily, he too survived.

Sen. Durbin, in other places, suspected terrorists have their feet flayed with rods, their families raped; they're force-fed a quart of olive oil, then tied, seated, to a block of ice. By your own words, Senator, Guantanamo isn't remotely like that.

You don't have to apologize to the Republicans in the White House. But Senator, you should apologize to the nation.

And if you don't have the stomach for the work, please have the guts not to play partisan politics with what has to be done.


Better yet, Senator -- RESIGN!

|| Greg, 10:01 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (22) || Comments

'Nuff Said

Some things don't need much commentary.

The furious widow of a New York National Guardsman murdered at a military base in Iraq branded the soldier accused of killing him "a traitor and a coward" yesterday.

"God have mercy on him but I hope that no one else will," Barbara Allen said of Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez.

Try. Convict. Execute.

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Charged With Murder

|| Greg, 09:54 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments

So You Want A Government Run Health Care System?

Like everyone else, I complain about the medical insurance my employer offers -- it seems like premiums go up but benefits go down every year, and the plan that district administrators can afford is way out of the price range of those of us who actually perform the primary task of the school district -- educate students.

But I've never really been attracted to the notion of a socialized medical program, no matter how much the advocates of such plans waxed eloquent about the medical care in Canada, the UK, or the Soviet Union (hey -- I still remembr the discussions from my college days).

Articles like this one help me remember that such schemes are inherrantly flawed and riddled with inefficiency.

A HOSPITAL told a road accident victim that she would have to wait a year and a half for an NHS brain scan, but could have the procedure done privately at the same unit in two weeks, The Times has learnt.

In a case that highlights the crisis in diagnostic tests, King’s College Hospital, London, warned Rachel King that, because of “heavy demand”, the MRI scan that her consultant had sought could be delayed for 80 weeks.

But a handwritten note at the end of the letter gave a telephone number for the hospital’s “self-pay” private clinic, where she could have the procedure in two weeks for £983.

Ms King’s case is the starkest example yet of widespread delays in diagnostic tests across the health service. One in five trusts has waiting times of more than a year for MRI scans, and two in five have waits of more than six months.

A quarter of trusts said that 25 per cent or more of their scanning capacity was not used but lack of staff and resources prevent increased usage.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "So You Want A Government Run Health Care System?" »

|| Greg, 09:47 AM || Permalink || Comments

Forced Pregnancy Test

We are always told that teenagers have a right to privacy and reproductive choice. So what is the deal here? On what basis is this nurse insisting that a student take a pregnancy test? Especially since the basis of her demand is a rumor that the girl herself denied.

A 15-year-old San Marcos girl and her father have filed a federal lawsuit against her school nurse, who allegedly forced the girl to take a pregnancy test.

The lawsuit claims nurse Dyanna Eastwood called the girl to her office and told her that a student at another school claimed he impregnated her.

Eastwood insisted the girl take the test, according to the lawsuit.

The girl said she did not have sex with the boy and denied that she was pregnant.

The girl's lawyer also said she was not pregnant.

The suit, which was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Austin, claims the girl's privacy and constitutional rights were violated during the January event.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, claims Eastwood violated the girl's Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure.

There are a couple of fundamental problems here, from my point of view.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Forced Pregnancy Test" »

|| Greg, 09:14 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments

June 17, 2005

Hutchison NOT Running For Governor

We Texans have been eagerly awaiting a decision by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison on whether she will run for reelection to the Senate or challenge Rick Perry for Governor. Today we got half the answer. UPDATE -- This updated story contains more information and clarifies her Senate plans.

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison announced today that she will run for a third Senate term, ending months of speculation that she would challenge Texas Gov. Rick Perry for the Republican nomination in 2006.

An e-mail distributed by Hutchison's campaign said she would make the formal announcement on June 27, when she would provide details on her decision and "why she believes it is in the best interest of Texas."

Hutchison had long been considered a likely challenger to Perry, who is seeking his second full term. He became governor in 2000, after George W. Bush resigned to become president. He was elected to a full four-year term in 2002.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Hutchison NOT Running For Governor" »

|| Greg, 11:43 PM || Permalink || Comments

An Interesting Omission

I find it strange that this Reuters article fails to mention the subject's most famous and influential client. Neither do the AP or LA Times articles on the case.

Imprisoned celebrity sleuth Anthony Pellicano was charged on Friday with threatening a Los Angeles Times reporter three years ago to keep her from pursuing a story about action movie star Steven Seagal.

The criminal complaint charging Pellicano and an associate was brought a week after a U.S. appeals court ruled prosecutors were free to use evidence seized by authorities during a search of his West Hollywood office in 2002.

A private eye for more than two decades, Pellicano, 61, is serving a 30-month federal prison term for his conviction on charges of keeping unregistered firearms, grenades and plastic explosives in his office safe.

Pellicano, a self-described "sin eater" for celebrities he was hired to keep out of the press, worked for such stars as Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Tom Cruise, Kevin Costner and some of the biggest lawyers in the entertainment industry.

The investigation of Pellicano was triggered by reports in 2002 that he had tried to intimidate reporter Anita Busch, then working for the Los Angeles Times, to keep her from working on stories about a suspected Mafia extortion plot against Seagal.

Quick -- who is the client that is left out of the article?

Continue to be enlightened while reading "An Interesting Omission" »

|| Greg, 11:19 PM || Permalink || Comments

Oh, Deer!

A good chunk of my family are graduates of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. I even have a few credits from the school myself, taken when I lived in the area and was a staff member at the local homeless shelter. I've even had family teach at the SIU, which holds a very special place in my heart.

Now stuff like this is sort of an annual right of spring at SIU-Carbondale, which has a beautiful wooded campus. A couple of years ago there was a buck that got caught in the lobby of one of the academic buildings. But it would appear that this fawning season is a bit more intense than most.

Students and faculty at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale are getting a summer lesson about fawning, after deer have threatened or attacked seven people on campus over the past two weeks.

Four of the victims were sent to a hospital, none with life-threatening injuries. The latest confrontation came Tuesday, when a doe charged three people, hospitalizing two.

The school says such attacks are rare, although warnings about the deer are being posted.

All of the encounters happened near Thompson Woods and may be tied to a female deer's natural protectiveness during fawning season that typically peaks this month and is almost over.

A scientist also says the area's deer population likely is rising and that construction perhaps has pushed the animals into campus.

So remember, Salukis, those deer are NOT tame. Bambi's mama is gonna kick your ass if you piss her off, so please give her a wide berth.

|| Greg, 10:56 PM || Permalink || Comments

Reveal The Name

Bret Stephens, a member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, recently had a disturbing encounter with a senior member of the staff at the German consulate in New York.

But the diplomat had no patience for my small talk. Apropos of nothing, he said he had recently made a study of U.S. tax laws and concluded that practices here were inferior to those in Germany. Given recent rates of German economic growth, I found this comment odd. But I offered no rejoinder. I was, after all, a guest in his home.

The diplomat, however, was just getting started. Bad as U.S. economic policy was, it was as nothing next to our human-rights record. Had I read the recent Amnesty International report on Guantanamo? "You mean the one that compared it to the Soviet gulag?" Yes, that one. My host disagreed with it: The gulag was better than Gitmo, since at least the Stalinist system offered its victims a trial of sorts.

Nor was that all. Civil rights in the U.S., he said, were on a par with those of North Korea and rather behind what they had been in Europe in the Middle Ages. When I offered that, as a journalist, I had encountered no restrictions on press freedom, he cut me off. "That's because The Wall Street Journal takes its orders from the government."

By then we had sat down at the formal dining table, with our backs to Ground Zero a half-mile away and our eyes on the boats on the river below us. My wife and I made abortive attempts at ordinary conversation. We were met with non sequiturs: "The only people who appreciate American foreign policy are poodles." After further bizarre pronouncements, including a lecture on the illegality of the Holocaust under Nazi law, my wife said that she felt unwell. We gathered our things and left.

