August 31, 2005

ATTN: Evacuees Seeking Shelter

If you are in the Houston area seeking shelter from Hurricane Katrina, DO NOT GO TO THE ASTRODOME! While those who are in the Superdome are being taken to that site, there are no current plans to open it up to those beyond the folks being specially transported from the Superdome in New Orleans.

Where should you go? Try the following locations, as listed on the Red Cross site.

HOUSTON – August 31, 2005- The Red Cross has opened 19 shelters in the Greater Houston area to help disaster victims forced from their homes by Hurricane Katrina. The shelters will remain open and additional shelters will be opened as necessary.

As of Wednesday evening

# Mont Belview Sr Center (Full 112 capacity)
11607 Eagle Drive

# Baytown Community Center (150/250 capacity)
2407 Market St
Baytown, Tx

# Memorial Baptist Church
(Full/capacity 135)
600 W. Sterling (full capacity)
Baytown Texas 77520

# St. Peter Claver
(Full/ capacity 220)
6005 N. Wayside Drive
Houston Tx

Moody Methodist Church
2803 53rd Street
Galveston, Texas

New Shelters

# Spring Tabernacle
(Full capacity 200)
3034 FM 2920
Spring, Tx 77338

# Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
(capacity 250)
18220 Upper Bay Rd-Nassau Bay
Houston, Tx

# St. Mary's Catholic Church
(capacity 200)
701 Church Street
Brenham, Tx

# Fairmont Park Baptist Church
10401 Belfast (150 Cap)
LaPorte, Tx

# New Life Central
2104 Underwood (350 Cap)
LaPorte, Tx

# 1st United Methodist Church
4308 W. Dallas
Conroe, Tx
(capacity 200)

# 1st Baptist Church
906 Ave A
Katy, Tx

# 1st Baptist Church
1229 Ave J
Huntsville, Tx

# Lee College Gym
200 Lee Drive
Baytown Tx

# St. Maximillian Catholic Church
10135 West Rd
Houston Tx

# Missouri street Church of Christ
3400 S. Hwy 146
Baytown, Tx 77520

# North Forest School Bldg
11433 Surburb
Houston TX 77016

# North Forest School Building
6511 N. Wayside
Houston, Tx

# Kingwood United Methodist
1799 Woodland Hill
Kingwood Tx 77339


Also a Red Cross information Hotline number regarding locations of shelters is available for Hurricane Katrina victims. Call Red Cross 1-(866) GET-INFO. Due to the high demand, the Houston Chapter has opened a local phone bank to provide information on Houston Area Red Cross activities at 713.313.5480. The number for the Louisiana State Police: 1.800.469.4828.

Families and individuals are advised to bring along basic personal items that they will need in the shelter. Those items should include pillows and bedding items, essential medications and health- related items, extra clothing, and a toy or activity for any children they might be bring with them.

The centers will provide a safe haven for individuals and families evacuated from homes affected by Hurricane Katrina.

|| Greg, 09:01 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Left-Wing Arrogance

I got the following email in my box this morning. I won’t shame the guy by posting his name.

Date: Aug 31, 2005 1:05 AM
Subject: do you plan on writing anything about the hurricane?

Not as important as voter fraud or Cindy Sheehan?

Glad to see you have things in perspective. When you can't gas up your Hummer you might change your tune

Actually, I had tried a couple of times to write about the hurricane. But as often happens in times of overwhelming tragedy, I find that mere words just are not sufficient. So I’ve refrained from posting rather than post some cliché-ridden item about the horror of it all and wailing “Oh, the humanity!” Others have done a significantly better job of addressing the subject – especially Michelle Malkin. Their words have not failed them, while mine have.

So instead I’ve written about stories that I find important that I think could be missed in the crush of Katrina coverage. If that strikes others as uncaring, too bad.

Ultimately, I think this writer is a bit confused. Does the presence or absence of a post about the hurricane on this blog determine what is or is not important? Is RHYMES WITH RIGHT the standard by which the importance of a story is judged? If it is, no one has told me. So either this guy vastly over-estimates my importance as a media source, or I vastly under-estimate that importance.

And while I may not be writing about the hurricane and its devastating impact that does not mean that I am doing nothing. The writer doesn’t know whether I am sending money or to whom it is going. He has no way of ascertaining whether or not I am doing anything for the refugees that have fled into my own community in the face of this disaster. No, he chooses to interpret silence as apathy.

Now I’ve not played politics with the storm. I’ve not asked why Cindy Sheehan and her fellow terrorist-backers are not down in New Orleans instead of traveling the country to undermine the war effort (Did you know that while everyone else travels by bus, Cindy hops a plane to the next destination? Orwell was right about some animals being more equal than others.) Doesn’t she care about the devastation? I’ve not heard her address the crisis with her “unquestionable moral authority”. Why doesn’t this writer hold her to the same standard that he wants to hold me? Heck, what about the fuel being eaten up by the buses and the planes used in her anti-American endeavor?

And we won’t get into the question of one of the writer’s favorite haunts, Americablog, where the owner has played politics with the decision by the president to stay in Crawford and continue with some speaking engagements instead of returning to Washington immediately – and would have played politics by criticizing a decision to return to Washington immediately if he had. The writing there about the disaster has been so incredibly insincere – as have been the comments posted there by my email-critic.

As for the issue of my car and gas prices – I’m a teacher in an 80% minority urban school district with a high poverty rate. What out-of-touch planet does this liberal fool live on if he believes I drive a Hummer? My car is seven years old and gets 30+ MPG. I need it to, because I drive 20+ miles each way to school. I’d love to know what he is driving and what he does for a living/how much he makes. I’m guessing he is a trust-fund baby who is seeking to assuage his liberal guilt by attacking conservative rather than giving away the money that feeds his lifestyle..

|| Greg, 08:01 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (6) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Telling It Like It Is On Immigration

I really enjoy reading Baltimore’s Gregory Kane on virtually any issue. He offers the perfect analogy to explain the relationship between George W. Bush and Vincente Fox on immigration issues.

Mexican President Vicente Fox seems to think of the United States as his country's northern suburb. President George W. Bush doesn't have the guts to correct him.

In fact, the relationship between Fox and Bush can best be explained this way: If Fox and Bush were inmates in the same prison, Fox would be slapping Bush and taking his Christmas packages.

On the matter of illegal immigration, Fox has shown that Bush has a fully nurtured and developed wimp gene.

Yeah, that sums it up quite nicely. It seems that this president is more interested in placating our southern neighbor than telling it to quit encouraging and facilitating the violation of American sovereignty.

Make sure you read the column.

|| Greg, 07:52 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Why Won’t The President Meet With Her

No, this is not about Bush and Sheehan.

It is a question for the American Left’s new favorite dictator, Hugo Chavez.

A woman who rushed up on a stage to hand President Hugo Chavez a note was pulled away by bodyguards on Tuesday, and the Venezuelan leader urged supporters to remember there have been threats against his life.

The incident occurred while Chavez was addressing thousands of supporters in a Caracas convention center.

"It's dangerous, because I'm threatened with death, so you have to understand that the security team surrounding me is on alert," Chavez told the crowd.

The incident came more than a week after the U.S. religious broadcaster Pat Robertson drew condemnation from Venezuela's government and others for suggesting that Chavez should be assassinated because he poses a threat to the United States.

Come on, Hugo, meet with the poor homeless woman. You claim that the Venezuelan people love you and support you. What have you got to fear?

Or do you only meet with celebrity liberals and fellow dictators now?

|| Greg, 07:52 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Purging Fraudulent Registrations Problematic

Look at this excuse for the prevalence of fraudulent registrations in NYC.

Mr. [John] Ravitz [the executive director of the NYC Boad of Elections] responded yesterday to the officials' calls for investigations, saying: "If people really think two weeks before a primary that I can now have all my entire staff look throughout the voter rolls and look at an address that might be suspect on the face, it's an unrealistic feat."

He earlier said the board does not independently conduct systematic reviews of the voter rolls but will probe questionable registrations if someone brings specific charges to its attention. He added that it would be nearly impossible to investigate all registrant names that appeared suspicious, lest someone really named "Lou Gehrig," to use Mr. Ravitz's example, be subjected to unfair and undue scrutiny.

Moreover, Mr. Ravitz said, many of the dubious registrants and those who registered at questionable addresses would not be voting in this election, because their failure to cast ballots in the last four years rendered them "inactive" and thus ineligible to vote.

"I don't want anyone to think there are going to be Elmer Fudds voting in the primary," Mr. Ravitz said.

In other words, the city doesn’t look for fraud. More to the point, the board doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings because they have a name that looks suspicious. Besides, Ravitz explains, it would cost too much money to actually investigate the voting rolls to detect fraudulent registrations and voting.

Elected officials are calling for action.

A candidate for Manhattan borough president and a member of the City Council, Eva Moskowitz, Democrat of the East Side, said the board must be "proactive."

Calling the board's approach "ridiculous" and "government at its worst," Ms. Moskowitz said investigating and rooting out potential irregularities in the voter rolls "is the Board of Elections' job."

"They don't have too much to do other than prepare for elections and make sure the lists are clear and honest," she said.

Mayor Bloomberg and some of the public officials trying to unseat him this year, meanwhile, responded by declaring their affection for the democratic process.
"Voting is a sacred right and responsibility," Mr. Bloomberg said in a statement sent by e-mail. "Abuse of this fundamental right is unacceptable. ..."

One of his Democratic challengers, C. Virginia Fields, the Manhattan borough president, said in an e-mail: "Placing false names and/or addresses on voter registration forms and other documents undermines the city's democratic process. Therefore, the entire election process - from signature collection to the actual act of voting - must be taken very seriously.

"For its part, the Board of Elections must work to improve its efforts to weed out false names and addresses. The board has an important role to play in this process and it cannot afford to be asleep at the wheel," the statement read.

The Democratic mayoral front-runner, Fernando Ferrer, said in a written statement that voting fraud disenfranchises everyone "and must be vigorously prosecuted."

The statement from the former Bronx borough president also said: "We must also be vigilant that efforts to crack down on voter fraud do not result in an illegal purging of legitimate voters from the rolls."

Maybe we will see some action – or is this all window-dressing?

|| Greg, 07:51 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 30, 2005

New York Voter Fraud

Look at these examples of voter registration fraud in New York City.

Dozens of voters have registered in New York City claiming to reside at addresses that correspond to city, state, and federal office buildings, public and private schools, churches and clerical offices, and major cultural attractions, a review of Board of Elections records conducted by The New York Sun found.

In addition to questionable residences, the search unearthed curious names given by registrants, including "Donald Duck," "Elmer J. Fudd," "Isaac Newton," "Napoleon Bonaparte," "Rhett Butler," and "Jesus Christ."

Searching the Board of Elections database by address yielded four New Yorkers who said their residence is 1 Centre St., site of the city's Municipal Building - and home to, among other city departments, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the Department of Finance, and offices of the Manhattan borough president, the public advocate, the county clerk, and the mayor.

It is also, apparently, the home of "Valerie D. Cooper," who listed as her "Apt. No." 517 - an office of the city comptroller. Ms. Cooper could not be tracked down for comment, nor could her identity be confirmed by the Sun.

Among the other addresses with multiple registered voters are
· 26 Federal Plaza
· The Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building
· Madison Square Garden
· Radio City Music Hall
· Lincoln Center
· Macy's
· St. Patrick's Cathedral
· The Guggenheim Museum
· Alfred E. Smith School
· Harvey Milk High School
· Edgar Allan Poe Literacy Development School
· The headquarters of the New York County Republican Committee
· The Episcopal Diocese of New York
· The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York

When will the issue of ballot security be taken seriously?

When will we be permitted to purge the voter rolls of the nation and get rid of the fake, the dead, and the foreign?

How widespread is the problem?

And which party is benefiting from this voter fraud?

» Searchlight Crusade links with: Links and Minifeatures 08 31 Part II

|| Greg, 06:30 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

What’s Wrong With This Paragraph

I encountered this bit in one of the hagiographic articles about Cindy Sheehan. I guess this is what comes of allowing bloggers from Daily Kos to write your copy.

Sheehan, whose son Casey died in Iraq, camped outside the president's Central Texas ranch a month ago to demand a meeting with him. The Vacaville, California, woman hasn't gotten an audience, but she attracted a lot of support. She's promised to carry her protest to Washington and beyond after Bush goes back to work.

Let me help you out.

1) She had a meeting with the President LAST YEAR. She can demand all she wants, but there needs to be honesty about what she really is seeking. Cindy Sheehan wants a second meeting with the president, one in which he doesn’t talk and she gets to harangue him with her leftist rants about the war.

2) Sheehan has gotten support, but she has also gotten quite a bit of opposition. Why don’t you mention that detail? Could it be that it doesn’t fit your take on the story?

3) What is this “back to work” crap? Don’t you realize that the a presidential vacation is anything but a time of fun, sun. and no work? The briefings go on, the decisions go on, the work goes on – just in a different location.

|| Greg, 06:28 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Higher Form Of Patriotism?

We always hear that dissent is the highest form of patriotism. I guess that makes this moonbat from Americablog one of the most patriotic Americans out there, if one accepts that statement as true.

The best thing bush could do for NO, a city I love, and the rest of the country is go down there ASAP and drown.

But then again, these are the same people who think that the al-Qaeda terrorists in Iraq are freedom fighters and that the US soldiers are murderers.

|| Greg, 05:02 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 29, 2005

What The Cindy Sheehan Really Thinks Of Parents Of Dead Soldiers (Other Than Herself, Of Course)

Well, the Ditch Bitch revealed what she thinks of the parents of every dead soldier who disagrees with her in her online diary -- hosted by Daily Kos.

I have been silent on the Gold Star Moms who still support this man and his war by saying that they deserve the right to their opinions because they are in as much pain as I am. . . . How can these moms who still support George Bush and his insane war in Iraq want more innocent blood shed just because their sons or daughters have been killed? I don't understand it. I don't understand how any mother could want another mother to feel the pain we feel. I am starting to lose a little compassion for them. I know they have been as brainwashed as the rest of America, but they know the pain and heartache and they should not wish it on another. However, I still feel their pain so acutely and pray for these "continue the murder and mayhem" moms to see the light.

So what it comes down to is that there is only sympathy and respect if they agree with the Ditch Bitch. Otherwise they are "brainwashed" "continue the murder and mayhem" moms.

Which means that Ditch Bitch believes, ultimately, that her son Casey was a murderer.

So much for honoring the troops -- and Casey's memory.

But then again, we know which troops she supports -- the ones connected to al-Qaeda who killed her son, not the ones who Casey considered his brothers in arms.

|| Greg, 06:38 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (14) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Che’s Family Seeks To Control Use Of Image

I had a kid in my class wearing a Che Guevara shirt last week. He didn’t know anything about the man whose face he was displaying, or the fact the man was a part of spreading and perpetuating the ideology that killed more people than any other in the 20th century.

Now the famed commie’s family wants to control marketing of the iconic photo that turns up just about everywhere.

With his picture on rock band posters, baseball caps and women's lingerie, Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara is firmly entrenched in the capitalist consumer society that he died fighting to overturn.

The image of the Argentine-born guerrilla gazing sternly into the distance, long-hair tucked into a beret with a single star, has been an enduring 20th century pop icon.

The picture -- taken by a Cuban photographer in 1960 and printed on posters by an Italian publisher after Guevara's execution in Bolivia seven years later -- fired the imagination of rioting Parisian students in May 1968 and became a symbol of idealistic revolt for a generation.

But as well as being one of the world's most reproduced, the image has become one of its most merchandised. And Guevara's family is launching an effort to stop it. They plan to file lawsuits abroad against companies that they believe are exploiting the image and say lawyers in a number of countries have offered assistance.

"We have a plan to deal with the misuse," Guevara's Cuban widow Aleida March said in an interview.

"We can't attack everyone with lances like Don Quixote, but we can try to maintain the ethics" of Guevara's legacy, said March, who will lead the effort from the Che Guevara Studies Center which is opening in Havana later this year.

"The center intends to contain the uncontrolled use of Che's image. It will be costly and difficult because each country has different laws, but a limit has to be drawn," the legendary guerrilla's daughter, Aleida Guevara, told Reuters.

Now let’s wait just one minute here. This is no different than the bin Ladens trying to profit off of pictures of Osama, or of the Hitlers trying to ensure that Adolf’s image is used only in ways consistent with his principles. So while I would be thrilled to never have to look at some smug middle class brat in Old Navy jeans and a pair of Air Jordans ignorantly displaying the visage of an old commie who would have gladly executed the kid as a class enemy, I would don’t want to see the family succeed. After all, allowing th4 family to make money off of Che would be a repudiation of the very principles they seek to uphold – and the fact that the face of the revolution is so commercialized is the ultimate in ironic rejections of the hell-spawned ideology of communism.

|| Greg, 04:21 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||


Some years ago, one of my teaching colleagues decided to quit fighting the battle against tired and lazy seniors in her English IV class. She included in her course description a statemen that students would be permitted to sleep no more than 10 minutes per 90 minute class. The result? Students who had never fallen asleep in class felt compelled to take a nap in their English class? Why? Because what had been intended as a way of limiting a problem behavior was perceived by the students as granting them the right to engage in the behavior.

Which leads to this situation in England.

A secondary school is to allow pupils to swear at teachers - as long as they don't do so more than five times in a lesson. A running tally of how many times the f-word has been used will be kept on the board. If a class goes over the limit, they will be 'spoken' to at the end of the lesson.

The astonishing policy, which the school says will improve the behaviour of pupils, was condemned by parents' groups and MPs yesterday. They warned it would backfire.

Parents were advised of the plan, which comes into effect when term starts next week, in a letter from the Weavers School in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.
Assistant headmaster Richard White said the policy was aimed at 15 and 16-year-olds in two classes which are considered troublesome.

"Within each lesson the teacher will initially tolerate (although not condone) the use of the f-word (or derivatives) five times and these will be tallied on the board so all students can see the running score," he wrote in the letter .

"Over this number the class will be spoken to by the teacher at the end of the lesson."

Parents called the rule 'wholly irresponsible and ludicrous'.

This is not a plan to eliminate the use of the particular word – it is permission for the kids to use the word in question. Kids are going to feel that they now have the right to use the word. And since the consequence of going over the permitted limit of five is that the class (as a group) will be “spoken to by the teacher,” there is effectively no consequence for spewing out the profane term in question.

I can hear that discussion at the end of class – the teacher reminds students that the word is inappropriate in a classroom setting, to which someone responds “whatever you effin’ say, teach!”

If this were my school and they persisted in following through with this stupid policy, my response would be “I effin’ quit!”

|| Greg, 04:20 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

No Gay Priests?

Is the Vatican about to put a stop to the ordination of gay men to the priesthood? Possibly, if the following report is true.

The new Pope faces his first controversy over the direction of the Catholic church after it was revealed that the Vatican has drawn up a religious instruction preventing gay men from being priests.

The controversial document, produced by the Congregation for Catholic Education and Seminaries, the body overseeing the church's training of the priesthood, is being scrutinised by Benedict XVI.

It been suggested Rome would publish the instruction earlier this month, but it dropped the plan out of concern that such a move might tarnish his visit to his home city of Cologne last week.

The document expresses the church's belief that gay men should no longer be allowed to enter seminaries to study for the priesthood. Currently, as all priests take a vow of celibacy, their sexual orientation has not been considered a pressing concern.

Now it is believed that Pope Benedict has reservations about the document. He should. My experience as a seminarian a decade ago was that at least 20% of my classmates were homosexuals, and probably more. Now I see that as a problem – but one of heterosexual men failing to respond to a call to priesthood rather than one of an overabundance of homosexuals. My experience is that many, if not most, of my gay classmates had excellent pastoral skills and are likely excellent priests today. I presume that they are faithful in their adherence to the requirement of celibacy, based upon conversations we had regarding the struggle to be chaste in contemporary society.

I find the reason given for the prohibition particularly troubling.

The instruction tries to dampen down the controversy by eschewing a moral line, arguing instead that the presence of homosexuals in seminaries is 'unfair' to both gay and heterosexual priests by subjecting the former to temptation.

'It will be written in a very pastoral mode,' Haldane said. 'It will not be an attack on the gay lifestyle. It will not say "homosexuality is immoral". But it will suggest that admitting gay men into the priesthood places a burden both on those who are homosexual and those they are working alongside who are not.'

The reasoning here does not work. The struggle to remain chaste is a part of every Christian life, and so to make the argument about “temptation” is specious. And to argue that the presence of homosexuals is a problem for heterosexuals is just plain wrong-headed, and not from a politically correct point of view. Christians are called to minister to all – sometimes especially to those who make us uncomfortable. The sort of rejection that this proposed document calls for is simply wrong.

Now some may be surprised to read these words on my site. After all, I have been most forthright in dealing with issues of homosexuality and holding firm for traditional Christian teachings regarding human sexuality. But there is simply no legitimate theological or pastoral reason for such a restriction on ordination, provided the man in question is truly committed to and properly formed in the discipline of celibacy in a spirit of Christian chastity.

|| Greg, 04:18 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

But No One Wants To Leap To Conclusions

Was it an anti-Semitic hate crime? No one wants to say so, but what else do you call swastikas burned into the lawn along with obscenities and slurs about fascism?

Vandals burned swastikas and obscenities into the lawn of a Jewish family, splattering windows with eggs and fouling the front porch of their home. Two swastikas were spray-painted in the road in front of Ginger Ragans' two-story home Sunday and a third was etched onto her lawn, along with the word "Fascist" and an obscenity scrawled in the grass. Her trees were draped with toilet paper and someone had urinated and defecated on the porch.

Gwinnett County police are investigating the vandalism in the town northeast of Atlanta and are uncertain whether to classify it as a hate crime, spokesman Darren Moloney said.

Ragans, 36, who has lived in the neighborhood for 10 years, said the incident likely was the work of neighborhood teens retaliating against her for her work as a neighborhood liaison for a community watchdog program.

In a recent edition of the community's newsletter, she mentioned that cameras had caught groups of teens hanging around the tennis courts long after the county's midnight curfew.

Now let’s be honest here. If this had been an attack against the home of a black community activist that included a burning cross and the word “nigger”, it would be quickly labeled as racist – and rightly so. The choice of slurs and symbols here are obviously motivated by the Jewish heritage of the victims. In my book, that is a hate crime – even if the trigger was the involvement in the community watch program.

And the fact that there is any hesitation in labeling this as anti-Semitism is proof of a bigger problem with anti-Semitism than anyone wants to admit.

|| Greg, 04:16 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Rangel Rambles Again

Why does anyone take Charles Rangel seriously any more? Certainly this comment is sufficiently out of line and not based in reality for the media and his fellow Dems to call him on it.

The dean of New York's congressional delegation suggested in a television interview that Vice President Dick Cheney may not be healthy enough to perform his duties.

Rep. Charles Rangel was being interviewed on NY1, the New York City-based all-news channel, when he was asked Friday night whether he thought President Bush was taking too much vacation time this summer.

"Oh no, it makes the country a lot more safe," the Manhattan Democrat said. "The further Bush is away from Washington, the better it is. And sometimes I don't even think Cheney is awake enough to know what's going on. Rumsfeld is the guy in Washington to watch. He's running the country,"

"Cheney's not awake enough?" reporter Davidson Goldin asked.

"Well, he's a sick man you know," Rangel said. "He's got heart disease, but the disease is not restricted to that part of his body. He grunts a lot, so you never really know what he's thinking."

Asked whether he was suggesting that Cheney was not healthy enough to do his job, Rangel said, "Why do you think people are spending so much time praying for President Bush's health?"

"If he ever leaves and Cheney's in charge, there's not very much to pull together for the rest of our nation," he concluded. "This is a sad state of affair."

The White House declined comment Saturday.

Cheney has had four heart attacks, and a pacemaker was placed in his chest in June 2001.

His most recent annual heart checkup occurred in July and found him in good health.

So Rangel now claims to know more than the Vice President’s cardiologists? And we won’t get into the fantasy-based notion that the President being outside of Washington DC renders him impotent to run the country.

Hey, Charlie – when are you going to become reality-based?

|| Greg, 04:15 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Good News From Camp Dhimmi

All America has watched as Cindy Sheehan and company have pursued their anti-American protest in Crawford, proving that the United Stats is not the dictatorship they claim. I've approved of very little that has gone on at Camp Dhimmi (unlike his mother, I refuse to dishonor Casey Sheehan by calling it by his name) , but I did see this one bit of news that I want to note and praise.

Amid all the comings and goings around Camp Casey on Sunday, peace activists Genevieve Van Cleve and Peter Ravella got married.

The aisle was strewn with hay, and the crowd hummed "Here Comes the Bride."

"This is meaningful. This has substance," said Van Cleve, 34, of Austin. "We completely support what they're doing, and we just wanted to add whatever love, fidelity, loyalty and honor that we could."

I don't agree with their politics, and the couple sound like typical hippie-dippy Austinite liberals. That doesn't matter. Some things transcend politics.

Peter and Genevieve have made a serious committment that is a thing of beauty. If I agree with and support nothing else that went on as part of the Crawford protests, I offer my support here.

Congratulations to the happy couple, and may God bless them with many years of joy and love.

|| Greg, 06:02 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 28, 2005

What Lawrence Hath Wrought

There were a number of principled responses to the Lawrence v. Texas case. One of those, often derided by the pro-sodomy lobby was the position that Lawrence had the effect of opening the door to legal polygamy and incest.

Jeff Jacoby points us to a case that pointedly raises the issue regarding incest laws.

''I BELIEVE severe punishment is required in this case," the judge said at Allen and Pat's sentencing in November 1997. ''I think they have to be separated. It's the only way to prevent them from having intercourse in the future."

Allen and Pat were lovers, but a Wisconsin statute enacted in 1849 made their sexual relationship a felony. The law was sometimes used to nail predators who had molested children, but using it to prosecute consenting adults -- Allen was 45; Pat, 30 -- was virtually unheard of. That didn't deter Milwaukee County Judge David Hansher. Nor did the fact that the couple didn't understand why their relationship should be a crime. Allen and Pat didn't ''have to be bright," the judge growled, to know that having sex with each other was wrong.

He threw the book at them: eight years for Allen, five for Pat, served in separate maximum-security prisons, 25 miles apart.

If this had happened to a gay couple, the case would have become a cause celebre. Hard time as punishment for a private, consensual, adult relationship? Activists would have been outraged. Editorial pages would have thundered.

But Allen and Patricia Muth are not gay. They were convicted of incest. Although they didn't meet until Patricia was 18 -- she had been raised from infancy in foster care -- they were brother and sister, children of the same biological parents. They were also strongly attracted to each other, emotionally and physically. And so, disregarding the taboo against incest, they became a couple and had four children.

When Wisconsin officials learned of the Muths' relationship, they moved to strip them of their parental rights. The state's position, upheld in court, was that their ''fundamentally disordered" lifestyle made them unfit for parenthood by definition. Allen and Patricia's children were taken from them. Then they were prosecuted for incest and sent to prison.

Now tell me -- where does the logic of this law, this prosecution, differ from that in Lawrence v. Texas? After all, we had a pair of consenting adults engaging in a loving and consensual relationship. The state declared their relationship to be disordered and criminalized it. And do not tell me that hte reason is the potential for birth defects -- the courts have long-ago restricted the right of the state to engage in prohibitions of sex or reproduction for eugenic purposes. So what are you left with, other than public disgust and public morals, both of which are ruled out as a basis for legislation under Lawrence and related homosexual rights cases.

And consider what Lawrence actually says. It says that the state cannot regulate ''the most private human conduct, sexual behavior" whenit occurs between consenting adults.

''The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in striking down the Texas law under which John Lawrence and Tyron Garner had been convicted of homosexual sodomy. ''The state cannot by making their private sexual conduct a crime. Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government."

Does a prosecution for incest between consenting adults respect their private lives, as required by Lawrence?

No, it does not.

Does the prosecution demena their existance?

Arguably it does, in violation of Lawrence.

Does the criminalization of their sexual conduct have the effect of demeaning their existence or controlling their destiny?

It most certainly does.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has declined to overturn the convictions -- but only on procedural grounds, not on the actual merits of the argument that the Lawrence precedent nullifies all consensual sexual activity between adults. But that is really at the heart of the issue here, and will have to be confronted either by the Supreme COurt itself or by lower courts around the country.

Unless, of course, Lawrence established only one constitutionally protected class of sexual conduct -- and, in the process, special rights for homosexuals only.

Regardless, the Supreme Court must clean up the mess that it made by clarifying the scope of Lawrence v. Texas. Are all laws regarding consensual adult sex constitutionally infirm? Is homosexual conduct the only form of sexuality considered deviant by the majority of citizens and their legislators that gets constitutional protection? Or was Lawrence wrongly decided by a court more concerned with political correctness than constitutional correctness?

A nation waits.

» Watcher of Weasels links with: Submitted for Your Approval

|| Greg, 10:55 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (1) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The votes are in.

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are An Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan by Gates of Vienna, and Israeli Pride; Israeli Angst by Alpha Patriot.

Congratulation to our lucky winners, and to all nominees. Full results may be found here.

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

August 27, 2005

A Rosary For The Left

Over at The Jawa Report, Dr. Rusty Shackleford presents us with a new form of religious devotion, especially for the folks who believe Cindy Sheehan has even a lick of credibility.

The Rosary of the the far left:

1) Make the Sign of the Ankh and say the "Leftist Creed."

I laughed. I cried. I wondered whether the Pope will issue a fatwa against Rusty.

|| Greg, 08:40 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Courting A Fatwa

The original got Dr. Hook the place on Rolling Stone's cover that he craved.

Will the parody get Misha the fatwa he sings about?

Go take a look -- it is worth the laugh.

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

Why Were Charges Ever Filed?

If ever there was a jumping of the gun by police and prosecutors, this was it. Why on earth were charges filed in this case?

MARION, Va. (AP) - A judge dismissed a manslaughter charge against a teenager whose 5-year-old half-sister died after he put her in a coin-operated laundry machine that then began running.

The ruling Thursday by Judge Charles Lincoln came after prosecutors said they did not believe they could convict the 14-year-old boy.

The boy put 30-pound Hope Wagoner into the triple-load machine "during a playful game between brother and sister" on June 17 in Chilhowie, defense attorney John Graham said.

The boy put no coins in the machine but it started anyway, Graham said. The boy tried "frantically" to stop the washer and free his sister, taking a large rock from the parking lot to smash at the glass, Graham said.

The children's mother, Rebecca Wagoner, ultimately used the same rock to break through the glass and free Hope. The child died of asphyxiation, a medical examiner ruled.

Rebecca Wagoner has sued the washing machine's maker, claiming it knew the model had a history of starting up without the insertion of coins but failed to fix the problem.

Where I grew up, this fell into the category of "horrifyingly tragic accident". It did not rise to the level of criminal behavior.

Bravo to the judge who had the common sense to see that there was no way a jury would ever convict.

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

This Just Gets Sicker

Yesterday I told you all about the Iraq Soldier Hoax that played out in the pages of the Daily Egyptian at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Well, the story gets stranger as I read the coverage by Carbondale's REAL newspaper, the Southern Illinoisan.

First, we find out that the DE was not the only entity spoofed -- a Detroit church was also scammed a couple of months ago. Patrick Trovillion, who thought he was playing the part of Dan Kenner in a documentary project, may just have revealed why "Kennings" had to "die" in Iraq.

He also detailed a trip only three months ago when he traveled with Reynolds and the child playing the part of Kodee to a Detroit church that had befriended many American soldiers in Iraq. Trovillion said Reynolds instructed him to "stay in character" during the entire service.

"This was a huge church and we were seated in the front row and the pastor introduced me as Dan Kennings, so I thought they all knew that this was part of the documentary," Trovillion said. "I mean these people were hugging me and telling me they loved me and I just went along with it; I thought they were just playing the part. I even got in the car and told Jaime (Reynolds) 'those people were good ¦ they were just awesome.' I even got up in front of the congregation and gave a little speech. This church was very supportive of Dan and they knew Kodee."

