July 31, 2005

Why Not Private Funding For Embryonic Stem Cell Research?

I found this interesting column raising issues about embryonic stem cell research. I think the point made is a good one.

Pro-embryonic stem-cell research proponents, like the snake-oil hucksters of old, have done a masterful job of rolling their wagon into the town square and selling the quick and easy.

Embryonic stem cells, they argue, hold the cures for everything from Alzheimer's to diabetes - if only embryonic stem cell research wasn't banned by the dark emperor, George W. Bush.

In truth, however, embryonic stem cell research hasn't been banned. Private labs have spent millions trying to see if healing potions could be unlocked using embryonic stem cells. But as the private sector money dried up, a push for federal funding ensued. Bush has said no to that.

Yet why does the private-money river mirror the Rio Grande trickling through the bosque? If this research truly promises cures for cancer, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's, for example, private companies' stockholders should be counting their money, right?

Could it be that after years of such research, there is no honest indication that embryonic stem cells hold the keys to anything

Where is the private money for this research? Why the push for government funding? Is the problem that there has been a lack of results to justify private funding? If so, why the demand to throw money down what private industry has determined to be an unprofitible rat-hole?

This question isn't just an academic one for me. My wife suffers from a cluster of conditions that could benefit from stem cell research -- whether based upon adult stem cells, cord blood, or embryonic cells. I want to see good research done. What I don't want to see is money or opportunity wasted on bad research. That's why I'm suspicious of the push for embryonic stem cell research which seems to have yielded very little when adult stem cell research and cord blood research seems more promising.

|| Greg, 10:18 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Britain Gets It -- When Will We?

The British are going to engage in terrorist profiling in an attempt to safeguard its people.

People from certain ethnic groups are more likely to be stopped and searched on London transport in the wake of the bombings, British Transport Police say.

A force spokesman said communities were not being singled out, but police have to "target the people we think may be involved" in bomb attacks.

The policy has been supported by Home Office minister Hazel Blears.


She told BBC News: "That's absolutely the right thing for the police to do.

"What it means is if your intelligence in a particular area tells you that you're looking for somebody of a particular description, perhaps with particular clothing on, then clearly you're going to exercise that power in that way."

She said it was important people were kept informed and those who were stopped were given an explanation.

"I think most ordinary decent people will entirely accept that in terms of their own safety and security," she added.

Consider the common sense nature of that concept. We know the profile of the folks we are fighting. We know that they are among us, ready to kill innocents. it makes sense to give scrutiny to those meeting the profile -- not mass detentions or lock-ups, simply heightened scritiny.

Most ordinary decent people would accept that.

And we know that the usual suspects object -- the ACLU, Muslim groups, liberals in general -- quite loudly to any procedure that doesn't make black grandmothers, Japanese tourists, Congressional Medal of honor winners and babies in diapers subject to the same level of scrutiny as Muhammad Atta's identical twin brother. Scratch that -- they object to any procedure that scrutinizes Atta's twin at all.

|| Greg, 08:05 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Helen Is Angry

After all -- who on earth did Albert Eisele think he was, treateing her like she was subject to the same rules as everybody else. Why -- she didn't mean for THAT COMMENT to make it into print.

But Thomas said yesterday at the White House that her comments to Eisele were for his ears only. "I'll never talk to a reporter again!" Thomas was overheard saying.

"We were just talking -- I was ranting -- and he wrote about it. That isn't right. We all say stuff we don't want printed," Thomas said.

But Eisele said that when he called Thomas, "I assume she knew that we were on the record."

"She's obviously very upset about it, but it was a small item -- until Drudge picked it up and broadcast it across the universe," Eisele said.

Still, he noted that reporters aren't that happy when the tables are turned. "Nobody has thinner skin than reporters," Eisele said with a laugh.

Additional comments from Instapundit and The Violence Worker.

|| Greg, 07:13 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Slap These Boys Around A Bit

Remember the terrible act of hatred experienced by the pregnant widow of Pfc. Tim Hines and his family last week? You know, the one in which someone uprooted American flags from their yard and set them ablaze underneath one of the family car on the night of his funeral.

Well, police have arrested two teens, age 15 and 13, and charged them with this crime.

Be prepared to be outraged by the bogus comments of the cops.

Two teenage boys were charged Thursday with burning 20 small American flags set up in honor of a soldier who died from injuries suffered in the Iraq war.

Police said the boys apparently did not know the significance of the flags they took from the yard and set afire under a car belonging to the soldier's sister-in-law. The vehicle was destroyed.

Excuse me -- what the hell do you mean that they didn't know the significance of the flags? Where the f*ck are they from that they don't know that an American flag signifies this country and our love for it -- not to mention the many men and women who have fought beneath it and laid down their lives for the nation it symbolizes?

It appears that the little miscreants were involved in other vandalism that morning. Here's hoping that the judge in this case is sure to include public service time at a rehabilitation facility for veterans. These boys need to know why those flags were there, and why what they did was horrendously wrong.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY from The Violence Worker, Instapundit, and NeoBabble.

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

The Beautiful And Multi-Talented Ms. Bacall Speaks

And there is no room for argument -- this IS Lauren Bacall, after all.


"When you talk about a great actor, you're not talking about Tom Cruise," Bacall says.

"His whole behavior is so shocking. It's inappropriate and vulgar and absolutely unacceptable to use your private life to sell anything commercially, but I think it's kind of a sickness."

That pretty much says all that needs saying on the matter.

And as for you, Ms. Bacall, you are still one of the most beautiful women in the world today.


|| Greg, 06:04 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 30, 2005

Remembering USS Indianapolis


One of the worst naval disasters of World War II was the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. Some 900 men made it into the watter after it was hit by two torpedoes on July 30, 1945. Only 316 survived to be rescued five days later -- their shipmates the victims of injuries, exposure, and sharks.

Sixty years after he narrowly avoided death in the U.S. Navy's worst sea disaster, World War II veteran Loel Dene "L.D." Cox is haunted by a dream.

He's with buddies somewhere — the faces and places change from night to night — and suddenly they disappear.

"I turn around and they're gone. I hunt for them, and I may accidently find one of them, and I lose him again," he said. "It's that way every night."

The nightmare forces the 79-year-old West Texan to relive an unforgettable ordeal. Cox was among 316 survivors of the sinking of the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis between Guam and the Philippines on July 30, 1945.

Of the 1,199 crewmen, about 900 lived through a Japanese submarine attack, but they abandoned ship in shark-infested waters and were left for dead until rescuers arrived almost five days later.

By then, nearly 600 more crewmen had perished. In all, about 880 Indianapolis sailors and Marines lost their lives.

"They don't hardly talk about it in the history books. They talk more about Marilyn Monroe than the Indianapolis and it's a crying shame," Cox said last week.

The retiree from Comanche is among 93 living members of the Indianapolis crew. Sixty of them gathered in the ship's namesake city last week to mark the 60th anniversary of its sinking and the recent exoneration of Capt. Charles Butler McVay III of Navy charges of putting the ship in harm's way.

"We thought it was a travesty — every crew member who survived," said Cox, who in 2000 helped persuade Congress to posthumously clear the captain. McVay survived the sinking but took his own life in 1968.

When survivors put aside memories of their harrowing experiences, they take solace in having accomplished a crucial top-secret mission. Four days before the Indianapolis went to the bottom, the ship delivered the inner workings of the first atomic bomb, which was dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6.

The Indianapolis returned from near Japan to San Francisco after a kamikaze attack off Okinawa on March 31, which killed 13 sailors. After repairs, mysterious crates were put aboard, and with record speed, the ship delivered the bomb components to Tinian Island.

Before that mission, Cox was aboard the ship for two other historic missions. The Indianapolis was the command ship during the assault on Iwo Jima and assisted in the first air raids on Tokyo.

There is more to read about this naval tragedy, one more chapter about the lives -- and deaths -- of the Greatest Generation.

UPDATE: Dave Goodman from eMusings at Chez Goodman shares the story of one member of the crew of USS Indianapolis. I think I've found my non-council nominee for this week's Watcher's Council. Prepare to be touched.

» More Than Loans links with: 60 Years Ago Today

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Done With Dewhurst

I've had it with Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. I'm serious -- I'm washing my hands of the man. This Republican precinct chair will not be passing out any of his material, will notbe making phone calls, and certainly won't distrubute yard signs to the party faithful. And I know that a lot of other Republicans have lost their enthusiasm for him.

What is my beef? It isn't his failure to get appraisal caps on property taxes passed. It isn't the fact that he can't control the state Senate, despite holding the most powerful job in Texas government (the Governor is a distant third). No, it is his utterly inane comment about a proposal to strip all the controversial elements from the education bill being debated in the second special session of the year.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said he was worried that there was support for what he called a "poison pill" amendment that would have removed nearly all of the reform measures in the bill, leaving only provisions for a teacher pay raise and textbook funding.

Yeah, you read that right. Paying for textbooks and raising teacher salaries (Texas teachers make about $6000 a year below the national average) constitutes a "poison pill". Good Lord -- they are the two things that most Texans agree on, according to polling data! If this man thinks that they are "poison", I'm willing to do all I can to make sure he is defeated, even if that means biting the bullet and voting for his eventual Democrat opponent. The stuff that would have been stripped from the bill were provisions raisng the age for teacher retirement while cutting the benefit level; and, if a school or district meets state standards to be classified as exemplary, gutting due process and workplace rights for teachers (guaranteeing that no school or district will ever meet those standards again).

No, Dewhurst has got to go -- and I put that above any party loyalty that I might feel. If he is going to label textbooks and teacher raises as "poison" after presiding over a vote to give legislators an $6500 annual increase in their pensions for their $7200-a-year part-time job, he clearly is the wrong man to hold this or any other public office.

Oh, and by the way, I find it interesting that the Houston Chronicle didn't find that "poison pill" quote to be sufficiently important to report on it. in its article on the new education bill -- nor did most of the rest of the news media in the state. I guess they don't consider textbooks and teachers to be important, either.

|| Greg, 07:36 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

More Christians Than Commies In Red China

For all the attempts by the Communist dictators in Beijing to domesticate Christianity, it appears that faith in Christ is growing by leaps and bounds in that oppressed nation.

The precise figures cannot be known, in a country in which Christians are still persecuted. But the evidence suggests that there may be as many as 80 million or even 100 million members of underground Christian churches in China, unapproved by the state.

The Chinese Communist Party, meanwhile, has only 70 million members. If those figures for worshippers are even roughly accurate, then we are looking at a very remarkable development in the history not only of Asia but of all mankind.

While the Communists have the weapons, they seem to be losing the hearts of the people. Will we find that, like in Poland, the yearning for Christ will be sufficient to undermine the atheistic system of Marx, Lenin, and Mao?

I particularly love this observation by the author of this editorial.

[C]ommunism and its blood-brother, fascism, have been responsible - in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America - for more human misery over the past century than any other systems of belief thought up by man. By denying human beings their individuality, all totalitarian systems brutalise the human condition, reducing everyone in their sway to the status of ants, or cogs in a machine. Christianity teaches that each of us is a moral being, responsible for our actions to our Maker, and individually bound to love our neighbours as ourselves.

A century from now, Communism will be a distant memory, supported only by college professors and others lacking contact with reality. May our descendants, by the grace of God, see a similar comparison between the evil force that is Islamist jihadism and Christianity.

The paper also has an excellent article by Richard Spencer about Christians in China. I encourage you to look at it, as well.

|| Greg, 11:34 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Utter Lack Of Sense

A Utah boy, age 8, was charged with lewd conduct after his 14-year-old babysitter persuaded him to touch her breasts during a game of truth-or-dare.

After hiring the teenager to baby sit, Grosbeck got the feeling something was wrong.

“It was just that sense that something wasn’t quite right with this 14-year-old girl,” she said. She asked her son what had happened. “He just came right out as if nothing was awry, and just started talking about what had happened.”

Grosbeck went to police and child protection workers, and the case went to the district attorney, after which her son, age eight, had been charged with an act of lewdness with a minor.

Grosbeck says the Salt Lake County District Attorney told her both the child and teenager were equal participants. But Mrs. Grosbeck didn’t believe that.

“My son is eight, he’s a little boy. He does not have the ability to participate on the same level as a fourteen-year-old,” she said.

Although the charges against her son were dropped, she is concerned that the same thing could happen to other victims of sexual abuse.

“I don’t want parents to be afraid to go to the state agencies that are supposed to be protecting our children when things like this happen, out of fear that their children are going to be charged

The district attorney’s office confirmed the charges had been made, and that they had been dropped. Other than that, they wouldn’t comment. The Division of Child and Family Services also declined to comment.

Sounds to me like some folks in Salt lake City need to be fired. An 8-year-old in such a situation is clearly the victim -- unless we want to make "willing participation" a defense available to child molesters everywhere.

|| Greg, 11:23 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Atomic Bomb -- Sixty Years Later

As we approach the sixtieth anniversaray of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I suspect we will see more articles discussing the decision to use the weapon. This morning I've come across two that strike me as grist for the mill.

"Why Truman Dropped the Bomb" author Richard B. Frank offers a persuasive rebuttal of those historians who take a critical or revisionist view of Truman's decision to drop the bomb. In it, he argues that the traditionalist view of the decision is more accurate and better explains why Truman used the bomb.

There are a good many more points that now extend our understanding beyond the debates of 1995. But it is clear that all three of the critics' central premises are wrong. The Japanese did not see their situation as catastrophically hopeless. They were not seeking to surrender, but pursuing a negotiated end to the war that preserved the old order in Japan, not just a figurehead emperor. Finally, thanks to radio intelligence, American leaders, far from knowing that peace was at hand, understood--as one analytical piece in the "Magic" Far East Summary stated in July 1945, after a review of both the military and diplomatic intercepts--that "until the Japanese leaders realize that an invasion can not be repelled, there is little likelihood that they will accept any peace terms satisfactory to the Allies." This cannot be improved upon as a succinct and accurate summary of the military and diplomatic realities of the summer of 1945.

The displacement of the so-called traditionalist view within important segments of American opinion took several decades to accomplish. It will take a similar span of time to displace the critical orthodoxy that arose in the 1960s and prevailed roughly through the 1980s, and replace it with a richer appreciation for the realities of 1945. But the clock is ticking.

In "What would you have done? ", Max Hastings argues that a decision that may be easy to question in hindsight was the one which seemed most reasonable to those charged with making the decisionin 1945.

The decision-makers were men who had grown accustomed to the necessity for cruel judgments. There was overwhelming technological momentum: a titanic effort had been made to create a weapon for which the allies saw themselves as competing with their foes.

After Hiroshima, General Leslie Groves, chief of the Manhattan Project, was almost the only man to succumb to triumphalism. He said: "We have spent $2bn on the greatest scientific gamble in history - we won." Having devoted such resources to the bomb, an extraordinary initiative would have been needed from Truman to arrest its employment.

Those who today find it easy to condemn the architects of Hiroshima sometimes seem to lack humility in recognising the frailties of the decision-makers, mortal men grappling with dilemmas of a magnitude our own generation has been spared.

In August 1945, amid a world sick of death in the cause of defeating evil, allied lives seemed very precious, while the enemy appeared to value neither his own nor those of the innocent. Truman's Hiroshima judgment may seem wrong in the eyes of posterity, but it is easy to understand why it seemed right to most of his contemporaries.

I raise a question with my students each year, one which brings out the stark calculus Truman faced.

"You are the president duing time of war. Your military advisors present you with a weapon that could end the war at the cost of a few hundred thousand enemy civilian lives. Failure to use this weapon will likely cost the lives of up to a million American troops and at least an equal number of enemy lives, both military and civilian. What do you do?"

I've had only one student ever argue against dropping the bomb -- and even then, she questioned how she would be able to justify that decision to the families of a million dead American soldiers.

That is why I really think the question is not "How could Truman justify dropping the bomb?" Rather, the appropriate question is "How could Truman justify NOT dropping the bomb?" And i think the answer is that he could not have justified a negative decision, regardless of what evidence there was of Japanese disarray. He had a primary responsibility to safeguard the lives of American soldiers.

|| Greg, 10:17 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

How Much Clearer Does It Need To Be?

I'm starting to think we need to begin impeachihg judges who inhibit national security. U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins strikes me as a good candidate to start with.

A federal judge has ruled that some provisions of the U.S. Patriot Act dealing with foreign terrorist organizations remain too vague to be understood by a person of average intelligence and are therefore unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins found that Congress failed to remedy all the problems she defined in a 2004 ruling that struck down key provisions of the act. Her decision was handed down Thursday and released Friday.

"Even as amended, the statute fails to identify the prohibited conduct in a manner that persons of ordinary intelligence can reasonably understand," the ruling said.

Collins issued an injunction against enforcement of the sections she found vague but specified that her ruling applies only to the named plaintiffs and does not constitute a nationwide injunction.

"I'm pleased that the court has recognized that people have a right to support lawful, nonviolent activities of groups the secretary of state has put on a blacklist," said David Cole, the attorney and Georgetown University law professor who argued the case on behalf of the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Humanitarian Law Project.


"The court finds that the terms 'training,''expert advice or assistance' in the form of 'specialized knowledge' and 'service' are impermissibly vague under the Fifth Amendment," the judge concluded at the end of 42-page decision.

Excuse me, but given that money is fungible and knowledge and skills can be used to aid terrorist activities, it would strike me that ANY assistance to a terrorist organization constitutes impermissible aid. If they are on the list, there you can't give them money, give them assistance, or do work for them. PERIOD.

So I guess it is now permissible for someone to go set up a computer network for al-Qaeda and design their websites. Yeah, it may aid in terrorist activity, but you can't really understand that it violates the law.

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

Just A Reminder Of How Democrats Treat Minority Voters

You don't get much bluer than Massachusetts, and in particular the city of Boston. That is why I believe this story is important -- it shows what the allegedly "pro-minority" Democrats do when they have power.

In a lawsuit filed yesterday, the Justice Department alleges that the city and its poll workers interfered with voters' rights by ''improperly influencing, coercing, or ignoring the ballot choices of limited English proficient Hispanic and Asian-American voters" and of generally ''abridging" their voting rights by treating Hispanic and Asian voters disrespectfully at the polls and by failing to provide adequate translation services for them.

The lawsuit says the Justice Department has been urging the city to comply with the Voting Rights Act since 1992, spanning a period when the city's Hispanic and Asian populations have swelled, making the groups a potentially formidable political force. Justice Department lawyers contend that the city has failed to respond to repeated requests to improve the city's treatment of Hispanic and Asian voters with limited English skills. It does not provide specific instances of violations of voters' rights.

''The violations of the Voting Rights Act that we discovered in Boston are deeply disturbing, and there is no place for such misconduct in 2005," Bradley J. Schlozman, acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, said in a prepared statement released yesterday. ''Furthermore, despite having had an unequivocal obligation -- for 13 years -- to provide Spanish language information to voters who need it . . . the City of Boston has consistently fallen well short of the mark."

Under the Voting Rights Act, if more than 10,000 of a city's voting-age citizens are members of a single-language minority with limited English skills, all elections materials must be available in their first language. The city is required to offer all ballots and instructions in Spanish for the 34,000 Hispanic citizens of voting age in Boston. The federal law also forbids officials from imposing any requirement or procedure that denies or abridges the rights of minority citizens to vote.

It's Florida and Ohio all over again -- except with actual evidence of actual violations of the voting rights of minorities.

|| Greg, 09:38 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

GOP Official Fired For Challenging Daley

Cook County GOP Chairman Gary Skoien offered a reward for evidence tying Chicago Mayr Richard Daley to the latest corruption scandal in his administration on Tuesday.

On Thursday, Skoien was fired from his job as executive vice president and chief operations officer at The Prime Company, a real estate development company. The reason?

Prime Group’s chief executive officer, Mike Reschke, delivered the news to Skoien that he was out as executive vice president and chief operations officer.

Reschke says Skoien’s actions went too far.

“I’m not very happy with what Gary did,” Reschke said. “I think it was inappropriate and irresponsible. I don’t think he should continue in his role with the company.”

Reschke praised Daley as the greatest mayor in America -- but somehow overlooked the latest scandals to his his administration. A federal investigation of a $38 million program that allows the city to outsource its hauling work, which has already resulted in 21 guilty pleas, and another in which federal prosecutors have charged two city hall officials with rigging the city’s hiring system. It seems that good-will from city officials is more important to Reschke than honest government. Folks might want to consider that before doing business with Prime.

Not, of course, that Skoien is unemployed. His primary source of income comes from his work as chief executive officer of Horizon Group Properties Inc., which owns factory outlets around the country.

|| Greg, 09:29 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Wounded Warriors Reaching Out

Not many newspaper articles move me to tears. But this line did.

Shannon Maxwell says her husband doesn't remember rolling his wheelchair through a ward at Bethesda Naval Hospital just days after brain surgery in January, searching for Marines. He does remember the first thing he told her after awakening: "I want to be with wounded Marines."

Her husband is Lt. Col. Tim Maxwell, one of the highest ranking members of the US military wounded in Iraq. He suffered his head wound and other injuries last October. He still struggles with memory issues and some physical problems. But the Marine officer refuses to let that stop him from doing something for his fellow Marines.

This spring, his solitary mission evolved into an informal effort approved by Marine brass. Maxwell has recruited several other injured Marines to help wounded comrades — most of them very young and far from home.

They tell them what to expect during surgery, therapy and recovery. They help them negotiate the military health system. They have heartfelt talks with wives and parents.

They also display graphic photos of their own wounds to show that even the most grievous injuries can heal. Mostly, they try to lift spirits during what is probably the most trying period in the lives of these soldiers.

"I want these families to know that their guys aren't forgotten," Maxwell said. "There are Marines here for them, right by their side."

Maxwell says the military will provide a small office and vehicles as he recruits more volunteers. A 10-bed living quarters for wounded Marines will open at the base on Aug. 8, he said.

This is incredible stuff -- most of us, faced with such injuries, would probably be more concerned about our own healing and own progress. This man is truly one of a band of brothers, and he wants to make sure that each one of his brothers knows he is not forgotten. Along the way, he has picked up a few fellow Marines to help out with this project.

Maxwell finds camaraderie in what he calls his "wounded warrior team." There's Staff Sgt. James Sturla, 26, a tank commander whose right hand was "de-gloved" — the skin, tissue and muscle ripped from the bone — during an attack in western Iraq in September. And there's Gunnery Sgt. Ken Barnes, 35, whose left arm was shattered by a roadside bomb in central Iraq in November.

If you read no other article I've linked to from my blog, I beg you to read this one. It will inspire you and move you. It might even bring a tear to your eye, too.

God bless you, L. Col. Maxwell, SSGT Sturla, and Gunnery Sgt. Barnes. You are truly the sort of men who make this country great -- and who make the Marine Corps what it is.


|| Greg, 01:24 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Planet Xena?

Astronomers have discovered a tenth planet in our solar system.

A California astronomer has found what could be a new planet, a body of rock and ice which orbits the sun every 560 years.

If confirmed, the discovery would be the first of a planet since Pluto was identified in 1930.

California Institute of Technology astronomer Michael Brown says the new body is the most distant object ever detected orbiting the sun and ranks as the solar system's 10th planet.

The possible new planet is at least the size of Pluto and was discovered orbiting about 14.5 billion kilometres from the sun.

Dr Brown says the object is a typical member of the Kuiper belt - which extends from the orbit of Neptune out through the solar system for about 3,000 million kilometres - but its sheer size in relation to the nine known planets means it can only be classified as a planet.

However, Dr Brown conceded that the discovery would likely rekindle debate over the definition of a 'planet' and whether Pluto should still be regarded as one.

Dr Brown says the new object was detected in January by the Samuel Oschin Telescope at the Palomar Observatory near San Diego.

He says the planet went undiscovered for so long because its orbit is tilted at a 45-degree angle to the orbital plane of the other planets.

Fine. I accept that the thing qualifies as a planet, especially if it is larger than Pluto (the status of which is still disputed by some astronomers).

Word is, though, that the discoverer may want to name the newly discovered planet Xena, after the title character of Xena: Warrior Princess. Dare I say that such a name is a bit undignified? I would suggest several possibilities from Greco-Roman mythology that are more fitting and also in keeping with the current naming protocol for planets -- Apollo, Vulcan/Hephaestus, Minerva/Athena are all excellent choices. One would honor the manned space program, another would still have the pop-culture connection, and the third would honor the goddess of the Parthenon, one of humanity's greatest achievements.

But I suppose the discoverer is probably entitled to naming privileges. I guess I could get used to "Planet Xena".

|| Greg, 12:43 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

CAIR Fatwa Does Not Unambiguously Condemn Terrorism As Contrary To Islam

I didn't get the chance to look at the fatwa issued by CAIR-associated clerics and scholars yesterday. I finally got to look at it on the group's website tonight, and I've added bold type where I see some ambiguity.

The Fiqh Council of North America wishes to reaffirm Islam's absolute condemnation of terrorism and religious extremism.

Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives. There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism. Targeting civilians’ life and property through suicide bombings or any other method of attack is haram – or forbidden - and those who commit these barbaric acts are criminals, not “martyrs.”

The Qur’an, Islam’s revealed text, states: "Whoever kills a person [unjustly]…it is as though he has killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind." (Qur’an, 5:32)

Prophet Muhammad said there is no excuse for committing unjust acts: "Do not be people without minds of your own, saying that if others treat you well you will treat them well, and that if they do wrong you will do wrong to them. Instead, accustom yourselves to do good if people do good and not to do wrong (even) if they do evil." (Al-Tirmidhi)

God mandates moderation in faith and in all aspects of life when He states in the Qur’an: “We made you to be a community of the middle way, so that (with the example of your lives) you might bear witness to the truth before all mankind.” (Qur’an, 2:143)

In another verse, God explains our duties as human beings when he says: “Let there arise from among you a band of people who invite to righteousness, and enjoin good and forbid evil.” (Qur’an, 3:104)

Islam teaches us to act in a caring manner to all of God's creation. The Prophet Muhammad, who is described in the Qur’an as “a mercy to the worlds” said: “All creation is the family of God, and the person most beloved by God (is the one) who is kind and caring toward His family."

In the light of the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah we clearly and strongly state:

1. All acts of terrorism targeting civilians are haram (forbidden) in Islam.

2. It is haram for a Muslim to cooperate with any individual or group that is involved in any act of terrorism or violence.

3. It is the civic and religious duty of Muslims to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to protect the lives of all civilians.

We issue this fatwa following the guidance of our scripture, the Qur’an, and the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him. We urge all people to resolve all conflicts in just and peaceful manners.

We pray for the defeat of extremism and terrorism. We pray for the safety and security of our country, the United States, and its people. We pray for the safety and security of all inhabitants of our planet. We pray that interfaith harmony and cooperation prevail both in the United States and all around the globe.

Now let's look at the problem with this statement. It condemns attacks on "innocent lives" and "civilians". Those phrases constitute loopholes so big you could fly the space shuttle through them.

Define "innocent lives". Was Theo van Gogh an innocent, or did film which "insulted" Islam make him guilty of an offense that required blood atonement? How about Salman Rushdie? Is he an innocent, or may Islamists murder him becasue of The Satanic Verses? Are Jews in Israel innocents, or is there presence there an offense that requires genocide? Was Daniel Pearl an innocent, or did his Jewish faith constitute a legitimate basis for his kidnapping and murder? For that matter, is any non-Muslim an innocent, given that we offend against the Muslim faith by our very refusal to drop our infidel ways and take up the practice of Islam?

But some might argue that the later use of the word "civilians" makes up for that. However, that phrase lends approval to the attack on the Marine Barracks in Lebanon, the murder of a Navy SEAL on a hijacked plane, the bombing of the Khobar towers and the USS Cole, and the suicide attack on the Pentagon on 9/11. For that matter, it also constitutes a justification for continued attacks on US troops by insurgents in Iraq. It is unclear to me if the condemnation extends to embassy personnel or governemnt officials.

So even a cursory reading of the document shows that terrorism is not really condemned by this fatwa -- merely some terrorism, and the extent of the condemnation is unclear. That very ambiguity makes the fatwa fundamentally unacceptable. Why the lack of clarity?

Well, Stephen Emerson points out who the folks behind this fatwa really are, and what their prior connection to terrorists has been.

The Chairman of the Fiqh Council, Taha Jaber Al-Alwani, is an unindicted co-conspirator in the case against Sami al-Arian, the alleged North American leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, whose trial began in June 2005 in Tampa, Florida. Mr. Alwani has been named in court documents as an official of several entities in northern Virginia suspected of being connected to terrorist financing. Documents released in the Al Arian trial show that Alwani funded the Islamic Jihad front groups in Tampa.

Another past trustee of the Fiqh Council, Abdurrahman Alamoudi, is serving a 23-year prison sentence for illegal financial dealings with Libya and immigration fraud, has admitted to his part in a plot to assassinate the Saudi Crown Prince, and has vocally announced his support for the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. Additionally Alamoudi was just named by Treasury as having been a financier for Al Qaeda.

In 1998, Fiqh Council member Sheikh Muhammad al-Hanooti, gave a speech calling for jihad against the United States and the United Kingdom, saying that “Allah will curse the Americans and British” and “Allah, the curse of Allah will become true on the infidel Jews and on the tyrannical Americans.” Additionally, Hanooti is strongly linked to Hamas, having served on the board of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP). A 2002 INS memo extensively documented IAP’s support for HAMAS and noted that the “facts strongly suggest” that IAP is “part of HAMAS’ propaganda apparatus.”

On October 28, 2000, Muzammil Siddiqui, the President of FCNA, at a rally in Lafayette Park in Washington D.C., said, “America has to learn -- if you remain on the side of injustice, the wrath of God will come!"

In the past 4 years, several CAIR officials have been convicted of or charged with various terrorism-related offenses.

CAIR has championed and defended officials of Islamic terrorist groups including Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzook, Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami al-Arian, Palestinian Islamic Jihad fundraiser Fawaz Damra, and the radical Egyptian cleric Wagdy Ghoneim.

CAIR has repeatedly attacked the prosecutions of Islamic terrorists arrested and/or convicted since 9-11 and has attacked the government’s freezing of Islamic terrorist fronts as part of a “war against Islam” by the United States.

CAIR has led protests against the deportation of radical Islamic clerics who have called for Jihad or who have been fundraisers for Hamas.

CAIR has asserted that the indictment of Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami al-Arian on conspiracy to murder more than 100 people was “politically motivated” and instigated by “the attack dogs of the pro-Israeli lobby."

CAIR has been named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit filed by the family of former FBI official John O’Neill, who was killed on 9-11.

One of the signatories to today’s fatwa is Fawaz Damra who was convicted of immigration fraud related to his ties to Palestinian Islamic Jihad and denaturalized. He is currently awaiting a deportation hearing.

Another signatory, the Muslim American Society, is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States and whose publications have repeatedly supported suicide bombings.

Are we really supposed to believe these folks are condemning terorism? One would think that theeir expulsion from the room would be the first move of any group seeking to condemn terrorism in a complete and unambiguous manner. For more complete documentation on the terrorist links, click here.

|| Greg, 12:23 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 29, 2005

Islamists Murdered The Father; Now They Harrass The Son

Theo van Gogh, who was martyred for his exercise of freedom of speech, was murdered last year by an Islamist terrorist. His murderer remains unrepentant. Now Islamist punks are harrassing his son, Lieuwe van Gogh, age 14.