Stephens, unfortunately, does not identify the cretin in question. Having remained mute and failed to adequately defend his own country in the course of the conversation -- lest he appear impolite, one would presume -- he now feels that to identify him would be a breach of ethics.

I disagree.

Mr. Stephens, your host crossed the bounds of decency, as well as of diplomacy. He is clearly a public figure, and a representative of his government. What expectation of privacy, of confidentiality, does he really have? You've disclosed the substance of the conversation, which did not occur in a professional capacity. How is disclosing the identity of the speaker a greater violation?

|| Greg, 10:45 PM || Permalink || Comments

Trafalgar Account On The Block

Having recently finished O'Brian's epic Aubrey/Maturin novels (I did Hornblower a couple of years ago), I've developed a fascination with Lord Nelson. And given that we are near to the anniversary of the glorious Battle of Trafalgar, it seems right tthat I note the presence of this document on the auction list at Bobnham's in London.

A description of the horrors of the Battle of Trafalgar written by a barely literate below-decks seaman is to be auctioned next month as enthusiasm for memorabilia peaks on the 200th anniversary of the battle in which Admiral Horatio Nelson crushed a French and Spanish fleet.

The document describes the action of Britain's greatest naval victory from the point of view of Robert Sands, a 17-year-old "powder monkey" on the Temeraire, and includes an account of how he almost suffocated in the smoke from the ship's 98 guns and how he narrowly escaped death from a fire.

His story opens with a description of the famous signal to the fleet sent by Nelson: "He said he oped that Everey man would doo his Duty this day for old Englands sake for it would be a gloureus day for them that lived to see the end of it."

Later Sands writes: "We had to leave our Quarters 2 get breth. The smoke sofecated us."

As I loke to remind my students, history is not just the lives of the great men and women of an age, but those of the humblest as well.

I wish I had an extra $7000 lying around to make this purchase.

It is expected to go for about $7000 (3000 pounds). I certainly wish I had that sort of cash to spare.

|| Greg, 10:30 PM || Permalink || Comments

Vilsack Expands Democrat Voting Base

It seems clear that Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack is looking to be on the 2008 Democrat ticket, and is making sure that there are as many Democrats on the voting rolls in Iowa as possible. Never mind that he is overriding the clear intent of iowa law to do it.

Gov. Tom Vilsack said Friday he soon will sign an executive order restoring voting rights to convicted felons who have served their sentence.

"This action we take is not going to be a pardon," Vilsack said.

The governor said only five other states prohibit felons from voting after completing their sentences.

"We're here today to talk about justice," Vilsack aid. "When you've paid your debt to society, you need to be reconnected to society.

Vilsack said about 600 felons last year had voting rights restored, but he said it's a painstaking and time-consuming process that distracts the state's parole board and investigators.

Vilsack said he will sign the measure on July 4 with the symbolism of Independence Day.

Vilsack notes that his action will not restore other civil rights, such as the right to keep and bear arms. I guess he believes that these folks are responsible enough to direct the fate of the country, but not to carry the means of self-defense like a free man.

Stroke of the pen -- law of the land. Kinda disgusting.

|| Greg, 10:18 PM || Permalink || Comments

Some Things Are Too Funny To Be Made Up

As I drove in to work this morning, I couldn't help but be amused about the report of flashing signals -- at the intersection of Clinton and Fidelity.


|| Greg, 12:13 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments

Watcher's Council Results

Congratulations to the winners (to all the nominees, actually) of this weeks Watcher's Council vote over at Watcher of Weasels.

The winning entry from a Council member was What’s the Real Question in America, from The Sundries Shack.

The winning non-Council entry was Zimbabwe Changed My Mind: Guns Are A Human Right, located at Winds of Change.

I encourage you to read the winning posts, and to peruse the others that were entered this week.

|| Greg, 11:05 AM || Permalink || Comments

June 16, 2005

Why Geneva Does Not Apply At Gitmo

Let's be really clear for Senator Dick-less Durbin about why US policy at Guantanamo Bay regarding the non-applicability of the Geneva Convention is perfectly correct.

Here's who the Geneva Conventions cover.

Article 4

A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:

1. Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.

2. Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:

(a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;

(b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;

(c) That of carrying arms openly;

(d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

3. Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.

4. Persons who accompany the armed forces without actually being members thereof, such as civilian members of military aircraft crews, war correspondents, supply contractors, members of labour units or of services responsible for the welfare of the armed forces, provided that they have received authorization from the armed forces which they accompany, who shall provide them for that purpose with an identity card similar to the annexed model.

5. Members of crews, including masters, pilots and apprentices, of the merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to the conflict, who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any other provisions of international law.

6. Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.

Of these categories of persons, only #2 could be held to apply -- except for the fact that the terrorists violate conditions b, c, and d, putting them outside the framework established by the Geneva Convention. So while we generally give them treatment consistent with the Geneva Convention, any deviation is not a violation because they are not covered in the first place.

Hat Tip: GOPBloggers

|| Greg, 11:24 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (30) || Comments

PETA Ghouls Drop Dead Dogs And Cats In Shopping Mall Dumpsters

Well, this story is even more disgusting than my earlier post on PETA's abyssmal euthanasia rate at its shelters.

Two individuals from Hampton Roads, employees of the Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, were arrested Wednesday night in Ahoskie, N.C., on animal cruelty charges.

The two were arrested after authorities allege they dumped dead dogs and cats in a dumpster at a shopping center on Memorial Drive in Ahoskie.

Andrew Benjamin Cook, 24, of Virginia Beach, and Adria Joy Hinkle, 27, of Norfolk, were arrested at the shopping center. Police say they found 18 dead animals in the dumpster and 13 dead animals in the couple's van, which according to authorities, is registered to PETA. Both suspects were charged with 31 counts of animal cruelty and eight counts of illegal disposal of animals.

According to police, the animals were from two North Carolina animal shelters - one in Northampton County and the other in Bertie County.

Officials say the animals were alive when they left the shelters, but have not said how they died.

This pet lover is horrified at the obvious cruelty -- and at the fact that these animals were clearly treated with no compassion by these PETA-philes.

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: 2 PETA Workers Face Cruelty Rap

|| Greg, 10:41 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments

Lynching Resolution A Source Of Controversy

Let me begin by saying that if I were a member of the US Senate, I would have abstained from voting on the resolution apologizing for the failure of the Senate to pas a law making lynching a federal crime. I wasn't born at the time the laws were considered, and as a Republican I have nothing to apologize for -- it was a series of filibusters and other parliamentary tricks used by a Democrat minority to prevent the majority of senators (including all Republicans) from voting to make lynching a federal crime as asked by Republican a number of Republican presidents. That is why I'm not too disturbed that a number of senators failed to co-sponsor the apology resolution.

Texas' U.S. senators decided against co-sponsoring a resolution apologizing to lynching victims and their families because of procedural reasons rather than any second thoughts about the measure, aides said Wednesday.

The decisions by Republicans Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn put them among the 17 senators who refrained from co-sponsoring the apology. It was co-sponsored by the 83 others.

The resolution, which apologized for the Senate's failure to enact anti-lynching legislation through two centuries, passed by unanimous consent.

Only about six senators were on the floor for the vote, which is not unusual when measures are approved in such a manner. Hutchison and Cornyn were absent.
The resolution was introduced by Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, and Republican Sen. George Allen of Virginia.

I'm sorry, the resolution passed was nothing short of a steaming pile of crap dumped on the graves of lynching victims. The passage of this resolution STILL fails to make lynching a federal crime, and so it is meaningless beyond a hollow symbolism. Any actual apology should have come in the form of legislation accomplishing the aim of the original bills that failed to gain passage -- all 200 of them.