Reynolds said he didn't know if the church gave any money to Reynolds on the trip but said she paid him $400 to make the overnight trip to Detroit. Attempts to reach the pastor of the church were unsuccessful.

Trovillion said he has not spoken with Reynolds in "a few months" but said he began to have serious doubts about the validity of the project after he contacted the youth pastor at the Detroit church.

"I told her who I was and she acted like she didn't recognize my name," said Trovillion. "I told her that I was the guy that had played the part of Dan Kennings and she said 'Is this some kind of sick joke?' I didn't know what to say and after what I've learned in the last few days I still don't know what to say. She (Reynolds) didn't just scam me and Kodee and the Daily Egyptian - she scammed the pastor and the entire congregation of that church."

Trovillion was paid $400 for the trip -- I wonder how much money Jaimie Reynolds milked from that congregation?

For her part, Reynolds has quit talking.

MARION - Though many believe Jaimie Reynolds concocted the story of Kodee Kennings because she craved attention, the former Southern Illinois University Carbondale student wanted nothing to do with the news media that came knocking at her door Friday.

The elaborate, year-and-a-half-long hoax Reynolds promoted through the guise of 10-year-old Caitlin Hadley, of Montpelier, Ind., caught the attention of media outlets statewide and throughout the Midwest.

Several reporters and camera crews, including The Southern Illinoisan, spent time outside Reynolds' home in the 800 block of West Boulevard Street in Marion. Reporters made multiple attempts to speak with Reynolds. However, they were either answered with silence or the quiet admonition of a middle-aged woman, assumed to be a family member of Reynolds, from the back doorstep.

Friday's silence represented a marked change in Reynolds' behavior with the media.

You know, that silence may be her first smart move, especially if she has eceived even a penny on behalf of Dan and Kodee Kennings. The word for having done so would be "fraud".

For his part, former editor Michael Brenner, who was responsible for much of the Kodee coverage, is being sought by the media for interviews. The only problem is that they are not job interviews, but rather story interviews.

The networks are clawing for interviews with former Daily Egyptian editor Michael Brenner.

But he's worried if he'll ever land a job in journalism.

"Who's going to want to hire me after this?" Brenner asked in a telephone interview with The Southern Illinoisan from his grandparents' home in Indiana.

The former editor of the Southern Illinois University Carbondale student newspaper is at the center of a media firestorm.

ABC wants to fly him to New York City. So do NBC and CBS. CNN has called, too, he said.

Friday afternoon, Brenner was fielding a constant barrage of calls from the media.

Brenner recently quit his job as a sportswriter with the East Oregonian, a job he landed shortly after donning his gown and receiving his diploma in the December 2004 SIUC graduation ceremonies.

He said he left the Oregon job after only a few months because he wanted to spend time with his family in Illinois - and with the girl he said he had known as "Kodee Kennings."

Now he is the focus of questions and debate in the media world.

He claims he was "an idiot."

For Brenner's sake, I hope he really was simply an idiot who got duped. Reynolds has claimed that she and Brenner were a couple, and that the hoax was his idea. It seems hard to believe he would be that stupid, but then again either option indicates he was stupid. Did he fake a story he couldn't possibly sustain long-term, or did he simply get suckered? Given that he involved his own parents with Reynolds, I want to believe that he is a victim. But there is some evidence that he might not be -- and that he is enjoying the attention.

As journalists continue to attempt to unravel the Kodee mystery, many are asking, "Why?"

Why did the people who played roles in the hoax get involved? What was the motive?

I spoke to a lot of fellow journalists who have been poking around in this case and most of them seem to be willing to give Brenner the benefit of the doubt.

I am still skeptical.

Here's my problem: One moment, Brenner says he's distraught. Then a second phone rings (he was juggling two phones most of Friday afternoon) and his voice turns giddy.

Frankly, he seems flattered by all of the media attention. Rather than draw the curtains in shame and retreat (as did Colleen Hastings/Jaimie Reynolds on Friday) Brenner seemed to revel in it.

In the last of many phone conversations I had with Brenner on Friday, he told me that he had committed to be on "Good Morning America" and "Nightline" on Monday. ABC had won the battle of the networks. According to him.

I'm very interested in the story. It is happening in my old stomping grounds -- litterally in my old backyard (I lived and worked just a block from the SIU Campus for a couple of years in the late 1980s). My family has a connection going back to my dad and his siblings starting school there in the early 1950s, continuing through the my generation and including two members if the family teaching for the university. I want to see how this story turns out -- and how the perpetrators are dealt with by the powers that be.


MORE ON THIS STORY FOUND AT Michelle Malkin, Resistance is Futile, Angry in the Great White North, Florida Masochist, Doc Rampage, Harleys, Cars, and Girls, Salient Points, Florida Cracker, With Cheese, It Comes In Pints, Brainster's Blog, Getting Nothing But Static From MSM, Out of the Box, Don Surber, The Busch Stadium III Photo Blog, My Yellow Country Teeth, Musings From Brian J. Noggle, Right Nation and Tim Blair.

|| Greg, 03:58 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Great Moments In Anti-War Anti-American Protest

Matt May has a great piece in the American Thinker highlighting a little known precedent for Cindy Sheehan's actions in Crawford.

NEW YORK (Nov. 20, 1776) – The grieving mother of an American soldier killed in action during the recent failed defense of Fort Washington is demanding an audience with Gen. George Washington.

“George is the biggest butcher on the face of the earth,” Mrs. Ima Benedict declared to a throng of nearly 25 Loyalist pamphleteers and newspapermen.

About 30 fellow protestors on a street corner on the upper west side of Manhattan joined Mrs. Benedict today at what has been dubbed “Camp Arnold” by supporters of Mrs. Benedict’s cause. The group held aloft homemade placards reading “No Blood For Representation,” “George, Talk to Ima” and “Justice for Arnold.”

Arnold Benedict was one of nearly 3,000 American soldiers killed during the recent attempt to defend Fort Washington on Manhattan. Mr. Benedict, of Massachusetts, signed on with the American army at the beginning of the year. Mrs. Benedict said that she pleaded with him not to join but Mr. Benedict and his father said he was old enough to make his own decisions. He was 22-years old. Mrs. Benedict claims the war is invalid.

I urge you to read this important historical report.

|| Greg, 03:26 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 26, 2005

Iraq Soldier Hoax

This is one of the most shocking stories I’ve ever encountered. It is shocking because of the false nature of the claims, the use of a child in the hoax, and the fact that no one picked it up over two years. It is almost impossible to know where to begin.

I suppose I should start with the admission of the campus paper at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale.

It was a heart-rending story--a blonde waif, her mother dead, entrusted to the care of a family friend while her father fought with the 101st Airborne in Iraq. The youngster was intelligent, friendly and engaging, and developed close bonds with many of the newsroom staff.

Then a week ago came the news that her father had been killed in Iraq.

Every war casualty leaves a trail of pain, but the story of a 10-year-old girl losing her only parent to the war is particularly poignant, and the Chicago Tribune showed interest.

In the course of checking out the details, a troubling problem appeared: The story wasn't true. What began as a nightmarish possibility became impossible to deny. There was no record with the Department of Defense of the death.

The father who was called Dan Kennings was not killed in Iraq. We checked with central command in Baghdad. There was no Dan Kennings in the 101st Airborne. No Dan Kennings in the entire Army.

We checked with Cathy Gramling, media relations officer at Fort Campbell, Ky., who in turn checked with the Army Human Resources Command.

"We cannot find a record of a Dan Kennings on active duty or having been killed in Iraq," Gramling said.

Holy crap!

You see, the paper had been running stories by and about this little girl and her father for the last two years. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes Brenner’s reaction.

"Looking back on it now, it makes so much sense. I don't know how I could have been such an idiot," said Michael Brenner, the former Daily Egyptian reporter who first wrote about Kodee, and then spent two years staying in contact as a close friend of her and her purported aunt and guardian, who said her name was Colleen Hastings.

Brenner now knows the names to be false, the friendship was a lie, and that hours of telephone interviews and conversations he thought he was having with the girl were actually with the woman. "I was thoroughly convinced."

The relationship between "Kodee"' and the Daily Egyptian started in spring 2003, when Brenner wrote a feature story about Kodee's pain at the departure of her father, identified as Dan Kennings, and included excerpts of a letter she purportedly wrote to him:

"Don't die, OK dad? ... You should find Saddam and run him over with your tank ... I love you and don't die. Love, Kodee."

Another published letter, purportedly by Kodee, asked: "Are you still coming home dad? I'm still here without you ... Hey dad I dug a fox hole. It is regulashin ... Can you kill all the bad guys now so Air Force One can bring you home?"

People wee truly taken with this cute kid with a dead mother and a father in Iraq. How could you not be? The letters sounded genuine, and everybody assumed it was a true story. Unfortunately, the folks assuming included Brenner, who admits he didn’t check out the facts as closely as he should have. Its just that decent people don’t make up stuff like this – and certainly don’t use kids this way.

And then the big lie was exposed by the Chicago Tribune, which wanted a story on how this precious little girl would go on having lost both parents.

On Saturday morning, cars began pulling into the gravel parking lot of a one-story American Legion hall in Orient, Ill., about 30 miles northeast of Carbondale, for a memorial service. Hastings and Kodee got out of a red Pontiac Grand Am, the little girl wearing an Army uniform shirt that hung down to her knees.

People inside the memorial service said both Hastings and Kodee were in tears. A video showed Kennings in his fatigues speaking with a group of children at a church, and there was a scrapbook filled with pictures of Kennings straddling a tank cannon or huddling with other soldiers.

Tribune reporters continued asking questions, and some students and a faculty member were growing increasingly hostile because of suggestions that Kennings did not exist. By Tuesday night, however, Brenner was pacing nervously outside a Dairy Queen in Carterville, Ill., talking to Hastings on his cell phone. He handed the phone to a Tribune reporter, and Hastings said she would come to the Dairy Queen and listen to questions.

Brenner, 25, said he was still convinced of Kennings' existence and defended Hastings for trying to protect a little girl.

Hastings pulled into the parking lot in the same red car she'd driven to the memorial service. She was told that the military denied Kennings' existence and that the name Colleen Hastings appeared in no public-records databases in Illinois. She was asked for a driver's license and for a death certificate for Kennings. With each question, Hastings shook her head no.

After Brenner spoke to her for a minute alone, she drove off.

State records show that the car is registered to a woman living in Marion, and on Wednesday a reporter was there looking for the woman's granddaughter, Jaimie Reynolds.

When she came out of the house, Reynolds was the same woman who had been at the Dairy Queen as Colleen Hastings.

Sitting on the back porch and wearing a long-sleeved Southern Illinois University shirt, her face flush from crying, Reynolds admitted that she had pretended to be Hastings. She said that Kennings was an invention, and later explained that those who met him actually had met Trovillion, the acquaintance who believed he was acting in a film.

She said, and the Tribune confirmed, that she had been a radio and television production student at the university. She graduated in 2004, putting her there alongside the very people she was deceiving.

Reynolds acknowledged the little girl is the daughter of friends and said she persuaded the parents to let her bring the child to Carbondale regularly by saying she was filming a documentary about a soldier killed in Iraq.

"We told her it was for a movie," Reynolds said.

Reynolds now claims that Brenner was in on the plot from the beginning, a charge that he denies.

And as the local paper in Carbondale notes, the motive for the hoax is quite murky.

The Daily Egyptian's general manager said the motive behind the entire Kodee story may be the biggest riddle yet to unravel.

"There is still confusion over what the motive may have been," Speere said.

However, he added that he didn't think money was the motive.
However, in many of Kodee's columns it was noted that her father had to pay $2 per minute to phone home from Iraq and the father's personal e-mail, a Yahoo account, was listed.

It will be interesting to see how much money, if any, these frauds got from good-hearted people.

It appears that the fake Kodee and her family were duped as well, if the Chicago Tribune's story is to be believed (though you have to wonder why the parents didn';t ask more questions sooner if they were not a part of the whole scheme).

On Thursday, 10-year-old Caitlin Hadley sat between her parents on a couch in her mom's office, retelling the two-year odyssey that began with her belief that she was going to be the star of a documentary film about a little girl named Kodee.

"It was sort of weird, but I had a lot of fun," Caitie said.

Her father, Richard Hadley, is a pastor at a Nazarene church in Montpelier, Ind., and her mother works for the church's regional office. Both said they felt they'd been scammed by Reynolds.

"I just realized that I didn't know this girl," Tawnya Hadley said. "In the profession that my husband is in, we move and meet new people all the time. What if she'd never brought Caitie back? We feel like we're idiots."

The Hadleys lived in Buffalo, Ky., during most of the time Reynolds was making the four- to five-hour drive from Carbondale to pick up Caitie and bring her to southern Illinois.

Caitie said that when she and Reynolds were with other people, Reynolds told her they were "filming." Caitie was to pretend to be Kodee, and "she said I needed to act like a tomboy because Kodee was a tomboy."

Caitie's understanding was that everybody she met in Carbondale was in the movie, which was being filmed by hidden cameras. So when they went into the Daily Egyptian newsroom the first time, she pretended to be Kodee and believed that the reporters and editors were playing along as characters.

"I met all the people she had in the movie," Caitie said. "We were always on camera, but I didn't see any cameras."

As Caitie's involvement continued, the Hadleys began asking why the documentary had not been finished.

About a month ago, after a long silence, the Hadleys heard from Reynolds.

She said a new group of students wanted to finish the documentary, and they needed to borrow Caitie again for a memorial service because Dan Kennings had been killed in Iraq.

The parents agreed, and Reynolds drove Caitie down for one last experience.


In her home in Indiana on Thursday, Caitie reflected on Jaimie Reynolds, the woman who during the past two years became like a "big sister" to her.

"I feel sad for her," Caitie said. "And I feel like she betrayed me."

Yes, Caitie, these folks betrayed us all – especially the men and women in uniform and their families. I hope that some way is found to punish these people for what they did to you and to them. It was terribly wrong.

(Personal note – The connection between my family and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale stretches back over half a century. Many of my family members are proud SIU Salukis, though none were associated with the Daily Egyptian. Two are former faculty members, but none in journalism. And yes, I have taken classes there, though I graduated with both a BA and an MS from another state university in Illinois.)

NOTE: Edrahe at The Busch Stadium III Photo Blog provides a great set of bulletpoints, since you can't understand this game without a scorecard.

MORE ON THIS STORY FOUND AT Michelle Malkin, Resistance is Futile, Angry in the Great White North, Florida Masochist, Doc Rampage, Harleys, Cars, and Girls, Salient Points, Florida Cracker, With Cheese, It Comes In Pints, Brainster's Blog, Getting Nothing But Static From MSM, Out of the Box, My Yellow Country Teeth and Tim Blair.

» Doc Rampage links with: impersonating a ten-year-old

|| Greg, 06:30 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Why Bother?

The man has been sentenced to death. Why should we force-feed him if he wants to go on a hunger strike and kill himself?

A judge granted Montgomery County jail officials yesterday the authority to force-feed convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad, who has refused to eat or drink since he was transferred Monday from a Virginia prison.

Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge James L. Ryan issued the order after the county's Department of Correction and Rehabilitation filed court papers yesterday saying Muhammad was "in imminent danger of very serious bodily harm, including death, if he does not begin to receive nourishment within the next several days."

Corrections officials said in the court papers that Muhammad, 44, objected to the food at the jail in Clarksburg and to limits on his access to legal documents. The court papers quote Muhammad as directing a correctional officer to tell the warden to "get the IVs ready."

Muhammad's attorney, public defender Paul DeWolfe, argued during a hearing yesterday that the county should resolve the problems with his client rather than force-feed him. Nonetheless, the judge gave the go-ahead to feed him against his will if necessary.

As of about 9 p.m. yesterday, authorities had not exercised that option, said a person familiar with the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the high-profile nature of the case.

Personally, I’d say “Buh-bye, John!”

|| Greg, 06:23 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Which Counts More – Victim’s Ethics Or Society’s Safety?

I can’t help but be struck by the similarity in these two stories. And I cannot help but be offended by the implicit argument that the dead victim’s presumed wishes should override the safety of others.

The first comes from Australia. A marine biologist was attacked and killed by a great white shark. The parents’ response?

Horrified friends saw Jarrod Stehbens, 23, dragged under by a Great White off Glenelg Beach, South Australia.

His body has not been found, and normally there would be a search for the "killer" shark.

But dad David said: "Jarrod would not have wanted anything killed.
"He was doing exactly what he wanted to do. He loved the sea."

Uh, I’m sorry for your horrible and tragic loss, but I’ve got to tell you that it doesn’t matter what Jarrod would have wanted. Setting aside the fact that he is dead, we have a creature out there that has now attacked and killed a human being. That creature must die to make sure it does not repeat the action. It is about safety for others, not revenge.

And then there is this from Houston. A prominent Hindu community member was robbed and murdered, and his killer has been arrested. That killer now faces the death penalty. The response from some of the victim’s friends? You guessed it.

The arrest is just the beginning of a judicial process that could involve the death penalty if there is a conviction. And that could stir up complex reactions among Chopra's friends.

Vijay Pallod, a friend and co-worker, said Akhil was a nonviolent person who always sought the positive.

"Akhil, I don't think he would ask for the death penalty," Pallod said. "But this is going to be a debate among the community."

Again, I’m sorry, but this is not just about revenge. It is also about the safety of others in the community at large. The individual here has killed once simply to enrich himself. We must render him permanently incapable of doing so, regardless of what the victim would have supported.

Those who support the “do not kill” message here are not bad people – just misguided. They think the victim and his beliefs outweigh the needs of society as a whole. And they are wrong.

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

Where’s Evan?

The former top-level exec with Air America is on the lam, with $875,000.

The former chairman of Air America Radio, Evan Montvel Cohen - who former colleagues said engineered transfers of more than $800,000 to the liberal radio network from a boys and girls club in the Bronx - is missing, according to a lawyer who is trying to have him served with legal papers.

At least two people have said Mr. Cohen is in Hawaii. He has not responded to a series of e-mail messages in recent weeks from The New York Sun asking him about his role.

Mr. Cohen, 39, helped lead the launch of Air America in March 2004. Less than two months later, Piquant LLC acquired the radio network from Mr. Cohen's Progress Media. Piquant LLC has agreed to pay $875,000 to Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club, without interest, in installments over the next two years.

Watch out kiddies – he might be after the contents of your piggy banks next. He has a history of stealing from children.

» UNCoRRELATED links with: Where in the world is Evan Cohen?

|| Greg, 06:18 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Sounds Unethical To Me

Would you trust a study by a tobacco company scientist that showed no connection between smoking and cancer? I didn’t think so.

Why then would you trust a study by an abortion industry scientist and an abortionist regarding fetal pain?

Two of five authors of an article published in a medical journal on Wednesday saying that fetuses probably cannot feel pain before the 29th week of pregnancy did not tell the journal that they had abortion-related activities that might be seen as a conflict of interest, the journal's editor said Wednesday.

The editor, Dr. Catherine D. DeAngelis, of The Journal of the American Medical Association, said in an interview that had she been aware of the activities, the journal most likely would have mentioned them. But she added that the disclosure would not have kept the article from being published, because editors and outside experts who had read the manuscript before publication had found it scientifically sound.

One author, Susan J. Lee, a medical student, is also a lawyer who for eight months from 1999 to 2000 worked in the legal department at Naral, an abortion rights group. Another author, Dr. Eleanor A. Drey, performs abortions and is medical director of an abortion clinic.

Neither tried to conceal those activities from reporters before the journal article was published. Dr. Drey's role as an abortion provider was reported in The New York Times on Wednesday; Ms. Lee was not quoted or mentioned. All the authors are from the University of California, San Francisco.

Anti-abortion groups criticized the journal's failure to mention the two authors' work and said their backgrounds revealed a bias that cast doubt on their findings. The National Right to Life Committee issued a statement yesterday calling Ms. Lee and Dr. Drey "pro-abortion activists" whose conclusions were "predetermined by their political agenda."

The fact that Dr. DeAngelis did not know about the authors' activities was first reported Wednesday in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The journal article questioned the need for proposed state and federal legislation that would compel doctors to tell women having abortions at 20 weeks or later that their fetuses would feel pain and to offer pain medicine specifically for the fetus.

In interviews yesterday, Dr. Drey and Ms. Lee said they did not regard their work as a conflict of interest and so it had not occurred to them to report it to the journal editors.

Really – you make your money working in that particular industry, and your conclusion is that the industry needs not be regulated. If you don’t see the conflict, you have no ethics.

Oh, yeah, you work for the abortion industry. You have no ethics.

|| Greg, 06:15 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Planned Profiteering

They say they are all about women’s health. Why, then, would they sign a deal that would allow them to make a 500% profit on emergency contraception – while undercutting all the local pharmacies?

If the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) "gives a green light for over-the-counter distribution, Planned Parenthood stands to take in a minimum $100 million profit over a five-year period from sales of the Plan B 'morning-after' pill," said Jim Sedlak, executive director of American Life League's STOPP International.

"Such action from the FDA would allow Planned Parenthood to take maximum advantage of a sweetheart deal the organization arranged with Plan B's owner, Barr Pharmaceuticals," to buy the drug at below-market cost and undercut other pharmacies' retail prices, he stated.

Sedlak said the details of the business deal were exposed when internal emails of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) were made public during a California court case. These documents show how the organization worked out a secret arrangement with Barr Pharmaceuticals, the owner of the Plan B patent.

Under a five-year agreement, Planned Parenthood would be able to buy Plan B from Barr at bargain-basement prices, undercut local pharmacies and clear an average $20 profit on each Plan B kit, according to Sedlak.

Let’s consider the numbers. PP would get the drug at $4.25. They deal let’s them sell it at $25.00. Local pharmacies average $32.00. Over five years, the “non-profit” group dedicated to “women’s health” would rake in a $20 million profit a year dispensing this medication that they consider so essential that they want it turned into an over-the-counter drug – with PP as the cheapest distributor while getting a preferred price.

I'm all for capitalism. I've go no problem with a business or individual making a profit. But this is a non-profit organization that claims to be engaged in charitible work. Those being gouged here are the organization's clients.

So why is Planned Parenthood out to make a profit off of poor women during a time of great personal crisis?

|| Greg, 06:13 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Act Of Kindness For One Of Our Soldiers

I love these stories.

When Chris Yanez wanted to take his girlfriend out for a special dinner to celebrate their one-year anniversary, he chose the venerable restaurant Canlis, perched high above Lake Union.

Yanez, a soldier returning from Iraq, knew the dinner would be pricey. What he didn't expect is that it would be free. And he also didn't expect that when he walked out, the place would be in tears.

Before going to dinner Wednesday night, Yanez, a reservist who spent a year in Iraq as a machine-gunner, put on his green dress Army uniform, the one he was proud to wear. With his girlfriend, Liz Coleman, on his arm, he walked into Canlis, where owner Mark Canlis found the couple a special table with a panoramic view of the lake and the city.

"I was a captain in the Air Force, so I have a soft spot there," Canlis said.
A few minutes later, a man at a nearby table — who wanted to remain anonymous — walked up to the restaurant owner. "I was noticing the young soldier and saw them looking at the menu," he told Canlis. "I know he was looking at prices and I know this is a special thing, so I would like to take care of part of their bill."

Then another family, the Greenbergs, said they, too, wanted to help pay for the meal. By the end of the night several patrons had, unknown to Yanez, offered to pay for the young couple's meal. With Canlis also sharing the costs, the $150 bill evaporated.

Yanez and Coleman were sharing a peach-cobbler dessert when Canlis walked up with a piece of molten chocolate lava cake.

"There's folks in this restaurant who don't think you should have to share a dessert," Canlis told the couple. "And they don't think you should pay the bill."
Coleman burst into in tears. Tana Greenberg, whose family helped pay the bill, said she, like several other patrons, was wiping her eyes.

"This brought out the patriotism in all of us," she said. "It was just the right thing to do. We're sending our kids over there and they're dying to uphold our beliefs. We just said this couple should not have to buy their meals. It was showing our belief in the uniform and what it stands for."

There is more to this story. You se, this isn’t the first time this has happened – and one time it was the restaurant staff that paid the bill. So if you find yourself out in the Seattle area, this would be the place to go for dinner.

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

An Analysis I Agree With

Cindy Sheehan claims her rage is directed at George W. Bush. I believe she believes that. I also believe she is wrong.

She claims to speak for her son – but by all accounts (except hers), her son volunteered for military service, voluntarily reenlisted, and volunteered for the mission on which he was killed.

So at whom is Cindy Sheehan REALLY pissed off?

It should be obvious – she is angry at Casey Sheehan.

Sigmund Freud had a concept he called “projection, which has been defined as a defense where the ego deals with unacceptable impulses and/or terrifying anxieties by attributing them to someone in the external world.

In many ways I think that explains the behavior of the media’s current patron saint, Cindy Sheehan, whose hate rhetoric aimed at President Bush is really meant for someone else who she can’t admit even to herself is her real target. To do so would represent one of those “unacceptable impulses” Dr. Freud was talking about.

In this case it could well be that Cindy Sheehan is projecting her rage at George Bush when the one she really despises is her late son Casey, who died as a hero in Iraq, precisely because he did die a hero in Iraq.

The more I listen to Cindy Sheehan and consider her past actions and her past words, it occurs to me she has always been a liberal, she’s always been anti-military, and she’s always been anti-Republican. It appears that she raised Casey in such an environment, yet despite that what does he do? He not only joins the military engaged in a war she bitterly opposes, but to add insult to injury when his enlistment runs out, he re-enlists although he knew that by so doing it meant he would be sent to Iraq where a war his mother despises is being fought.

Think about that. What Casey did was to reject not by words but by deeds his mother’s most closely-held beliefs.

I’ve expressed this view a few places around the net, though not in anywhere near the depth that Michael Reagan does. Cindy Sheehan is conflicted that her son (who I do not doubt she loved with every decent passion that accompanies motherhood) rejected her beliefs and became an American hero – how can she hold close the memory of her first-born child while rejecting all that he chose to become? And so she directs her anger at the most convenient, most safe target out there – the President of the United States, whose policies (and whose election) she has always rejected. And in doing so, she can stuff her words and her ideology into the mouth of her dead son, and make herself believe that she is really speaking what her son believed – even though his every action shows that he rejected his mother’s politics and pacifism.

Get help, Cindy. If you don't do something about the misdirected anger that goes along with your grief, you are going to be permanently scarred by it.

|| Greg, 06:06 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (6) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Democrats Do Sweden

Look where Democrat activist Fred Phelps is going next.

The fanatical American Baptist minister, Fred Phelps, is on his way to Sweden.

"We'll hunt down your king," he said ominously to Expressen. "It doesn't make any difference where he tries to hide."

Phelps' hatred of the royal family and all things Swedish is linked directly to his equally virulent hatred of homosexuals. He praises homophobic crimes, including murder. When controversial Swedish minister, Åke Green, was convicted of inciting hatred of homosexuals following an anti-gay sermon, Phelps saw red and turned his attention to Sweden.

"You're doomed to spend eternity in hell," he continued. "All you Swedes and your Swedish king and his family."

The minister and twenty members of his congregation from the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, are planning to come to Sweden at the beginning of September. They are bringing plenty of placards in order to spread their message that Sweden is the cradle of all evil and that the king rules a nation of sodomites.

King Carl Gustaf is their primary target.

"Your king represents your doomed country and we'll find him wherever he may be."

A lot of this has to do with the case of Swedish minister Åke Green, whose conviction of a hate crime for preaching a sermon critical of homosexuality was overturned this spring. The Swedish Supreme Court will hear the government’s appeal this fall.

|| Greg, 05:52 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 25, 2005

Housing Non-Discrimination And Property Rights

I own my house. What business, then, does the government (any government, from the federal level down to my city) in regulating who I may or may not sell my house to? That is not a rhetorical question, given the nature of this case in Virginia.

In the first case of its kind, the Alexandria Human Rights Commission unanimously agreed Monday night that Long & Foster Real Estate Co. discriminated against a single gay man who wanted to buy a home in a quiet, tree-lined neighborhood.

Instead, the house went to a young married couple, who continue to own it.
The commission cited the McLean-based real estate company for discriminating against Lawrence Cummings, 52, because of his marital status or his sexual orientation. The basis for its decision won't be made public for 30 days.
Long & Foster could be required to pay up to $5,000 in fines to the city of Alexandria.

Cummings has already paid thousands of dollars in attorney's fees since he learned that his offer on the house in the Beverly Forest area had been rejected in February 2004.

"It is for the cause. For the principle," he said. "I don't believe you can discriminate against someone for their martial status or sexual preference and be able to get away with it."

Actually, Mr. Cummings, you are exactly wrong in every moral sense. You have no right to buy a house if the owner is unwilling to sell it to you. And that is the case even if you are willing to meet the price set by the owner – because the right to determine who one does business with is a matter of fundamental human rights that pre-exists any statute.

Let’s look at the particulars of the case.

In February 2004, Cummings and his partner had already made offers on six houses and were getting tired of looking. When he saw the ranch-style house on Pullman Lane on a Saturday, he thought he had found what he was looking for. "I thought, 'Oooooh, cute,' " he explained. He met the sellers briefly and made an offer for the asking price -- $555,000 -- that same day.
"I thought surely I was going to get this house," he said.

But two days later, his agent called and said the owner had chosen a young married couple who had made an offer of $45,000 less. "She said it was the fact that I'm single and they sensed that I'm gay," Cummings said. And so he filed his complaint.

At the hearing, Cummings's attorney played a tape of a voice-mail message from a Long & Foster agent to a Realtor for McEnearney Associates, who was representing Cummings, describing the seller as a "fuddy-duddy" and explaining who she wanted to own the house:

"She was just extremely concerned that a young family, who would love the house and care for it, just like they did, down to the last curtain, which had been made from a wedding dress from one of their children, [would] love the house as much as they did," Anise Snyder of Long & Foster left in the message to David Howell of McEnearney, according to the case file.

Brien Roche, attorney for Long & Foster, said that the young couple who bought the house had made an equal offer, put down more earnest money and were chosen because they had shown more enthusiasm, even writing a letter about how much they liked the house and the curtains. Cummings, an interior designer, loved the house, too, but not the curtains, he would say later. "Old, dirty drapes? I don't think so," he said.

"There were both business and emotional reasons as to why the seller chose the people," Roche said in the case file. "It had nothing to do with marital status, nothing to do with anything other than the facts I just mentioned."

But ultimately, who cares if it was marital status or sexual orientation – or even race? The ultimate right regarding the conveyance of the home to another individual belongs not to the buyer, but to the seller. The house was hers, and she had every right to decide that she wanted to see a traditional family in that house rather than a childless pair of homosexuals. She had every right to arrange her business affairs in such a way that the house went to such a family – even if the decision made no sense from a purely economic standpoint. The right to make such a decision is essential to any meaningful concept of economic liberty.

More to the point, no one can point to a natural right – as opposed to a government-decreed positive right – to acquire a particular piece of property. That government believes it has any sort of moral right to regulate or penalize the decision of an owner to sell to a preferred buyer is corrosive of the right to own and dispose of property – and with it, the capitalist system.

Now some may argue that I am supporting housing discrimination. They are right. But as long as that discrimination is engaged in by a private party, I don't see a compelling government interest in stopping it that in any way justifies the infringement of property rights stopping it would entail.

|| Greg, 08:12 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Stop Persecuting Black Criminals!

Get your red-hot victim rhetoric here!

Black leaders in Dallas and across the country are crying foul as a string of federal corruption investigations have targeted black politicians.

"Our leadership is being attacked all over the country," said Dallas Nation of Islam minister Jeffrey Muhammad. "We need to realize this and come together with a local and national agenda for the betterment of our own community."