The 14-year-old son of controversial film director Theo van Gogh, slain by an Islamic extremist last November, is said to have been threatened and assaulted by Moroccan teenagers in Amsterdam and insulted by his classmates. The allegations were made during an interview the boy's grandparents gave to the Dutch television channel Nova. Amsterdam police have not confirmed any threats or aggression against Lieuwe van Gogh.

The family lawyer, Gijs de Westelaken, specified that after the murder, which profoundly shocked Dutch society, Lieuwe was attacked by some young Moroccan youths while he was walking the dog. The boy is said to have suffered bruising, but only spoke about the incident to his mother and did not lodge a police complaint.

On another occasion he is said to have been threatened with a pistol by two young men of North African descent in the neighbourhood where his father had lived. Neighbours called the police but when they arrived the attackers had fled.

According to his grandparents, Lieuwe was also subject to harrassment and insults at school, and was forced to change class after various classmates told him "it is a good thing your father is dead".

When will we in the West act to rid ourselves of the ihadi pigs in our midst? Therre are many fine and upstanding Muslims in our societ, and I welcome them, but we must make such extremism as unacceptable in our societies as Klan and Nazi activity.

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

Run, Dick, Run!

I'm still backing Condi in 2008, but would like to see Vice President Cheney declare for the nomination.

“The day I say Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I’ll kill myself,” [Hearst columnist Helen Thomas] told The Hill.

And this is supposed to keep him from running?

Although this does actually put me in agreement with Ann Coulter, a most unusual event.

What is it with these Arabs and suicide?

And screw Media Matters if they don't like the satire.

|| Greg, 11:17 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

No Apology Wanted -- No Apologia Demanded

San Antonio Express-News fifth-columnist Mansour El-Kikhia insists he won't apologize for Muslim terrorist attacks. He also does not think other Muslims or Muslim organizations should apologize for them either. That's fine with me, because I don't see him (or them) as bearing any personal responsibility for those attacks.

Unfortunately, and has often been the case with individual Muslims and Muslim groups, we don't get an unambiguous condemnation of terrorism, either.

It is rejection of U.S. and British policies in the Middle East, not Islam, that has promoted terrorism against America. And for the benefits of those who do not know, 95 percent of Middle Easterners are Muslims. Hence, it is only natural that those opposing the United States and Britain in the region would be Muslims. In India, they would have been Hindu; in Latin America or Northern Ireland, they would have been Catholic.

More important, it was the British and the United States that drew first blood. The Middle East didn't come to America or go to Britain; rather, America and Britain went to the Middle East. Both powers used and abused regimes, toppling some and keeping others in power. They never thought that the people they were helping suppress were human beings with needs, beliefs and emotions. They didn't care as long as their interests were served.

In other words, not only are non-terrorist mainstream Muslims not reponsible for the terrorist attacks, the terrorists are not responsible for them. Rather, terrorism is the fault of the US and the UK, and it is therefore the wictimized nations that are responsible and need to apologize.

No, Mansour, I didn't expect you to apologize. But that does not mean that i find your apologia on behalf of the terrorists acceptable, either. If you find the need to defend the terrorists, please go back home to Libya and do it from there.

More commentary on GOPBloggers, Strata-Sphere. and Decision '08.

|| Greg, 08:56 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Quick Fix?

NASA wants the shuttle flying by year's end, if possible.

NASA Chief Michael Griffin said Friday he hasn't given up on launching another space shuttle later this year, despite suspending flights until the space agency can stop foam insulation from snapping off and threatening the spacecraft. He said he has set up a "tiger team" to try to solve the problem as quickly as possible. "We don't expect this to be a long drawn-out affair," he said by telephone from Washington in a briefing with reporters in Houston.

My concern? You've had this problem for a quarter century, and it contributed to one horrible accident. Two years of work didn't fix the problem. What makes you think you can get it fixed in time for a year-ending launch?

Please understand that I want to see it happen, but I also recognize that another catastrophic failure will have dire results for NASA and the manned space flight program.

|| Greg, 11:59 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Military Service helps Poor Inner City Youth

That is, of course, why liberals oppose allowing recruiters in public schools and deride military service. In New York City, Councilman Charles Barron (whose racist statements and antics in favor of dictators and cop-killers are legend) is seeking to ban military recruiters from city shools in violation of federal law, claiming that they "prey" on minority students, "taling advantage" of them.

What says one of those students, after graduating from one of those schools and performing exemplary service in the armed forces?

If Mr. Barron doesn't believe that serving one's country is an honor and not a trick, let him have a chat with Corporal Charles Grant - one of the black youngsters Mr. Barron thinks is being taken advantage of by the military. Corporal Grant, aged 22, told The New York Sun he joined the military when recruiters came to his high school in the Bronx, Adlai E. Stevenson, four years ago. He's part of the 82nd Airborne Division, served both in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and received Army commendation medals in both wars.

In response to Mr. Barron's view that he had been taken "advantage of," Corporal Grant described his military career to The New York Sun as "actually an advantage for me," providing him with "mental, physical, and financial stability" while many of his high school peers fell on hard times. More importantly, he was proud to be of "service to the country" and "part of something great," "providing a blanket of comfort for the next generation." Corporal Grant, in his wisdom, values his military career so highly that he persuaded his older brother, Gary, to join the military a few months ago, and his brother is set to graduate from his Army training program today.

So whose word do we take -- a former member of a terrorist organization whose words and actions betray a contempt for the values of this nation, or one of the soldiers who has put his life on the line so that such a disgusting individual has the freedom to make contemptible comments? I think the answer is obvious.

God bless you, Corporal Grant. And when you finish with your service, come back home and run against Barron. There are lots of real Americans out here who would gladly support your campaign.

|| Greg, 11:49 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Here's An Idea I Support

Some folks complain that the Minutemen and other similar groups are vigilantes. I think they are wrong, especially since those doing the criticizing are opposed to any effort to control immigration and secure our borders.

Well, Congressman John Culbertson has a solution to that problem -- he wants to permit states to establish Border Militias to help enforce the nation's immigration laws.

Adding an unusual proposal to the searing debate over illegal immigration, U.S. Rep. John Culberson of Houston introduced a bill late Thursday to let Texas and other border states establish armed militias to catch people trying to illegally cross from Mexico and Canada. ADVERTISEMENT

The bill, which he called a "thunderclap," is more than a solitary, symbolic gesture by the Republican lawmaker: It has 46 Republican co-sponsors.

It comes as the White House, Congress and local officials are becoming increasingly immersed in efforts to find the best way to secure the borders and perhaps also establish a "guest worker" program to let immigrants stay in the United States as temporary legal residents.

Gov. Rick Perry indicated he is open to Culberson's idea.

"Illegal immigration has become a pervasive problem in this country, and it is a drain on our economy," Perry said. "Regardless of the mechanism, the federal government must provide a stronger presence along the border and must provide substantially more funding for border protection."

Among Culberson's co-sponsors are 10 Texans, including freshmen Reps. Ted Poe of Humble and Michael McCaul of Austin.

The measure's stated goal is to let governors create a Border Protection Corps of citizens to shield the country from "uniquely devious, criminal, cowardly and fanatically determined" terrorist organizations.

Culberson said the militia provisions in the Constitution must be invoked because the U.S. Border Patrol lacks the resources to deal with any surge in illegal crossings by people who may have ties to terrorist groups.

"The tools are all there in the Constitution," Culberson said. "America's best defense against terrorists trying to sneak into our country is to trust the good hearts and the good sense of American citizens."

This sounds like an excellent way of meeting the criticisms offered against the Minutemen. They will be trained, regulated, and officially deputized for the task for which they organized. They will be able to do more than merely take pictures and make phone calls -- they will be authorized to take action and actually stop the immigration criminals. And they will provide needed relief for the under-staffed Border Patrol.

Good for John Culbertson, and his 46 co-sponsors. Call your congressman and encourage him to join as a co-sponsor.

|| Greg, 10:42 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Vote

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are History and Fantasy by Right Wing Nut House, and Anonymous Rectal Intercourse by Hog on Ice.  Here are the full results of the vote.

|| Greg, 09:36 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 28, 2005

Is There A Future For English Language Broadcasters?

If you only speak English, you won't understand the music or on=-air personalities on the top radio station in Dallas. That's because KESS-FM has a format devoted to Mexican music.

A Spanish-language radio station beat its English-language competitors for the first time in the Dallas-Fort Worth market to gain the No. 1 spot among listeners.

Playing Mexican regional music, KESS-FM outranked urban contemporary KKDA-FM in the most recent Arbitron spring ratings. Another Spanish-language station, KLNO-FM (94.1), rounded out the top five in the DFW listener survey, which was conducted from March 31 to June 22.

"It's not a fluke. It's only going to get better," said Betina Lewin, director of Hispanic marketing at Spanish Broadcasting System in New York.

Spanish-language radio stations have regularly reached the top five in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.

In the Houston-Galveston market, Mexican regional station KLTN-FM dropped to the fourth spot after being second in the two previous listener surveys.

El Paso's KBNA-FM was No. 1 in the Arbitron winter survey with its Spanish contemporary format.

And KESS-FM's owner, Univision Communications Inc., has already made history in U.S. broadcasting. Its television network gained the top spot in prime-time viewing among the coveted 18- to 34-year-old demographic during the final week of June, according to Nielsen Media Research.

I'm not surprised by this development -- here in the Houston area, there are already more Spanish music stations than there are country music stations.

|| Greg, 07:05 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

"Not Our Job!"

Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt doesn't think that HPD officers have any business enforcing immigration laws. Not only that, he indicated his opposition to HPD providing assistance to federal immigration officials.

During the question-and-answer portion of the program, Hurtt said HPD should not assist in the enforcement of immigration laws, as some city leaders have recently suggested. Already struggling with a staffing shortfall, HPD could not take on the extra burden, he said.

"Immigration is a federal responsibility," he said. "We'll do our job and they should do theirs."

On the other hand, Chief Hurtt has made it clear that he intends to use HPD officers to harass and interfere with the Minutemen and their legal activities when they come to Houston this fall.

Then again, maybe Hurtt has a point. According to statistics released yesterday, Houston homicides are during Hurtt's tenure as chief.

Thanks to reader Mary Leverett for pointing me to this article which i had overlooked.

|| Greg, 09:41 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Preserving History

The city of Galveston is looking to ensure the preservation of one of the few structures to make it through the 1900 hurricane. The city will begin a fundraising effort toraise $5 million to purchase the "Bishop's Palace" from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and refurbish the structure. In the process, it will also make possible the renovation of one of the island's other historical structures, St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica, which was built in 1847.


As mayor of Galveston, Lyda Ann Thomas will spearhead a $5 million fund-raising campaign for the city to purchase and refurbish the 112-year-old Chateauesque home, which towers above Broadway, the island's main street. The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has owned the historical home since 1923 and operated it as a museum since 1963.

Thomas and Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza have agreed in principle to the sale of the structure to the city, they said Wednesday.

"Historically, it is one of the most important buildings in the country," Thomas said. "It attracts more visitors than any of our other house museums on the island."

The city and the archdiocese have not yet agreed on a sale price for the building, which is in need of repairs, including work to stop a leaking roof. No tax money will be used for the purchase or restoration, the mayor said.

"We can see from the street the deterioration that has been occurring," Thomas said. "I just decided to go up and talk to the archbishop and see if the archdiocese would be willing to let the citizens begin to raise money to restore the building, since the church was struggling with it."

Fiorenza conceded that the Bishop's Palace is a financial burden on the archdiocese, adding that running a museum is "not particularly our mission." He said he thinks the city can do a better job of maintaining it.

"The city has great experience in managing historical homes and museums," Fiorenza said. "We feel under the direction of the Galveston Historical Foundation that beautiful architectural gem will be better preserved as a great tourist attraction for the city of Galveston."

Although the foundation operates several Galveston attractions, including three home museums, it has not been determined whether it will run the Bishop's Palace.

"That is a possibility down the road," said Marsh Davis, head of the historical foundation. "It's going to take some time to gauge the feasibility of it all. But the foundation will be part of the planning process."

The foundation wants to ensure covenants attached to the deed in perpetuity "protect every square inch inside and out" of the structure, Davis said.

The Friends of the Palace campaign, announced at a news conference Wednesday, intends to raise approximately $5 million during the next five years.

"Initially, we will be looking for around $3 million, part of which will be for the purchase," Thomas said. "Part of that $3 million will be used for immediate repairs."

The Bishop's Palace began its life as a private home, and was given as a gift to Bishop Christopher Byrne in 1923. Besides Byrne, no other Bishop ever lived in the structure.

According to Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza, proceeds from the sale of the Bishop's palace will be used to aid in the renovation of St. Mar's Cathedral Basilica, the oldest Cathedral in the state of Texas and the oldest church building on Galveston Island.

All in all, this sounds like a win for everyone.

|| Greg, 09:00 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 27, 2005

Cover-Up? Or Lousy Coverage?

This little story comes out of my hometown outside of Houston. It appeared in the local "throw-away" paper that turns up on the lawn each Wednesday.

Seabrook City Councilman Paul Richard Sammons, 36, was arrested at his home on La Rochelle early Saturday morning in an incident involving a gun.

When police arrived at the scene in response to a call about a man with a gun, they arrested Sammons and charged him with deadly conduct, a Class A misdemeanor, according to Lt. Sean Wright.

He was taken to the City of Seabrook Jail and booked, after which the case was forwarded to the Harris County district attorney's office, Wright said.

So I checked out the local media.

Channel 11 covered it.

Seabrook police arrested a member of the city council over the weekend.

Councilmember Paul Richard Sammons was arrested and charged with deadly conduct.

The police department says officers found him with a gun, but the specifics about what happened have yet to be released.

An arraignment is scheduled for Friday on the deadly conduct charge.

Sammons is serving his second consecutive term on the Seabrook City Council.

And that's it -- none of the other local media, including the Houston Chronicle (our "paper of record" here in Harris County), covered the story at all.

Let's see. Local elected oficial arrested on a weapons charge. Cops are keeping mum. Press is virtually silent. Is it a cover-up? Or just piss-poor coverage?

|| Greg, 11:11 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

My Girl Robot

I've always laughed when that line shows up in the credit card commercial about identity theft.

And I haven't been able to get it out of my head since seeing this story.

Japanese scientists have unveiled the most human-looking robot yet devised - a "female" android called Repliee Q1.

She has flexible silicone for skin rather than hard plastic, and a number of sensors and motors to allow her to turn and react in a human-like manner.

She can flutter her eyelids and move her hands like a human. She even appears to breathe.

Professor Hiroshi Ishiguru of Osaka University says one day robots could fool us into believing they are human.

Repliee Q1 is not like any robot you will have seen before, at least outside of science-fiction movies.

She is designed to look human and although she can only sit at present, she has 31 actuators in her upper body, powered by a nearby air compressor, programmed to allow her to move like a human.

My girl robot -- indeed.

UPDATE: Dirty Harry, Tony B, and Kim DuToit have some related comments.

|| Greg, 09:04 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||


Yesterday it was triumph.

Now we know it could have been tragedy.

And we have no idea of what the future holds.

NASA has announced that all shuttles will be grounded due to more problems with foam insulation breaking free during launch. Discovery will complete its mission and return, to be followed by...?

The shuttle Discovery, like Columbia, shed a large chunk of foam debris during liftoff that could have threatened the return of the seven astronauts, NASA said today.

While there are no signs the piece of insulation damaged the spacecraft, NASA is grounding future shuttle flights until the hazard can be fixed.

``Call it luck or whatever, it didn't harm the orbiter,'' said shuttle program manager Bill Parsons. If the foam had broken away earlier in flight, when the atmosphere is thicker increasing the likelihood of impact, it could have caused catastrophic damage to Discovery.

``We think that would have been really bad, so it's not acceptable,'' said Parsons' deputy, Wayne Hale. But he said early signs are Discovery is safe for its return home.

A large chunk of foam flew off Discovery's redesigned external fuel tank just two minutes after what initially looked like a picture-perfect liftoff Tuesday morning. But in less than an hour NASA had spotted images of a mysterious object whirling away from the tank.


Mission managers did not realize what the object was - or how much havoc it would cause to the shuttle program - until Wednesday after reviewing video and images taken by just a few of the 100-plus cameras in place to watch for such dangers.

Officials do not believe the foam hit the shuttle, posing a threat to the seven astronauts when they return to Earth on Aug. 7. But they plan a closer inspection of the spacecraft in the next few days to be sure.

``You have to admit when you're wrong. We were wrong,'' Parsons said. ``We need to do some work here, and so we're telling you right now that the ... foam should not have come off. It came off. We've got to go do something about that.''

The loss of a chunk of debris, a vexing problem NASA thought had been fixed, represents a tremendous setback to a space program that has spent 2½ years and over $1 billion trying to make the 20-year-old shuttles safe to fly.

``We won't be able to fly again,'' until the hazard is removed, Parsons told reporters in a briefing Wednesday evening.


|| Greg, 08:54 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Questioning Roberts' Religious Beliefs -- Repugnant, But Not Unconstitutional

CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES ARTICLE VI; Cl. 3 The Senators and Representatives..., and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. [Emphasis and bold added.]

Do inquiries by Senators about the intersection of religious beliefs and the performance of official duties constitute a religious test under the terms of the Constitution? Does the refusal of a Senator to vote to confirm a candidate because of that candidates "deeply held personal/religious beliefs" constitute a violation of the Article VI, Clause 3 of the US Constitution? Those are questions we have dealt repeatedly over the last several years. They arise again with the nomination of Judge john Roberts, a faithful practicing Catholic, to the US Supreme Court..

Let me answer the question forthrightly in the negative -- neither situation constitutes a violation of the constitutional ban on religious tests.

Let me explain, in the context of discussing an editorial in the New York Sun.

Senator Durbin of Illinois, fresh from slandering American GIs by comparing them to Nazis, introduced a new slander into the public debate after meeting on Friday with President Bush's nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge John Roberts. Mr. Durbin, according to several press reports, asked the nominee to the high court whether he had considered potential conflicts between the moral imperatives of his Roman Catholic faith and his responsibilities as a judge.

Mr. Durbin's press secretary, Joseph Shoemaker, promptly denied that his boss asked such a question. But law professor Jonathan Turley, who reported on the meeting between Mr. Durbin and Judge Roberts in a Los Angeles Times column that appears on the adjacent page, said he heard about the conversation directly from Mr. Durbin - and confirmed the senator's account with Mr. Shoemaker as well. Mr. Durbin has since clammed up.

Based on the senator's performance so far, it's no doubt a wise policy, one that would serve him well all the way through the confirmation hearings, in which Mr. Durbin will participate as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Interrogating a nominee in respect of his religious beliefs is not only grossly inappropriate. It's unconstitutional. In Article 6, the Constitution provides that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." No, ever, any. It's the most emphatic single sentence in the entire Constitution.

Now let me say that I find the position taken by Senator Durbin to be repugnant. However Durbin, an anti-Catholic Catholic if there ever was one, has raised an important question. How would this nominee respond if the law required one outcome to a case but his faith compelled a different one? On its face, this is not an improper question. In light of the current War on Jihadi Terrorism, it would be prudent to raise a similar question with a Muslim nominee to a high office which dealt with defense, national security, intelligence, or homeland security. Would it constitute a "religious test" for office? No -- it would go to the heart of the issue of the nominee's ability to properly carry out the duties of the office. The issue is not one of religious beliefs per se. Rather, it is focused on the ability of the nominee to do the job for which he or she is nominated. In the current situation, it is designed to determine whetehr or not Judge Roberts has an appropriate sense of the role of a judge and the temperment/character to carry perform in that role.

Now please note tahtDurbin seems to reserve his religious scrutiny for his fellow Catholics who are more faithful to Catholic teachings than he is, and for Protestants with a more fundamentalist/evangelical bent. There is no record of his making such inquiries of jews or non-Christians, nor of those Christians whose religious views are less respectful with the historical tenets of Christianity. As such, I find his questions tinged with a religious bigotry which is fundamentally unAmerican -- but the questions themselves are reasonable and proper.

Now we all know that these religious questions are primarily a proxy for questions about abortion and the religion clauses of the First Amendment. Again, these are proper areas for scrutiny. If a hypothetical nominee were, for example, a member of the Christian Identity Movement (White Supremacy dressed up with a facade of theology), would it not be proper to inquire about the nominee's ability to uphold the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the US Constitution, as well as the Civil Rights Acts enacted pursuant to them? Of course it would -- and the failure of the nominee to give "the right answers" would be a more than sufficient basis for rejection without running afoul of Article VI.

But how does that square with the many weighty and serious quotes from the Founders regarding religious tests for office?

How could the Founders of America have made it any more plain? From Tench Coxe, in his examination of the Constitution ("No religious test is ever to be required of any officer or servant of the United States. The people may employ any wise or good citizen in the execution of the various duties of the government") to William Lancaster of North Carolina ("... we form a government for millions not yet in existence. I have not the art of divination. In the course of four or five hundred years, I do not know how it will work. This is most certain, that Papists may occupy that chair, and Mahometans may take it" ) to Luther Martin ("there were some members so unfashionable as to think that a belief of the existence of a Deity, and of a state of future rewards and punishments would be some security for the good conduct of our rulers, and that in a Christian country it would be at least decent to hold out some distinction between the professors of Christianity and downright infidelity or paganism") to Edmund Randolph ("A man of abilities and character, of any sect whatever, may be admitted to any office or public trust under the United States"), the Founders debated the religious test from every angle and then, by an overwhelming margin, excluded it.

The answer, of course, is to understand what constituted a religious test in the mind of an educated American in the latter part of the eighteenth century -- to strictly construe the original intent of the text at the time of its writing and adoption. These were men whose context was fundamentally British, and whose historical points of reference were usually those which came from that heritage. It is no accident, for example, that the rights protected in the Bill of Rights are a reaction to the abuses of the British monarchs over the previous two centuries. Viewed in that context, the prohibition on religious tests is designed to prevent the imposition of "test oaths" which excluded members of certain sects from holding public office or exercising certain rights. The most famous of these were the anti-Catholic oaths which forced individuals to repudiate certain tenets of the Catholic faith and the authority of the pope. Those who refused to take such an oath were barred from public offices and faced certain restrictions on their liberties. Such is not the case with Durbin's questions, which could NEVER rise to the level of a "religious test" in the sense intended by the Founder. Durbin's refusal to vote for a candidate because of those views also does not violate the religious test provision, any more than my refusal to vote for a Satanist does.

Mr. Durbin insisted to reporters last week that he wasn't interested in applying a "litmus test" to judicial nominees. The senator told Judge Roberts, "If you will be honest and forthcoming, you're going to find a warm reception from our side of the aisle, even if we disagree with you on any given issue." But two days later, Mr. Durbin went on NBC's "Meet the Press" to say that if Judge Roberts did not find an implied right to privacy in the Constitution, on which the right to abortion is based, "It would disqualify him in my mind."

Now notice, please, that Durbin's basis for giving or denying his vote is NOT religious, but is instead based upon constitutional interpretation. That is a legitimate basis for a Senator to use in making a decision. After all, a nominee who stated that he believed that Plessy is right and Brown is wrong would merit rejection. While I disagree with Durbin's litmus test (and it is a litmus test, despite his protestation to the contrary), I don't have a problem with rejecting a nominee on the basis of jurisprudential principles, regardless of the source of the "deeply held personal beliefs" which lead to such a conclusion. I wish we on the conservative side had made a practice of doing so over the last few decades.

Yet the Democrats persist. "You wouldn't run for the United States Senate or for governor or for anything else without answering people's questions about what you believe," Senator Bayh of Indiana said this week. "And I think the Supreme Court is no different." This attitude is the side effect of using the courts to make laws rather than interpret them. But it will be an even greater debasement of the Constitution to see the judicial nomination process tarred by religious bigotry. Forty-five years after America finally elevated a Catholic to the presidency we will see whether Senators Durbin, Leahy, Schumer, Kerry, and Kennedy recognize that Judge Roberts can't be tested on his "deeply held personal beliefs" in respect of religion.

Now I will agree with one statement here -- it is a debasement of the Constitution for religious bigotry to enter into the confirmation process. That said, it is not a violation of the Constitution for religious bigots like Senators Durbin, Leahy, Schumer, Kerry, and Kennedy to reject a nominee based upon such bigotry, any more than racist Senator Robert Byrd's votes against the only two African-Americans ever nominated to the Supreme Court did not violate the Constitution despite violating fundamental principles of human decency. For all their appeals to that which is worst in human nature, their questions and their votes do not violate the Constitution. To claim otherwise is to violate the very originalist principles that we conservatives ask our judges to apply.

» Watcher of Weasels links with: Submitted for Your Approval

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Great Editorial On Kennewick Man

All archaeological and anthropological research on ancient man in America could be stopped by an amendment proposed to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act by Senator John McCain. An editorial in today's Seattle Times does a fine job of explaining what is at stake.

EIGHTY years after the Scopes trial dealt a blow to the anti-evolution movement, a similar face-off between science and religion is slated tomorrow in the U.S. Senate.

This time the issue is whether to preserve the right of science to discern the stories of the earliest Americans or to accede to beliefs of some Native American tribes that all ancient remains belong to them — even when there is no provable connection.

An action against science could stall the court-ordered study of Kennewick Man, the 9,300-year-old remains stored at the University of Washington's Burke Museum.

Science should win again.

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing likely won't draw 1,000 spectators, as crowded around the Dayton, Tenn., courthouse for the trial of high-school teacher John Thomas Scopes, accused of illegally teaching evolutionary theory. But the debate no doubt will be as passionate as that rendered by William Jennings Bryan, for the prosecution, and Clarence Darrow, for the defense.

At issue now is whether to amend the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act with the addition of two words: "or was." So the act would redefine Native American to be "of, or relating to, a tribe, people, or culture that is ... or was ... indigenous to the United States."

That means modern-day tribes could claim the remains from ancient tribes that long since moved on or died out — even remains of their ancestors' foes.

The proposed change is in response to last year's unequivocal federal rulings that scientists should be able to study Kennewick Man. When the skeleton was found in 1996 on federal land, the government quickly moved to repatriate the remains to four tribes that claimed them. Eight leading scientists sued and won. This month, they are studying the remains for the first time.

The tribes argued their oral histories say they always have been in the Northwest and contain no references to visitors — contrary to scientific evidence of widespread migration.

The federal courts sided with science, finding none of the Act's required proof of a connection to the tribes. Republican Sen. John McCain's proposed amendment would remove that burden of proven affiliation.

In other words, science would be stopped based upon the unsubstantiated claims of native American rligious traditions.

This would be like preventing the excavation and study of dinosur fossils because some whack-job points out that T-Rex isn't mentioned in Genesis.

Before anybody says "stem cells", please recognize that this is not about denying federal funding -- this is about preventiing all research.

And, of couse, the sponsor of this lousy legislation is John McCain. has he ever sponsored a worthwhile bill?

|| Greg, 10:30 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

GOP Wins 2006 PA Governor's Race

Yeah, I know that sounds like a bit of a stretch, but this decision by PA Gov. Ed Rendell seems to make that outcome the likely conclusion.

Even though Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll makes occasional malaprops and mistakes in judgment, Gov. Ed Rendell says he'll stick with her when he runs for re-election next year.

Asked yesterday if she'll be his running mate on the Democratic ticket in 2006, Rendell said, "I have no reason to expect differently."

Rendell told a state Capitol news conference that as lieutenant governor, Knoll takes her job seriously and "has conducted herself in office with dignity. A lot of people have been touched by the fact she is a caring and sensitive individual."

There is continuing speculation among some Democratic officials that Rendell might want a different running mate next year. Knoll's age, 74, and her occasional bouts of confusion in running the Senate during late-night sessions have raised some doubts about her performance.

But Rendell said, "Name me one thing the lieutenant governor has done wrong, substantively. Sure, she occasionally makes some malaprops, such as referring to me as Edward G. Robinson

So Rendell plans on keeping the confused, mind-fogged, Marine-hating, America-betraying witch on the ticket. Plenty of us will remember what she has done wrong.

Looks Like We've Made A Difference!">End This Arrogant Pol's Career
Looks Like We've Made A Difference!
Knoll Responds
Goodrich Family Accepts Apology

|| Greg, 09:21 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Terrible Accident In Arizona -- Tens Of Thousands Killed!

Oh, the humanity!

A tractor-trailer truck overturned on Interstate 10 this morning near South Wilmot Road, scattering 30,000 cases of Bud Lite beer along the highway.

The incident shut the left lane of I-10 West for hours, according to a state Department of Public Safety spokesman.

The driver, whose name was not available early today, sustained minor injuries and was expected to be released from a hospital this morning, said Frank Torres.

The DPS officer did not know what caused the truck to overturn about 5:30 a.m., but expected the freeway's left lane to be closed until at least 8 a.m. while workers clean up the beer.

"I don't know if it's cans or bottles," Torres added.

|| Greg, 09:14 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 26, 2005

Will This Be Counted As A Hate Crime?


I mean, a Catholic parish has set up a monument to those slain by abortion. It is on church grounds, and is a reflection of the teachings of the church. On the last three months, the monument has been desecrated seven times -- vandalized and knocked off its pedastal. Do you think we have a prima facie case for treating this as a hate crime?

"When it's the seventh time, I question whether this is some sort of desecration or hate crime," said the church pastor, Father Henry Zinno. "When it's constant, obviously someone is making an effort to knock it down. By the seventh time there is a clear message."

The pastor has called the police. He's asked the church's 1,600 families to pay close attention as they drive by. And he had metal bars installed on the front and back of the stone memorial.

And still, the 4-foot monument that has been blessed by the bishop keeps being knocked to the ground.

"We keep putting it back up and calling the police," Zinno said, adding that it takes three or four men to lift it each time. "There's not much we can do."

But when Zinno found the stone rectangle lying on its side this weekend, he knew something more had to be done.

"Every time something like this happens, we announce it to parishioners," he said. "People got pretty upset about it."

The church has decided to put up motion detector lights. And a parishioner agreed to put iron rods into the monument to make it impossible to move.

One does not "accidently" knock over a piece of stone that takes three or four people to re-seat.

The wind does not simply start blowing it over.

This is a deliberate malicious attempt to silence a religious message.

It is an intentional act of hate against those who believe the truth that the monument proclaims.

It is a planned assault on rights explicitly guaranteed by the Constitution by those who seek to coerce acceptance of one which is not there at all..

|| Greg, 07:47 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Return To Flight!


Space Shuttle Discovery has successfully launched, taking astronauts into space on the shuttle for the first time since the destruction of Space Shuttle Columbia on reentry in 2003.

Thundering upward atop a pillar of fiery exhaust, Discovery soared safely into orbit today to end a near 30-month ban on NASA shuttle flights imposed by the 2003 Columbia accident.

The shuttle and its seven astronauts lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at 9:39 a.m. CDT, climbing steeply on a northerly course into a brilliant blue sky.

The rush of emotion that accompanied the dramatic display of NASA's long recovery from Columbia's demise was evident in the cockpit as the final moments of the countdown ticked away.

The firing room in the Launch Control Center was hushed of all but the crisp exchanges between NASA launch and test directors made their last moment safety checks and reporterd the outcome to the mission management team.

"We are go for launch!," barked Wayne Hale, the mission managment team chief.