Partisan Democrats are, of course, making hay over the fact that these senators did not co-sponsor the resolution. The irony is that one of them has paid advertising on his site raising money for Senator Robert "Sheets" Byrd (KKK-Dogpatch), whose previous career includes a stint as a paid recruiter for the Klan – and who has never publicly answered questions about his participation in lynchings, cross-burnings, and other acts of KKK terrorism during his days in that anti-American organization.

UPDATE: Two recent developments:

1) Senator Byrd has published his memoirs -- and still fails to come clean about the full extent of his involvement in the terrorist organization known as the Ku Klux Klan. Seems he is still in denial about its nature and the level of evil of his membership/organizing activities.

2) It only took a week, but John Aravosis FINALLY acknowledges that lynching is still not a Federal crime.

hadn't realized they NEVER passed the law. This puts the importance of the anti-lynching resolution in a whole new light. They NEVER passed the law, while lynchings continued up until the late 1960s (though, I'd argue, what happened to James Byrd in Texas a few years back was clearly a lynching).

When I made an issue of it in his comment section, noting that I'd been pointing that out on his site for a week, John did what any honest liberal would do -- banned me and deleted all my comments so that no one could go back and check. I guess he doesn't like having folks note that he is a John-ny-Come-Lately to the issue of passing an actual law banning lynching.

OOPS! My bad! He still hasn't called for the passage of anti-lynching legislation, but instead wants to score cheap political points over a do-nothing resolution that takes no action to actually rectify the Senate's failure to pass legislation against lynching. I wonder if it has anything to do with his taking advertising dollars from Bobby the Klansman's campaign?

» Watcher of Weasels links with: Submitted for Your Approval

|| Greg, 04:32 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (9) || Comments

Believers In Bible Relegated To Anglican “Subgroup”

Look at this solution to the fractures within the Anglican Communion – and notice that certain folks are now simply one “subgroup” among many in this so-called Christian body.

A draft of a constitution detailing a proposed realignment of the worldwide Anglican Communion became public this week, outlining for the first time how divisions over homosexuality may change the face of the more than 70-million-member church.

The unsourced and undated four-page document, named "The Organizing Constitution of the Anglican Global Initiative," has been circulating among some executive members of the Episcopal Church since January, after it was brought to the church's New York headquarters following a meeting of African bishops in Nairobi.

Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh, a group of clergy and lay people, made the document available on its Web site. Its existence was first reported this week by the Guardian newspaper in Great Britain.

The articles of the constitution state that the Anglican Global Initiative would be an organization of Anglicans from the Global South, which includes Africa, Asia and parts of the Southern Hemisphere, and those in the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada who "hold to the centrality and authority of Holy Scripture."

“The centrality and authority of Holy Scripture.” One would have hoped that those were a given for a body that claims to be Christian, not simply one option among many.

|| Greg, 04:16 PM || Permalink || Comments

The “Christer” Controversy

Well, there seems to be a new term of derision directed at those of us who follow the Christ. That term is “Christer”, used in a sense not unlike “nigger” or “kike” by bigots. Take this example, which is the source of the current controversy.

Today’s Christer protests are targeting a different kind of subversion. Chip Berlet, senior analyst at the labor-funded Political Research Associates, has spent over 25 years studying the far right and theocratic fundamentalism. He is co-author of Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort. Berlet — who was one of the speakers at a conference last month co-sponsored by the N.Y. Open Center and the City University of New York Graduate Center on “Examining the Real Agenda of the Christian Right” — says that “What’s motivating these people is two things. First, an incredible dread, completely irrational, of a hodgepodge of sexual subversion and social chaos. The response to that fear is genuinely a grassroots response, and it’s motivated by fundamentalist Christian doctrines like Triumphalism and Dominionism, which order Christians to take over the secular state and secular institutions. The Christian right frames itself as an oppressed minority battling the secular-humanist liberal homofeminist hordes.”
Continue to be enlightened while reading "The “Christer” Controversy" »

» Mover Mike links with: Around the Blogroll

|| Greg, 04:12 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments

Since When Do Private Meetings Need Rebuttal?

The Liberty Counsel, a group dedicated to the preservation of religious and civil liberies, has sued a library in Woodland Park, Colorado, regarding its policy on the use of community rooms for meetings.

The Woodland Park Library says its community room is "available to nonprofit civic, cultural and educational organizations for events open to the public." But the policy also says, "Meetings open to the public that are religious or political in nature must provide a balanced view and [meet] with the Board of Trustees' approval."

The Liberty Counsel said it applied to use library's community room at the end of May and again on June 6. The Liberty Counsel noted on the application that the meeting would present a biblical perspective on marriage and homosexuality and would include prayer and scripture reading.

But library officials responded that since the proposed meeting was religious, someone else must present an opposing view.

The policy is not just unconstitutional. On what possible grounds could this government agency insist upon requiring groups to sponsor speech with which they disagree?

|| Greg, 03:59 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments

June 14, 2005

Canadian Activist Seeks To Penalize Churches Speaking Against Gay Marriage -- Could It Happen Here?

As I've said, I like to watch international trends to determine what eventual tactics and demands we in the Unied States will encounter from those seeking to impose homosexual marriage on this country against the will of the American populace. This latest development from Canada shows that those who claim that religious believers will be left aone if they don't support the fundamental redefinition of the concept of marriage are very likely lying, biding their time until they are in a position to punish that opposition.

Homosexual activist Kevin Bourassa, co-sponsor of, along with his “spouse,” Joe Varnell – whose Ontario court win paved the way for same-sex “marriage” for Canada – claimed Sunday that churches who vocally oppose the legalization of same-sex “marriage” for Canada should have their charitable status revoked, for participating in politics.

“We have no problem with the Catholic Church or any other faith group promoting bigotry,” Bourassa charged, as reported by the Ottawa Citizen. “We have a problem with the Canadian government funding that bigotry.”

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Canadian Activist Seeks To Penalize Churches Speaking Against Gay Marriage -- Could It Happen Here?" »

|| Greg, 07:38 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments

Cornyn For SCOTUS

It is not unprecedented for a member of the legislative branch to be nominated to a federal court – including the Supreme Court of the United States. One name being mentioned among possible nominees to fill a potential vacancy is Senator John Cornyn (R-TX).

Senator Cornyn is currently a Deputy Whip in the U.S. Senate, where he also serves on five Senate legislative committees: Armed Services, Judiciary, Budget, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and the Joint Economic Committee. He chairs the Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship and the Armed Services Committee's subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Sen. Cornyn served as Attorney General of Texas (1998-2002), a Texas Supreme Court Justice (1990-1997), and a State District Court Judge for the District of San Antonio (1984-1990)

As you can see, he has a wealth of experience as a judge, as well as experience as a legislator and the chief law enforcement officer of the state of Texas. As such, he has an excellent understanding of the roles of all three branches of government.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Cornyn For SCOTUS" »

|| Greg, 07:20 PM || Permalink || Comments

Don’t Know Much About History

I’m glad to know that I, as a history teacher, am in good company with one of out top contemporary American historians – David McCullough.

"We're raising a generation of Americans who are historically illiterate," McCullough said during a speech here Monday. "What they don't know about our history is staggering."

We are a society that has come to value immediacy over context. Too often there is a focus on the contemporary issues to the exclusion of the past. Imagine the shock of my students when they find out that slaves in the Greco-Roman world were white. And I won’t get in to the issue of how many of them insist on correcting me when I try to tell them about the Reformation and Martin Luther – they all shout out “King” the first time I mention the man whose 95 Theses are one of the most important documents of the last millenium. The American Revolution, and Great Depression are mysteries to them, and all they know about the Civil War is slavery. World War II is nothing but the Holocaust to them.