Most of the people named so far in the FBI's investigation into corruption at Dallas City Hall and the city's tax-credit housing program are black. They include four black City Council members and three black members of the powerful City Plan Commission.

The predominance of blacks named in the investigation has stunned veteran black politicians.

Yo, J-Mu – quit selecting morally-challenged lowlifes as your leaders and you won’t have this problem. Elect some folks with the moral fiber to say no to bribes, kickbacks, and other schemes designed to enrich themselves at the expense of the taxpayers. If you do that, then there will be no need for your so-called leaders to be prosecuted. Unless, of course, you claim that one must be a felon to be authentically black.

|| Greg, 08:07 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Identify The Bad Guys

I love the outrageous twisting of morality here.

Five Palestinians were killed by IDF gunfire after midnight Wednesday during a raid to capture fugitives in Tulkarm.

The army said that soldiers of an elite Duvdevan unit surrounded a coffeehouse and called on the fugitives inside to surrender. Soldiers fired warning shots in the air, after which the fugitives as well as other gunmen on the scene opened fire at troops.

A firebomb and an explosive device were thrown at troops. In the exchange of gunfire four Palestinians were killed and a fifth died shortly after of his wounds.

Palestinians claim that only two of the dead were fugitives affiliated with the Islamic Jihad while the other three were teenagers, ranging in age from 16 to 18.

The Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aksa Martyrs' Brigades have threatened to exact a "painful revenge" for the deaths of the five Palestinians.

"This episode will not pass without a response," Islamic Jihad leader Muhammad al-Hindi said Thursday morning.

A Hamas spokesman said the revenge could take a variety of forms "in order to teach the enemy a lesson," Army Radio quoted.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei condemned an Israeli raid that killed five Palestinians in the West Bank as a "brutal crime."

"The brutal crime in Tulkarm shows that Israel does not want calm," Qurei said outside his office.

Israel takes out a group of terrorists, but is somehow the bad guy. The terrorists start shooting, but the alleged “innocent bystanders” are somehow the fault of the Israelis and not the terrorists.

Hamas must be crushed, for the sake of world peace. By any means necessary.

|| Greg, 08:05 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Anti-War Anti-American Protesters Have No Shame

I fully respect the right of folks to protest -- even against the war in Iraq. I even acknowledge their right (though not the propriety) of their use of the most vile of slogans .

But I think a line is crossed when the anti-War anti-American demonstrations are held outside military hospitals.

The Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., the current home of hundreds of wounded veterans from the war in Iraq, has been the target of weekly anti-war demonstrations since March. The protesters hold signs that read "Maimed for Lies" and "Enlist here and die for Halliburton."

The anti-war demonstrators, who obtain their protest permits from the Washington, D.C., police department, position themselves directly in front of the main entrance to the Army Medical Center, which is located in northwest D.C., about five miles from the White House. Among the props used by the protesters are mock caskets, lined up on the sidewalk to represent the death toll in Iraq.

Code Pink Women for Peace, one of the groups backing anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan's vigil outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford Texas, organizes the protests at Walter Reed as well.

Yeah, that's right -- they are protesting wounded vets in a military hospital. So much for all the rhetoric we hear about the anti-war anti-American protesters being concerned about the troops.

And given Sheehan's prominent association with the sponsor of the Walter Reid demonstrations, it is simply one more reason to question whether she really gives a damn about American men and women in uniform. If she cannot bring herself to denounce this particular activity by Code Pink and cut her ties with a group that would engage in such tactics, then I think we have to question her commitment to anything other than an agenda which supports the killers of her son.

|| Greg, 05:15 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 24, 2005

A Remarkable Accomplishment -- And A Personal Note

I don't know how many of you saw the news coverage about Hilary Lister. For a quadrablegic to manage to navigate the English Channel using a sip=and-puff mechanism to control her boat is more than merely impressive. I'm at a loss for words.

A British woman on Tuesday became the first quadriplegic to sail solo between Britain and France across the English Channel, coast guards said.

Hilary Lister, 33, who is able to move only her head, eyes and mouth, took six hours to navigate her boat, the Malin, unaided through one of the busiest and most treacherous shipping lanes in the world.

"It is very emotional for me. I was absolutely certain that once I got in the boat that I could make it to France. I am too stubborn to give up," Lister told reporters as she quaffed champagne after arriving at the northern French port of Calais.

"I want to get able-bodied people to rethink their views about the disabled," she said, adding that she now wants to sail around Britain's coast.

Coast guards at the southern English port of Dover, where Lister began her journey, said it was the first time a quadriplegic had made the voyage solo.

Lister's vessel has been adapted to be controlled by the "sip and puff" method, allowing Lister to adjust the sails and tiller by blowing and sucking through two straws.

Hillary Lister was once an athlete, before her illness.

Ms Lister has been a quadriplegic for four years, due to a progressive degenerative disease, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, which has worked its way up from her ankles to her neck.

And that is what made this story speak to me so loudly.

You see, I find this story both inspiring and heart-breaking at the same time. As some of you who read my words know, from time to time I talk about my wife's health problems, and the "cluster of degenerative neuromuscular conditions" that she struggles with. One of the two major ones is the condition from which has rendered Ms. Lister wheelchair bound. Fortunately, Paula's condition has not deteriorated to anything even approximating that of Hilary Lister, butthe article reminds me of the bravery that she shows every day. It also serves as a sobering reminder of what the future may hold for the two of us.

Let it be enough to say to you, my readers, that Paula is the light of my life and that the ten years we have been married have been a source of such joy to me.

And if you should ever come by the site and read this post, I want you to know that I love you, sweetheart, and that you are very much a hero and an inspiration to me.

|| Greg, 08:58 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

McCain Gets It Right

I’m not a big fan of John McCain. That said, I think he pegged this one exactly right regarding the Cindy Sheehan situation.

"It's impossible to put yourself in the position of the president of the United States and say what he should or shouldn't do. If I was president of the United States, I probably wouldn't" meet with her, McCain told the Citizen editorial board.

Sheehan, whose son, Casey, was killed in Iraq last year, stood vigil with throngs of protesters outside Bush's Texas ranch last week, demanding the president hear her argument for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. Her story spawned similar anti-war protests across the nation, including one in Tucson Aug. 17.

Bush has taken heat from many for avoiding Sheehan, including some congressional Republicans who say the decision makes the White House appear unsympathetic.

McCain said he's seen Bush after meetings with families who lost loved ones - including Sheehan at an earlier meeting.

"He cares. He grieves. He has the greatest compassion and sympathy for these families and anyone who says he doesn't isn't telling the truth," McCain said. "I've seen it with my own eyes."

But giving in to demands for a face-to-face meeting would set a precedent that would potentially have costly implications for the White House, McCain said.

"Perhaps her coming out of a meeting and saying she had berated the president of the United States and that she demanded another meeting and had demanded meetings for other families who have now turned against the war," McCain said. "And should he continue now a dialogue with them? And if he doesn't have a regular dialogue with them, then he's insensitive and blah, blah, blah."

And to all the folks who think McCain is the only good Republican – he believes that we need to increase the presence of US forces in Iraq.

Rather than giving in to public pressure to bring troops home, the White House should be increasing the military presence in Iraq, he said.

"We cannot afford to fail. We cannot lose. If we lose, you will see Iraq factionalize, maybe be broken up," McCain said. "You will see it as a new center for Muslim extremism - slash - terrorism, and it will be sending a message throughout the world that the United States can be beaten."

So, all you folks out there criticizing the war – do you want America to win, or to be beaten? Are you with us or against us?

|| Greg, 07:33 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Response To Charita Goshay

I came across this interesting piece by the Canton Repository columnist this morning before breakfast. I think it raises a good point, but also needs a response because of a number of assumptions the writer makes.

It’s disturbing, this gang-tackling of anyone who dares to question the handling of the war in Iraq.

In recent weeks, Cindy Sheehan has been called “the scum of the earth,” a traitor, and other choice epithets that only a gangsta rapper could love.

Sheehan’s protest in Crawford, Texas, has been equated with her dancing on the grave of her dead soldier son. A few folks have even expressed glee upon hearing that Sheehan’s husband recently filed for divorce.

It’s only a matter of time before she’s blamed for her mother’s recent stroke.

Now hold on, Ms. Goshay. Is it your contention that Cindy Sheehan’s right to free speech is so sacrosanct that no one has the right to criticize her words or question her actions? You object to name-calling, but give Sheehan a pass on calling the president a murderer, a terrorist, a war criminal, and a member of a crime family. As far as her mother’s stroke goes, the closest I’ve seen to such an accusation against Sheehan is that her actions may have increased her mother’s stress. On the other hand, I’ve seen any number of Sheehan supporters suggest that George W. Bush and Karl Rove used the CIA to poison the stricken woman. I guess that is acceptable, though.

And let’s be honest here – there is something unsavory about a mother using her dead son as a prop to make a political point. Especially when doing so puts her on the same side as those who really killed her son.

It’s being argued that Sheehan’s actions are hurting our troops because it provides just the spark needed by the insurgents. Doubtful. It should be clear by now that roadside bombings in Baghdad are not incumbent upon how Americans feel about the war. Terrorists don’t give a damn what we think, and they certainly don’t need an anti-war protest 6,000 miles away to feel “emboldened.”

They would kill Cindy Sheehan as quickly as they did her son, because she’s an American.

I’ll agree with your assessment that the terrorists would kill Sheehan as quickly as they killed her son (or nearly 3000 innocents on 9/11), which should be reason enough to discount the woman’s rantings. But one of the lessons of Vietnam is that a war abroad that is being won on the field of battle can be lost in the streets of America if the enemy can manage to “wait out” the resolve of the American people. If you don’t believe that, check out General Giap’s memoirs.

But criticism of Sheehan is no longer about the rightness or wrongness of her protest.

It’s about her.

Half true – it is about her credibility. To the degree that questioning he credibility is “about her”, then I agree. So what? Discerning individuals are supposed to consider the credibility of a source when evaluating an argument. Especially when that source is claiming to have an indisputable and unquestionable moral authority.

Syndicated columnists have been on the front lines of the smear offensive, questioning not only Sheehan’s loyalty, but her very sanity.

They argue that her protest is no longer about her dead son. They’re right — just as Terri Schiavo’s situation evolved from a private family issue to a national discourse on the right to life.

People who want Cindy Sheehan to shut up and go away forget their history. History may love Charles Lindbergh and Henry Ford now, but both admired Adolf Hitler and were vocal critics of America’s foray into World War II.

Bowing under public pressure, Woodrow Wilson won re-election in 1916 by vowing to keep America out of Europe’s war — a promise he couldn’t keep.
Before it was over and done, some Vietnam veterans protested against their own war.

Fine. What’s your point? Protest is fine, as is opposition to war. But there is a question of time and manner. Once the war begins, the method of opposition needs to be muted in order to not give aid and comfort to the enemy.

As for questioning Sheehan’s sanity – most of us who have done so have done so respectfully, suggesting that she is still so overwhelmed by her grief that she may not be thinking straight. A fuller examination of her words and activities have led me to conclude that she is not crazy or overwrought – rather, her associations with convicted terrorist mouthpiece Lynn Stewart and a host of anti-American groups lead me to draw the conclusion that it is not simply the war she opposes, but the United States.

Among those leading the charge are Bill O’Reilly, who labeled Sheehan’s behavior “treasonous,” and Michelle Malkin, who once suggested that John Kerry may have earned his Purple Hearts by wounding himself.

Here’s a theory: Perhaps Kerry and Sen. Chuck Hagen shot each another.
Columnist David Horowitz said Sheehan has joined an “unholy alliance” that is threatening to undermine the mission, which has become “an epic battle for freedom.”

If it’s so epic, why are we and the British practically the only ones fighting it?

Why aren’t other Middle Eastern countries who claim to love freedom throwing in with us?

How can we dog the French when Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia won’t help rescue a neighbor from the clutches of terror and despotism?

How many sheiks and princes were fighting alongside Casey Sheehan on the day he was killed?

Malkin did not accuse Kerry of intentionally shooting himself – she argued (as did one of those present when the wound occurred) that one of Kerry’s wounds was caused by blowback from his own weapon, not the enemy. Since you are so concerned about the accuracy and honesty of statements made by partisan columnists, you might want to engage in in a bit of accuracy and honesty yourself.

The rest of the argument isn’t worth dignifying – after all, most of us were taught at a very young age that one should do the right thing, even if everybody else is doing something else. I’m sorry your family, church, and school failed to pass that bit of wisdom on to you.

The central question is not whether Cindy Sheehan is right or wrong, or even if the war is right or wrong; the central question is, does she have a right to free speech, or not?

Even Bush, commander-in-chief of the armed forces and the object of Sheehan’s increasingly caustic wrath, defends her right to have an opinion.

Cindy Sheehan is being lambasted as anti-American, but what’s more American than speaking your mind?

Sure, Charita, Cindy Sheehan has a right to speak. But freedom to speak is not freedom from criticism. Making one’s opinion known does not exempt you or it from criticism, not even from harsh criticism. You should know that – for your column is nothing but criticism of Sheehan’s critics.
And as for your final question, I’d like to ask you in return – do you think that a Klan rally is the height of Americanism? Or do you think that the message and the messengers deserve scorn?

|| Greg, 07:21 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An American Dictator

Utah is a pretty conservative place. I don’t think I’m betraying any sort of national secret by saying that it is because of the Mormons. I mean, they are as conservative a bunch of pro-family traditionalists as you are likely to find – and they are centered right in Salt Lake City.

That’s why this move by Salt Lake City’s mayor seems sort of dictatorial to me – he’s going to impose domestic partnership benefits on the city by decree, even if the city council rejects them. After all, he has the power.

No lobbying or emotional debate necessary.

Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson apparently can extend health benefits to unmarried partners of gay and straight city employees anytime he wants. And he said Tuesday that he will "absolutely" offer the benefits once the city finishes its research on the plan and he gets formal word he can do it without a City Council vote.

Still, Anderson hopes the council passes a symbolic resolution supporting the idea.

"As long as we're going to do this, we should demonstrate unity on this issue," he said. "Providing for equality should not create more division in our community."

Even a symbolic resolution is hardly a sure thing. The city's seven-member council leans conservative, and this is an election year for four of them.

If the council rejects a resolution, Anderson said he would go ahead and offer the benefits anyway. Barring quick action from another city, Salt Lake City would become Utah's first government to offer domestic-partner benefits.

Do you get the arrogance there? The use of what I can only assume to be the royal “We” in the third paragraph? Translated, the mayor is saying “I want a resolution of support, but I’m acting even if you refuse me one – and if that causes division, my opponents are the bad guys.”

I’d like to encourage the members of the City Council out in Salt Lake City to go on record in opposition to these benefits. What’s more, I’d like to encourage the people of Salt lake City to vote out any member of the council who votes for a resolution of support – and eventually Mayor Anderson. His tactics are antithetical to the American system, and he and his supporters need to be righteously slapped down by the vast majority whose values he is trampling upon.

Here’s a link to the email addresses of the members of the Salt Lake City Council. Be respectful, but express your views.

» Oblogatory Anecdotes links with: May We Buy You A Drink, Mayor Anderson?

|| Greg, 07:18 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (14) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Looking For Another 15 Minutes

She’s back!

Cindy Sheehan, the anti-American mother of an American hero, is headed back to Camp Dhimmi outside of Crawford in search of another 15 minutes.

Cindy Sheehan, the 48-year-old California mom whose anti-war protest has sparked international interest and plenty of controversy, will likely return to her post near President Bush's Central Texas ranch late Wednesday afternoon after a week-long absence.

Michelle Mulkey, a spokeswoman for the peace movement that Sheehan triggered just outside the town of Crawford, said Tuesday afternoon that Sheehan was expected to be back at her makeshift campsite near the Bush ranch sometime after 5 p.m.

It’s time for the media to make the point that this woman is giving aid and comfort to the folks who actually killed her son via her anti-American rhetoric

|| Greg, 07:16 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

America’s Veterans Speak

The American Legion passed Resolution 3 at the groups annual convention.

"The American Legion fully supports the president of the Untied States, the United States Congress and the men, women and leadership of our armed forces as they are engaged in the global war on terrorism and the troops who are engaged in protecting our values and way of life.

Do America’s veterans have sufficient credentials to satisfy the anti-war anti-American activists of their moral authority to speak on the issue?

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

Aloha Oh My!

I don’t blog from Dear Abby often, but this letter is just too much.

Dear Abby:

I am 62 and my husband is 93. Our next-door neighbor, "Sam," likes to expose himself. Other than that, he's a good neighbor and always ready to help out.

One day, a couple of my women friends were over visiting, and Sam stood in his doorway naked as a jaybird, waving at them. Mostly, he does this when my husband has gone inside the house.

His behavior worries me. If anything should happen to my husband, do you think Sam would try to force himself on me? Could he attack me and try to rape or murder me, or is he just a nice guy who likes to expose himself, and not the least bit dangerous?

I don't want to be a bad neighbor, and I don't want my name revealed, but this neighbor is really making me uneasy. Should I report what he's been doing to the police?

SCARED in Hawaii

Have we really reached the point in this society where we worry about being “impolite” if we call the police over someone exposing themselves? Sure, nudism may be a valid alternative lifestyle, but the limits are reached when you stand in your doorway naked for the public to see. And I wonder – would she be so hesitant to act if it was her 12-year old granddaughter (or grandson) who he waved at naked?

|| Greg, 06:54 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 23, 2005

Brock Peters – RIP

When I have taught English, I’ve used the film version of To Kill A Mockingbird. I did so again this past summer, and once again enjoyed the masterful acting of Brock Peters as Tom Robinson.

He passed away today.

Actor Brock Peters, best known for his heartbreaking performance as the black man falsely accused of rape in "To Kill a Mockingbird," died Tuesday at his home after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 78.

Peters was diagnosed with the disease in January and had been receiving chemotherapy treatment, according to Marilyn Darby, his longtime companion. His condition became worse in recent weeks.

He died peacefully in bed, surrounded by family, she said.

Peters also had a special place in my heart because of his appearance in two of the Star Trek films.

May he rest in peace, and may those who loved him find solace at this sad time.

|| Greg, 06:54 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

All Knocked Up And Heading To School

More than one out of every eight girls at Canto, Ohio’s Timken High School is pregnant as school starts this fall. If that number astounds you, please consider that it does not include those who have already had a child. What is the reason?

There are 490 female students at Timken High School, and 65 are pregnant, according to a recent report in the Canton Repository.

The article reported that some would say that movies, TV, videogames, lazy parents and lax discipline may all be to blame.

School officials are not sure they what has caused so many pregnancies, but in response to them, the school is launching a three-prong educational program to address pregnancy, prevention and parenting.

I’ll resist the temptation to make a snide comment about the contention that school officials don’t know what has caused so many pregnancies. I’m sure that a health of biology textbook clued them in really quick.

No, the reason is that sex has no consequences today. Look at what the school is doing – creating a parenting program to help these kids raise their kids. If it looks anything like my school district’s program, it will include free day care, free medical care, special scheduling, and a coordinator to get the new mothers hooked up with all the relevant entitlement programs. Getting pregnant and dropping a kid at age 16 won’t have any consequences at all – and when the little girl with the rotund belly is the guest of honor at a cafeteria baby-shower surrounded by all of her friends, being a “baby mama” will continue to look glamorous. And I won’t get into the question of the small number who actually get married on Saturday and come to school on Monday showing off their new wedding ring. And after graduation, many of them will be eligible for special scholarship money for overcoming the hardship of being a teenage mother.

I can still remember the day when getting pregnant (or even married) meant that you education was over. You had made an adult choice, and needed to live with the adult consequences. But with the consequences removed, what incentive is there for a young lady to put a dime between her knees and keep it there until graduation? None.

I realize that shame and consequences are dirty words in today’s society, and that using them marks one out as a cold-hearted SOB with an archaic value system. But let’s be honest – those social sanctions worked. Maybe we need to go back to them.

Either that, or more of my colleagues had better expect to hear what I heard from a student in my class several years ago – “Mister – I think I need to go to the nu-u-u-u-u-r-r-r-s-s-s-e! My baby’s coming.”

|| Greg, 06:52 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||


We have many American heroes fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here’s an American coward hiding in Canada, Joshua Key.

Key and his wife Brandi (shown) were at Algoma University College last night to talk about American war resisters like himself and to appeal to Canadians for help.

Their visit was part of the official launch of the New Democratic Youth of Canada's national War Resisters Campaign. aimed at convincing the Canadian Government to grant sanctuary to American servicemen and women who object to the war in Iraq.

Audience members were told last night that Josh suffers from severe posttraumatic stress disorder because of the events he witnessed and was forced to participate in while stationed in Iraq.

Because of his condition and because of the estimated 8,000 or more American war resisters like him. the Keys and others are calling for changes to the Immigration Act of Canada.

"The war in Iraq is illegal," Josh said. "We are hoping people of Canada will stand up and say war resisters are welcome here."

Canada is welcome to keep this coward – though I would prefer to see a SEAL team sent in to get him so that he can face his punishment as a deserter.
I wonder – is there any possibility that the US government could revoke the citizenship and passport of this filth and his family so that we can ensure that they are never, ever, permitted to set foot on American soil again?

|| Greg, 06:50 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Shut Up, Pat!

This is just stupid, and offensive.

Conservative U.S. evangelist Pat Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, saying the leftist leader wanted to turn his country into "the launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism."

The founder of the Christian Coalition said during the Monday night television broadcast of his religious program, "The 700 Club," that Chavez, one the most vocal critics of President George W. Bush, was a "terrific danger" to the United States.

"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," Robertson said.

"We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator," he continued. "It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack condemned Robertson's comments as "inappropriate" and said they were from a private citizen and did not represent the U.S.

While I would not object to seeing the people of Venezuela rise up and give him the Mussolini or Ceaucescu treatment, I don’t want to see our own government get back in this business over one tin-horn dictator.

Shut up, Pat!

|| Greg, 06:49 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Urban Vote Fraud – How The Democrats Accomplish It

This is a topic near and dear to my heart, since I’m a member of the local GOP ballot security committee, which trains poll-watchers and election judges how to spot and stop vote fraud. Selwyn Duke reports on some of the means by which fraud is perpetrated in Washington DC.

Experience has taught Deep Vote that it is transiency which provides Democrat political operatives with the most golden of opportunities to steal votes. In depressed urban areas an inordinate number of residents move in and out every year, with some taking up residence for only a brief time.

Stability is less common among the poverty-stricken and others suffering social dysfunctions, and such people are more numerous in large urban areas than elsewhere.

A high rate of transiency inevitably leaves a large number of people who no longer live in an area on the voter rolls. The local authorities, says Deep Vote, “are always somewhat late on removing non-residents.” All the Democrat operatives need do then is ascertain who these people are and vote for them. Deep Vote explains the mechanics of this process.

What we first need to know is that the Democrat operatives who are central to this fraud are known as “block captains” and “apartment captains.” Deep Vote tells us that a captain is a GOTV (Get out the vote) term for a campaign volunteer who knows the territory and is given a list of voters on his block or in his building who are believed to be sympathetic to his candidate. He is then charged with the task of driving these partisans to the polls.

Deep Vote then explains that since captains are usually “local/neighborhood leaders” or in the least have “been there for a while,” they “would know who has moved out.” It is then that the captains examine the voter rolls and “vote those people.”

This problem is not just confined to large urban areas. Yeas ago, as the GOP committeeman for a college campus voting precinct, I found that there were many registered voters who had long since moved on. Take my own dorm room as an example. There were six voters registered to that address – and I was the only one of them who actually lived there. It took me three months to get those voters tracked down and registered at their correct address or purged from the rolls. It never crossed my mind to engage in the mischief that was available to me.

Why are these ineligible voters left on the rolls?

Deep Vote also mentions factors that have exacerbated this problem by enabling these election thieves. First, many states have enacted “Motor Voter” laws, which he says often increase the chances of this type of vote-fraud. The reason for this is that such laws lead to the registration of larger numbers of irresponsible people who live transient lifestyles.

Then, not surprisingly, where there’s the appearance of corruption and turpitude there often lurks the Reverend without a congregation, Jesse Jackson. Some years ago he brought pressure to bear on Washington, DC to stop purging the voter rolls because doing so was “racist.” You see, racism is something on which ol’ Jesse is an authority.

Anyway, such a story is reminiscent of the hue and cry that ensued when Florida purged its voter rolls; back then accusations of racism were hurled as well. Just know, though, that those who use this ploy are scoundrels, scheming to facilitate the vote-fraud that can vault their candidate into office. Such people are to be despised.

Yeah, that’s right – easy registration and difficulty in purging the rolls (where it is done at all) make the casting of votes by these ghost voters that much easier. It doesn’t take much imagination to see the mischief that can be made of the process by these “extra voters”.

|| Greg, 06:47 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Sheila Embarrasses Houston Again

Thanks to the racial gerrymander required by the Voting Rights Act, Sheila Jackson Lee will be in office making a fool of herself for years. Here is the latest chapter.

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee visited the anti-war inspired "Camp Casey" near President Bush's ranch on Monday, lending support and words of encouragement to several families whose loved ones died in Iraq.

"It is time to bring our troops home," Lee said at the demonstration started by Cindy Sheehan, of Vacaville, Calif., on Aug. 6.

Sheehan, whose 24-year-old son Army Spc. Casey Sheehan died last year in Iraq, is currently in Los Angeles to be with her mother, who had a stroke. But about 60 other people were spread between two anti-war campsites near the ranch on Monday.

"What we want to do is give America a sense that it's OK to speak up and ask questions," said Lee, a Democrat from Houston.

She said that coalition forces of U.S. allies could come in to fill the security gap in Iraq.

Before you get too impressed, remember that this is the same buffoon who complained that the names for hurricanes didn’t sound black enough, and who asked NASA staff if the Mars Rover had taken any pictures of the flag that Neil Armstrong had left behind. She’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer – which is why she is the only member of Congress to associate herself with the group camped out in Crawford.

|| Greg, 06:46 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Our Illegal Alien Friends – An Asset Society?

Yeah – they are just here to work. Tell that to this girl.

An illegal alien, Jose Ramirez, 28, has been arrested and charged with the brutal beating of a 15-year-old girl who allegedly ignored his whistles at a construction site in Spotsylvania County.

Police say the 15 year old girl suffered a broken nose, bone fracture to the right side of her face and received approximately 30 stitches to her face and back of her head.

Police say the 15 year old girl was walking by on a road, when Ramirez, who was working on a construction project at a nearby townhouse, whistled at her.

Witnesses told police the next thing they saw, Ramirez appeared enraged and took off running after the girl. He allegedly began to beat her on her face and head.

Ramirez then fled into a nearby wooded area. Short while later, authorities found Ramirez a few blocks away. Ramirez, an illegal alien from El Salvador, allegedly resisted arrest but was finally subdued.

Ramirez is facing aggravated malicious wounding charges as well as abduction with intent to defile. Both charges carry a possible life sentence.

One more reason to send them all back.

|| Greg, 06:44 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 22, 2005

Watcher's Post

The results are in!

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are A Motive For Berger's Bizarre Behavior? by Dr. Sanity, and A Message to Cindy Sheehan by Iraq the Model. Congratulation, folks!

Want to be nominated? The Watcher himself offers an opportunity for nominations in exchange for a little link whorage. Take a look.

|| Greg, 07:39 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Fantastic (Four) Parable For Today

What would happen if Reed were a neo-con and the rest of the group were liberal peceniks?

Pat over at Brainster's Blog imagines the chaos.

It is worth the read -- and this weeks nomination for the Watcher's Council.

|| Greg, 07:23 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Hey Dan Patrick – Here’s Some Available Talent!

WMAL Radio caved in to pressure from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington D.C based terrorist front group with roots in Hamas, and fired Michael Graham for making arguably true comments about Islam and its connection to terrorism. Having first endured a three-week suspension, the ABC Radio station demanded additional outreach and apologies, which Graham refused as a matter of integrity.

A Washington, D.C., radio station has fired a talk show host who was criticized by an American Islamic civil rights group for claiming that "Islam is a terrorist organization."

"The First Amendment and I have been evicted from ABC Radio in Washington, D.C.," said Michael Graham, who had hosted a mid-morning talk show on WMAL until he made such comments on the air as "Islam is a terrorist organization," "Islam is at war with America," "The problem is not extremism. The problem is Islam," and "We are at war with a terrorist organization named Islam."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) demanded on July 25 "that I be 'punished' for my on-air statements regarding Islam and its tragic connections to terrorism," Graham said in a statement released to the press.

Graham sounds like someone who is a straight shooter when he is on the air. Here’s hoping that someone in the radio industry will pick him up.

If we are lucky, maybe Dan Patrick from KSEV Radio here in Houston will see about picking him up to fill the mid-morning slot after Laura Ingraham takes O’Reilly’s place. I think we’d love him here in Houston.

UPDATE: Michael Graham in his own words.

|| Greg, 07:19 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Treating Servicemen And Women Right

I spent a lot of years in Lake County, Illinois, when my dad was stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in various capacities. People in the area were always appreciative of the sailors, though sometimes a bit wary. I’m glad to see that some have taken the time to show a bit of kindness to the military personnel among them.

Random acts of kindness are happening in Lake County. Restaurants on the North Shore say their patrons are getting into the habit of picking up the tabs of fellow diners who happen to be military personnel as a gesture of goodwill.

At Egg Harbor Cafe, a cozy breakfast and lunch spot in Lake Forest, sailors from the Great Lakes Naval Base in North Chicago are treated to free meals several times a month. Diners started picking up the tab after Sept. 11, manager Michelle Rasmus said.

Most of the time, it's done anonymously. All of the time, the sailors are "very grateful," she said.

The restaurant has even taken a page from diners and foots the bill of one table of military personnel every month, Rasmus said.

At the Lantern, a family-style restaurant in Lake Forest, servers have come to recognize one male customer in his 30s who always picks up soldiers' tabs when he is there.

"Sometimes their tab is bigger than his tab," said waitress Sheena Shelafoe, who has seen it happen at least five times.

It is rather heart-warming to hear about folks who want to show a little kindness for those in uniform. It’s one reason that the area will always have a special place in my heart, as one of those areas this military brat still thinks of as “home”.

|| Greg, 07:17 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Spain’s First Married Priest

With special dispensation from the Pope, a Spanish bishop has ordained its first married priest.

A Roman Catholic bishop on the Spanish island of Tenerife has ordained a man as a Catholic priest despite the fact that he is married with two children.

The 64-year-old former Anglican pastor, David Gliwitzki, was ordained in La Laguna on the Canary Island.

The Bishop of Tenerife said the move was a unique exception within the Spanish Church.

According to Church rules, priests are supposed to be celibate. But the ordination was approved by the Pope.

This is not a new practice – Pope John Paul II permitted the ordination of Anglican clergy during his pontificate. But it highlights again that celibacy is not an intrinsic part of the priesthood, and is simply a part of man-made rules. In this day of declining numbers of priests, might the time have arrived to allow the ordination of married Catholic men?

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

Does The Koran Qualify As Holy Scriptures?

There is a big dispute going on in the state of North Carolina over the use of the Koran for the taking of oaths in state courts.

Traditionally, witnesses taking the stand in court are sworn in by placing their hand on the Bible.

But when Muslims in Guilford County, N.C., tried to donate copies of the Koran for courtroom use, judges turned them down.

Chief District Court Judge Joseph Turner says taking an oath on the Koran is not allowed by North Carolina state law, which specifies that witnesses shall place their hands on the “holy scriptures,” which he interprets as the Christian Bible.

“We’ve been doing it that way for 200 years,” he said. “Until the legislature changes that law, I believe I have to do what I’ve been told to do in the statutes.”

But the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the American Civil Liberties Union are challenging the Guilford County Courts.

“This was the first time that we had a judge … going on record and stating unilaterally what is a holy scripture and what is not — what we believe to be a violation of the establishment clause,” said Arsalan Iftikhar of CAIR.