"Our long wait may be over. On behalf of the many millions of people who believe so deeply in what we do. God speed," Leinbach told Discovery commander Eileen Collins and her six colleagues.

"The crew is go for launch!" Collins barked.

"Our hopes and prayers are with you," added Mark Taffet, the Discovery test conductor.

"Thank you very much," said Collins.

And then they were off.

Collins' crew includes pilot Jim Kelly, flight engineer Steve Robinson as well as mission specialists Andy Thomas, Wendy Lawrence, Charles Camarda and Soichi Noguchi of Japan.

God speed you all on this voyage, and bring you home to us safely.

And may I add a special congratulations to friends Roger, Tracy and Kevin just down the road at Johnson Space Center. I know your hearts have ached these last 30 months -- may this success help to soothe the loss and sadness.

|| Greg, 09:59 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Goodrich Family Accepts Apology

The family of SSGT Joseph Goodrich has accepted the apology of Lt. Governor Catherine Baker Knoll.

"We asked for an apology and that's what we got," said Rhonda Goodrich, Joseph Goodrich's sister-in-law, who has been speaking on behalf of the family. She said the apology was accepted, although the family had also wanted Knoll to apologize to the Marine Corps.

"Probably, in all honesty, she didn't even know she was acting inappropriately, she's so out there," said Goodrich, of Indiana. "The business card, I will always believe, was handed out as campaign fodder."

Knoll said in her letter that she arrived too late to offer her personal condolences. That rankled Rhonda Goodrich, who said she believed Knoll came to get publicity.

"She didn't have time to be with Amy or Joe's parents, but she made time for the TV cameras," she said. "That's where I'm still a little bitter."

Goodrich said Knoll remarked to Joseph Goodrich's aunt that "our government" was opposed to the war.

And just to back up Rhonda's comment about Knoll not having time for the family, but being quite available to the press on the day of the funeral, Annie O'Neill of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette provides us with the photographic evidence.


One development I've noted -- and which is also noted by the Post-Gazette -- is that Rhonda Goodrich has now come under attack by the Left. It seems that she was involved in a protest against a taxpayer-funded pre-election program featuring Michael Moore at the local university. That appraently makes her a "Right Wing activist" with an axe to grind whose complaints should be dismissed as "exploiting her brother-inlaw's death for political reasons." I guess that those making such statments believe that only Left Wing activists may avail themselves of the First Amendment right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Such statements, I believe, tell us more about them and their moral depravity than it does about Rhonda.

(Hat Tip -- Michelle Malkin)

End This Arrogant Pol's Career
Looks Like We've Made A Difference!
Knoll Responds

|| Greg, 09:43 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Don't You Hate It When That Happens?

Reuters included this little gem of an error is an article about Sony buying the movie rights to Richard Clarke's first novel.

His novel, "The Scorpion Gate," will be published in October by Putnam Adult. The studio hopes the film adaptation will be the first in a series of John Clancy-style political thrillers. The project will be produced by former studio chief John Calley.

Uhhhh -- I think you mean TOM Clancy?

I know mistakes happen -- but isn't that what editors are for?

I wonder when and if they correct the error -- and if they acknowledge having done so.

|| Greg, 09:16 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Stop The "Peace Officer Justice Act"

Reading that headline, you may think I am nuts. After all, who could be against justice for slain police officers (or any murder victim)? Certainly not me, which is why I oppose the bill. It does nothing to get justice for murdered cops -- and has the effect of lowering the maximum sentence for cop-killers who manage to skip across the border into Mexico. Speaking as the brother of a cop, I don't find that acceptable at all.

Bob Baker, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, does a good job of explaing the problem with this well-intentioned bill sponsored by Congressman David Dreir.

Mexico has become a fugitive paradise, willingly harboring and giving sanctuary to hundreds of murderers who have fled the United States after their crimes. A 2001 Mexican Supreme Court decision in essence halted all extraditions of Mexican citizens, or those Americans of Mexican descent. That decision forbade Mexico from extraditing any person, whether or not a Mexican citizen, if that person faced a sentence that carried the possibility of life imprisonment, saying it would violate the Mexican constitution and was "cruel and unusual punishment." In addition, Mexico has consistently refused to extradite murderers if they faced the death penalty.

Dreier's legislation only worsens the situation.

The legislation, ostensibly designed to get cop killers returned to the United States, gives exclusive jurisdiction over such cases to the federal government. Washington then gets to decide, in negotiation with the foreign government harboring the cop killer, the sentence the killer will face. Only after the sentence is agreed upon would there be an extradition. The terms of the extradition treaty would preclude any state prosecution.

Yeah, that's right -- if someone managed to slip out of the US, they would be subject to a lesser penalty than if they were caught within the borders of the United States. Prosecution would be handled by the Federal Courts, with state charges forbidden (a violation of federalism). That's not acceptable to me, and shouldn't be to any American.

Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley succinctly pointed out these shortcomings in a blistering letter to Dreier. Cooley noted that while nicely titled, Dreier's legislation is nothing more than a sleight of hand that would, in the end, cheapen the sentence for the murder of police officers, acquiesce to the demands of Mexico, and provide an incentive for the murderers of law enforcement officers to flee to Mexico.

Let me be clear. If -- God forbid! -- something ever happens to my brother, I want to see the creep involved get the maximum possible penalty. (If it isn't the death penalty, I want 5 minutes with the cameras off so that I can administer 9mm of justice on behalf of my sister-in-law and my niece and my nephew.) What I do not want is for some Joe Wilson-type mint-tea-and-cookies diplomat to sit down with his corrupt Mexican government amigo and work out a sentence in advance of the trial and without regard to the penalties set forth by law.

The district attorney also pointed out that the Peace Officer Justice Act ignores the plight of all the other violent crimes committed by those who flee the country. It also discounts the considerable experience and expertise of local prosecutors who routinely prosecute murder cases.

I also object to the fact that this does nothing for the victims of crimes against ordinary citizens. This December will be the tenth anniversary of the "thrill-kill" murder of a former colleague's daughter by a couple of Mexican gangbangers who jumped back across the border. One was eventually arrested in Mexico, but the same ruling that prevents the extradition of cop killers also prevents the extradition of Kristie's murderer. Where is the justice in ignoring the deaths of ordinary Americans?

In the end, all I can say is that the status quo is better than the Dreier bill.

|| Greg, 09:06 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 25, 2005

Knoll Responds

Michelle Malkin has been chasing down Lt. Governor Catherine Baker Knall's response to the outrage at her conduct at the funeral of SSGT Joseph Goodrich.

Knoll won't speak publicly about her conduct. She won't hold a press conference to take questions about her conduct. She won't take press phone calls on the matter. She is even refusing calls from constituents and veterans groups on the matter.

And here is her "letter of apology".

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 25, 2005 COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Office of the Lieutenant Governor Commonwealth News Bureau Room 200, Main Capitol Harrisburg, PA 17120 LT. GOVERNOR CATHERINE BAKER KNOLL LETTER OF APOLOGY HARRISBURG: July 25, 2005

Dear Mrs. Goodrich,

I am writing to further apologize and clarify what happened at the funeral of your beloved husband, Joseph. As a wife and mother, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to lose your spouse so suddenly. As an adored member of your family and one of Pennsylvania’s sons serving with soldiers from across the commonwealth, SSGT Joseph Goodrich, is one of this nation’s heroes.

As I said in my phone message to Rhonda, after I learned through press reports that your family was offended by my attendance, I was incredibly upset. I wanted to assure you once again that my intention was not to add to what must be a tremendously, heartbreaking, difficult period.

The war on terror is an immensely personal conflict for the thousands of people whose families continue to serve with honor, and I have attended dozens of funerals to offer my sympathy and condolences to the families of soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

My heart and prayers are with your family, and to the families of all the men and women serving the cause of freedom in the fight against terror. I unfortunately, did not arrive at the church services for SSGT Goodrich’s funeral in time to offer my personal condolences to you. As I also mentioned on Rhonda’s phone message, as I do with many Pennsylvanians I meet, I offered my business card so she could contact me, and as a sign of my willingness to help the family through this difficult time in any way I can. To do anything that was deemed insensitive was completely counter to my intent.

Sergeant Goodrich’s service was beyond the call of duty. If my regard for his family’s grief was seen another way, it is thoroughly regrettable. The fact that you have been offended deserves and receives my most profound apology.

I will continue to support our troops in my role as Lt. Governor and support our President as an American. That I somehow conveyed an impression that was interpreted as other than that will forever be saddening and upsetting to me.

Again, please accept my heartfelt apology and deepest sympathy.

Catherine Baker Knoll
Lieutenant Governor

Let's assume that the explanation of the business card issue is accurate. It sounds sort of reasonable, and is at least plausible. I'd be willing to let that go -- EXCEPT for what she conspicuously leaves out of the "apology".

Yeah, that's right. There is something that is not addressed.

You know. The comment.

"I want you to know our government is against this war."

The letter completely fails to address what she said to this hero's family in the church during the funeral. She glossed over the most egregious offense by saying she 'supports the troops' -- and offered a Durbinesque apology for impressions, feelings and interpretations by the family. SHE NEVER APOLOGIZES FOR WHAT SHE SAID!

More commentary from The Anchoress, Bill Hennessey, Rambling's Journal, Brian J. Noggle and Blackfive.

» Iowa Voice links with: Apology Letter From Funeral Crasher

|| Greg, 04:28 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Looks Like We've Made A Difference!

Yesterday, I helped make a fuss over the disgusting actions of Pennsylvania Lt. Governor Catherine Baker Knoll, along with many other folks around the blogosphere, including Blackfive and Michelle Malkin. Well, we seem to have had some effect.

Written apologies will be sent to a fallen Marine's relatives angered by Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll's uninvited appearance at the soldier's funeral and her criticism of the war in Iraq, Gov. Ed Rendell said Sunday.

Rendell said he will send a personal letter to the family of the late Marine Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich, of Westwood, and will ask Knoll to do the same. Goodrich, 32, a police officer and infantry unit leader, died July 10 in a mortar attack in Hit, Iraq.

Rendell said he hadn't spoken with Knoll about the incident, but was disturbed by the family's charge that she made a political statement against the war.

"It's not the business of state government to support the war, but our state supports the men and women who are fighting this war," Rendell said during an appearance in Mt. Washington.

Lt. Governor Knoll, on the other hand, is trying to backpedal through her spokesperson -- but has failed to speak herself, or to contact the offended family.

Knoll spokesman Sean Pendrak would not comment specifically on the Goodrich family's allegations.

"Obviously, the lieutenant governor extends her most sincere condolences to all families who have lost loved ones in the fighting," Pendrak said. "She also wants to convey her support of all of our fine young men and women in uniform."

That support means little to Rhonda Goodrich, who believes Knoll was more interested in jump-starting next year's re-election bid than offering genuine sympathy to mourners.

"She never said to anyone, 'If there's anything I can do to help, just call my office,' " Goodrich said. "It seems like she's going to funerals and using business cards as campaign fliers."

Rhonda Goodrich remains angry, but she is grateful for one thing.

"I'm glad she didn't sit down next to me and say those things," Goodrich said. "I would have smacked her on the spot."

You know, part of me wishes that Knoll HAD sat down next to Rhonda -- she might have gotten a small measure of what she deserves.

Now if we can just get this woman out of office -- she is still a disgrace.

(Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin, Narcissistic views on News/Politics, Blackfive, and Irish Pennants)

And look -- Chris Muir has taken notice!


» CHOWZ WORLD links with: Update: Penn. Gov. Comments On Lt. Gov. Funeral C
» Area417 links with: Update on Lt. Gov. Knoll, funeral crasher

|| Greg, 09:01 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (12) || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

July 24, 2005

Who Is Responsible For Feeding The Children?

No, I'm serious -- who is responsible for feeding the children? Is it the parents, or is it the government?

That is my reaction to an editorial in today's Houston Chronicle.

Last month, needy children ate more than 2 million free, nourishing meals thanks to the Houston Independent School District. The Galena Park school district fed wholesome meals to 48,000 hungry youngsters.

Both school systems should be commended for recognizing the importance of a reliable, accessible source of food for children whose parents can't provide it. So it's inexplicable that both districts left the same kids utterly adrift when both shut their doors to prepare for the school year.

Now wait just one minute here. What is the business of a SCHOOL district? Is it providing an education for its students, or is it the complete care and feeding of the kids year round? I think the answer is obvious to sensibele, thinking people. That would explain why the Chronicles editorial staff gets the answer wrong.

Now I have to be careful here, because I work in one of these districts, but it seems to me that we have lost focus on the mission of the public schools. That mission is the intellectual, social, and moral education of children. It is not to be a one-stop medical/feeding/day-care center. During the school year, my district offers a free day-care program for the offspring of our students, a free/low-cost heath care clinic for students, and a free/reduced lunch program for all students. This summer it offered free breakfast and lunch for any "child" who walked in off the street, regardless of income -- and "child" was defined as AGE 20 AND UNDER! That's right. We had "children" age 18-20 (what most thinking people would generally refer to as "adults") walking into school buildings and being fed at taxpayer expense. What was even more absurd, the regulations imposed by the federal government forbade the sale of these same meals to school employees who were working in the building, including those of us who were actually teaching summer school!

Now, though, that the program is over, the Chronicle is upset that these districts are shirking some sort of purported moral responsibility to feed the children when there is no school in session.

Like other school districts around the country, Houston and Galena Park are eligible for reimbursement from the federal government for food and operating costs of student free meal programs. The government pays $2.74 for each meal a child consumes, which can be used to hire staff to handle the food and monitor the number of meals served. But as summer school ends and the fall semester starts to loom, school systems apparently find it difficult to keep serving the federally-funded meals on their campuses. Galena Park stopped serving its meals Friday; HISD shut most of its 256 cafeterias several weeks earlier.

This needless lapse in stewardship should not be allowed to happen. Even if entire school systems must close their doors for maintenance, the schools can still act as conduits to get that free food to poor children. Even after a district has ended its program for the summer, it can restart it again as a sponsor for another site, almost until the start of the school year. All the district needs to do is contact nonprofits, whether community centers or churches willing to provide a site where children can eat. Schools can invite teachers or contract cafeteria personnel to freelance as food managers at the interim locations. More than likely, some parents and other community members would be happy to oversee a meal program for free.

Arranging interim food service in the summer might be time-consuming, but what task could be more urgent?

I don't suppose that the Chronicle ever considered proposing that private groups run such programs without government money or oversight. After all, how can we possibly expect there to be positive results without government involvement? And I can't help but laugh at the notion that teachers should volunteer to run such programs -- after all, Texas teacher salaries are only about $6000 below the national average. Why doesn't the Chronicle send its employees out during the middle of the day to run such programs if, as they claim, "there is no task which could be more urgent"? All of this overlooks such antiquated notions as having the children fed a meal at home, prepared by a parent or other family member.

It's certainly feasible: In San Antonio, the schools have organized an almost seamless transfer of summer meals. There is no excuse for Harris County school districts to deny the same services for our own hungry children.

Right now, tens of thousands of Houston children are going without needed meals. Administrators at HISD and GPISD should get on the phone to help them right now. They'll likely find plenty of nonprofits eager to lend a hand. Galena Park Boxing Academy, which is also a child enrichment center, has space for 200 children to eat free meals at once, academy President Kenny Weldon said. The facility can even supply a monitor.

"Of course we'd be willing," Weldon said. "What do you do — take care of kids for one part of the year but not the other?"

But then again, maybe I am too hard-hearted. Maybe the editorial is right. Children need to be fed year-round, and parents are clearly not up to the task.

But what about other school breaks and holidays? These children should not be left to fend for themselves for a week or two at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Spring Break! Clearly, the cafeterias must remain open during those times off as well.

And what about the irresponsible practice of sending children home on Friday afternoon and closing the cafeterias over the weekend? It seems absurd that we would expect children to survive through a Saturday and a Sunday without a hot breakfast and lunch. School districts need to keep the cafeterias open on the weekend as well, to avoid subjecting our nation's children to two whple days without nutrition.

I've also got a solution to what I see as the "dinner problem". By extending the school day by two or three hours, we can make sure that each student gets a hot dinner, ensuring three square meals a day. The interim time could be devoted to additional instructional time, though I certainly see the objections of those who see the extra classroom time as educators over-emphasizing academics.

But what I've not managed to solve is how to guarantee that evey child gets a bowl of ice cream and a kiss on the forehead before bed. What do you think -- are parents up to such a task?

» The Strata-Sphere links with: Around The Watchers Council
» UrbanGrounds links with: Q&A of the Day: Feeding our Children
» Watcher of Weasels links with: Submitted for Your Approval
» JennyD links with: Carnival Time
» Watcher of Weasels links with: The Council Has Spoken!

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Tour De Lance!

For once I agree with the Houston Chronicle on something.

It's official: Lance Armstrong makes it a magnificent seven

Lance Armstrong closed out his amazing career with a seventh consecutive Tour de France victory today -- and did it a little earlier than expected.

Because of wet conditions, race organizers stopped the clock as Armstrong and the main pack entered Paris. Although riders were still racing, with eight laps of the Champs-Elysees to complete, organizers said that Armstrong had officially won.

The stage started as it has done for the past six years -- with Armstrong wearing the race leader's yellow jersey. It ended the same way, too -- with him celebrating, this time by a comfortable margin of more than 4 1/2 minutes.

One hand on his handlebars, the other holding a flute of champagne, Armstrong toasted his teammates as he pedaled into Paris to collect his crown. He held up seven fingers -- one for each win -- and a piece of paper with the number 7 on it.

When it was over, Armstrong saluted the race he's made his own.

"Vive le Tour, forever," he said.

Well done!

|| Greg, 07:23 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Hey, Israel -- Quit Whining About Pollard

Once again, the Israelis are making noise about the "unjust" sentence of traitor Jonathan Pollard, who betrayed the United States by spying for Israel.

Knesset Law Committee chairman Michael Eitan, a former chairman of the Knesset Pollard caucus, expressed disappointment with the US legal system. Israel has proven to be more humane than the US, Eitan said, noting that nuclear spy Mordechai Vanunu served only 18 years.

"Pollard is serving a sentence disproportionate to his crime," Eitan said.

He said he believed that the Pollard case could now only be resolved between the US president and the Israeli prime minister.

Now I'll agree that the sentence is disproportionate to the crime -- but unfortuantely, Pollard did not qualify for the death penalty which he richly deserved. And it is an injustice that he is serving this sentence alone -- but the Isaelis refused to turn over those officials who recruited and coordinated his betrayal of the United States, as well as those who approved his spying.

Let me offer Israel this easy-to-understand message from one American citizen -- shut up about Pollard, and quit trying to get him released. Remember that you are the JUNIOR partner in this strategic relationship, and that you need the US much more than we need you, given that you suck at the US foreign aid teat to the tune of at least $4 billion annually. Any American president who lets Pollard go will be rejected by the American people, if not impeached. So Pollard will stay in a US prison, where he belongs, until he rots -- and that is how it should be. Deal with it.

|| Greg, 07:13 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Hear! Hear!

Congressman Tom Tancredo makes an excellent point in response to those who criticize his misreported, mishcharacterized "nuke Mecca" statement.

Fundamentalist Muslims have advocated the destruction of the West since long before the attacks of Sept. 11, long before the Madrid, London and Bali attacks, long before the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, long before the attack on the USS Cole and the 1993 WTC bombing.

In many respects, the decision of "moderate" Muslims to acquiesce to these actions and even provide tacit justification for them is just as damaging to global safety and security as the attacks themselves.

Until "mainstream" Islam can bring itself to stop rationalizing terrorist attacks and start repudiating and purging people like Ali and Hajjar from its ranks who do, this war will continue. As long as this war goes on, being "offended" should be the least of anyone's worries.

Exactly -- and until "condemnations" of terrorism and extremism by Muslim groups and organizations stop having a "but" in them, I don't care if how offended the Muslims are.

|| Greg, 04:36 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

I Didn't Think It Could Get Worse

I really didn't. I never imagined hat anyone could sink lower than the arrogant politician I listed below. I didn't think that any so-called American could degrade our honored war dead and their faimlies any further.

And now I find that I am wrong. That someone could do this to the pregnant widow of a dead soldier is so incredibly infuriating.

Vandals are compounding the grief of a Tri-state soldier's family.

Not even 24-hours after Private First Class Tim Hines's wife and family said goodbye at his funeral, American flags that had adorned their Fairfield yard were piled beneath a car and burned.

Hines' sister-in-law woke up to hear her car alarm around 5:30 a.m. and saw her car on fire.

As firefighters brought the fire under control they discovered a pile of around 20 American flags underneath the car.

Neighbors say Hines' wife's family had flags line their front yard and on the porch.

Those were taken as well as flags in neighboring yards.

Hines was injured in Iraq and flown to Walter Reed Hospital in the Washington, D.C. area, but succumbed to the injuries before he could return home.

Hines' wife Katy is eight-months pregnant with their second child. She buried her husband on Friday.

Katy Hines had just moved back into her parents' home and woke up to find her sister's car consumed by flames.

Investigators believe the flags piled underneath were used to start the fire.

There are no words -- only fury.

And yet some still want to claim that their "dissent" is a higher form of patriotism than support for our troops. Yet such actions prove that it is really treason.

God bless and comfort the Hines family -- and may He righteously deal with those who committed this evil act.

(Hat Tip -- NeoBabble, Instapundit, Along The Tracks, The Anchoress, and The Violence Worker.)

UPDATE -- I've just come across this article, which adds a beautiful act of kindness to this sad story.

Hines met his wife, Katy, at Cincinnati Christian School. They had a 2-year-old daughter, Lily, and Katy expects to give birth to their second child in about two weeks.

An anonymous donor gave Cincinnati Christian $130,000 to cover tuition for Hines' children.

I do not know who you are, but God bless you for this gift. May you be richly reqarded in heaven.

» Mark in Mexico links with: Gov. Rendell, Pa., to apologise for Lt. Gov. Knoll

|| Greg, 04:20 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

July 23, 2005

End This Arrogant Pol's Career

Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich of Indiana, PA died on July 10, 2005, fighting for his country in Iraq. He is a hero, and as such he and his family deserve to be treated with the utmost respect. That is why the actions of Pennsylvania Lt. Governor Catherine Baker Knoll are particularly egregious.

Now put yourself in the place of the Goodrich family. You have lost a family member. You are at the funeral in a church full of mourners. And then someone you don't even know shows up at the church and plunks down among the family. I'll let Rhonda Goodrich, Staff Sgt. Goodrich's sister-in-law, pick up the narrative.

In a phone interview, Goodrich said the funeral service was packed with people "who wanted to tell his family how Joe had impacted their lives."

Then, suddenly, "one uninvited guest made an appearance, Catherine Baker Knoll."

She sat down next to a Goodrich family member and, during the distribution of communion, said, "Who are you?" Then she handed the family member one of her business cards, which Goodrich said she still has.

"Knoll felt this was an appropriate time to campaign and impose her will on us," Goodrich said. "I am amazed and disgusted Knoll finds a Marine funeral a prime place to campaign."

Goodrich said she is positive that Knoll was not invited to the funeral, which was jammed with Marines in dress uniform and police officers, because the fallen Marine had been a policeman in McKeesport and Indiana County.

"Our family deserves an apology," Rhonda Goodrich said. "Here you have a soldier who was killed -- dying for his country -- in a church full of grieving family members and she shows up uninvited. It made a mockery of Joey's death."

What really upset the family, Goodrich said, is that Knoll said, 'I want you to know our government is against this war,' " Goodrich said.

Yeah, you read that right -- during the funeral for one of our honored war dead, this arrogant BITCH of a politician had the audacity to look a member of the family in the eye say "I want you to know our government is against this war."

I'm sorry -- I've never been a big believer in having politicians at funerals unless they are friends of thedeceased, the family or are otherwise invited guests. They certainly should not be showing up in any sort of "official capacity" without clearing it in advance with the family. And no one at a funeral should do or say anything to add to the distress or the grief of the surviving family. There are other times and places for that.

But that is what Lt. Governor Knoll did. She showed up uninvited. She dishonored the deceased hero. She deeply hurt and offended the family.This woman needs to be driven from office by the people of Pennsylvania and loyal Americans everywhere -- whether they be supporters or opponents of the war in Iraq. Some things are simply beyond the pale. Dishonoring a dead Marine and distressing his family falls into that category, and must be reason to end her career.

Further commentary on this issue from Blackfive, Large Bill Pontificates, Pennywit, Media Lies, The Indepundit, and Michelle Malkin (who even quoted me!)

» Michelle Malkin links with: OUTRAGE: THE FUNERAL CRASHER
» Hennessy's View links with: A Democrat Without a Conscience
» Mark in Mexico links with: Pa. Lt. Gov. desecrates flag
» Pennywit.Com links with: A Fundamental Lack of Decency
» CHOWZ WORLD links with: Nothing Is More Distasteful Then campaigning At A
» Myopic Zeal links with: Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll, Funeral Crasher
» The Narrow links with: Funerals: The New Stumping Grounds?

|| Greg, 09:33 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (12) || Comments || TrackBacks (7) ||

Egypt Toll Climbs -- Guess Who Is Being Blamed

Today's horrific terror attack in Egypt has taken at least 88 lives, according to the most recent reports.

Egypt's president vowed Saturday to hunt down terrorists who unleashed a rapid series of car bombs and another blast in this Egyptian Red Sea resort, devastating a luxury hotel and a coffee shop and killing at least 88 people in the nation's deadliest terror attack.

The early morning attacks, which used more than a half-ton of explosives, came just two days after the latest strikes in London and sent an already jittery world reeling again. At least 119 people also were wounded, the Interior Ministry said.

With two extremist groups claiming responsibility, Egypt tightened security at other busy tourist sites like the Pyramids and Luxor, and the government and British tourist agencies sent large aircraft to the Sinai to fly home nervous tourists.

"This cowardly, criminal act is aimed at undermining Egypt's security and stability and harming its people and its guests," President Hosni Mubarak said during a live national broadcast. "This will only increase our determination in chasing terrorism."

Let's hope that Mubarak is able to run these folks to ground. Terrorists are teh enemies of all humanity.

But despite the admissions of guilt by al-Qaeda associated jihadi swine, guess who is being blamed for the attack on television bradcasts in the Arab world. You got it -- the Jews!

Shortly after the attacks, Egypt's state-run television interviewed retired army general Fuad Allam. He said that he was almost certain that Israel was behind the attacks at Sharm e-Sheikh and Taba.

According to Fuad, investigations have shown that the mastermind of the Taba attack was a Palestinian "apparently linked to Israel's security forces."

He added: "I'm almost certain that Israel was also behind this attack because they want to undermine our government and deal a severe blow to our economy. The only ones who benefit from these attacks are the Israelis and the Americans."

Allam's remarks were re-aired several times during the day by Egyptian TV. Other commentators who made similar charges against Israel included political figures and prominent journalists and editors.

Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, the Arab world's leading satellite TV stations, also hosted a number of commentators who claimed that Israel was behind the latest wave of terror in Egypt.

Dia Rashwan, an expert on Islamic terror groups, from Cairo, said in a phone interview with Al Arabiya: "Israel is the only country that benefits from this," he said, referring to the attacks in Sharm e Sheikh.

Dismissing the theory that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks, Rashwan explained: "We are giving Al Qaeda more credit than it deserves. What happened here negates the possibility that the attacks were carried out by ordinary elements. This is the work of an extraordinary element – one that benefits from such attacks. All the available details indicate that only the Israelis could have done this."

Majdi Birnawi, another "security expert," told Al Jazeera that he was confident that the Mossad was behind the attacks. "I believe that Mossad or some other [Israeli] security organization carried out this attack," he claimed.

Birnawi said he believed Saturday's attacks were in response to the attack at the Taba Hilton Hotel, in which 12 Israelis were killed. "Everyone knows that there are no Israelis in Sharm e-Sheikh," he said. "There are only Western tourists there. That's why it's wrong to assume that the perpetrators were targeting Israelis."

So I guess it doesn't matter if their co-religionists make a voluntary confession -- only Israel could possibly be guilty for this and every act of evil in the world. Such rampant anti-Semitism is but one more symptom of the disease of Islamist radicalism that underlies such terrorist acts.

|| Greg, 09:04 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Will Houston End Sanctuary Policy?

Congratualtions to Houston City Councilman Mark Ellish for his move to undo the city's sanctuary policy and have HPD officer's trained to enforce immigration law.

Since 1992, Houston police officers have been officially forbidden from enforcing immigration law in most cases. Other city departments generally take a "don't ask, don't tell" approach toward immigrants, officials acknowledge.

Now those policies are under attack. Locally, City Councilman Mark Ellis called this week for training HPD officers to enforce immigration laws. And in Washington, D.C., congressional conservatives have proposed legislation to require local police to help patrol for illegal immigrants.

Ellis, a Republican, said city officials should have heeded a 2002 proposal from then-Attorney General John Ashcroft to increase federal and local cooperation on immigration law.

"If we had done what Ashcroft and the Bush administration had asked us to do, we wouldn't have the Minutemen coming to Houston," Ellis said of the Arizona-based organization opposed to illegal immigration that has announced it will begin patrols in Houston in October.

Ellis said he does not advocate using HPD officers for raids or roundups, but critics say they fear that would be the result of such a policy change.

"It's so unjust to stop someone and ask them for their papers because they look Hispanic," said Harris County District 6 Constable Victor Treviño.

Now the only problem with Treviño's comment is that nobody is talking about random stops to check papers. What is being talked about is allowing police to inquire about immigration status and to cooperate with immigration officials who want to check the status of those being held in the city lock-up. Treviño is simply being dishonest when he talks about anything else.

ICE spokeswoman Luisa Deason said her agency would still appreciate closer cooperation from Houston police in searching for illegal immigrants who are also criminals. She noted that HPD will not let immigration officials in the city jail to check the immigration status of those detained.

An investigation last year by the Congressional Research Service cited 31 cities across the country with policies that prevent local authorities from enforcing immigration laws. That includes Houston, Katy and Austin, as well as cities such as Fairbanks, Alaska.

Some conservatives in Congress, including U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, support legislation that would cut off federal funding to such "sanctuary cities."

Not only will this extend to law enforcement, but other city departments may undo the unofficial ban on checking immigration status.

But the policy has never been formally approved by the City Council and does not officially govern other departments. Before he became a city councilman, immigration attorney Gordon Quan lobbied for a law that would make Houston a "Safety Zone" for illegal immigrants. The proposal died in 1997 after garnering no council support.

But even without the official policy, city officials outside the Police Department are not encouraged to cooperate with immigration officials, Quan notes. He does not see any point in revisiting the issue.

"I just think it would be very divisive to talk about this immigration policy," he said.

Yeah, Mr. Quan -- it might well divide you from some of your voters, namely the ones who support the enforcement of American immigration laws and those who believe in American sovereignty.

But most frightening of all is this comment by Constable Treviño.

But Treviño said that if citizens and even police started entering Hispanic neighborhoods and asking locals for their documents, it would create a major backlash.

"It'll be worse than the Civil War," he said.

So what you are saying, sir, is that there is a lawless minority among us -- folks who have broken the law to come to this country -- which will engage in acts of violence in the event we begin to enforce the laws of this country. Do you not see that it is therefore incumbent upon law enforcement to root them out, and to get them out of this country for the safety of American citizens and those aliens legally in the country? Do you not see that you are advocating surrender to the immigration criminals, jin the same manner as those who advocate appeasement of the jihadi terrorists? Frankly, sir, if you cannot bring yourself to support the enforcement of the law, you are unfit to hold your job and should resign.