I’m only about 40 years old, but I knew this stuff at a significantly younger age. So did my peers, and our parents. How can we stem the tide that may result in the loss of much of our heritage in the space of a generation?

|| Greg, 07:18 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (11) || Comments

Moron Alert

Among the more despicable public figures in America today is Fred Phelps. Best known for picketing the funerals of homosexuals with crude and morally reprehensible signs, Phelps and the members of his cult-like congregation are now picketing the funerals of American military personnel killed in the line of duty.

A flier on the Web site of Pastor Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church claims God killed Cpl. Carrie French with an improvised explosive device in retaliation against the United States for a bombing at Phelps' church six years ago.

"We're coming," Phelps said Monday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

Westboro Baptist either has protested or is planning protests of other public funerals of soldiers from Michigan, Alabama, Minnesota, Virginia and Colorado. A protest is planned for July 11 at Dover Air Force Base, the military base where war dead are transported before being sent on to their home states.

Why this funeral?

Phelps said the fact that French led an all-American life gives him all the more reason to picket her final public tribute. "An all-American girl from a society of all-American heretics," he said. "Our attitude toward what's happening with the war is the Lord is punishing this evil nation for abandoning all moral imperatives that are worth a dime," Phelps said.

Here’s hoping there are enough loyal American patriots – folks on both sides of the question of the War in Iraq – to make this hatemonger (who tarnishes the name of “Christian”) and his rag-tag disciples reconsider their plans, or beat a hasty retreat in the face of public outrage.

UPDATE: More from these fine bloggers:
Michelle Malkin
The Pink Flamingo Bar Grill
the unequivocal notion
disinterested party
A voice crying out from the thickness
The Stupid Shall Be Punished
Our Way of Life
Darth Apathy

|| Greg, 07:14 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments

Levin’s Judicial Principles All Relative

Just a reminder for all of you that Senator Carl Levin is not acting on principle when he opposes the nominations of judges to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. His motivation sits a little closer to home.

Senator Levin is very upset that a particular Clinton-nominee never got her bench. Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Helene White was nominated by President Clinton to fill one of the open Sixth Circuit seats but was never confirmed by the Senate. So, like every nomination of a retiring president, her nomination was returned without approval at the end of President Clinton's second term. This is neither a surprising nor an uncommon result. Indeed, John Roberts, who served as the first Bush administration's number-two lawyer before the Supreme Court, waited more than eleven years between his original nomination by President George H. W. Bush to serve on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and his eventual confirmation by the Senate two years after being re-nominated by President George W. Bush. No Democrat — be they Levin or Leahy — fought for his re-nomination by the Clinton administration as a matter of "tradition" or "comity." It is just part of the reality of electoral politics: with the victor go the spoils.

But John Roberts was no Helene White. He didn't have the singular qualification that could bring the entire democratic and judicial process to a standstill — he wasn't Carl Levin's cousin-in-law. You see, Judge White happens to be married to Senator Levin's cousin, a fact that Senator Levin fails to emphasize whenever he rails on the Senate floor about President Bush's unacceptable tactics. The real "fundamental issue" with President Bush's judicial nominees to the Sixth Circuit, then, has nothing to do with the prerogatives of home-state senators and the grand traditions of that lofty institution. It is that none of them can make a scene at a Levin family picnic.

But the filibuster, we are told, is the cornerstone of the Republic – preserving for lynching, racial discrimination, and nepotism on behalf of the Democrats.

|| Greg, 07:11 PM || Permalink || Comments

June 13, 2005

Benedict XVI -- A Pastoral Pope

This neat story about the reaction of the Catholic faithful to the newly elected pontiff.

Two months into the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI, crowds are pouring into St. Peter's Square in near record numbers to see and hear him.

"The pope is here!" a man shouted in Italian Wednesday morning. Cheers rose from 35,000 as Benedict appeared, standing in a white Jeep-like popemobile. It circled the square, moving slowly as the 78-year-old pope, whose mane of white hair matched his vestments, waved to the faithful.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Benedict XVI -- A Pastoral Pope" »

|| Greg, 07:56 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments

But None Dare Call It Persecution

This little attrocity from India, where they define charitible activity by Christian missionaries as coercion.

ANGRY Hindu youths have beaten three American missionaries, and tried to kidnap one, as they held a bible studies class in Mumbai.

About 30 or 40 men attacked the missionaries, part of a group of eight, on Saturday night because they thought the Americans were trying to convert Hindus in the Indian financial capital, police said.

The three were treated for bruises and cuts at a hospital but were not seriously injured.

"While this kind of attack is rare in Bombay, the police must take serious action against those responsible and send a clear message that religious intolerance will not be accepted in India," Mumbai Catholic Sabha president Dolphy D'Souza said.

Christians are often accused of "forcibly" converting poor and uneducated low-caste Hindus by bribing them with money and gifts.

Missionaries deny the charge.

I guess those Hindus are scared to death that some more of their untouchables will convert to Christianity and escape the barbaric caste system that still holds sway in India, despite legal attempts to end it.

|| Greg, 07:48 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments

Obligatory Jackson Verdict Post

Everyone knows by now -- not guilty.

I'll refrain from expressing my opinion on the verdict, lest I be mauled by one side or the other.

My only question is this:

Wasn't the White Dove release a bit over the top?

And as my wife asked as we watched it, "If the verdict was guilty, would that woman have strangled them outside the courthouse?"

|| Greg, 07:43 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments

Upcoming Watcher's Council Vote

If you would like to submit one of your posts for inclusion in the non-council member vote over at Watcher of Weasels, the Watcher himself makes a weekly offer of link whorage. Click here for information -- all submissions muct be made by 8 PM, Eastern Standard Time, on Tuesday.

|| Greg, 05:28 AM || Permalink || Comments

June 12, 2005

One More Reason To Love Condi

I've made no secret that I love our Secretary of State, Dr. Condoleeza Rice. A rare combination of talent, brains, and beauty, she demonstrated her class Saturday night. And she put politics aside to do it, for the benefit of a good cause.

A musician long before she became an academic and then a world-famous diplomat, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took to the Kennedy Center concert stage Saturday to accompany a young soprano battling an often-fatal disease.

Rice's rare and unpublicized appearance at the piano marked a striking departure from her routine as America's No. 1 diplomat. A pianist from the age of 3 she played a half-dozen selections to accompany Charity Sunshine, a 21-year-old singer who was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension a little more than a year ago.

The soprano is a granddaughter of Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., and his wife Annette, who Rice has known for years. The Pulmonary Hypertension Association, formed in 1990, presented the concert to draw attention to the disease from which more than 100,000 people are known to suffer.

Congressman Lantos is a big-time liberal Democrat. I disagree with him quite often. But my heart reaches out to him and his family, especially since my wife and I know the sort of struggle faced by patients (and their families) who suffer from illnesses that are painful, debilitating, and rare. There usually isn't much research into such diseases, and you often have to hope that research into something else brings a breakthrough that can be applied to the less common condition.

Oh, and for those who are curious, Condi played selections by Verdi, Mozart and Jerome Kern.

To learn more, or to contribute, to the fight against Pulmonary Hypertension, click here.

|| Greg, 01:43 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (7) || Comments

Outstanding Posts Recognized By The Watcher's Council

All proper rituals having been observed, the Watcher's Council has selected this week's winners. Congratulations to all who were nominated, and most especially to our winners

This week's council member winner is Right Wing Nut House, with Remembering Why I Love History.

This week's non-council winner, is Winds of Change, with THIS is a Gulag.

Vote totals are found here. I encourage you to read the winning entries, as well as the other nominees.

Visit Watcher of Weasels for details on entering next week's contest.

|| Greg, 12:28 AM || Permalink || Comments

June 11, 2005

Do You Really Want Canadian-Style Health Care?

Do you think a single-tier medical system like Canada's is just what we need in the US? Think again. It isn't really a single-tier system at all.