Fine, use it, though many of us consider the Koran to be (at most) one step above Satanic. But don’t expect it to receive any extra reverence in the courthouse – so when the menstruating female bailiff wearing a Star of David who just ate a BLT carries it in her bare hands for you to use, don’t go all jihadi on us.

|| Greg, 07:08 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (11) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 21, 2005

Scum Will Out

This piece of excrement was gifted with talent and opportunities that many young people only dream about. He chose to be a self-centered thug, and has continued to descend to deeper depths of scumdom over the years.

Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips, who was wanted by police for domestic violence, was arrested Sunday after allegedly running his car into three teenagers who argued with him during a pickup football game, police said.

Police had been seeking Phillips since earlier this month for allegedly attacking his girlfriend twice, once choking her into unconsciousness.

Phillips joined a group of 16- and 17-year-olds in a pickup football game in Exposition Park on Sunday and got into an argument with several of the teens, said Los Angeles police officer Sandra Escalante. He left the park, but returned and drove a black Honda onto the field, allegedly running into three teenage boys, she said.

The teenagers were taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries, police said.

The car Phillips was driving was reported stolen in San Diego earlier in the week, Escalante said.

Phillips was arrested and held on the domestic violence felony warrant. Charges are pending in the Sunday incident, she said.

Now tell me -- What the hell could a couple of teenagers have done or said that meritted trying to run them down? But then again, why ask? He has a string of arrests for abusing women that date back to his college days.

I remember the day this cretin was drafted by the St. louis Rams, recently announced to be coming to the city near what was then my home. I was shocked and disgusted, as was my wife. We both knew that he was unlikely to have the discipline to use his talents to their fullest -- and that even if he did, he would be simply one more example of the thugification of popular culture.

I've watched as his every move has borne out my worst expectations and more.

Go to jail, Lawrence Phillips. Go directly to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

You had better start praying that your jailhouse daddy treats his bitches better than you did yours.

|| Greg, 10:41 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (6) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Additional Gray Wolves Ordered Released In New York

Who cares about the safety of himan beings -- the wolves must be restored!

A federal judge Friday ordered the Bush administration to step up efforts to restore the gray wolf to New York and three other northeastern states, a ruling that environmentalists called a major victory.

"The wolves are howlin' " in celebration, said Patrick Parenteau, director of the environmental law clinic at Vermont Law School.

Judge J. Garvan Murtha found that the Interior Department violated federal law in 2003 when it issued a rule saying no further efforts to restore the wolf were needed.

The ruling also covers Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Efforts to restore wolves had been successful in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. The government wanted to lump those states in with the Northeast in a new, 21-state eastern region, and declare that enough had been done to restore wolf populations throughout the eastern United States.

Anthony Tur, a Fish and Wildlife Service field officer in Concord, N.H., said the agency's headquarters in Washington would decide whether to appeal the ruling.

He questioned the push to build gray wolf populations in the Northeast, saying public support for such a move was unclear. He also cited disagreement in the scientific community about whether gray wolves ever populated the region.

Environmental groups argued that good wolf habitats are available in northern Maine and New York's Adirondack Mountains and that northern Vermont and New Hampshire likely would become an important corridor for wolves migrating between the two areas.

And here I was hoping for releases in Chappaqua, Harlem, and Manhattan.

|| Greg, 09:00 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||


Cindy Sheehan's 15 minutes are over. Her protest at Camp Dhimmi (I refuse to defile her son's sacrifice by referring to it by his name) has pretty much exemplified the worst of the anti-war/pro-jihadi movement.

Here are some examples.

Deb Saunders points out that Sheehan's protest is less about principled opposition to the war than it is a cry for attention -- emotion lacking in logic.

Cindy Sheehan, the mother of Casey Sheehan who died in combat in Iraq, became a public figure when she demanded a second visit with President Bush so he could answer her questions: "Why did you kill my son? What did my son die for?" She had set up camp near the president's home, until a second tragedy -- her mother's stroke -- caused her to leave Thursday.

By the time that happened, Sheehan, who has made her personal situation the issue and has hurled so many personal insults at others, was complaining that the protests are "not about me," they're about the war.

Not true. Cindy Sheehan never asked Bush to meet with other mothers of those who have died in Iraq. She has never tried to represent those mothers of slain soldiers who support the war. What's more, while many thoughtful critics of the war exist, Sheehan personifies the me-me-me focus of the anti-war movement. And that corner doesn't think.

Similarly, other parents of our honored war dead are speaking out against Sheehan's claims to moral authority superior to those who support continuing to oppose jihadi terrorism. Take this example from Portsmouth, NH.

Exeter's Natalie Healy lost her 36-year-old son Daniel Healy on June 28. Healy was serving as a Navy SEAL in Afghanistan. He died when the MH-47 Chinook helicopter he was riding in was shot down. Fifteen other Americans also perished in the crash.

Healy considered the rally a success. She was pleased with the turnout considering the slightly rainy weather and the short notice — she only started planning the rally on Thursday.

The rally started at noon and ended at about 2 p.m., although some involved with the demonstration stayed longer. The group included both veterans, as well as those who just wanted to show their support for the current conflicts.


In Portsmouth, Healy stood on the sidewalk clutching a photo of her son to her chest and an American flag in her other hand. Healy wants the troops to know that not all Americans feel the same way about the war as Sheehan does.

"It angers me and scares me," Healy said, speaking about Cindy Sheehan's protest. "I remember Vietnam. I remember how the protests started out back then. I'm here to do whatever I can."

Dan Healy's sister, Shannon, said support showed by the rally was wonderful. Shannon Healy said she had to take a little time off work, but felt it was important.

"No matter your politics," Shannon Healy said. "Love Bush or hate him. You have to support the men and women. ... I think Mrs. Sheehan is disrespecting the memory of her child. It's disrespectful. Her son made the choice (to be in the military)."

In interviews, some of those who spoke at the rally said that Sheehan's demonstration is aiding the enemy, by providing propaganda for the other side. Mixed with this was some anger that the media is focusing too much on the negative aspects of the war, like body counts or bombings, instead of on the good the soldiers are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That's moral superiority. This mother recognizes the value of her son's sacrifice and is proud of it. She didn't threaten offer to run her son down with the family car to get him out of combat. She hasn't constantly changed her story about a meeting withthe president or engaged in anti-American tirades. She respects what her son volunteered to do and is proud of it. Natalie healy is the voice of most service parents --not Cindy Sheehan.

And then there is this father, who has started a camp (Fort Qualls, in memory of Marine Lance Cpl. Louis Wayne Qualls, 20, who died in Iraq last fall) in opposition to Sheehan's. He has also had to fight to keep his son's memory and sacrifice from being desecrated by Sheehan's followers at Camp Dhimmi.

In Crawford, Gary Qualls, the father of a slain soldier, explained his reasons for supporting the pro-war camp. "If I have to sacrifice my whole family for the sake of our country and world, other countries that want freedom, I'll do that," said Qualls, who is friends with the local business owner who started the camp. He said his 16-year-old son now wants to enlist, and he supports that decision.

Qualls' frustration with the anti-war demonstrators erupted last week when he removed a cross bearing his son's name that was among hundreds the group had put up along the road to Bush's ranch.

Qualls called the protesters' views disrespectful to soldiers, and said he had to yank out two more crosses after protesters kept replacing them.

So much for the anti-American/pro-jihadi rabble who claim to respect the moral superiority of the parents of dead servicemen and women to speak out on the war. I guess that is only the case if those parents oppose the war -- supporters of the war (the vast majority of family members of Iraq and Afghanistan heroes) may be disregarded as inconsequential by the pro-Islamist Left.

Get this, residents of Camp Dhimmi and your supporters -- America rejects you.

|| Greg, 01:00 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (10) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 20, 2005

Proud To Be Americans

I admire these young people, both for their faith and their patriotism. I've got a number of students who are at World Youth Day (along with one of my colleagues, who runs her parish youth group), and I hope they are following this example.


After nearly a week of being very low-key about their nationality, a group of young Catholics from the South Hills began flying the stars and stripes yesterday.

While Pope Benedict XVI visited a synagogue in a city flooded with pilgrims who have come to see him, the teens and young adults from St. Bernard in Mt. Lebanon and Our Lady of Grace in Scott visited churches. They also acquired a large American flag to march behind today as they hike to the field where they will camp overnight before Benedict celebrates Mass there tomorrow.

All pilgrims from the United States had been warned not to display their flag because it might make them targets of political hatred. Many carried state flags -- the bear of California was everywhere. The South Hills group had carried a Steelers pennant to help them find each other in crowds where they could easily become separated.

But all week they had seen thousands of people from lands as diverse as Tahiti and Sweden proudly displaying their national colors. They had spotted a few American groups also flying large flags, with no apparent ill effects.

In a gift shop that carried flags from many nations, chaperone Zack Rosser, 22, purchased a large flag on a long pole to carry before them. And Lauren Witter, 17, of Dormont, bought an even larger flag that she literally wrapped herself in.

Youth group leader Jessica Fabus, 22, decided to accept the flag because they needed a larger banner as a sign to follow in today's hike. And she had also decided they were not ashamed to be American.

"We realized that the world problems don't matter here. We're all here because of what we have in common. You should show your colors and be happy to meet everyone, no matter where they're from," she said.

May God bless all those at this years event -- especially thoses from my school. May they be proud of their faith, and of the land of their birth.

|| Greg, 04:22 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (8) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

If I Wuz President...

There's a new meme going around, courtesy of Say Uncle. I hope everybody will play along.

Oddball thought experiment:

By some bizarre set of circumstances, you are the president as of now. Name the first 5 things you’d do. Level of difficulty: it must actually be stuff the president is constitutionally allowed to do.

Please note where I added emphasis -- some answers I've seen ignore this one.

1) Address a joint session of Congress and demand the following constitutional amendments:
A) National initiative and referendum.
B) Requirement that any ruling that a law is unconstitutional be affirmed by 3/4 of the Supreme Court -- and that a resolution by a 2/3 majority of both houses of Congress and signed by the president shall be sufficient to overturn such a ruling.
C) Alter the 14th Amendment to end birthright citizenship for the children of illegal aliens and non-immigrant foreigners.
D) Repeal the amendment granting Washington D.C. electoral votes, mandating instead that the city be included as a part of Maryland for presidential, senatorial, and congressional voting, because it started out as a part of Maryland -- and affirming the city's home rule status.
E) Federal Marriage Amendment

2) Overturn "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" -- replacing it with "Don't Ask, Don't Give A Damn" -- permitting homosexuals in the military.

3) Appoint Condi Rice Vice President, and Michelle Malkin Head of ICE,. Fire Mineta.

4) Mandate that all federal officials travelling coach be subject to the highest level of srutiny in airports -- and that all federal officials travel coach.

5) Strictly enforce all immigration laws.

Come on folks, join in the fun. What would you do?

(Hat Tip: Say Uncle, Dangerous Liberty, TF Sterns, Eric's Grumbles.

» Owlish Mutterings links with: If I Were President

|| Greg, 04:08 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Selective Law Enforcement

It now seems that some of the the Minutemen coming to Houston might actually exercise their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. A number have concealed carry permits, and the local organizers will not forbid them to carry their weapons.

I'm not going to get into a discussion of the right to keep and bear arms. I won't discuss whether or not these folks should be carrying weapons when legally authorized to do so.

No, what I want to point out is this glaring lie from an HPD spokesman.

Houston police are aware that some of the Minutemen will be armed, and officers will make sure that all laws are obeyed, said Lt. Robert Manzo, an HPD spokesman.

Well, maybe just by the Minutemen. There will be no enforcement of our nation's immigration laws, nor laws against hiring immigration criminals. That means the border jumpers and those who aid and abet them will get a free pass -- as usual in this sanctuary city.

» Safety For Dummies links with: HPD Will Enforce ALL Laws!
» blogHOUSTON links with: Minutemen: Houstonians with permits may carry concealed weapons

|| Greg, 08:57 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

More Than Just A Blob Of Tisse

Pro-abortion activists might want to consider this story as a serious challenge to their position supporting the destruction of innocent human life in the womb.

Three weeks ago, surgeons at Texas Children's Hospital performed an act of medical derring-do: They operated on an infant while he was still partially in his mother's womb and receiving oxygen through the umbilical cord.

On Friday, 21-day-old Garrett Wilson Jorgensen slept peacefully in his mother's arms, a handsome reminder of the blessings of modern medicine. Born at 7 pounds and 15 ounces, the healthy boy was headed home.

Now remember, when little Garrett had the life-saving surgery he was in precsely the same state that Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the rest of the pro-abortion profiteers argue is less than human, bereft of rights, and fodder for partial-birth abortion.

Instead, this amazing procedure was performed.

Last month, [Ellen] Jorgensen and her husband, Christopher, were looking forward to the birth of their first child when a routine ultrasound revealed something frightening: a mass blooming inside the baby's chest.

The news became worse. The fast-growing tumor was pressing against the baby's heart and impeding blood flow. If Jorgensen went into labor unexpectedly, doctors said, the baby wouldn't survive — there was no room for his heart to beat or his lungs to expand.

An Austin physician referred Jorgensen to Texas Children's Hospital, one of a handful of hospitals in the nation offering fetal surgery to correct life-threatening abnormalities.

Four days later, Jorgensen was on an operating table in Houston, undergoing an operation known as an ex utero intrapartum treatment, or EXIT.

Developed in 1995 at the University of California at San Francisco, Children's Hospital, surgeons perform a modified Caesarean section and partially remove the fetus from the womb to undergo surgery while it is still attached to the umbilical cord. This allows surgeons to repair an airway obstruction or other breathing problem before the baby is delivered and forced to breathe on its own. Texas Children's did its first EXIT operation in 2001. Other successful surgeries have followed.

On July 29, Jorgensen underwent a two-and-a-half-hour EXIT operation in which doctors lifted the baby's head and shoulders from the mother's uterus and attached breathing tubes and intravenous lines.

Next, surgeons made an incision in the baby's chest, and brought the mass — which was taking up two-thirds of his chest cavity — outside his body. Only then did they cut the umbilical cord. They finished detaching the mass and completed the surgery in an adjacent operating room.

"The infant almost didn't make it to birth and (he) was deteriorating rapidly in the hours before the procedure," said lead surgeon Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, co-director of the hospital's Texas Center for Fetal Surgery and an assistant professor of surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. "There was no room for the lungs to expand."

Olutoye said there was no evidence of malignancy in the mass, a rare growth called an immature mesenchymal neoplasm, and doctors were able to remove all of it. The surgeon said it was fortunate that the mass developed late in pregnancy, giving the baby's lungs a chance to grow.

My best wishes to little Garrett and his parents, Ellen and Christopher Jorgenson of Round Rock, TX.

|| Greg, 08:48 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Marine Dies Fighting For Freedom

Another local hero has died in the crusade against jihadi terrorists.

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Phillip George of Pasadena, who would have celebrated his 23rd birthday on Sept. 3, was killed Wednesday in Afghanistan.

His family was notified late Thursday that George was killed in battle in eastern Afghanistan, where he had been stationed with the 2nd Battalion since late May. Details of how he was killed were not available Friday from the U.S. Defense Department.

George was a 2000 graduate of Clear Lake Christian School in southeast Houston, and had been an active member of Alta Vista Baptist Church in Pasadena.

Phillip's father, a KBR-Halliburton employee working to help rebuild liberated Iraq, will be flown to Germany to accompany his son'ts body home.

I think that Lace Corporal George's sister pays the highest tribute to her brother.

"He loved being a Marine," Sara George said. "This was exactly what he wanted to do. He was also a dedicated Christian. He was serving both God and country."

His sister said George "had close friends in the military, and they were all like family. He was, in a way, a little bit shy. But he was the strongest person I've ever known. He stood up for what he believed in. He wasn't swayed by other people."

"That carried over into his being a Marine," she said. "He was loyal to his friends, to his platoon members. He was fighting for them, too."

May God grant him eternal rest, and may perpetual light shine upon him.

May God grant the George family comfort in their time of loss.

And may God grant safety and victory to his brothers and sisters in arms as they fight for freedom against those who would extinguish it.

|| Greg, 08:38 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (6) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 19, 2005

Liberals Against Energy Independence

Energy independence.

Renewable energy.

Non-polluting resources.

These are all things that liberals tell us they support.

But not the ones up in the Cape Cod area.

Take this local resident -- Ted, a public employee from Hyannisport.

Leading this charge is Sen. Ted Kennedy, whose famous compound would have a nice view of the turbines. (To be fair, though most people say the turbines would be hard to see except on very clear days, and even then they'd be tiny blips on the horizon.)

But Ted wants no such thing spoiling cocktail hour on the veranda. So he drafted his famously green nephew Robert to join the fight - even though Robert is a senior lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council, which strongly backs the project.

Obviously, the reason this is so much fun is that the stakes are so small for everybody except a handful of people who deserve to lose. Personally, I couldn't really care one way or the other. I think the aesthetic arguments have some merit, but I also think wind power has more potential than most of its critics claim. The windmills would ultimately provide about 75 percent of the energy used by Cape Cod and the surrounding Islands, including Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard - in a clean, renewable form that, unlike older technologies, wouldn't kill birds in an avian frappe. Seventy-five percent of the area's power needs may be a rounding error when discussing America's total energy consumption, but that's a lot for any specific community.

But Ted isn't alone in ensuring that the windmills, located 5-13 miles offshore, don't clutter their ocean view with little blips out on the horizon. Take Walter, a retiree from Martha's Vinyard.

When a reporter for The New York Times Magazine called Walter Cronkite, a windmill opponent, and asked him about the proposal, the retired newsman bristled at the suggestion that this was all about selfishness. But, he had to confess, that's exactly what it is.

"The problem really is Nimbyism," he conceded by telephone, "and it bothers me a great deal that I find myself in this position. I'm all for these (windmills), but there must be areas that are far less valuable than this place is." The reporter prodded, and he said maybe the California desert would work. Isn't that a bit far away to supply Cape Cod? Well, he added, "Inland New England would substitute just as well." In fact, any place but here would do just fine.

Is seemed to dawn on Cronkite that such honesty wasn't serving his cause or himself, he interrupted his train of thought and implored the reporter, "Be kind to an old man."

In other words, sacrifices must be made -- but by the little people, not us.

|| Greg, 10:06 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

"Public Use" With No Public Access

The New York Times certainly got a sweetheart deal when it got the city of New York to steal use eminent domain to acquire the land for their new headquarters. Not only did they get to lease the land at significantly less than the open market would have cost them (and eventually buy it for $1.00), but they also got the right to determine who could rent other space in the building. Who gets excluded?

The lease, which is on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, also bars renting space in the 52-story building for "a school or classroom or juvenile or adult day care or drop-in center." It forbids "medical uses, including without limitation, hospital, medical, or dental offices, agencies, or clinics." It gives the New York Times Company "the sole and absolute discretion" to reject United Nations or foreign-government offices, including any "considered controversial" or that are potentially the focus of demonstrations. It bans any "employment agency (other than executive-search firms) or job training center" and auction houses, "provided, however, the foregoing shall not apply to high-end auction houses specializing in art and historical artifacts." Discount stores are forbidden. And the deal bars "a welfare or social-services office, homeless shelter or homeless assistance center, court or court-related facility."

In fact, any government office is excluded from the building if it would attract people who arrive "without appointment."

But wait -- I thought eminent domain was the taking of land for a "public purpose". If the public is effectively excluded from the property by a private party, how can it be deemed a public use?

I wonder -- would the Times be willing to see a similar bargain given to Halliburton, or to an oil company?

(Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin, No Land Grab, and The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid)

|| Greg, 09:55 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Reid Has Stroke

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has suffered a mild stroke.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., saw a doctor after feeling light-headed Tuesday and learned he'd suffered a mild stroke, aides said Friday.

"Senator Reid feels fine. There are no complications or any restrictions on his activities. He has undergone evaluations this week, and his doctors have recommended that he take advantage of the summer congressional recess for some down time," said a statement issued by Reid's press secretary, Tessa Hafen.

The statement said Reid sought medical attention at the urging of his wife, Landra. He was told he had experienced a transient ischemic attack.

The statement did not say where Reid was where the episode occurred or where he received treatment. Congress has been in recess since the beginning of August.

I may disagree with his politics, but I wish him well. Some matters transcend the political.

|| Greg, 07:07 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Attack On US Warships

Two US warships were attacked by al-Qaeda forces this morning. The terrorists also attacked Israel.

Katyusha rockets were fired at two U.S. warships in Jordan's Red Sea Aqaba port on Friday, narrowly missing their targets, and Jordanian security officials said they believed al Qaeda was involved in the attack.

The rockets hit a warehouse, a hospital and the nearby Israeli port of Eilat. The only casualty was a Jordanian soldier on guard duty at a warehouse, who was killed.

Jordanian security officials told Reuters most initial indications pointed to the involvement of al Qaeda, which has been blamed in recent years for several plots to launch attacks on Western targets and government installations.

"We believe al Qaeda was behind this," a security source said.

Jordanian Interior Minister Awni Yarfas told Reuters the rocket launcher was a crude device, which appeared to indicate its users "had not properly prepared for the attack."

The White House condemned the attack.

"We strongly condemn all attacks like these and are investigating in cooperation with Jordanian officials," White House spokesman Trent Duffy said.

"The U.S. will always make every effort to support and defend our servicemen and women in harm's way, as they protect the American people," he said.

Jordanian security forces later sealed off the derelict Shalala quarter of Aqaba, overlooking the port, and carried out house-to-house searches, security officials said.

Responsibility has been claimed by al-Qaeda, in particular the same sub-group that attacked several Egyptian hotels last month.

Neither of the ships, USS Kearsage and USS Ashland, were hit. Both immediately left port.

|| Greg, 07:01 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Why Is Specter In Cuba?

The man is chairman of the Judiciary Committee -- and the Roberts hearings are coming up. Why is Arlen Specter in Cuba meeting with Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez?

VENEZUELA'S President Hugo Chavez, a fierce critic of the United States who has threatened to stop oil supplies, has met a US Republican senator, Arlen Specter, who has also been in Cuba this week. The left wing president met with Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the US ambassador to Caracas, William Brownfield, for two hours on Wednesday night, the Venezuelan leader said in a speech on Thursday.

The meeting came at a sensitive time in relations between the United States and Venezuela, a major supplier of oil to the US markets.

Chavez threatened last weekend to stop oil exports to the United States unless Washington halts what he called its "aggressions".

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has in turn been to Peru and Paraguay this week to lobby against the influence of Venezuela and Cuba.

Media reports quoted Specter as saying he wanted a normalisation in relations.

Before going to Venezuela, the US senator was in Cuba where he had hoped to meet President Fidel Castro but it was not known if he was successful.

I repeat -- Why?

|| Greg, 06:52 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

I Thought They Supported Higher Gas Prices

I've heard liberal Democrats call for taxes to increase prices to encourage conservation. It's been a staple of the "green" Left for a generation.

Now prices have risen to the realm they have supported -- and they are complaining.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid on Friday said the Bush administration should require U.S. oil companies to disclose their fuel pricing policies and production costs.

In a letter to the White House, Reid also said the Federal Trade Commission should investigate instances where a state's retail prices rise 20 percent in any given week "to determine if the price of gasoline is being artificially manipulated."

Past FTC probes into U.S. oil company pricing policies have found no sign of abuse.

And then there is this one.

Separately, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida said the White House should ask oil companies for a voluntary, temporarily freeze on prices that they charge gasoline distributors.

Hey -- the prices are up, just like you people wanted. It is having precisely the impact that conservatives have said it would have. And yet you complain. Is the problem simply that the money is going into private hands, rather than the US Treasury for you to spend?

And let's not forget that you have stood in the way of drilling off-shore and in ANWR for years. Maybe we should investigate the impact of those policies that you supported.

|| Greg, 06:49 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

More On Bad Service At Jersey Restaurant

I thought this story was done. I figured that the use of an arguably anti-Semitic slur on a diner's ticket and the boorish behavior of the manager who ejected the diner for complaining was over, given that the employee was gone and the restaurant had issued a half-hearted apology. I figured that the New Jersey Attorney General would investigate and say tha this was a one-time incident, and the case would be closed.

Maybe not. It seems that abusive comments by staff have appeared before on the restaurant's checks, and the insulted patrons have been brushed off.

A second customer has come forward accusing Parkhill's Waterfront Grill of writing an insulting label on her check. Joanne Fordyce ate at the restaurant July 15, 2004, but the 34-year-old human resources director didn't immediately notice that she had been dubbed "Dirty Joanne" at the bottom of her bill.

She discovered the receipt a month later while switching pocketbooks. When she went to the restaurant for an explanation, general manager Malia Wells referred her to then-owner John Parkhill, who said he didn't know anything about the bill and walked away, Fordyce recalled Friday.

Fordyce contacted the state Division of Civil Rights after reading newspaper accounts this week about the experience of Elliot Stein, 23, of New York.

I'd doubt the story -- except for the fact she still has the check with the insult on it. You can't make up something like that.

The response of the restaurant is also consistent with the action towards the patrons labelled as "Jew Couple" on their check.

Restaurant spokesman Stephen Reid, who had previously called Stein's experience an isolated incident, was at a loss to explain Fordyce's bill. He said the bartender responsible for the "Dirty Joanne" notation was no longer working there but had not been fired.

"I don't know how that happened, or why it was there. It was wrong. These are two wrong circumstances that should never have happened. We hope, now that we changed our procedure, that it won't happen in the future."

He labeled Fordyce a problem customer, saying she had a "checkered past" at the restaurant and has since been banned.

"She's been asked to leave a couple times. She's rude, picking fights with the customers and patrons," he said.

Fordyce denied that, saying the restaurant was grasping at straws because of all the bad publicity.

I don't know whether Fordyce has such a "checkered past" or not. Since the diner in the other case was ejected for making a fuss, it could be that the restaurant's philosophy is "the customer is always wrong."

Now in their defense, the restaurant has gone to a table numbering system and has a message on their answering machine commenting on the situation.

"In response to recent news reports, we at Parkhill's deeply regret and apologize for recent actions of a former employee who carelessly used poor judgment in identifying a patron's religion or race on a bar tab. These actions do not reflect the beliefs and values of our staff. Parkhill's prides itself in treating all of our customers like family."

Maybe they are finally taking the situation seriously.

What I will say is this -- I don't agree with Fordyce's call for the state to shut the restaurant down.

That's for the public to do, if they find the restaurant to have engaged in egregious conduct.

It's called a free market.

NOTE: Some customers of the restaurant have rallied to its defense, commenting on an earlier post. They seem to think the food and people are great. I just wonder how the one fellow, whose surname is obviously Italian, would have reacted to a check reading "Wop Couple" or "Dago Family"?

|| Greg, 05:53 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 18, 2005

More Bad Customer Service

Could you imagine doing this to a disabled kid?

If you're a 7-year-old kid with cerebral palsy and autism, you have to take your laughs anywhere you can get them.

Just don't have too much fun at the local movie theater, or you might get thrown out.

That's what happened to young Anthony Pratti this week. To say his parents are upset about it would be an understatement.

Anthony, who uses a wheelchair, was with his parents, his sister and his grandmother at the Loews Cineplex theaters in the Galleria at Crystal Run Sunday, watching a 1:15 p.m. matinee of the G-rated film "March of the Penguins."

The family sat in the wheelchair section provided by the theater. Anthony was having a good time, said his mom, Gina Pratti.

"He was laughing, but he really wasn't much louder than any of the other kids," she said.

About 15 minutes into the film, one of the theater's managers approached the family, she said.

"He said our son was laughing too loud," Pratti said. "My husband told him Anthony didn't understand, that he was disabled, but that we'd try to quiet him down."

Not good enough, apparently – the manager brusquely told the family that Anthony had to leave, Pratti said.

Outraged, the family followed the manager to the lobby, where they were told they all didn't have to leave – just Anthony, Pratti said.

Pratti was dumbfounded.

"I said to him, what are we supposed to do, wheel him outside and leave him there?" she said.

The manager refunded the family's ticket purchase and sent them on their way, she said.

Well, Loews, what do you have to say and what are you going to do to make your facilities handicapped accessible and friendly?

UPDATE: Loews seems to have gotten the message -- and responded appropriately.

|| Greg, 08:00 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Atlantis Mission Delayed

This is in keeping with what I heard from a friend from church who had a senior role with the Discovery mission (I live five miles from Johnson Space Center).

NASA may push back plans to launch its next shuttle mission until March 2006, allowing engineers more time to solve an ongoing foam shedding problem with orbiter external tanks.

A September launch attempt of the space shuttle Atlantis and its STS-121 mission – NASA’s second orbiter to fly since the Columbia disaster – is all but out, with space agency officials stating last week that chances were slim they would make the four-day window that opens on Sept. 22.

Shuttle managers are discussing whether to push past a brief, four-day launch window in November, and even switch shuttles – launching Discovery instead of Atlantis – for the next orbiter flight, NASA officials said.

“There have indeed been discussions about that,” NASA spokesman Allard Beutel told, adding that an update on NASA’s shuttle program status is set for 12:00 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT) today.

Unless I miss my guess, the spring mission is a done deal. The September window is too quick, there really isn’t a good window through most of the winter, and a delay until March gives them significant time to accomplish something.

But I will also note – while the folks at JSC are committed to flying the shuttle, many of them are already involved in projects that are focused on the next generation of craft and their missions. Do not be surprised to hear increased talk of placing objects into L1 & L2 orbits

|| Greg, 07:58 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Bad Ruling Overturned

I’m glad to see this – the original ruling had no basis in law, either statutory or Constitutional.

A judge who ordered two Wicca believers to shield their son from their "non-mainstream" faith overstepped his authority, an appeals court said Wednesday in dismissing the order.

The Indiana Court of Appeals said state law gave a custodial parent the authority to determine a child's upbringing, including religious training. A judge could find that certain limitations were needed to protect a child from physical or emotional harm.

The parents' appeal, brought by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, claimed among other issues that the decree was unconstitutionally vague because it did not define mainstream religion. But the appeals court based its ruling on state law.

Marion Superior Court Judge Cale Bradford added the religion language to a divorce decree granted in 2004 to Thomas E. Jones and Tammy Bristol of Indianapolis. Jones is a Wiccan activist who has coordinated Pagan Pride Day in the city.

The judge's order followed a routine court report that said both parents are pagans who send their son, who is now 10 years old, to a Catholic school. In May, Jones said neither he nor his ex-wife had taken the boy to any Wiccan rituals since the order was issued.

There is rarely a legitimate basis for allowing parents to raise their children in their own religion. There certainly was no case for issuing such a prohibition in this case.

|| Greg, 07:53 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

More Sheehan Supporters

Aren’t you liberals proud of your new allies?

Thanks to the internet, Sheehan’s popularity among the armband brigades is spreading like fire creeping up a moonlit cross. On the web’s premier hate website,, Duke supporter James Kelso (whose screen name is "Charles A. Lindbergh") posted a link to a video message from Cindy Sheehan entitled, "Mr. President, you lied to us."

Cindy is also popular at the American Nationalist Union. ANU is run by Don Wassall, former national chairman of the Populist Party, a racist third party organized in 1984 by Willis Carto’s Liberty Lobby; in 1988, the party nominated David Duke for president. ANU’s Nationalist News section links to four articles supporting Cindy Sheehan, including a delightful link to an article on Justin Raimondo’s Hate America Right website about Christopher Hitchens: "Drink-Soaked Trotskyite Popinjay Slimes Antiwar Mom "

Duke is not the only figure on the White Wing to embrace Sheehan. The explicitly Nazi National Socialist Movement backs her, as well. NSM "Commander" Jeff Schoep entitled one recent radio broadcast "NSM SUPPORTS CINDY SHEEHAN," then devoted a second broadcast to Sheehan the next day.