» Searchlight Crusade links with: Daily Links and Minifeatures 2005 07 23 Saturday (and 24 Sunday)

|| Greg, 09:39 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Watcher's Council Results -- And Another Vacancy

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Is Britain Too Decadent to Survive? by Gates of Vienna, and Apologists Among Us by NormblogThe full results of the vote are here.

And there is another opening on the Watcher's Council. See this post for further information.

» Watcher of Weasels links with: The Old Switcheroo

|| Greg, 09:16 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Egyptian Terror Attack -- UPDATED

The death toll continues to rise in Egypt.

The most recent reports indicate that the death toll is now over 80, and that it is expected to rise further.

The attack, Egypt's deadliest terror hit ever, appeared well coordinated. Two car bombs, possibly by suicide attackers, went off simultaneously at 1:15 a.m. just more than 2 miles apart. A third bomb, believed hidden in a sack, detonated around the same time near a beachside walkway where tourists often stroll at night.

A total of 83 people had been confirmed dead, said Dr. Saeed Abdel Fattah, manager of the Sharm el-Sheik International Hospital where the victims were taken. Among the dead were two Britons, two Germans and an Italian, he added, and Czech officials said one Czech tourist was also killed. Rescue workers were still searching for victims at some attack scenes.

Several hours after the attacks, a group citing ties to al-Qaida claimed responsibility for the explosion on an Islamic web site. The group, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, al-Qaida, in Syria and Egypt, was one of two extremist groups that also claimed responsibility for October bombings at the Egyptian resorts of Taba and Ras Shitan that killed 34. The group also claimed responsbility for a Cairo bombing in late April.

The authenticity of the statement could not be immediately verified.

According to reports, there may be more dead in one of the hotels.

The death toll could rise, rescue workers said. The lobby of the 176-room Ghazala Gardens hotel in Sharm's Naamah Bay, the main strip of hotels, collapsed into a pancaked pile of concrete. After hours of clearing through piles of rubble and scrap metal, emergency workers called off rescue efforts, at least temporarily, there around midday.

This could get much uglier, depending on what is found in the rubble.

May God have mercy on the soulds of the dead, may he heal the injured, strenthen the resue workers -- and fling the perpetrators headlong into the very bowels of Hell.

|| Greg, 09:03 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

I Wondered About This

After all the discussion last Tuesday about Judge Edith Brown Clement, President bush nominated Judge John Roberts tot he Supreme Court. What happened?

Mentioning the little-known Judge Edith Brown Clement as front-runner for the Supreme Court vacancy was not a ploy to obscure the eventual selection of Judge John Roberts. She was the real runner-up, after evoking mixed reviews from conservatives.

President Bush was very much impressed with Clement during his interview with her, and sources say he gave her a White House tour. However, anti-abortion activists were not happy, contending that she has no record on their issue. Clement's supporters say she is very well thought of by conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and that she would follow his lead on the court. Princeton Professor Robert P. George, a social conservative and prominent Catholic layman, is a strong Clement backer who vouched for her.

Given Bush's early inclination to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor with another woman, the reason why he passed over Clement is not clear. Sources close to the selection process speculate that the president may have suspected that Clement's supporters were too vocal in publicly promoting her.

Sounds reasonable to me -- although I suspect that the president simply decided to nominate the superior candidate.

And I say that as one who was on the Clement bandwagon.

|| Greg, 08:34 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 22, 2005

Guardian Dumps Terror Group Trainee

I noted a few days ago that London's Guardian newspaper had an honest-to-God (or should that be "honest-to-Allah") terrorist supporter working for it, and writing columns in support of terrorism. Well, the paper has finally done the right thing, and dumped trainee journalist Dilpazier Aslam.

Trainee journalist Dilpazier Aslam had his contract with the Guardian terminated today.

The move followed an internal inquiry into Aslam’s membership of the political organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir.

A statement said: “The Guardian now believes continuing membership of the organisation to be incompatible with his continued employment by the company.”

“Mr Aslam was asked to resign his membership but has chosen not to. The Guardian respects his right to make that decision but has regretfully concluded that it had no option but to terminate Mr Aslam’s contract with the company.”

The inquiry followed a piece written by Aslam for the Guardian’s comment pages entitled “We rock the boat”.

The statement added: “The Guardian accepts that it should have explicitly mentioned Mr Aslam’s membership of Hizb ut-Tahrir at the end of his comment piece.”

A correction will appear in the paper’s Corrections and Clarifications column.

The paper also went into a deeper explanation of its association with this jihadi wannabe, and the group of which he is a member.

Now normally I get upset when employers fire people over their religious and political associations (though, for the record, I recognize the moral right of a private employer to fire for any reason -- including race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, etc). But this case falls into the exemption from my outrage. Decent people do not associate with members of certain organizations -- The black panthers, the Klan, the Nazi Party, NAMBLA, the Jewish Defense League, and the like. Aslams's group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, falls into this catgory. So far from feeling a need to condemn the Guardian, I applaud it -- and hope that it eventually the paper drops its own anti-Semitic, terrorist-apologist editorial line.

(Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin)

UPDATE: Ripclawe at Narcissistic views on News/Politics points out that the Guardian can't seem to get its story straight about what they knew, when they knew it, and why the got rid of Aslam. And Princeton Progressive Review's Asheesh Siddique engages in a gratuitous attack on Michelle Malkin (questioning her mental health and grouping her with Aslam as an extremist) while reluctantly agreeing with her.

|| Greg, 11:45 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Shoot To Kill!

What else can you do when you believe that a person is about to set off a homicide bomb? Even leftist London Mayor Ken Livingston admits as much.

Mr Livingstone said: "If you are dealing with someone who might be a suicide bomber, if they remain conscious they could trigger plastic explosives or whatever device is on them, and therefore overwhelmingly in these circumstances it is going to be a shoot-to-kill policy."

Speaking of yesterday's operations, he said: "With each of these attacks, we have responded more rapidly and effectively and I'm glad it went as well as it did."

That does not, of course, stop complaintes from the usual suspects.

Muslim community leaders said they were taking calls from fellow Muslims who are afraid they may be targeted simply because they are carrying the wrong bag or wearing the wrong clothes.

The Muslim Council of Britain urged Scotland Yard to explain why police shot dead the Asian man who has been described as a "suspected suicide bomber". According to an eyewitness report the man was shot with five bullets. Spokesman Inayat Bunglawala said: "There may well be reasons why police felt it was necessary to unload multiple bullets into this man and shoot him dead, but they need to make those reasons clear.

"It is vital that police give a statement about exactly what occurred and explain why this man was shot dead rather than arrested and brought to trial."

Mr Bunglawala said Muslims were nervous and feared reprisal attacks.

He said: "I have just had one phone call saying, 'What if I was carrying a rucksack?' We are getting phone calls from quite a lot of Muslims who are distressed about what may be a shoot-to-kill policy."

Sorry, Bunglawala, but your co-religionists have unfortunately made Muslim lives very cheap. Jihadi swine have made it necessary for police to act in a manner that stops bombings and avoids setting off explosives strapped to the body. That means that suspects are going to die -- and they will be Muslims. I'm not celebrating it, just noting the revised reality that the terrorists in your midst have created. Until and unless you people start turning in the killers and would-be killers, this is how it will be. And until you eject the radicals from your midst, it will be impossible for the police to know who is a friend and who is a foe. I think the people of London would agree with that calculus.

» Cutting Edge Of Ecstasy links with: The Crime Of Deliberate Moral Confusion

|| Greg, 08:14 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Terror Attacks In Egypt

This one is already quite ugly, as at least seven explosions are reported to have killed at least 25 and wounded over 110.

Saturday's explosions at 1:15 a.m., when many tourists would have been asleep, shook windows a mile away. Smoke and fire rose from Naama Bay, a main strip of beach hotels in the desert city popular with Israeli and European tourists, witnesses said.

A police official in Sharm el-Sheik said at least 25 were killed and 110 wounded in multiple explosions targeting the Ghazala Gardens and Movenpick hotels in Naama Bay and the Old Market area nearby. Other officials in Sharm said there may have been as many as seven blasts: three in Naama Bay and four in the market.

Amal Mustafa, 28, an Egyptian who was visiting with her family, said she drove by the Ghazala Garden — a 176-room four-star resort on the main tourist strip in Naama — and it was "completely burned down, destroyed."

Khaled Sakran, a resident, said he saw one explosion from the Old Market. "I saw the saw the fire in the sky," he told The Associated Press. "Right after, I saw a light in the sky and heard another explosion, coming from Naama Bay."

"The blast shook my house, I can see the fire and lots of smoke," Akram al-Sherif, a Jordanian who was staying at a summer house less than a mile away, said.

No group has yet admitted its guilt.

UPDATE: While the official death toll stands at 31 dead and 107 wounded, South Sinai province's governor, Mustafa Afifi, suggests that the actual death toll is 49, with over 200 wounded. It also seems that there were only three bombs, with the earlier reports of seven being based upon echoes and secondary explosions. The dead include British, Russian, Dutch, Kuwaitis, Saudis, Qataris and Egyptians.

|| Greg, 08:05 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Traitor Pollard Loses Appeal

Jonathan Pollard, whose treasonous activities on behalf of Israel served to endanger US national security for years, lost another appeal .

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that Pollard waited too long to try to contest his 1987 sentence and failed to make a convincing case that he got poor legal help.

The court also ruled that it had no authority to review Pollard's request to see secret documents the Reagan administration submitted to the judge who imposed the sentence 16 years ago.

Pollard's lawyers said they needed to see the material to rebut government arguments against any new appeal or against a request for presidential clemency.

The legal challenge to Pollard's sentence was always viewed as a long shot, and his supporters have focused much of their effort on winning presidential clemency.

Pollard, who turns 51 next month, was a civilian intelligence analyst for the Navy when he copied and gave to his Israeli handlers enough classified documents to fill a walk-in closet. He was not paid when his spying began in 1984, but acknowledged that Israel later began paying him a few thousand dollars a month.

He was caught in November 1985 and arrested after unsuccessfully seeking refuge at the Israeli embassy. Pollard initially denied he worked for Israel but later acknowledged it. He claims prosecutors reneged on a promise to seek a lesser sentence in return for his cooperation.

His case has been a sticking point in U.S.-Israeli relations. The Israeli government, which granted Pollard citizenship, repeatedly has pressed for his release.

May he never be released, and may attempts by Israeli to have him set free be grounds for a reevaluation of our strategic relationship with that nation.

|| Greg, 08:00 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

It Was Too Good To Be True

It seemed that someone with the federal government had finally started thinking about how to use the desire of American patriots to help secure the border. Unfortunately, it appears that it was one man talking out of school -- and Homeland Security has squashed the idea.

Homeland Security officials backed off an idea to form a civilian border patrol, with spokespeople quickly batting down an uproar Thursday caused by the department's border commissioner the day before.

By Thursday morning, the agency produced a statement distancing itself from comments the day before by one of its top border officials that he wanted to look into forming a civilian border auxiliary.

"We are aware of Customs and Border Protection Commissioner (Robert) Bonner's comments yesterday; however, the Department of Homeland Security has not received any specific details of the idea that the Commissioner raised," the agency said in a statement.

"There are currently no plans by the Department of Homeland Security to use civilian volunteers to patrol the border - that job should continue to be done by the highly-trained, professional law enforcement officials of the Border Patrol and its partner agencies."

I guess this means that the Minutemen and fellow loyal American citizens are back to being the enemy, and the border-jumping immigration criminals, their disloyal advocates, and the Mexican government still rank higher in the eyes of the folks responsible for securing the borders and keeping out those who violate our laws.

|| Greg, 05:14 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 21, 2005

California AG Sponsors Anti-American, Anti-Christian, Anti-Semitic, Pro-Terrorist Art Exhibit On Government Property

I am stunned beyond words that this is displayed in the offices of the California Department of Justice -- and is supported and funded by Democrat Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

Absolutely unbelievable!

(Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin and Right Wing News)

|| Greg, 10:50 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Sandy -- Don't Let The Door Hit You In The Ass On The Way Out!

Just a quick reminder of why it is so important that this arrogant woman be ejected from the Supreme Court and rplaced with an originalist/textualist/strict constructionist judge as soon as possible.

"In all my years of my life I don't think I've ever seen relations (between Congress and the high court) as strained as they are now," O'Connor told a conference of judges and lawyers at the 9th Circuit Judicial Conference in Spokane, Washington.

O'Connor is the Supreme Court justice who handles certain matters from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

She said an integral part of the democracy that the United States is promoting around the world is an independent court system.

"And yet, in our country today, we're seeing efforts to prevent that -- a desire not to have an independent judiciary. That worries me," she said.

As an example of the congressional tendency to pick apart court rulings, she cited a March decision that declared the death penalty for juveniles unconstitutional. The ruling noted the weight of international opinion and the fact that only one other country -- Somalia -- executes young offenders.

"Some citations were found very offensive by some members of Congress. I don't personally think it's a good idea to restrict freedom of speech or thought for anybody, even if they are federal judges," O'Connor said.

The reason, Sandy, for the bad relations is that you and your colleagues have strayed further and further from the Constitution in your decisions. You have wandered further and further away from the document that is supposed to be the supreme law of the land. As a result, the American people and their representatives are PISSED-OFF at you people. Yet you, having exceeded your authroity and wandered into a minefield of impeachable offenses, expect everyone to shut up and obey your commands like some sort of incarnate deity.

Let's look at Lawrence, for example. Now I agree with you that the Texas statute was a bad idea and I supported its repeal -- but did it go beyond what is permitted by the Constitution? No, it did not. The court's own decision in hardwick v. Bowers affirmed such statutes less than 20 years before. What changed? What was the basis for this decision in the Constitution? Frankly, there isn't one -- for not one of the Framers would have supported your decision. But you knew better than the Framers, and so amended the Constitution.

And Roper v. Simmons, the case you cite -- it isn't that many years since you upheld the execution of older teens. What changed? one or two state laws -- but hardly enough to make the argument that such executions are seen as cruel and unusual under the Amendment VIII. As for the laws of other nations -- THEY ARE IRRELEVANT TO AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW! The laws of the EU, Peru, and Outer Mongolia are not binding upon the United States -- and neither are unratified treaties. In Roper v. Simmons, though, you treated them as having precedent value that exceets that of the US Constitution, the laws of several states, and the court decisions of those states. Yeah -- we Americans, citizens of a nation that strived to be out from under the laws of other nations -- are going to be upset that foreign law will be used to interpret the meaning of our founding document.

Now you claim that you don't think the speech or thoughts of anyone should be restricted -- but that is exactly what you seek when you make this complaint. You want to pressure your opponents into silence. All your talk about an independent judiciary ignores the fact that the judiciary is but one of three branches of the federal government, and that its role is seen as co-equal to those of the executive and legislative branches. Yes, you folks serve as a check on the other two branches, but they also are to check you. They have failed to do so in recent decades, and now that there is a move on to do so you want to stop it. Sorry, Sandy, the time has come to put the Supreme Court back in its proper place.

|| Greg, 10:13 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

One Tough Lady

See what happens when Condi gets angry.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice demanded an apology from Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir after U.S. officials and journalists were manhandled at a meeting on Thursday.

"It makes me very angry to be sitting with their president and have this happen," Rice told reporters on her plane before leaving Khartoum for Darfur. Earlier, she told reporters she wanted an apology.

Sudanese officials shoved U.S. journalists away from the Bashir meeting and slammed the wooden doors to his palace in their faces. Some U.S. officials were also blocked for several minutes before the Sudanese agreed to allow Rice and aides in. The media was later allowed to witness briefly

Such a blatant disregard of protocol is an insult to the US, and for her entourage to be locked out is completely unacceptabel. But then again, what should we expect from a tin-pot dictator like the "president" of Sudan.

But she got results.

Sudan's foreign minister on Thursday apologized to visiting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over the manhandling of U.S. officials and journalists in Khartoum, a U.S. official said.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail had phoned Rice while she was on a plane to Darfur in western Sudan to say sorry. Rice had earlier demanded an apology.

"He apologized for the treatment of our delegation and the press corps," McCormack told journalists traveling with Rice.

Sudanese security staff manhandled U.S. officials and journalists outside a meeting between Rice and Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

She says what she means and gets what she wants.

Rice '08!

|| Greg, 10:47 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Hands Off Southwest Airlines And Love Field!

Senator James Inhofe, in the name of protecting a major local employer, is trying to stomp out its smaller, cheaper, more convenient competition.

A popular air travel route between Tulsa and Dallas would be shut down, if legislation being proposed by Senator Jim Inhofe goes through.

The True Competition Act would close Love Field to commercial air traffic and force Southwest Airlines to fly out of Dallas-Fort Worth. Inhofe says it's necessary to protect American Airlines, Tulsa's biggest employer.

But as News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg tells us, travelers don't exactly "love" the idea.

Tulsan Emily Warren is on her way to Dallas on Southwest Airlines to visit her boyfriend. It's a trip she makes frequently. And she likes Love, Love Field that is. "I would much rather go through Love. I know Dallas-Fort Worth just gets packed.

Restrictions on flights too and from Love field were implemented when DFW was opened, at the insistance of corrupt House Speaker Jim Wright. Southwest has been operating within the limits and doing so so successfully that they have been trying to get the restrictions lifted to meet public demand. As a result, Inhofe is seeking to close Love Field completely, because the competition has cut in to American's bottom line.

» Eric's Grumbles Before The Grave links with: Carnival of Liberty IV
» The Unrepentant Individual links with: Various Links...

|| Greg, 08:16 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (31) || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

London Attack Part II?????

Something is up on the London Tube and a bus line this morning, two weeks to the day after the 7/7 attacks. Details are incredibly unclear at this point, but it involves 3 Tube stations and 1 bus. -- exactly like two weeks ago.

Some reports of small explosions around 1230-1245 local time, other reports of strong odors ("like wiring" -- "a sour smell"). Could this be a chemical or biological attack?

No reports of major casualties yet (and hopefully none will be forthcoming, God willing) -- some reports of minor injuries.

Heck, reports are simply very unclear. BBC & Sky are calling the blasts "minor" as of 1400 London Time (0900 Easterm/0800 Central/0700 Mountain/0600 Pacific).

UPDATE: As of 1600 London time, Prime Minister Blair has indicated that this is a minor attack without substantive causalties (Thanks be to God). Australia's PM Howard slapped down those who suggested terrorism is because of Iraq -- points out the many attacks by Islamofascist jihadi swine that predated that war, including 9/11 & Bali.

The best news is the lack of evidence of chemical or biological weapons.

» La Shawn Barber's Corner links with: More Terror in London?
» Mark in Mexico links with: What are the British going to do?

|| Greg, 08:00 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

Kennedy Boat Ordered Sold

Many years ago, long before he was president, John F. Kennedy owned a sailboat. Over the years it has passed through many hands.

Currently, it belongs to Gregory Olaf Anderson and Harry Crosby. Unfortunately, Anderson was convicted of drug smuggling, and authorities traced the cash back to Anderson's sale of marijuana.

Kennedy bought the Star Class sloop "Flash II" in 1934 and sailed it in races off Hyannis. He sold the boat in 1942 just before shipping out for World War II.

Anderson, who bought the boat in 1996, was arrested in Arizona in 2001 and sentenced to 18 months in prison for transporting 1,300 pounds of marijuana.

After his release, he allegedly contacted a partner with the intention of setting up another drug trafficking business, not knowing that the partner was cooperating with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

DEA agents, acting on a tip from that informant, seized the boat from a storage facility in Marblehead last year.

Kerner said his client, who owns a construction company, is confident the sailboat will fetch more than $500,000 at auction.

IGiven when the boat was purchased, it wouldn't surprise me if the money came from Kennedy's father, Joseph P. Kennedy -- who is known to have been involved in bootlegging during Prohibition. It therefore seems appropriate that we've come full circle, with the boat becoming governemnt property because of drug smuggling.

|| Greg, 02:07 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 20, 2005

Border Patrol Considers The Obvious

Americans have been organizing to monitor and report border-jumping immigration criminals for some time now. Now the head of the Border Patrol is considering creating an organized civilian auxilliary.

The top U.S. border enforcement official said Wednesday that his agency is exploring ways to involve citizen volunteers in creating "something akin to a Border Patrol auxiliary" - a significant shift in rhetoric that comes after a high-profile civilian campaign this spring along the Arizona-Mexico border.

Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert C. Bonner told The Associated Press that his agency has focused on involving citizens after noting the willingness of volunteers to help federal agents catch illegal immigrants.

"It is actually as a result of seeing that there is the possibility in local border communities, and maybe even beyond, of having citizens that would be willing to volunteer to help the Border Patrol," Bonner said.

Volunteers would need training and be organized "in a way that would be something akin to a Border Patrol auxiliary," he said. "We value having eyes and ears of citizens and I think that would be one of the things we are looking at is how you better organize, let's say, a citizen effort."

Bonner characterized the idea as "an area we're looking at." Questions such as what kind of authority volunteers would be given - would they be deputized to make arrests or carry guns - haven't been answered.

"This is what we need to study," said Bonner, who was in Los Angeles to discuss port security.

You mean you've taken this long to figure out that there are folks ready, willing, and able to give you aid and assistance in doing a job for which you are under-funded and under-manned? That was the whole point of the formation of the Minutemen.

» Searchlight Crusade links with: Today's Links and Minifeatures 2005 07 21 Thursday

|| Greg, 09:11 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Atta's Dad Wants More Murders For Islam

Mohamed el-Amir, father of Mohamed Atta, wants to see more Muslims follow in his son's footsteps.

El-Amir said the attacks in the United States and the July 7 attacks in London were the beginning of what would be a 50-year religious war, in which there would be many more fighters like his son.

He declared that terror cells around the world were a "nuclear bomb that has now been activated and is ticking."

The man, who gave his age as "at least 70," said he had no sorrow for what happened in London, and said there was a double standard in the way the world viewed the victims in London and victims in the Islamic world.

Cursing in Arabic, el-Amir also denounced Arab leaders and Muslims who condemned the London attacks as being traitors and non-Muslims.

He passionately vowed that he would do anything within his power to encourage more attacks.

When asked if he would allow a CNN crew to videotape another interview with him, el-Amir said he would give his permission -- for a price of $5,000.

That money, he said, would not be kept for himself, but would be donated to someone to carry out another terror attack.

El-Amir said that $5,000 was about how much it would cost to finance another attack in London.

He spawned one jihadi pig.

He's out to recruit jihadi pigs.

Can we target this bastard with a cruise missle smeared with bacon grease and make the world a cleaner place?

|| Greg, 09:07 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Not Just My Opinion

I noted last night that many folks regard John Roberts as the top Supreme Court litigator of his generation.

I've since discovered that a couple of experts share that assessment.

Consider this comment from Justice Antonin Scalia, as related by Stuart Buck of "The Buck Stops Here", crossposted at "Southern Appeal" and "Confirm Them".

For what it's worth: A few years ago, Justice Scalia said to a friend of mine that he and other Justices thought of John Roberts as far and away the best Supreme Court litigator in the country. I asked the friend why Justice Scalia said that, and (paraphrasing from my memory) the answer was something like this: "No matter how intense the questioning, Roberts is never flustered, and is always able to calmly answer any question whatsoever, while skillfully weaving in the substantive points that he wanted to make in the first place."

And then there is the opinion of the longest serving member of the current Court, Chief Justice Rehnquist himself, as related by former clerk Ted Cruz in the National Review.

In 1995, while clerking for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, I and my two fellow law clerks asked the chief whom he thought was the best Supreme Court lawyer currently practicing. The chief replied, with a twinkle in his eye, that he thought he could probably get a majority of his colleagues to agree that John Roberts was the best Supreme Court advocate in the nation.

High praise from folks who know the court and the lawyers who practice before it. They think highly of the nominee. I'll accept their judgement as to his competence.

|| Greg, 09:02 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Farewell, Scotty

Some folks are just a part of the fabric of your life. And if you were a science fiction fan growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, one of those people was James Doohan, who played the beloved figure of Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott on Star Trek.

While definitely part of the "second-tier" of characters on the show, he was a fan favorite, and those who met him at converntions unanimously reported that he was a charming man.

James Doohan died today, at age 85, following a long illness.

What was less known about Doohan was that he was a D-Day hero.

At 19, James escaped the turmoil at home by joining the Canadian army, becoming a lieutenant in artillery. He was among the Canadian forces that landed on Juno Beach on D-Day. "The sea was rough," he recalled. "We were more afraid of drowning than the Germans."

The Canadians crossed a minefield laid for tanks; the soldiers weren't heavy enough to detonate the bombs. At 11:30 that night, he was machine-gunned, taking six hits: one that took off his middle right finger (he managed to hide the missing finger on screen), four in his leg and one in the chest. Fortunately the chest bullet was stopped by his silver cigarette case.

Unlike William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, Doohan never got tired of the association with Star Trek.

In a 1998 interview, Doohan was asked if he ever got tired of hearing the line "Beam me up, Scotty."

"I'm not tired of it at all," he replied. "Good gracious, it's been said to me for just about 31 years. It's been said to me at 70 miles an hour across four lanes on the freeway. I hear it from just about everybody. It's been fun."

Yes, sir, it was most definitely fun.

I hope you are on duty when I get "beamed up" to join you.

|| Greg, 01:58 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Guess It Isn't So Clear After All

I recently had a commenter here insisting that sucide bombings were unIslamic and condemned byt islamic teaching. he even pointed to a British group for support. he insisted that this was the only legitimate interpretation of the Koran. Interestingly enough, though, this same poster (he called himself acrobat) could not bring himself to condemn death threats against another blogger who had shot-up and burned a couple of Korans as an act of political protest That made me a bit suspicious of his assertions.

Well, guess what -- while some groups seem to be unambiguously condemning suicide bombings as unIslamic, others are hedging their pronouncements.

Britain's largest Sunni Muslim group met in Birmingham on Sunday and issued a binding religious edict, or fatwa, condemning the suicide attacks that killed dozens on three London subway trains and a double-decker bus as the work of a "perverted ideology." The group's governing council said the Quran forbade suicide attacks and called such terrorism a sin that could send the perpetrators to hell.

Three days earlier at the London Central Mosque, 22 imams and scholars also condemned the July 7 attacks and said the four British Muslim suspects should not be considered martyrs because innocent civilians were killed. But the Muslim leaders stopped short of condemning all suicide bombings.

"There should be a clear distinction between the suicide bombing of those who are trying to defend themselves from occupiers, which is something different from those who kill civilians, which is a big crime," said Sayed Mohammed Musawi, the head of the World Islamic League in London.

Underlining the sensitivity of the issue, Musawi's contention that attacks are justified against "occupiers" came only after a spokesman for the leaders read a carefully worded statement condemning the London attacks. Even so, none of the other scholars and imams at the event expressed disagreement with his stance.

So, who do we believe -- those who say that such attacks are never justified, or those who say they are justified. And given that other Islamic leaders have rejected the notion that there is such a thing as a civilian as unIslamic, who are we to believe?

» Mark in Mexico links with: What are the British going to do?

|| Greg, 10:35 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

July 19, 2005

It's Been A Day

When I woke up this morning, I was shocked to see that my post on the two Ediths was getting a lot of hits while I slept. With about 200 hits by 0900, I figured I might get 500-600 hits for the day.

I had a workshop to attend across town this afternoon, so I had no computer access until around 1800. I was shocked by what I found.

Day -- Tuesday
Date -- July 19th 2005
Page Loads -- 4,761
Unique Visitors -- 3,872
First Time Visitors -- 3,738
Returning Visitors24

I've since discovered that Google had me ranked #2 for searches on Judge Clement for much of the day, and high for Judge Jones. And the Supreme Court Nomination Blog had my trackbacks on both the ladies and several other candidates.

YIKES! What woulda happened if I had been Instalanched?

|| Greg, 10:56 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Bush Appoints Roberts

Judge John Glover Roberts of the DC Circuit has been appointed to the US Supreme Court by President George W. Bush.

NAME - John Glover Roberts Jr.

AGE-BIRTH DATE - Jan. 27, 1955, in Buffalo, N.Y.

EDUCATION - BA, Harvard University, 1976; JD, Harvard Law School, 1979.

CAREER - Nominated by President Bush on Jan. 7, 2003, to U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; confirmed by Senate on May 8, 2003; principal deputy solicitor general, U.S. Justice Department, 1989-93; private practice, Washington, D.C., 1986-89, 1993-2003; associate counsel to President Reagan, White House Counsel's Office, 1982-86; special assistant to attorney general, U.S. Justice Department, 1981-82; law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice William H. Rehnquist when he was an associate justice, 1980-81; law clerk for Judge Henry Friendly, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 1979-80.

FAMILY - Wife, Jane; son, John, and daughter, Josephine.

QUOTE - "Roe v. Wade is the settled law of the land. ... There's nothing in my personal views that would prevent me from fully and faithfully applying that precedent."

Two things I would like to point to in this brief profile.

First, the quote from the confirmation hearing is not what it appears to be. As a lower court judge, Roberts lacked the capacity to overrule Roe. As a member of the Supreme Court, it would be within the scope of his authority to engage in a fundamental reexamination of a case which even its supporters admit is a train wreck (7-2 as to the result, but no decision garnering majority support as to the source of the right -- in other words, "we say it is a right, but we can't begin to authoritatively say why.") Whether Roe is eventually affirmed or overturned, there needs to be a significant rethinking of abortion jurisprudence.

Second, some might note that Judge Roberts has only two years of judicial experience on the DC Circuit. This is not a problem. A number of justices have never served as a judge prior to their nomination to the high court. Others have had only minimal judicial service -- including Justice Thurgood Marshall, the greatest Supreme Court litigator of his generation (I've heard similar statements made about Roberts tonight), whose time as a judge on the Second Circuit consisted of only about three-and-a-half years judicial service before he resigned to become Solicitor General.

Not a bad pick, all things considered. While I might have preferred a different candidate, I am inclined to give Jufge Roberts my full support, barring some truly troubling disclosure during the confirmation process.

A great listing of blogs about the Roberts nomination can be found at Blogs For Bush.

|| Greg, 10:35 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 18, 2005

Sadly, Old Soldiers Do Die

And sadly, we lost another honorable man this evening -- one who has been maligned for decadees, but who deserves our honor as a hero.

General William Westmoreland has died.

Westmoreland died of natural causes at Bishop Gadsden retirement home, where he had lived with his wife for several years, said his son, James Ripley Westmoreland.

The silver-haired, jut-jawed officer, who rose through the ranks quickly in Europe during World War II and later became superintendent of West Point, contended the United States did not lose the conflict in Southeast Asia.

"It's more accurate to say our country did not fulfill its commitment to South Vietnam," he said. "By virtue of Vietnam, the U.S. held the line for 10 years and stopped the dominoes from falling."

He would later say he did not know how history would deal with him.

"Few people have a field command as long as I did," he said. "They put me over there and they forgot about me. But I was there seven days a week, working 14 to 16 hours a day.

"I have no apologies, no regrets. I gave my very best efforts," he added. "I've been hung in effigy. I've been spat upon. You just have to let those things bounce off."