The supporters of our supposed single-tier health-care system are aghast that Thursday's Supreme Court ruling could threaten Canadians' equal access to treatment.

It is a long-held myth, of course, that there is no queue-jumping in this country. Most Canadians have no special privileges when it comes to receiving care, but some do. Military personnel, the RCMP, prisoners and workers' compensation claimants don't fall under the medicare umbrella.

So while the typical Canadian waits and waits for a diagnostic test or surgery, the members of these groups are entitled to speedy access. All of them are exempt from the Canada Health Act.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Do You Really Want Canadian-Style Health Care?" »

|| Greg, 11:56 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments

Wanna Know What Democrats Think About African-American Democrats In High Places?

Just look over at AmericaBLOG, run by gay liberal activist John Aravosis. There are a couple of good examples, from both John and his commenters.

I mean after all, what would be the reaction of the liberals if we started telling a well-respected GOP African-American female to shut up because she wasn't toeing the party line? Well, that is John's take on Donna Brazile, who gave a qualified endorsement of Howard Dean in an interview. But I'll concede, he has said similar things about Joe Biden and other top Democrats who recognize that Dean's comments are not going to help the Democrats win elections, so maybe it is simply that he likes Dean and is willing to help him pass the Kool-Aid around to the rest of the party.

But then there is the troubling aspect of certain comments that he allows to remain on the board. It isn't just that he allows criticism of people, but he implicitly welcomes racial slurs by refusing to delete them. Consider this comment from a thread about another post.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Wanna Know What Democrats Think About African-American Democrats In High Places?" »

|| Greg, 08:50 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (7) || Comments

Dems To Dean -- Be Radical!

Having faced criticism from elected officials in his own party for his inflamatory rhetoric against Republicans, Howard Dean has now gotten some positive feedback from the grassroots.

After a meeting of the DNC's 40-member executive committee at a downtown hotel, members said Dean was doing exactly what they elected him to do -- build the party in all states and aggressively challenge Republicans.

``I hope Governor Dean will remember that he didn't get elected to be a wimp,'' said DNC member Gilda Cobb-Hunter, a South Carolina state representative. ``We have been waiting a long time for someone to stand up for Democrats.''

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Dems To Dean -- Be Radical!" »

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Howard Dean Taken To Woodshed

|| Greg, 04:33 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments

Microsoft To Chinese -- "No Freedom For You!"

No "democracy", either. And forget about using other phrases that might upset the Red Chinese dictators.

Microsoft's new Chinese internet portal has banned the words "democracy" and "freedom" from parts of its website in an apparent effort to avoid offending Beijing's political censors.

Users of the joint-venture portal, formally launched last month, have been blocked from using a range of potentially sensitive words to label personal websites they create using its free online blog service, MSN Spaces.

Attempts to input words in Chinese such as "democracy" prompted an error message from the site: "This item contains forbidden speech. Please delete the forbidden speech from this item." Other phrases banned included the Chinese for "demonstration", "democratic movement" and "Taiwan independence".

It was possible to enter such words within blogs created using MSN Spaces, but the move to block them from the more visible section of the site highlights the willingness of some foreign internet companies to tailor their services to avoid upseting China's Communist government.

Beijing has long sought to limit political debate on the internet and is in the throes of a campaign to force anybody who operates a website to register with the central government.

So we see which side the world's largest software giant is on. When it has to choose between profits and principle, it chooses profits. Never mind if doing so helps to perpetuate slavery for a fifth of the world's population.

I'm curious, Bill -- would you have collaborated in blocking any mention of "Jew", "concentration camp", "Final Solution" and "Auschwitz" from your sites in Germany for fear of disrupting your business ties with the Nazis?

|| Greg, 04:14 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments

A Shocking Omission

The US Senate is about to pass a resolution apologizing for its failure to pass a law against lynching -- as first proposed by President McKinley over a century ago. Why the delay? Senate filibusters, part of that proud tradition of democracy that Senator Robert Byrd (KKK-- Dogpatch) and the rest of the Senate Democrats have talked about in recent weeks.

The U.S. House of Representatives, responding to pleas from presidents and civil rights groups, three times agreed to make the crime a federal offense. Each time, though, the measure died in the Senate at the hands of powerful southern lawmakers using the filibuster.

The Senate is set to correct that wrong Monday, when its members will vote on a resolution to apologize for the failure to enact an anti-lynching law first proposed 105 years ago.

"The apology is long overdue," said Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), who is sponsoring the resolution with Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). "Our history does include times when we failed to protect individual freedom and rights."

Uh, does anyone notice something missing in the first paragraph I quoted -- and the rest of the article? The obstructionists who wanted to make sure that no white man was ever prosecuted for the murder of a black man were DEMOCRATS. The folks who shut down the Senate for SIX WEEKS in 1936-37 with a filibuster against a federal lynching law were DEMOCRATS (including Senator Hugo Black, who would be appointed to the Supreme Court by FDR in the midst of the filibuster, despite his known membership in the KKK).

The reporters and the editors of the Washington Post, of course, would never include that detail in an article. It would require reminding folks which party was the party of emancipation, which party lent its overwhelming support to every Civil Rights Act , and which party has always rejected racism and favored the best interests of African -Americans. It would also require mentioning which party supported slavery, disenfranchisement of blacks, Jim Crow, the appointment of segregationist judges, and, yes, lynchings of uppity black men.

And it would require reminding folks that the filibuster, trumpetted by Senate Democrats as the key to preserving minority rights, has long been used by them to obstruct the interests of blacks, Jews, Catholics, women, and others who stood in the way of the interests of Ol' Massa the leaders of the Democrat Plantation Party.

UPDATE: Seems that Captain Ed has stirred quite a controversy by commenting on this same article.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "A Shocking Omission" »

» Six Meat Buffet links with: FillyBluster

|| Greg, 03:18 PM || Permalink || Comments

June 10, 2005

Whose Fault Is It?

Well, Dick Durbin knows who is at fault for the controversy over Democrat National Committee Chairman Howard Deans recent extremist comments attacking and insulting Republicans. The news media!

The No. 2 Democrat in the Senate yesterday blamed "the right wing" and elements of the press "in service to it" for repeating Howard Dean's remarks about Republicans and inflating them out of proportion. "I think we all understand what's happening with you all," said Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, in remarks echoing Hillary Rodham Clinton's blaming a "vast right-wing conspiracy" for her husband's legal-ethical woes. "The right wing has got the agenda moving. Fox [News Channel] and everybody's got the agenda. It's all about Howard Dean. You've bought into it," Mr. Durbin said. "You can't let up on it. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves."
Continue to be enlightened while reading "Whose Fault Is It?" »

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Dean Says Dems Forging Ahead on Issues
» Kokonut Pundits links with: When Howard "Racist" Dean Says "They All Look the

|| Greg, 05:13 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments

June 09, 2005

Another Sign Of Things To Come

We know, of course, that homosexual marriage advocates would NEVER attempt to force religious groups or individuals to violate their firmly held beliefs against homosexual marriage. So then why does the proposed law permitting homosexual marriage not protect such groups, and why are there already legal actions against religious groups that do not choose to participate in them.

Liberals will tweak their contentious same-sex marriage bill but can't guarantee ironclad religious protections, admits Justice Minister Irwin Cotler.

Churches won't be forced to perform gay weddings, he says.

But it's beyond his legal reach to protect provincial marriage commissioners or religious organizations who turn away same-sex couples, he conceded yesterday.

"That's right," Cotler said, when asked if his hands are tied by jurisdictional limits.

Ottawa has the authority to define marriage but provinces have the power to solemnize weddings.

A range of conflicts has already emerged.

Human rights challenges are underway in cases where religious groups refused to rent halls for gay celebrations.