The racist website jumped on the bandwagon early, posting multiple articles hailing Cindy Sheehan. One article, written under the pen name "Charles Coughlin," dubbed the menopausal valley girl "The Rosa Parks of the Peace Movement," an awkward metaphor considering the source. Another article, authored by "James Buchanan" (another great Democrat), hinted the "Neo-Cons" had solicited the services of the redneck who fired shots into the air within earshot of Sheehan and her leftist Big Top.

Another article written by the late Fr. Coughlin’s acolyte, "Woman Loses Son in Iraq; Neocons Treat her Like Dirt," also made its way on’s discussion forum, inspiring 14 pages of commentary. The very first respondent, neo-Nazi "Reichmann88," [1] wrote:

This lady sounds like a potential WN ["WN" is short for "White Nationalist" – BJ]. I'll bet she has no clue about Israel's involvement in her sons death. Sad indeed!! May God Bless Her!

Reichmann need not worry; it appears Sheehan "knew."

Another Stormfront contributor commented, "If there are any Texas WN units nearby Mrs. Cindy Sheehan they should reach out to hear [sic.]." When another message claimed Sheehan "probably would spit in your face if you approached her with WN," forum member "Messiah" assured:

I've known Cindy for over a year now, and no, she wouldn't spit in anyone's face for what they said....while she's not a WN, she’s a decent person who resents deeply what Bush has done with his lies in creating this war, and using the US for Israel's interests. I feel like she does about these Neo Con/Israel created wars.

And evidently she reciprocates the sentiments of this racist scumbag.

It has long been a tactic of the Left to tar conservatives with the words or deeds of some obscure supporters. Will the Left recognize that when they receive broad-based support from the Klan and the Neo-Nazis there may be something wrong with their position on the war?

|| Greg, 07:52 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

When You Lack The Facts, Just Launch Personal Attacks

You have to wonder whether reality ever comes knocking on Bob Herbert’s door. If it did, would the writer with the unsettling demeanor of a Steppin Fetchit for the DNC even bother to answer? Mr. Herbert is the clueless NY Times columnist who opposed the draft when he was younger but now wants to draft people based upon socio-economic status rather than continue our successful practice of having a volunteer military.

You have to wonder whether reality ever comes knocking on George W. Bush's door. If it did, would the president with the unsettling demeanor of a boy king even bother to answer? Mr. Bush is the commander in chief who launched a savage war in Iraq and now spends his days happily riding his bicycle in Texas.

And if the ad hominem comment in the first paragraph of this post offends you, shouldn’t the second?

|| Greg, 07:49 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

And Another One’s Gone! And Another One’s Gone!

Another one bites the dust!

Good news from Saudi Arabia – more dead jihadis.

Al-Qaida's leader in Saudi Arabia was killed Thursday during clashes with police in the western city of Medina, the Interior Ministry said.

Saleh Mohammed al-Aoofi was among six al-Qaida-linked militants reported killed during police raids on numerous locations in that holy city and the capital, Riyadh, Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki told The Associated Press.

Peace will come when the last of these terrorist sumbags lies rotting in the sun, with vultures and wild pigs stripping the flesh from their carcass.

|| Greg, 07:48 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Guns For Victims

I find this new law interesting, if it goes into effect.

North Carolina lawmakers have approved a measure that would require courts to give battered spouses something extra when they seek a restraining order - information on how to apply for a concealed weapon.

However, victim's advocates who support efforts to curb domestic violence said the measure could end up causing more problems by bringing guns into already volatile relationships.

"In my experience, if you've got a fire out there, I don't think you put it out by throwing gas on it," said Bart Rick, a Seattle-area sheriff who chairs the National Sheriffs' Association domestic violence committee. "When I read this ... I went 'Whoa.'"

The president of the gun-rights group that pushed for the measure said it's more about helping victims of domestic violence help themselves.

"We're not interested in them shooting their abusers," said Paul Valone, president of Grass Roots North Carolina. "We're interested in delivering a message: When police can't protect these people, they are capable of protecting themselves."

The measure becomes law Oct. 1 unless Gov. Mike Easley decides to veto it. His office declined Wednesday to comment on his plans.

The bill, which passed overwhelmingly in both houses of the legislature, would also add protective orders to the evidence a sheriff can consider when determining whether to issue an emergency permit to carry a concealed weapon. Normally, an applicant must wait 90 days for such a permit.

I love the fact that the victim disarmament folks – under the guise of protecting the public – what to make sure that crime victims are unable to fight back.

Personally, I only see one flaw with this law – it ought to require that the court issue a Glock and a box of ammunition to the victim when the restraining order is issued.

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

Taft Charged With Ethics Violations

Am I the only one who sees these as chickenshit charges?

Gov. Bob Taft was charged with four ethics violations Wednesday for failing to report dozens of gifts that included dinners, golf games and professional hockey tickets, deepening a scandal that has rocked Ohio's Republican Party.

Taft, a Republican and member of a distinguished U.S. political family, becomes the first governor in Ohio history to be charged with a crime. The charges are also an embarrassment for a politician who has pushed for high ethical standards in his office.

Taft, could be fined $1,000 and sentenced to six months in jail on each count if convicted, though time behind bars was considered unlikely.

Taft will respond publicly on Thursday and is not planning to resign, spokesman Mark Rickel said. Prosecutors said they expected the governor to appear in court Thursday but declined to say whether a plea agreement was in the works.

The gifts were worth about $5,800 and given over four years, prosecutors said. Taft earlier had revealed that he failed to report some outings but said the omissions were accidental.

Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said the gifts included two golf outings worth $100 each paid for by embattled coin dealer Tom Noe. Noe is a Republican fundraiser whose $50 million investment of state money in rare coins launched the scandal that led to Taft's revelation that he failed to list golf outings on financial disclosure forms.

State law requires officeholders to report all gifts worth more than $75 if the donor wasn't reimbursed.

O'Brien said the gifts also included meals and tickets for a Columbus Blue Jackets hockey game.

If this is what passes for “corruption” and “unethical conduct” in Ohio, then I think the laws are overly stringent. According to other reports I’ve seen, some of the gifts, meals, and outings come from long-time friends and associates. Given current prices for a meal at an up-scale restaurant, or fees for a round of golf, it is virtually impossible not to cross that threshold in the course of spending time with someone in a purely casual capacity. I took a friend to see the Houston Texans last weekend because my wife was unable to use her ticket. By the time I bought his ticket (and we were in the cheap seats), paid for parking, and grabbed a drink and a bite to eat, we were pushing that $75.00 figure. If such normal human interaction is banned under the law, then the law is an ass.

UPDATE: Taft pleads no contest, and is fined for the offenses.

|| Greg, 07:46 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Restaurant Apologizes

According to this press account, the restaurant referenced in my post yesterday has offered an apology for labeling patrons as “Jew Couple” on their bill – and their charge submitted to VISA.

Stephen Reid, a spokesman for the restaurant, said it had been the waitstaff's practice to use descriptions of diners to identify them on checks, instead of using the table number, as many establishments do. He couldn't say how long the policy had been in effect, but said the restaurant has since switched to a table-numbering system.

"Let's say you came in in a blue shirt, and I wore a blue cap with "USA' on it. So they say the guy with the blue shirt and blue cap is table two," Reid said.

He said racial slurs were never used to describe diners. The restaurant, which is 8 years old, is owned by Michael Parkhill.

The restaurant issued a statement Wednesday saying, "We deeply regret and apologize to anyone who was offended by the actions of one of our former employees who identified patrons by their religion/race on a bar tab."

Seems weak to me, since it is unclear to what degree they have made amends to the offended patron, who was ejected to the restaurant for complaining. What do you think?

And, perhaps more importantly, what does the New Jersey Attorney General’s office think, as they are investigating the situation.

|| Greg, 07:44 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Memo To Cindy Sheehan And Her Accomplices

Here's an article that you need to be aware of. Ronald R. Griffin has something important to say to you.

I lost a son in Iraq and Cindy Sheehan does not speak for me.

I grieve with Mrs. Sheehan, for all too well I know the full measure of the agony she is forever going to endure. I honor her son for his service and sacrifice. However, I abhor all that she represents and those who would cast her as the symbol for parents of our fallen soldiers.

The fallen heroes, until now, have enjoyed virtually no individuality. They have been treated as a monolith, a mere number. Now Mrs. Sheehan, with adept public relations tactics, has succeeded in elevating herself above the rest of us. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida declared that Mrs. Sheehan is now the symbol for all parents who have lost children in Iraq. Sorry, senator. Not for me.

Maureen Dowd of the New York Times portrays Mrs. Sheehan as a distraught mom standing heroically outside the guarded gates of the most powerful and inhumane man on earth, President Bush. Ms. Dowd is so moved by Mrs. Sheehan's plight that she bestowed upon her and all grieving parents the title of "absolute moral authority." That characterization epitomizes the arrogance and condescension of anyone who would presume to understand and speak for all of us. How can we all possess "absolute moral authority" when we hold so many different perspectives?

I don't want that title. I haven't earned that title.

Yeah, that's right. Cindy Sheehan is one person with one opinion. It is far from the majority opinion of the families of those who have died in this crusade against jihadi terrorists. Where are the cameras covering those thousands of other survivors? Why are their views not trumpeted throughout the land? What makes Mrs. Sheehan -- a liar whose very words condemn her as hateful of this country and a supporter of terrorists (like Lynne Stewart, for example) -- the one with the moral authority to speak?

Thirty-five years ago, a president faced a similar dilemma in Vietnam. He gave in and we got "peace with honor." To this day, I am still searching for that honor. Today, those who defend our freedom every day do so as volunteers with a clear and certain purpose. Today, they have in their commander in chief someone who will not allow us to sink into self-pity. I will not allow him to. The amazing part about talking to the people left behind is that I did not want them to stop. After speaking to so many I have come away with the certainty of their conviction that in a large measure it's because of the deeds and sacrifices of their fallen heroes that this is a better and safer world we now live in.

Those who lost their lives believed in the mission. To honor their memory, and because it's right, we must believe in the mission, too.

We refuse to allow Cindy Sheehan to speak for all of us. Instead, we ask you to learn the individual stories. They are glorious. Honor their memories.

Honor their service. Never dishonor them by giving in. They never did.

May God bless you, sir, and those many survivors whose beliefs parallel yours.

|| Greg, 05:30 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 17, 2005

RIP Brother Roger -- 1915-2005

The sentence which follows is almost too bizarre for me to believe I have to type it.

Brother Roger, founder and leader of the Taize Movement, was murdered by a woman during a service yesterday in the community's Church of Reconciliation.

The fatal stabbing of one of the world's most revered Christian leaders in his church provoked shock and revulsion yesterday.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Pope Benedict and heads of state led tributes to 90-year-old Brother Roger, a Swiss-born Protestant pastor and the head of the Taizé community.

Investigators said the self-confessed killer, a 36-year-old Romanian woman identified only as Luminita, claimed to have attacked Brother Roger after failing to attract his attention. Details of the death of a man who dedicated his life to the causes of peace and ecumenism caused widespread disgust.

Brother Roger was stabbed three times in the throat and back during a service in the Reconciliation Church at Taizé in eastern France on Tuesday evening.

Most worshippers were unaware of the incident until blood was seen pouring from the seated pastor's wounds. His assailant was overpowered as a doctor from the congregation tried in vain to save his life. A colleague, Brother François, explained what had happened to the 2,500 people inside the church and asked them to pray for the victim's soul.

Another senior member of the group, Brother Emile, said Brother Roger died within 15 minutes of the attack. His "throat was cut" and he bled profusely from his wounds, he said. Brother Emile added: "The woman came into the middle of the choir but we didn't see her because our backs were turned. There was a scream and we turned, but the deed had been done." Brother Roger, born Roger Louis Schutz-Marsauche, established the Taizé community in 1940. He provided sanctuary for people of all faiths, notably Jewish refugees from Nazi persecution.

With more than 100 resident members of the multinational monastic community, he built Taizé into an important religious destination.

Tens of thousands of young pilgrims are welcomed there each year for periods of meditation and intensive prayer.

The beauty of the Taize movement and the community founded by Brother Roger is one of the most beautiful flowers of twentieth century Christianity. It highlights the unity of all Christinas, rather than the divisions.

The Telegraph provides a moving obituary. It would be positively sinful to try to do excerpts of their tribute to a man who ranks with Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II and Billy Graham as one of the great spiritual lights of our age.

And now the light has been extinguished -- but his life's work remains, giving glory to God.

|| Greg, 10:06 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

"Well Qualified" -- Take That, Liberals!

The ABA has spoken. Judge John Roberts is "well qualified" for the US Supreme Court. That is, I believe, what the Left used to cal the Gold Standard" for judges.

Supreme Court nominee John Roberts earned a "well qualified" rating from the American Bar Association on Wednesday, clearing one hurdle in his path to joining the high court.

The rating by unanimous vote of an ABA committee was disclosed as the Senate Judiciary Committee announced plans for the start of confirmation hearings on Sept. 6. Roberts will face almost an hour of questioning from each of the 18 senators on the committee.

The committee also will hold one hearing that will be closed to the public.

For more than 50 years, the ABA has evaluated the credentials of nominees for the federal bench, though the nation's largest lawyers' group has no official standing in the process. Supreme Court nominees get the most scrutiny.

This is the fourth time the ABA has rated Roberts. He was designated as well qualified in 2001 when he was nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He earned the same rating in 2003 when he was nominated again for the appeals courts and then confirmed. He was rated as qualified as an appeals court nominee in 1992, but the Senate never took up that nomination.

Of course, you know that being rated "well qualified" will no longer be sufficient since the nominee is a conservative. After all, , the "Gold Standard" is only the "Gold Standard" if they like the nominee.

|| Greg, 09:50 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

How NOT To Handle Customer Service

Maybe I won’t speak firmly to that customer service rep next time I place a customer service call.

Until recently, LaChania Govan's complaints about Comcast's service seemed relatively tame. The 25-year-old Elgin mother of two said she was put on hold, disconnected, even transferred to the Spanish language line.

But after persistent problems with her digital recording system forced her to make dozens of calls to the cable company in July, her August bill came with a change really worth complaining about: In place of her name were the words "Bitch Dog."

"I could not believe it," said Govan, who works in customer service for a credit card company.

She said she immediately called Comcast to cancel her service and was sent to an operator.

"She asked me for my name. I said, `You really don't want me to go there,'" Govan said.

Recounting her problems on Tuesday, she said she was transferred to a supervisor who assured her he would find out what happened and get back to her soon.

“Get back to her soon.” That is Customer Service Rep slang for “You ain’t gonna hear a thing from us, sucka!”

I realize that dealing with irate customers isn’t easy, but that’s the nature of the job. I’ve had customer service representatives tell me “you’ll just have to live with the problem” when I have called about in-warranty repairs to products. I had a credit card company many years ago that couldn’t get my billing address correct. I won’t even get in to the story of the Postal Service supervisor who hung up on me rather than deal with my problem.

I hope that Ms. Govan gets some satisfaction – and not a suggestion from Comcast that she do a legal name change to come into conformity with their records.

|| Greg, 08:58 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Little Harry Potter Fun

I read the Harry Potter books for fun, and to know what my students are reading. I’ve made a point of not delving into deeper political meanings.

Fergus Cullen, though, offers a conservative critique of the books.

I'LL ADMIT to liking the Harry Potter books, but I can't suspend disbelief any longer. The kid lives in the realm of big government, and it's interfering with my enjoyment of the Half-Blood Prince. Consider these facts about life in the wizarding world:

Huge government bureaucracies: Every time another department within the Ministry of Magic is mentioned, I wonder if the real threat to Harry's liberty is Voldemort or the Leviathan government, which has a branch overseeing all aspects of wizard daily life. There's the Improper Use of Magic Office, the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes, even the Department of Magical Games and Sports, which may be needed to investigate steroid use among Quidditch players.

Wait until you hit the punchline.

|| Greg, 08:57 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Like We Needed Survey Data

I don’t know how 4 out of 10 constitutes “half”, but the data confirms what we already know – the Mexicans are coming in droves.

In the survey of 1,200 Mexican adults, conducted in May by the Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center, 46 percent said they would like to live in the United States if they had the opportunity. Among college graduates, 35 percent said they would head north.

"Even at the high ends of the socioeconomic characteristics, we see that the propensity to migrate is quite strong," said Pew Hispanic Center Director Roberto Suro in Washington. "Mexico's economy doesn't satisfy their expectations."
The survey also concluded that 21 percent of Mexicans are inclined to work in the United States without proper entry documents.

Maybe yesterday’s suggestion of invasion and annexation isn’t such a bad idea. After all, they would no longer need to move in order to be in the United States.

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

Don’t Patronize Parkhill's Waterfront Grill

If they consider this acceptable, it is clear that they are not the “family restaurant� they claim to be – unless anti-Semitism is one of your family values.

Two diners on a date at a fancy Jersey Shore restaurant were furious when they saw the check — which listed their table as that of the "Jew Couple."

Brooklynite Elliot Stein says he was shocked that a waitress at the Parkhill's Waterfront Grill in Allenhurst [New Jersey] printed the slur instead of a table number on his $36.75 bill.

As if that weren't bad enough, the 23-year-old shoe buyer told The Post, the offensive phrase then turned up on his credit-card statement two weeks later.

The response of restaurant management?

Stein said he took the offensive bill and showed it to Jewish friends seated nearby who said they could not believe it.

When the group started questioning the manager, Stein said she simply told them there was nothing derogatory about the statement.

Stein said he was then asked to leave for making a fuss.

The restaurant's general manager, Malia Wells, yesterday told The Post that the offending phrase was a matter of "poor judgment on the part of a bartender."
The server, shown as Karina on Stein's bill, has since "moved on," Wells said. She would not say whether Karina was fired.

"We are a family restaurant, and we welcome everybody," she said, adding that the words "Jew Couple" were never intended to be derogatory.

And I suppose that “Spic Couple� would be just fine, too. Not to mention “Niggers�, which your fine staff probably also uses. I know I would raise a real fuss if “Fat Couple� showed up on my bill. After all, none of it is meant to be derogatory, right Ms. Wells?

That your manager tossed out the offended couple for daring to challenge the use of a slur on the check tells me there is something much more sinister at work. How about all the decent people on the Jersey Shore making their disgust with bigotry in their midst by finding somewhere else to eat if there isn’t a more sincere apology? It shouldn’t take long to shut the place down if one is not forthcoming.

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

WTC Strikes Back

Stars and Stripes reports this story.

From rubble to avenging angel: The U.S. Navy is using steel from the World Trade Center in a new ship, according to the Navy.

Ten tons of steel from the World Trade Center’s twin towers will be used in the construction of the USS New York, according to a Navy official.

The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock is slated to be commissioned in 2008.

“USS New York will ensure that all New Yorkers and the world will never forget the evil attacks of September 11, and the courage and compassion New Yorkers showed in response to terror,” said New York Gov. George Pataki at the ship’s 2002 naming.

The response of WTC 9/11 survivors and the families of those who died is particularly moving.

For Patrick Cartier Sr., the ship is an honorable way to remember his son, James Marcel Cartier, who was killed when the South Tower collapsed.

“You’ve got the very soul of the event in that mangled steel, and all of that steel which housed all the people fell along with them and they were all consumed in that terrible fireball and that collapse,” the New York City man said.

Using the steel for the new ship would capture the spiritual essence of those who died in the World Trade Center, Cartier said.

“If you would you use that steel, it would almost be a resurrection,” he said.

New York City firefighter Bill Butler also praised turning the steel from the World Trade Center into a fighting vessel.

“It’s a great testament to the strong will of the people who died that day,” said Butler, who was in the North Tower when it collapsed.

Butler was in a stairwell on the fourth floor when he heard what he said sounded like two freight trains roaring by in opposite directions.

It took him five hours to get out of the collapsed tower, he said.

Butler said the New York Fire Department supports U.S. troops. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them every single day and we appreciate them defending our freedom, and we’re doing our best on the homefront,” he said.

This will truly be “America’s Ship”.

|| Greg, 08:52 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Lyin’ Leahy

Senator Patrick Leahy slandered Judge John Roberts in comments designed to pave the way for leftist groups to announce their opposition to his nomination to the US Supreme Court.

Sen. Patrick Leahy says Supreme Court nominee John Roberts holds "radical" views and has been an "eager, aggressive advocate" for policies of the far right.

While stopping short of announcing his opposition to the appointment, the Vermont Democrat's written statement Tuesday was by far the most critical he has made since President Bush nominated Roberts.

Firing his broadside one day after the release of 5,000 pages of Reagan-era records, Leahy said Roberts' views were "among the most radical being offered by a cadre intent on reversing decades of policies on civil rights, voting rights, women's rights, privacy and access to justice."

However, even the AP notes that the recently released documents show nothing of the kind.

In material released Monday, Roberts emerged as an attorney serving in the Reagan White House who held views generally in line with those of other conservatives. He was sympathetic to prayer in public schools, dismissive of "comparable worth," referred to the "tragedy of abortion" and took a swipe at the Supreme Court for being too willing to hear multiple appeals from death row inmates.

"Those papers that we have paint a picture of John Roberts as an eager and aggressive advocate of policies that are deeply tinged with the ideology of the far right wing of his party, then and now," Leahy said in his statement.

In other words, Senator Leahy has just announced that ANY conservative nominee is unacceptable and outside the mainstream.

No mater what the results of the last several elections show.

|| Greg, 06:23 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

How Much Time Does It Take To Plagiarize And Make Stuff Up?

Ward Churchill is taking a one semester sabbatical this spring, to research and write more anti-American bullcrap on the taxpayer’s dime.

University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill said he plans to take a sabbatical in the spring to finish a book about the repression of the Black Panther party.

Churchill said he needs the one-semester sabbatical to finish his research project, adding that his leave has nothing to do with a CU faculty committee's ongoing inquiry into his writings.

Pauline Hale, a spokeswoman for the university, said CU's regents have not seen the request for the sabbatical and that protocol requires they approve all such leaves.

Churchill said the request was approved at the college level last fall, before controversy erupted in January over an essay he wrote shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, comparing World Trade Center victims with Nazi Adolf Eichmann.

The request was approved by the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Churchill said, and he had assumed it was approved by the regents.

"I have not heard that anything went awry," Churchill said Tuesday "My assumption was that things went in a normal fashion."

Now it is known that Churchill has a history of academic dishonesty, including plagiarism and just plain making stuff up. Does it really take a work-free semester to do that – especially since his fall class load consists of only one course?

|| Greg, 06:22 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 16, 2005

Unclear On The Concept

Some anti-American Americans will go to any lengths to draw moral equivalency between terrorists and the US government. Take this response to Star-Tribune columnist Kate Parry, who criticized her own paper for failing to call terrorism terrorism.

When a wedding party of 40 people is wiped out by a misplaced American bomb, these people are just as dead as if a suicide bomber waded into the group and blew himself up. The survivors and their families suffer and grieve just as long and just as hard. How much of a difference, in practical terms and in terms of morality, is there between the two methods of killing the innocent?

Dean DeHarpporte,

Eden Prairie.

Dean fails to recognize, of course, that his letter contains the essential difference between the two. I wonder if Dena would treat poaching deer the same as hitting a deer that runs in front of his car on a dark road, or does he only see the dead deer -- motive and intentionality be damned. A homicide bombing is a fully intentional criminal act of cold-blooded murder, while the other is a sad and accidental twist of fate.

(HAT TIP – Media Blog)

|| Greg, 08:02 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Misplaced Priorities

The Corner’s Tim Graham points out a bit of liberal hypocrisy when it comes to the lives and health of Americans.

The Los Angeles Times reports that state and federal officials are investigating the deaths of (now) four California women who've died after taking the RU-486 abortion-inducing drug cocktail. The first one most media outlets ignored was teenager Holly Patterson in 2003, but the latest is Oriane Shevlin, a 34-year-old mother of two, who died from a blood infection in June. Wendy Wright at Concerned Women for America and others have been on the FDA's case on this one, which was ram-rodded through the regulatory process in the last year of the Clinton administration.

When it comes to the FDA, the networks would rather obsess over less lethal scandals from corporate greedheads, like, I kid you not, Taco Bell taco shells: "The charge is that Taco Bell taco shells sold in grocery stores contain a gene-altered corn specifically banned from food because of the risk of allergies in people," CBS reporter Wyatt Andrews explained. "While there are no known reports of injury, this finding by a coalition of environmental groups is the most serious evidence so far of the potential danger in some gene-altered food."

Yep – we cannot leave taco shells on the market because they contain grain which has never harmed anyone who has eaten them – but four dead women are not grounds for removing the RU-486 feticide drug.

I’m curious, though. Isn’t DEATH the ultimate infringement on “a woman’s right to choose”? Guess not.

» NIF links with: Paladin of Encyclopaedias

|| Greg, 07:52 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Criticism Is Free Speech, Too

Jonah Goldberg makes a point that I have tried to make.

The great irony is that the people who resort to such "arguments" (they're really just insults) are the ones questioning free-speech rights, because they are suggesting the criticism was inappropriate and, in some vague and stupid way, unconstitutional. Right? That is the upshot of what they're saying. I mean, if you immediately assert that someone has the right to say something as a way to rebut criticism, aren't you implying that such criticism violated their rights — which is, by definition, unconstitutional.

The paranoia enters into it when you consider the nature of the accusation. If you immediately assume that criticism from the political Right is tantamount to questioning someone's constitutional right to speak in the first place, what you are really saying (Pace Dan Savage) is that if you scratch a conservative you'll find a Storm Trooper just under the surface. We knuckle draggers may say we're just offering criticism, but what we really mean is that anyone we disagree with has no right to say so. That so many on the Left seem to believe this, says a lot about the intellectual and psychological state of Lefties while saying nothing of interest about conservatives. I don't think it's always a matter of projection — assuming your enemy sees things the same you do — but I do think this knee-jerkery illuminates in a small way the bad faith of the Left. Not only does the "I have the right to speak" tantrum dodge the merits of specific criticisms, it starts from the assumption that as a matter of first principles left-wing protest should never be questioned.

Indeed, that's the reason the Left has rallied so fiercely behind Cindy Sheehan. Wedded to a form of identity-politics logic which says some "authentic" voices cannot be questioned and inauthentic voices need not be listened to, these hardcore left-wing activists love Cindy Sheehan because they think she's above reproach. They immediately resort to the argument "How dare you question a woman who lost her child!" Sheehan's loss is obviously a terrible one. But the death of her son does not make her anymore qualified to rant about Israel and oil tycoons controlling American foreign policy than it would be if her son was alive. But her backers do not care, indeed they don't think anyone has the right to even point this out.

So rant on, Saint Cindy Sheehan of the Ditch, Our Lady of the Martyred Soldier. You have every right to spew your venom towards our president and our country – and even the anti-Semitic rhetoric that has brought Nazi/Klan moron David Duke to your support.

But I have the right to say you are wrong. And the speech-suppressing fascists are those among your supporters who demand silence of those of us who criticize the dishonor you bring to your son’s name and sacrifice.

|| Greg, 07:30 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Law Of Unintended Consequences

When Houston Mayor Bill White created the Safe-Clear mandatory towing program for local highways, he meant well. The program has been one embarrassment after another for the city, and has exceeded the expected cost. Now it seems to be a source of victims for criminals.

Andrea Anderson broke down along Highway 59 near Collingsworth. A Safe Clear wrecker was dispatched.

"I was hot and sweaty and waiting for a long time," she said. "I was forced to use the Safe Clear program, where I could have used my warranty tow."
A wrecker from Unified Auto Works towed Anderson's car to Humble. She paid the bill with her check card. Several days later, Anderson checked her bank account and found more than $600 worth of unauthorized charges, along with a list of overdraft fees.

Around the time Anderson was trying to figure out who was draining her bank account, a different woman's car broke down along Interstate 10 near Lockwood. Again, a wrecker from Unified Auto Works was dispatched as part of the Safe Clear program.

The woman talked with the Troubleshooters but asked to remain anonymous. She told them she also paid Unified with her credit card. And soon after, she also got hit with hundreds of dollars in unauthorized charges.

These women had no choice of towing company, and were forbidden to call the company of their choice or use AAA. Thanks, City of Houston, for providing criminals with easier access to victims.

(Hat Tip: Lone Star Times)

|| Greg, 07:27 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dems Out-Maneuvering GOP On Border Issues

First it was New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Now Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano is acting to shore up border security in her state by declaring a state of emergency and setting aside funds to deal with the crisis.

Gov. Janet Napolitano on Monday declared a state of emergency along Arizona's border with Mexico, freeing up $1.5 million in disaster funds to help border counties combat booming illegal immigration and drug smuggling.

Napolitano criticized the federal government for "moving too slow" on border security, evolving into a hot-button, election-year issue in Arizona and across the country.

"This is a federal responsibility, and they're not meeting it," Napolitano said. "I've just come to the conclusion (that) we've got to do what we can at the state level until the federal government picks up the pace."

Napolitano's announcement came three days after New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson issued a similar declaration, complaining that the federal government has failed to stem growing smuggling-related violence to the east of Arizona, an increasingly popular illegal immigration corridor. Both governors are Democrats.

In the mean time, we have the GOP governors of Texas and California doing little or nothing to deal with the crisis along their borders. And we have a GOP president and GOP Congress all talking about amnesty plans and guest workers rather than acting to stem the tide of invading immigration criminals.

What’s the deal, Republicans? Do you really want to lose the next few elections?

|| Greg, 07:25 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Is It Time To Invade Mexico Yet?

When you have things like this happening in Arizona, it would seem to be time to assert our sovereignty aggressively. Maybe a 50-mile irradiated buffer zone on the Mexican side of the border – or a simple conquest of the corrupt nation and eventual incorporation of its territory as states, once it has brought itself up from Third World standards.

At 11:30 a.m. on April 22 this year, a Mexican helicopter landed in the Robinsons' backyard. Arivaca resident R.D. Ayers had driven to the ranch that morning to visit his injured dog, then under Dr. Robinson's care.

Ayers describes stepping outside the house to see what he describes as "a military Huey-type helicopter" circling, at the same time that a truck from the Tucson Fuel Co. was pulling into the yard. The Tres Bellotas gets its power from diesel generators, and that fuel has to be delivered.

As he approached the chopper, Ayers says six men in black, commando-type uniforms stepped out. Five had ski-type masks over their faces, and they wore body armor and carried automatic rifles. On their sleeves, Ayers saw the word, Mexico.

They stood in a defensive posture around a sixth man, their leader, who identified himself as a member of the Mexican police. He pointed aggressively to the fuel truck and asked what it was doing there. Ayers, in Spanish, told the man he was in the United States, not Mexico, and that he had no business in this country and needed to leave.

But the commander refused to listen and began walking toward the truck, at which point Ayers placed himself between the commander and the truck, again telling him to scram. After a few minutes, the tense confrontation ended when the commander ordered his troops into the chopper, and they split back across the border.

Ayers suspects that the Mexicans--one of Robinson's cowboys identified them as federales, Mexican federal police--were escorting a drug shipment to Tucson, and wanted to haul it in the fuel truck. Or they wanted to steal the fuel. The chopper had followed the truck much of the way down Tres Bellotas Road.

"Men with fully automatic weapons and masks don't just show up to say hello," says a still-outraged Ayers, owner of a backhoe company and a former EMT in Arivaca. He added that if he'd had his gun, he might've fired on the invaders. "I wasn't going to back down. This is my country."

These drug incursions occur with some regularity along the border. The Kays and Robinson say they're personally aware of three such incursions this summer alone, and it's worth noting that the men who recently shot two Border Patrol agents near Nogales also wore black, commando-type gear.