Later, after many of the wounds caused by the divisive conflict began to heal, Westmoreland led thousands of his comrades in the November 1982 veterans march in Washington to dedicate the Vietnam War Memorial.

He called it "one of the most emotional and proudest experiences of my life."

Be sure to read this oobituary. It is a fitting tribute to the man -- and that is, in and of itself, a surprise, given it comes from CNN.

|| Greg, 11:04 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Another Good Sign

A London-based, Saudi-owned newspaper has spoken out against those who argue that Islamist terrorism is the fault of the West.

Arabs and Muslims must stop using the United States as an excuse for terror, a London-based Arabic paper said Monday. In an editorial, Ash-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper, which is Saudi owned, said it was time to stop using President Bush as an excuse for terrorist acts such as the July 7 London blasts and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington. It said many opposed U.S. and British foreign policy, "but they don't crash planes into buildings or blow up cars, buses and underground trains in London." It said it was time to stop blaming others when "we all know there is a rise of extremism in our societies," and criticized Arab and Muslim "so-called intellectuals" appearing on Arab television channels after the London blasts. "They make you think that George Bush and Tony Blair themselves went to Leeds and led a group of youth in London and pressed the explosive buttons," it said. It called for "speaking in one voice to accept responsibility and start looking for ways to get out of this chaos that will affect all of us...if we don't do away with 'George Bush made me do it,' we will not achieve progress in wiping out extremism."

Now if we can only do away with the dhimmi-wannabes in the West who claim that this terrorism is the fault of George Bush, Tony Blair and the actions of the West, then we will have made real progress in getting rid off our extremists, too.

|| Greg, 10:14 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Medal Of Honor Recovered!

I blogged about the theft of Sgt. Sammy L. Davis' Medal of Honor the other day. It has been recovered.

Indianapolis Fire Department divers found Sammy L. Davis' medal on the city's south side, but police declined to release details of where or how the medal was recovered, saying the information would jeopardize an ongoing investigation.

Authorities identified Gaetano Barbieri, 35, as a suspect in the medal's disappearance and a rash of vehicle break-ins. He was arrested Friday on charges in at least two cases, but as of Monday, he wasn't charged in connection with the medal's disappearance, police said.

That it took divers to recover the nation's highest military decoration seems to indicate that this creep dumped it. I hope his fellow inmates treat him appropriately.

Davis, a Mooresville native who lives in Illinois, said by phone Monday that he was grateful that the medal was recovered.

"It's been very hard the last four days not knowing where the medal was (or) if it would ever be recovered, but thanks to the efforts of many, a great burden was lifted off my of soul," Davis said.

Public safety officials will return the medal to Davis during a ceremony in Indianapolis on Thursday, Rinehart reported.

Thank you, Indianapolis, for treating this hero with the respect he deserves.

|| Greg, 10:09 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Gotta Love It

Burning of Rome.

Czar murdered.

Man whose name is synonym for traitor born.

Hitler publishes Mein Kampf.

Ted Kennedy takes Mary Jo for a drive and leaves her to die so he can sober-up and cover-up.

And it all happened today!

Makes you sort of wonder about Intel, though.

» UrbanGrounds links with: On this Day in History

|| Greg, 10:01 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Natural Selection In Action

Will tusks disappear from elephants?

ELEPHANTS in China are evolving into an increasingly tuskless breed because poaching is changing the gene pool, according to new research by zoologists.

Up to 10 per cent of Asian elephants in China now have a gene that prevents them from developing tusks, up from the usual level of 2 per cent, academics at Beijing Normal University said.

Zhang Li, an associate professor of zoology, said: "The larger tusks the male elephant has, the more likely it will be shot by poachers.

"Therefore, the elephants without tusks survive, preserving the tuskless gene in the species."

Since only male elephants have tusks, there are now four female elephants for each male in China, up from the ideal ratio of two, Prof Zhang said.

Similar changes in elephants' tusk development and gender ratios have been reported in Africa and India, but China was not thought to have been as badly affected.

And for those of you who want to comment on evolution, go ahead. But let me note one simple fact for you -- this is, at best, a microevolutionary change, not a macroevolutionary one. After all, they are still clearly ELEPHANTS.

|| Greg, 12:47 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Just A Reminder Of How Re REALLY Treat The Terrorists At Gitmo

How cruel are we to the terrorists housed at Gitmo? You decide.

Abdullah M. was missing a leg when he got to Gitmo. In due course, he was fitted with a prosthetic leg and given occupational therapy to teach him how to use it. In the Orwellian inversion that dominates "world opinion" and requires us to prove we're the good guys, he was interrogated and -- after convincing our guys that he really wasn't a terrorist fanatic -- released and repatriated to Afghanistan. Now sought for involvement in the kidnapping of Chinese engineers and a bombing of the Islamabad Marriott, Abdullah is walking around on the artificial leg we evil Americans paid for.

Yep, that's right -- we did what the Lefties want and let the guy go, and he went right back to his terrorist ways. All while wearing an artificial leg we bought and paid for as part of our humanitarian treatment. I bet he walks around on that leg with his fellow terrorists, telling them how evil Americans were. If that were th case, Americna troops wouldhave left his jihadi butt on the ground to bleed out. This is why these people cannot be released until hostilities are over -- if then.

And, of course, there is this simple division of prisoners.

They are divided into separate mini-camps. Those who follow camp rules, basic stuff such as "don't throw feces on the guards," get to wear white uniforms and live in a semi-communal environment. In the minimum-security camp, I saw groups playing soccer and volleyball. One guy was jogging around in his issue slip-on sneakers. Others, who are less cooperative, get fewer privileges. Medium security camp inmates wear tan uniforms and are kept in cells, allowed out often to exercise. Everything is done in ways calculated to respect Islam.

Inmates' Korans -- in the medium security camps, hung from the steel mesh walls in surgical masks -- are accompanied, in every cell and exercise area I saw throughout Gitmo, by little black arrows painted on bunks and floors, showing the direction of Mecca. Many prayer rugs were in evidence, as were chess sets, playing cards, and -- in the minimum-security camp -- prescription sports glasses. In the maximum-security building, the Korans sit in the narrow windowsills. Interrogators will even interrupt interrogation sessions to allow detainees to pray. One interrogation I observed passed through the 4:30 p.m. call to prayer. The detainee, engaged in conversation with his interrogator, ignored the call and kept talking. To these faux-religious thugs, Islam is apparently less important than a cold Diet Coke.

Notice the fundamental difference in treatment from that received by those "detained" by our enemies -- they get to wear orange jumpsuits and have their heads cut off on videotape.

|| Greg, 12:40 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are I Despair. by The Sundries Shack, and Al Qaeda Attacks: A Flash Presentation by Winds of Change.Here are the complete results. .

Two announcements for you.

If you want to be nominated for this week's vote, see this post by the Watcher regarding link whorage.

And if you want to join us on the council, go here for details about an open seat.

» Watcher of Weasels links with: The Old Switcheroo

|| Greg, 11:16 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Dems: The Truth Is "Beyond The Pay Grade Of The American Voter"

How do the Democrats view the American people? As bumbling idiots who don't need to be told ther truth if it gets in the way of accomplishing the aims of the Democrat party.

Check out this bit frm the New York Times Magazine.

The facts of the filibuster fight hadn't necessarily favored them; in reality, the constitutional principle of ''checks and balances'' on which the Democrats' case was based refers to the three branches of government, not to some parliamentary procedure, and it was actually the Democrats who had broken with Senate tradition by using the filibuster to block an entire slate of judges. (''An irrelevancy beyond the pay grade of the American voter,'' Garin retorted when I pointed this out.) And yet it was their theory of the case, and not the Republicans', that had won the argument.

Isn't it good to know that the Democrats hold you in such high esteem, America?

|| Greg, 10:44 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Let's Make It Clear -- The Left Does not Support The Troops

Reenlistment rates are up -- and look at the response of the Left.

Comments from Americablog. I'll highlight some of the truly relevant parts.

Bit surprised that there are that many dipshits re-enlisting - but not really.

Anyone who would re-enlist would do so strictly for selfish reasons; to put one's life on the line for a War ran by a bunch of facist thugs for profit is insane. Of course, I don't like Judges, I don't like cops, and I don't particulary like the military (or should I say the types that join).

Brave ain't got shit to do with it -- they're over there 'cause they have to be there, and then there are others for whatever selfish reason, go after money, etc...

Though I support the troops I embrace the freedom fighters first, since we are the illegal invaders stealing oil, and running a War for profit. So long as there is chaos the theft continues. May the freedom fighters drive the imperialistic facists from their country -- and since the entire Planet thinks Bush is more of a threat than 10 bin Ladens, there is absolutely no way we can win in Iraq.

But that is what the facists want, chaos. That way, they can continue pumping 1 billion a week out of the ground while no one's looking. They are pigs, ever one.
Montiel | 07.18.05 - 10:50 am | #


Wow. I guess we should be honored. The Navy recently offered our high school senior daughter $150K to pay for her intended BSRN degree. Not a chance in hell that they'll get her, as long as Bush is in office and this illegal war is going on.

The services are desperate for intelligent, skilled people.

Mainly because the intelligent, skilled ones are skedaddling out of that quagmire as fast as they can.

It's the ones who still really need the money to survive and feed their families in this BushCo downward spiraling middleclassworld that are re-upping.
kgirl | 07.18.05 - 11:05 am | #

You get the impression, I think.

» Searchlight Crusade links with: Todays Links and Minifeatures 2005 07 18 Monday

|| Greg, 10:34 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Someone Who Gets It

I don't often blog on "Letters To The Editor", but this one from today's Houston Chronicle hit it right on the head.

Looking in the wrong direction

On the same day that immigrant rights activists warned the Minutemen that they will be watched for illegal activity, a Honduran MS-13 gang member was accused of murdering 28 men and women.

Perhaps these so-called activists should be looking elsewhere for illegal activity.


Exactly right, Mr. Fuentes -- though i won't happen. There is no political capital to be gained by the Democrat politicians who support immigration crime in going after MS-13. After all, that would mean arresting members of the gang, many of whom are here illegally, and admitting that the Minutemen are right in saying that such border-jumpers are a threat to the United States.

|| Greg, 09:19 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Was Plame Already A "Blown Agent"

According to Bill Gertz, Plame's cover was blown twice -- by the CIA itself.

Mrs. Plame's identity as an undercover CIA officer was first disclosed to Russia in the mid-1990s by a Moscow spy, said officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

In a second compromise, officials said a more recent inadvertent disclosure resulted in references to Mrs. Plame in confidential documents sent by the CIA to the U.S. Interests Section of the Swiss Embassy in Havana.

The documents were supposed to be sealed from the Cuban government, but intelligence officials said the Cubans read the classified material and learned the secrets contained in them, the officials said.

Having twice had her identity revealed BY HER OWN EMPLOYER, it is impossible to claim that Plame's identity was being kept covert by the CIA -- especially given her "drive through the front gate every day" job at CIA headquarters in Langley.

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Top Cheney Aide Among Sources in CIA Story

|| Greg, 09:05 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Some Folks Don't Get It

Why does the AP keep repeating this lie?

At least 40 anti-immigration groups have popped up nationally, inspired by the Minuteman Project that rallied hundreds this year to patrol the Mexican border in Arizona.

Sorry, folks, these groups are not "anti-immigration", any more than folks who oppose prostitutes working their neighborhood street corners are "anti-sex". These groups are anti-crime, pro-law, pro-border, and pro-sovereignty groups. Most members are all for LEGAL immigration on terms set by the United States. They simply oppose those who are jumping the border without following the requirements of American law.

And then there is stuff like this.

In Morristown, a Southern industrial town of 25,000 with a small but burgeoning population of Latinos, some see the Volunteer Minutemen's spiel as race baiting.

"The same sort of dogmatism that racists used against blacks in lower Alabama and across the South, I am seeing the same patterns here," said Thom Robinson, who heads the area's Chamber of Commerce. "They are using it as a racially divisive thing."

Santos Aguilar, executive director with Alianza del Pueblo, a regional Hispanic support group in Knoxville, said he fears the volunteers are "spreading a lot of misinformation and are terrorizing the ethnic community in the area."

What sort of dogmatism? A dogmatism that says that law-breaking is a bad thing? A dogmatism that shows a connection between illegal immigration and increased crime, increased taxes, and other social problems, based on government statistics? And would Mr. Agilar care to give some examples of the "terrorizing" that he is talking about? Are there aremed assaults and lychings, or is it just a generalized fear that some of the immigration criminals may be caught and sent back to their countries of origin? Frankly, I WANT these people to have to live with the latter sort of terror -- just as I want every other criminal to live with the teror that htey will be arrested and punished for their crimes. Of course, the only dogamtism that is really seen here is found in the accusations of racism put forth by Aguilar and Robinson, who are spewing open-border dogma.

And then there is this sort of dogma as well.

Guatemala native Noel Montepeque, who owns a company that provides a variety of blue-collar jobs to Hispanics, said the tone has changed since the first migrant farm workers passed through the area in the 1990s.

"Now they are getting afraid of the many Hispanic folks coming in," Montepeque said. "And we are coming to stay."

No, we are not afraid that you are coming to stay. We welcome you, and we have no objection to you becoming a part of our community. But we do want you to come here legally, and to follow our laws once you get here. And we would appreciate it if you would assimilate into our society like the generations of immigrants before you, contributing to the mosaic of culture that is American culture, rather than demanding that we cater to your culture.

Like I said -- we don't oppose immigration. But we do want it to happen the right way.

|| Greg, 08:55 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

This Is A Positive Development

Let's hope we get more such condemnations -- and that the "rank-and-file" Muslims start turning in thosse who are in violation, whether they are neighbors or family membrs.

The Sunni Council denounced the bombings as anti-Islamic and said the Koran, the Muslim holy book, forbade suicide attacks.

"Who has given anyone the right to kill others? It is a sin. Anyone who commits suicide will be sent to Hell," said Mufti Muhammad Gul Rehman Qadri, the council chairman. "What happened in London can be seen as a sacrilege. It is a sin to take your life or the life of others."

The council said Muslims should not use "atrocities being committed in Palestine and Iraq" to justify attacks such as those in London that killed 55 when suicide bombers struck in three Underground trains and a double-decker bus, the fatwa declared.

"We equally condemn those who may have been behind the masterminding of these acts, those who incited these youths in order to further their own perverted ideology," Mr. Qadri said.

Now I won't get into the moral equivalency argument there, something that I fundamentally reject.

This may be a good start -- if it is followed through on.with full cooperation in rooting out every last pro-terrorist Islamist.

|| Greg, 08:21 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 17, 2005

The Guardian Employs Radical Islamist

Last week, The Guardian published a column by "trainee journalist" Dilpazier Aslam that in effect justified terrorism and extremism as a response by the "sassier" second and third generation Muslims in the UK to the war in Iraq.

Now it comes out that Aslam is a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical Islamist group that is banned in virtually every country where it has ever operated, including "repressive" societies like Germany and the Netherlands. The organization remains legal in the UK -- but it supports the overthrow of Western liberal democracy in favor or the establishment of a radical Islamist system dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Aslam himself has written as much.

In 2001 Mr Aslam wrote in the group's in-house journal, Khilafah, that: "The establishment of Khilafah [an Islamic state] is our only solution, to fight fire with fire, the state of Israel versus the Khilafah State".

So it is clear that Aslam is a supporter of the sort of terrorism that took place on 7/7, and that he is a member of a radical organization dedicated to pursuing the same goals as the terrorists. And so the response of The Guardian has been to fire him keep him on the payroll and justify it on the basis of its dedication to diverifying the newsroom with more minority voices.


|| Greg, 03:52 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Case Against Rove Gets Weaker And Weaker

Sometimes a piece of writing stands on its own. This New Hampshire Union-Leader editorial is one such piece.

Joe Wilson, unraveled: Did he say anything that was true?

THE MORE that is revealed about the leaking of CIA employee Valerie Plame's name, the more her husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson, is discredited.

For the past two years Wilson has suggested that the White House exposed his wife as a CIA agent in retribution for his having "debunked" President Bush's statement, made in his 2003 State of the Union address, that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger. Left-wing activists have trumpeted this charge until it has echoed from every mountain and hilltop in the land. Last week's revelations in the case show the charge to be entirely unfounded.

Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper's now famous e-mail exchange with Karl Rove, President Bush's top political strategist, shows that Cooper initiated the contact with Rove, not the other way around, and that Rove did not reveal Plame's name. The New York Times reported on Friday that, contrary to Wilson's spin, Rove did not contact columnist Bob Novak to divulge Plame's name. Novak called Rove, and it was Novak who told Rove that Plame recommended her husband for the Niger trip. Rove simply responded that he'd heard the same thing.

This is important because Wilson claimed to have been sent to Niger by Vice President Dick Cheney, and that his wife had nothing to do with his selection. Both claims were later proven untrue.

The icing on the cake was Wilson's own admission, made Thursday, that "My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity."

So not only was Karl Rove not calling reporters to disclose the identity of Plame, whose name he did not then know, she was not even a covert agent at the time, as has been incessantly claimed.

That the sources for these revelations were Time magazine, The New York Times and Joe Wilson himself will, of course, have no effect on the wingnuts who peddle Karl Rove conspiracy theories. But then, those who believe in a Vast Right Wing Conspiracy were never heavily influenced by the facts anyway.

I wonder what the next attempt by the Democrats to overturn the results of the last two elections will be?

|| Greg, 03:32 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

But We've been Assured That Islam Does Not Condone Such Violence!

An Egyption-born academic who heads the London-based Al-Maqreze Centre for Historical Studies has this to say about the 7/7 attrocity committed by Islamist jihadi pigs.

Al-Siba’i continued: “If Al-Qaeda indeed carried out this act, it is a great victory for it. It rubbed the noses of the world’s eight most powerful countries in the mud. The victory is a blow to the economy.”

When asked about the killings of civilians by Islamists in Iraq, he denied that victims could be divided into combatants and non-combatants. “The term civilian does not exist in Islamic religious law. There is no such term as civilians in the western sense. People are either of Dar al Harb [literally, house of hostility, meaning any non-Islamic government] or not.”

And here I had been assured that Islamic law unambiguously opposes terrorism.

|| Greg, 03:21 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (18) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Whose Property Is It?

Seems to me that this city council in South Carolinan has too much power and too much time on its hands. They are clearly so drunk with power that they don't remember that their power derives from the governed, and that they are not nobles dictating to serfs.

A new ordinance is being considered in Anderson to keep certain types of furniture off porches.

The Anderson City Council is working on a new ordinance that would ban traditional indoor furniture from being kept outside on a porch.

Mayor pro tem Bea Thompson said the old unsightly furniture on the porch would fall in the same category as other nuisances like having a broken down car in the yard or an old run-down home.

Thompson said this is a part of the city's overall plan to make the community beautiful.

Council members said that before the ordinance can pass, it must be fine-tuned.

The council is working on a detailed list as to what inappropriate furniture would be.

The city plans to enforce the ordinance on a complaint basis only. Violators could face fines of more than $1,000.

"Your house could look a little bit better your whole neighborhood could look a little bit better if you didn't have that couch, or if you had the appropriate porch furniture. Don't store refrigerators or stoves on your front porch," Thompson said.

Thompson said the council hopes to pass the ordinance next month.

And while they are at it, they will also impose a 24 hour curfew on ugly folks and fat chicks wearing midriff-baring tops. After all, that would certainly make the neighborhood look better, too.

Personally, I think that a recall election would improve the area even more. Put in some folks who understand the proper role of government.

|| Greg, 12:33 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Delay Sets Fundraising Record

Who says that Tom DeLay is a damaged, unpopular incumbent? In the last three months, he has raised over $800,000The fund raising by DeLay, R-Sugar Land, is the best three-month tally in his 22-year congressional tenure.

He and Lampson won't square off until November 2006.

"He has an incredible level of support in the district and a large, active grass-roots organization, but we're going to need to keep this fund-raising pace to defend the district from the labor bosses, trial lawyers, and liberals who are backing Nick Lampson," DeLay spokeswoman Shannon Flaherty said.

I'll agree with Flaherty on this one. I've never seen the grassroots more supportive of DeLay in my time in this district.

Opponent Nick Lampson raised around $500,000 in two months -- $100,000 from political action committees. Lampson, a former congressman from another district whose major connection to the 22nd district is the fact that his grandparents lived here some time ago, is unchallenged for the Democrat nomination after the state and national power brokers ran off his only opponent. Gordon Quan, a popular Asian-American Houston city councilman who actually lives in the district was running even with Lampson in the polls, but was not favored by the power elite that control the Left's campaign cash.

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: GOP Scrambles to Fill Veterans' Shortfall

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July 16, 2005

Fatwah Issued Against Blogger

Now I wouldn't do what these guys did. I don't find it productive. At the same time, I don't see any great need for anyone to give much respect to a book that is used to justify jihadi terrorism, any more than I believe we should give much respect to a book promoting another vile ideology. But hey, this is America. If flag burning is legitimate political speech, so is shooting up a copy or three of the Koran.

That said, I don't think Chris over at AnarchAngel should have been surprised to get some negative reaction to this event. He admits as much, and says he is even surprised to have gotten so little negative reaction.

But this shows the fundamental difference between the culture of freedom that is part and parcel of Western Civilization and the hate-filled, anti-freedom system that the Islamist jihadi swine would impose on us through their acts of terror. A fatwah has been issued against Chris and his family.

A Fatwah has been issued against me by a known terror group. Corresponding groups have responded indicating that I will be eliminated shortly.

They have my name, address, telephone numbers, and the names and addresses of my friends and loved ones.

The FBI has been unable to tell me of any actionable threat, however they beleive that the threat is real. They have warned me to take the standard anti-terrorist precautions, suitable for Bogota or South Africa not Phoenix.

They are also contacting the people on the list that was distributed, including my mother, my stepfather and step siblings, and the people who worked on Team Infidel with me.

The thousands of hits I've been recieving from the JP domains with blocked referred information are anonymizer proxies used to hide the identities of those viewing my site.

As my resume is public information, my employers or former employers may also be targeted.

There is concern that staff at my former employers has fed them my personal and private information as well.

The FBI agents I spoke with clearly indicated that althoguh they had nothing direct or specific to an individual (and thus couldnt justify protective custody), they are very seriously concerned about this threat.

Hang in, Chris. We stand with you.

And to all you Islamist jihadi swine -- you will not silence us all. If you go after us for speaking out against you, we will continue to speak. You cannot get us all. But we can make sure that there is not one of your kind befouling the shores of the USA or any other part of the Western world if you continue to attack us -- and that it will be 25,000 years before Mecca, Medina, or any other Islamist "holy city" can be approached without degrading your DNA even further.

And remember -- we did not choose this battle, jihadis; you did. It ends with your capitulation or your death, and at this point I don't particularly care which.

As for all the non-jihadi Muslims out there -- we await your loud and outspoken unambiguous condemnation of this threat of murder in the name of your religion.

Additional commentary at:
Resistance is futile!
Forward Biased
Mudville Gazette
The View From North Central Idaho
Eternity Road
Owlish Mutterings
Nation of Riflemen Forum

|| Greg, 11:34 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (9) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

This Is Too Cool!

I rarely do these things -- and never post them. This one, on the other hand, is just too good to leave unposted.

What Is Your Battle Cry?

Who is that, running on the steppes! It is Rhymes With Right, hands clutching a gilded sword! And with a mighty bellow, his voice cometh:

"Ares, God of War, be praised! I shall make bloody music with the bodies of your nation's populace!"

Find out!
Enter username:
Are you a girl, or a guy ?

created by beatings : powered by monkeys

|| Greg, 11:07 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Paul Begala Loses His Mind

This statement, coming out of a Leftist doesn't even raise an eyebrow. After all, it is so typical of what we hear from that edge of the spectrum.

"They want to kill me and my children if they can. But if they just kill me and not my children, they want my children to be comforted -- that while they didn't protect me because they cut my taxes, my children won't have to pay any money on the money they inherit," Begala said.

Next time his brother Chris is on KSEV, someone will have to ask how long Paul has been stark raving mad.

|| Greg, 09:29 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Attack On Israeli Consulate Thwarted?

Why isn't this news in the US?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing whether two United States citizens arrested recently planned to carry out an attack on the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles and a synagogue in the area.

The suspicion arose after local police officers arrested the two, aged 25 and 21, on the suspicion that they carried out armed robberies. In a search conducted in one of the suspect's apartment, in southern Los Angeles, officers found a list of more than twenty addresses, including that of the Israeli consulate in the city (identified on the list as the Zionist consulate) as well as the address of a synagogue.

Now maybe this is nothing -- buyt maybe not. How many folks run round with a list that includes the "Zionist consulate" while robbing gas stations? Whas this the method of getting the money to purchase materials?

Oh, and by the way, this detail makes it in late in the article.

The two suspects are known felons who recently converted to Islam.

Uh-huh. Yeah. Anyone surprised?

|| Greg, 09:16 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Where Is Everyone?

Traffic is WAY down today. Is everyone reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? I should be getting a copy in a couple weeks, when given where i am on the hold list for the Harris County Public Library.

I'm hearing good things about it.

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: New Harry Potter Book Getting Rave Reviews

|| Greg, 03:23 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Rapper Fired At Bush Intercontinental Airport

When you hold a sensitive position, your words and actions can be used as a grounds for termination. That is true if you work for the CIA. It is true if you work for a police department. It is true in the military. And it is also true if you are an airport screener.

And that brings us to the case of Bassam Khalaf, AKA "the Arabic Assassin" in the rap world. He just was fired as a luggage screener at one of the airports here in Houston. He wants to make this a matter of ethnicity, but it isn't. The lyrics to one song talks about commemorating the 9/11 attack with another such attack on September 11 of this year.


Sorry, dude -- just like you don't joke about bombs at the airport, you don't make such public statements and then screen luggage at an airport. It makes you a security risk.

Not only that, but his lyrics also have hate content in them, of a nature that rivals anything that is spewed from the mouth of the Klan or the neo-Nazis. Consider lyrics of "Hellsent".


And that is just an excerpt. The rest is worse. And just as we don't let members of known hate groups work high-security jobs, we cannot let this clown do so either. Frankly, I'd like to see them lock you up pending a full investigation of your activities and conduct after that terrorist threat.

And let's be honest here -- this firing is reasonable. His words make him an unacceptable security risk. I would lose my job as a teacher if I were posting kiddie porn stories -- I think an airport screener who posts this sort of crap needs to be fired for precisely the same reason.

(HT Debbie Schussel & Michelle Malkin)

|| Greg, 01:59 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Terrorist Toured Parliament

This is certainly a scary notion -- though it may be entirely coincidental. Still, the connection to a senior Labour MP obviously needs to be investigated.

Suicide bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan was given a guided tour of the House of Commons last year - raising the disturbing prospect that Parliament was on the hit list of targets.

Khan, 30, was a guest of Labour MP Jon Trickett, whose wife Sarah is head of a school where the bomber taught.

During the visit in July he also met International Development Minister Hilary Benn, whose constituency includes the school, and was shown areas of Parliament which are off-limits to unaccompanied members of the public.

They included Portcullis House, the new extension where many MPs have their offices and where security has been exposed as worryingly lax in recent years.

More interesting is that the terrorist had been a schoolmate of Truckett's children, and had been a guest in the MPs home, having been known to the family for over 17 years. That makes this development even more frightening.

And then there is this bit.

The Labour Party said Khan's group had been fully screened by the House of Commons Security system and was accompanied at all times throughout the visit.

Do I understand correctly? Were they screened IN ADVANCE? Were there know alarms set off by this individual's activities and associations? If not, why not?

|| Greg, 11:31 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Medal Of Honor Stolen

This is tragic. It is my profoundest hope that the thief sees this story and is moved by some shred of decency to return this decoration.

Sammy L. Davis was awarded the nation's highest military honor for his bravery and skill during a ferocious Vietnam War firefight that killed about 30 of his comrades.

Davis has kept that Medal of Honor close to his side ever since President Lyndon B. Johnson presented it to him in 1968.

But Friday morning, Indianapolis Police Department officers said, Davis discovered the medal had been stolen during a break-in of the trunk of his car in the parking lot of Wingate Inn Airport, 5797 Rockville Road.

Davis, 58, a retired Army sergeant, is one of only two Hoosiers to have received the medal awarded by Congress.

"A piece of American history has been stolen," said IPD Sgt. Steve Staletovich.

Davis said: "Whoever has it, I can personally forgive you if you return it. Please turn it in. I would even give you a hug."

The thief also took 40 harmonicas Davis plays at military ceremonies, police said

This great man wants nothing more than the return of an important piece of history, so that it may be treated with the honor and dignity it deserves.

Who is Sammy L. Davis? How did he come to receive the nation's highest military decoration?

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Battery C, 2d Battalion, 4th Artillery, 9th Infantry Division. Place and date: West of Cai Lay, Republic of Vietnam, 18 November 1967. Entered service at: Indianapolis, Ind. Born: 1 November 1946, Dayton, Ohio. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Davis (then PFc.) distinguished himself during the early morning hours while serving as a cannoneer with Battery C, at a remote fire support base. At approximately 0200 hours, the fire support base was under heavy enemy mortar attack. Simultaneously, an estimated reinforced Viet Cong battalion launched a fierce ground assault upon the fire support base. The attacking enemy drove to within 25 meters of the friendly positions. Only a river separated the Viet Cong from the fire support base. Detecting a nearby enemy position, Sgt. Davis seized a machinegun and provided covering fire for his guncrew, as they attempted to bring direct artillery fire on the enemy. Despite his efforts, an enemy recoilless rifle round scored a direct hit upon the artillery piece. The resultant blast hurled the guncrew from their weapon and blew Sgt. Davis into a foxhole. He struggled to his feet and returned to the howitzer, which was burning furiously. Ignoring repeated warning to seek cover, Sgt. Davis rammed a shell into the gun. Disregarding a withering hail of enemy fire directed against his position, he aimed and fired the howitzer which rolled backward, knocking Sgt. Davis violently to the ground. Undaunted, he returned to the weapon to fire again when an enemy mortar round exploded within 20 meters of his position, injured him painfully. Nevertheless, Sgt. Davis loaded the artillery piece, aimed and fired. Again he was knocked down by the recoil. In complete disregard for his safety, Sgt. Davis loaded and fired 3 more shells into the enemy. Disregarding his extensive injuries and his inability to swim, Sgt. Davis picked up an air mattress and struck out across the deep river to rescue 3 wounded comrades on the far side. Upon reaching the 3 wounded men, he stood upright and fired into the dense vegetation to prevent the Viet Cong from advancing. While the most seriously wounded soldier was helped across the river, Sgt. Davis protected the 2 remaining casualties until he could pull them across the river to the fire support base. Though suffering from painful wounds, he refused medical attention, joining another howitzer crew which fired at the large Viet Cong force until it broke contact and fled, Sgt. Davis’ extraordinary heroism, at the risk of his life, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.

God bless you sir. May your your medal be returned quickly and with full honor.

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

July 15, 2005

Sadly, Islam Is The Problem

I hate to write the headline above. It is my great joy to know a number of Muslims who I love like they are my own family. They are good people. They are animated with a sense of decency that I fully believe is part and parcel of Islam. But even as I acknowledge that part and celebrate it, I cannot help but recognize the darker side of that faith. It is that darker, metastasized form of Islam that threatens Western Civilization, and which must be excised like the cancer that it is. But we have thus far lacked the will to do so, for fear of denigrating Islam and offending Muslims.