And given the things that such legislation will apparantly allow to be foisted upon unwilling religious believers, what makes anyone think it will be long before protection for churches themselves is jettisoned?

|| Greg, 11:42 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (7) || Comments

Death Of A Hero -- RIP Bishop John Wang Xixian

An earthly loss for the persecuted Church in China -- but they gain one more saint before the throne of God to intercede on their behalf.

Bishop John Wang Xixian, who was arrested for being a Christian and who lived 21 years in a forced labor camp, has died. He was 79. Bishop Wang of Hohhot, in the Inner Mongolia region, ended his two-year struggle with bone cancer last week, according to the Fides news service.

Father Wang had been a priest only four years when he was arrested in 1957 for the faith.

After 21 years of forced labor, he was released, and in 1980 he returned to his life as a priest. He was ordained a bishop in 1997.

When near the end he was told that Benedict XVI had been informed of his illness and assured him of his prayers, Bishop Wang murmured: "I am unworthy of such consideration."

Bishop Wang's funeral was held May 31 at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Hohhot.

The Diocese of Hohhot has 50,000 Catholics. It has 50 priests, about 100 women religious and 40 seminarians.

May the day soon arrive when the oppressed believers of China see the dawn of a new day of freedom. And may all of us remember the heroic sacrifices of believers like Bishop Wang, and be inspired to work toward the coming of that day.

|| Greg, 11:34 PM || Permalink || Comments

Speakers With Heterodox Views Not Welcome

It seems that a liberal gay Hispanic is no longer enough to make one immune from censorship on one California campus.

Writer Richard Rodriguez, invited to speak at the California State University East Bay commencement in Hayward on Saturday, has decided to withdraw from the program after some graduating students threatened to boycott the event.

Rodriguez, author of the acclaimed memoir "Hunger of Memory," drew criticism from some students for his views against bilingual education and affirmative action.

"I'm a bilingual educator," said student Leah Perez, 32, who is graduating with a master's degree in urban teacher leadership and protested Rodriguez's presence at the graduation. "He believes in assimilation and rejection of one's cultural identity, and we don't feel that is what we stand for in our program, and we don't want him representing us."

Views such as Rodriguez's go against the mission of the university, she said, noting that CSU East Bay has an education curriculum that produces bilingual teachers and emphasizes social justice.

Uh, no it doesn't -- especially since bilingual education goes against state law out in California, as dictated by the voters several years back. Besides, isn't it also part of the idea of a university to encourage the expression of diverse thought?

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Speakers With Heterodox Views Not Welcome" »

|| Greg, 08:00 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments

And Whose Fault Is It?

A mother in England has three daughters, age 16 and under, who have all given birth within the last few months. Three of them. So of course, when asked why this has happened, she blamed. . . the schools, and later still, the government as a whole.

Julie Atkins' three daughters fell pregnant within a few short months of one another. Natasha recently gave birth to a girl, just around her 16th birthday. Her sister Jade, 14, also gave birth to a girl.

However, the first of the three sisters to deliver a baby was 12-year old Gemma, who gave birth to a boy. She named him T-Jay, which presumably means something in 12-year-old circles, and was chosen, of necessity, without consultation with the 14-year old father, who has made himself scarce.

Nor does 14-year old Jade seem to have any great expectations of seeing the father of her baby any time soon either, noting off-handedly that she became pregnant as a result of "a one-night stand".

Their twice-divorced mother, who lives with her daughters and their babies in a free three-bedroom council house told the papers, "Frankly, I blame the schools."

When the neighbors, reading this, lost no time in calling the papers to report that Mrs. Atkins had been allowing her then-11-year old daughter to have sex with her 13 year old boy friend in the family home, Mrs. Atkins widened her sphere of culpability for her daughters' pregnancies to include "the government."

Continue to be enlightened while reading "And Whose Fault Is It?" »

» Watcher of Weasels links with: Submitted for Your Approval
» The Education Wonks links with: The Carnival Of Education: Week 19

|| Greg, 07:52 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments

June 08, 2005

Justice For Janice Rogers Brown

At last, one of the best judges in the country has been confirmed to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. What's more, there are other judicial nominees who will be confirmed soon.

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed California judge Janice Rogers Brown for the federal appeals court, ending a two-year battle filled with accusations of racism and sexism and shadowed by a dispute over Democratic blocking tactics.

Senators quickly followed by ending another long-term filibuster, clearing the way for a vote Thursday on former Alabama Attorney General William Pryor as outlined in an agreement last month that averted a showdown that could have brought Senate action to a halt.

After giving Pryor a final vote and confirming two Michigan nominees to other appeals court posts, senators plan to leave President Bush's other controversial nominees dangling, moving on to other matters after devoting a month to historic but exhausting debate over judges.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Justice For Janice Rogers Brown" »

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Deal ends filibuster on judicial nominee Brown

|| Greg, 07:58 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (30) || Comments

Teachers Union Seeks Ban On Church With Beliefs It Rejects

It is black letter law in Washington state -- schools are available for rent outside of school hours. It is also black letter law that school districts cannot engage in viewpoint discrimination in renting out such facilities -- especially not on the basis of the religious teachings of an organization.

So why is the Lake Washington Education Association demanding that one particular church be denied its rights under the US Constitution and Washington state law?

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Teachers Union Seeks Ban On Church With Beliefs It Rejects" »

|| Greg, 07:49 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments

Democrat Family Values

We remember the controversy over the Bush twins having the audacity to try – gasp! – to drink underage in a college-town bar. You would have thought they were guilty of mass murder. Their behavior was supposed to prove the bankruptcy of Bush (and GOP) family values.

I wonder why the media isn’t nearly so judgmental about this case involving the daughters of Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch (who recently announced as a candidate for the Democrat nomination for governor), in a case that has wound its way through the Illinois judicial system.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Democrat Family Values" »

|| Greg, 07:21 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (10) || Comments

Christians Martyred By Muslims – Not News

If a Muslim suffers even the most incidental slight, we have cries about hate crimes. If someone fails to show sufficient deference to the Koran, there are riots in the streets of the Muslim world.

On the other hand, if Muslims murder Christians for being Christians, it hardly qualifies as news.

A Baptist lay pastor has been beheaded in Bangladesh, the second Christian leader to lose his life in that country in a year, a Christian news organization has reported.
Continue to be enlightened while reading "Christians Martyred By Muslims – Not News" »

|| Greg, 07:17 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (19) || Comments

What A Blogiversary!

Woke up this morning, and realized that this is my first blogiversary. Yeah, that is right -- a year ago today, I started my oiginal Blogspot blog over at Precinct 333. In April, I moved over to, courtesy of the wonderful Pixy Misa and a blog-buddy who was willing to nominate me.

During the past year I have eulogized two of my greatest heroes -- Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul the Great. I've honored one of my first teaching colleagues, and one of my first blogging buddies as they have gone home to their eternal rewards. And I have mourned my grandmother, whose loss is still keenly felt nearly a year later. I've also commented on an election and a host of other news events that I might have let go by without a second thought if not for this forum. After all -- who would listen.

And so it was with great surprise that I awoke this morning to find that I had received a wonderful blogiversary gft -- membership in the Watcher's Council over at Watcher of Weasels. Thanks man -- just what I have always wanted!

Here's hoping I'm granted many more years of blogging.

|| Greg, 05:50 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments

June 07, 2005

Democrats: The Party Of Hate

Just listen to Howard Dean -- they are the party of hate and division.

Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, unapologetic in the face of recent criticism that he has been too tough on his political opposition, said in San Francisco this week that Republicans are "a pretty monolithic party. They all behave the same. They all look the same. It's pretty much a white Christian party."

"The Republicans are not very friendly to different kinds of people," Dean said Monday, responding to a question about diversity during a forum with minority leaders and journalists. "We're more welcoming to different folks, because that's the type of people we are. But that's not enough. We do have to deliver on things: jobs and housing and business opportunities."