But this episode, like the others, has disappeared into the vapor of national security. Tucson Fuel refuses comment. The Border Patrol won't talk about it, saying its agents got to the Tres Bellotas too late to learn much of anything. The FBI in Tucson took a report the same day and forwarded it to Washington, but they're not talking, either

Or is the US so weak that we cannot protect ourselves from the criminals who run our bad neighbor to the south?

|| Greg, 07:21 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 15, 2005

Millionaire Flees To New York With Whore Mistress Wife

I've talked about this case before. Millionaire businessman and government official patronizeds a Masseuse with a prostitition conviction (like we believe all she was giving him was a massage), dumps his family to carry on a public affair with her, and eventually marries her. Oh, yeah, did I mention she's under a deportation order?

Well now, seeking a better venue for their lawsuit against the US government, Ralph and Nicole Yanhong Hu Isenberg have fled Dallas for New York -- on the very day on which Nicole was required to voluntarily leave the United States under an agreementshe signed with the US government.

The choice was clear: Leave the country voluntarily by Monday or be deported.

Instead of catching an international flight, Nicole Isenberg fled to New York City with her husband, Ralph, a former member of the Dallas City Plan Commission, and started preparing a federal lawsuit against U.S. immigration officials.

"We are still trying so hard to have a judge listen to our case and keep our family together," said Mrs. Isenberg, who has a 6-week-old child with Mr. Isenberg and a teenage daughter from her first marriage whom he adopted.

"We won't give up."

Mr. Isenberg, a Dallas real-estate developer, vowed to continue his fight for his Chinese wife's freedom and her green card.

"There is no better place for me to be than New York," he said Monday.

Mr. Isenberg has been grappling with immigration authorities on his wife's behalf since they met about three years ago.

He recently resigned his position on the City Plan Commission after revealing to the media that his 30-year marriage dissolved when he met and later married Nicole – formerly known as Yanhong Hu, a Dallas massage parlor worker who had once been arrested on a prostitution charge.

The misdemeanor charge was unfounded, the Isenbergs said, and was dismissed after she served five months' probation.

Both sides in the Isenbergs' immigration dispute accuse the other of egregious misdeeds.

Paul Hunker III, chief counsel for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Dallas, has characterized Mrs. Isenberg as one of the worst violators of immigration law he has seen.

She is not eligible to adjust her status in the U.S., he said, because she engaged in prostitution, committed fraud by lying about the prostitution charge, overstayed her visa by more than a year and was ordered deported in absentia when she missed an immigration hearing.

Mr. Hunker, learning that he could possibly be named in the Isenbergs' lawsuit, referred questions Monday to spokesman Carl Rusnok.

"She was supposed to have left the U.S. by today. It looks like she has no intention of meeting that agreement," Mr. Rusnok said Monday.

"We will take whatever enforcement actions we deem appropriate. ... ICE is a federal organization. We have ICE agents in New York as well."

Gee, what part of "not eligible to adjust her status" is so hard to understand? The mere fact that she married a millionaire with lots of good political connections is not a basis for her being allowed to stay in the US. She is a convicted prostitute who overstayed her visa and was ordered deported years ago. On what possible basis could they possibly argue against the order to leave a country where she has no legal right to stay? Especially since she agreed to leave, and was given several extensions.

Well, they are using the kitchen sink strategy. Every possible argument is out there. All of them sound like pure bunk (and not the kind where Mrs. Isenberg used to make her moneu on her back). More offensive is the attempt to play the China card.

Mr. Cox [the Isenberg's lawyer], who speaks fluent Mandarin, said Mrs. Isenberg's case has received widespread coverage in China, where Mr. Isenberg has been called "China's son-in-law."

"I hope our government will do the humane thing, the fair thing," he said. "People in China are watching to see if we are fair to a Chinese citizen."

We4ll, Mr. Isenberg, maybe your in-laws have a spare bedroom for you over at their place. You and your wife need to get on the slow boat (or maybe a chartered jet) to China, where you and she can wait until she is eligble to come back to this country under American law.

Oh, and Mr. Cox, since the article makes it clear that you were an active participant in the violation of this agreement, which includes flight from federal authorities, I look forward to hearing that you face the appropriate criminal charges, serve time, and are disbarred as the unethical scoundrel you are.

Oh, I would like to point to one quote from an ICE representative.

"We will take whatever enforcement actions we deem appropriate. ... ICE is a federal organization. We have ICE agents in New York as well."

Send them in -- throw her out.

» Watcher of Weasels links with: Submitted for Your Approval
» Watcher of Weasels links with: The Council Has Spoken!

|| Greg, 11:17 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

He's A Cindy Backer

She's already made antin-Semitic comments in the media. Now Cindy Sheehan has a high-profile backer who agrees with her.

Courageously she has gone to Texas near the ranch of President Bush and braved the elements and a hostile Jewish supremacist media to demand a meeting with him and a good explanation why her son and other’s sons and daughters must die and be disfigured in a war for Israel rather than for America.

Recently, she had the courage to state the obvious that her son signed up in the military to protect America not to die for Israel.

I take it that David Duke has therefore gone back to the Democrats -- right where the Klan has traditionally found its home. I wonder if Senator Byrd has welcomed him with open arms?

And given Duke's past Nazi associations, I can't help but remind folks that the name is short for National SOCIALISTS.

MORE FROM Blogs for Bush, Jack Lewis, Conservative Outpost, T. Longren, Wizbang,.

|| Greg, 09:01 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (24) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Borders Leaking Like A Sieve

Three weeks.

That's how long it took one pregnant Mexican woman to be deported and make it back to her illegal US residence in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

A pregnant woman who was separated from her husband and two small children and deported to Mexico on July 26 has already returned to Arkadelphia, Hispanic activists say.

The woman's story is just one of several desperate efforts to reunite families by those deported in an immigration raid at an Arkadelphia poultry plant. Cesar Compadre, a physician at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and head of the Hispanic aid organization La Casa, said he met the woman Sunday while providing food and medical care to many of the 30 children left unattended in Arkansas.

"It's the most ridiculous thing; it's like the Middle Ages," an exasperated Compadre said after he and three other doctors treated 25 kids and half a dozen adults.

But Marc Raimondi, spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said it should not come as a surprise when the U.S. government enforces its immigration laws. Since incorporating immigration enforcement within the Department of Homeland Security 2 1/2 years ago, expectations have changed, he said.

"It's not like before when the immigration system was considered optional by some," he told The Associated Press on Sunday. "Our goal is to return integrity to our immigration system through vigorous enforcement."

Compadre said his medical team provided the woman with prenatal care. She said she was taken from Arkadelphia less than three weeks ago, detained in Texarkana and Dallas, dropped off in the middle of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico — just across the Rio Grande River from Laredo, Texas — and immediately made her way back to Arkansas.

"She was traumatized to the point that she's almost unresponsive," Compadre said. "She's back in here and we were able to get her proper prenatal care. It's at least stable at this moment."

Raimondi could not comment on the woman's specific case, but in general, he said, returning to the U.S. illegally after being deported is a serious offense. Depending on the terms of deportation, a repeat offender could face up to 20 years in federal prison, he said.

I guess she really wants another anchor baby -- and we will get the entire extended family up here before too long.

And, of course, those enforcing our nation's laws are the bad guys, according to the slanted news coverage here.

|| Greg, 08:56 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

What You Won't Hear About Iraq

MoveOn won't tell you ow Iraq is moving forward. Michael Moore won't do any documentaries about the improved lives of Iraqis after the overthrow of Saddam. And the Ditch Bitch (mustn't be as nasty as the Leftists) Cindy Sheehan and her supporters won't mention any of these accomplishments for which soldiers have given their lives.

Deroy Murdock will, though, with a little help from the liberal Brookings Institution.

Most Iraqis actually see the overall security situation improving. A July 12-17 Tips Hotline survey of roughly 1,200 Iraqis in Baghdad, Basra, Diyala, Irbil, Najaf, and Salah Ad-Din found that 75 percent of respondents believe their security forces are beating anti-government fighters. Twenty percent saw the security situation as “somewhat worse” than in April, and 14 percent found it “much worse,” but 46 percent considered it “somewhat better,” and 16 percent described it as “much better.”

The deaths of 54 American troops in July were maddening and painful tragedies, one and all. But these fatalities were considerably below the 137 GI deaths recorded last November, though only 36 were killed last March.

Infrastructure improvements also are encouraging. A new Kirkuk treatment plant began providing clean water to 5,000 people on June 27, the State Department reports. Another 84 U.S.-led waterworks projects are underway in Iraq, while 114 have been completed.

As Saddam Hussein relaxed in his palaces, his subjects in Kamaliya lived without sewers and relied instead on trenches that often overflowed onto the streets. Now, with Coalition assistance, 8,870 of Kamaliya’s homes will receive sewage treatment. Some 600 local workers will be paid to complete this $27 million project. U.S. government-funded projects employed 110,005 Iraqis in early August.

Some 18,000 pupils will study in rehabilitated classrooms when they go back to school in mid-September. According to U.S. and Iraqi officials, 43 more schools were slated for renovation on August 6. So far, 3,211 schools have been refurbished, and another 773 are being repaired.

Iraq’s monthly petroleum exports have grown from $200 million in June 2003 to $2.5 billion last month. This is due both to higher oil prices and to fuel supplies having swelled from 23 percent to 97 percent of official production goals in that period. These key improvements also help explain why Iraq’s GDP increased from a World Bank estimate of $12.1 billion in 2003 to a projected $21.1 billion in 2004.

Iraqis who endured Baathist censorship now enjoy a vibrant, free press. Commercial TV channels, radio stations, and independent newspapers and magazines have zoomed from zero before Operation Iraqi Freedom to — respectively — 29, 80, and 170 today.

There is more -- so much more. Make sure that you click both links for some illuminating information about how the war in Iraq is chugging along steadily towards success, and towards better lives for the Iraqi people.

Because after all, Oraqis under Saddam didn't get a choice about sleeping in a ditch.

|| Greg, 08:35 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Why Does This Worry Me?

I guess the premise sounds interesting, but given who is behind it, I'm somewhat concerned.

Ben AffleckBen Affleck is in talks to create and write "Resistance," a potential drama series about a second American Revolution that he'll exec produce with Live Planet partner Sean BaileySean Bailey.

Separate from the deal for "Resistance," Bailey has inked a new two-year, seven-figure pod deal that will keep him at Touchstone TelevisionTouchstone Television though 2007. While Bailey remains a partner in Live Planet, the Touchstone pactpact is for his solo services as a scribe and producer.

As for "Resistance," project marks the first time Affleck will go it alone writing a pilot, and comes on the heels of his deal to script and direct "Gone, Baby, Gone". Affleck and Bailey co-created the 2002 Alphabet reality/drama hybrid "Push, Nevada."

"Resistance," to be produced by Touchstone and Live Planet, will be set in the not-so-distant future, imagining a United States that's been divided into separate countries following a pair of catastrophic terror attacks.

Ensemble skeinskein will follow a band of modern patriots who are attempting to bring back the Bill of Rights and reunify the country. One person familiar with the pitch said the show ultimately will be a hopeful hour because of its pro-democracy bent.

Now this sounds like something I would watch. But do you want to make a guess who the "bad guys" are going to be? I doubt they will be swarthy fellows named Muhammad and Akbar. I suspect that more than a few will have the title "Reverend", and that none will be "Imam".

But then again, I could be wrong. Affleck might actually make a real, honest-to-God patriotic show about in which folks try to restore teh Constitution as written, not as modified by the liberal courts of the last seven decades.

» The Colossus of Rhodey links with: Sounds interesting, indeed

|| Greg, 08:16 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Terror Tykes

I understand the need for vigilance, but i think that situations like this are simply absurd.

Ingrid Sanden's 1-year-old daughter was stopped in Phoenix before boarding a flight home to Washington at Thanksgiving.

"I completely understand the war on terrorism, and I completely understand people wanting to be safe when they fly," Sanden said. "But focusing the target a little bit is probably a better use of resources."

The government's lists of people who are either barred from flying or require extra scrutiny before being allowed to board airplanes grew markedly since the Sept. 11 attacks. Critics including the American Civil Liberties Union say the government doesn't provide enough information about the people on the lists, so innocent passengers can be caught up in the security sweep if they happen to have the same name as someone on the lists.

That can happen even if the person happens to be an infant like Sanden's daughter. (Children under 2 don't need tickets but Sanden purchased one for her daughter to ensure she had a seat.)

"It was bizarre," Sanden said. "I was hugely pregnant, and I was like, 'We look really threatening."'

Sarah Zapolsky and her husband had a similar experience last month while departing from Dulles International Airport outside Washington. An airline ticket agent told them their 11-month-old son was on the government list.

They were able to board their flight after ticket agents took a half-hour to fax her son's passport and fill out paperwork.

"I understand that security is important," Zapolsky said. "But if they're just guessing, and we have to give up our passport to prove that our 11-month-old is not a terrorist, it's a waste of their time."

Now let's be sensible here. We know, just based upon simple logic, that no baby is going to be a terrorist. They may squall and scream in flight (which might seem almost as much of a pain as a hijacking) , but they are unlikely to be carrying explosives. We certainly know that an 11-month old is unlikely to take a crewmember hostage, or do more than projectile vomit during turbulance.

Why are these terror tykes delayed? Because they have a name somewhat similar to someone else.

How common is this?

The Transportation Security Administration, which administers the lists, instructs airlines not to deny boarding to children under 12 - or select them for extra security checks - even if their names match those on a list.

But it happens anyway. Debby McElroy, president of the Regional Airline Association, said: "Our information indicates it happens at every major airport."

The TSA has a "passenger ombudsman" who will investigate individual claims from passengers who say they are mistakenly on the lists. TSA spokeswoman Yolanda Clark said 89 children have submitted their names to the ombudsman. Of those, 14 are under the age of 2.

And those are the kids who have had complaints filed on their behalf. How many more "terrorist twos" are there out there?

» Oblogatory Anecdotes links with: Our Government Working Hard Protecting Us.

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

August 14, 2005

Carole -- Go Back!

Carole Keeton McClellan Rylander Strayhorn [YOUR LAST NAME HERE], Texas Comptroller, wants to be Governor of Texas in the worst way. If she ever gets there, I have no doubt she will be governor in the worst way. But to get the office in 2006, the loopy mother of White House Spokesman Scott McClellan will have to knock off incumbent Governor Rick Perry, who succeeded our previous governor, George W. Bush, when he went on to bigger and better things.

Perry is popular with the generally conservative base of the GOP, and is likely to win the nomination . But Strayhorn has a plan -- get Democrats and Independents to vote in the GOP primary.

he call came from a listener telling Carole Keeton Strayhorn he'd eagerly vote for her for governor in November 2006.

Strayhorn shot back Tuesday on Austin radio station KVET-FM: "November is great, but first I need you to vote on March 7. I want Republicans, Democrats, independents. All are welcome," Strayhorn said.

"And bring all your friends with you."

Strayhorn, the Republican state comptroller who is challenging GOP Gov. Rick Perry, has made few campaign forays since announcing her candidacy June 18, a tack that her office attributes to lawmakers remaining in special session to deal with school funding and tax issues.

But the former Austin mayor is well along in testing an unusual message: The March Republican primary is voters' only real chance to choose the next governor.

Her pitch asks voters to assume that the Democratic nominee will not prove to be a serious fall contender. Neither of the only announced Democratic candidates, former U.S. Rep. Chris Bell of Houston and educator Felix Alvarado of Fort Worth, has run statewide. And no Democrat has won statewide since 1994.

Strayhorn, like Perry, was once a Democrat. She also has won GOP primaries in the past.

Yet, her hunt for voters outside the party's base appears to recognize that the incumbent has the edge among Republican loyalists, who are often more conservative than the general electorate.

Let me tell you, speaking as Republican precinct chair here in Harris County, which is the largest county in Texas, that this strategy does not sit well with most Republicans I know. We have this crazy idea that if you want to use the votes of Democrats to get the nomination for governor, you need to run in the Democrat primary. Given the current candidates for the Democrat nomination, I suspect that the nomination would be hers for the taking. It is time for her to go back to that party and seek the Democrat nomination (which she might not get, having abandoned that party once) so she can face Perry in the fall -- and lose.

I'll make you a prediction right now. I'm sure that the Perry campaign and the GOP on both the state and national levels will make sure that every signature on every Democrat nominating petition (and those for Kinky Friedman) in the state is broken down by local precinct and distributed to the precinct chairs for purposes of challenging cross-over voters. After all, Strayhorn and her supporters are correct in noting that a voter can vote in either primary on election day. However, what needs to be considered is that the same law has a limitation on that choice -- if you have signed a nominating petition for an independent or a candidate for particular party, you forfeit the option of voting in the primary of a different party. Those of us serving as election judges will have some idea of who the outsiders are, and we will be ready for them.

|| Greg, 08:03 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Bad Professional Move, Dude

UPDATE -- 8/15/05, 4:50 PM Central Time

I have just returned from work, and wish to acknowledge that the purported author of the letter to LST is disputing that he wrote it. As of 10:37 this morning, the linked articles have been pulled pending verification of the email's source. While not yet pulling this piece, I want to acknowledge the existance of the controversey and the response of LST. I've heard nothing from either Prudential Gary Greene or Charles Rubio asking me to do so, despite having contacted them regarding the email mentioned below. At such time as a request is made, or upon the presentation of proof that Mr. Rubio has been framed, , I will take appropriate actions in that regard.


Last week, a legal secretary member at an Ogletree Deakins law firm got fired for sending an email to Michelle Malkin from work. The email contained profane slurs directed agains the talented writer for daring to comment negatively on the Cindy Sheehan story. (I've blanked out the more offensive words)

X-Originating-IP: [] From: "Mitchell, Patrick" To: "''" Subject: Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2005 11:41:22 -0400 X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.5.2657.72)

YOU STINK you nasty C***! Eat S*** and DIE bitch!!

Within hours, his employer had dealt with the situation.

Dear Ms. Malkin,

I am the Managing Shareholder of the law firm of Ogletree Deakins with offices located across the country. I was very disturbed to learn today that a legal secretary in our Los Angeles office sent you the vile e-mail referenced on your home page. Such remarks are clearly inappropriate in any context and an e-mail such as this certainly should not have been sent during working time using our firm's equipment. The comments of this employee are not reflective of the views or opinions of the firm and are directly in violation of our e-mail policy. As Managing Shareholder, I wanted to extend to you our apologies and let you know that this serious violation of our firm's work rules has resulted in the discharge of this employee.

Once again, let me offer you our deepest apologies for any discomfort that the referenced e-mail has caused. It will not happen again.


Gray Geddie

The matter was handled properly by the firm within 90 minutes.

I wonder if this item from Lone Star Times will be handled as adroitly by Prudential Gary Greene Realty here in Houston. One of the realtors with the company sent a profane, possibly threatening email to one of the writers for the site, Owen Courrèges.

Name: Charles

You guys are a bunch of stupid dumb, very, very dumb F*****. Look me up a****** and meet me face to face. Get in the ring with that facist white trash face of yours. Dare you. In the name of Cindy’s virgil [sic] to meet with that war criminal of a human animal come on meet me you stupid f***.

Major mistake, Charles. You don't want to use your professional address to send stuff like that out. I mean you gave Owen and company the ability to find you on your employer's website. It also made it possible to find your company website with its one lonely little listing (Has it been a tough month so far, Charles? I suspect it is going to get worse real quick). They also tracked him down on Houston's IndyMedia affiliate. I also found him in this article in the local throwawy community paper.

I dropped Mr. Rubio a quick note, just to let him know what I think of folks who do stuff like this.

Wow -- I would have thought that someone who thinks he is a professional would have given some thought to using his work email to send a profane letter to a media outlet. Good going, Charles -- now I know not to list my house with Gary Greene or any other company with which you are associated. I wonder if the folks who listed that house with you would feel if they saw your level of professionalism. I wonder how your bosses will feel. Maybe we should find out.

You are welcome to your politics, but your choice to write from work has some consequences. I believe that bad publicity and the destruction of your career qualify as consequences. Do you agree?

I suspect that you will have plenty of free time to go join Ms. Sheehan in her Crawford ditch before too long. My guess is that your letter guarantees that you will need to reside there significantly longer than she does.

I also sent the following to his office manager and several partners in Prudential Gary Greene.

I wonder -- have you folks seen this piece yet from Lone Star Times?

I don't think that Mr. Rubio is giving your company a very good image. Since he is using your company domain's email address (and, I would presume, equipment) to send out profane political statement and what could be reasonably seen as a threat against a writer, I think it would be highly appropriate for you to take action.

I know that even though I bought my house through your company and was very happy with the service received, I won't list my house with your company, sell to a buyer who is represented by your company, or buy from a seller represented by your company as long as Rubio remains affiliated with Prudential Gary Greene.

Now let me make this clear -- Rubio is entitled to whatever political beliefs he wants. But when he starts sending out material using his work address, using profane language and seeming to make threats, I think it is important to seek appropriate action from his employer. Charles Rubio made his views a work-related matter when he sent that little message to Owen.

|| Greg, 07:32 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Screwing Of Texas Teachers Continues

We are currently in our second special legislative session here in Texas. Both have been called to deal with education issues, including teacher pay. So what has happened so far? Lots of nice words about teachers (while trying lowering our pension, increasing our contribution to the pension system, an increase in the retirement age and multiple attempts to gut hard-won provisions of state law that let us have a lunch period, planning period, and safe, orderly classrooms), but no movement on the pay raises for teachers, who are paid over $600 below the national average.

But the legislature has passed something.

And there is the Texas statehouse, where lawmakers, meeting in a so-called "education" session, recently sent Gov. Rick Perry a bill giving judges a pay raise while continuing to reward teachers with compliments and promises.

(Guess, in case you haven't heard, which profession's pay is tied, under a longstanding law, to legislators' retirement benefits. Yes, the bill that went to the governor will give those pensions a boost.)

Just so you understand what the legislature gets out of this bill, let me explain the situation. The Texas legislature is a part-time job which pays an annual salary of $7200. Yes, you read that right -- seven thousand two hundred dollars. Legislatorscan retire at age 50 with a pension of around $35,000 with 12 years of service -- and can receive over $100,000 with sufficient years of service and senior leadership positions factored in. Now the legilators could have amended the bill to eliminate the windfall to themselves (which, by the way, is some $6400 annually -- close to the amount Texas teachers are paid below the national average), but they didn't.

Which is not to say judges do not deserve a pay raise -- but look at what they are getting.

The judicial bill, which Perry is expected to sign, will increase the state's contribution to a state district judge's salary from $101,000 to $125,000 a year, which counties can continue to supplement. Salaries for court of appeals judges will rise from $107,000 to $137,500, and for members of the Texas Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals, from $113,000 to $150,000.

The raises, the first enacted by the Legislature since 1997, will bring judges' salaries in Texas more in line with other states.

Funny, isn't it, that the folks whose pay is being increased to the national average are already making over $100,000 annually, while teachers are only going to see half of their gap closed by this legislation -- and $1000 of that will be an illusion, switching our untaxed health care stipend to taxed salary dollars.

And i won't get into the issue of the failure to appropriate the money needed for new textbooks which are sitting in warehouses waiting for delivery.

These two issues of education funding may go by the wayside -- but at least the elected officials goth theirs during the "education" special session.

» Ticklish Ears links with: The Carnival of Education: Week 28

|| Greg, 01:25 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Mexico Condemns New Mexico Border Emergency

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has declared state of emergency in four counties along the states border with Mexico. The government of Mexico is displeased.

Richardson cited "violence directed at law enforcement, damage to property and livestock, increased evidence of drug smuggling and an increase in the number of undocumented immigrants" in declaring the emergency.

He said the border security situation "constitutes an emergency condition with potentially catastrophic consequences."

Imagine that -- agovernor is trying to make sure that law enforcement and other citizens are not killed by human smugglers, drug smugglers. and immigration criminals. He's trying to preserve the private property of individual citizens. he's trying to see to it that there is a decrease in the number of individuals violating the territorial integrity of the state by crosing borders illegally. What could he possibly be thinking?

How did the Mexicans respons?

"The Mexican government considers that some of the New Mexico government's statements are generalizations which don't jibe with the spirit of cooperation and understanding needed to address border problems," Mexico's Foreign Relations Department said in a press statement.

In other words, how dare you explicitly criticize the criminal aliens who cross from our country to your state, and, implicitly, the corrupt governemnt that encourages it in exchange for bribes.

Mexico thinks it can dictate our border policy to its own benefit. Its words and actions have been completely unhelpful in ending the problem.

Vincente, I'll listen to your complaints when some government official declares open season on illegals, with no bag limit. Until then, shut up and keep your people on your side of the border.

|| Greg, 01:03 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Weapons Smuggling Arrests At US-Canada Border

Two men returning from Canada fromt he US were arrested by Canadian authorities with handguns and ammunition strapped to their bodies.

Ali Dirie, 22, and Yasin Mohamed, 23 -- both Canadians from the Toronto area -- face weapons-related charges and are in police custody in Niagara Falls, Ontario, according to a police statement. Ontario's Provincial Weapons Enforcement Team and the Niagara Regional Police Service are investigating.

Detective Sgt. Shawn Clarkson, of the Niagara Regional Police Service, would not say what led border officers to search the men.

The men's vehicle underwent a routine search at about 5:40 a.m. at Peace Bridge, which links Buffalo, New York, with Fort Erie, Ontario.

Interesting, isn't it, what one detail is omitted from the description of these perps. I'll bet you can figure it out from their names. You don't suppose ther emight be a connection to violent extremism in the group that was omitted, do you?

|| Greg, 12:49 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

TSA Absurdity

Did you hear about the new ideas bouncing around TSA regarding who is to be searched and what items can/can't be taken on a plane?

The TSA memo proposes to minimize the number of passengers who must be patted down at checkpoints. It also recommends that certain categories of passengers be exempt from airport security screening, such as members of Congress, airline pilots, Cabinet members, state governors, federal judges, high-ranking military officers and people with top-secret security clearances.

The proposal also would allow ice picks, throwing stars and bows and arrows on flights. Allowing those items was suggested after a risk evaluation was conducted about which items posed the most danger.

If approved, only passengers who set off walk-through metal detectors or are flagged by a computer screening system will have to remove their shoes at security checkpoints. The proposal also would give security screeners the discretion to ask certain passengers "presenting reasonably suspicious behavior or threat characteristics" to remove their shoes.

The proposal also would give screeners discretion in determining whether to pat down passengers. For example, screeners would not have to pat down "those persons whose outermost garments closely conform to the natural contour of the body."

Now some of this is just common sense. Miss Hottie in her spandex outfit is not likely to be carrying anything that you cannot already see -- why pat her down, other than for a cheap thrill? On the other hand, Betty bint Burqa might need to be that pat down (or better yet, a full cavity search) to make sure she is not carying anything dangerous.

On the other hand, I don't see why it is a good idea to let folks carry throwing stars and ice picks in the cabin. And I would really like that crossbow to stowed away with the checked luggage, thank you very much. But yeah, let on the nail clippers, knitting needles, and 1 1/2 inch swiss army knives that fit on a keychain.

And as for exempting "members of Congress, airline pilots, Cabinet members, state governors, federal judges, high-ranking military officers and people with top-secret security clearances", I take extreme exception to the proposal. Sure, let the military folks on without a serious search, but I want all those politicians and judges to be subjected to the highest level of security procedures not reserved for Islamists wearing suicide belts and waving machine guns. After all, if they are going to make these laws and regulations that inconvenience the common citizen, they should be subjected to the full measure of these requirements EVERY SINGLE TIME they get on a plane to ensure that they are aware of the burden us common folks face.

|| Greg, 09:42 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 13, 2005

Fighting For Student Safety

Alief ISD, located on the west side of Houston, Texas, has a strict policy for those students who get into fights. Students who "participate" in a fight are expelled. Now the parents of Matthew Meloy, a former student at Hastings High School, are fighting that rule, suing the district after their son was brutally beaten during his senior year.

Meloy says he was jumped by four other students who were bullying another member of the baseball team.

His family blames it on Alief ISD's strict "no fighting" policy.

"He'd write, "Dad, I didn't want to get kicked out. I didn't want to get suspended. I didn't want to fight. I didn't want to do that because I didn't want that to happen', " says his father, Rick Meloy.

Meloy's father says his son was obeying the school district's zero tolerance policy when it comes to fighting.

"He absolutely knew that because that is something that is in the handbook at the school. It's drilled into the students' heads that if you participate in any way you will be expelled," says Jess Mason, the family's attorney.

When asked if they tell kids not to fight back, "We tell them not to assume they can use that as a justification," says the district's Paula Smith.

Just how badly was the 215-pound, 6-foot three-inches Matthew beaten? Well, his injuries included a jaw broken in two places, teeth floating on busted gums and injuries so severe that he couldn't talk. Two years later, he still has additional surgery ahead of him.

This rule and the way it is expalined and enforced makes students incredibly vulnerable. Matthew Meloy was terrified of being expelled just weeks before graduation, which would have destroyed his future plans for a college education at Texas A&M, one of the finest educational institutions in Texas (no matter what I say to the faces of my Aggie friends). Instead he was beaten to a pulp and could easily have been killed.

Will the next victim of this policy be a young woman who fears that any resistance to a sexual assault will result in her expulsion?

It seems to me that the courts need to intervene and hold those who make such policies liable both professionally and personally for the damage that they and their policies cause.

|| Greg, 12:30 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 12, 2005

Leftist Hate Alert

I've gotten plenty of interesting comments from the Left in relation to my Cindy Sheehan post. I was polite and respectful of the woman, but it seems that any hint of criticism of the woman regarded by the Bush-haters as "Saint Cindy, Our Lady of the Martyred Son" is grounds for savage (and anonymous) hate speech.

One of the perps posting such attacks on my site appears to be our old friend Ridor, though he denies making the post while claiming he watched someone else do it (*******************).

Look what the guy posted on his site.

Malkin, Drudge, LGF and RWR: When Cindy Sheehan asked for GW Bush to come out of his reclusive Crawford Ranch for few minutes of talk, to have the normal conversation. Show some compassion for the mother of a dead soldier. After all, he is on his 50th vacation in 5 years (10 per years!), he said he wanted a vacation to "reconnect with his folks in Texas" -- this is his chance to be normal and be civilized. Apparently, no. GW Bush dispatched his supporters like Matt "Roehmosexual" Drudge, Michelle "Chink Bitch" Malkin, Little Green Snotballs, that nobody's prick, Rhymes with Right to assault the mother of a dead soldier of her simple request to meet and talk with GW Bush on a casual level.

It is interesting to note that these people did not mention that the secret service agents made an indirect threat that they will arrest the mother because she is the "threat to the national security". Wow, GW Bush is the national figure? Please!

That Roehmosexual, Matt Drudge did this on persistent level, obviously because he regarded her as an annoyance that can bring the downfall of GW Bush's popularity. His current polls are at an all-time low, which is good for me.

That "Chink Bitch" Malkin had the guts to speak for Casey Sheehan, Cindy's dead son -- she said that Casey would be embarrassed of his mother. Excuse me, Michelle, you do not know Casey like Cindy does -- you just write and spew your fucking dumb-ass rhetoric, claiming to speak for people who has nothing to do with you!

As for RWR, he is just an idiot from Texas. Simply put. He claimed that GW Bush did meet Cindy last year. Yes, in front of media! In front of hundreds of persons, but not one on one. Compassion! Compassion! Franklin Delano Roosevelt did it. Abraham Lincoln did it. JFK did it. Bill Clinton attended the dead soldiers' funerals. Did GW Bush? No. GW Bush joked by calling Cindy, "Mom" and even asked his assistant, "Who are they?" -- implied that GW Bush is a buffoon and do not care at all.

GW Bush and his Republican cronies knew the art of media, thanks to the Nixon debacle, to use against the mass. How? To pretend. To stand and pose for 5 minutes so that the pictures can be taken, then when it's over, the families are out due to the "national security". No time for a normal conversation between a true citizen and the nation's President. But he has time to have 50 vacations in 5 years. No conservatives and Republicans will disseminate why GW Bush has 50 vacations in 5 years, but they are willing to destroy the grieving mother of a dead soldier.