Diana West notes the problem and its genesis in the multicultural ethic that has taken hold of our society. All cultures are equally good, we are assured. It is a polite lie that we have all paid lip-service to, not wanting to be seen as racist or religiously bigotted. But in doing so we have given the terrorists who threaten our culture the very cover they need to operate in our society, to injure and kill our fellow citizens. West states that it is islam that has become a threat to our way of life.

Notice I didn't say "Islamists." Or "Islamofascists." Or "fundamentalist extremists." I've tried out such terms in the past, but I've come to find them artificial and confusing, and maybe purposefully so, because in their imprecision I think they allow us all to give a wide berth to a great problem: the gross incompatibility of Islam — the religious force that shrinks freedom even as it "moderately" enables, or "extremistly" advances jihad — with the West. Am I right? Who's to say? The very topic of Islamization — for that is what is at hand, and very soon in Europe — is verboten.

A leaked British report prepared for Prime Minister Tony Blair last year warned even against "expressions of concern about Islamic fundamentalism" (another one of those amorphous terms) because "many perfectly moderate Muslims follow strict adherence to traditional Islamic teachings and are likely to perceive such expressions as a negative comment on their own approach to their faith." Much better to watch subterranean tunnels fill with charred body parts in silence. As the London Times' Simon Jenkins wrote, "The sane response to urban terrorism is to regard it as an avoidable accident."

In not discussing the roots of terror in Islam itself, in not learning about them, the multicultural clergy that shepherds our elites prevents us from having to do anything about them. This is key, because any serious action — stopping immigration from jiahd-sponsoring nations, shutting down mosques that preach violence, expelling their imams, just for starters — means to renounce the multicultural creed. In the West, that's the greatest apostasy. And while the penalty is not death — as it is for leaving Islam under Islamic law — the existential crisis is to be avoided at all costs. Including extinction.

Dare i draw some dangerous parallels here? The Catholic Church has recently gone through a great time of trial as it has dealt with the sins of a relatively few priests and their superiors -- should we have refrained from naming the problem for fear of offending Catholics? Fundamentalist Mormon sects have forced young girls into polygamous marriages to men old enough to be their fathers and grandfathers -- should the problem be ignored for fear of offending members of the LDS church who shun these practices but might take offense at the examination of the roots of their faith?Should we turn a blind eyeto Israeli spying on the US and the groups that facilitate it out of a fear of stirring up the anti-Semitic "dual loyalty" canard? I think the answer to those questions is clear -- why do we treat Islam differently in the face of the terrorist threat which is daily exposed on our shores and in Great Britain?

The time has long since come for us to quit the monkeying around and to take up the serious business of defending our country and Western Civilization from the enemy among us. We must act in a manner that allows to most effectively find the terrorists. who would kill us. I've noted this before.

The time has come (and is, indeed, long past) to begin intensive monitoring of mosques and Muslim institutions, organizations, and "charities" in this country, for they are the places in which the enemy operates. And if that inconveniences innocent Muslims who are loyal to this country, that is just too damn bad, for the enemy operates among them.

There is much in islam that we can admire and commend as good. But we must not let the silly notions of multiculturalism allow that which is evil in Islam overcome and destroy us.

|| Greg, 01:47 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (12) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 14, 2005

Hmmmmmm -- Which Do I Take?

So -- do I take the four year free ride to college, or do I take the $380,000 contract to play in the rookie league?

Memorial High star Koby Clemens, the eldest son of future Hall of Famer Roger Clemens, has reached an agreement to sign with his father's Astros. Clemens will receive around a $380,000 signing bonus.

The Astros confirmed the signing in an announcement this afternoon. Clemens had signed a letter of intent to play at his father's alma mater, the University of Texas. But he now appears headed to Class A Greenville, Tenn.

Earlier today, Astros general manager Tim Purpura withheld comment on the signing other than to say, "this is a kid with good ability, a good arm. And the pedigree doesn't hurt."

Clemens, the eighth-round pick, was the 254th selection overall in the first-year player draft early last month. Koby, a stellar pitcher who will give up the mound and focus on third base or catching, hit .523 this year as a senior. He also had 10 home runs and 14 doubles with 55 RBIs.

I'm curious, though -- what do they pay the guys good enough to go in the first round?

|| Greg, 11:02 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Father Of Affirmative Action Dies

The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones.
Julius Caesar Act III, Scene 2

Seems like an appropriate quote upon the passing of Arthur A. Fletcher.

Arthur A. Fletcher, who was widely regarded as the father of affirmative action, has died. He was 80.

Fletcher died of natural causes Tuesday at his home in Washington, D.C.

As the assistant secretary of Labor under President Nixon in 1969, Fletcher devised the first successful enforcement plan for affirmative action, known as "the revised Philadelphia Plan."

It required employers doing business with the government to set timetables for hiring minorities and was later amended to include women.

It became the blueprint for affirmative action programs.

Word is that Mr. Fletcher was denied a place in heaven so that a deserving member of a historically under-represented group could be admitted.

» Watcher of Weasels links with: Submitted for Your Approval
» Watcher of Weasels links with: The Council Has Spoken!

|| Greg, 09:26 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

What Would Howard Know About This Subject?

This observation from a man who never had any.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Thursday that President Bush is "losing credibility with the American people" because of his policies regarding the war in Iraq and the controversy involving Karl Rove.

Howard, given the way in which you flopped in the primaries after raising all that money, I think you are the last man who should be commenting on anybody's "credibility with the American people".

|| Greg, 09:16 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Geneva Already Defines Their Status

Congress needs to keep out of this matter.

The U.S. Congress should pass legislation defining the legal status of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay to avoid more damage to the United States' image abroad and reprisals against U.S. soldiers, senators said on Thursday.

But the Pentagon said existing laws allow the indefinite detention of people the United States has deemed enemies in the war on terrorism, and that legislation could be too restrictive and was not needed.

"The truth is due to no one's fault Guantanamo Bay is a legal mess," Sen. Lindsey Graham (news, bio, voting record), a South Carolina Republican, said at a Senate Armed Services subcommittee hearing.

With the Pentagon under fire for the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo, Graham is working on legislation with fellow Republicans John Warner of Virginia, the Armed Services Committee chairman, and John McCain of Arizona to clarify the legal standing of people the administration calls "enemy combatants" who can be held indefinitely.

Human rights groups and a number of European countries have said that term has no standing under international law, and the detainees should have the rights of prisoners of war.

Actually, these are "unlawful combattants" under the terms of the geneva Conventions, and they have no rights whatsoever. At best, they have no more rights than a prisoner of war, who can be held until the end of the conflict in which they are cancelled. That means until the War on Islamist Terror Groups has come to an end -- most likely decades from now.

There is one thing that Congress could authorize that I would support. Congress could pass a law that simply says that we will treat terrorists as the contemporary equivalent of pirates -- "the enemy of all humanity" -- and treat them in the same manner as pirates have traditionally been treated.

You know, hanging by the neck until dead.

|| Greg, 09:11 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

China Announces Plans To Nuke USA

China has already planned to nuke the United States in the event we seek to help preserve the freedom of Taiwan in the face of a Red Chinese war of aggression against that island nation.

China is prepared to use nuclear weapons against the US if it is attacked by Washington during a confrontation over Taiwan, a Chinese general said on Thursday.

“If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China's territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons,” said General Zhu Chenghu.

Gen Zhu was speaking at a function for foreign journalists organised, in part, by the Chinese government. He added that China's definition of its territory included warships and aircraft.

“If the Americans are determined to interfere [then] we will be determined to respond,” said Gen Zhu, who is also a professor at China's National Defence University.

“We . . . will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all of the cities east of Xian. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds . . . of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese.”

While some analysts have downplayed the statement, I cannot believe that such a rigidly controlled organization would include someone making these comments as a "loose cannon." We need to stop the Unocal deal, be prepared to take aggressive action to prevent this scenario from being carried out.

|| Greg, 09:03 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Rehnquist NOT Retiring!

Straight from the horses mouth. I find this to be almost beyond belief, in light of some the speculation that has surrounded his plans since last fall.

WASHINGTON - Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, denying rumors of his retirement, said Thursday he will continue heading the court as long his health permits. "I'm not about to announce my retirement," he told The Associated Press.


"I want to put to rest the speculation and unfounded rumors of my imminent retirement," Rehnquist, 80, and ailing with thyroid cancer, said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press. "I am not about to announce my retirement. I will continue to perform my duties as chief justice as long as my health permits."

Rehnquist released the statement hours after being released from an Arlington, Va., hospital after being treated for two days with a fever.

What does this mean? Is the thyroid cancer responding well to the chemotherapy? Does the Chief Justice simply want to "gut it out" for as long as he can? Will we have a sad spectable like the final year of Justice William O. Douglas, with a justice too ill to remain on the court trying to hang on just a little bit longer (not that Rehnquist apears to be in anything approaching the condition of Douglas, whose stroke had left him severely impaired) and vacilating from day to day about retiring?

Chief Justice Rehnquist has long been a hero of mine. I wish him well. I wish him a long life. May God grant him the wisdom to know when he needs to leave the Court.

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Chief Justice Rehnquist hospitalized with fever

|| Greg, 08:18 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

What Does Someone Who Helped Draft The Law Think?

Bruce Sanford, a Washington DC based First Amendment lawyer, helped draft the law that Joe Wilson and the rest of the truth-impaired Left keep claiming that Karl Rove broke. What does he think about the current situation? CNN reporter Kyra Phillips asked him.

PHILLIPS: Well, aside from maybe partisan politics, looking strictly at the law that you drafted, do you see any evidence, according to this law, any evidence of any criminal wrongdoing?

SANFORD: No, I think it's pretty clear that what Karl Rove said to Time magazine's Matthew Cooper doesn't even come close to the kind of knowing violation that is required by the act. Really, the act really requires an intent to harm national security, and that certainly can't be said in these circumstances, I think.

PHILLIPS: All right. Now, we've heard a lot about the act, but let's look at it, actually read this portion of Section 421 of the act:

"... knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent, and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States ..."

So in other words, what you're saying, the reason there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing is because Karl Rove didn't do anything wrong because he didn't know that Plame was covert.

SANFORD: That's pretty clear from the notes, the e-mails that Time magazine released to the grand jury that [White House political adviser] Karl Rove said that [former Ambassador Joseph] Wilson's wife -- he didn't even use her name -- but Wilson's wife "apparently works" at the CIA.

It seems to me there's a substantial question whether she qualifies as the kind of covert agent that was envisioned by the act. There are very tight requirements for that.

And there is a substantial doubt whether the agency was taking the kind of affirmative measures to conceal her identity that the act talks about.

As Sanford notes later on, the CIA made no effort to stop the Novak column. So there was obviously no affirmative attempt to keep her identity concealed. That means the law was not broken, because she was not covered.

But then again, what does Sanford know? He just wrote the law

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: THE BUZZ: Gimme five

|| Greg, 07:54 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (7) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Not Just "No" But "HELL NO!"

I would love an originalist or a textualist nominated to the Supreme Court. I'll even take a garden variety strict constructionist if necessary. But I find this notion to be totally unacceptable.

A coalition of conservative activists armed with petitions Wednesday encouraged President Bush to nominate former Alabama chief justice Roy Moore to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Putting Moore on the bench "could bring about a turning point in our jurisprudence and in our culture, back to biblical morality and forward to a restoration of the constitutional design and system of liberty set forth by America's founding fathers," said Howard Phillips, chairman of the Conservative Caucus.

Phillips, a three-time nominee for president by the Constitution Party, said Moore best represents the type of judge Bush has said he prefers, one who would strictly interpret the law according to the U.S. Constitution.

Roy Moore disgraced the bench. His conduct led to his impeachment and removal from one court, and his slanderous lies since his removal show him to be a man of no character at all. He is, dare I say it, no-account white trash. I oppose this absurd proposal from the fringe, and I oppose his proposed run for governor of Alabama.

Those of us in the mainstream of the conservative movement -- the real mainstream, not the moderate/liberal RINO regions defined as mainstream by the Left -- would never abide by such an appointment, and would support the rejection of Roy Moore as unfit. Not that I have any reason to worry that such an appointment is forthcoming.

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: How the Next Supreme Court Justice Will Be Chosen

|| Greg, 07:40 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

July 13, 2005

Dangerous Viewpoint

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich committed $10 million in tax dollars to stem cell research via executive oder following the defeat bills establishing such a program during the legislative session. I won't get into the stem cell debate here, but I will raise the issue of Blagojevich's response to critics.

"It's the right thing to do, and however you get there is immaterial."

I hope that scares the hell out of you.

In a constitutional system, the means are as important as the ends.

Your goal may be noble, sir -- though I disagree with it -- but your method for achieving that goal is wrong.

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Actor Fox Urges Congress on Stem Cell Bill

|| Greg, 07:18 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Terrorist Recruiting Muslim "Scholar" Sentenced

Just a quick reminder about where the Islamist jihadi swine come from.

A prominent Islamic scholar who exhorted his followers after the Sept. 11 attacks to join the Taliban and fight U.S. troops was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison.

Ali al-Timimi of Fairfax was convicted in April of soliciting others to levy war against the United States, inducing others to aid the Taliban, and inducing others to use firearms in violation of federal law.

The cleric addressed the court for 10 minutes before his sentencing.

"I will not admit guilt nor seek the court's mercy. I do this simply because I am innocent," al-Timimi said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg said al-Timimi "hates the United States" and has called for its destruction.

"He's allowed to do that in this country," Kromberg said. "He's not allowed to solicit treason. He deserves every day he gets."

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said the evidence supported the mandatory life sentence. The judge had earlier left open the possibility that she would toss out some of the counts.

We know that similar radical clerics and scholars operate in England. These are probably the folks who recruited the four native Muslim pigs who committed last week's London homicide bombings. Just like whoever recruited the murderers in England, al-Timimi seems to have had some success.

Al-Timimi's lawyers argued that their client merely suggested that Muslims may want to leave the United States after Sept. 11 because of the potential for a backlash against them.

But he was accused of telling a group of young Muslim men just days after the attack that an apocalyptic battle between Muslims and nonbelievers was at hand and that Muslims were obligated to engage in holy war. He told the group that defense of the Taliban was a requirement and that U.S. troops were a legitimate target, according to court testimony.

Several of the men who heard Al-Timimi's speech traveled days later to Pakistan and began training with a militant Islamic group called Lashkar-e-Taiba, officials said. Some testified that their goal was to obtain training that would allow them to fight alongside the Taliban, though none actually made it to Afghanistan.

We are finding more and more of these Islamist "religious figures" engaging in recruiting for jihad. The time has come (and is, indeed, long past) to begin intensive monitoring of mosques and Muslim institutions, organizations, and "charities" in this country, for they are the places in which the enemy operates. And if that inconveniences innocent Muslims who are loyal to this country, that is just too damn bad, for the enemy operates among them.

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Life Sentence For Islamic Scholar

|| Greg, 02:33 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Screw Those Teachers One More Time!

You may remember that some weeks ago I wrote about the Texas Legislature's disrespect of teachers. Well, they are at it again. Those changes in retirement rules for new teacher are going to be extended to ALL teachers -- even those already in the system -- under legislation considered likely to pass during this special session on education (by the way -- there is still no education budget or revised tax scheme -- the original purpose of this special session that ends next week).

A separate bill the Senate may debate later this week would make several changes to the Teacher Retirement System, including raising the minimum retirement age to 60.

Linda Bridges, president of the Texas Federation of Teachers, said the bill "is taking us backwards in our efforts to attract and retain quality teachers."

"The Teacher Retirement System deserves to be solvent. We need to pass a bill so that the Teacher Retirement System doesn't look like Social Security and we have to stand up here and say it's going to be bankrupt in 10 years," [Senate Finance Committee Chair Steve] Ogden said.

Well, Steve, maybe if the state quit funding the system at the statutory minimum percentage (as it has done on an "emergency basis" for the last 10 years) and took the funding level back up to its traditional level at which it was designed to function, then there would be no problem. You would not have to monkey with the plans of teachers approaching retirement -- nor would you have to engage in a practice which federal law bans in the private sector, namely changing the terms of a pension agreement for currently covered workers.

Listen we already make around $6000 a year below the national average, and you balanced the last budget (for the 2003-2004 biennium) on the backs of teachers by cutting our health insurance stipend in half (effectively a $500 annual "teacher tax" out of each of our pockets) and still haven't restored the money for the new biennium as we were promised, nor have you found the cash for an increase in teacher salaries. Retiree health insurance are more expensive because of legislative tinkering. Don't screw around with our retirement benefits as well! And I say that as a teacher who plans on being into the classroom significantly past the minimum retirement age.

But somehow, you have managed to find the dollars to fund this little measure, one that didn't make it through the regular session of the legislature.

The House and Senate haven't agreed on how to cut school property taxes, but both chambers approved bills Tuesday that would boost their own pensions.

The House used a nonrecorded voice vote Tuesday to pass a bill to raise judicial pay and lawmakers' pensions, while Senators voted on the record with two senators casting "no" votes on similar legislation.

Since 1975, legislative pensions have been calculated as a portion of a district judge's salary.

Sen. Kyle Janek, R-Houston, said judicial salaries need to be increased to keep experienced judges from leaving the bench for private practice. But he said he cast a "protest vote" against the bill because it links a district judge's salary to lawmakers' pension benefits.

"I'm just down on that," said Janek.

Currently, lawmakers earn $7,200 a year in pay, and retired lawmakers can begin collecting pensions at age 50 if they have served for at least 12 years.

Under the House and Senate bills, a retired official with 12 years' experience would get $6,431 more a year for a total pension of $34,500. Benefits increase with each year of service.

In other words, you cannot take care of teachers and will vote for measures that cost us money and do nothing to properly compensate us for what you people keep claiming is one of the most important jobs in the state -- but you can guarantee yourself a pension from your PART-TIME JOB that is approximately equal to the state minimum salary for a full-time classroom teacher who has ten years of classroom experience! And you get to retire at age 50 with 12 years of service -- a "Rule of 62" rather thant the current "Rule of 80" that teachers must meet or the "Rule of 90" that you are seeking to impose with this new legislation. Oh, yeah -- and our benefits are equal to only about 70% of our annual salary, not 480% of our annual salary like you guys will be getting. And might I also mention that your annual pension increase approximates the dollar figure by which Texas teachers are paid below the national average.

So I have a message to Texas legislators -- SCREW YOU! You seem intent to keep on screwing me.

» The Education Wonks links with: The Carnival Of Education: Week 24

|| Greg, 12:24 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

City Official Slanders Minutemen

The KKK is a terrorist group.

So were/are the Black Panthers.

The Minutemen are the equivalent of a Neighborhood Watch, reporting suspicious activity to the proper law enforcement officials for action.

There have been no reports of criminal activity -- much less violent criminal activity -- by the Minutemen.

So why does Houston City Councilman Adrian Garcia make this utterly absurd and slanderous statment?

Garcia, a former Houston police officer, said HPD would monitor the Minutemen "as they would the KKK, as they would the Black Panthers."

So a peaceful group with a political agenda that engages in legal activities will be treated as terrorists by the city of Houston. Where is the ACLU ? Doesn't this constitute a violation of the civil liberties of the Minutemen?

By the way, Archbishop Fiorenza Councilmen Quan and Garcia, Mr. Rubio and all the rest of you folks who are speaking out in support of immigration criminals, you do not speak for the majority of Houstonians -- particularly not those in neighborhoods infested with these lawbreakers. Even the local birdcage liner fish wrapper daily newspaper, the Houston Chronicle, notes as much.

Though polling has shown Houstonians support the diversity brought by immigration, Rice University sociologist Stephen Klineberg said the city's residents are ambivalent about illegal immigration.

The day laborers the Minutemen plan to monitor are particularly unpopular in some neighborhoods. Residents and business owners complain of the crime and trash associated with the men gathering on dozens of corners across Houston. The city has tried to solve the problem by supporting the creation of day-labor centers.

In other words, the border jumpers are not welcome in Houston -- and we want you to quit using taxpayer's money to assist the immigration criminals in continuing their lawbreaking ways.

|| Greg, 11:45 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Terrorist's Head Recovered

Michelle Malkin notes that Reuters/Sky TV has reported that the head of one of the London terrorists has been recovered.

The bomber responsible for the attack on a London bus last week was killed in the blast, Sky television reported on Tuesday, quoting police sources.

It was not clear whether the man had intended to detonate the bomb on the bus, Sky said. Police would not confirm the report.

Sky said a decapitated head found near the scene had been identified as that of the bomber.

That is great. Now let's see the English follow an old tradition.

Political prisoners (labelled traitors) and serious criminals often had their heads removed and placed on public display for a period of time. For instance, in medieval England, the heads were placed on spikes along the walls of the Tower of London.

These were British nationals who made war on the United Kingdom. That qualifies as treason, by any definition. Mount this head -- and the eventually recovered heads of the other homicide traitors -- on the Tower of London.

|| Greg, 11:19 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Sarcasm And Satire Are Wasted On Some People

While perusing this week's ediition of the Carnival of Education, I came across an entry that referenced these two posts on a third blog (yeah, I know -- Tinker to Evers to Chance) about a column on the official website of the NEA dishonestly trashing homeschooling -- and the author's clueless response to criticism.

I'll let you read about the initial coulmn yourself, but let me post you excerpts from the letter critical of the coulumn and the author's response.

Homeschool parent and column critic Dominick Cancilla wrote (as part of a much longer letter that you really should read -- it is priceless):

And socialization -- don't even get me started! No matter how many play dates and group classes or field trips a homeschooler participates in, there are so many lessons that a child can only learn on a public-school playground! This is where kids learn to stick up for themselves, where they discover their place in society, and where they find out who their real friends are. I got a lot of teasing myself when I was in grade school, and the teachers didn't make a big deal every time someone called me a name like my mom would have if she were always hanging around. I learned pretty quickly that I had to take care of these things myself instead of trying to get "authority" to take care of them, and knowing that I need to look out for number one has served me very well in the business world. If I'd been homeschooled, I'd probably let people walk all over me instead of putting them in their place where they belong! And how will a homeschooler, without school-yard experience, know how to handle some idiot who cuts them off in traffic? What'll they do -- just let it go?

I recently read an article about a 13-year-old girl who was taken away from her family and put in a mental institution with no contact with anyone because she had behavioral problems in school. If that kid was homeschooled, would her parents have given her the isolation and anti-psychotic drugs she needed? And how will kids learn how to deal with cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol if they are homeschooled? Not that kids should be using this stuff of course, but if you keep kids completely sheltered from them, they're going to go nuts with the stuff when they become adults. The same is true about sex -- isn't that too important a subject to be left to parents to teach? Again, what does a parent know about sex that a teacher doesn't know much better, particularly if the parent is just going to blindly teach abstinence or have some other unrealistic expectation!

As you can see, the satirical tone of the letter just bleeds through. But I guess it was too subtle for column author Dave Arnold, who replied in part (you really have to read the whole thing):

I deeply appreciate hearing from you and receiving your fantastic comments and compliments concerning my article on the fallacies of home schooling. As you likely gathered from my article, it is a subject that is truly a thorn in my side.

Like I said -- sarcasm and satire are just wasted on some people.

|| Greg, 10:56 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 12, 2005

Is Harry Reid An Imbecile?

Tell me that the man doesn't sound like a raving idiot here.

The four senators who met with President Bush at the White House Tuesday morning discussed a number of potential Supreme Court nominees, but Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said he thinks they've agreed not to name those names.

"We have a long ways to go," Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters after the breakfast meeting at the White House. He said President Bush has hundreds or thousands of names to go through and "he didn't give us any names."

Nevertheless, Reid added, "There were a lot of names discussed at the meeting, of which we're not going to talk about any of those names. I think that's an agreement that we have, and we'll stick by that."

So the president didn't name any names, but you discussed the names in the meeting. But you won't talk about them now because you may have made an agreement to keep the names that were not given but were discussed -- but you aren't really sure if you agreed not to talk about the names that were not named but were discussed.

Uhhhhh... right.

However, acting true to form, there was this detail from another participant in the meting.

[The names of women and Hispanics did come up, Sen. Patrick Leahy later told Fox News.]

This would be the same Senator Patrick Leahy whose leaking of classified material in the past has caused deaths.

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Bush ?closer? on Supreme Court pick

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When Will This Attitude Change?

I had heard about this incident, but not seen it in print until now. I guess the blade will have to be severing some people's head from their shoulders before they accept that there is a connection.

Brian Paddick, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, slapped down a questioner who had the temerity to mention Islamic terrorism on Thursday. “As far as I am concerned, Islam and terrorists are two words which do not go together,” he said.

Lenin talked about folks who were "useful idiots." Folks who refuse to accept that there is a connection fon't even qualify as useful -- and instead act as if the terrorists we are fighting lack any common unifying characteristics (like being young Muslim men). These are the sort of folks who still insist on random checks of passengers and reject profiling.

Columnist Martin Samuel has this wonderfully British observation about Paddick and his ilk, folks who are so concerned about PR and PC that they refuse to act on the evidence right before their eyes.

This is what we are up against, at home and abroad. Faced with the Spanish Inquisition, Paddick would find no link to Catholicism and randomly pull in a couple of Huguenots who happened to be passing. Just in case.

Read all of Samuel's column -- it is worth the time.

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To Stupid To Be Allowed To Remain Free

Glenn Alvin Reed turned down a plea bargain that would have sent him to prison for 15 years for stealing a cell phone. Taking his chances with a jury, he received a 99-year sentence instead.

Reed, 31, was convicted as a habitual criminal because he had prior felony convictions for injury to an elderly person and robbery, which bumped the minimum sentence from five to 25 years. He also had 15 misdemeanor convictions dating to 1991.

Reed testified during both phases of the trial, swearing and telling jurors he didn't care if they sent him to prison for life.

"There's things I choose to do, like, if I go in a store and choose to take a Snicker's bar," Reed testified. "If you catch me, you catch me. If not, I'm going to go home and eat it up and go on about my business, dog."

Maybe it was those comments that got him the extended sentence. Maybe it was his flipping off the retired Texas Ranger he had tried to rob a few years before (the Ranger overpowered him and took him into custody). Or maybe it was the fact that, when caught with the phone by the phone's owner, Reed than aussaulted him.

Frankly, Glenn Alvin Reed is too stupid to live, and I suspect the jury would have given him the needle to put him out of society's misery. Given that was not an option, I think 99 years is not a bad option -- especially since, if I recall the law on parole in this state, the earliest he will be eligible for a parole hearing is sometime after his seventieth birthday.

Smooth move, dumbass.

|| Greg, 12:04 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 11, 2005

One of the best "in your face" moments in film

Just caught a rerun of "Good Will Hunting" on A&E I believe it was. Despite star Matt Damon's affection for Gucci Marxists like Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn (declared by Damon's character in the flick), the scene early on in the neighborhood bar where Damon's buddy Ben Affleck is being belittled by some Harvard jackass -- and then genius Damon butts in to counter-belittle the Harvard jackanape -- is priceless.

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When A Typo Makes A Difference

Don't you hate it when stuff like this happens? This was the headline on a story that popped up on my homepage this afternoon.

DNC Fundraising Tops $28 So Far in 2005

Can YOU guess the typo?

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Study Of Kennewick Man Begins

This past week, scientists began a new round of study of the bones of Kennewick Man, the 9000 year old skeleton found in 1996 on the banks of the Columbia River. The oldest human fossils ever discovered in North America, the results of the study could tell us much about the migration of human beings to the Americas during the Ice Age.

The skull's dimensions are very different from existing and historic Native American populations, suggesting the Northwest might have been colonized at different times by people from different parts of Asia, anthropologists say.

The nine-year delay in being able to examine the bones has actually provided a kind of scientific advantage, [Smithsonian Institution forensic anthropologist Doug] Owsley said, displaying clear plastic models of the skull and portion of the man's hip bone with a stone spear tip embedded in it.

Only in the past five years has high-powered CT-scanning technology been able to produce the detailed, three-dimensional images used to create the models.

The hip model already has revealed that the tip of the spearpoint had broken off, possibly when the man tried to snap off the spear shaft. Closer analysis should determine what direction the blow came from, how bad the wound was and how long it took to heal.

The high-tech approach and painstaking analysis being used to probe Kennewick Man's past will set a new standard for working with such rare and old skeletons, Owsley predicted.

The work is being done under tight security at the University of Washington's Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. But the atmosphere is electric, said C. Wayne Smith, artifact-conservation specialist from Texas A&M University.

"We've brought this massive set of resources together to be able to see the story these bones can tell us," he said. "It's very exciting every day."

Hugh Berryman, a forensic anthropologist from Middle Tennessee State University, put it another way: "This is like working with a Rembrandt. It's one of a kind."

This study is an important part of coming to understand the history of not just North America or of Native Americans, but of the human race in general. I look forward to learning the results of the study.

|| Greg, 12:27 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Vote For Edith -- Or Edith

It is an interesting coincidence that two of the judges mentioned as likely successors to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor are women named Edith who currently serve on the Fifth Circuit Court. They are Judge Edith Hollan Jones and Judge Edith Brown Clement. Professor Hadley Arkes comments on the merits of these two fine candidates.

Edith Jones has the sharper definition as a conservative, tagged as pro-life in her perspective, and she is bound to draw the heaviest fire. Joy Clement, in contrast, would be a harder target: Her own specialty was in maritime law; she has not dealt, in her opinions, with the hot-button issues of abortion and gay rights; and she has stirred no controversies in her writings or in her speeches off the bench. She would be the most disarming nominee, and it would be a challenge even for Ralph Neas or to paint her as an ogre who could scare the populace. The main unease would come in the family of conservatives: If people don’t know her personally, they will suspect another Souter or Kennedy. For they have seen the hazard in relying on the assurances given even by the most reliable conservatives, who claim they can vouch for the nominee.

I would vouch for Joy Clement myself, and I would vouch for Edith Jones. But as I commend Joy Clement, I open myself to these searching questions from friends who have suffered the lessons of experience: If we know little, really, about her philosophy or jural principles, how do know that she will not alter when she is suddenly showered with acclaim from the law schools at Harvard and Columbia? Will she not be lured as she is praised in measures ever grander, as a jurist of high rank, as she “grows” with each step ever more “moderate” and liberal? Those who commend her face the risk of joining the ranks of those who offered assurance on Kennedy and Souter, and lost forevermore their credibility.

But even more unsettling than that, the willingness to go with the candidate without a crisp, philosophic definition may mark the willingness to act, once again, within the framework defined by the other side: It begins with the reluctance to admit that we have ever discussed the matter of abortion with this candidate, or that she has any settled views on the subject. In other words, it begins with the premise that the right to abortion is firmly anchored as an orthodoxy; that those who would question it are unwilling to admit in public that they bear any such threatening doubts. The willingness to accept premises of that kind, as the framework for confirmation, may account for a Republican party that has brought forth as jurists the team of Stevens, O’Connor, Kennedy, and Souter.