Let's see here. George W. Bush has a Cabinet that is more diverse than any in history -- the Democrats tried to stop those nominees. The President has tried to appoint more minorities to the federal bench -- Democrats have filibustered them. According to recent research, the GOP is the party favored by every income level except the ultra-rich and the extremely poor. The GOP welcomes people of every faith, while the Democrats are hostile to people of faith.

So Howard, it seems that you folks are the party that is exclusive -- exclusive of real Americans. Yours is a party of hate, which cannot accept that the American people have weighed it in a balance and found it wanting.

» FullosseousFlap's Dental Blog links with: Howard Dean: GOP A White Christian Party
» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Dean Defends Criticism of Republican Party

|| Greg, 07:55 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (22) || Comments

June 06, 2005

A Sign Of Things To Come

We keep hearing from advocates of homosexual marriage that no church will ever be required to perform such ceremonies if they run contrary to church teachings. Supporters of overturning millenia of Western Culture on the matter of marriage insist that they only want to have their relationships recognized by the state and obtain benefits.

I think, though, that recent events in France tell us otherwise.

About two dozen protestors scuffled with priests and security guards at Notre Dame Cathedral Sunday. As stunned worshipers looked on the protestors marched down the aisle to the alter where one, dressed like a priest, performed a mock marriage ceremony for a lesbian couple.

As priests and security guards tried to hustle group out of the nave, one priest was knocked to the ground. The demonstrators chanted "Pope Benedict XVI, homophobe, AIDS accomplice."

Monsignor Patrick Jacquin, who received a minor injury, called the protest an outrage.

Most of the protestors were from the group Act Up Paris. A spokesperson for the group said the demonstration was timed to coincide with the first year anniversary of France's first same-sex marriage.

Interrupting worship services. Profaning the sacrament and the sanctuary in the Cathedral. Assaulting the priest.

The demand for acceptance will not stop with the passage of laws recognizing homosexual marriage. The next demand will be for a law requiring that religious organizations perform such marriages -- no doubt on pain of refusing to recognize any marriages performed if the teachings of the church are not jettisoned.

The line has been drawn.

» Watcher of Weasels links with: Submitted for Your Approval
» Watcher of Weasels links with: The Council Has Spoken!

|| Greg, 10:45 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (45) || Comments

June 05, 2005

RIP -- Michael James Reed AKA Bunker Mulligan -- 1953-2005

You sort of get to know folks over time around the blogosphere. One of the folks I first met was a guy who went by the handle Bunker Mulligan. I liked him, liked his site, and enjoyed his insights on the world. Later on, I joined up over at Texas Blogs, which was one of his projects. From what i could tell, he was a great guy.

Perusing the blogosphere this evening, I was shocked to read the following.

It is with a very heavy heart that we tell you that on the morning of 3 June 2005 Mike passed away from a heart attack. Obviously, this sudden, unexpected event has had a tremendously tragic effect on all of us. But being the kind of selfless man that dad was, he would probably tell us not to make too much of an issue about it.


Knock me over with a feather.

I encourage folks to look at the links above to see how this man is remembered by his family. May we all be spoken of so highly -- and be worthy of it.

Mike will be laid to rest on Friday, 10 June, at the San Antonio National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, we request any memorials for him be made to Homes For Our Troops. Further information can be found at

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
And may perpetual light shine upon him.
May the souls of the faithfully departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

» The Armageddon Project links with: More Info About Bunker’s Passing

|| Greg, 10:23 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments

You Have The Right To Walk Away

I didn't mess with the "runaway bride" story at all, mainly because the evidence was too scanty. And when she turned up, I looked at my wife and commented that she had committed no crime in disappearing like that -- and held to that position until the police said that she reported a kidnapping when she did turn up.

Why talk about that now? Because of this case, which I vaguely remember from when it took place.

A Texas A&M University student who had been feared murdered after disappearing nearly seven years ago has been found alive and working in Kentucky, according to authorities.

Brandi Stahr went missing in October 1998, and police spent hours searching for her body in wooded areas. They questioned a serial rapist and murderer about her just hours before he was executed last year.

But a telephone tip led investigators to Florence, Ky., where Stahr has been working for the last five years at a Sam's Club, said Texas Ranger Frank Malinak.

"We thought we were dealing with a missing persons case," Malinak said. "But, in actuality, we were dealing with a person who did not want to be found and was in hiding."

Continue to be enlightened while reading "You Have The Right To Walk Away" »

|| Greg, 04:22 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments

Who Says Crime Doesn't Pay

I really felt an incredible desire to be ill upon reading this article, for a whole bunch of different reasons.

Elva Hernández never imagined she'd give birth to a son in a medical helicopter flying over the Arizona desert. The 29-year-old woman, who was seven months' pregnant, felt contractions and went into labor after walking in the heat, rain and in the cold of night for nearly 20 hours as she and her family tried to illegally enter the United States. Hernández, her children and her husband were abandoned by a smuggler soon after she went into labor. Last Sunday, she gave birth in the helicopter minutes after being rescued by U.S. Border Patrol agents. She and the premature baby, Christian, a new U.S. citizen, were taken to Tucson's University Medical Center. The infant is stable, but remains in intensive care. Hernández left the hospital Tuesday.
Continue to be enlightened while reading "Who Says Crime Doesn't Pay" »

|| Greg, 03:08 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments

June 04, 2005

Non-Existant Weapons Material Disappears

I keep hearing the Left claim that Bush lied about Iraq having the material to make WMDs. I keep hearing that no such material was ever found. Now it appears that the material that didn't exist has disappeared from its storage areas on Iraq.

U.N. satellite imagery experts have determined that material that could be used to make biological or chemical weapons and banned long-range missiles has been removed from 109 sites in Iraq, U.N. weapons inspectors said in a report obtained Thursday.

U.N. inspectors have been blocked from returning to Iraq since the U.S.-led war in 2003 so they have been using satellite photos to see what happened to the sites that were subject to U.N. monitoring because their equipment had both civilian and military uses.

In the report to the U.N. Security Council (search), acting chief weapons inspector Demetrius Perricos said he's reached no conclusions about who removed the items or where they went. He said it could have been moved elsewhere in Iraq, sold as scrap, melted down or purchased.

He said the missing material can be used for legitimate purposes. "However, they can also be utilized for prohibited purposes if in a good state of repair."

He said imagery analysts have identified 109 sites that have been emptied of equipment to varying degrees, up from 90 reported in March.

The report also provided much more detail about the percentage of items no longer at the places where U.N. inspectors monitored them.

So please let me understand -- things that folks claim never existed are now missing.

So which is it ?

Was Bush right about this material, or did it never exist in the first place?

I think we all know the answer -- as inconvenient as it may be for the Left to admit.

|| Greg, 08:58 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (31) || Comments

Jillette Names His Baby

Penn Jillette became a father on Friday. While I'm not a fan, and never have been, I offer my congratulations, since the birth of a healthy child is always a matter of great joy.

On the other hand, I don't think much of the name he and his wife selected.

Jillette, 50, and his wife Emily, 39, welcomed Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette on Friday, according to publicist Glenn Schwartz. It was the first child for the couple, who married last year.

"We chose her middle name because when she's pulled over for speeding she can say, `But officer, we're on the same side,'" Jillette explained. "`My middle name is CrimeFighter.'"

Frankly, I'm disappointed. After his recent show that dealt with Mother Teresa, I was hoping that the middle name would be "F*cking", since he kept referring to the Angel of Calcutta as "Mother F*cking Teresa." Or, if he wanted to combine two words into a middle name, perhaps he could have chosen "F*ckingC*nt", since he referred to the members of the Missionary Sisters of Charity as "f*cking c*nts" during the show.