How great is it?

First, let me thank you for putting me in the same category as Drudge, Malkin and Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs. I'm honored just to be on some of the the same blogrolls as them, and here you are mentioning me in the same sentence as them for our parts in the conspiracy to defame Mrs. Sheehan that Karl Rove is orchestrating from his Secret Rose Garden Bunker. I'm flattered beyond words that you rate my writing, influence, and importance so high.

Now let me point out that you managed to get a pair of two-fers in your post. Calling the lovely and multi-talented Ms. Malkin a "Chink Bitch" is clearly the first, covering the bases as racist and sexist at the same time. Based upon your subsequent communications with me (which appears below), I have to classify your reference to Matt Drudge as a "Roehmosexual" (my reason for believing that you dictated the comment even if ****** typed it) qualifies as both homophobic and anti-Semitic. Good job. Curiously enough, you failed to find a slur of any kind for Mr. Johnson of LGF, which iis a sign that the quality of your posts is slipping --you usually find at least one intolerant epithet to direct at anyone with whom you disagree. As for my "prick", you lack the necessary clearance to have any information about it.

Now I posted a response in your comments section -- which you promptly deleted. So much for your advertising it as "the Unsafe Zone of Personal Attacks -- Which Means, Fire Away With Your Insults" (proofreading tip -- you don't need that comma).

But you did decide to respond to me at my email address.

From: Ridor []
To: XXXXX []
Date: Aug 12, 2005 9:36 PM
Subject: hey

fyi, ur comment has been deleted as expected.

You accused me of racism, sexism and homophobia -- that is ludicrous. Michelle Malkin called Deaf people "deaf-mute" -- my emails to her has not been responded and she continued to slander Deaf people as "deaf-mute" which is very offensive to start with. So for that, I reserve the right to retaliate back with a "Chink" comment. Deal with it, you fat boy.

Matt Drudge is gay, period. He is quick to accuse and out many people -- even people who questioned GW Bush, Matt was swift to out the person's sexuality -- but what if he was Jewish, will he do the same thing? No. Therefore I reserve the right to call him Roehmosexual.

Sexism? What?

And you fell for McCock's comments -- I *did* not write on your blogsite -- I read, yes, and in fact, someone IN my apartment responded to your comments while I stood and laughed. Rest assured, it was NOT me who commented on your blogsite. After all, who wants to touch your blogsite? Certainly not me.

Please be delusional and remain in your little world with your friends like McWeenie.


The One and Only Ridor
Check -- be very afraid.

What can I say? Ms. Malkin gets copious amounts of email. We know that you rarely disagree with anyone in a polite or pleasant fashion. Why would you expect her to take the time to bother writing back.? How does that justify racist and sexist abuse directed at her? It doesn't -- but more on that later.

And then there is Drudge. You insist the guy is gay. I don't know, and don't really care. I respect his right to keep his private life as private as he wants it -- something that was supposed to be a sacred right for homosexuals, according to all the gay advocacy groups. I'm not aware of his having outed anyone over politics (that tends to be the province of hate-mongering gay activists), but I'm sure you can point to his having linked to some story or other from some publication that did so. What is particularly amusing is that you were part of the political feeding frenzy over Jeff Gannon's sexual orientation, so I don't see where you have any room to criticize. And given your reference to Drude's religion, it is clear that you intended the homophobic rhetoric to be laced with anti-Semitism as well. Good job!

As for your comments about me, I challenge anyone reading this to look at my one and only post on Mrs. Sheehan and explain to me how it constituted an attack -- unless discussing an unflattering piece of news is an attack.

Now I won't go into any discussion of the claims you advance on behalf of Mrs. Sheehan. I'm not going to engage in a tit-for-tat game over it. I have, until today, believed that she is being used. I'm not so sure about that any more, based upon some MSM articles I've come across -- but I want to show her son respect by not attacking her.

I think I've already made clear my position on the comments that I continue to believe you wrote -- if you didn't write them, you dictated them to someone else or used voice recognition software. Your explanation reminds me of another famous denial -- "I did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky."

I can think of only one explanation for the hate that seethes through your writing. It has to be rooted in your childhood.

Now no doubt your early socialization as a child raised by a Klan of inbred hate-mongers in the backwoods of the Appalachians leads you to believe that such bigotry is acceptable in polite society. It isn't -- **************.

Oh, and by the way -- what is your fascination with the penises of conservative heterosexual males like me and McConnell that leads you to comment on them so frequently? Is it desire, envy, or simply another feature of your warped personality that leads you to engage in on-line sexual harrassment? Just curious.

UPDATE: You will notice a couple of spots where I have substituted a chain of asterisk for previously posted material. I made several gratuituous comments in this post which were snarky and hurtful -- and which do not do me credit. They also seem to have cut Ridor very deeply in a way I never intended. I've removed them in realization that I may have crossed a line with them. I won't post the emails, as Ridor made it quite clear they were intended to be private.

» links with: When a Lefty Deaf Person Calls Michelle Malkin a "

|| Greg, 11:19 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (87) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Cool Geeky Stuff!

Look, Mom, I'm an interstellar blogging sensation!

I don't know for sure if there is a real transmission or not (I assume that there is, but have no independent way of verifying it), but the price is right and the certificate is cool. Go check them out and sign up.

|| Greg, 05:52 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Does The ACLU Support Genocide?

I thought about asking this question yesterday, in light of the NARAL ad linking John Roberts to abortuary bombings.

After all, the ACLU defended the rights of followers of the genocidal NAZIs to march in Skokie in the 1970s, well-after the perpetration of the Holocaust.

And they have long supported the right of the KKK to spew their hate-filled rhetoric, despite 140 years of racist terror committed by the group.

So if Roberts is responsible for a terorist act committed by one individual years after his intervention in a case in which the future killer was involved, surely the ACLU must be held responsible for prior actions by the groups they defend.

|| Greg, 06:33 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Washington's Wasteful Ways: Alaskan Pork Chops by The Education Wonks, and Planned Parenthood Fantasizes About Blowing Up "Anti-Choicers" by The Dawn Patrol.  Full results of the voting may be found over at Watcher of Weasels.

|| Greg, 05:56 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

We Still Love Lucy

Americans still love Lucy. Lucille Ball is the top rated star on Marketing Evaluations, Inc.'s list of deceased celebrities.

Lucille Ball is America's most beloved dead star. The company that developed the "Q score" that broadcasters and advertisers quietly consult to measure a personality's popularity has done a survey that tests the reputation of performers who have gone on to that big soundstage in the sky.

The redheaded sitcom star of the 1950s and '60s, who died in 1989, has topped past "Dead Q" lists as her comedies seemingly live forever on television, said Steve Levitt, president of Marketing Evaluations, Inc., which conducts the tests.

"What is there not to like about Lucy?" he said.

Bob Hope, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and Red Skelton follow her on the popularity list.

Ms. Ball, who died in 1989, was understandably unavailble for comment.

|| Greg, 05:08 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Sheehan Family Speaks Out Against Cindy

I've not said anything on this site about the Cindy Sheehan situation up in Crawford. She is entitled to her beliefs, no matter how wrong I believe them to be.

My respect for her son's sacrifice has led me to respectfully avert my gaze from the sorry spectacle she is making of herself. Grief can, after all, cause people to do and say irrational things. I have therefore remained mute on the subject (save for one comment satirizing a post by John Aravosis over at Americablog).

But members of the Sheehan family are speaking out, in a statement issued through The Drudge Report.

Our family has been so distressed by the recent activities of Cindy we are breaking our silence and we have collectively written a statement for release. Feel free to distribute it as you wish.

Thanks, Cherie

In response to questions regarding the Cindy Sheehan/Crawford Texas issue: Sheehan Family Statement:

The Sheehan Family lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq War and we have been silently, respectfully grieving. We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the the expense of her son's good name and reputation. The rest of the Sheehan Family supports the troops, our country, and our President, silently, with prayer and respect.


Casey Sheehan's grandparents, aunts, uncles and numerous cousins.

I think that says about all that needs saying about Mrs. Sheehan.

By the way, is anyone else struck by the fact that there is so little media coverage of survivors who support the war? Could it be that those are the "dog-bites-man" stories and this is "man-bites-dog"?

UPDATE: From the New York Post.

[Cherie Quartarolo's] e-mail was initially sent to San Francisco radio station KSFO and then reported on the Web site of the Vacaville Reporter newspaper in Casey Sheehan's hometown.

The Post e-mailed Quartarolo, and she responded by identifying herself as the aunt and included a copy of her statement.

KSFO talk-show host Melanie Morgan told The Post that she got to know Quartarolo after a July trip to Iraq by conservative radio personalities.

Quartarolo contacted her after hearing her reports praising U.S. troops.

Quartarolo didn't claim to be speaking on behalf of Casey's father, Patrick Sheehan, who is separated from Casey's mother and who has declined to comment on her protest.

(HAT TIP: GOPBloggers)

|| Greg, 12:00 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (25) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 11, 2005

What's The Problem With Pennsylania Democrats?

First it was the disgusting behavior of the state's Lt. Governor. Now it seems that the majority leader of the Pennsylvania state senate has forgotten that he is the servant of the people, not a feudal lord.

Bill McIntyre did not expect many replies when he e-mailed a tongue-in-cheek greeting to members of the state General Assembly on the one-month anniversary of the vote to give themselves a raise.

"I thought they would just ignore it," McIntyre said.

About a half-dozen replied.

One suggested he walk a mile in their shoes and run for office. Another asked if McIntyre had ever supported a legislative pay raise. Still another sent a two-page letter explaining why he voted for the raise.

Then there was the reply from Democratic Senate leader Robert J. Mellow, D-Lackawanna: "Why don't you get a life? Please do not mail my office another e-mail."

Senator -- if hearing from citizens who disagree with you is a problem, resignation is the proper solution. If you lack the integrity to quit now, I sincerely hope that your constituents remember and purge your disrespectful ass from public office.

|| Greg, 11:03 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

NARAL Backs Down -- Issues Durbinesque Apology

Clearly these folks are not sorry about the content of their ad -- merely that htey have been caught. How else can you explain this non-apology from the pro-abortion lobby group after they withdrew their mendacious ad?

"We regret that many people have misconstrued our recent advertisement about Mr. Roberts' record," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America


You flat out accused the man of backing the bombing of abortuaries, when his own words in the same documents and oral arguments made it clear that he believed such acts should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. That is a flat-out, full-blown abortion of the truth, not a difference of opinion or the misconstuing of your intent.

If they had any integrity, your board of directors would have fired you by now, Ms. Keenan.

MORE FROM Blogs for Bush, Captain's Quarters, Jawa Report, Conservative Thinking

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Islamist Refused Medical Treatment

Why on earth would the Brits even consider letting this guy back into their country. After all, in addition to urging assaults on their country, he has been a sponge living on welfare benefits for years.

THE British Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, will refuse a request from the extremist cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed to be allowed to return to Britain for a heart operation on the National Health Service.

As ministers finalise their new rules to exclude Sheik Bakri Mohammed from Britain, the cleric said that he should be allowed back from his holiday in Lebanon for an operation to widen an artery that would cost up to pound stg. 8000 ($18,750) if he had to have private treatment.

Officials believe the 47-year-old leader of the al-Muhajiroun group is trying to test the Home Office's promised immigration rules.

Senior officials said that the Home Secretary could exercise leniency if it were a life-or-death matter but a routine operation was unlikely to be grounds for lifting any ban.

One said: "His heart condition was not serious enough to prevent him flying to Beirut last weekend and I am sure they have very fine hospitals in Lebanon where this procedure could be done."

On the other hand, perhaps they could let him back in and give him appropriate medical treatment.

Lard coated stints, perhaps.

Or better yet, just transplant a pig's heart into this jihadi's chest.

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

Under Contract -- Without A Job

I don't know how I would cope with this situation if I were one of these teachers. Guaranteed a paycheck, but with no regular duties and an unclear future, these seventy teachers are in a sort of limbo.

Just days before the start of school in HISD, some contract teachers don't have permanent jobs.

They were all let go when three highs schools deemed low performing by the state were reorganized.

The total number of teachers in this situation? Seventy. Why so many? because state law requires that such chronically low performing schools have a 100% replacement of staff. Personally, that strikes me as a bit inefficient. After all, within that group of teachers are folks whose students did well and who would be an asset to the resonstituted campus.

It is interesting, too, who doesn't have a permanent assignment.

When school starts Monday at Kashmere High, veteran teachers Peter Nagy and Linda Murray won't be there. They've lost their jobs.

"I love teaching," said Peter Nagy, history teacher. "I don't like what HISD has done to me. I think that is utterly unjustified."

Nagy taught history at Kashmere for 20 years.

Murray is a 10-year veteran who taught English. Last year she was Kashmere's teacher of the year.

But as of Thursday, neither one of them has been assigned to a new school.

The school's teacher of the year wasn't scooped up? I wonder why. I mean, here is someone who looks to be an asset somewhere in the district.

Honestly, I'm surprised that the district hasn't mandated their placement somewhere.

|| Greg, 10:40 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Airport Honors A Hero

I think this letter from the Houston Chronicle stands up well all by itself.

Honoring a hero's way home

Last weekend I returned home to Houston on a Continental flight.

As our plane approached the gate, the captain announced that we would be greeted by an arch of water from waiting fire trucks in order to honor a hero on board. At first I was confused, but once we got to the gate, I understood.

We watched from the windows as the ground crew respectfully removed a piece of cargo and placed it in a special van. The size of the cargo, the markings and the fact that it was accompanied by a military officer made it clear that our flight was privileged to accompany a fallen hero, coming home on a final journey.

I do not know who the hero was, or who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the values that Americans hold dear, but I prayed for the family and friends left to mourn, and for the other warriors who risk their lives to protect us.

I also appreciated the staff at Bush International Airport for its respectful tribute.

Sugar Land

Thank you to all the folks at Bush Intercontinental Airport who made this tribute happen.

And may God bless this unknown hero and his family.

» links with: Honoring a hero’s way home

|| Greg, 06:19 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

August 10, 2005

I Thought Money Corrupted The System

A bunch of liberal exploiters of the masses (they are rich, after all, so their wealth is obviously ill-gotten via the alienation of the sweat and toil of the workers) are promising to donate at least $1 million each to propagandize the proletariat for the Socialist Democrat Party.

The money will be funnelled through an organisation called the Democracy Alliance which, according to a report in the Washington Post, will help fund a network of thinktanks and advocacy groups seeking to halt the shift to the cultural and political right.

The formation of the alliance is a radical rethinking of Democratic strategy and a response to the frustration felt by many liberals at the Republican stranglehold of both the House of Representatives and Senate and the White House.

At last November's elections, President George Bush was returned to office despite the deteriorating situation in Iraq and an uneven economy, leaving many Democrats baffled.

The alliance chairman, Steven Gluckstern, a retired investment banker, told the Post many liberal contributors felt that a dramatic new and more sustained approach was needed, instead of the cash poured into special interest pro-Democrat groups ahead of an election.

"It wasn't only the failure to win, it was the question, 'what does it take to win?'," Mr Gluckstern said. "Among the lessons learned was that to bring back the progressive majority in this country is not just a periodic election investment strategy."

The organisation aims to raise $200m, with more than 80 backers already agreeing to pledge $200,000 a year over five years.

Now hold on. I thought that we needed to get money out of the political process. I thought that think-tanks and interest groups were responsible for corrupting the system by amplifying the voices of the wealthy and rendering the common people irrelevant. You mean such things are noble if they they support liberal causes? Sounds like a hypocritical thing to me.

The alliance is the brainchild of Democratic strategist Rob Stein, who says the left's infrastructure is outdated.

He said there is a big imbalance in the amount of cash that goes into left and rightwing thinktanks. Over the past two years, he said, thinktanks pushing the conservative agenda had received $295m, while leftwing institutions were given just $75m.

Could it be that you folks haven't had an idea since Johnson screwed up Vietnam and the American economy all at the same time? The conservatives have engaged in scholarly research and made serious policy proposals. How much money do you people really need to make false claims of voter fraud, draw magic-marker "No Blood For Oil" signs and test-market the nickname "Chimpy McHalliBusHitler"? I think your donors got ripped off when they wrote that $75 million check.

|| Greg, 08:18 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Hip-Hop Hurrah!

I'm not a hip-hop fan, but I have to admire San Francisco hip-hop station KMEL-FM. They have refused to eject a US Navy recruitment booth from their annual Summer Jam concert, as demanded by anti-American peacenik groups who would have no free speech if not for the protection afforded them by the Navy and the rest of the armed forces.

Clear Channel officials said the Navy and other military recruiters had sponsored the Summer Jam concert for at least 10 of its 19 years. But activists are particularly concerned this year. Only one Bay Area music station has more listeners than KMEL-FM, according to the most recent Arbitron ratings. A Clear Channel official confirmed that roughly 40 percent of the station's audience are people of color.

"For many people in these communities (of color), the military is an escape from the violence they see in their neighborhoods," said Jen Low, an organizer for the protesters. With several branches of the military not reaching recruiting goals and with public opinion polls turning against President Bush's handling of the war, activists see an opportunity to show "the Navy is attempting to use any and all means to meet its goals," according to the activists' letter.

They want KMEL to sever its "ties" with the Navy or grant "counter- recruitment groups equal access to the 2005 KMEL Summer Jam as that granted to the U.S Navy."

Medecki said counter-recruiters were welcome to have a booth at the event at Shoreline Amphitheatre for the same price other sponsors paid -- $5,000 to $10,000.

The aging hippies, trust-fund communists and pro-terrorist anarchists can't come up with that sort of cash -- but plan on buying tickets and distributing literature inside the venue without a booth.

Here's hoping the event and venue have a solicitation policy banning this, and enforce it.

|| Greg, 08:03 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Judge Who Does Not Know His Place

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol doesn't know his place in the constitutional order of things. He seems to think he is a little king, immune from criticism by the peasants over whom he rules. As such, he demonstrates the arrogance of the imperial judiciary quite well.

Judge bashing begins with the public, the media and politicians, said Piersol, who is president of the Federal Judges Association. Most mainstream media and politicians are supportive of the judiciary, but some are not, he said.

Judges should expect criticism because their decisions have a direct effect on people's lives, Piersol said. But recent events, such as reported threats against Florida Circuit Judge George Greer, who ruled in the Terri Schiavo case, have caused concerns, he said.

Harsh verbal attacks by elected officials are not productive and can be seen as an invitation to retaliate for judicial decisions, he said.

In the Schiavo case, Greer's rulings faced congressional criticism, Piersol said. Greer reportedly received death threats after he ordered Schiavo's feeding tube be removed and denied a petition from the Florida Department of Children and Families and Gov. Jeb Bush to take Schiavo into state custody.

To confront judge bashing, Piersol said judges should communicate with Congress and their critics to try to temper their positions. In individual cases, where judges can't speak for themselves, they should allow judicial allies to speak on their behalf, he said.

Now I'll concede that death threats are never appropriate -- though I can think of a number of judges who merit a good horse-whipping. But if you cannot handle "harsh criticism", then you do not belong on the bench. If you truly believe that your ruling is in line with the laws and the Constitution of the United States, then your conscience should be clear and any criticism should roll off your back as if you are a duck. But if that criticism gets to you, then you might want to examine the reason why -- and not blame the tone of the critics.

But if, Judge Piersol, you really believe that the harsh criticism of you and your court really do harm to you, then you already have the tool in your possession to put a stop to it. Use your contempt power to imprison those whose contemptuous words impair the dignity and the function of the court. And yes, I am serious -- because after all, that power is there to make sure that the courts and their authority are properly respected. You can then make your case before another judge when the habeas corpus hearing is held to contest the legitimacy of the arrest -- and before the Senate of the United States during the impeachment proceedings. Better yet -- order the arrest of some of these Congressmen and Senators who are issuing "invitation[s] to retaliate for judicial decisions." I mean after all, you are a judge, and they damn well had better respect you and your decisions. Who do they think they are criticizing you?..I particularly love this bit of rhetoric, Judge Piersol.

Mainstream media generally have been supportive of the judiciary, but that doesn't include "virulent talk shows," Piersol said.

"Overheated rhetoric does no good," he said. "(These talk shows) can indirectly do harm."

Come on, judge -- order the arrest of Limbaugh, Hannity, and O'Reilly. They are a menace, and they do harm by their words. That cannot be permitted, regardless of any purported right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment. The negative effests of such virulent speech must be stopped, for the good of the courts.

But seriously, judge, how about if I stop being sarcastic for a moment or two, though I do not know that I can restrain my contempt for you long enough to treat you like a man worthy of respect. There is a reason that Article III is the third and least detailed of the three Articles which establish the branched of government. The founders made it clear in their statements about the relative power of those branches. The courts were to have the least power of the three branches. They were to be the least dangerous to liberty, and were expected to be deferential to the elected branches. Somewhere along the way, you and your fellow judges forgot that, and came to believe that the two elected branches were to be subordinate to yours, and the will of the people was to be of little import. When the courts resume their constitutional role and quit usurping the place of Congress, the President, and the several states, then maybe we will quit being so critical -- and will give you the sort of deference your office used to deserve.

|| Greg, 07:52 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Libs Lie To Win

Is a lawyer legally or morally responsible for the later actions of those whose rights he defends?

That is the key question that has to be asked before analyzing the current NARAL ad attacking Judge John Roberts.

After all, seven years after he filed a brief arguing that a certain law did not apply in a particular case (a position upheld 6-3 by the Supreme Court), one of those peripherally involved in the case committed a different, much more heinous act of the sort which Judge Roberts had condemned in his brief.

During the 1980s, members of Operation Rescue and other groups sought to prevent abortions by shutting down clinics through human blockades. The protesters massed on the sidewalks outside clinics and tried to stop doctors, nurses and patients from entering. Usually, they overwhelmed the police. However, if police came in force to break up the blockades, the protesters moved on to other clinics.

Keenan noted that in the four years before the Bray case was decided, there had been 48 bombings and arsons of abortion clinics in 24 states.

Defenders of abortion rights looked for a legal weapon to counter the blockades, and they thought they had found it in the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 — originally passed to authorize the federal courts to protect newly freed slaves from violence by whites.

The law applies whenever "two or more persons … conspire for the purpose of depriving … any persons or class of persons" of their equal rights under the Constitution. It permits judges to issue orders that restrain those who have violated the law.

In 1989, the National Organization for Women sued Operation Rescue in federal court in Alexandria, Va., after a series of clinic blockades. A federal judge ruled that the protesters had conspired to prevent women from obtaining legal abortions, and he issued an order making the protesters subject to arrest if they trespassed near abortion clinics. The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., upheld that decision.

Operation Rescue lawyers appealed. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, which was closely watched nationwide.

Starr and Roberts notified the court that they would file a brief on the side of Operation Rescue, and they asked for time to argue the issue before the justices. Under U.S. law, the solicitor general's primary job is to represent the federal government before the high court, but the office is also free to intervene in other cases that involve some aspect of federal law.

Roberts appeared before the court, opening his remarks by saying that he was not defending the acts of the protesters. Instead, he argued that the Ku Klux Klan Act did not apply in the context of abortion. The century-old law applied only to a "discriminatory deprivation of rights, not simply the deprivation of rights," he said.

"Opposition to abortion is [not] the same as discrimination on the basis of gender. That's wrong as a matter of law and logic," he said. Many women as well as men oppose abortion, and it is not because they hate women, he argued.

Now let's be quite blunt here -- the position he took was correct. Assigning him the blame for a later abortion clinic bombing by Eric Rudolph is like blaming Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP for the acts of the Weathermen by "encouraging" political activism against racial discrimination by waging a legal campaign against Jim Crow.

How false is the charge in the ad? Consider this from

An abortion-rights group is running an attack ad accusing Supreme Court nominee John Roberts of filing legal papers “supporting . . . a convicted clinic bomber” and of having an ideology that “leads him to excuse violence against other Americans” It shows images of a bombed clinic in Birmingham , Alabama .

The ad is false.

And the ad misleads when it says Roberts supported a clinic bomber. It is true that Roberts sided with the bomber and many other defendants in a civil case, but the case didn't deal with bombing at all. Roberts argued that abortion clinics who brought the suit had no right use an 1871 federal anti-discrimination statute against anti-abortion protesters who tried to blockade clinics. Eventually a 6-3 majority of the Supreme Court agreed, too. Roberts argued that blockades were already illegal under state law.

The images used in the ad are especially misleading. The pictures are of a clinic bombing that happened nearly seven years after Roberts signed the legal brief in question.

In other words, the only two facts that are accurate in the ad are that Roberts submitted the brief and that Rudolph blew up the clinic. Any attempt to draw a connection betwee those two events is completely specious.

Actually, one could make an argument that the reaction to the Supreme Court decision was much more directly responsible for Rudolph's violent acts. Virginia prosecuted the protesters for the non-violent blockades (similar to civil rights sit-ins of the 1960s) and obtained convictions for them. Bill Clinton and his pro-abortion cohorts passed the the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) to authorize the very sort of prosecutions that the pro-abortionists in the Bray case were seeking. Having cut off an effective means of peaceful, non-violent civil disobedience to protest abortion, Rudolph turned to violence. Bill Clinton and company are therefore responsible for the bombing of the Alabama abortuary.

Of course such an argument would be false -- just as false as the NARAL ad. And were we on the pro-life side of the abortion issue to make such an argument, NARAL and its allies would rightly condemn us.

But they are more than willing to lie in the service of their liberal cause.

MORE AT: Michelle Malkin, Sister Toldjah, John Bambenek, All Things Conservative, LyfLines, Jack Lewis, The Unalienable Right, Red State, QandO, bRight & Early, Blogs for Bush, GOPBloggers, Secure Liberty.

|| Greg, 12:10 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (15) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 09, 2005

When NOT To Give A Personal Testimonial

From time to time I will blog about personal things.

I've hinted around school issues once or twice, but quite obliquely.

Today I'm going to break a rule -- I'm going to comment on a colleague.

This colleague is a large, arrogant individual who has alienated a great many colleagues. It doesn't take most folks long to recognize him for the sort of person he is.

He is also the campus representative for one of the four major teacher organizations in the state -- the one that presents itself as a union (there are no real teacher's unions here in Texas, since we can't strike or collectively bargain). So during our in-service time, he was permitted to make a brief "sales pitch" to the faculty along with the other campus reps.

What comes out of his mouth as part of his presentation?

"And if you have a problem and need a lawyer, just call them and they'll get back to you within 24 hours. They do a great job getting things straightened out for you -- I wouldn't be teaching here if they didn't!"

Our principal simply bowed his head and covered his face. One of the folks at my table whispered "Now we know who to blame --maybe Shakespeare was right about killing all the lawyers."

You know -- I don't think that little tidbit added to the credibility of that particular organization at all.

|| Greg, 12:35 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (8) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 08, 2005

Simple Solution -- Move To Brazil

Chari Cohen met Enivaldo Oliveira when he was working illegally in a restaurant after entering the country seeral years before with a forged visa. They dated, married, and had kids, both aware that Envialdo was an immigration criminal who had no right to be in the United States whatsoever and was subject to deportation.

In the spring of 2004, Envialdo went back to his native Brazil voluntarily, in an effort to get permission to legally enter the United States on the grounds that his separation fromhis family was a hardship. Under terms of US immigration laws, he was properly denied a visa.

"We went to them, they didn't come to us," Chari said of their seeking official help. She said their approach was, "'We made a mistake, and we want to fix it,' and Enivaldo said, 'I have a wife and a baby and I want to legalize my status here.'" Enivaldo went off on the six-month voluntary leave to return home to begin the transition. But, that process came to a halt when U.S. immigration officers in Peru determined the separation of the family did not warrant enough hardship to overrule an eventual denial of his return. The Oliveiras are now appealing Enivaldo's rejection. Chari said the best opportunities for her family are here in the United States, and scoffs at the prospect of moving to Enivaldo's Brazilian town, which she describes as a tiny farm village, a six-hour ride through the mountains to the closest hospital, without a playground or any adequate resources for her children's upbringing. "We didn't want to separate our family. We wanted to be together for the rest of our lives," she said. "He didn't leave because he wanted to. He left because that is what he had to do." Upon arriving back in Brazil after leaving the United States March 8, 2004, he began assembling the paperwork he would need to bring to his appointments with the United States Embassy in Peru, the location where Enivaldo's case was handled. The office, Chari said, was a 16-hour trip away. Each time he has visited, the office has told him he is missing another piece of paperwork, and finally denied the request.

Imagine that -- the laws of the United States are being enforced. Envialdo Oliveiraknowingly broke the law when he came to this country, knowing broke the law when he stayed here and work, and Chari Cohen Oliveira knew what she was doing when she married Envialdo and had children with him. Any hardship in this case is of their own making.

Of course, they don't see it that way.

Meanwhile, charges the family does not face adequate hardship exasperate Chari, who worries about the upbringing of her daughters without Enivaldo to join them for dinners, to play soccer, and the hugs, smiles and attention she said he loves to give.

"I am your everyday mother who just wants the best for her kids. I just want my kids to be with their dad. I want my family to be together," she said.

She said she's lost her energy and personality through the struggle, and feels exhausted.

"I'm like nothing anymore," she said. "We're dying without him. What is enough hardship? Homelessness is not enough hardship?" Chari said that come September, she does not have housing lined up for the family.

Chari describes the early months of her daughters' lives, when Enivaldo would awaken in the middle of the night to help her nurse the babies.

"He's a great father, and a great source of support for me. You couldn't ask for a better family man," she said.

"Are my kids going to grow up on welfare support because it's not enough hardship?" she said. Chari said her scholarship to the University of Massachusetts was revoked when she needed to take more time off from school to spend with her children than the school allowed, and that limits her employment opportunities. "I can't finish school. I can't afford day care," she said.

"My kids need a father. There is no backup plan. He's going to be coming back here," she said resolutely.

"Our life doesn't continue without him. This isn't a game. It's no joke here; it's people's lives," she said. "It's exactly what Enivaldo and I didn't want."

Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn what you and your immigration criminal husband want. If you want your daughters to be raised in a two-parent household, then there is a simple solution -- take your daughters and move to Brazil. Under terms of our nation's laws, Envialdo will be eligible to get a visa sometime after March of 2014 -- just in time for your oldest child to start college.

I realize, of course, that this is not what you want, but following the law is not optional. Enforcing the laws of the United States in an even-handed manner is not optional, even if it does inconvenience those who break those laws. I'm sure that Envialdo is a good father -- but I suspect the same can be said of many folks currently incarcerated for other crimes. Should we turn loose all the parents in our nation's prisons for the sake of their children? Who else should be exempted from the law?

I feel very badly for your kids. It is a pity that the two of you were irresponsible enough to bring two children into the world who will have to live with the negative impact of the decisions made by their parents before they were born. Yes, they are victims -- but not of an uncaring government, but of a pair of selfish, immature parents who didn't consider the consequences of their decisions.

Now get out of my country.

|| Greg, 11:57 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (10) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Some Positive DeLay News

My Congressman, Tom DeLay, is one of the most maligned men in Washington. I genuinely believe that most of the attacks are based no blind hatred, not actual evidence of substantive wrong-doing. You may disagree.

That said, I would like to remind folks that there is another side to Tom DeLay, one that comes out of what is an undeniably decent part of the this many's character. Tom DeLay has a long-time commitment to the welfare of children in the foster care and adoption system.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay today opened a privately financed project touted as an innovative way of giving abused and neglected children a stable foster home environment.

"There is no other place in the entire country that does what we're trying to do," the Republican said of the project. "And we hope to take this as a model around the country because the foster care system in every state has problems that need to be dealt with."

Some folks, of course, cannot help but find something shady in the project because the facility has been built by Perry Homes, which is owned by Swift Vet's backer Bob Perry. But given that Perry operates one of the largest residential builders in Houston (I believe the largest, but I'm not sure), that should not come as a surprise. It is just one more baseless attack.