If the administration finally comes forth with the name of Edith Jones, that will be taken as the clear sign of a willingness to break from those debilitating premises that signal, in advance, the eagerness to back away from an argument. But on the other hand, Edith Clement may be the stealth candidate who, for once, delivers to the other side the jolt of an unwelcome surprise. She may be the disarming candidate who truly disarms before she goes on to do the most important work that a conservative jurist at this moment can do

In other words, Judge Jones would be a candidate with a clearly defined philosophy who would be a direct challenge to those on the lLeft who do not want a "conservative extremist" (as defined by the Left, meaning not a supporter of Roe), while Judge Clement would be an easier candidate to get by the Left but might be a more difficult candidate to sell to the Right because of her lack of a clear public position on the issue of abortion.

Professor Arkes also points out that there is an additional, symbolic reason for replacing O'Connor with a conservative woman.

When the Court begins to explain again the grounds for protecting children in the womb, that account may produce a more lasting resonance if the explanation comes from a woman. At the same time, we could only run the risk of feeding the worst clichés in our politics if the only woman on the Court was Ruth Ginsberg, and if the Voice of the Woman on the Court spoke only in the accents of the Left. The commentators who have been clamoring these days for “balance” on the Court have not exactly been clamoring for a balance between women. And yet it would be no descent into a low politics to show that a woman’s perspective may express itself in an attachment to the moral tradition and to a conservative jurisprudence.

I agree. To let an ultra-liberal former ACLU attorney be perceived as the "voice of women" on the court is a political mistake. Worry about making that precedent setting appointment of a Hispanic later -- select a good conservative woman now. And I'll be happy to take either Edith.

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Talks on filling O'Connor seat

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July 10, 2005

Archaeology In Public

London will have this neat archaological display from the Middle Ages on permanent display in a new office building in the city. Rather than raze the ruins or stop the development, the remnants of a medieval charnel house will be on permanent display to the public.

A rare, medieval charnel house will go on public display for the first time in 300 years this month in a visually striking reminder of the past beneath our feet.

The 14th century bone store has been preserved and incorporated in the heart of a multi-million-pound office and retail development.
Dan Cruickshank in the Spitalfields charnel house

Visitors and office workers will be presented with the stark contrast of a vaulted crypt dating back almost 700 years set immediately beneath the glass front of the new headquarters of the law firm Allen & Overy.

Now how, exactly, is this to be accomplished? How do you have a modern office building and a historical site dating back several centuries coexisting together?

The Spitalfields charnel house in central London will be visible from above through ground-level glass panels and from the side via a Norman Foster-designed sunken courtyard containing a small yew tree.

It provides a remarkable window into the history of a site that was the burial place of wealthy inhabitants of Roman Londinium, one of the country's largest hospitals dating back to the late 12th century, a cemetery that has yielded the remains of more than 10,000 medieval Londoners and the market founded in the 17th century.

The 700-year-old building has been removed from English Heritage's buildings at risk register, a list of the nation's most vulnerable grade I and II* buildings and monuments published annually.

Steven Brindle, an English Heritage ancient monument inspector, said: "This is a remarkable design achievement. I really like the metaphorical way it allows an appreciation of the juxtaposition between the past down below and the modern up above."

Yeah, I'll say it is one heck of a juxtaposition. I especially like, though, the observation of the senior architect for the project.

John Drew, a partner at Foster and Partners, and senior architect on the project, said: "I often wonder what it would be like if the ground in London was transparent and we could see the remains of the city's 2,500 years of history beneath our feet.

"I find it rather exciting that someone can be just walking across the square and suddenly find themselves on the glass panels, looking down at 700 years of history."

We Americans do not really appreciate what often lies beneath our feet, because our country is so young. The earliest of the English settlements is only 400 years old, and much of the country is much younger. Little is left of the pre-Columbian period, becaause most of the indigenous people were nomadic or did not build long-lived structures. That means we don't think much of what came before us. the British (and most Europeans), on the other hand, are acutely aware of their history -- and it resonates with them. That is why preserving this charnel house was so important to them.

The medieval bone store was rediscovered in 1999 during excavations by the Museum of London archaeology service for the new development planned at the site.

Working on advice from English Heritage, the Spitalfields Development Group instructed the architects Foster and Partners to incorporate the structure into their scheme.

Dan Cruickshank, a historian and local resident, said: "To ponder the charnel house, below which bodies remain interred, is to confront the beliefs of medieval Londoners. This is a beautiful house of the medieval dead, where bones were preserved against the Day of Judgment when the righteous would enjoy paradise while the damned were consigned to hell."

And so the living and the dead will coexist together in one space. If I ever get to London, this is someplace I would like to see.

» The Education Wonks links with: The Carnival Of Education: Week 23

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I Wasn't Tagged -- But I Want To Play Anyway

I was browsing over at Bad Example and read a neat post about the meme Harvey got tagged on by GBFan of SpottedHorse. He tagged Mike the Marine of From the Halls to the Shores. The lists are interesting -- you ought to go take a look.

Here is GBFan's challenge.

What ten events would you care to witness if you could travel in time and observe them.

Rules: First my version of the Prime directive you can only observe you cannot change anything no changing of the time line. You can interact to a point ie stand in a crowd or talk to people you cannot do anything that will change time. So sorry no going back and putting a bullet into Hitler's head in 1929 or offing OBL back in the 80's. You can stay as long at an event as you like remember this is a Sci Fi Meme.

Now, for this history teacher's list of 10 times and places I would like to visit in history -- in no particular order.

1) Jerusalem -- about 33 AD -- How could I possibley not include the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Word Who Became Flesh For Our Salvation?

2) Constantinople -- 1054 -- I'd like to be able to observe the events that brought about the Great Schism between the Catholic West and the Orthodox East. So much of it seems to be personal rather than theological -- but was it?

3) Japan -- 1595-1605-- The events that led to the establishment of the Tokugawa Shogunate by Tokugawa Ieyasu are fascinating. By starting the observaation while Toyotomi Hideyoshi (the Taiko) still lived, one would have be able to observe the political and military intrigues that led to the establishment of the shogunate that would rule Japan for the next two-and-a-half centuries at the height of samurai culture.

4) Egypt -- 1360-1325 BC -- Why those years? Akhenaten and Tutankhamun reighned at that time, the two most fascinating and mysterious pharaohs of the Eighteenth Dynasty. One a religious radical, the other the boy king whose death and tomb remain mysterious. And can you say "shinxes and temples and pyramids -- oh my"?

5) Rome -- 50-40 BC -- Caesar vs. Pompey. Caesar and Cleopatra. The assasination of Caesar. Octavian and Antony vs. Brutus and Cassius. Octavian vs. Antony. Ain't Rome grand?

6) London -- 1599 -- During my time as an English teacher, I grew to love Shakespeare. I would love to be able to see a performance -- especially the opening -- of any one of several of Shakespeare's plays. Given that 1599 saw the first productions of Henry V, Julius Caesar, Much Ado About Nothing, and As You Like It, as well as possibly The Merry Wives of Windsor, it seems like it would have been a very good year.

7) Athens -- 433 BC -- The Age of Pericles was in full bloom by this time, and the Parthenon was finally complete. I'd also have to take in a performance of Sophocles' Antigone.

8) Philadelphia -- 1787 -- How could I not include the Constitutional convention. Many of the greatest minds in America were there, shaping a document which is still the foundation of American government.

9) Tibet -- November, 1950 -- The enthronement of Tenzin Gyatso as the 14th Dalai Lama may well be the last such ceremony to ever take place in Tibet.

10) St. Petersburg -- 1720-1725 -- This monument to Tsar Peter the Great was rising on the shores of the Baltic Sea, part of his attempt to transform Russia into a European power. The final five years of Peter's life were ones in which he made great strides towards his goal.

Well, now you see what sort of things interest the "history geek" in me. I'll pass this one on, in the hopes that some folks will pay attention and respond. Are you up to the challenge, Jim (Snooze Button Dreams), Crystal (Crystal Clear), Dolphin (Where The Dolphins Play), and Mike (Mover Mike)?

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"How To" Video -- For Homicide Bomb Belts

There is a lot of sick stuff out on the Internet -- but this goes beyond all decency.

Terrorists have posted a DYI video for homicide bomb belts -- just like Hamas uses to perpetrate genocide against Israeli Jews.

The 26-minute tape gives a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to pack the belt with shrapnel and high explosive, and then detonate it on board for maximum loss of life.

In a grim reminder of the blast that devastated the Number 30 in London's Tavistock Place on Thursday, the film's final section shows the device being blown up in a specially arranged "test site", with rows of metal targets designed to simulate passengers on a bus. A voice-over explains exactly where the would-be bomber should sit on the vehicle in order to maximise the blast. A second test-bombing shows how the same bomb will impact on a crowd of people in a street.

Yeah, that's right -- it even offers tips on how to position oneself to do maximum damage to one's fellow passengers innocent victims.

The voice-over notes: "When the person who will be wearing this explosive vest goes on the bus, and wants to blow himself up, he must be facing the front with his back toward the back.

"There is a possibility that the two seats on his right and his left might not be hit with the shrapnel. However, the explosion will surely kill the passengers in those seats." The video is among dozens of terrorist self-teaching aids circulating on jihadi message boards and websites, alongside manuals on the manufacture of poisonous chemicals and bacteria, urban guerrilla warfare tactics, and the use of rocket-propelled grenades and missiles.

Find every server where it is hosted, every site that links to it, and prosecute the hell out of the owners for their involvement in terrorism -- or deal with them in the much more effective manner used by the Israelis.

Terrorists are the enemies of all humanity -- treat these latter-day pirates as such.

|| Greg, 02:13 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

America's Oldest Synagogue Being Restored

The Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, is the oldest synagogue in North America. Dating to colonial times, it was visited by George Washington in 1781. It is now being restored as part of a $10 million project designed to palce the building in a historical context.

The oldest existing Jewish house of worship in North America, the Touro Synagogue in Newport, R.I., holds more than two centuries of history within its brick walls. George Washington visited, and throngs of tourists still include it on their itineraries.

But age has crept up on the building, dedicated in 1763. The walls are deteriorating with mold, white paint chips litter the ground, a brass chandelier is slowly corroding, and a poor ventilation system can make the sanctuary uncomfortable.

Now, an extensive restoration is under way, the first in decades, as part of a $10 million campaign that includes money to build visitor facilities. The synagogue has been temporarily closed and sheathed in a white covering. The restoration is expected to conclude in December.

"Two hundred and fifty years is great for the building to have lasted," said Michael Balaban, a former Hebrew school teacher and leader of the Touro Synagogue Foundation. "But if we don't start to act now, we certainly won't get another 250 years out of the building, let alone another 50."

The history of the synagogue starts with a group of Sephardic Jews who arrived in 1658 in Rhode Island -- a colony founded by Roger Williams and his followers on the principle of religious tolerance. They established a congregation, and the synagogue was built a century later -- designed by Newport architect Peter Harrison, whose other notable buildings include King's Chapel in Boston.

George Washington visited in 1781 and later delivered a written proclamation guaranteeing that bigotry would not be tolerated in the new nation.

Touro stands as one of the great symbols of religious liberty in this country, and also as a symbol of our nation's Judeo-Christian heritage. May it continue to serve as a reminder of the people of faith who built this country and made it great.

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Before Anyone Asks -- Yes, I Condemn This

While I disagree with the UCC repudiation of Scripture and traditional Christian teaching on sexual morality at last week's General Synod, I cannot and will not support this sort of barbarism.

A small fire and anti-gay graffiti were found Saturday at a church belonging to the United Church of Christ, a denomination that endorsed same-sex marriage last week.

The exterior of St. John's Reformed United Church of Christ also included a message that United Church of Christ members were sinners.

A member of the congregation discovered the graffiti when he stopped by to mow the grass. He found a small fire within the sanctuary. The fire was put out in a few minutes, Lt. Tim McCray said.

And yes, I think hate crime charges are appropriate.

|| Greg, 11:50 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Afghan Attrocity

If this has been done, it must be treated as the rejection of standards of humane treatment for captured combattants by the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

A purported Taliban spokesman said Saturday that the group had beheaded a missing American commando, but he offered no proof. The U.S. military said it was still searching for the Navy SEAL.

The man is the last of a four-member elite commando team missing since June 28 in Kunar, near the Pakistani border. One of the men was rescued, and two were found dead.

"This morning in Shagal district, in Kunar province, the Taliban killed the American soldier and cut his head off," Mullah Latif Hakimi, the purported spokesman, told The Associated Press in a telephone call. "We left the body on a mountainside in this area so Afghan or U.S. soldiers there can find it."

Upon confirmation of this attrocity, thee will no longer be any moral basis for meeting any Geneva Convention standards for the Gitmo detainees -- and those standards have been met and exceeded byt the United States up to this point.

Islamism Delenda Est.

UPDATE: The body of the last of the lost unit has been recovered.

The body of a U.S. Navy SEAL has been found and recovered in Afghanistan, a senior defense official said Sunday.

This would account for the fourth member of a reconnaissance team that disappeared two weeks ago in Afghanistan. Only one of the four survived.

The body of the SEAL was found near the other two bodies and all three had died in a shootout with insurgents, according to an initial assessment from the field, the senior official said.

This senior official said that "no way" had the SEAL ever been in captivity, contrary to Taliban claims that he had been abducted.

I thank God that the Taliban claim was untrue -- and pray that these honored dead are soon avenged.

|| Greg, 11:44 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 09, 2005

Law Enforcement Prepares To Violate Rights Of Minutemen

This story is absolutely mind-blowing. The meeting that took place today in Houston absolutely shocks the conscience. At the risk of giving offense, the only parallel I can think of would be a meeting of local and federal law enforcement to make sure that the Klan and other racists were kept safe from the Freedom Riders during freedom summer. After all, those involved in this meeting clearly view those who would see our nation's border secured, sovereignty respected, and laws enforced as being (to borrow a phrase from the racists of the Civil Rights era) "outside agitators" seeking to stir up trouble.

The Minutemen, a group of American citizens opposed to immigration crime, are planning on monitoring the activities of immigration criminals and those who hire them this October here in Houston because local law enforcemnt have been ordered to do nothing that might frighten the border jumpers. There have already been the expected whining and threats against the Minutemen emanating from the supporters of border jumping. Naturally, the local law enforcement establishment is gearing up -- to harrass the patriotic Americans and aid and abet the immigration criminals and their employers and supporters co-conspirators.

Law enforcement officials in Houston began meeting today to discuss strategies for keeping the peace when the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps sends observers to the city in October to patrol for illegal immigrants.

"The city of Houston is a very diverse city," said Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt. "There is a great deal of harmony here, and we are not going to stand by and let some outside agency or organization come in and disrupt that harmony. We will do whatever is necessary to keep the peace in the city of Houston."

The Minutemen, a civilian organization initially set up to patrol the Mexican border, has announced plans to send observers to watch day laborers and videotape them.

At the same time, immigration rights organizations have announced that they will form an organization to counteract them.

Excuseme, Chief Hurtt -- these are going to be men and women with cameras, notebooks, and radios. What trouble are you expecting of them, given their history of non-violence? Are you planning on allowing the immigration criminals and their co-conspirators to walk away scot-free from violent actions against American citizens engaged in legal activity, while arresting and harrassing the non-violent citizens? What exactly is your problem with American citizens coming to Houston and protesting violations of American laws and sovereignty?

Of course, a certain politician with a small brain, big mouth, and bigger ego was instrumental in calling this meeting and establishing its direction.

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who organized today's meeting of law enforcement officials, said she is concerned that the Minutemen's plans to expand their activities to a diverse city like Houston could become confrontational.

"I will say, as a member of Congress, I do not claim the Minutemen are criminals," said Jackson Lee, D-Houston. "I do claim they are acting in an unauthorized way and may be characterized even as militia. When that occurs in a population, what you have is a mixture of confrontation that makes the jobs of these law enforcement indivudals more difficult."

After all, Queen Sheila has previously demanded that the Minutemen be told they are not welcome in the state of Texas.

Unfortuantely, this conspiracy to violate the rights of American citizens is not limited to local law enforcement. Representatives of the federal government were also present to help plan for the suppression of the rights of those opposed to immigration crime. Note, please, that the local head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement attended this meeting, which is designed to ensure that immigration criminals are permitted to continue breaking immigration laws in the face of opposition by American citizens.

Other law enforcement officials meeting today included Harris County constables, Russell Robinson, assistant special agent in charge for the FBI in Houston, and Scot Hatfield, assistant special agent in charge for the Bureau of Immigration of Customs Enforcement in Houston.

"I think collectively we can come up with a solution to this problem as it becomes a problem," said Robinson.

Of course, there was the routine assurance that the law enforcement agencies will make sure that everyone's rights are respected.

Harris County Precinct 6 constable Victor Trevino said law enforcement will be on hand to protect everyone's rights.

"I think what is important for us is to keep the peace," he said. "And we have to ensure our community that we will be there to respond for them."

In context, though, this was nothing short of a pungent load of steaming crap. The entire purpose of the meeting was to deal with the "problem" of American citizens opposing crime, not the actual criminal activity of the border jumpers and their employers and supporters co-conspirators. Rather than devote their manpower to cleaning up even a fraction of the estimated 400,000 immigration criminals in the Houston area, they are instead seeking to hinder those who call attention to the problem. No wonder 10% of the local population is composed of immigration criminals, and more stream across the border every day. Those who should be acting to uphold the law would prefer to hinder those who call attention to the problem and the willful negligence of those who are charged with protecting the border and enforcing the law.

» UrbanGrounds links with: Houston’s MinuteMen

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A Warm Welcome To Rhodey!

I'll be having a guest blogger joining me for a time. His name is Rhodey, and he is a great guy. He is a long-time blogger, but in need of a temprary home. He is one of the folks whose blogging I have truly admired since I entered the blogosphere, and was the first blogger I would go to when I fired up Netscape each day when I got home from work.

I'll let him decide what else to say about himself.

|| Greg, 08:39 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Supporters Of Immigration Criminals Threaten American Citizens

Law-abiding American citizens have been threatened by groups supporting illegal immigrants, who are seeking city and state action to prevent these citizens from exercising their constitutional rights. On the other hand, these groups, along with Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza, have conspired to provide suport to the immigration criminals.

The local Catholic archbishop and immigrant rights activists want to roll up the welcome mat before the Minutemen arrive to patrol for illegal immigrants in Houston. ADVERTISEMENT

The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, an organization working to stop the flow of illegal immigrants, announced this week that it would send observers to watch day laborers in Houston beginning in October. Previous plans called for placing patrols only along the Mexican border.

But Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza said the Minutemen would not be welcome in Houston.

"We stand against any attempts of outsiders to come into Houston to abuse and intimidate our immigrant communities," Fiorenza said in a statement issued Friday.

Separately, immigrant rights organizations announced that they would fight fire with fire by forming an organization to counteract the Minutemen.

"For every Minuteman patrolling, we will have at least 10 people patrolling them," said Maria Jimenez, a longtime local activist now associated with the Central American Resource Center, or CRECEN.

Of course, it is the right of every American to travel anywhere they want in this country. On the other hand, these border-jumping immigration criminals have no right to be in Houston or anywhere else in the United States. For these groups and individuals to support the criminals and seek to exclude the citizens is obscene and sinful. And speaking as a Houstonian, I would like to tell Archbishop Fiorenza that the border jumpers are the outsiders who are unwelcome in our community.

What is more, the anti-American snakes are peddling the same old "vigilante" lies that we heard before the peaceful Minuteman activity in Arizona.

Some of the immigrants say they worry about the potential for violence. At the CRECEN news conference, representatives noted that many Latin Americans have had bad experiences with vigilantes back home, and they drew direct parallels with the Minutemen.

"In the countries we come from, these groups outside the law are known as death squads" or paramilitaries, Aguiluz said.

As is well-documented, not a single arrest or act of violence was committed by those involved in the Arizona border monitoring activity. The Minutemen were, in fact, responsible for getting medical aid for a number of distressed border jumpers, in addition to helping to raise the number of apprehensions by the Border Patrol in the region. The group functioned in the same manner as a neighborhood watch. To compare them to "death squads" is obscene.

Speaking as a Houstonian, I support the planned Minuteman action in Houston. Furhtermore, I condemn Archbishop Fiorenza and the cretins from CRECEN for their defamation of the Minutemen. It is you who are unwelcome in Houston.


|| Greg, 07:37 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Elections Mean Nothing: E.J. Dionne

I nearly had a stroke when I came across the opening paragraph of E.J. Dionne's column today.

Should a temporary majority of 50.7 percent have control over the entire United States government? Should 49.3 percent of Americans have no influence over the nation's trajectory for the next generation?

Translation: "Should the mere fact that the people of the United States have elected a Republican President, a Republican majority to the Senate and a Republican majority to the House of Representatives give the Republicans the right to govern? Does the fact that in 2006, 2008, and every other even-numbered year brings the American people the opportunity to set a new course and vote differently than they have in the last several elections mean that the winners of those past elections should not be permitted to govern? Does the hope that the American people might eventually come to their senses and start voting for liberals again be sufficient reason to deny the President and the Senate majority their Constitutional perogatives today?"

Now for those of you who think may be spinning the words of Mr. Dionne in an unfair and unreasonable light, let me offer this additional excerpt to you.

Consider that since 1992 the Republican presidential vote has averaged only 44 percent and the vote for Republican House candidates has averaged roughly 48 percent. In 2004, with large margins in some of the largest states, Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate received nearly 5 million more votes than their Republican opponents.

Bu, of course, such cummulative results are not how the system works, and that they are therefore irrelevant? One could, of course point out that only two Democratpresidential candidates since the death of Franklin Roosevelt have received a majority of the presidential votes cast -- Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter -- and the Democrat candidate has averaged only 46.14% of the vote during that period. In the last 10 presidential elections, the Democrat candidate has averaged 44.56% with only one achieving a majority (Carter, with a mere 50.1 wedged between a pair of GOP landslides). The last five presidential races have seen not a single Democrat win a majority of the vote, and they have averaged only 46.89% of the total vote. As for the Senate, since the 1980 election the American people have given the Democrats a Senate majority only four times -- and not at all since the 1994 election. It would appear to me that the current configuration of government is more than a mere temporary phenomenon. Rather, it seems to be part of a broader realignment of American politics. One might wonder, however, why it is that Dionne had no problem with the ideologically left-wng appointments of Breyer and Ginsburg by Clinton -- but I suspect we all know the answer.

Now do I believe that principled opponents of an eventual Bush Supreme Court nominee ought to be ignored? No, I do not. However, it is clear that most of the left-wing groups already girding for battle are not doing so based upon principle. They are proclaiming their opposition to the eventual nominee before he or she is even named by the President. In light of the obstructionist tactics of the Democrats over the last four years, it is clear that the issue is raw politics, not principle.

And given that George W. Bush was elected after campaigning on a clear platform of nominating a certain type of judge, it strikes me as a betrayal of the will of the American electorate for there to be any sort of nominee put forth other than one with a judicial philosophy that tends towards strict constructionism in the originalist or textualist mode.

Update -- Further interesting commentary from Right Wing Nut House, Mandelinople, Discriminations, The Shape of Days,.

» Watcher of Weasels links with: Submitted for Your Approval
» Watcher of Weasels links with: The Council Has Spoken!

|| Greg, 02:31 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

July 08, 2005

What? No Hate Crime Charges?

I guess you have to be a member of one of the "protected classes" to get equal protection under the law. COuld you imagine if this had been a mosque, or a black church, or one of the churches of the Metropolitan Community Church (founded as a gay denomination)? These idiots would be tossed in a hole so deep they would be looking at Hell from below.

But hey, this was only a Catholic church, so I guess it really doesn't matter. Right?

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) - Four teens have been charged with vandalizing a church in Chili. Monroe County Sheriff's deputies say the boys allegedly urinated in the holy water, smashed wine bottles against the walls, left bicycle skid marks on the carpet, emptied the fire extinguishers and burnt cigarette holes in the Saint Pius the X Church in Chili. The damage is estimated at $17,000.00.

Charged are 18-year-old Dan Seklar, 17-year-old Richard DeCarolis, 16-year-old Michael Street and a 15-year-old who is being charged as a juvenile. All are charged with burglary and criminal mischief, both felonies. The boys have been released to their parents.

Nah -- nothing hateful here. Everybody just move along.

|| Greg, 08:31 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Minutemen To Monitor Illegals -- And Their Employers

Remember how the Houston Police Department ordered officers not to engage in any activities that might frighten or disturb the immigration criminals who have jumped the border illegally? Well, it looks like the Minutemen are going to do the cops' job for them.

The Minutemen are coming to Houston.

Leaders of the controversial group dedicated to stopping the flow of illegal immigration said they will patrol the streets of the Bayou City beginning in October, as part of a campaign that will extend north from the Mexican border. Houston volunteers will gather near day labor centers and corners where immigrant workers solicit work, in an effort to draw critical attention to the city's hands-off policy toward illegal immigrants.

"We will be videotaping the (day laborers) and we will be videotaping the contractors who pick them up," said Bill Parmley, a Goliad County landowner who heads the Texas chapter of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. The Minutemen will only observe to draw attention to the problem and will not attempt to make arrests, he said.

The city and the Chronicle, of course, don't like the fact that American citizens want American law enforced.

It was not immediately clear what reaction the Minuteman effort would have in greater Houston, which is home to an estimated 350,000 to 400,000 illegal immigrants, according to demographers. Polling finds Houstonians generally support immigration.

Nearly 60 percent of Houstonians do not think illegal immigrants are a major cause of unemployment in the area, and 67 percent think the diversity brought by immigration is a good thing, according to recent data from the Houston Area Survey, annual studies conducted by Rice University sociologist Stephen Klineberg.

Hey, I don't care if they are a source of unemployment. They are here in violation of American law and American sovereignty. And while I'm all for cultural diversity, I would much prefer that we have secure borders and a full accounting of who is in the United States. These are LAWBREAKERS!

I'll say it right now -- this Hustonian welcomes the Minutemen, and wants to see them successfully identify the immigration criminals and the businesses that illegally employ them. I want to see the border-jumpers deported, and the employers prosecuted. And if I can help in any way, I am interested in being a part of the program.

|| Greg, 04:22 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Border Freebies: Using the Race Card To Get an Education by The Education Wonks, and Today I Leave for the War by The Makaha Surf Report.

Congratulations to the winners, all who received votes, and all other nominees.

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Was The Bus Bombing Unplanned And Improvised?

Three bombs exploded in London's subway system yesterday, and one in a bus. Could it be that the bus bombing happened because the subway bombs closed the system before the fourth bomb could be detonated? Could the bus bombing have been "Plan B" for a terrorist who was supposed to blow up another train in the Tube?

That is my conclusion after reading this BBC report.

A bus passenger says he may have seen one of those responsible for the bomb attacks in London.

Richard Jones, from Binfield, near Bracknell, Berks, had got off a bus just before it was blown up in Tavistock Square on Thursday.

Mr Jones, 61, an IT consultant, has told BBC News he saw a man acting suspiciously on the bus.

He said the man was fiddling with something in his bag and seemed in an agitated state.

Mr Jones, who was forced to take the bus from Euston after Tube services were suspended, said: "He was standing next to me with a bag at his feet and he kept dipping into this bag and fiddling about with something.

"I was getting quite annoyed with this because it was a crowded bus.

"Everybody is standing face-to-face and this guy kept dipping into this bag."

I've seen reports of undetonated bombs being found in the subway system. Might it be that this man, unable to plant his device and unwilling to abandon it unexploded, found a secondary "target of opportunity" upon which to carry out hiscowardly act of murder?

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Congress Likely to Restore Transit Funds

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Throw Away The Key

I've been involved in the pro-ife movement, on one level or another, for over 20 years. I've marched, I prayed, I've written letters -- and I have always been scrupulous to stay on the right side of the law. The same is true of 98% of pro-life advocates I've known during that time. That is why I find folks like this guy to be repulsive, and why I condemn such actions as inconsistent with pro-life principles.

A man who once claimed to be on a mission from God to kill abortion providers was sentenced Thursday to 19 years in federal prison for mailing hundreds of letters with fake anthrax to women's clinics.

Clayton Lee Waagner, 48, was convicted in 2003 of mailing the letters and of posting a message on an anti-abortion Web site claiming he'd been following clinic employees and was "going to kill as many of them as I can."

At his trial, Waagner called himself a terrorist and said people who provide abortions deserved to be shot.

It is my profound hope that this individual never sees another day of freedom. He is warped, evil, dangerous -- and has done more harm to the cause of life than all the abortionists he wishes to murder.

And I feel it is fair to say that my view is the mainstream view of the pro-life movement in America.

|| Greg, 09:28 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Limbaugh Medical Records

The press has presented it as a win for the prosecution, but I cannot help agreeing with Rush Limbaugh's attorney, Roy Black, that it is a victory for Limbaugh.

July 6, 2005 -- Roy Black, Rush Limbaugh's attorney, issued the following statement regarding the release today of some of Rush Limbaugh's medical records to investigators and the return of most of the records to Mr. Limbaugh.

I am confident that the State Attorney will find nothing in these records to support a charge of doctor shopping, because there was no doctor shopping. The records show that Mr. Limbaugh received legitimate medical treatment for legitimate medical reasons.

We are grateful to Judge Barkdull for providing the review of the records for relevancy that we requested. Most of the records were returned to me today, and were not given to the prosecutors. This proves our point that the State's wholesale seizure of Mr. Limbaugh's medical records was improper.

Now I think this is key. The prosecution did NOT get the wholesale access to the records that they wanted. The privacy of medical records was upheld, except insofar as they are directly related to the investigation at hand. That means no trolling through the records looking for evidence of criminal activity -- there already has to be some basis for looking at the records.

But it is the second part of Black's statement that I find interesting.

The prescription records that are in the search warrant affidavits should be put in perspective. Of the 2,130 pills prescribed, only 1,863 were painkillers, and of those only 1,733 were for hydrocodone. These were to be taken over a period of 217 days, from the date of the first prescription until 30 days from the date of the last prescription. The dose averages out to a little over eight pills a day, which is not excessive and is in fact a lawful dose.

Ninety-two percent of the pain medication was prescribed by two doctors who were treating Mr. Limbaugh for back pain. They work in the same office from the same medical file, and there could be no doctor shopping between them. One of these doctors also prescribed 117 pills of a drug used to treat high blood pressure or to help wean patients off of painkillers.

The other two doctors are the California surgeon who implanted the cochlear implant to restore Mr. Limbaugh's hearing and a Florida doctor he was seeing for follow up on the surgery. Of the 180 pills prescribed by the surgeon, 100 were vitamin pills. Of the 110 pills prescribed by the fourth doctor, 50 were non-painkillers prescribed for tinnitus, ringing in the ears.

This makes sense to me, as my wife suffers from medical condidtions that cause chronic and constant pain. Her combined dosages of all medications (not just the hydrocodone or other pain medications) is significantly in excess of the eight pills per day taken by Limbaugh. While her doctors have tried other pain medication, hydrocodone seems to be the most effective for her, and we have seen her dosage and quantity increase over the last few years. I could easily imagine the day coming when she is taking eight-a-day under doctor's orders.

The explanation of multiple doctors also makes sense. My wife has two she sees regularly, and a third she sees intermittently. Each is a solo practitioner, but they keep each other well-informed of what the other is doing. But prior to seeing her current neurologist/pain management doctor, she saw another doctor who was part of a group practice. The same was true of our former family practitioner. In both offices, she would usually see her primary physician but could see one of the others if the primary was unavailable. In both offices, whoever saw her would have access to, and make notes in, the same chart as her regular doctor. Thus while there might be different doctors writing prescriptions for her medication, there was no question of "doctor shopping", because she remained within the same practice at each office. It appears that for the bulk of the prescriptions, Limbaugh has done the exact same thing. The other two doctors would appear to be related to his much-publicized ear surgery, and seem to have written prescriptions for a negligible amount of medication.