Maybe they could have just named her after her daddy -- "BigottedHatemonger".

|| Greg, 08:27 PM || Permalink || Comments

Stop Racist Ceremonies

Here is a man talking simple common sense about race in contemporary society. When are we going to do away with government-sponsored segregated graduation ceremonies at colleges and universities?

Because our daughter is African American, we had the dubious honor of attending two ceremonies — one for African Americans only, and then the next day, one for the general population of graduates. This was our third child to graduate from college, and all three universities — two in California and one in Washington — had these twin exercises.
Continue to be enlightened while reading "Stop Racist Ceremonies" »

|| Greg, 07:57 PM || Permalink

Zero Tolerance Reform

Looks like a little bit of common sense might be injected into Texas school disciplinary proceedings if a bill recently passed by the Texas Legislature is signed.

A bill that would give school officials more discretion in discipline matters by allowing them to evaluate individual circumstances before expelling students for certain infractions is awaiting Gov. Rick Perry's approval.

The measure, House Bill 603, co-authored by Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, would have a significant effect on cases in which students unknowingly bring weapons to school.

"There are circumstances when students don't realize they have brought illegal items to school and this bill would offer them some protection," said bill supporter Lonnie Hollingsworth, director of governmental relations with Texas Classroom Teachers Association.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Zero Tolerance Reform" »

» Zero Intelligence links with: Texas moving away from zero tolerance

|| Greg, 06:05 PM || Permalink

June 03, 2005

I'm Just Speechless

If this were done to the Koran, people would die. But since it is only the Bible, some will click their tongues and liberals will call it another blow against "right-wing Christian theocrats."

A publisher is touting a new edition of the Gospels that identifies Christ as a woman named Judith Christ of Nazareth.

LBI Institute says its version, Judith Christ of Nazareth, The Gospels of the Bible, Corrected to Reflect that Christ Was a Woman, Extracted from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, takes Thomas Jefferson's edited Gospel one step futher by "correcting" the gender of Christ and God.

"This long-awaited revised text of the Gospels makes the moral message of Christ more accessible to many, and more illuminating to all," says Billie Shakespeare, vice president for the publisher, in a statement. "It is empowering. We published this new Bible to acknowledge the rise of women in society."

And lest you think this is a joke, you can get confirmation here.

|| Greg, 10:46 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (11) || Comments

Howard Dean Hates Again

Howard Dean, the son of wealth and privilege that heads the party of the wealthiest office-holders and political donors in America, now claims that Republicans are dishonest and don't work.

Asserting that some Florida voters stood in line for eight hours in November, Dean said that was a hardship for people who ''work all day and then pick up their kids at child care.''

But, he said, Republicans could stand in eight-hour lines ''because a lot of them have never made an honest living in their lives.''

I'v got a suggestion for you, Dr. Howard F*ing Dean. Come down here to Houston some day. Spend an afternoon with me in my classroom, and then follow me to my night job after dinner with my disabled wife. Come with me to a Harris County GOP meeting, and see how many of my fellow precinct chairs are hard-working Americans who are out there working their tails off to support their families.

And then you can hop on your chartered jet and go back to Washignton, where you can have dinner with John Kerry, the gigolo who is the richest member of the US Senate, Jon Corzine (the Goldman-Sach profiteer), Herb Kohl (heir to a retailing fortune), Jay Rockerfeller (we know where he got his cash), Ted Kennedy (still living off of Daddy's bootlegging bucks), Marc Dayton (another guy who inherited his money), and Dianne Feinstein (she earned her money the old-fashioned way -- she married a rich guy). Heck, maybe you can call up Warren Buffett (speculator) and Bill Gates (stole IBM's operating system and Apple's interface, and uses monopoly power to control the software industry) to join you.

So are you suure you want to talk about folks who have never done an honest day's work, Howard?

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Dean Outlines Opportunities for Democrats
» Safety For Dummies links with: Keep Talking, Howard

|| Greg, 10:00 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (16) || Comments

The Unbalanced Liberal Media's Prescription For Restoring Public Trust In Media

. . . is even less balanced liberal reporting.

At least that's the prescription from a bunch of liberal MSM types at the "Take Back America" (from the real Americans, I guess) conference.

"The conservatives have got us, as a country, now believing that balance -- giving both sides -- is the same as truth, and there are some things that are just false," said Linda Foley, president of The Newspaper Guild, during a panel discussion on media reform at the "Take Back America" conference in Washington, D.C.

Funny, that sounds like she is complaining that conservatives VOLUNTARILY follow the dictates of the old "Fairness Doctrine". You know, the thing that the Left constantly demands be brought back as an antidote to conservative talk radio. Ms. Foley, though, seems to thing that presenting multiple sides to a controversy is a bad thing. After all, that might imply that the sides are equally legitimate and that reasonable, rational people can take either side.

Consider this controversial area.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "The Unbalanced Liberal Media's Prescription For Restoring Public Trust In Media" »

» News from Around the World links with: The Unbalnaced Liberal Media's Prescription For Restoring Public Trust In Media
» The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns links with: When Science Goes Awry

|| Greg, 09:31 AM || Permalink

June 02, 2005

Prosecute Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton has violated the deal made to avoid prosecution at the end of his term as president. As such, the agreement not to prosecute him for his crimes is no longer in effect, and federal authorities should pursue all appropriate charges against the former president. After all, there is no longer any basis for arguing that investigations or a trial interfere with his ability to carry out his official duties. I mean, he no longer has any.

Let's recall what the agreement required. Clinton had to admit that he did, in fact, lie in the Paula Jones case. Furthermore, he had to accept being disbarred. Now he has come back and made the claim that all charges against him were, in fact, false. These claims, in an interview with NBC's Brian Williams, seem to be a deal breaker to me.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Prosecute Bill Clinton" »

|| Greg, 11:33 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments

How Would He Stop It?

Well, the Texas Left has again demanded that Governor Rick Perry suspend the First Amendment to the US Constitution, insofar as it applies to those who object to the invasion of the United States by undocumented border-jumping criminals. This is the second such demand in the last month.

State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa and a group of Texas lawmakers attempted to pass a resolution insisting thet the governor prevent the Minutemen from monitoring the Texas-Mexico border for invading border-jumpers, as they did in Arizona this spring. The basis for the demand that the Constitutional right of Americans to peaceably assemble and petition their government for a redress of grievances be abridged was that allowing the exercise of those rights could "impede the traffic and negatively affect both tourism and trade along the border."

Governor Perry responded appropriately, though he failed to give support to the Minutemen as I had hoped he would.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "How Would He Stop It?" »

|| Greg, 10:13 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments

An Act Of Senseless Beauty

Forgive my language, but it seems like too many senior pranks this year revolved around shit. Cow manure, chicken feces, and, in one case, even elephant dung were spread around American high schools by graduating seniors, who were just trying to be funny. They weren't -- though the elephant manure did sort of raise the bar for originality.

That is why the senior prank at Montpelier High School in Vermont is such an exceptional one. A group of kids broke into school over the weekend and painted a mural on the lobby ceiling (a picture is included with the article). And the official reaction to the prank is one that demonstrates that administrators can exercise common sense and common decency in carrying out their responsibilities.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "An Act Of Senseless Beauty" »

|| Greg, 08:47 AM || Permalink || Comments

June 01, 2005

The Problem Of AIPAC

I am generally warm in my attitude towards Jews. I have similar warm feelings for Israel. That is why I share some concerns with Rachel Neuwirth regarding the recent indictment of Larry Franklin on charges related to mishandling of classified documents, and the likely indictment of certain officials of AIPAC, the principle pro-Israel lobbying group in Washington. I don't want to see our relationship with Israel upset, and I would hate to see the stereotype that Jews are more loyal to Israel than the US reinforced.

But I think Neuwirth goes too far with this concern.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "The Problem Of AIPAC" »

|| Greg, 08:03 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments

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NAME: Greg
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