Anyway, about the facility.

The first phase of the project, costing about $8 million, consists of eight seven-bedroom homes, a gym and a chapel. Each of the houses will serve as a home for six foster children, plus their foster parents. A second phase will add 24 homes and boost the investment to $25 million, all from private sources, he said.

In other words, nearly fifty kids now have a good foster placement as a result of this project. Another 144 will eventually be a part of the program. This is not something out of the ordinary for Congressman DeLay -- he has been active in adoption and foster care issues for many years on a personal level, and has been a leader on the issue in Congress.

DeLay, though, gives much of the credit to his wife.

DeLay credited his wife, Christine, a former teacher who years ago became a court-appointed special advocate for foster children, with the idea. He said they realized through taking in three foster children that the system needed help.

As you see, this is not some "for public consumption" project for the DeLays. Rather, it is a part of their way of life.

Well Done, Tom and Christine, and all of those involved in this new endeavor.

UPDATE: Well, the Houston Chronicle finally got around to telling us about the facility in a separate article. I guess that some folks at the paper finally realized the the original article was a hit-piece on DeLay that ignored the important story -- the one about the kids and the program.

Christine DeLay said foster children often feel like outsiders in their neighborhoods because they have different names than their foster parents.

"It (Rio Bend) is just like a regular neighborhood, there is one big difference, everybody on the street and the streets to come will be foster parents," she said.

Rio Bend is on the north side of Richmond on 50 acres of land donated by the George Foundation, a philanthropic group.

The foster children, who will attend public schools, will remain in a Rio Bend home from the time a court removes them from their parents until they can return to their parents or are adopted.

DeLay said foster children often are forced to move from home to home, an experience that can leave emotional scars for years.

The first phase of the $7.2 million project consists of eight 4,600-square-foot homes.

Rio Bend administrator Margaret Gow said the second phase will add another 24 houses to the site, which also has playgrounds, athletic fields, a chapel and a swimming pool. When completed, the entire cost of the project will be about $20 million.

Each house has space for six foster children and the foster parents. There is also a room for a nanny and a small apartment for the parents and their biological children.

There are guest quarters on the site for foster children who have turned 18 and are no longer in the care of the state.

The parents will pay $450 a month rent.

Lutheran Social Services of the South will be responsible for administering the day-to-day activities of Rio Bend such as interviewing, training and supervising foster parents.

|| Greg, 11:36 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Thank You, Jim

I've been wanting to tranfer all the stuff from my old blog, Precinct 333, over to this site as a way of archiving my blogging experience and getting everything in one semi-neat place.

Unfortunately, I could not figure out how to do it.

Call me a non-tech geek.

Jim from Zero Intelligence and Snooze Button Dreams helped me out by making the tranfer for me. The help is very much appreciated, and my deepest thanks are extended.

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

August 07, 2005

RIP: Peter Jennings -- 1938-2005

ABC News anchorman Peter Jennings has died after a battle with lung cancer.

ABC News Anchor Peter Jennings died today at his home in New York City. He was 67. On April 5, Jennings announced he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

He is survived by his wife, Kayce Freed, his two children, Elizabeth, 25, and Christopher, 23, and his sister, Sarah Jennings.

In announcing Jennings' death to his ABC colleagues, News President David Westin wrote:

"For four decades, Peter has been our colleague, our friend, and our leader in so many ways. None of us will be the same without him.

"As you all know, Peter learned only this spring that the health problem he'd been struggling with was lung cancer. With Kayce, he moved straight into an aggressive chemotherapy treatment. He knew that it was an uphill struggle. But he faced it with realism, courage, and a firm hope that he would be one of the fortunate ones. In the end, he was not.

"We will have many opportunities in the coming hours and days to remember Peter for all that he meant to us all. It cannot be overstated or captured in words alone. But for the moment, the finest tribute we can give is to continue to do the work he loved so much and inspired us to do."

Jennings was someone I could not dislike, even as I often found myself in disagreement with him. I'm sorry to see him go.

May God grant him eternal rest, and may his family be comforted in this time of loss.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY: LaShawn Barber, Michelle Malkin, Captains Quarters, ConservaGlobe, The View From My Chair, Ramblings' Journal, The Political Teen, Patrick Ruffini, The MUSC Tiger, Grapevine's Ramblings, and Crooks and Liars.

» The Political Teen links with: Peter Jennings Dead at Age 67
» Hennessy's View links with: Peter Jennings: RIP
» Ramblings' Journal links with: Peter Jennings, 1938-2005
» La Shawn Barber's Corner links with: Peter Jennings, 1938-2005
» scoopstories links with: Peter Jennings Rest In Peace

|| Greg, 11:10 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (5) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The Watcher's Council has voted on this past week's nominees.

Rightwing Nuthouse has taken first place among the members of the Council with The Coming Catastrophe? The Counterterrorism Blog was selected as the winning non-council entry with The American Islamic Leaders' "Fatwa" Is Bogus.

Full results may be found at this link.

|| Greg, 10:55 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

New Jersey Seeks To Silence GOP Candidate

Doug Forrester is financing his own campaign for governor of New Jersey. He has not made active overtures for funds from private individuals, nor has he sought significant support from the party. Now, having spent $11 million of his own on the race, there is a move afoot to effectively shut down his campaign under terms of an old state law.

The law bars insurance companies and other state-regulated industries doing business in New Jersey - and individuals with majority ownership in the companies - from contributing to candidates or political organizations in the state.

Forrester holds a 51 percent ownership interest in an insurance company that sells most of its policies to governmental clients in New Jersey.

"All of the kinds of things we've done with regard to contributions have been done appropriately and have been examined by appropriate legal counsel," Forrester said in an interview Friday.

Yet the state election law could put into question the contributions that Forrester has made, including those to his own campaign, since he formed his insurance company in 2003. Under the law, designed to prevent undue influence by insurance companies, banks and other state-regulated industries, prohibited contributions might have to be returned.

The Attorney General's Office, which has strictly interpreted the law over three decades to apply to insurance companies and their subsidiaries, declined to comment.

Forrester's company, Heartland Fidelity Insurance Co., was established by him in 2003 to sell health-benefits insurance. Heartland is managed by a second Forrester company - the New Jersey-based BeneCard Services Inc. - which brokers and administers the Heartland contracts. Forrester said he has made more than $50 million from his business, and he is financing his campaign for governor almost exclusively with his own money.

Since forming Heartland, Forrester has spent $11 million to win the GOP gubernatorial nomination and has said he will also personally finance his fall campaign against Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon S. Corzine.

In addition, Forrester has contributed several hundred thousand dollars to various GOP candidates and committees in the state since forming his insurance company.


Forrester, after consulting with his attorneys, drew a fine line Friday between the corporate status of the two companies. He said the New Jersey campaign-finance restrictions for insurance companies do not apply to him because he licensed Heartland Fidelity in the District of Columbia.

Heartland "is a D.C. company. It is not regulated by the State of New Jersey," he said through his campaign spokeswoman, Sherry Sylvester. "The statute is not intended to reach beyond the boundaries of New Jersey."

The state law, however, covers companies that "do business" in New Jersey. Heartland's business is produced through BeneCard, a Forrester-owned company with about 100 employees, located in Lawrenceville.

An official at the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance said the issue is where Heartland does business, not where it is licensed and regulated.

"If Heartland is selling insurance to New Jersey entities through BeneCard, they're conducting the business of insurance in New Jersey," said Anne Marie Narcini, ombudsman and manager of consumer protection at the state department.

Now lets look at this for a moment. The goal of the law is to prevent corporate interests from buying influence. However, this is not someone seeking to buy influence -- this is the candidate himself, spending his own cash. Yt is impossible to argue that this is the intent of the law at hand.

There is, of course, another issue. If strictly interpreted, it prohibits the candidate himself from giving anything of value to himself for campaign purposes? Can he buy clothing which he will wear at campaign events? Can he pay for his own dry-cleanting? Heck, can he pay for his own meals or gasoline? To construe this law as applying to expenditures by the candidate himself would result in such logically absurd questions. Furthermore, it would put Forrester and like individuals at a disadvantage relative to other citizens of New Jersey, in that it would prevent him from engaging in political speech activities on his own behalf that are open to every other New Jersey citizen.

I think that any court challenge would have to look at the holding in Buckely v. Valeo, the seminal case on campaign finance law. It held that there can be no limits on a candidate's expenditure of his own funds on behalf of his own candidacy unless the candidate accepted public financing of his campaign. The majority held that such limits infringed upon a First Amendment right "to engage in the discussion of public issues and vigorously and tirelessly to advocate his own election." This is precisely the case here. Furthermore, the court noted that "the use of personal funds reduces a candidate's dependence on outside contributions and thereby counteracts the coercive pressures and attendant risks of abuse to which the contribution limitations are directed." In other words, Forresters expenditures serve the very end sought by the statute.

Ultimately, we have before us a classic example of why political speech limitation laws campaign finance reform laws are unwise and tread dangerously close to infringing on essential liberies -- and probably cross the line.

|| Greg, 08:43 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

What Do You Expect From A Democrat

Rev. Fred Phelps, a long-time Democrat activist, is well known for his hatred of those with whom he disagrees. That makes him typical of members of that party, which equates dissent from their platform with evil. (on the other hand, Democrats view dissent which showers hatred on the US as the ultimate patriotism). That's why they turned out to revile a dead soldier and the country he served at his funeral.

An anti-America protest scheduled to coincide with an Opelika soldier’s funeral Saturday occurred with little confrontation.

However, there were those who turned out to pay tribute to the slain soldier who voiced opposition to the Kansas-based church group’s message summarized by picket signs bearing slogans like “God hates you” and “America is doomed.”

Protected by police border tape that surrounded an area across the street from Greater Peace Baptist Church, where the service for Sgt. Christopher J. Taylor was held, the group of about 15 from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., began what they call a “Love Crusade” with a parody of the song “God Bless America.”

Margie Phelps, daughter of WBC pastor and anti-gay activist Fred Phelps who spearheads the group, loudly chanted anti-gay rhetoric.

Several American flag-waving supporters protested this message by standing in front of the barricade, partially blocking view of the group from Jeter Road where the church is located.

This prompted some members of the church group to step out of the designated area set up by Opelika police.

To ensure a peaceful assembly, police ordered the group to stay within the set boundaries, prompting a complaint from Fred Phelps’ son Timothy who claimed police were violating their oath to uphold the United States Constitution.

“They have to do everything they can to shut us down,” said Phelps. “This is what you call government taking a side on an issue. This is what you call Nazi America.”

In addition to mocking patriotic songs and waving anti-gay signs, one group member dragged an American flag on the ground with her foot.

Yep -- sounds like the typical tactics of the Leftist anti-war groups. So quit trying to claim that Fred Phelps and his ilk are conservative, because they are nyot. Each and every one of their actions at this funeral are typical of left-wing demonstrations by ActUp, MoveOn, and ANSWER.

» Doc Rampage links with: Fred Phelps

|| Greg, 12:18 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

A Tale Of Two Discoveries

Two archaeological discoveries, only a few hundred miles apart. Both shed light on the region's rich heritage and importance. Notice how differently they are reported.

The first comes from Israel, where a possible palace or fortress from the time of David and Solomon has been discovered in East Jerusalem.

An Israeli archaeologist says she has uncovered in East Jerusalem what may be the fabled palace of the biblical King David. Her work has been sponsored by a conservative Israeli research institute and financed by an American Jewish investment banker who would like to prove that Jerusalem was indeed the capital of the Jewish kingdom described in the Bible.

Other scholars are skeptical that the foundation walls discovered by the archaeologist, Eilat Mazar, are David's palace. But they acknowledge that what she has uncovered is rare and important: a major public building from around the 10th century B.C., with pottery shards that date to the time of David and Solomon and a government seal of an official mentioned in the book of Jeremiah.

The discovery is likely to be a new salvo in a major dispute in biblical archaeology: whether the kingdom of David was of some historical magnitude, or whether the kings were more like small tribal chieftains, reigning over another dusty hilltop.

The find will also be used in the broad political battle over Jerusalem - whether the Jews have their origins here and thus have some special hold on the place, or whether, as many Palestinians have said, including the late Yasir Arafat, the idea of a Jewish origin in Jerusalem is a myth used to justify conquest and occupation.

Notice that the report is loaded with questions about the nature of Israel three millenia ago, its importance, and whether that presence has any real significance. The article even goes so far as to implicitly question the roots of Jews in the region -- something that requires a blind anti-Semitic streak and an ignorance of history. The Jewish presence in the region 3000 years ago is clear, and certainly predates the presence of the Arab jihadi horde that conquered the region some sixteen centuries later. The subtext here is the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and the discovery of evidence supporting the Hebrew Scriptures as supporting Israel's claim to the a covenant right to the Land of Israel. And given that this discovery is in predominantly Arab East Jerusalem, there are those who want to discredit the discovery.

On the other hand, this Christian era discovery in Egypt receives only slight coverage.

The remains of an ancient church and monks' retreats that date back to the early years of monasticism have been discovered in a Coptic Christian monastery in the Red Sea area, officials said Saturday.

Workers from Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities found the ruins while restoring the foundations of the Apostles Church at St. Anthony's Monastery. The remains are about 2 or 2 1/2 yards underground, said the head of the council, Zahi Hawass.

The monastery, which is in the desert west of the Red Sea, was founded by disciples of St. Anthony, a hermit who died in A.D. 356 and is regarded as the father of Christian monasticism. A colony of hermits settled around him and he led them in a community.

The remains include the column bases of a mud-brick church and two-room hermitages.

The remains of a small oven and a stove for food were found in one hermitage room, Hawass said. Another room had Coptic writing on the walls and a small mud-brick basin.

"These hermitages are the oldest in Egypt and they cast light on the history of monasticism in Egypt," Abdullah Kamel, the head of the council's Islamic and Coptic Antiquities department, told The Associated Press.

Kamel could not offer a precise date for the hermitages.

Christians account for an estimated 10 percent of Egypt's population and belong mainly to the Coptic Church, an Orthodox church that traces its origins to St. Mark.

Notice, there is no question of denying the Christian heritage of Egypt or that Christians have a legitimate place in Egypt. This is a significant find, potentially telling us much about the development of the early monastic tradition within Christianity. Having studied the Desert Fathers and Mother of the fourth and fifth centuries, I can tell you that there are great gaps that could be filled in by the research conducted at this site.

Why the difference in coverage? I would like to suggest that it goes back to the relationship between Islam and the two communities whose presence is revealed by the discoveries. In Egypt, Christians have meekly accepted dhimmi status, living as second-class citizens in their own homeland. Their presence, and their historical place, are therefore accepted by the Muslims. But the Jews of israel have deared to stand on their own feet and challenge the right of the Arabs to dominate them. Rather than wilt in the face of some eighty years of Muslim terror and murder (dating back well before independence to the time of the Balfour Declaration), the Jews have fought back and carved themselves a country after being dhimis in their own homeland for over a millenium. The discovery of evdence which legitimized their presence must therefore be delegitimized by the opponents of Israel and the partisans of the Palestinians.

(Hat Tip: The Anchoress)

» Watcher of Weasels links with: Submitted for Your Approval

|| Greg, 01:54 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (6) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Air America Bumper Sticker Contest

This could be a lot of fin -- Air America has a contest to come up with possible bumper stickers for its listeners (*smirk!*) .

Air America Radio is launching a contest to come up with the most creative and/or funny bumper stickers to get the word out about Air America Radio.

We need ideas for slogans, graphics, concepts — whatever you think best conveys the spirit of Air America Radio's shows, hosts, and our mission to take back the airwaves.

We will pick the top 10 ideas and then we'll invite our loyal fans — that's you — to pick your favorites. The top three winners will get a full set of Air America Radio bumper stickers plus the stylish Air America Radio tote bag!

You know -- I bet that those tote bags would be great for kids headed down to the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club.

Anyone got some good ideas?

(Hat Tip -- GOP Bloggers, Say Anything & Two Babes and a Brain.)

» links with: A Live Air America Radio Band Aid Solution

|| Greg, 01:19 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

August 06, 2005

A Little Bit Of Fun

I love it when bloggers tweak friends and enemies in the blogosphere.

Over at Rightwing Nuthouse, Rick posted a taxonomy of the left side of the blogosphere. I really encourage you to take a look -- its funny, but with a serious point.

(Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin, Junkyard Blog)

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

Get Your Red Hot Irony Here!

Folks were outraged by Rep. Tom Tancredo's comments on destroying Mecca and Medina. Muslims were particulary upset by the implied threat to the sacred cities.

Why, then, is there no outcry as the Saudis destroy the history of the two cities.

Historic Mecca, the cradle of Islam, is being buried in an unprecedented onslaught by religious zealots.

Almost all of the rich and multi-layered history of the holy city is gone. The Washington-based Gulf Institute estimates that 95 per cent of millennium-old buildings have been demolished in the past two decades.

Now the actual birthplace of the Prophet Mohamed is facing the bulldozers, with the connivance of Saudi religious authorities whose hardline interpretation of Islam is compelling them to wipe out their own heritage.

It is the same oil-rich orthodoxy that pumped money into the Taliban as they prepared to detonate the Bamiyan buddhas in 2000. And the same doctrine - violently opposed to all forms of idolatry - that this week decreed that the Saudis' own king be buried in an unmarked desert grave.

A Saudi architect, Sami Angawi, who is an acknowledged specialist on the region's Islamic architecture, told The Independent that the final farewell to Mecca is imminent: "What we are witnessing are the last days of Mecca and Medina."

According to Dr Angawi - who has dedicated his life to preserving Islam's two holiest cities - as few as 20 structures are left that date back to the lifetime of the Prophet 1,400 years ago and those that remain could be bulldozed at any time. "This is the end of history in Mecca and Medina and the end of their future," said Dr Angawi.

Why the destruction? Who is the driving force? Why the forcies of militant Wahabbism, the preferred version of Islam of the Saudi Royal Family.

"At the root of the problem is Wahhabism," says Dr Angawi. " They have a big complex about idolatry and anything that relates to the Prophet."

The Wahhabists now have the birthplace of the Prophet in their sights. The site survived redevelopment early in the reign of King Abdul al-Aziz ibn Saud 50 years ago when the architect for a library there persuaded the absolute ruler to allow him to keep the remains under the new structure. That concession is under threat after Saudi authorities approved plans to " update" the library with a new structure that would concrete over the existing foundations and their priceless remains.

Dr Angawi is the descendant of a respected merchant family in Jeddah and a leading figure in the Hijaz - a swath of the kingdom that includes the holy cities and runs from the mountains bordering Yemen in the south to the northern shores of the Red Sea and the frontier with Jordan. He established the Haj Research Centre two decades ago to preserve the rich history of Mecca and Medina. Yet it has largely been a doomed effort. He says that the bulldozers could come "at any time" and the Prophet's birthplace would be gone in a single night.

Now I will be honest. I have some major problems theologically with islam. I believe Muhammad to be a crazy man who peddled false visions and revelations to a gullible group of followers, perverting the truths of Christianity and Judaism to justify his deeds. But I also recognize the historical significance of the sites being destroyed, and have great concern that important archaeological evidence will be destroyed.

I wonder, though -- why are Muslims not speaking out against the destruction of their own heritage at the hands of religious extremists? Why won't the UN raise its voice at the destruction of sites that are part of the heritage of the whole world? Where is the international pressure to preserve these valuable historical sites and open them to the world?

In other words, why aren't the Saudis being held to basic standards of international decency for the sake of all mankind?

|| Greg, 04:17 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Evil Muslim Compares Blair To Hitler

I cannot believe the gall of this man -- or the fact that he thinks we are so stupid as to be unable to figure out the difference.

Following the anti-terrorism proposals unveiled on Friday Dr Naseem told the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme that he saw "similarities" between Mr Blair's approach to Britain's Muslim community and Hitler's demonisation of Jews early in his time as German Chancellor.

"I think he is not very wise in the way he did it. I am saying he is not handling the situation wisely, because he says one thing at one time and another at another," he said.

"He [Hitler] was democratically elected and gradually he created a bogey identity, that is, the Jewish people, and posed to the Germans that they were a threat to the country.

"On that basis, he started a process of elimination of Jewish people.

"I see the similarities. Everything moves step by step. I am saying these are dangerous times and we must take note of this."

He added that the measures proposed by Mr Blair would be "appropriate" if there was evidence that foreign nationals were in the country fomenting terrorism.

"A government is entitled to take measures to safeguard the country and the nation, but the problem is that the government speaks with so many tongues that one is confused.

"Up to last week, we were given to believe that the terrorists were home-grown, 'clean-skinned' and Muslim.

"The measures being taken are against those who come to this country who are asylum-seekers and they are supposed to be misusing or abusing hospitality.

"Mr Blair told the Cabinet last week that people blame anything but faith, including poverty, discrimination and the war on terror for the bombings, so the message seemed to be that they are blaming everything else, but they should be blaming faith."

Let's see -- can Naseem point to Jews in the 1920s and 1030s preaching hatred of the German people, or of non-Jews in general? Can he point to Jewish terrorist activity, murdering innocent Gentiles at random for the purpose of terrroizing them? I think we all know the answer.

But if Dr. Naseem and his ilk keep it up, we will find it necessary to expel Muslims from Western society for our own protection. After all, Islamist terrorists and their apologists (and I'm not sure which Naseem is) are a a cancer in our midst. If the Muslim community keeps choosing folks like Naseem as leaders and spokesmen to represent their faith to the rest of us, then the community itself is the problem, not just the extremists.

|| Greg, 03:07 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

How Muslims Could Impose Islam On The World

We keep being told that Islam is a religion of peace -- in fact, some will tell you that the word "Islam" itself means peace (that is a lie -- it means submission). In light of this, some folks have wondered how Islam could take over the world. I mean, what means would this "peaceful" religion use to impose itself on an unwilling world?

DC Watson offers a scenario for an Islamic takeover of the world.

1. Apply for asylum in the West, because the nation you call home is oppressive and barbaric.

2. Migrate to the West, appear to be meek and mild, well-mannered and soft-spoken. Meet with upper levels of your host nation's government, claiming to be an ambassador of pluralism.

3. Then on weekends at Muslim gatherings, promote the implementation of the very same oppressive and barbaric behavior that you claim to have left behind for a better life in the West.

4. When those in your fellowship murder innocent people with airliners and bombs, you throw out a generic public condemnation, making sure that you name no specific names.

5. Disassociate yourselves with the Muslim killers, saying that they are out on the fringe of Islam, and claim that this is only a “tiny minority of extremists” who are committing these crimes -- because killing innocent people goes against the teachings of Islam.

6. No matter how many of your fellow Muslims are convicted of terror crimes, always maintain this story.

7. Oh, and always make sure that you don't let it slip out that no non-Muslim is considered innocent.

8. Always, always, always use religion for protection.

9. Even though your religion is loaded with cutthroats, always compare them to one or two loons from another religion.

10. Even though your book of scripture is chock full of racism and violence, always compare it to the scriptures of other religions, even though you know, like the rest of the world knows, that the believers of these other religions aren't out hacking, bombing, kidnapping and beheading like the believers of yours are.

11. Always remember to play the phony race card. Playing the victim is the best way to keep those who actually worry about hurting your fragile egos from protecting themselves against your deceit and undermining.

12. Remember that every time incitement to violence against non-Muslims slips out of your mouth, always use the excuse that your words were taken out of context. Oh, and be sure to call anyone who challenges you a bigot. Remember, play that phony race card!

You know, this hypothetical plan sounds mighty familiar to me. Does it seem familiar to you?

|| Greg, 11:31 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 05, 2005

Players Do The Right Thing

I'm one of those who is often critical of athletes and others who fail to do the right thing. Maybe its the money and the fame that cause them to forget to be decent human beings -- sort of like actors these days.

But I want ot give a shout-out to the Cincinnati Reds for doing right by a little boy at one of the worst moments of his young life. And yeah, I'm giving a hankie alert on this one.

Cincinnati Reds players rallied around a 6-year-old boy after his grandfather collapsed in the stands this week.

"We just tried to make a bad situation a little better," outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

While paramedics were working on the grandfather, a security officer took the boy to the Reds' bullpen. The Reds did not release the name of the grandfather, who died Wednesday night of an apparent heart attack.

The boy, identified as Antonio Perez, sat with players for the last two innings of the game, and Griffey went and got him when the game ended. The boy participated in the Reds' high-fives celebrating their 8-5 victory over Atlanta, and he then joined the players in the clubhouse.

Clubhouse manager Rick Stowe said the Reds showered the boy with bats, wristbands and autographed baseballs. Shortstop Felipe Lopez gave him the batting helmet that he wore in this year's All-Star game.

The players entertained the boy until his parents arrived.

"We play a game," Griffey told the Enquirer. "What he was going through doesn't compare. It was important that the little guy not be by himself."

:et's be honest here -- these guys didn't have to do this. They didn't have to stick around with the kid or give him some really neat gifts. They could have stuck a ball cap on the kid's head and gone home, leaving the scared little guy to sit in the security office until his parents arrived, not knowing what was wrong with his grandfather.

But they did the right thing anyway.

And that is what separates the decent folks from the posers.

Gentlemen, you passed the real test of manhood, and I salute you.

And to the family of Antonio Perez, I extend my deepest sympathies on the loss of a beloved family member. May God comfort you in this time of loss.

|| Greg, 10:00 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Corzine's Not-So-Blind Trust

You promised the voters that you would put your assets in a blind trust. Five years later, only 1/3 of the assets are in the trust, and it isn't so blind. What's the deal, Senator Corzine?

When multi-millionaire U.S. Sen. Jon S. Corzine ran for his seat six years ago, he promised voters he would place his assets in a blind trust.

The move was to counter critics who charged that his portfolio, especially in a global investment banking and securities firm, could pose a conflict of interest.

But a review of his financial disclosure forms shows that Corzine, a Democrat seeking to become governor, has not put all of his assets in a blind trust. Moreover, the U.S. Senate ethics committee has not approved the trust that he has set up.

And Corzine's blind trust may not be that blind: The Newark mailing address for the trust is the same as his U.S. Senate campaign committee, according to his state financial disclosure form.

Corzine's agreement with the trust manager has not been made public by the candidate. His campaign did not respond to requests Thursday from Gannett New Jersey to release the agreement and identify the managers of the blind trust and Corzine's two other investment companies.

In 2001, Corzine told the Gannett News Service that two former Goldman Sachs partners, Jacob Goldfield and Chris Flowers, and a lawyer, Nancy Dunlap, would manage the blind trust. Dunlap is listed as an official with his U.S. Senate and gubernatorial political campaigns.

No law requires Corzine to put his assets in a blind trust. He also isn't required to submit the trust to the Senate ethics committee for approval. But getting approval means the agreement governing the trust would be a public record, and that Corzine would have to comply with strict Senate rules regulating such funds, including a requirement that the manager be independent, and not related to, the senator.

"Once the ethics committee has approved it, it's truly blind,'' said Pamela Gavin, the Senate's superintendent of public records. "If it's not a qualified blind trust, it has not been blessed by (the) ethics (committee).''

Tell me, Senator, would you accept this sort of ongoing deception from a GOP colleague -- or opponent?

|| Greg, 08:52 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Happy Birthday/Happy Anniversary/I Love You!

Yesterday was ten. Today is {cough}{cough}{ahem!}.

Two events that made my life complete.

You coming into the world.

You promising me forever.

Thank you.

And may I somehow be worthy, my darling one.

|| Greg, 12:00 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 04, 2005

AIPAC Indictments

It is time we do something about Israeli spying on the US.

Two former employees of an influential pro-Israel lobbying group were indicted yesterday on charges that they illegally received and passed on classified information to foreign officials and reporters over a period of five years, part of a case that has complicated relations between the United States and one of its closest allies.

Although no foreign government is named in the indictment, U.S. government sources have identified Israel as the country at the center of the probe. The Israeli Embassy in Washington also confirmed yesterday that it has been "approached" by investigators in the case.

The 26-page indictment, handed up in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, represents the first formal allegations of criminal wrongdoing against the former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC is widely recognized as one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in Washington and has carefully cultivated close ties to Congress and the Bush administration.

The indictment also recasts the government's allegations against Lawrence A. Franklin, a Defense Department analyst who had already been charged with disclosing secret information about possible attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and other topics. One of six original counts was dropped against Franklin, 58, of Kearneysville, W.Va.

Former AIPAC director of foreign policy issues Steven J. Rosen, 63, of Silver Spring was indicted on two counts related to unlawful disclosure of "national defense information" obtained from Franklin and other unidentified government officials since 1999 on topics including Iran, Saudi Arabia and al Qaeda. A former AIPAC analyst, Keith Weissman, 53, of Bethesda, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to illegally communicate classified information.

Let's start by shutting down this unAmerican organization and den of spies.

And let's follow it up by cutting off every red cent of aid to Israel.

Israel is clearly not a friend.

|| Greg, 11:40 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Too Cozy A Relationship?

Would you forgive a half-million dollar personal loan to your ex-girlfriend? How about if she were in a position to help you get an important job -- a job in which you would make decisins to benefit her business?

Would reasonable people with a modicum of ethics find this situation problematic? I think so.

Which is why the Democrat candidate for governor of New Jersey thinks such a conflict of interest is just fine.

Senator and gubernatorial candidate Jon S. Corzine lent the president of New Jersey's largest state workers union $470,000 when the two were romantically involved three years ago, then forgave the debt last year.

Corzine defended the transaction, first described in reports Thursday in the Newark Star-Ledger and the New York Times.

Corzine turned the 10-year mortgage into a gift to Carla Katz last December, according to court documents. The move came a week after he kicked off his campaign for governor and several months after the two stopped dating.

Katz, 46, is president of Local 1034 of the Communications Workers of America. The union local represents 9,000 state workers.

Corzine's involvement with Katz is significant because the two could find themselves on opposite sides of the bargaining table if he wins the November election. Corzine is a Democrat who was elected to the Senate in 2000, and he announced in December that he would run for governor.

The Republican candidate for governor, businessman Doug Forrester, said Corzine's gift to Katz "suggests an all-too-familiar pattern in New Jersey of public officials entangling themselves in relationships that are not private matters but in direct conflict with the public interest."

Speaking after a news conference Thursday on an unrelated matter, Corzine said the loan would not hamper his administration's ability to negotiate with the union.

"I don't think there's a conflict," said Corzine, 58. "The relationship has ended."

I wonder at what point the romance will be rekindled after the election? In the mean time, she will be in charge of dispensing campaign funds in his race -- and he will be offering more "sweetheart deals" to the union.

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

Someone Had To Say It

Bravo to Matt Bramanti of Lone Star Times.

From the cloned dog story:

Blockquote>South Korea’s pioneering stem cell scientist has cloned a dog, smashing another biological barrier and reigniting a fierce ethical debate — while producing a perky, lovable puppy.

They left out delicious. A perky, lovable, delicious puppy.

Researcher Hwang Woo-suk said the cloned dog would help in researching diseases that plague humans:

"Dogs share physiological characteristics with humans," he said. "A lot of diseases that occur in dogs can be directly transferred to humans."

"And that’s why you must always cook your dog until it’s medium well," he cautioned.

Dr. Hwang quickly ended the press conference, saying it was time to "wok the dog."

"Uh, I mean walk," he stammered. "Walk the dog."

I mean let's be honest here -- we were all thinking it.


|| Greg, 06:24 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 03, 2005

Memo To Nick Coleman

In regards to your most recent column:

1) He didn't flip the press the bird.

2) What makes you an expert on flipped birds?

3) Why use a hate-mongering hypocrite like John Aravosis as a source to condemn hpocrisy -- after all, he's a guy who believes in a right to privacy for liberal homosexuals only.

4) When did the press become royalty or the "representatives of the public"?

5) Didn't you have anything substantive to write about?

|| Greg, 11:46 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||