Now I realize that Black is Limbaugh's attorney, and that as such he is supposed to present Limbaugh's side of the story. But based upon the knowledge and experience I have, the story has the ring of truth. That leaves me wondering -- why, other than celebrity, is the prosecutor in Florida pursuing this case?

|| Greg, 09:22 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 07, 2005

Why Don't I Get Kids Like This?

From Catallarchy, and extended by the author (Scott Scheuele) at My Back Pages:

So I Was Teaching Highschoolers Entertainment Law This Morning

And the chapter was about intellectual property.

“Now why,” I asked, “do we need property? Why don’t we just let everything belong to everyone?”

One of my students raised his hand. “Because,” said he, “that’s called Communism. And Communism sucks.”

I have to say that I feel more than a little bit envious of Scott. Sounds like he has skimmed the cream right off the top of the bottle with this bunch.

As a classroom teacher in an urban school with over half my students falling into the lower quarter of the socio-economic system, I feel blessed when I have a kid advance a political opinion beyond "I think Clinton was the greatest president ever 'cause he was a P-I-M-P PIMP, baby!"

Although I will concede that said observation on the merits of the Clinton presidency may be more astute than that made by a kid who, when confronted about his Che t-shirt told me "He wasn't a Communist; he was an agrarian reformer." -- and then could not define "agrarian reformer" for me.

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Terrorist Sympathizers Attack July 4th Float

Some folks just don't get that we are at war because we suffered an unprovoked attack by Islamofascists on 9/11. Some of these are voicing complaints about a float in the Fourth of July parade in Chesterton, Indiana.

A Fourth of July parade float depicting a shackled, bloodied Osama bin Laden has divided some residents between those praising the display as patriotic and others who see it as un-American.

The float, which won the prize for most patriotic unit in the northwestern Indiana town's parade, featured a man dressed as Uncle Sam holding a leash that bound the hands of a bearded man in a robe and turban. The robe was splattered with fake blood because it was a leftover Halloween costume, said Penny Kozinski of Supporters of the Military, which sponsored the display.

The group intended to use the entry to publicize its mission of sending care packages to troops overseas.

"We were just showing we were capturing the bad guys," Kozinski said. "We're going to catch the bad guys and then our guys can come home."

Kozinski's husband, David, is in Iraq with the Indiana National Guard, and her son Micheal, a Marine, is scheduled to depart for a third tour in Iraq this month.

Chesterton resident Kathy McMahan, however, said she was bothered by the float.

"If the Founding Fathers saw that, they'd freak out," she said. "It was just hate, pure and simple."

Oh dear -- we can't hate Osama! That - that - that's unAmerican! We're supposed to love the guy who sent suicide jihadists to hijack planes and murder Americans ina spectacular attack. We can't feel anything other than love for the man who has been waging war on the US for a decade. And we certainly shouldn't be angry at the man whose minions are killing our soldiers in Iraq and innocent civilians today in London! That would be so wrong! Snivel! Snivel!

Sorry folks, I don't think the float was specific enough. A batteredOsama on a leash? Fine with me -- but let's have him being sodomized by a pig. Better yet, let's make sure it is a pig with the Koranic verses supporting jihad written on its side in both English and Arabic. Let's make it clear that his warped Islamism is held in contempt in the United States by every loyal American, of every faith -- and that anyone offended by that is clearly on the side of the terrorists.

|| Greg, 06:24 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (8) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Left Sinking To Another Low In The Face Of Terrorism

As I mentioned below, I've already heard Leftists on C-Span calling in to blame-America-first for the attacks in London, rahter than putting the responsibility on the Islamist murderers who carried out these cowardly crimes. I decided to look around the blogosphere for a few examples as well.

Now I will admit that I have seen some truly decent posts from folks with whom I often disagree but generally like and was even surprised by the decency of the folks who run DU but it is sad to see the depths to which some folks sink.

Look at the comments on a couple of the posts I linked to above. And the DU comments as well -- though it appears that the moderators are taking down the truly egregious ones. Kos and friends are at it as well. You have anti-Semites blaming the Mossad, wishes for Bush to burn in hell, recriminations against Blair as personally responsible for the terrorist attacks, and all the typical Leftist ways of deflecting blame from the terrorists.

Please note -- I'm not blaming all Democrats or all liberals -- just noting how such things bring the moonbats out of hiding and into the light.

And speaking of moonbats, Brit-bat George Galloway has spoken on their behalf.

We extend our condolences to those who have lost their lives today and our heartfelt sympathy to all those who have been injured by the bombs in London.

No one can condone acts of violence aimed at working people going about their daily lives. They have not been a party to, nor are they responsible for, the decisions of their government. They are entirely innocent and we condemn those who have killed or injured them.

The loss of innocent lives, whether in this country or Iraq, is precisely the result of a world that has become a less safe and peaceful place in recent years.

We have worked without rest to remove the causes of such violence from our world. We argued, as did the Security Services in this country, that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain. Tragically Londoners have now paid the price of the government ignoring such warnings.

We urge the government to remove people in this country from harms way, as the Spanish government acted to remove its people from harm, by ending the occupation of Iraq and by turning its full attention to the development of a real solution to the wider conflicts in the Middle East.

Only then will the innocents here and abroad be able to enjoy a life free of the threat of needless violence.

Translation -- We would never condone these attacks, but they are all the fault of Tony Blair and George W. Bush. Cut and run!

UPDATE: Also blogging on the same issue are Michelle Malkin, Decision '08, and Debbie Schlussel.

Iowa Voice is keeping a fine round-up of posts on the assault on our British allies.

UPDATE -- 7/9/05 -- Michelle Malkin and Wizbang note a purge of extreme moonbats at Kos -- but it is only temporary.

» Iowa Voice links with: London Bombing Blog Round-Up

|| Greg, 09:50 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Nancy Pelosi -- Queen Of The Unethical

Debra Saunders documents the ethical lapses of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in her column today.

* As the Washington Post reported, last week Pelosi filed delinquent reports for three trips she herself accepted from outside sponsors. The biggie was a week-long 1999 trip to Taiwan, paid for by the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce. The tab for Pelosi and her husband: about $8,000.

* A senior aide to Pelosi, Eddie Charmaine Manansala, went on a $9,887 trip in 2004 sponsored by the same Korea-U.S. Exchange Council as sponsored DeLay's excursion -- then failed to file the mandated paperwork until a reporter asked about the trip.

* [The] Federal Election Commission fined her after Team Pelosi created a second political action committee to skirt a $5,000 gift limit. "The main reason for the creation of the second PAC, frankly, was to give twice as much dollars," her treasurer, Leo McCarthy, told Roll Call.

Add to that the fact that in the last five years Democrats took 3, 458 privately funded trips while GOP representatives took only 2,666 and you see that if such trips pose the ethical problem that Pelosi and the Democrats claim they do, then it is the minority Democrat party with an ethics problem.

|| Greg, 09:36 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Terrorists Proclaim Their Blood-Guilt In London Attacks

The text of the al-Qaeda confession of guilt in the London attacks.

In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate, may peace be upon the cheerful one and undaunted fighter, Prophet Muhammad, God's peace be upon him.

Nation of Islam and Arab nation: Rejoice for it is time to take revenge against the British Zionist Crusader government in retaliation for the massacres Britain is committing in Iraq and Afghanistan. The heroic mujahideen have carried out a blessed raid in London. Britain is now burning with fear, terror and panic in its northern, southern, eastern, and western quarters.

We have repeatedly warned the British Government and people. We have fulfilled our promise and carried out our blessed military raid in Britain after our mujahideen exerted strenuous efforts over a long period of time to ensure the success of the raid.

We continue to warn the governments of Denmark and Italy and all the Crusader governments that they will be punished in the same way if they do not withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. He who warns is excused.

God says: "You who believe: If ye will aid (the cause of) Allah, He will aid you, and plant your feet firmly.""

Screenshot of Letter

Iowa Voice is keeping a fine round-up of posts on the assault on our British allies.

» Iowa Voice links with: London Bombing Blog Round-Up

|| Greg, 09:27 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Pope Deplores "Barbaric" Terrorist Attacks In London

The Vatican has sent the following telegram to Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, archbishop of Westminster.

"Deeply saddened by the news of the terrorist attacks in central London, the Holy Father offers his fervent prayers for the victims and for all those who mourn," the telegram said. "While he deplores these barbaric acts against humanity, he asks you to convey to the families of the injured his spiritual closeness at this time of grief."

"Upon the people of Great Britain, he invokes the consolation that only God can give in such circumstances," said the telegram, signed by the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

Iowa Voice is keeping a fine round-up of posts on the assault on our British allies.

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: U.S. Probing Bomb Claim of al-Qaida Group

|| Greg, 09:25 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Egyptian Diplomat Murdered In Iraq

It isn't just us infidels any more.

"We announce in the al-Qaida in Iraq that the verdict of God against the ambassador of the infidels, the ambassador of Egypt, has been carried out. Thank God," a written statement in the Web posting said.

The video does not show him being executed. Instead, it shows a man who appears to be the diplomat, Ihab al-Sherif, blindfolded and wearing a polo shirt.

This is the group run by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

|| Greg, 09:20 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

London Explosions -- Al-Qaeda Claims Responsibility

At least six seven four (?) explosions have hit the London mass transit system in central London at the height of the rush hour. Prime Minister Blair has spoken, will return to London to survey the situation, then return to the G8 summit in Scotland later today. Rescue operations underway in London subway system, double decker bus blown-up on city street. Television reports as of 12:20 PM London time (7:20 AM Eastern time) indicate al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility. Sky News reports (as of 12:40 PM) that a suicide bomber blew up the bus, which is the only picture we the press is showing at the moment (the other explosions are in the Tube).

In America, moonbats calling C-Span are already blaming "US murder of civilians in Iraq" for the bombings and comparing the terrorists to "fundamentalist Christians blowing up abortion clinics."

Tube stations hit: Aldgate East, Edgware Road, Kings Cross, Moorgate, Liverpool Street, Russell Square

Blast on bus at Tavistock Square

London explosions: timeline

0849 BST: First explosion occurs on the Metropolitan Line between Liverpool Street and Aldgate

0922: King's Cross and Edgware Road stations evacuated. Entire London Underground network evacuated soon after

0928: Metronet, a Tube maintenance company, reports that the explosions have been caused by a power surge

0933: Explosion reported at Edgware Road

0934: A police spokesman says there are "walking wounded" at Aldgate

0946: Explosions reported at King's Cross, Old Street and Russell Square Tube stations

0951: Scotland Yard declare a "major incident" on the London Underground. Overground trains are diverted from Moorgate to King's Cross

0952: A British Transport Police spokesman says that two Tube trains are stuck in tunnels near Edgware Road

0953: Rescue workers report several injuries at Edgware Road

1000: The National Grid reports that there has been no power surge that might have contributed to the incident

1013: Union officials report that there has been at least one explosive device on the London Underground

1016: Witnesses report an explosion on a bus at Russell Square

1019: Some mainline rail companies close lines in central London and terminate trains outside the capital. People are urged not to travel to London

1023: Scotland Yard says there are reports of an explosion at Moorgate

1035: Metropolitan Police confirm that there has been an explosion on a bus in Tavistock Square, near Russell Square in Central London

1120: The Army is patrolling the streets of Covent Garden

1130: Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, confirms that there have been six blasts in London and that traces of explosives have been found at at least one site

1138: A City of London Police spokeswoman confirms that two people have died at Aldgate

1139: A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman says that armed police and that Army have sealed off the area around the palace

1214: Tony Blair says that it is "reasonably clear" that the explosions were the result of terrorism

1216: Police have been called to Leicester Square Underground station, according to the London Ambulance Service

1224: Der Spiegel, a German news magazine, reports that responsibility for the attacks has been claimed by a group calling itself the "Secret Organisation Group of al-Qaeda of Jihad Organization in Europe" in a message posted on an unnamed website popular with Islamic militants

1234: Washington DC's underground system tightens security, sending armed police and sniffer dogs to patrol the network

1244: Police say that several people died in the bus bombing at Tavistock Square

1245: Police confirm "a number of fatalities" at Edgware Road Tube station

1256: The Home Secretary tells the House of Commons that "a number of terrorist attacks" have occurred in Central London, including at least four explosions. There was one explosion at Edgware Road Tube station, one on the Tube between Aldgate and Liverpool Street stations, one between Russell Square and King's Cross stations and one on a bus at Tavistock Square

1303: Brian Paddick, the deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, says that 150 people have been seriously injured. There was no specific warning about the attacks, he says

1341: President George W. Bush makes a televised statement to say that he has instructed the Department of Homeland Security to make sure that American are "extra vigilant"

Coverage of the story, as it breaks.
Reporters' Log: London explosions -- BBC (updates regularly)

6 Blasts Rock London, Killing at Least Two

Two killed in London explosions
UK's Blair set to leave G8 summit -- "All the leaders share our determination to defeat this terrorism." -- PM Tony Blair
BUS 'RIPPED IN TWO' -- "The top of the bus had clearly been blown off and looking at the wreckage it looks as if the bomb or whatever it was placed at the back of the top deck. People were using tables from a nearby hotel as a stretcher."
Bombs strike terror in London -- A Government spokesman has talked of 20 people dead in the incidents. A rescue operation is underway on the Underground at King's Cross station.
GROUP CLAIMS ATTACKS -- A terror group linked to al Qaeda has claimed it carried out a series of terror attacks on London that have left a number of people dead and hundreds injured.
London blasts fit al Qaeda-type pattern-analysts "The first thing that's very obvious is the synchronised nature of the attacks, and that's pretty classic for al Qaeda or al Qaeda-related organisations," said Budapest-based security analyst Sebestyen Gork.
Muslim leaders join condemnation"We are simply appalled and want to express our deepest condolences to the families. These terrorists, these evil peoplewant to demoralise us as a nation and divide us. All of must unite in helping the police to hunt these murderers down."
Text of Scotland Yard Statement -- They confirm only four explosive devices.
Text of Bush's Remarks on London Blasts"We will find them. We will bring them to justice. And at the same time we will spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate."

Interesting post from Powerline.

Michelle Malkin has pictures and other posts, including one regarding conflicting casualty figures.
Pictures from BBC, Instapunk & Flickr.

The Command Post has a blog roundup -- several British blogs included. Also, visit the UK Blog Aggregator.

Analysis of the attacks may be found at The Counterterrorism Blog.

Good commentary from Tim Blair on these threads on his site.

Now at least 37dead confirmed.

Iowa Voice is keeping a fine round-up of posts on the assault on our British allies.

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: U.S. cities raise vigilance
» Mark in Mexico links with: al Qaida claims London explosions

|| Greg, 06:25 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

July 06, 2005

Will They Be Condemned As Theocrats?

As a former UCC member, I won't get into the recent United Church of Christ (Denominational Motto: "God Keeps Changing His Mind") resolution endorsing homosexual marriage. Suffice it to say that I consider the resolution to be flawed from a Biblical perspective, and one more symptom of the problem that causes the denomination to continue to shrink. Besides, I suspect that a large number of congregations will simply ignore the resolution, and continue to permit only traditional marriages to be performed in their churches and officiated by their pastors.

But there are a couple of things in the resolution that I find striking. Let me highlight them for you.

The marriage equality resolution (1) affirms equal marriage rights for couples regardless of gender and declares that the government should not interfere with couples regardless of gender who choose to marry and share fully in the rights, responsibilities and commitment of legally recognized marriage;... and (7) urges congregations and individuals of the UCC to prayerfully consider and support local, state and national legislation to grant equal marriage rights to couples regardless of gender, and to work against legislation, including constitutional amendments, which denies rights to couples based on gender.

So you see those statements?

"Declares that government should not interfere...."

"Urges congregations and individuals to... support local, state and national legislation... and to work against legislation...."

I don't know about you, but that sounds like the UCC is not merely taking a doctrinal position, but is also making a call for the laws of the United States to be changed to reflect the teachings and beliefs of the UCC. It gives marching orders to church members regarding what sort of legislation they should support and oppose, and by implication what candidates they should support and oppose.

Now given my understanding of the First Amendment as it was originally written and intended by the Founding Fathers, I have no problem with the UCC taking such a position. But given the understanding of the First Amendment by the Left, I would have expected a loucd public outcry denouncing the UCC for "theocratic" behavior. After all, that has been the strategy of the Left every time religious conservatives have sought to see policies enacted which reflect their religious beliefs, policies on matters like school vouchers, abortion, and homosexual marriage. But so far there has been nothing but silnce from the Left -- when they have not actively applauded the "progressive" action of the UCC General Synod.

And we won't even get into the Left's silence about the synodal resolution urging President Bush to appoint a "moderate" justice to the Supreme Court (does anyone need additional evidence that "moderate" means "liberal"?). If one subscribes to the liberal definition of theocracy, one would have to condemn this as well. Again, the silence is deafening.

Could it be that the Left in this country does not believe in separation of church and state at all. Rather, they believe in the separation of conservative churches and state -- but are more than willing to see extreem and out of the mainstream religious beliefs of liberal churches imposed on the majority of Americans who reject them?

|| Greg, 06:59 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (6) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Will There Be Hate Crime Charges Filed?

A woman was murdered because of her race. The perp admits that his actions were based upon the victim's race -- and even claims she was not an innocent victim because of her race. Sounds like it meets all the criteria to me. Or does it, because the perp is black and the victim is white?

A homeless black man told police on videotape that he was fighting a race war and killed a 56-year-old woman at a Westchester County mall last week because she was white.

The man, Phillip Grant, 43, appeared in shackles and a bulletproof vest in a White Plains courtroom for a felony hearing Tuesday. In the 45-minute videotape played during the hearing, Grant told police "all I knew was she had blond hair and blue eyes and she had to die."

He claimed Connie Russo Carriero "was not an innocent victim because she was white."

Carriero, a legal secretary and mother of two grown children, was stabbed to death while walking to her car at the Galleria Mall parking garage. She was buried Tuesday.

Grant, a convicted rapist, was charged with second-degree murder and weapon possession in the knife attack. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 25 years to life in prison.

Now down in New York City, a couple of white guys are facing hate crime charges for beating a couple of black guys who came into their neighborhood in search of a car to steal. But up in Westchester County, enhanced charges won't be filed against a black man who admits a clear racial motivation. What happened to equal protection of the law? Do hate crime laws apply only to crimes committed by whites against minorities, but not the other way around?

|| Greg, 09:59 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

No Los Incomode A Los Mojados

UPDATE: I seem to have used a certain term in this post, a term that I have always understood as referring to immigration status, but which i am now informed is racially/ethnically insensitive. I apologize. I won't change the word on my site, though, because I do not go back and hide my mistakes or bury evidence of my own errors.

"Do not bother the wetbacks"

Those are the orders given to the police here in Houston after a meeting between police officials and pro-border-jumper groups here in Houston. It seems that a couple of police officers responding to a trespassing call had photographed a group of day laborers in order to document their presence in the event they again trespassed on the property. This upset the men, who are in the country illegally, and let to complaints by community groups.

The Houston Police Department has instructed officers not to photograph illegal immigrants seeking day jobs, after an incident last month prompted an outcry from an immigrant rights group. ADVERTISEMENT

Houston police Capt. Juan Trevino made the pledge to 400 people who attended a meeting Tuesday night organized by The Metropolitan Organization, an interfaith grass-roots political action group.

Trevino said that "an isolated handful of officers" took immigrants' photographs after a business owner on North Shepherd recently complained that they "were walking on private property."

Addressing the TMO gathering in Spanish and English, Trevino said that the Houston police department will work with the organization to encourage immigrant workers to seek work at the east side day labor center.

"We have initiated a policy where, at this time, we are instructing all officers that they cannot photograph any of the day laborers that are currently out in the field," Trevino said.

So let's get this straight. City policy already states that police cannot inquire about immigration status, and cannot report border-jumpers to the INS. Now they cannot even engage in reasonable steps to document their property crimes, and must direct them to a day labor center where they can illegally obtain work.

Am I the only one who sees the absurdity in this? I thought the police were supposed to support and uphold the law, not facilitate breaking it.

|| Greg, 09:50 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale -- A Great Man Passes

America has lost a hero -- James Stockdale, whose heroic actions as a prisoner of war in the during the Vietnam War led to his being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, has died.

During the Vietnam War, he was a Navy fighter pilot based on the USS Oriskany and flew 201 missions before he was shot down on Sept. 9, 1965. He became the highest-ranking naval officer captured during the war, the Navy said.

He endured more than 7 1/2 years as a prisoner, spending four of them in solitary confinement, before his release in 1973. He was tortured repeatedly, according to the Navy.

Stockdale received 26 combat decorations, including the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest medal for valor, in 1976. A portion of his award citation reads: "Stockdale ... deliberately inflicted a near mortal wound to his person in order to convince his captors of his willingness to give up his life rather than capitulate. He was subsequently discovered and revived by the North Vietnamese who, convinced of his indomitable spirit, abated their employment of excessive harassment and torture of all prisoners of war."

He retired from the military in 1979.

Stockdale suffered serious torture during his time as a prisoner of war.

Stockdale was taken to Hoa Lo Prison, known as the "Hanoi Hilton." His shoulders were wrenched from their sockets, his leg had been shattered by angry villagers and a torturer, and his back was broken. But he refused to capitulate.

Rather than allow himself to be used in a propaganda film, Stockdale smashed his face into a pulp with a mahogany stool.

"My only hope was to disfigure myself," Stockdale wrote in his 1984 autobiography "In Love and War." The ploy worked, but he spent the next two years in leg irons.

After Ho Chi Minh's death, he broke a glass pane in an interrogation room and slashed his wrists until he passed out in his own blood. After that, captors relented in their harsh treatment of him and his fellow prisoners.

Stockdale spent four years in solitary confinement before his release in 1973.

Stockdale was one of the many POWs whose injuries exposed the lie of the North Vietnamese that all prisoners were treated humanely.

Stockdale was one-of-a-kind, a legend in the Navy and well-respected by his peers among the POWs from Vietnam. Following his retirement, he served as president of the Citadel. He later served as a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution. In 1992 he reluctantly ran as Ross Perot's vice presidential candidate, a position he accepted out of gratitude for the assistance that Perot had given his wife in setting up a support organization for POW/MIA family members, on the condition that Perot would replace him before the election (he didn't).

May you rest in peace, sir, and may a flight of angels accompany you home.

For more tributes:
Michelle Malkin
Jeff Quinton
Brainster's Blog
Macmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense
Commonwealth Conservative Political News and Blog Aggregator
The Conservative Man
Joust The Facts
Outside The Beltway
Danny Carlton (aka Jack Lewis)

Hube's Cube

» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: War hero, politician Stockdale dead at 81
» Hube's Cube links with: In Memoriam: Adm. James Stockdale

|| Greg, 08:53 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

July 05, 2005

Winning Entries From The Watcher's Council

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are The Left's "Word Deficit" by Right Wing Nut House, and Ehrlich's Wit and Wisdom by MaxedOutMama.

|| Greg, 05:56 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

China Again Imprisons Bishop

Once again, the Red Chinese regime has chosen to deny the human rights of Chinese Catholics following a brief period of goodwill towards the Vatican. The tyrants of Beijing have arrested Bishop Jia Zhiguo, a Catholic bishop who remains loyal to the Pope.

China, which does not recognize the Vatican, has arrested an underground Roman Catholic bishop, a U.S.-based religious rights group said, quashing hopes of any sudden rapprochement between Beijing and the Holy See.

China has not had diplomatic relations with the Vatican since 1951 and believers must attend state-sanctioned churches led by bishops who pledge loyalty to Beijing. But a parallel church loyal to the Pope practises in secret.

"Bishop Jia Zhiguo, the underground Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Zheng Ding in Hebei province, was arrested again by two government officials at his house ... and driven away to an unknown location," the Cardinal Kung Foundation said.

It said Jia, 70, was arrested on Monday but did not specify on what charge.

The Vatican has regularly accused China of violating human rights and criticized the government for what it sees as the repression of religion, a charge the government denies.

Jia had previously spent 20 years in jail and had been arrested six times since January 2004, the foundation, whose mission is to promote the Roman Catholic Church in China, said.

Where is the public outcry? Where is the international condemnation? When will the head of Amnesty International and the International Red Cross travel to China to call out the dictators like they have done towards George W. Bush (whose policies conform with international law)? I think we all know the answers to those questions.

|| Greg, 12:32 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 04, 2005

A Letter From A Soldier

Over at Captain's Quarters, I found a post that merits serious consideration by every American this Fourth of July. It is about why our soldiers fight this war, and who they are. May God bless the Caelestis, may God bless his and his brothers and sisters in arms, and may God bless America.

Today I leave for the war

Well it's time to go and do what I have been called to do. Today I head for to the war for the third time and I have some things to say. To me this is a blessing, a calling from God to do what I can to help our brave men and women in uniform. Also this post is for my family as some of them still don't understand why I am on my third trip to Iraq. First of all:

K, you have been the best sister a brother could ever have, you and I had some good fights when we were kids, but you were always there if I truly needed you. We don't see eye to eye on anything political, and you are one of those people calling for our troops to come home now. I love you, but you are wrong in this count, you have three boys and if we don't do this right, it will have to be done again and it could be your boys next time. When I'm in Iraq, I think about my three nephews and how I don't want to see them in DCU's in the next decade, I want to fight our enemies in their country until they either surrender or become so ineffective they aren't a threat to any of us. I don't want my nephews fighing a fight that I couldn't finish, I want them to go to college or play professional soccer, or be beach bums. However,if they choose to become soldiers I would be proud to be in the same chain that links all military personnel past present and future, the chain that holds America together. That being said I would prefer they not have to fight the war I have seen, I would prefer they not lose any friends like I have and I wish that they would never lose their innocence by having to kill another human being. War takes so much out of a person, it changes us in ways that are almost never positive and I would not want your boys to have to go through what I have. I hope one day you understand, that I don't do this for the money, that Bush is not Hitler, and that the people of Iraq deserve as much a chance at a better life as we were given. You and G and the boys will be on my mind the entire time I am in Kirkuk.

Mom, I was the baby of the family and I know you still view me as that little boy that wouldn't eat his green beans and only wanted peanut butter. I am still that little boy inside, but I am so much more now, I am a husband and a veteran, and now a successful man with my own family. I chose to go back to Iraq this time, because I believe in a better world. At 30 I am more of an idealist now than I was at 20, I believe one person can make a difference. I know you will worry about me the entire time I am gone, but you won't tell me how scared you are. I just wanted to say it's ok, I am on the path that brings me the greatest happiness. No matter what happens to me, I am doing what I believe is my destiny, I come from a family of warriors, your family and Dad's were all warriors, it's what they knew. I am a product of their collective service to nation, this isn't about adventure or money or some deathwish, it's about doing the right thing. The men and women and especially the children of Iraq are worth fighting for, when I see them I know that any sacrifice I can make is worth it. What kind of man would I be if I refused to help someone in need? How could I live my life knowing that someone was being tortured and I stood by and sipped my latte and refused to get off my ass? I don't know if you will ever understand what drives me Mom, just being able to help one Iraqi is worth my life. People on this planet are so hell bent on persecuting others, they are so concerned with appearing strong that they prey on the weak and the helpless. Mom, the people of Iraq were helpless and being crushed by a petty clone of Adolf Hitler, now they have hope where before they had none. Iraq is a mess, but it is a mess because freedom is messy, we had to fight a Civil War that nearly killed 500,000 of us just to make all men and women free. Iraq is already having to fight a soul searing conflict with itself to find itself. How could we abandon these people to this chaos? I will continue to support this cause until we win, we lose, or I am knocked out of commission. I cannot call myself a man and abandon the men, women and children of Iraq to brutal butchers, I've made my choice. You'll be in my heart everyday.

Dad, you are my hero, I don't know if I've ever told you that, but you are. You served in Vietnam and came back and made a life for yourself and your family. You did everything you could to provide for K and I, you worked extra hours to make sure we never went without. You never took sick time even though you were out in the elements everyday, you are the definition of what a man is, I hope one day I am half the man that you are. I think you understand what drives me and why I have to keep doing this job. When you were here in Hawaii to visit me and you told me you were proud of me was a moment I'll never forget. I can't let the people of Iraq suffer without doing something, I know I am only one person, but you were only one person and you did so many things in your life. I want to be like you, but I want to do so much more, I know I'm not going to "save the world", but everyday I can do a good deed, whether in Iraq or in Hawaii is a day that I feel like I have done my job as a man and an American. I know you understand!

Jan, my wife, my love, my life, this has got to be the hardest on you. This is the third time I have asked you to take a leap of faith and believe that no harm will come to me in Iraq. Three times I have left you and our puppies behind to pursue some quixotic belief that I can make the world a slightly better place. Three times I have left you behind to pay the bills, and manage the house and so many other things that no one should be forced to do by themselves. I have not been with you for 3 of our seven anniversary's because of my commitment to this. All I can say to you is thank you! I will always love you for your patience and your support of me and my ideals. I know that I make your life hard with these deployments, and for that I am sorry, I wish that it were easier to be away from you,but it's not. In fact, each deployment it gets harder and harder for me to say goodbye, I've lost friends now and had a few close calls myself, but I can't quit doing this. You know why, you more than anyone else understand why. You and I both believe it is our destiny to do whatever we can to make the world better. We are two tiny fish in the enormous universal ocean, but we both know one person can make a difference. When I am in Iraq I know you are in my heart at every moment and that our faith and love protects me. I firmly believe God has a plan for both of us, we are his instruments to do what we can to make the world better. So don't worry about me this time, I am doing what I was meant to do, and I have never been happier. So go and find my molly-molly and give her a scratch behind the ears.

For anyone that reads this; yes I am a 30 year old idealist, at 20 I was a cynic, but now I have a mission in life and a purpose. I found God, but I am far from a religious fanatic, I found a God that inspired me to do good deeds just for the sake of doing good. I can feel his prescence in everything around me, the sunset, the waves crashing on a Hawaiian beach and even in the evening breeze that is laced with plumeria. I would call myself a soldier of God, but not in any way that says he favors me or my cause. I am a soldier of our lord because I choose to serve the side of good, good is opening a door for a stranger, or helping your neighbor empty his trashcan, or going to Iraq because you want to help a people find their voice and feel what we feel when we think of our freedoms. The most fundamental question I ask myself everday is: If I have the chance to do good, even if there is a terrible price to pay, why wouldn't I? I wish more Americans would ask themselves this question, if you can do good, what on earth would stop you from following through?

Finally I just wanted to state one more time, Iraq is the whole bag of marbles, if our ideas win there, then militant islam will wither on the vine and eventually die. If we lose in Iraq, the world will become a much darker place where the evils of the past such as slavery and holy wars will become the norm. I ask the people of America this question; We are the last hope for this planet to realize its potential, the europeans are too weak to do it, what kind of world do we want for our children to live in? I made my choice, and now I leave to do what I believe is my duty. God bless my family, God bless our brave men and women in uniform, God bless all Americans and God bless America.


P.S. Love you my hummingbird

|| Greg, 08:58 PM ||